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G.R. No.

L-7995 May 31, 1957

LAO H. ICHONG, in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien residents, corporations and partnerships
adversely affected. by Republic Act No. 1180, petitioner,
vs.
JAIME HERNANDEZ, Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila,respondents.

Ozaeta, Lichauco and Picazo and Sycip, Quisumbing, Salazar and Associates for petitioner.
Office of the 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 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 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 engaged 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, 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 and liabilities and their offices and principal offices of
judicial 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 based-Answer 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 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.

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 fundamental, 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 facts of the case may be brought forth with clarity and the issue accordingly resolved.

It has been said the 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 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. 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 of police power by which and through which the State seeks to attain or achieve 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 forth 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 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 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.)

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 welfare 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 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 the
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. 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
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 trait. —

The alien retailer must have started plying his trades in this country in the bigger centers of population (Time there was
when he was unknown in provincial towns and villages). Slowly but gradually be 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.

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 note of
him, as he appears to be harmless and extremely useful.

c. Alleged alien control and dominance. —

There is a general feeling on the part of the public, which appears to be true to fact, 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 Acefa, 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 radicalism 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 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 Retailers No.- Per cent Per cent
Pesos Pesos
Nationality Establishments Distribution Distribution
1941:
Filipino .......... 106,671 200,323,138 55.82 174,181,924 51.74
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

Item
Year and Retailer's Gross Sales
Assets
Nationality (Pesos)
(Pesos)

1941:

Filipino ............................................. 1,878 1,633

Chinese .............................................. 7,707 9,691

Others ............................................... 24,415 8,281

1947:

Filipino ............................................. 1,878 2,516

Chinese ........................................... 7,707 14,934

Others .............................................. 24,749 13,919

1948: (Census)

Filipino ............................................. 1,878 4,111

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 assests and 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 assests 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 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 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, 662-663, quoted on page 67 of Petitioner.) That was twenty-two 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 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 economy and of the consuming public
are not entirely unfounded. Nationals, producers 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
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; 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 determination 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 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 can not declare that the act transcends the limit of equal protection
established by the Constitution.
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 Linsey vs. Natural Carbonic Fas 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
protection 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 or 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 contra distinguished 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 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.)

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 in hospitality, 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 fabric", and was not, therefore, invalid. In Ohio ex rel. Clarke vs. Deckebach, 274 U. S. 392, 71 L. ed. 115
(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 pawn brooking was
considered as having tendencies injuring public interest, and limiting it to citizens is within the scope of police power. A
similar statute denying 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 prohibitions 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 findings 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 person 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 the 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 ground for classification. But in this decision 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
operations 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 powers 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 the 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, nor the loyalty and
allegiance which the national owes to the land. These limitations on the qualifications of the 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 alien 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 discriminations 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. . . . .

xxx xxx xxx

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 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 restriction it imposes on rights secured to individuals by the Bill of Rights are
unreasonable, and not whether it imposes any restrictions on such rights. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

. . . . 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.,
1:1)- 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.

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 pursuant of happiness by free men; that it is a gainful and honest occupation and therefore beyond
the power of the legislature to prohibit and penalized. This arguments 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 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 dominance. 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 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
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 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 the their Resolution:

That it is the sense of the Convention that the public interest requires the nationalization of retail trade; but it
abstain 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. (11 Aruego, The Framing of the
Philippine Constitution, 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 principle objective is the conservation of the patrimony of the nation and as corollary 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 the 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 of the radical
measures 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 the 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. Beside, 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 the 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 in the 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 appraise 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.

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 tale, the title to regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors, etc." sufficiently expresses the subject of an
actprohibiting 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, See. 4803, p. 345.) The above rule was followed
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 falling 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 which
have 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 been appraised of the nature of the law, especially the nationalization and the prohibition provisions.
The legislators took active interest in the discussion of the law, and a great many of the persons affected by the
prohibitions 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 the Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. We find no merit in
the 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. 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 (Id. p. 39.) That such is the
import of the United Nations Charter aid of the Declaration of Human Rights can be inferred the fact that members of the
United Nations Organizations, 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 discriminating 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 (plaston 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 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 evident — as a matter of fact it seems
not only appropriate but actually necessary — and 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 entered 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 the 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.


Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Endencia and Felix, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., concurring and dissenting:

I agree to the proposition, principle or rule that courts may not inquire into the wisdom of an the 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, partnership or corporations, the capital of which is not wholly owned
by the 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 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 engaged in the business. The Act allows aliens to continue in business until their death
or voluntary retirement from the business or forfeiture of their license; and corporations, associations or partnership, the
capital of which is not wholly owned by the 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 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 citizen of the Philippines, after ten years from the date of the
approval of the Act, even before 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 six-month period granted to alien heirs of a deceased alien, 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 associations 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 law2 and that no person shall be denied the equal
protection of the laws3 would have no meaning as applied to associations or partnership 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 partnership as
agreed upon by the associations and partners and within six months after the death of their predecessor-in-interest.

The authors of the Constitution were vigilant, careful 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. 4

For these reasons, I am of the opinion that section 1 of the Act, insofar as it compels associations and partnership
referred to therein to wind up their retail business within ten years from the date of the approval of the Act 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 aliens 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.
G.R. No. 78742 July 14, 1989

ASSOCIATION OF SMALL LANDOWNERS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC., JUANITO D. GOMEZ, GERARDO B.


ALARCIO, FELIPE A. GUICO, JR., BERNARDO M. ALMONTE, CANUTO RAMIR B. CABRITO, ISIDRO T. GUICO,
FELISA I. LLAMIDO, FAUSTO J. SALVA, REYNALDO G. ESTRADA, FELISA C. BAUTISTA, ESMENIA J. CABE,
TEODORO B. MADRIAGA, AUREA J. PRESTOSA, EMERENCIANA J. ISLA, FELICISIMA C. ARRESTO, CONSUELO
M. MORALES, BENJAMIN R. SEGISMUNDO, CIRILA A. JOSE & NAPOLEON S. FERRER, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondent.

G.R. No. 79310 July 14, 1989

ARSENIO AL. ACUNA, NEWTON JISON, VICTORINO FERRARIS, DENNIS JEREZA, HERMINIGILDO GUSTILO,
PAULINO D. TOLENTINO and PLANTERS' COMMITTEE, INC., Victorias Mill District, Victorias, Negros
Occidental, petitioners,
vs.
JOKER ARROYO, PHILIP E. JUICO and PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIL, respondents.

G.R. No. 79744 July 14, 1989

INOCENTES PABICO, petitioner,


vs.
HON. PHILIP E. JUICO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, HON. JOKER ARROYO,
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, and Messrs. SALVADOR TALENTO, JAIME
ABOGADO, CONRADO AVANCENA and ROBERTO TAAY, respondents.

G.R. No. 79777 July 14, 1989

NICOLAS S. MANAAY and AGUSTIN HERMANO, JR., petitioners,


vs.
HON. PHILIP ELLA JUICO, as Secretary of Agrarian Reform, and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:

In ancient mythology, Antaeus was a terrible giant who blocked and challenged Hercules for his life on his way to
Mycenae after performing his eleventh labor. The two wrestled mightily and Hercules flung his adversary to the ground
thinking him dead, but Antaeus rose even stronger to resume their struggle. This happened several times to Hercules'
increasing amazement. Finally, as they continued grappling, it dawned on Hercules that Antaeus was the son of Gaea
and could never die as long as any part of his body was touching his Mother Earth. Thus forewarned, Hercules then held
Antaeus up in the air, beyond the reach of the sustaining soil, and crushed him to death.

Mother Earth. The sustaining soil. The giver of life, without whose invigorating touch even the powerful Antaeus weakened
and died.

The cases before us are not as fanciful as the foregoing tale. But they also tell of the elemental forces of life and death, of
men and women who, like Antaeus need the sustaining strength of the precious earth to stay alive.

"Land for the Landless" is a slogan that underscores the acute imbalance in the distribution of this precious resource
among our people. But it is more than a slogan. Through the brooding centuries, it has become a battle-cry dramatizing
the increasingly urgent demand of the dispossessed among us for a plot of earth as their place in the sun.

Recognizing this need, the Constitution in 1935 mandated the policy of social justice to "insure the well-being and
economic security of all the people," 1 especially the less privileged. In 1973, the new Constitution affirmed this goal
adding specifically that "the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, enjoyment and disposition of private
property and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits." 2 Significantly, there was also the specific injunction to
"formulate and implement an agrarian reform program aimed at emancipating the tenant from the bondage of the soil." 3

The Constitution of 1987 was not to be outdone. Besides echoing these sentiments, it also adopted one whole and
separate Article XIII on Social Justice and Human Rights, containing grandiose but undoubtedly sincere provisions for the
uplift of the common people. These include a call in the following words for the adoption by the State of an agrarian reform
program:

SEC. 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers
and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case
of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage
and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable
retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity
considerations and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State
shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-
sharing.

Earlier, in fact, R.A. No. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, had already been enacted by the
Congress of the Philippines on August 8, 1963, in line with the above-stated principles. This was substantially superseded
almost a decade later by P.D. No. 27, which was promulgated on October 21, 1972, along with martial law, to provide for
the compulsory acquisition of private lands for distribution among tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits
for landowners.

The people power revolution of 1986 did not change and indeed even energized the thrust for agrarian reform. Thus, on
July 17, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued E.O. No. 228, declaring full land ownership in favor of the
beneficiaries of P.D. No. 27 and providing for the valuation of still unvalued lands covered by the decree as well as the
manner of their payment. This was followed on July 22, 1987 by Presidential Proclamation No. 131, instituting a
comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), and E.O. No. 229, providing the mechanics for its implementation.

Subsequently, with its formal organization, the revived Congress of the Philippines took over legislative power from the
President and started its own deliberations, including extensive public hearings, on the improvement of the interests of
farmers. The result, after almost a year of spirited debate, was the enactment of R.A. No. 6657, otherwise known as the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, which President Aquino signed on June 10, 1988. This law, while
considerably changing the earlier mentioned enactments, nevertheless gives them suppletory effect insofar as they are
not inconsistent with its provisions. 4

The above-captioned cases have been consolidated because they involve common legal questions, including serious
challenges to the constitutionality of the several measures mentioned above. They will be the subject of one common
discussion and resolution, The different antecedents of each case will require separate treatment, however, and will first
be explained hereunder.

G.R. No. 79777

Squarely raised in this petition is the constitutionality of P.D. No. 27, E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, and R.A. No. 6657.

The subjects of this petition are a 9-hectare riceland worked by four tenants and owned by petitioner Nicolas Manaay and
his wife and a 5-hectare riceland worked by four tenants and owned by petitioner Augustin Hermano, Jr. The tenants were
declared full owners of these lands by E.O. No. 228 as qualified farmers under P.D. No. 27.

The petitioners are questioning P.D. No. 27 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 on grounds inter alia of separation of powers, due
process, equal protection and the constitutional limitation that no private property shall be taken for public use without just
compensation.

They contend that President Aquino usurped legislative power when she promulgated E.O. No. 228. The said measure is
invalid also for violation of Article XIII, Section 4, of the Constitution, for failure to provide for retention limits for small
landowners. Moreover, it does not conform to Article VI, Section 25(4) and the other requisites of a valid appropriation.

In connection with the determination of just compensation, the petitioners argue that the same may be made only by a
court of justice and not by the President of the Philippines. They invoke the recent cases of EPZA v. Dulay 5 andManotok
v. National Food Authority. 6 Moreover, the just compensation contemplated by the Bill of Rights is payable in money or in
cash and not in the form of bonds or other things of value.

In considering the rentals as advance payment on the land, the executive order also deprives the petitioners of their
property rights as protected by due process. The equal protection clause is also violated because the order places the
burden of solving the agrarian problems on the owners only of agricultural lands. No similar obligation is imposed on the
owners of other properties.

The petitioners also maintain that in declaring the beneficiaries under P.D. No. 27 to be the owners of the lands occupied
by them, E.O. No. 228 ignored judicial prerogatives and so violated due process. Worse, the measure would not solve the
agrarian problem because even the small farmers are deprived of their lands and the retention rights guaranteed by the
Constitution.

In his Comment, the Solicitor General stresses that P.D. No. 27 has already been upheld in the earlier cases ofChavez v.
Zobel, 7 Gonzales v. Estrella, 8 and Association of Rice and Corn Producers of the Philippines, Inc. v. The National Land
Reform Council. 9 The determination of just compensation by the executive authorities conformably to the formula
prescribed under the questioned order is at best initial or preliminary only. It does not foreclose judicial intervention
whenever sought or warranted. At any rate, the challenge to the order is premature because no valuation of their property
has as yet been made by the Department of Agrarian Reform. The petitioners are also not proper parties because the
lands owned by them do not exceed the maximum retention limit of 7 hectares.

Replying, the petitioners insist they are proper parties because P.D. No. 27 does not provide for retention limits on
tenanted lands and that in any event their petition is a class suit brought in behalf of landowners with landholdings below
24 hectares. They maintain that the determination of just compensation by the administrative authorities is a final
ascertainment. As for the cases invoked by the public respondent, the constitutionality of P.D. No. 27 was merely
assumed in Chavez, while what was decided in Gonzales was the validity of the imposition of martial law.
In the amended petition dated November 22, 1588, it is contended that P.D. No. 27, E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 (except
Sections 20 and 21) have been impliedly repealed by R.A. No. 6657. Nevertheless, this statute should itself also be
declared unconstitutional because it suffers from substantially the same infirmities as the earlier measures.

A petition for intervention was filed with leave of court on June 1, 1988 by Vicente Cruz, owner of a 1. 83- hectare land,
who complained that the DAR was insisting on the implementation of P.D. No. 27 and E.O. No. 228 despite a compromise
agreement he had reached with his tenant on the payment of rentals. In a subsequent motion dated April 10, 1989, he
adopted the allegations in the basic amended petition that the above- mentioned enactments have been impliedly
repealed by R.A. No. 6657.

G.R. No. 79310

The petitioners herein are landowners and sugar planters in the Victorias Mill District, Victorias, Negros Occidental. Co-
petitioner Planters' Committee, Inc. is an organization composed of 1,400 planter-members. This petition seeks to prohibit
the implementation of Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229.

The petitioners claim that the power to provide for a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program as decreed by the
Constitution belongs to Congress and not the President. Although they agree that the President could exercise legislative
power until the Congress was convened, she could do so only to enact emergency measures during the transition period.
At that, even assuming that the interim legislative power of the President was properly exercised, Proc. No. 131 and E.O.
No. 229 would still have to be annulled for violating the constitutional provisions on just compensation, due process, and
equal protection.

They also argue that under Section 2 of Proc. No. 131 which provides:

Agrarian Reform Fund.-There is hereby created a special fund, to be known as the Agrarian Reform Fund, an initial
amount of FIFTY BILLION PESOS (P50,000,000,000.00) to cover the estimated cost of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program from 1987 to 1992 which shall be sourced from the receipts of the sale of the assets of the Asset
Privatization Trust and Receipts of sale of ill-gotten wealth received through the Presidential Commission on Good
Government and such other sources as government may deem appropriate. The amounts collected and accruing to this
special fund shall be considered automatically appropriated for the purpose authorized in this Proclamation the amount
appropriated is in futuro, not in esse. The money needed to cover the cost of the contemplated expropriation has yet to be
raised and cannot be appropriated at this time.

Furthermore, they contend that taking must be simultaneous with payment of just compensation as it is traditionally
understood, i.e., with money and in full, but no such payment is contemplated in Section 5 of the E.O. No. 229. On the
contrary, Section 6, thereof provides that the Land Bank of the Philippines "shall compensate the landowner in an amount
to be established by the government, which shall be based on the owner's declaration of current fair market value as
provided in Section 4 hereof, but subject to certain controls to be defined and promulgated by the Presidential Agrarian
Reform Council." This compensation may not be paid fully in money but in any of several modes that may consist of part
cash and part bond, with interest, maturing periodically, or direct payment in cash or bond as may be mutually agreed
upon by the beneficiary and the landowner or as may be prescribed or approved by the PARC.

The petitioners also argue that in the issuance of the two measures, no effort was made to make a careful study of the
sugar planters' situation. There is no tenancy problem in the sugar areas that can justify the application of the CARP to
them. To the extent that the sugar planters have been lumped in the same legislation with other farmers, although they
are a separate group with problems exclusively their own, their right to equal protection has been violated.

A motion for intervention was filed on August 27,1987 by the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NASP) which
claims a membership of at least 20,000 individual sugar planters all over the country. On September 10, 1987, another
motion for intervention was filed, this time by Manuel Barcelona, et al., representing coconut and riceland owners. Both
motions were granted by the Court.

NASP alleges that President Aquino had no authority to fund the Agrarian Reform Program and that, in any event, the
appropriation is invalid because of uncertainty in the amount appropriated. Section 2 of Proc. No. 131 and Sections 20
and 21 of E.O. No. 229 provide for an initial appropriation of fifty billion pesos and thus specifies the minimum rather than
the maximum authorized amount. This is not allowed. Furthermore, the stated initial amount has not been certified to by
the National Treasurer as actually available.

Two additional arguments are made by Barcelona, to wit, the failure to establish by clear and convincing evidence the
necessity for the exercise of the powers of eminent domain, and the violation of the fundamental right to own property.

The petitioners also decry the penalty for non-registration of the lands, which is the expropriation of the said land for an
amount equal to the government assessor's valuation of the land for tax purposes. On the other hand, if the landowner
declares his own valuation he is unjustly required to immediately pay the corresponding taxes on the land, in violation of
the uniformity rule.

In his consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General first invokes the presumption of constitutionality in favor of Proc. No.
131 and E.O. No. 229. He also justifies the necessity for the expropriation as explained in the "whereas" clauses of the
Proclamation and submits that, contrary to the petitioner's contention, a pilot project to determine the feasibility of CARP
and a general survey on the people's opinion thereon are not indispensable prerequisites to its promulgation.
On the alleged violation of the equal protection clause, the sugar planters have failed to show that they belong to a
different class and should be differently treated. The Comment also suggests the possibility of Congress first distributing
public agricultural lands and scheduling the expropriation of private agricultural lands later. From this viewpoint, the
petition for prohibition would be premature.

The public respondent also points out that the constitutional prohibition is against the payment of public money without the
corresponding appropriation. There is no rule that only money already in existence can be the subject of an appropriation
law. Finally, the earmarking of fifty billion pesos as Agrarian Reform Fund, although denominated as an initial amount, is
actually the maximum sum appropriated. The word "initial" simply means that additional amounts may be appropriated
later when necessary.

On April 11, 1988, Prudencio Serrano, a coconut planter, filed a petition on his own behalf, assailing the constitutionality
of E.O. No. 229. In addition to the arguments already raised, Serrano contends that the measure is unconstitutional
because:

(1) Only public lands should be included in the CARP;

(2) E.O. No. 229 embraces more than one subject which is not expressed in the title;

(3) The power of the President to legislate was terminated on July 2, 1987; and

(4) The appropriation of a P50 billion special fund from the National Treasury did not originate from the
House of Representatives.

G.R. No. 79744

The petitioner alleges that the then Secretary of Department of Agrarian Reform, in violation of due process and the
requirement for just compensation, placed his landholding under the coverage of Operation Land Transfer. Certificates of
Land Transfer were subsequently issued to the private respondents, who then refused payment of lease rentals to him.

On September 3, 1986, the petitioner protested the erroneous inclusion of his small landholding under Operation Land
transfer and asked for the recall and cancellation of the Certificates of Land Transfer in the name of the private
respondents. He claims that on December 24, 1986, his petition was denied without hearing. On February 17, 1987, he
filed a motion for reconsideration, which had not been acted upon when E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 were issued. These
orders rendered his motion moot and academic because they directly effected the transfer of his land to the private
respondents.

The petitioner now argues that:

(1) E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 were invalidly issued by the President of the Philippines.

(2) The said executive orders are violative of the constitutional provision that no private property shall be
taken without due process or just compensation.

(3) The petitioner is denied the right of maximum retention provided for under the 1987 Constitution.

The petitioner contends that the issuance of E.0. Nos. 228 and 229 shortly before Congress convened is anomalous and
arbitrary, besides violating the doctrine of separation of powers. The legislative power granted to the President under the
Transitory Provisions refers only to emergency measures that may be promulgated in the proper exercise of the police
power.

The petitioner also invokes his rights not to be deprived of his property without due process of law and to the retention of
his small parcels of riceholding as guaranteed under Article XIII, Section 4 of the Constitution. He likewise argues that,
besides denying him just compensation for his land, the provisions of E.O. No. 228 declaring that:

Lease rentals paid to the landowner by the farmer-beneficiary after October 21, 1972 shall be considered
as advance payment for the land.

is an unconstitutional taking of a vested property right. It is also his contention that the inclusion of even small landowners
in the program along with other landowners with lands consisting of seven hectares or more is undemocratic.

In his Comment, the Solicitor General submits that the petition is premature because the motion for reconsideration filed
with the Minister of Agrarian Reform is still unresolved. As for the validity of the issuance of E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, he
argues that they were enacted pursuant to Section 6, Article XVIII of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution
which reads:

The incumbent president shall continue to exercise legislative powers until the first Congress is convened.
On the issue of just compensation, his position is that when P.D. No. 27 was promulgated on October 21. 1972, the
tenant-farmer of agricultural land was deemed the owner of the land he was tilling. The leasehold rentals paid after that
date should therefore be considered amortization payments.

In his Reply to the public respondents, the petitioner maintains that the motion he filed was resolved on December 14,
1987. An appeal to the Office of the President would be useless with the promulgation of E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, which in
effect sanctioned the validity of the public respondent's acts.

G.R. No. 78742

The petitioners in this case invoke the right of retention granted by P.D. No. 27 to owners of rice and corn lands not
exceeding seven hectares as long as they are cultivating or intend to cultivate the same. Their respective lands do not
exceed the statutory limit but are occupied by tenants who are actually cultivating such lands.

According to P.D. No. 316, which was promulgated in implementation of P.D. No. 27:

No tenant-farmer in agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn shall be ejected or removed from
his farmholding until such time as the respective rights of the tenant- farmers and the landowner shall
have been determined in accordance with the rules and regulations implementing P.D. No. 27.

The petitioners claim they cannot eject their tenants and so are unable to enjoy their right of retention because the
Department of Agrarian Reform has so far not issued the implementing rules required under the above-quoted decree.
They therefore ask the Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the respondent to issue the said rules.

In his Comment, the public respondent argues that P.D. No. 27 has been amended by LOI 474 removing any right of
retention from persons who own other agricultural lands of more than 7 hectares in aggregate area or lands used for
residential, commercial, industrial or other purposes from which they derive adequate income for their family. And even
assuming that the petitioners do not fall under its terms, the regulations implementing P.D. No. 27 have already been
issued, to wit, the Memorandum dated July 10, 1975 (Interim Guidelines on Retention by Small Landowners, with an
accompanying Retention Guide Table), Memorandum Circular No. 11 dated April 21, 1978, (Implementation Guidelines of
LOI No. 474), Memorandum Circular No. 18-81 dated December 29,1981 (Clarificatory Guidelines on Coverage of P.D.
No. 27 and Retention by Small Landowners), and DAR Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1985 (Providing for a Cut-off
Date for Landowners to Apply for Retention and/or to Protest the Coverage of their Landholdings under Operation Land
Transfer pursuant to P.D. No. 27). For failure to file the corresponding applications for retention under these measures,
the petitioners are now barred from invoking this right.

The public respondent also stresses that the petitioners have prematurely initiated this case notwithstanding the pendency
of their appeal to the President of the Philippines. Moreover, the issuance of the implementing rules, assuming this has
not yet been done, involves the exercise of discretion which cannot be controlled through the writ of mandamus. This is
especially true if this function is entrusted, as in this case, to a separate department of the government.

In their Reply, the petitioners insist that the above-cited measures are not applicable to them because they do not own
more than seven hectares of agricultural land. Moreover, assuming arguendo that the rules were intended to cover them
also, the said measures are nevertheless not in force because they have not been published as required by law and the
ruling of this Court in Tanada v. Tuvera.10 As for LOI 474, the same is ineffective for the additional reason that a mere
letter of instruction could not have repealed the presidential decree.

Although holding neither purse nor sword and so regarded as the weakest of the three departments of the government,
the judiciary is nonetheless vested with the power to annul the acts of either the legislative or the executive or of both
when not conformable to the fundamental law. This is the reason for what some quarters call the doctrine of judicial
supremacy. Even so, this power is not lightly assumed or readily exercised. The doctrine of separation of powers imposes
upon the courts a proper restraint, born of the nature of their functions and of their respect for the other departments, in
striking down the acts of the legislative and the executive as unconstitutional. The policy, indeed, is a blend of courtesy
and caution. To doubt is to sustain. The theory is that before the act was done or the law was enacted, earnest studies
were made by Congress or the President, or both, to insure that the Constitution would not be breached.

In addition, the Constitution itself lays down stringent conditions for a declaration of unconstitutionality, requiring therefor
the concurrence of a majority of the members of the Supreme Court who took part in the deliberations and voted on the
issue during their session en banc.11 And as established by judge made doctrine, the Court will assume jurisdiction over a
constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first
satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial
determination, the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and the resolution of
the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself. 12

With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in the cases before us, we hold that the same is
satisfied by the petitioners and intervenors because each of them has sustained or is in danger of sustaining an
immediate injury as a result of the acts or measures complained of. 13 And even if, strictly speaking, they are not covered
by the definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the impediment
to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised.
In the first Emergency Powers Cases, 14 ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of
several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were invoking only an indirect and general interest
shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that "the
transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing
aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure." We have since then applied this exception in many other cases. 15

The other above-mentioned requisites have also been met in the present petitions.

In must be stressed that despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues like the
ones now before it, it will not hesitate to declare a law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. In arriving
at this conclusion, its only criterion will be the Constitution as God and its conscience give it the light to probe its meaning
and discover its purpose. Personal motives and political considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decision.
Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation.

For all the awesome power of the Congress and the Executive, the Court will not hesitate to "make the hammer fall, and
heavily," to use Justice Laurel's pithy language, where the acts of these departments, or of any public official, betray the
people's will as expressed in the Constitution.

It need only be added, to borrow again the words of Justice Laurel, that —

... when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority
over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the Legislature, but only
asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims
of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which
that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed
"judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. 16

The cases before us categorically raise constitutional questions that this Court must categorically resolve. And so we
shall.

II

We proceed first to the examination of the preliminary issues before resolving the more serious challenges to the
constitutionality of the several measures involved in these petitions.

The promulgation of P.D. No. 27 by President Marcos in the exercise of his powers under martial law has already been
sustained in Gonzales v. Estrella and we find no reason to modify or reverse it on that issue. As for the power of President
Aquino to promulgate Proc. No. 131 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, the same was authorized under Section 6 of the
Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, quoted above.

The said measures were issued by President Aquino before July 27, 1987, when the Congress of the Philippines was
formally convened and took over legislative power from her. They are not "midnight" enactments intended to pre-empt the
legislature because E.O. No. 228 was issued on July 17, 1987, and the other measures, i.e., Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No.
229, were both issued on July 22, 1987. Neither is it correct to say that these measures ceased to be valid when she lost
her legislative power for, like any statute, they continue to be in force unless modified or repealed by subsequent law or
declared invalid by the courts. A statute does not ipso facto become inoperative simply because of the dissolution of the
legislature that enacted it. By the same token, President Aquino's loss of legislative power did not have the effect of
invalidating all the measures enacted by her when and as long as she possessed it.

Significantly, the Congress she is alleged to have undercut has not rejected but in fact substantially affirmed the
challenged measures and has specifically provided that they shall be suppletory to R.A. No. 6657 whenever not
inconsistent with its provisions. 17 Indeed, some portions of the said measures, like the creation of the P50 billion fund in
Section 2 of Proc. No. 131, and Sections 20 and 21 of E.O. No. 229, have been incorporated by reference in the CARP
Law. 18

That fund, as earlier noted, is itself being questioned on the ground that it does not conform to the requirements of a valid
appropriation as specified in the Constitution. Clearly, however, Proc. No. 131 is not an appropriation measure even if it
does provide for the creation of said fund, for that is not its principal purpose. An appropriation law is one the primary and
specific purpose of which is to authorize the release of public funds from the treasury. 19 The creation of the fund is only
incidental to the main objective of the proclamation, which is agrarian reform.

It should follow that the specific constitutional provisions invoked, to wit, Section 24 and Section 25(4) of Article VI, are not
applicable. With particular reference to Section 24, this obviously could not have been complied with for the simple reason
that the House of Representatives, which now has the exclusive power to initiate appropriation measures, had not yet
been convened when the proclamation was issued. The legislative power was then solely vested in the President of the
Philippines, who embodied, as it were, both houses of Congress.

The argument of some of the petitioners that Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229 should be invalidated because they do not
provide for retention limits as required by Article XIII, Section 4 of the Constitution is no longer tenable. R.A. No. 6657
does provide for such limits now in Section 6 of the law, which in fact is one of its most controversial provisions. This
section declares:
Retention Limits. — Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly or
indirectly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors
governing a viable family-sized farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility
as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case
shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each
child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of
age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm; Provided, That landowners
whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area
originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory
heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same
areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.

The argument that E.O. No. 229 violates the constitutional requirement that a bill shall have only one subject, to be
expressed in its title, deserves only short attention. It is settled that the title of the bill does not have to be a catalogue of
its contents and will suffice if the matters embodied in the text are relevant to each other and may be inferred from the
title. 20

The Court wryly observes that during the past dictatorship, every presidential issuance, by whatever name it was called,
had the force and effect of law because it came from President Marcos. Such are the ways of despots. Hence, it is futile to
argue, as the petitioners do in G.R. No. 79744, that LOI 474 could not have repealed P.D. No. 27 because the former was
only a letter of instruction. The important thing is that it was issued by President Marcos, whose word was law during that
time.

But for all their peremptoriness, these issuances from the President Marcos still had to comply with the requirement for
publication as this Court held in Tanada v. Tuvera. 21 Hence, unless published in the Official Gazette in accordance with
Article 2 of the Civil Code, they could not have any force and effect if they were among those enactments successfully
challenged in that case. LOI 474 was published, though, in the Official Gazette dated November 29,1976.)

Finally, there is the contention of the public respondent in G.R. No. 78742 that the writ of mandamus cannot issue to
compel the performance of a discretionary act, especially by a specific department of the government. That is true as a
general proposition but is subject to one important qualification. Correctly and categorically stated, the rule is that
mandamus will lie to compel the discharge of the discretionary duty itself but not to control the discretion to be exercised.
In other words, mandamus can issue to require action only but not specific action.

Whenever a duty is imposed upon a public official and an unnecessary and unreasonable delay in the
exercise of such duty occurs, if it is a clear duty imposed by law, the courts will intervene by the
extraordinary legal remedy of mandamus to compel action. If the duty is purely ministerial, the courts will
require specific action. If the duty is purely discretionary, the courts by mandamus will require action only.
For example, if an inferior court, public official, or board should, for an unreasonable length of time, fail to
decide a particular question to the great detriment of all parties concerned, or a court should refuse to
take jurisdiction of a cause when the law clearly gave it jurisdiction mandamus will issue, in the first case
to require a decision, and in the second to require that jurisdiction be taken of the cause. 22

And while it is true that as a rule the writ will not be proper as long as there is still a plain, speedy and adequate remedy
available from the administrative authorities, resort to the courts may still be permitted if the issue raised is a question of
law. 23

III

There are traditional distinctions between the police power and the power of eminent domain that logically preclude the
application of both powers at the same time on the same subject. In the case of City of Baguio v. NAWASA, 24for
example, where a law required the transfer of all municipal waterworks systems to the NAWASA in exchange for its
assets of equivalent value, the Court held that the power being exercised was eminent domain because the property
involved was wholesome and intended for a public use. Property condemned under the police power is noxious or
intended for a noxious purpose, such as a building on the verge of collapse, which should be demolished for the public
safety, or obscene materials, which should be destroyed in the interest of public morals. The confiscation of such property
is not compensable, unlike the taking of property under the power of expropriation, which requires the payment of just
compensation to the owner.

In the case of Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon, 25 Justice Holmes laid down the limits of the police power in a famous
aphorism: "The general rule at least is that while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it
will be recognized as a taking." The regulation that went "too far" was a law prohibiting mining which might cause the
subsidence of structures for human habitation constructed on the land surface. This was resisted by a coal company
which had earlier granted a deed to the land over its mine but reserved all mining rights thereunder, with the grantee
assuming all risks and waiving any damage claim. The Court held the law could not be sustained without compensating
the grantor. Justice Brandeis filed a lone dissent in which he argued that there was a valid exercise of the police power.
He said:

Every restriction upon the use of property imposed in the exercise of the police power deprives the owner
of some right theretofore enjoyed, and is, in that sense, an abridgment by the State of rights in property
without making compensation. But restriction imposed to protect the public health, safety or morals from
dangers threatened is not a taking. The restriction here in question is merely the prohibition of a noxious
use. The property so restricted remains in the possession of its owner. The state does not appropriate it
or make any use of it. The state merely prevents the owner from making a use which interferes with
paramount rights of the public. Whenever the use prohibited ceases to be noxious — as it may because
of further changes in local or social conditions — the restriction will have to be removed and the owner
will again be free to enjoy his property as heretofore.

Recent trends, however, would indicate not a polarization but a mingling of the police power and the power of eminent
domain, with the latter being used as an implement of the former like the power of taxation. The employment of the taxing
power to achieve a police purpose has long been accepted. 26 As for the power of expropriation, Prof. John J. Costonis of
the University of Illinois College of Law (referring to the earlier case of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 US 365, which
sustained a zoning law under the police power) makes the following significant remarks:

Euclid, moreover, was decided in an era when judges located the Police and eminent domain powers on
different planets. Generally speaking, they viewed eminent domain as encompassing public acquisition of
private property for improvements that would be available for public use," literally construed. To the police
power, on the other hand, they assigned the less intrusive task of preventing harmful externalities a point
reflected in the Euclid opinion's reliance on an analogy to nuisance law to bolster its support of zoning. So
long as suppression of a privately authored harm bore a plausible relation to some legitimate "public
purpose," the pertinent measure need have afforded no compensation whatever. With the progressive
growth of government's involvement in land use, the distance between the two powers has contracted
considerably. Today government often employs eminent domain interchangeably with or as a useful
complement to the police power-- a trend expressly approved in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in
Berman v. Parker, which broadened the reach of eminent domain's "public use" test to match that of the
police power's standard of "public purpose." 27

The Berman case sustained a redevelopment project and the improvement of blighted areas in the District of Columbia as
a proper exercise of the police power. On the role of eminent domain in the attainment of this purpose, Justice Douglas
declared:

If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the Nation's Capital should be beautiful as well as
sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way.

Once the object is within the authority of Congress, the right to realize it through the exercise of eminent
domain is clear.

For the power of eminent domain is merely the means to the end. 28

In Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 29 decided by a 6-3 vote in 1978, the U.S Supreme Court sustained
the respondent's Landmarks Preservation Law under which the owners of the Grand Central Terminal had not been
allowed to construct a multi-story office building over the Terminal, which had been designated a historic landmark.
Preservation of the landmark was held to be a valid objective of the police power. The problem, however, was that the
owners of the Terminal would be deprived of the right to use the airspace above it although other landowners in the area
could do so over their respective properties. While insisting that there was here no taking, the Court nonetheless
recognized certain compensatory rights accruing to Grand Central Terminal which it said would "undoubtedly mitigate" the
loss caused by the regulation. This "fair compensation," as he called it, was explained by Prof. Costonis in this wise:

In return for retaining the Terminal site in its pristine landmark status, Penn Central was authorized to transfer to
neighboring properties the authorized but unused rights accruing to the site prior to the Terminal's designation as a
landmark — the rights which would have been exhausted by the 59-story building that the city refused to countenance
atop the Terminal. Prevailing bulk restrictions on neighboring sites were proportionately relaxed, theoretically enabling
Penn Central to recoup its losses at the Terminal site by constructing or selling to others the right to construct larger,
hence more profitable buildings on the transferee sites. 30

The cases before us present no knotty complication insofar as the question of compensable taking is concerned. To the
extent that the measures under challenge merely prescribe retention limits for landowners, there is an exercise of the
police power for the regulation of private property in accordance with the Constitution. But where, to carry out such
regulation, it becomes necessary to deprive such owners of whatever lands they may own in excess of the maximum area
allowed, there is definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation is
imperative. The taking contemplated is not a mere limitation of the use of the land. What is required is the surrender of the
title to and the physical possession of the said excess and all beneficial rights accruing to the owner in favor of the farmer-
beneficiary. This is definitely an exercise not of the police power but of the power of eminent domain.

Whether as an exercise of the police power or of the power of eminent domain, the several measures before us are
challenged as violative of the due process and equal protection clauses.

The challenge to Proc. No. 131 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 299 on the ground that no retention limits are prescribed has
already been discussed and dismissed. It is noted that although they excited many bitter exchanges during the
deliberation of the CARP Law in Congress, the retention limits finally agreed upon are, curiously enough, not being
questioned in these petitions. We therefore do not discuss them here. The Court will come to the other claimed violations
of due process in connection with our examination of the adequacy of just compensation as required under the power of
expropriation.
The argument of the small farmers that they have been denied equal protection because of the absence of retention limits
has also become academic under Section 6 of R.A. No. 6657. Significantly, they too have not questioned the area of such
limits. There is also the complaint that they should not be made to share the burden of agrarian reform, an objection also
made by the sugar planters on the ground that they belong to a particular class with particular interests of their own.
However, no evidence has been submitted to the Court that the requisites of a valid classification have been violated.

Classification has been defined as the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in certain particulars and
different from each other in these same particulars. 31 To be valid, it must conform to the following requirements: (1) it
must be based on substantial distinctions; (2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) it must not be limited to
existing conditions only; and (4) it must apply equally to all the members of the class. 32 The Court finds that all these
requisites have been met by the measures here challenged as arbitrary and discriminatory.

Equal protection simply means that all persons or things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the rights
conferred and the liabilities imposed. 33 The petitioners have not shown that they belong to a different class and entitled to
a different treatment. The argument that not only landowners but also owners of other properties must be made to share
the burden of implementing land reform must be rejected. There is a substantial distinction between these two classes of
owners that is clearly visible except to those who will not see. There is no need to elaborate on this matter. In any event,
the Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification. Its decision is accorded recognition and
respect by the courts of justice except only where its discretion is abused to the detriment of the Bill of Rights.

It is worth remarking at this juncture that a statute may be sustained under the police power only if there is a concurrence
of the lawful subject and the lawful method. Put otherwise, the interests of the public generally as distinguished from those
of a particular class require the interference of the State and, no less important, the means employed are reasonably
necessary for the attainment of the purpose sought to be achieved and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 34 As the
subject and purpose of agrarian reform have been laid down by the Constitution itself, we may say that the first
requirement has been satisfied. What remains to be examined is the validity of the method employed to achieve the
constitutional goal.

One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of the individual are concerned, the end does
not justify the means. It is not enough that there be a valid objective; it is also necessary that the means employed to
pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere expediency will not excuse constitutional shortcuts. There is no
question that not even the strongest moral conviction or the most urgent public need, subject only to a few notable
exceptions, will excuse the bypassing of an individual's rights. It is no exaggeration to say that a, person invoking a right
guaranteed under Article III of the Constitution is a majority of one even as against the rest of the nation who would deny
him that right.

That right covers the person's life, his liberty and his property under Section 1 of Article III of the Constitution. With regard
to his property, the owner enjoys the added protection of Section 9, which reaffirms the familiar rule that private property
shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

This brings us now to the power of eminent domain.

IV

Eminent domain is an inherent power of the State that enables it to forcibly acquire private lands intended
for public use upon payment of just compensation to the owner. Obviously, there is no need to
expropriate where the owner is willing to sell under terms also acceptable to the purchaser, in which case
an ordinary deed of sale may be agreed upon by the parties. 35 It is only where the owner is unwilling to
sell, or cannot accept the price or other conditions offered by the vendee, that the power of eminent
domain will come into play to assert the paramount authority of the State over the interests of the property
owner. Private rights must then yield to the irresistible demands of the public interest on the time-honored
justification, as in the case of the police power, that the welfare of the people is the supreme law.

But for all its primacy and urgency, the power of expropriation is by no means absolute (as indeed no power is absolute).
The limitation is found in the constitutional injunction that "private property shall not be taken for public use without just
compensation" and in the abundant jurisprudence that has evolved from the interpretation of this principle. Basically, the
requirements for a proper exercise of the power are: (1) public use and (2) just compensation.

Let us dispose first of the argument raised by the petitioners in G.R. No. 79310 that the State should first distribute public
agricultural lands in the pursuit of agrarian reform instead of immediately disturbing property rights by forcibly acquiring
private agricultural lands. Parenthetically, it is not correct to say that only public agricultural lands may be covered by the
CARP as the Constitution calls for "the just distribution of all agricultural lands." In any event, the decision to redistribute
private agricultural lands in the manner prescribed by the CARP was made by the legislative and executive departments
in the exercise of their discretion. We are not justified in reviewing that discretion in the absence of a clear showing that it
has been abused.

A becoming courtesy admonishes us to respect the decisions of the political departments when they decide what is known
as the political question. As explained by Chief Justice Concepcion in the case of Tañada v. Cuenco: 36

The term "political question" connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It
refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative
or executive branch of the government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not
legality, of a particular measure.

It is true that the concept of the political question has been constricted with the enlargement of judicial power, which now
includes the authority of the courts "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." 37 Even so, this should not
be construed as a license for us to reverse the other departments simply because their views may not coincide with ours.

The legislature and the executive have been seen fit, in their wisdom, to include in the CARP the redistribution of private
landholdings (even as the distribution of public agricultural lands is first provided for, while also continuing apace under
the Public Land Act and other cognate laws). The Court sees no justification to interpose its authority, which we may
assert only if we believe that the political decision is not unwise, but illegal. We do not find it to be so.

In U.S. v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company,38 it was held:

Congress having determined, as it did by the Act of March 3,1909 that the entire St. Mary's river between
the American bank and the international line, as well as all of the upland north of the present ship canal,
throughout its entire length, was "necessary for the purpose of navigation of said waters, and the waters
connected therewith," that determination is conclusive in condemnation proceedings instituted by the
United States under that Act, and there is no room for judicial review of the judgment of Congress ... .

As earlier observed, the requirement for public use has already been settled for us by the Constitution itself No less than
the 1987 Charter calls for agrarian reform, which is the reason why private agricultural lands are to be taken from their
owners, subject to the prescribed maximum retention limits. The purposes specified in P.D. No. 27, Proc. No. 131 and
R.A. No. 6657 are only an elaboration of the constitutional injunction that the State adopt the necessary measures "to
encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands to enable farmers who are landless to own directly or
collectively the lands they till." That public use, as pronounced by the fundamental law itself, must be binding on us.

The second requirement, i.e., the payment of just compensation, needs a longer and more thoughtful examination.

Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. 39 It
has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the measure is not the taker's gain but the owner's loss. 40 The word "just"
is used to intensify the meaning of the word "compensation" to convey the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the
property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full, ample. 41

It bears repeating that the measures challenged in these petitions contemplate more than a mere regulation of the use of
private lands under the police power. We deal here with an actual taking of private agricultural lands that has
dispossessed the owners of their property and deprived them of all its beneficial use and enjoyment, to entitle them to the
just compensation mandated by the Constitution.

As held in Republic of the Philippines v. Castellvi, 42 there is compensable taking when the following conditions concur: (1)
the expropriator must enter a private property; (2) the entry must be for more than a momentary period; (3) the entry must
be under warrant or color of legal authority; (4) the property must be devoted to public use or otherwise informally
appropriated or injuriously affected; and (5) the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as to oust
the owner and deprive him of beneficial enjoyment of the property. All these requisites are envisioned in the measures
before us.

Where the State itself is the expropriator, it is not necessary for it to make a deposit upon its taking possession of the
condemned property, as "the compensation is a public charge, the good faith of the public is pledged for its payment, and
all the resources of taxation may be employed in raising the amount." 43 Nevertheless, Section 16(e) of the CARP Law
provides that:

Upon receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or, in case of rejection or no response from
the landowner, upon the deposit with an accessible bank designated by the DAR of the compensation in
cash or in LBP bonds in accordance with this Act, the DAR shall take immediate possession of the land
and shall request the proper Register of Deeds to issue a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) in the name
of the Republic of the Philippines. The DAR shall thereafter proceed with the redistribution of the land to
the qualified beneficiaries.

Objection is raised, however, to the manner of fixing the just compensation, which it is claimed is entrusted to the
administrative authorities in violation of judicial prerogatives. Specific reference is made to Section 16(d), which provides
that in case of the rejection or disregard by the owner of the offer of the government to buy his land-

... the DAR shall conduct summary administrative proceedings to determine the compensation for the
land by requiring the landowner, the LBP and other interested parties to submit evidence as to the just
compensation for the land, within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the notice. After the expiration of the
above period, the matter is deemed submitted for decision. The DAR shall decide the case within thirty
(30) days after it is submitted for decision.

To be sure, the determination of just compensation is a function addressed to the courts of justice and may not be
usurped by any other branch or official of the government. EPZA v. Dulay 44 resolved a challenge to several decrees
promulgated by President Marcos providing that the just compensation for property under expropriation should be either
the assessment of the property by the government or the sworn valuation thereof by the owner, whichever was lower. In
declaring these decrees unconstitutional, the Court held through Mr. Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr.:

The method of ascertaining just compensation under the aforecited decrees constitutes impermissible
encroachment on judicial prerogatives. It tends to render this Court inutile in a matter which under this
Constitution is reserved to it for final determination.

Thus, although in an expropriation proceeding the court technically would still have the power to
determine the just compensation for the property, following the applicable decrees, its task would be
relegated to simply stating the lower value of the property as declared either by the owner or the
assessor. As a necessary consequence, it would be useless for the court to appoint commissioners under
Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, the need to satisfy the due process clause in the taking of
private property is seemingly fulfilled since it cannot be said that a judicial proceeding was not had before
the actual taking. However, the strict application of the decrees during the proceedings would be nothing
short of a mere formality or charade as the court has only to choose between the valuation of the owner
and that of the assessor, and its choice is always limited to the lower of the two. The court cannot
exercise its discretion or independence in determining what is just or fair. Even a grade school pupil could
substitute for the judge insofar as the determination of constitutional just compensation is concerned.

xxx

In the present petition, we are once again confronted with the same question of whether the courts under
P.D. No. 1533, which contains the same provision on just compensation as its predecessor decrees, still
have the power and authority to determine just compensation, independent of what is stated by the
decree and to this effect, to appoint commissioners for such purpose.

This time, we answer in the affirmative.

xxx

It is violative of due process to deny the owner the opportunity to prove that the valuation in the tax
documents is unfair or wrong. And it is repulsive to the basic concepts of justice and fairness to allow the
haphazard work of a minor bureaucrat or clerk to absolutely prevail over the judgment of a court
promulgated only after expert commissioners have actually viewed the property, after evidence and
arguments pro and con have been presented, and after all factors and considerations essential to a fair
and just determination have been judiciously evaluated.

A reading of the aforecited Section 16(d) will readily show that it does not suffer from the arbitrariness that rendered the
challenged decrees constitutionally objectionable. Although the proceedings are described as summary, the landowner
and other interested parties are nevertheless allowed an opportunity to submit evidence on the real value of the property.
But more importantly, the determination of the just compensation by the DAR is not by any means final and conclusive
upon the landowner or any other interested party, for Section 16(f) clearly provides:

Any party who disagrees with the decision may bring the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for final
determination of just compensation.

The determination made by the DAR is only preliminary unless accepted by all parties concerned. Otherwise, the courts of
justice will still have the right to review with finality the said determination in the exercise of what is admittedly a judicial
function.

The second and more serious objection to the provisions on just compensation is not as easily resolved.

This refers to Section 18 of the CARP Law providing in full as follows:

SEC. 18. Valuation and Mode of Compensation. — The LBP shall compensate the landowner in such
amount as may be agreed upon by the landowner and the DAR and the LBP, in accordance with the
criteria provided for in Sections 16 and 17, and other pertinent provisions hereof, or as may be finally
determined by the court, as the just compensation for the land.

The compensation shall be paid in one of the following modes, at the option of the landowner:

(1) Cash payment, under the following terms and conditions:

(a) For lands above fifty (50) hectares, insofar as the excess hectarage is
concerned — Twenty-five percent (25%) cash, the balance to be paid in
government financial instruments negotiable at any time.

(b) For lands above twenty-four (24) hectares and up to fifty (50)
hectares — Thirty percent (30%) cash, the balance to be paid in
government financial instruments negotiable at any time.
(c) For lands twenty-four (24) hectares and below — Thirty-five percent
(35%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments
negotiable at any time.

(2) Shares of stock in government-owned or controlled corporations, LBP preferred shares, physical
assets or other qualified investments in accordance with guidelines set by the PARC;

(3) Tax credits which can be used against any tax liability;

(4) LBP bonds, which shall have the following features:

(a) Market interest rates aligned with 91-day treasury bill rates. Ten
percent (10%) of the face value of the bonds shall mature every year
from the date of issuance until the tenth (10th) year: Provided, That
should the landowner choose to forego the cash portion, whether in full
or in part, he shall be paid correspondingly in LBP bonds;

(b) Transferability and negotiability. Such LBP bonds may be used by the
landowner, his successors-in- interest or his assigns, up to the amount of
their face value, for any of the following:

(i) Acquisition of land or other real properties of the government,


including assets under the Asset Privatization Program and other assets
foreclosed by government financial institutions in the same province or
region where the lands for which the bonds were paid are situated;

(ii) Acquisition of shares of stock of government-owned or controlled


corporations or shares of stock owned by the government in private
corporations;

(iii) Substitution for surety or bail bonds for the provisional release of
accused persons, or for performance bonds;

(iv) Security for loans with any government financial institution, provided
the proceeds of the loans shall be invested in an economic enterprise,
preferably in a small and medium- scale industry, in the same province
or region as the land for which the bonds are paid;

(v) Payment for various taxes and fees to government: Provided, That
the use of these bonds for these purposes will be limited to a certain
percentage of the outstanding balance of the financial instruments;
Provided, further, That the PARC shall determine the percentages
mentioned above;

(vi) Payment for tuition fees of the immediate family of the original
bondholder in government universities, colleges, trade schools, and
other institutions;

(vii) Payment for fees of the immediate family of the original bondholder
in government hospitals; and

(viii) Such other uses as the PARC may from time to time allow.

The contention of the petitioners in G.R. No. 79777 is that the above provision is unconstitutional insofar as it requires the
owners of the expropriated properties to accept just compensation therefor in less than money, which is the only medium
of payment allowed. In support of this contention, they cite jurisprudence holding that:

The fundamental rule in expropriation matters is that the owner of the property expropriated is entitled to
a just compensation, which should be neither more nor less, whenever it is possible to make the
assessment, than the money equivalent of said property. Just compensation has always been understood
to be the just and complete equivalent of the loss which the owner of the thing expropriated has to suffer
by reason of the expropriation . 45 (Emphasis supplied.)

In J.M. Tuazon Co. v. Land Tenure Administration, 46 this Court held:

It is well-settled that just compensation means the equivalent for the value of the property at the time of its
taking. Anything beyond that is more, and anything short of that is less, than just compensation. It means
a fair and full equivalent for the loss sustained, which is the measure of the indemnity, not whatever gain
would accrue to the expropriating entity. The market value of the land taken is the just compensation to
which the owner of condemned property is entitled, the market value being that sum of money which a
person desirous, but not compelled to buy, and an owner, willing, but not compelled to sell, would agree
on as a price to be given and received for such property. (Emphasis supplied.)

In the United States, where much of our jurisprudence on the subject has been derived, the weight of authority is also to
the effect that just compensation for property expropriated is payable only in money and not otherwise. Thus —

The medium of payment of compensation is ready money or cash. The condemnor cannot compel the
owner to accept anything but money, nor can the owner compel or require the condemnor to pay him on
any other basis than the value of the property in money at the time and in the manner prescribed by the
Constitution and the statutes. When the power of eminent domain is resorted to, there must be a standard
medium of payment, binding upon both parties, and the law has fixed that standard as money in
cash. 47 (Emphasis supplied.)

Part cash and deferred payments are not and cannot, in the nature of things, be regarded as a reliable
and constant standard of compensation. 48

"Just compensation" for property taken by condemnation means a fair equivalent in money, which must
be paid at least within a reasonable time after the taking, and it is not within the power of the Legislature
to substitute for such payment future obligations, bonds, or other valuable advantage. 49(Emphasis
supplied.)

It cannot be denied from these cases that the traditional medium for the payment of just compensation is money and no
other. And so, conformably, has just compensation been paid in the past solely in that medium. However, we do not deal
here with the traditional excercise of the power of eminent domain. This is not an ordinary expropriation where only a
specific property of relatively limited area is sought to be taken by the State from its owner for a specific and perhaps local
purpose.

What we deal with here is a revolutionary kind of expropriation.

The expropriation before us affects all private agricultural lands whenever found and of whatever kind as long as they are
in excess of the maximum retention limits allowed their owners. This kind of expropriation is intended for the benefit not
only of a particular community or of a small segment of the population but of the entire Filipino nation, from all levels of our
society, from the impoverished farmer to the land-glutted owner. Its purpose does not cover only the whole territory of this
country but goes beyond in time to the foreseeable future, which it hopes to secure and edify with the vision and the
sacrifice of the present generation of Filipinos. Generations yet to come are as involved in this program as we are today,
although hopefully only as beneficiaries of a richer and more fulfilling life we will guarantee to them tomorrow through our
thoughtfulness today. And, finally, let it not be forgotten that it is no less than the Constitution itself that has ordained this
revolution in the farms, calling for "a just distribution" among the farmers of lands that have heretofore been the prison of
their dreams but can now become the key at least to their deliverance.

Such a program will involve not mere millions of pesos. The cost will be tremendous. Considering the vast areas of land
subject to expropriation under the laws before us, we estimate that hundreds of billions of pesos will be needed, far more
indeed than the amount of P50 billion initially appropriated, which is already staggering as it is by our present standards.
Such amount is in fact not even fully available at this time.

We assume that the framers of the Constitution were aware of this difficulty when they called for agrarian reform as a top
priority project of the government. It is a part of this assumption that when they envisioned the expropriation that would be
needed, they also intended that the just compensation would have to be paid not in the orthodox way but a less
conventional if more practical method. There can be no doubt that they were aware of the financial limitations of the
government and had no illusions that there would be enough money to pay in cash and in full for the lands they wanted to
be distributed among the farmers. We may therefore assume that their intention was to allow such manner of payment as
is now provided for by the CARP Law, particularly the payment of the balance (if the owner cannot be paid fully with
money), or indeed of the entire amount of the just compensation, with other things of value. We may also suppose that
what they had in mind was a similar scheme of payment as that prescribed in P.D. No. 27, which was the law in force at
the time they deliberated on the new Charter and with which they presumably agreed in principle.

The Court has not found in the records of the Constitutional Commission any categorical agreement among the members
regarding the meaning to be given the concept of just compensation as applied to the comprehensive agrarian reform
program being contemplated. There was the suggestion to "fine tune" the requirement to suit the demands of the project
even as it was also felt that they should "leave it to Congress" to determine how payment should be made to the
landowner and reimbursement required from the farmer-beneficiaries. Such innovations as "progressive compensation"
and "State-subsidized compensation" were also proposed. In the end, however, no special definition of the just
compensation for the lands to be expropriated was reached by the Commission. 50

On the other hand, there is nothing in the records either that militates against the assumptions we are making of the
general sentiments and intention of the members on the content and manner of the payment to be made to the landowner
in the light of the magnitude of the expenditure and the limitations of the expropriator.

With these assumptions, the Court hereby declares that the content and manner of the just compensation provided for in
the afore- quoted Section 18 of the CARP Law is not violative of the Constitution. We do not mind admitting that a certain
degree of pragmatism has influenced our decision on this issue, but after all this Court is not a cloistered institution
removed from the realities and demands of society or oblivious to the need for its enhancement. The Court is as acutely
anxious as the rest of our people to see the goal of agrarian reform achieved at last after the frustrations and deprivations
of our peasant masses during all these disappointing decades. We are aware that invalidation of the said section will
result in the nullification of the entire program, killing the farmer's hopes even as they approach realization and
resurrecting the spectre of discontent and dissent in the restless countryside. That is not in our view the intention of the
Constitution, and that is not what we shall decree today.

Accepting the theory that payment of the just compensation is not always required to be made fully in money, we find
further that the proportion of cash payment to the other things of value constituting the total payment, as determined on
the basis of the areas of the lands expropriated, is not unduly oppressive upon the landowner. It is noted that the smaller
the land, the bigger the payment in money, primarily because the small landowner will be needing it more than the big
landowners, who can afford a bigger balance in bonds and other things of value. No less importantly, the government
financial instruments making up the balance of the payment are "negotiable at any time." The other modes, which are
likewise available to the landowner at his option, are also not unreasonable because payment is made in shares of stock,
LBP bonds, other properties or assets, tax credits, and other things of value equivalent to the amount of just
compensation.

Admittedly, the compensation contemplated in the law will cause the landowners, big and small, not a little inconvenience.
As already remarked, this cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, it is devoutly hoped that these countrymen of ours, conscious
as we know they are of the need for their forebearance and even sacrifice, will not begrudge us their indispensable share
in the attainment of the ideal of agrarian reform. Otherwise, our pursuit of this elusive goal will be like the quest for the
Holy Grail.

The complaint against the effects of non-registration of the land under E.O. No. 229 does not seem to be viable any more
as it appears that Section 4 of the said Order has been superseded by Section 14 of the CARP Law. This repeats the
requisites of registration as embodied in the earlier measure but does not provide, as the latter did, that in case of failure
or refusal to register the land, the valuation thereof shall be that given by the provincial or city assessor for tax purposes.
On the contrary, the CARP Law says that the just compensation shall be ascertained on the basis of the factors
mentioned in its Section 17 and in the manner provided for in Section 16.

The last major challenge to CARP is that the landowner is divested of his property even before actual payment to him in
full of just compensation, in contravention of a well- accepted principle of eminent domain.

The recognized rule, indeed, is that title to the property expropriated shall pass from the owner to the expropriator only
upon full payment of the just compensation. Jurisprudence on this settled principle is consistent both here and in other
democratic jurisdictions. Thus:

Title to property which is the subject of condemnation proceedings does not vest the condemnor until the judgment fixing
just compensation is entered and paid, but the condemnor's title relates back to the date on which the petition under the
Eminent Domain Act, or the commissioner's report under the Local Improvement Act, is filed. 51

... although the right to appropriate and use land taken for a canal is complete at the time of entry, title to the property
taken remains in the owner until payment is actually made. 52 (Emphasis supplied.)

In Kennedy v. Indianapolis, 53 the US Supreme Court cited several cases holding that title to property does not pass to the
condemnor until just compensation had actually been made. In fact, the decisions appear to be uniformly to this effect. As
early as 1838, in Rubottom v. McLure, 54 it was held that "actual payment to the owner of the condemned property was a
condition precedent to the investment of the title to the property in the State" albeit "not to the appropriation of it to public
use." In Rexford v. Knight, 55 the Court of Appeals of New York said that the construction upon the statutes was that the
fee did not vest in the State until the payment of the compensation although the authority to enter upon and appropriate
the land was complete prior to the payment. Kennedy further said that "both on principle and authority the rule is ... that
the right to enter on and use the property is complete, as soon as the property is actually appropriated under the authority
of law for a public use, but that the title does not pass from the owner without his consent, until just compensation has
been made to him."

Our own Supreme Court has held in Visayan Refining Co. v. Camus and Paredes, 56 that:

If the laws which we have exhibited or cited in the preceding discussion are attentively examined it will be
apparent that the method of expropriation adopted in this jurisdiction is such as to afford absolute
reassurance that no piece of land can be finally and irrevocably taken from an unwilling owner until
compensation is paid ... . (Emphasis supplied.)

It is true that P.D. No. 27 expressly ordered the emancipation of tenant-farmer as October 21, 1972 and declared that he
shall "be deemed the owner" of a portion of land consisting of a family-sized farm except that "no title to the land owned
by him was to be actually issued to him unless and until he had become a full-fledged member of a duly recognized
farmers' cooperative." It was understood, however, that full payment of the just compensation also had to be made first,
conformably to the constitutional requirement.

When E.O. No. 228, categorically stated in its Section 1 that:

All qualified farmer-beneficiaries are now deemed full owners as of October 21, 1972 of the land they
acquired by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 27. (Emphasis supplied.)
it was obviously referring to lands already validly acquired under the said decree, after proof of full-fledged membership in
the farmers' cooperatives and full payment of just compensation. Hence, it was also perfectly proper for the Order to also
provide in its Section 2 that the "lease rentals paid to the landowner by the farmer- beneficiary after October 21, 1972
(pending transfer of ownership after full payment of just compensation), shall be considered as advance payment for the
land."

The CARP Law, for its part, conditions the transfer of possession and ownership of the land to the government on receipt
by the landowner of the corresponding payment or the deposit by the DAR of the compensation in cash or LBP bonds with
an accessible bank. Until then, title also remains with the landowner. 57 No outright change of ownership is contemplated
either.

Hence, the argument that the assailed measures violate due process by arbitrarily transferring title before the land is fully
paid for must also be rejected.

It is worth stressing at this point that all rights acquired by the tenant-farmer under P.D. No. 27, as recognized under E.O.
No. 228, are retained by him even now under R.A. No. 6657. This should counter-balance the express provision in
Section 6 of the said law that "the landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be
allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct
compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas
as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead."

In connection with these retained rights, it does not appear in G.R. No. 78742 that the appeal filed by the petitioners with
the Office of the President has already been resolved. Although we have said that the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies need not preclude immediate resort to judicial action, there are factual issues that have yet to be
examined on the administrative level, especially the claim that the petitioners are not covered by LOI 474 because they do
not own other agricultural lands than the subjects of their petition.

Obviously, the Court cannot resolve these issues. In any event, assuming that the petitioners have not yet exercised their
retention rights, if any, under P.D. No. 27, the Court holds that they are entitled to the new retention rights provided for by
R.A. No. 6657, which in fact are on the whole more liberal than those granted by the decree.

The CARP Law and the other enactments also involved in these cases have been the subject of bitter attack from those
who point to the shortcomings of these measures and ask that they be scrapped entirely. To be sure, these enactments
are less than perfect; indeed, they should be continuously re-examined and rehoned, that they may be sharper
instruments for the better protection of the farmer's rights. But we have to start somewhere. In the pursuit of agrarian
reform, we do not tread on familiar ground but grope on terrain fraught with pitfalls and expected difficulties. This is
inevitable. The CARP Law is not a tried and tested project. On the contrary, to use Justice Holmes's words, "it is an
experiment, as all life is an experiment," and so we learn as we venture forward, and, if necessary, by our own mistakes.
We cannot expect perfection although we should strive for it by all means. Meantime, we struggle as best we can in
freeing the farmer from the iron shackles that have unconscionably, and for so long, fettered his soul to the soil.

By the decision we reach today, all major legal obstacles to the comprehensive agrarian reform program are removed, to
clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer. We may now glimpse the day he will be released not only from want but
also from the exploitation and disdain of the past and from his own feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. At last his
servitude will be ended forever. At last the farm on which he toils will be his farm. It will be his portion of the Mother Earth
that will give him not only the staff of life but also the joy of living. And where once it bred for him only deep despair, now
can he see in it the fruition of his hopes for a more fulfilling future. Now at last can he banish from his small plot of earth
his insecurities and dark resentments and "rebuild in it the music and the dream."

WHEREFORE, the Court holds as follows:

1. R.A. No. 6657, P.D. No. 27, Proc. No. 131, and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 are SUSTAINED against all the
constitutional objections raised in the herein petitions.

2. Title to all expropriated properties shall be transferred to the State only upon full payment of
compensation to their respective owners.

3. All rights previously acquired by the tenant- farmers under P.D. No. 27 are retained and recognized.

4. Landowners who were unable to exercise their rights of retention under P.D. No. 27 shall enjoy the
retention rights granted by R.A. No. 6657 under the conditions therein prescribed.

5. Subject to the above-mentioned rulings all the petitions are DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to
costs.

SO ORDERED.
METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. DANTE O. GARIN, respondent.

DECISION

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.
CRIMINAL 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 letter[2] 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 complaint[3] 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 unspecified
and 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 violations,
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 decision[5] in favor of the herein respondent and held that:

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.

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
plaintiff 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:
1. To voluntarily pay the imposable fine,

2. To protest the apprehension by filing a protest with the MMDA Adjudication Committee, or

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.

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:

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 Rizal[8] on the license to operate a cockpit, Tan v. Director of Forestry[9] and Oposa v. Factoran[10]
on timber licensing agreements, and Surigao Electric Co., Inc. v. Municipality of Surigao[11] 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, 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.

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 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
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, people's 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.

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.

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. 4136[18] and P.D. No. 1605[19] to 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 precluded and in fact is duty-bound to
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.[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, non-governmental
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]
A last word. 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,[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.
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., vs, FERNANDO G.R. No. 166501
Petitioner,

RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.:

Petitioner Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr. (petitioner), as member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and taxpayer, filed this
original action for the issuance of the writs of Prohibition and Mandamus. Petitioner prays for the Prohibition writ to enjoin
respondents Bayani F. Fernando, Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the MMDA
(respondents) from further implementing its wet flag scheme (Flag Scheme).[1] The Mandamus writ is to compel
respondents to respect and uphold the x x x rights of pedestrians to due process x x x and equal protection of the laws x x
x.

Petitioner contends that the Flag Scheme: (1) has no legal basis because the MMDAs governing body, the Metro Manila
Council, did not authorize it; (2) violates the Due Process Clause because it is a summary punishment for jaywalking; (3)
disregards the Constitutional protection against cruel, degrading, and inhuman punishment; and (4) violates pedestrian
rights as it exposes pedestrians to various potential hazards.[2]

In their Comment, respondents sought the dismissal of the petition for petitioners lack of standing to litigate and for
violation of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. Alternatively, respondents contended that the Flag Scheme is a valid
preventive measure against jaywalking.

Petitioner filed a Reply, claiming that the Court should take cognizance of the case as it raises issues of paramount and
transcendental importance. Petitioner also contended that he filed this petition directly with the Court because the issues
raised in the petition deserve the direct x x x intervention of the x x x [C]ourt x x x.

We dismiss the petition.

A citizen can raise a constitutional question only when (1) he can show that he has personally suffered some actual or
threatened injury because of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the
challenged action; and (3) a favorable action will likely redress the injury.[3] On the other hand, a party suing as a
taxpayer must specifically show that he has a sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by
taxation and that he will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute.[4] Petitioner meets
none of the requirements under either category.

Nor is there merit to petitioners claim that the Court should relax the standing requirement because of the transcendental
importance of the issues the petition raises. As an exception to the standing requirement, the transcendental importance
of the issues raised relates to the merits of the petition.[5] Thus, the party invoking it must show, among others, the
presence of a clear disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition.[6] Petitioner has not shown such clear
constitutional or statutory violation.

On the Flag Schemes alleged lack of legal basis, we note that all the cities and municipalities within the MMDAs
jurisdiction,[7] except Valenzuela City, have each enacted anti-jaywalking ordinances or traffic management codes with
provisions for pedestrian regulation. Such fact serves as sufficient basis for respondents implementation of schemes, or
ways and means, to enforce the anti-jaywalking ordinances and similar regulations. After all, the MMDA is an
administrative agency tasked with the implementation of rules and regulations enacted by proper authorities.[8] The
absence of an anti-jaywalking ordinance in Valenzuela City does not detract from this conclusion absent any proof that
respondents implemented the Flag Scheme in that city.

Further, the petition ultimately calls for a factual determination of whether the Flag Scheme is a reasonable enforcement
of anti-jaywalking ordinances and similar enactments. This Court is not a trier of facts.[9] The petition proffers mere
surmises and speculations on the potential hazards of the Flag Scheme. This Court cannot determine the reasonableness
of the Flag Scheme based on mere surmises and speculations.
Lastly, petitioner violated the doctrine of hierarchy of courts when he filed this petition directly with us. This Courts
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, while concurrent with the
Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals, does not give litigants unrestrained freedom of choice of forum from
which to seek such relief.[10] We relax this rule only in exceptional and compelling circumstances.[11] This is not the case
here.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 147245. March 31, 2005]

THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REPRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION,


petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO DIAZ, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE MANUEL DIAZ, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari[1] assailing the Decision[2] of 26 January 2001 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 57493. The Court of Appeals modified the Decision[3] of 28 November 1996 of the Regional
Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 28 in Civil Case No. 1593-AF, but affirmed the trial courts award of P4 million to
respondent.

Antecedent Facts

Manuel Diaz owned approximately 172 hectares of tenanted agricultural land (Property) devoted to the planting of palay.
The Property was located in La Fuente, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, and allegedly yielded between 132 to 200 cavans of
palay per hectare every year. After Manuel Diazs death, his son, Franciso Diaz (respondent), was appointed administrator
of the Property.

In 1972, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) bulldozed about ten (10) hectares of the Property to build two
irrigation canals (canals). Although the canals when finished occupied only a portion of the 10 hectares, the entire area
became prone to flooding two months out of every year because of the side-burrow method NIA used in the construction
of the canals.[4] NIA completed the canals without instituting expropriation proceedings or indemnifying the Propertys
owners.

Respondent sought compensation from NIA for the land affected by the canals, as well as for losses due to unrealized
profits. He submitted various documents requested by NIA officials and even traveled to NIAs Manila office to present his
claims.

In 1980, NIA belatedly offered to buy the portions of the Property occupied by the canals pursuant to NIAs expansion
program. Respondent and then NIA Acting Administrator Pelagio Gamad, Jr. signed three deeds of sale[5] (1980 deeds of
sale) on 24 December 1980 to convey 15,677, 1,897 and 4,499 square meters, or a total of 22,073 square meters, of the
Property to NIA. For reasons that neither party has adequately explained, NIA and respondent did not push through with
the sale. The 1980 deeds of sale were never implemented. Respondent did not receive any consideration pursuant to
these deeds.

On 20 August 1993, respondent, as administrator of the Property, filed an action for damages and just compensation
against NIA. Respondent sought P10 million from NIA as just compensation, P3 million as unrealized profits or lucro
cessante, P1 million attorneys fees, and costs of suit. Respondent later filed an Amended Complaint,[6] in which
respondent additionally prayed that, in the alternative, the court order NIA to vacate and surrender the Property to
respondent, and to pay damages, interest, attorneys fees and costs of suit. The trial court accepted and gave due course
to the Amended Complaint in its Order of 22 July 1994.

NIA countered that respondents right to bring the action had prescribed in accordance with Republic Act No. 3601 (RA
3601), as amended by Presidential Decree No. 552[7] (PD 552). NIA also argued that respondents failure to pursue the
implementation of the 1980 deeds of sale amounted to laches.

The Ruling of the Trial Court

The trial court found that NIA took between 9 to 11 hectares of the Property. NIA never paid respondent for the use of the
land or for the subsequent loss of crops.

The trial court also ruled that respondents right to seek damages had not lapsed. The trial courts Decision of 28
November 1996 (trial courts decision) reads in part:

xxx Defendant should not waylay the plaintiff by prolonging the negotiation and then later on invoked (sic) prescription of
action as a defense, this is a plain and simple way of defrauding others which Courts of Justice should not countenance.
While it is true that R.A. No. 3601 is (sic) amended by PD 552 sets a limit on [or] capped the time within which to file the
claims against acts and/or usurpation by the NIA, running of the prescriptive period should not be absolute but must be
dependent on the circumstances attendant to each case, because of the confiscatory nature of the law.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION of the matters relevant to the instant case, the Court finds for
the plaintiff and judgment is hereby rendered directing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the following:

1. the sum of Four Million Pesos (P4,000,000.00) representing payment to the 11 hectares of riceland occupied by the
irrigation canal that traversed on the property of the Diazes;

2. the sum of Six Million Six Hundred Seventy Nine Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P6,679,200.00) representing the loss
of 23,396 cavans of palay on account of the destruction made when the two irrigation canals were constructed on the
property of the plaintiff through side-burrow instead of the earthfilling method, thus resulting further depression on the lots
of the plaintiffs where during rainy season water stays for months and (sic) cannot be planted with palay;

3. the sum of P500,000.00 by way of attorneys fees; and defendant is likewise directed to pay the costs of the suit.

SO ORDERED.[8]

NIA appealed the trial courts decision to the Court of Appeals.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals found that NIA bulldozed approximately 10 hectares of the Property without paying compensation.
Like the trial court, the appellate court rejected NIAs argument that respondents claims had prescribed under PD 552. The
Court of Appeals held that the 5-year prescriptive period mandated by PD 552 did not apply because respondent and NIA
were in deep negotiations during that period, and because NIA itself had stalled respondents attempts to present his
claims.

The Court of Appeals upheld the trial courts award of P4 Million. Citing Garcia v. Court of Appeals,[9] the appellate court
held that the rule requiring just compensation to be fixed as of the time of the taking was inapplicable to the present case.
However, the appellate court struck down the award of P6,679,200 on the ground that respondent failed to adequately
prove lost earnings. The appellate court also set aside the award of attorneys fees for lack of sufficient basis.

The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision of 26 January 2001 (CA Decision) states:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City is hereby
AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that the lower courts award of P6,679,200.00 representing loss of earnings and
attorneys fees of P500,000.00 is hereby DELETED.

SO ORDERED.[10]

Respondent did not appeal the CA Decision. NIA elevated the case to this Court.

The Issues

NIA, through the Solicitor General, raises the following issues:

I. The Court of Appeals committed Grave Error in awarding P4,000,000.00 in just compensation without taking into
consideration that just compensation must be ascertained at the time of taking in 1972 of the property, not at the time of
the commencement of the filing of the complaint by respondent which, if not corrected, would result in a miscarriage of
justice and grave and irreparable damage to petitioner/NIA.

II. The Court of Appeals gravely erred when it affirmed the trial courts decision awarding just compensation of
P4,000,000.00 to respondent on the basis of respondents Sinumpaang Salaysay dated September 20, 1995 and a letter
of respondent, through counsel, dated February 8, 1994.

III. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in not remanding the case to the trial court and in not directing it to appoint at least
three commissioners selected by the parties, to hear, review, view the property and thereafter to assess the amount for
the just compensation.[11]

NIA no longer argues that respondents claim has prescribed under PD 552, but maintains that respondent is guilty of
laches. NIA also assails the lower courts award of P4 million. NIA claims that the construction of the canals affected only
96,655 square meters of the Property. NIA computes the just compensation due to respondent at P1.39 per square meter,
the price NIA and respondent agreed on in 1980. In sum, NIA contends that it should only pay respondent P134,350.45,
and legal interest of 6% per annum from 1972 until the amount is fully paid, for 96,655 square meters of the Property.

The appellate courts denial of the awards for loss of earnings and attorneys fees are no longer in issue as respondent
chose not to appeal the CA Decision. The remaining questions for resolution by this Court are: (1) whether laches bars
respondents claims; (2) whether this case should be remanded to the trial court for the appointment of commissioners;
and (3) whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of P4 million to respondent.

The Ruling of the Court

The petition is partly meritorious.

Respondents Action Not Barred by Laches

Having failed for three decades to pay respondent just compensation, NIA would now have respondents complaint
dismissed on the ground that too much time has passed for respondent to pursue his claim. NIA first argued before the
trial and appellate courts that respondents action had prescribed under PD 552. Although NIA has dropped its argument
of prescription before this Court, NIA still contends that respondent slept on his rights and laches now bars his action.

Laches is principally a doctrine of equity. Courts apply laches to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would result in a
clearly inequitable situation or in an injustice.[12] The principle of laches finds no application in the present case. There is
nothing inequitable in giving due course to respondents claim for compensation. Both equity and the law direct that a
property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use.
Eminent domain is the inherent power of a sovereign state to appropriate private property to particular uses to promote
public welfare.[13] No one questions NIAs authority to exercise the delegated power of eminent domain. However, the
power of eminent domain is not limitless. NIA cannot exercise the power with wanton disregard for property rights. One
basic limitation on the States power of eminent domain is the constitutional directive that, [p]rivate property shall not be
taken for public use without just compensation.[14]

The thirteen-year interval between the execution of the 1980 deeds of sale and the filing of the complaint in 1993 does not
bar respondents claim for compensation. In National Power Corporation v. Campos, Jr.,[15] this Court reiterated the long-
standing rule that where private property is taken by the Government for public use without first acquiring title thereto
either through expropriation or negotiated sale, the owners action to recover the land or the value thereof does not
prescribe.[16]

Thus, in Ansaldo v. Tantuico, Jr.[17] the Court allowed the landowners to seek compensation twenty-six years after the
government took their land. In Amigable v. Cuenca, etc., et al.,[18] Amigable filed an action to claim compensation more
than thirty years after the government constructed the roads on her lot. In both cases, the property owners were silent for
several years before finally bringing their claims to the attention of the authorities. In contrast, in the present case,
respondent has steadfastly pursued his claim with NIA since 1972.

NIA faults respondent for desisting from claiming just compensation from NIA in 1980,[19] referring to the 1980 deeds of
sale which were never implemented. NIA conveniently fails to mention that, as the other party to the 1980 deeds of sale, it
was equally delinquent when it failed to perform its obligations under the deeds.

NIA is partly to blame for the delay in this case. The trial and appellate courts found that NIA stalled and prolonged
negotiations with respondent. Eight years passed before NIA even offered to buy the area occupied by the canals. More
than three decades later, respondent has yet to receive an iota of compensation from NIA. In the meantime, NIA has been
charging respondent and the other farmers in the area irrigation fees for the beneficial use of these canals.[20]

NIAs conduct shows callous disregard for the rights of the Propertys owners and for NIAs own duties under the law. As
the expropriating agency in this case, NIA should have instituted the proceedings necessary to acquire the private
property it took for public purpose and to compensate the Propertys owners. Section 2(e) of RA 3601, as amended by PD
552, expressly states that the NIA should exercise the right of eminent domain in the manner provided by law for the
institution of expropriation proceedings.[21]

The exercise of eminent domain entails payment of just compensation. Otherwise, title over the expropriated property
cannot pass to the government.[22] Following its own enabling law, NIA should have taken steps to acquire the affected
portion of the Property either through any mode of acquisition or the institution of expropriation proceedings.[23] RA 3601,
as amended, does not authorize NIA to simply appropriate part of the Property without instituting legal proceedings or
compensating respondent.

Whether this Case Should be Remanded to the

Trial Court for the Appointment of Commissioners

NIA contends that it was deprived of due process when the trial court determined the compensation due to respondent
without the assistance of commissioners. NIA refers to the procedure found in Section 5, Rule 67 of the 1964 Rules of
Court applicable at the time, to wit:

SEC. 5. Ascertainment of compensation. Upon the entry of the order of condemnation, the court shall appoint not more
than three (3) competent and disinterested persons as commissioners to ascertain and report to the court the just
compensation for the property sought to be taken. The order of appointment shall designate the time and place of the first
session of the hearing to be held by the commissioners and specify the time within which their report is to be filed with the
court.

Rule 67, however, presupposes that NIA exercised its right of eminent domain by filing a complaint for that purpose before
the appropriate court.[24] Judicial determination of the propriety of the exercise of the power of eminent domain and the
just compensation for the subject property then follows.[25] The proceedings give the property owner the chance to object
to the taking of his property and to present evidence on its value and on the consequential damage to other parts of his
property.[26]

Respondent was not given these opportunities, as NIA did not observe the procedure in Rule 67. Worse, NIA refused to
pay respondent just compensation. The seizure of ones property without payment, even though intended for public use, is
a taking without due process of law and a denial of the equal protection of the laws.[27] NIA, not respondent, transgressed
the requirements of due process.

When a government agency itself violates procedural requirements, it waives the usual procedure prescribed in Rule 67.
This Court ruled in the recent case of National Power Corporation (NPC) v. Court of Appeals,[28] to wit:

We have held that the usual procedure in the determination of just compensation is waived when the government itself
initially violates procedural requirements. NPCs taking of Pobres property without filing the appropriate expropriation
proceedings and paying him just compensation is a transgression of procedural due process.[29] (Emphasis supplied.)

Like in NPC, the present case is not an action for expropriation. NIA never filed expropriation proceedings although it had
ample opportunity to do so. Respondents complaint is an ordinary civil action for the recovery of possession of the
Property or its value, and damages. Under these circumstances, a trial before commissioners is not necessary.[30]
The records show that NIA had every opportunity to argue its case before the trial court. NIA presented a witness, cross-
examined respondents witnesses, and submitted documentary evidence.[31] NIAs officers even went with respondent on
an ocular inspection of the Property. The trial court took into account the inspection in arriving at its decision. However,
NIA never raised the appointment of commissioners as an issue before the trial court.

Though NIA actively participated in the proceedings below, it did not move for the appointment of commissioners or object
to their absence at any time. A party cannot raise for the first time on appeal an issue not raised in the trial court.[32] NIA
is thus estopped from belatedly protesting the lack of commissioners.

Whether the Court of Appeals Erred in Affirming the

Trial Courts Award of P4 Million

Jurisprudence clearly provides for the remedies available to a landowner when his land is taken by the government for
public use. The owner may recover his property if its return is feasible, or, if it is not, the aggrieved owner may demand
payment of just compensation for the land taken.[33] In this case, the trial court found that respondent is entitled to
compensation of P4 Million for 11 hectares of the Property, or P36.36 per square meter.

NIA assails the lower courts award on two grounds. First, NIA claims that the affected area of the Property is 96,655
square meters and not 10 or 11 hectares. Second, NIA maintains that the just compensation for the 96,655 square meters
is P1.39 per square meter, the price agreed upon by the parties in 1980. On the other hand, respondent argues that these
are questions of fact, which are not the province of this Court.

True, factual findings of the Court of Appeals are generally binding on this Court. However, there are exceptions to this
rule, such as when the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contradictory, or when the findings
are not supported by the evidence on record.[34] These exceptions obtain in the present case.

At first glance, it would appear that the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts findings that served as basis for the
award of P4 Million. A closer reading of the Court of Appeals and trial courts decisions reveals otherwise. The trial court
awarded P4 Million as payment [for] the 11 hectares of land,[35] but the appellate court found that only approximately ten
(10) hectares [were] bulldozed by the defendant.[36] These findings of the trial court and Court of Appeals are actually
contradictory.

Further, respondent himself alleged in a demand letter[37] to NIA dated 8 February 1994 that the total area affected by
the construction of the canals was 96,655 square meters. The trial court based its finding of 11 hectares on the testimony
of retired NIA Engineer Agapito Panahon (Engineer Panahon), the area engineer who headed the construction of the
canals in 1972. However, Engineer Panahon merely testified that the area of the Property affected by the construction
was (m)ore or less 9 to 11 hectares[38] Respondent testified that the bulldozed area was about 10 hectares, more or
less.[39]

These testimonies, in conjunction with respondents demand letter, NIAs own allegations, and other evidence, suffice to
establish that NIA took or damaged 96,655 square meters of the Property. The area of 96,655 square meters, or about
9.67 hectares, falls within the 9 to 11 hectares range estimated by Engineer Panahon, and is near enough to 10 hectares,
more or less. However, Engineer Panahons and respondents estimates, standing alone, cannot prove with any certainty
that a larger area of 10 or 11 hectares was damaged.

The lower courts likewise erred in awarding P4 Million to respondent.

Just compensation is the fair value of the property as between one who receives, and one who desires to sell, x x x fixed
at the time of the actual taking by the government.[40] This rule holds true when the property is taken before the filing of
an expropriation suit, and even if it is the property owner who brings the action for compensation.[41]

In affirming the trial courts award, the Court of Appeals cited Garcia v. Court of Appeals,[42] which provides an exception
to the rule. In Garcia, the Court held that when the government takes property, not for the purpose of eminent domain,
and the government does not initiate condemnation proceedings or other attempts to acquire such property, just
compensation should be reckoned not at the time of taking but at the time the trial court made its order of
expropriation.[43]

However, the Garcia ruling does not apply to the present case. The 15,677, 1,897 and 4,499 square meter portions a total
of 22,073 square meters (Canal Sites) of the Property identified in the 1980 deeds of sale are occupied by irrigation
canals. There is no dispute that the Canal Sites serve a public purpose because the canals provide much-needed
irrigation to farms in the locality. There is also no dispute that when NIA actually took over the Canal Sites, the purpose
was to exercise NIAs delegated power of eminent domain.

Just compensation for the Canal Sites must thus be computed as of the time of taking. In this case, respondent does not
contest that NIAs valuation of P1.39 per square meter was the approximate fair market value of the Property in 1972.
Respondent even agreed to this price when he signed the 1980 deeds of sale. At the least, P1.39 per square meter was
that sum of money which a person, desirous but not compelled to buy, and an owner, willing but not compelled to sell,
would agree on as a price.[44]

Respondent protests that to value the Canal Sites at this rate would hardly be just to him, considering that he has waited
for more than thirty years to be compensated.
The Court finds it no less reprehensible that NIA has denied respondents valid claim for compensation for so long. Just
compensation means not only the correct determination of the amount due to the property owner but also payment to him
of the amount due within a reasonable time from the taking.[45] Respondent is certainly entitled to legal interest and
damages by reason of NIAs inexcusable delay.

The concept of just compensation, however, does not imply fairness to the property owner alone. Compensation must be
just not only to the property owner, but also to the public which ultimately bears the cost of expropriation. The property
owner is entitled to compensation only for what he actually loses, and what he loses is only the actual value of the
property at the time of the taking.[46]

Respondent is thus entitled to just compensation for the 22,073 square meter Canal Sites at P1.39 per square meter, with
legal interest from the time of the taking of the Canal Sites in 1972 until the amount due is fully paid. In line with current
jurisprudence,[47] we set the legal interest at 12% per annum in order to eliminate the usual issue of the constant
fluctuation and inflation of the value of currency over time.

The remaining 74,582 square meters (surrounding land) encircling the Canal Sites is another matter. NIA took the
surrounding land when NIA bulldozed the area and rendered it useless for the planting of palay for several years. Taking
occurs not only when the government actually deprives or dispossesses the property owner of his property or of its
ordinary use, but also when there is a practical destruction or material impairment of the value of his property.[48]

NIA never filed proceedings to expropriate the surrounding land, nor did it exhibit intent, or attempt, to purchase it. The
1980 deeds of sale referred only to the 22,073 square meters comprising the Canal Sites. There is no showing that the
surrounding land served, or continues to serve, some public purpose.

In awarding compensation for the surrounding land affected by NIAs construction activities in 1972, however, the lower
courts overlooked respondents prayer for recovery of possession. As we pointed out earlier, possession of the unpaid
property may be returned to the aggrieved landowner if the circumstances permit it.[49]

In this case, the return to respondent of a substantial portion of his Property, specifically, the 74,582 square meters
surrounding the Canal Sites, is indeed feasible. The ocular inspection authorized by the trial court revealed that there
were signs of planting and harvesting on the land xxx except that portion occupied by the irrigation canal(s).[50] This
indicates that the surrounding land has recovered, and can be devoted again to the planting of palay. Respondent
affirmed this fact in his testimony.[51] Certainly, respondent would not seek the return of a parcel of land that is no longer
of any use to him.

Respondents prayer for recovery of possession should thus be granted. NIA should immediately vacate the 74,582
square meters of the Property surrounding the Canal Sites. NIA should turn over to respondent possession of the
surrounding land without further delay.

Award of Temperate and Exemplary Damages

The Court will not award attorneys fees in light of respondents choice not to appeal the CA Decision striking down the
award.[52] However, we find it proper to award temperate and exemplary damages in light of NIAs misuse of its power of
eminent domain. Any arm of the State that exercises the delegated power of eminent domain must wield that power with
circumspection and utmost regard for procedural requirements.[53] A government instrumentality that fails to observe the
constitutional guarantees of just compensation and due process abuses the authority delegated to it, and is liable to the
property owner for damages.

Temperate or moderate damages may be recovered if pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot be proved
with certainty from the nature of the case.[54] Here, the trial and appellate courts found that the owners were unable to
plant palay on 96,655 square meters of the Property for an unspecified period during and after NIAs construction of the
canals in 1972. The passage of time, however, has made it impossible to determine these losses with any certainty. NIA
also deprived the owners of the Property of possession of a substantial portion of their land since 1972. Considering the
particular circumstances of this case, an award of P150,000 as temperate damages is reasonable.

NIAs irresponsible exercise of its eminent domain powers also deserves censure. For more than three decades, NIA has
been charging irrigation fees from respondent and other landowners for the use of the canals built on the Property, without
reimbursing respondent a single cent for the loss and damage. NIA exhibits a disturbingly cavalier attitude towards
respondents property rights, rights to due process of law and to equal protection of the laws. Worse, this is not the first
time NIA has disregarded the rights of private property owners by refusing to pay just compensation promptly.[55] To
dissuade NIA from continuing this practice and to set an example for other agencies exercising eminent domain powers,
NIA is directed to pay respondent exemplary damages[56] of P250,000.

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of 26 January 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 57493 with the
following MODIFICATIONS:

1. The National Irrigation Authority shall immediately return possession and control of the 74,582 square meter portion of
the Property surrounding, but not occupied by, the irrigation canals to the Estate of the late Manuel Diaz, represented by
its Administrator, respondent Francisco Diaz;

2. We reduce the award of P4 Million and instead order the National Irrigation Authority to pay the Estate of Manuel Diaz,
through respondent Administrator, P30,681.47 or P1.39 per square meter as just compensation for the 15,677, 1,897 and
4,499 square meter portions of the Property occupied by the irrigation canals, as well as legal interest of 12% per annum
on the amount adjudged from 1972 until fully paid. The National Irrigation Authority shall further pay respondent temperate
and exemplary damages of P150,000 and P250,000, respectively, and costs of suit; and
3. Upon receipt of full payment, the Estate of Manuel Diaz shall convey the 22,073 square meter portion of the Property
occupied by the irrigation canals to the National Irrigation Authority.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 129998. December 29, 1998]

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. LOURDES HENSON, married to Eugenio Galvez; JOSEFINA
HENSON, married to Petronio Katigbak, JESUSA HENSON; CORAZON HENSON, married to Jose Ricafort;
ALFREDO TANCHIATCO; BIENVENIDO DAVID; MARIA BONDOC CAPILI, married to Romeo Capili; and MIGUEL
MANOLOTO, respondents.

DECISION

PARDO, J.:

The case is an appeal via certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court from the decision of the Court of
Appeals, which affirmed with modification the decision of the Regional Trial Court, San Fernando, Pampanga, in a special
civil action for eminent domain, ordering the National Power Corporation (NPC) to pay respondents landowners/claimants
just compensation for the taking of their five (5) parcels of land, with an area of 63,220 square meters at P400.00, per
square meter, with legal interest from September 11, 1990, plus costs of the proceedings.

On March 21, 1990, the National Power Corporation (NPC) originally instituted with the Regional Trial Court, Third Judicial
District, Branch 46, San Fernando, Pampanga, a complaint[1] for eminent domain, later amended on October 11, 1990,
for the taking for public use of five (5) parcels of land, owned or claimed by respondents, with a total aggregate area of
58,311 square meters, for the expansion of the NPC Mexico Sub-Station.[2]

Respondents are the registered owners/claimants of the five (5) parcels of land sought to be expropriated, situated in San
Jose Matulid, Mexico, Pampanga, more particularly described as follows:

Parcels of rice land, being Lot 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the subdivision plan Psd-03-017121 (OLT) and being a portion of Lot
212 of Mexico Cadastre, situated in the Barangay of San Jose Matulid, Municipality of Mexico, province of Pampanga,
Island of Luzon. Bounded on the North by Barangay Road Calle San Jose; on the East by Lot 6, Psd-03-017121 (OLT)
owned by the National Power Corporation; on the South by Lot 101, Psd-03-017121 (OLT) being an irrigation ditch; on the
West by Lot 100, Psd-03-0017121 (OLT) being an irrigation ditch and Barrio road, containing an aggregate area of FIFTY
EIGHT THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED ELEVEN (58,311) square meters, which parcels of land are broken down as
follows with claimants:

1. Lot 1-A=43,532 sq. m.- Henson Family

2. Lot 2-A=6,823 sq. m.- Alfredo Tanchiatco, encumbered with Land Bank of the Phil. (LBP)

3. Lot 3-A=3,057 sq. m.-Bienvenido David, encumbered with LBP

4. Lot 4-A=1,438 sq. m.-Maria Bondoc Capili, encumbered with LBP

5. Lot 5-A=3,461 sq. m.-Miguel Manoloto and Henson Family

Total A=58,311 sq. m.

and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 557 in the name of Henson, et al.; Transfer Certificate of Title No.
7131/Emancipation Patent No. A-277216 in the name of Alfredo Tanchiatco; Transfer Certificate of Title No.
7111/Emancipation Patent No. A-278086 in the name of Bienvenido David; Transfer Certificate of Title No.
7108/Emancipation Patent No. A-278089 in the name of Maria B. Capili; Certificate of Land Transfer No. 4550 in the
name of Miguel C. Manaloto, and Subdivision Plan Psd-03-017121 (OLT), which is a subdivision of Lot 212, Mexico
Cadastre as surveyed for Josefina Katigbak, et al. Said five (5) parcels of land are agricultural/riceland covered by
Operation Land Transfer (OLT) of the Department of Agrarian Reform.[3]

Petitioner needed the entire area of the five (5) parcels of land, comprising an aggregate area of 58,311 square meters,
for the expansion of its Mexico Subdivision.[4]

On March 28, 1990, petitioner filed an urgent motion to fix the provisional value of the subject parcels of land.3

On April 20, 1990, respondents filed a motion to dismiss.4 They did not challenge petitioners right to condemn their
property, but declared that the fair market value of their property was from P180.00 to P250.00 per square meter.[5]

On July 10, 1990, the trial court denied respondents motion to dismiss. The court did not declare that petitioner had a
lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated.[6] However, the court fixed the provisional value of the land at
P100.00 per square meter, for a total area of 63,220[7] square meters of respondents property, to be deposited with the
Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga. Petitioner deposited the amount on August 29, 1990.[8]

On September 5, 1990, the trial court issued a writ of possession in favor of petitioner, and, on September 11, 1990, the
courts deputy sheriff placed petitioner in possession of the subject land.[9]

On November 22, 1990, and December 20, 1990, the trial court granted the motions of respondents to withdraw the
deposit made by petitioner of the provisional value of their property amounting to P5,831,100.00, with a balance of
P690,900.00, remaining with the Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga.[10]
On April 5, 1991, the trial court issued an order appointing three (3) commissioners to aid the court in the reception of
evidence to determine just compensation for the taking of the subject property. After receiving the evidence and
conducting an ocular inspection, the commissioners submitted to the court their individual reports.

Commisioner Mariano C. Tiglao, in his report dated September 10, 1992, recommended that the fair market value of the
entire 63,220 square meters property be fixed at P350.00 per square meter. Commissioner Arnold P. Atienza, in his report
dated February 24, 1993, recommended that the fair market value be fixed at P375.00 per square meter. Commissioner
Victorino Orocio, in his report dated April 28, 1993, recommended that the fair market value be fixed at P170.00 per
square meter.[11]

However, the trial court did not conduct a hearing on any of the reports.

On May 19, 1993, the trial court rendered judgment fixing the amount of just compensation to be paid by petitioner for the
taking of the entire area of 63,220 square meters at P400.00 per square meter, with legal interest thereon computed from
September 11, 1990, when petitioner was placed in possession of the land, plus attorneys fees of P20,000.00, and costs
of the proceedings.[12]

In due time, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals.[13]

On July 23, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered decision affirming that of the Regional Trial Court, except that the award
of P20,000.00, as attorneys fees was deleted.[14]

Hence, this petition for review.[15]

By resolution adopted on October 8, 1997, the Court required respondents to comment on the petition within ten (10) days
from notice.[16] On January 7, 1998, respondents filed their comment thereon.[17]

By resolution adopted on February 2, 1998, the Court required petitioner to file a reply to the comment.[18] On August 25,
1990, petitioner filed a reply thereto.[19]

We now resolve to give due course to the petition. We modify the appealed decision.

As respondents did not challenge petitioners right to expropriate their property, the issue presented boils down to what is
the just compensation for the taking of respondents property for the expansion of the NPCs Mexico Sub-station, situated
in San Jose Matulid, Mexico, Pampanga.

The parcels of land sought to be expropriated are undeniably idle, undeveloped, raw agricultural land, bereft of any
improvement. Except for the Henson family, all the other respondents were admittedly farmer beneficiaries under
operation land transfer of the Department of Agrarian Reform. However, the land has been re-classified as residential.
The nature and character of the land at the time of its taking is the principal criterion to determine just compensation to the
landowner.[20]

In this case, the trial court and the Court of Appeals fixed the value of the land at P400.00 per square meter, which was
the selling price of lots in the adjacent fully developed subdivision, the Santo Domingo Village Subdivision. The land in
question, however, was an undeveloped, idle land, principally agricultural in character, though re-classified as residential.
Unfortunately, the trial court, after creating a board of commissioners to help it determine the market value of the land did
not conduct a hearing on the report of the commissioners. The trial court fixed the fair market value of subject land in an
amount equal to the value of lots in the adjacent fully developed subdivision. This finds no support in the evidence. The
valuation was even higher than the recommendation of anyone of the commissioners.

On the other hand, Commissioner Atienza recommended a fair market value at P375.00 per square meter. This appears
to be the closest valuation to the market value of lots in the adjoining fully developed subdivision. Considering that the
subject parcels of land are undeveloped raw land, the price of P375.00 per square meter would appear to the Court as the
just compensation for the taking of such raw land.

Consequently, we agree with Commissioner Atienzas report that the fair market value of subject parcels of land be fixed
at P375.00 per square meter.

We also agree with petitioner that the area of the communal irrigation canal consisting of 4,809 square meters must be
excluded from the land to be expropriated. To begin with, it is excluded in the amended complaint. Hence, the trial court
and the Court of Appeals erred in including the same in the area to be taken.

The trial court erroneously ordered double payment for 3,611 square meters of lot 5 (portion) in the dispositive part of its
decision, and, hence, this must be deleted.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly required petitioner to pay legal interest[21] on the compensation
awarded from September 11, 1990, the date petitioner was placed in possession of the subject land, less the amount
respondents had withdrawn from the deposit that petitioner made with the Provincial Treasurers Office.

We, however, rule that petitioner is under its charter exempt from payment of costs of the proceedings.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals and that of the trial court subject of the appeal are hereby MODIFIED.

We render judgment as follows:


1. The Court fixes the amount of P375.00, per square meter, as the just compensation to be paid to respondents for the
taking of their property consisting of five (5) parcels of land, with a total area of 58,311 square meters, described in and
covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 557, 7131, 7111, 7108 and Certificate of Land Transfer No. 4550, which
parcels of land are broken down as follows:

a. Lot 1-A, with an area of 43,532 square meters belonging to Lourdes Henson, Josefina Henson, Jesusa Henson and
Corazon Henson;

b. Lot 2-A, with an area of 6,823 square meters belonging to Alfredo Tanchiatco;

c. Lot 3-A, with an area of 3,057 square meters belonging to Bienvenido David (TCT No. 7111)

d. Lot 4-A, with an area of 1,438 square meters belonging to Maria Bondoc Capili (TCT No. 7108)

e. Lot 5-A, with an area of 3,461 square meters belonging to Miguel Manaloto (150 square meters), Certificate of Land
Transfer No. 4550 and Henson Family (3,311 square meters),

deducting therefrom the amounts they had withdrawn from the deposit of petitioner for the provisional value of said
parcels of land.[22]

2. With legal interest thereon at 6% per annum commencing on September 11, 1990, until the finality of this decision, and
at 12% per annum therefrom on the remaining unpaid amount until full payment.

Let this decision be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds of Pampanga.

No costs in all instances.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 129079. December 2, 1998]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the Department of Trade and Industry, petitioner, vs. HON.
LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Presiding Judge of RTC, Imus, Cavite, Branch 20; and HELENA Z. BENITEZ, respondents.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Executive Order No. 1035[1] (EO 1035) was enacted to facilitate government acquisition of private property to be used for
infrastructure or other development projects. Under Section 7 thereof, it is the ministerial duty of courts to issue a writ of
possession within five days from the time the government deposits 10 percent of the just compensation payable.
Moreover, such writ cannot be nullified by an adverse decision in an ejectment proceeding involving the same property
and the same parties.

Statement of the Case

This principium is used by this Court in resolving this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the Orders dated July
26, 1996[2] and February 20, 1997,[3] promulgated by the Regional Trial Court[4] of Imus, Cavite in Civil Case No. 1277-
96. The first ruling quashed the May 24, 1996 writ of possession issued earlier, pursuant to EO 1035, and the second
denied petitioners plea for reconsideration.

The Antecedent Facts

The facts, as narrated in the solicitor generals Memorandum, are as follows:

Private respondent Helena Z. Benitez is the registered owner of two (2) parcels of land located in Barangay Salawag,
Dasmarias, Cavite covered [by] TCT No. 14701 containing an area of Four Hundred Eighty Three Thousand Three
Hundred Thirty One (483,331) square meters more or less.

Sometime in September 1982, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine Human Resources Development Center
(PHRDC for short), an agency under the then Ministry of Human Settlements, negotiated with the Japanese International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) Survey Team on the technicalities of the establishment of the ASEAN Human Resources
Development Project in the Philippines. Among the five (5) main programs of the proposed project was Program III
(Construction Manpower Development) which involved the establishment of a Construction Manpower Development
Center (CMDC for short), an agency now under the Department of Trade and Industry.

On March 30, 1983, PHRDC and private respondent Helena Z. Benitez (BENITEZ for short), signed a Memorandum of
Agreement (Annex C, Petition) which provides, among others, [that] BENITEZ undertakes to lease within the period of
twenty (20) years and/or sell a portion of that property (which is no less than ten-hectares) in favor of PHRDC which
likewise agrees to lease within a period of twenty (20) years and/or buy said property site.

On September 22, 1983, the Philippine Womens University (PWU for short) and BENITEZ granted a permit to PHRDC to
occupy and use the land in question and to undertake land development, electrical and road network installations and
other related works necessary to attain its objectives.... Pursuant thereto, the CMDF took possession of the property and
erected buildings and other related facilities necessary for its operations.

Accordingly, in December 1983, PWU entered into a purported contract of lease with PHRDC on a ten (10)-hectare piece
of land which stipulated, among other things, a rental of P200,000.00 per annum for an initial term of four (4) years from
January 1, 1984 to January 1, 1988, with an option granted to PHRDC to renew the lease, upon agreement of both
parties, for a further period up to, but not exceeding twenty (20) years from the expiration of the initial term hereof ....

PWU entered into the aforesaid lease contract, dated December 3, 1983, purporting to be the donee of the property
involved in a deed of donation executed by BENITEZ in its favor; which deed of donation, however, was executed only in
December 1984, much later than the execution of the lease contract.

After the expiration of the lease contract on January 1, 1988, negotiations began on the purchase of the property in
question on a plain offer of BENITEZ to sell the same. In her letter of 21 August 1989, BENITEZ advised the PHRDC,
through its General Manager Mr. Juvenal Catajoy, to pursue the successful completion of the sale of the subject 7-hectare
property within 30 days from August 31, 1989 at the agreed price of P70.00 per square meter.

Again, in BENITEZ letter of February 4, 1991, she stated the position of the University regarding the negotiated sale of the
7-hectare property in Dasmarias, Cavite and confirme(d) that the agreed purchase price in 1989 [was] P70.00 per sq. m.
....

In view of the agreement on the sale of the land in question, PHRDC prepared a Deed of Absolute Sale with BENITEZ, as
vendor, and PHRDC and CMDF, as vendees, duly represented by then Undersecretary Gloria M. Arroyo, for the signature
of BENITEZ.

Subsequently, BENITEZ and PHRDC, represented by PHRDC General Manager Juvenal Catajoy, Jr., agreed that the
payment of rentals for the Dasmarias lot [would] cease effective July 1, 1989 in view of on-going negotiations for the
eventual sale of the lot.

However, for reasons known only to her, BENITEZ did not sign the Deed of Absolute Sale thus reneging on her
commitment to sell the lot in question.
Thereafter, in a letter dated August 15, 1995, BENITEZ and PWU demanded from PHRDC the payment of rentals and to
vacate the premises within 30 days from notice. It later filed an unlawful detainer suit against petitioner.

Failing to acquire the property involved through negotiated sale, petitioner, through the Department of Trade and Industry,
to which CMDF is attached, instituted a complaint for Eminent Domain, pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order No.
1035, dated June 25, 1985.

In compliance with Section 2, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 42, petitioner
deposited with the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Makati Avenue Branch, in favor of defendant, Seven Hundred Eight
Thousand Four Hundred Ninety Pesos (P708,490.00) an amount equivalent to the provisional value of the land sought to
be expropriated.

On May 16, 1996, petitioner filed a Motion for Issuance of a Writ of Possession.

On May 24, 1996 respondent Judge issued an Order (Annex D, Petition) granting petitioners Motion for Issuance of a Writ
of Possession.

In compliance with the Order of May 24, 1996, the Clerk of Court issued a Writ of Possession (Annex E, Petition) which
the Sheriff duly implemented.

Private respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of May 24, 1996 xxx which petitioner opposed.

On July 26, 1996, respondent Judge issued the assailed Order (Annex A, Petition) the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, defendants Motion for Reconsideration is granted. Accordingly, the Order dated
May 24, 1996 is hereby set aside and reconsidered. The Writ of Possession issued in consonance therewith is hereby
quashed.

On August 21, 1996, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Annex F, Petition) of the above Order. Private
respondent filed an Opposition (Annex G, Petition) thereto.

On February 20, 1997, respondent Judge denied petitioners motion for reconsideration (Annex B, Petition).[5]

The foregoing narration of the facts was not contradicted by private respondent.[6] Not satisfied by the court a quos
rulings, petitioner thus elevated the matter to this Court.[7]

The Issue

In its Memorandum, petitioner submits that [t]he only legal issue raised in the petition is whether or not respondent judge
committed grave abuse of discretion when he quashed the writ of possession which he had previously issued.[8] Put
differently, the issue is whether the respondent judge may quash a writ of possession on the ground that the expropriating
government agency is already occupying the property sought to be expropriated.

The Courts Ruling

The petition is impressed with merit.

Issuance of Writ of Possession:

A Duty Mandated by Law

It is undisputed that the expropriation proceeding in the case at bar involves a development project covered by EO 1035.
The site, which is being used by the Philippine Human Resources Development Center (PHRDC), is sought to be
expropriated for the establishment and operation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Human
Resources Development Project of the Philippines, a component of which is the Construction Manpower Development
Center (CMDC), an agency now under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Plainly, the respondent judge is
required to issue a writ of possession in favor of petitioner, pursuant to Section 7 of EO 1035, which reads:

SEC 7. Expropriation. If the parties fail to agree in negotiation of the sale of the land as provided in the preceding section,
the government implementing agency/instrumentality concerned shall have authority to immediately institute expropriation
proceedings through the Office of the Solicitor General, as the case may be. The just compensation to be paid for the
property acquired through expropriation shall be in accordance with the provisions of P.D. No. 1533. Courts shall give
priority to the adjudication of cases on expropriation and shall immediately issue the necessary writ of possession upon
deposit by the government implementing agency/instrumentality concerned of an amount equivalent to ten per cent (10%)
of the amount of just compensation provided under P.D. No. 1533; Provided, That the period within which said writ of
possession shall be issued shall in no case extend beyond five (5) days from the date such deposit was made.

Under this statutory provision, when the government or its authorized agent makes the required deposit, the trial court has
a ministerial duty to issue a writ of possession. We note that the respondent judge indeed issued such writ in favor of
petitioner, aptly stating:

There being a deposit made by the plaintiff with the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in the amount of P708,490.00 which is
equivalent to the assessed value of the property subject matter hereof based on defendants 1990 tax declaration, coupled
with the fact that notice to defendant as landowner has been effected, the Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession is
hereby GRANTED. Forthwith, let a Writ of Possession be issued ordering the Sheriff to place plaintiff in possession of the
property involved in this case.[9]

Writ of Possession Necessary

As previously mentioned, the trial court reversed itself by later issuing an Order quashing the writ of possession,
reasoning as follows:

While this Court fully agrees with the plaintiff that it is entitled to be placed in possession of the property subject of the
Complaint at once, the position of the parties in the case at bar is different. For, plaintiff admitted that it is already in
possession of subject premises. Such being the case, it is obvious that plaintiffs purpose in securing a writ of possession
is only to utilize it as leverage in the ejectment suit filed against it by defendant Benitez wherein the issue is
possession.[10]

In denying the motion for reconsideration of said Order, the respondent judge reiterated his position, adding that the
present case is different from the ordinary action for eminent domain because prior to the filing of this case, there was
already an ejectment suit instituted against plaintiff-corporation.[11] Agreeing with the trial court, private respondent
contends that the writ of possession is warranted only in cases where the party seeking [it] is not yet in possession [of] the
property sought to be expropriated.[12]

Private respondent underscores Section 2, Rule 67 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure, which in part states that the
plaintiff shall have the right to take or enter upon the possession of the real property involved if he deposits with the
authorized government depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property for purposes of taxation
xxx.[13] She also points out that since Presidential Decree (PD) 42 provides that the plaintiff shall have the right to take or
enter upon the possession of the real property involved, the writ of possession it requires to be issued is not to maintain
possession but intended for the purpose of taking or entering possession. [14]

The Court is not persuaded. The expropriation of real property does not include mere physical entry or occupation of land.
Although eminent domain usually involves a taking of title, there may also be compensable taking of only some, not all, of
the property interests in the bundle of rights that constitute ownership.[15]

In the instant case, it is manifest that the petitioner, in pursuit of an objective beneficial to public interest, seeks to realize
the same through its power of eminent domain. In exercising this power, petitioner intended to acquire not only physical
possession but also the legal right to possess and ultimately to own the subject property. Hence, its mere physical entry
and occupation of the property fall short of the taking of title, which includes all the rights that may be exercised by an
owner over the subject property. Its actual occupation, which renders academic the need for it to enter, does not by itself
include its acquisition of all the rights of ownership. Its right to possess did not attend its initial physical possession of the
property because the lease, which had authorized said possession, lapsed. In short, petitioner wanted not merely
possession de facto but possession de jure as well.

What will happen if the required writ of possession is not issued? This question becomes very important because the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC), where private respondent sued petitioner for unlawful detainer, has rendered a decision
ordering petitioner to vacate the property.[16] It would be circuitous, if not legally absurd, for this Court to require petitioner
to first vacate the property in view of the adverse judgment in the unlawful detainer case, and soon afterwards, order the
trial court to issue in petitioners favor a writ of possession pursuant to the expropriation proceedings. Such a scenario is a
bureaucratic waste of precious time and resources. This precisely is the sort of pernicious and unreasonable delay of
government infrastructure or development projects, which EO 1035 intended to address by requiring the immediate
issuance of a writ of possession. Ineludibly, said writ is both necessary and practical, because mere physical possession
that is gained by entering the property is not equivalent to expropriating it with the aim of acquiring ownership over, or
even the right to possess, the expropriated property.

Citing J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals[17] and Cuatico v. Court of Appeals,[18] private respondent further
submits that the eminent domain case, much less the writ of possession, cannot be entertained to defeat the ejectment
case.[19]

Such argument is untenable. It is well-settled that eminent domain is an inherent power of the State that need not be
granted even by the fundamental law.[20] Section 9, Article III of the Constitution, in mandating that [p]rivate property shall
not be taken for public use without just compensation, merely imposes a limit on the governments exercise of this power
and provides a measure of protection to the individuals right to property.[21] Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co. and Cuatico, the
Court merely enforced the constitutional limitation regarding the payment of just compensation. Clearly, an ejectment suit
ordinarily should not prevail over the States power of eminent domain.

We note that in the present case, petitioner has deposited not just the 10 percent required under EO 1035, but the whole
amount of the just compensation that private respondent is entitled to. Thus, we are unable to find any legal impediment
for the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of petitioner. Precisely, the purpose of instituting expropriation
proceedings is to prevent petitioner from being ejected from the subject property; otherwise, the above-mentioned absurd
and circuitous rulings would arise.

Assailed Orders Tainted by Grave Abuse of Discretion

It is clear that, in quashing the writ of possession, respondent judge violated EO 1035 on the quaint and whimsical ground
that petitioner was already in actual possession of the property.[22] His assailed Orders dated July 26, 1996 and February
20, 1997 are therefore void for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.[23]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Orders dated July 26, 1996 and February 20, 1997 are hereby
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY and AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE,

Petitioners,

- versus -

BERNARDO L. LOZADA, SR., and the

HEIRS OF ROSARIO MERCADO, namely, VICENTE LOZADA, MARIO M. LOZADA, MARCIA L. GODINEZ, VIRGINIA
L. FLORES, BERNARDO LOZADA, JR., DOLORES GACASAN, SOCORRO CAFARO and ROSARIO LOZADA,
represented by MARCIA LOZADA GODINEZ,

Respondents.

G.R. No. 176625

Present:

PUNO, C.J.,

CARPIO,

CORONA,

CARPIO MORALES, VELASCO, JR., NACHURA, LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BRION,

PERALTA,*

BERSAMIN,

DEL CASTILLO,

ABAD,

VILLARAMA, JR.,

PEREZ, and

MENDOZA, JJ.

Promulgated:

February 25, 2010

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to reverse, annul, and set aside the
Decision[1] dated February 28, 2006 and the Resolution[2] dated February 7, 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) (Cebu
City), Twentieth Division, in CA-G.R. CV No. 65796.

The antecedent facts and proceedings are as follows:

Subject of this case is Lot No. 88-SWO-25042 (Lot No. 88), with an area of 1,017 square meters, more or less, located in
Lahug, Cebu City. Its original owner was Anastacio Deiparine when the same was subject to expropriation proceedings,
initiated by the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), represented by the then Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), for
the expansion and improvement of the Lahug Airport. The case was filed with the then Court of First Instance of Cebu,
Third Branch, and docketed as Civil Case No. R-1881.

As early as 1947, the lots were already occupied by the U.S. Army. They were turned over to the Surplus Property
Commission, the Bureau of Aeronautics, the National Airport Corporation and then to the CAA.

During the pendency of the expropriation proceedings, respondent Bernardo L. Lozada, Sr. acquired Lot No. 88 from
Deiparine. Consequently, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 9045 was issued in Lozadas name.

On December 29, 1961, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the Republic and ordered the latter to pay Lozada the
fair market value of Lot No. 88, adjudged at P3.00 per square meter, with consequential damages by way of legal interest
computed from November 16, 1947the time when the lot was first occupied by the airport. Lozada received the amount of
P3,018.00 by way of payment.

The affected landowners appealed. Pending appeal, the Air Transportation Office (ATO), formerly CAA, proposed a
compromise settlement whereby the owners of the lots affected by the expropriation proceedings would either not appeal
or withdraw their respective appeals in consideration of a commitment that the expropriated lots would be resold at the
price they were expropriated in the event that the ATO would abandon the Lahug Airport, pursuant to an established
policy involving similar cases. Because of this promise, Lozada did not pursue his appeal. Thereafter, Lot No. 88 was
transferred and registered in the name of the Republic under TCT No. 25057.

The projected improvement and expansion plan of the old Lahug Airport, however, was not pursued.

Lozada, with the other landowners, contacted then CAA Director Vicente Rivera, Jr., requesting to repurchase the lots, as
per previous agreement. The CAA replied that there might still be a need for the Lahug Airport to be used as an
emergency DC-3 airport. It reiterated, however, the assurance that should this Office dispose and resell the properties
which may be found to be no longer necessary as an airport, then the policy of this Office is to give priority to the former
owners subject to the approval of the President.

On November 29, 1989, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued a Memorandum to the Department of Transportation,
directing the transfer of general aviation operations of the Lahug Airport to the Mactan International Airport before the end
of 1990 and, upon such transfer, the closure of the Lahug Airport.

Sometime in 1990, the Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6958, entitled An Act Creating the
Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority, Transferring Existing Assets of the Mactan International Airport and the
Lahug Airport to the Authority, Vesting the Authority with Power to Administer and Operate the Mactan International
Airport and the Lahug Airport, and For Other Purposes.

From the date of the institution of the expropriation proceedings up to the present, the public purpose of the said
expropriation (expansion of the airport) was never actually initiated, realized, or implemented. Instead, the old airport was
converted into a commercial complex. Lot No. 88 became the site of a jail known as Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation
Complex, while a portion thereof was occupied by squatters.[3] The old airport was converted into what is now known as
the Ayala I.T. Park, a commercial area.
Thus, on June 4, 1996, petitioners initiated a complaint for the recovery of possession and reconveyance of ownership of
Lot No. 88. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-18823 and was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 57, Cebu City. The complaint substantially alleged as follows:

(a) Spouses Bernardo and Rosario Lozada were the registered owners of Lot No. 88 covered by TCT No. 9045;

(b) In the early 1960s, the Republic sought to acquire by expropriation Lot No. 88, among others, in connection with its
program for the improvement and expansion of the Lahug Airport;

(c) A decision was rendered by the Court of First Instance in favor of the Government and against the land owners,
among whom was Bernardo Lozada, Sr. appealed therefrom;

(d) During the pendency of the appeal, the parties entered into a compromise settlement to the effect that the subject
property would be resold to the original owner at the same price when it was expropriated in the event that the
Government abandons the Lahug Airport;

(e) Title to Lot No. 88 was subsequently transferred to the Republic of the Philippines (TCT No. 25057);

(f) The projected expansion and improvement of the Lahug Airport did not materialize;

(g) Plaintiffs sought to repurchase their property from then CAA Director Vicente Rivera. The latter replied by giving as
assurance that priority would be given to the previous owners, subject to the approval of the President, should CAA
decide to dispose of the properties;

(h) On November 29, 1989, then President Corazon C. Aquino, through a Memorandum to the Department of
Transportation and Communications (DOTC), directed the transfer of general aviation operations at the Lahug Airport to
the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority;

(i) Since the public purpose for the expropriation no longer exists, the property must be returned to the plaintiffs.[4]

In their Answer, petitioners asked for the immediate dismissal of the complaint. They specifically denied that the
Government had made assurances to reconvey Lot No. 88 to respondents in the event that the property would no longer
be needed for airport operations. Petitioners instead asserted that the judgment of condemnation was unconditional, and
respondents were, therefore, not entitled to recover the expropriated property notwithstanding non-use or abandonment
thereof.

After pretrial, but before trial on the merits, the parties stipulated on the following set of facts:

(1) The lot involved is Lot No. 88-SWO-25042 of the Banilad Estate, situated in the City of Cebu, containing an area of
One Thousand Seventeen (1,017) square meters, more or less;

(2) The property was expropriated among several other properties in Lahug in favor of the Republic of the Philippines by
virtue of a Decision dated December 29, 1961 of the CFI of Cebu in Civil Case No. R-1881;
(3) The public purpose for which the property was expropriated was for the purpose of the Lahug Airport;

(4) After the expansion, the property was transferred in the name of MCIAA; [and]

(5) On November 29, 1989, then President Corazon C. Aquino directed the Department of Transportation and
Communication to transfer general aviation operations of the Lahug Airport to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Authority and to close the Lahug Airport after such transfer[.][5]

During trial, respondents presented Bernardo Lozada, Sr. as their lone witness, while petitioners presented their own
witness, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority legal assistant Michael Bacarisas.

On October 22, 1999, the RTC rendered its Decision, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, Bernardo L.
Lozada, Sr., and the heirs of Rosario Mercado, namely, Vicente M. Lozada, Marcia L. Godinez, Virginia L. Flores,
Bernardo M. Lozada, Jr., Dolores L. Gacasan, Socorro L. Cafaro and Rosario M. Lozada, represented by their attorney-in-
fact Marcia Lozada Godinez, and against defendants Cebu-Mactan International Airport Authority (MCIAA) and Air
Transportation Office (ATO):

1. ordering MCIAA and ATO to restore to plaintiffs the possession and ownership of their land, Lot No. 88 Psd-821 (SWO-
23803), upon payment of the expropriation price to plaintiffs; and

2. ordering the Register of Deeds to effect the transfer of the Certificate of Title from defendant[s] to plaintiffs on Lot No.
[88], cancelling TCT No. 20357 in the name of defendant MCIAA and to issue a new title on the same lot in the name of
Bernardo L. Lozada, Sr. and the heirs of Rosario Mercado, namely: Vicente M. Lozada, Mario M. Lozada, Marcia L.
Godinez, Virginia L. Flores, Bernardo M. Lozada, Jr., Dolores L. Gacasan, Socorro L. Cafaro and Rosario M. Lozada.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.[6]

Aggrieved, petitioners interposed an appeal to the CA. After the filing of the necessary appellate briefs, the CA rendered
its assailed Decision dated February 28, 2006, denying petitioners appeal and affirming in toto the Decision of the RTC,
Branch 57, Cebu City. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was, likewise, denied in the questioned CA Resolution dated
February 7, 2007.

Hence, this petition arguing that: (1) the respondents utterly failed to prove that there was a repurchase agreement or
compromise settlement between them and the Government; (2) the judgment in Civil Case No. R-1881 was absolute and
unconditional, giving title in fee simple to the Republic; and (3) the respondents claim of verbal assurances from
government officials violates the Statute of Frauds.

The petition should be denied.


Petitioners anchor their claim to the controverted property on the supposition that the Decision in the pertinent
expropriation proceedings did not provide for the condition that should the intended use of Lot No. 88 for the expansion of
the Lahug Airport be aborted or abandoned, the property would revert to respondents, being its former owners. Petitioners
cite, in support of this position, Fery v. Municipality of Cabanatuan,[7] which declared that the Government acquires only
such rights in expropriated parcels of land as may be allowed by the character of its title over the properties

If x x x land is expropriated for a particular purpose, with the condition that when that purpose is ended or abandoned the
property shall return to its former owner, then, of course, when the purpose is terminated or abandoned the former owner
reacquires the property so expropriated. If x x x land is expropriated for a public street and the expropriation is granted
upon condition that the city can only use it for a public street, then, of course, when the city abandons its use as a public
street, it returns to the former owner, unless there is some statutory provision to the contrary. x x x. If, upon the contrary,
however, the decree of expropriation gives to the entity a fee simple title, then, of course, the land becomes the absolute
property of the expropriator, whether it be the State, a province, or municipality, and in that case the non-user does not
have the effect of defeating the title acquired by the expropriation proceedings. x x x.

When land has been acquired for public use in fee simple, unconditionally, either by the exercise of eminent domain or by
purchase, the former owner retains no right in the land, and the public use may be abandoned, or the land may be
devoted to a different use, without any impairment of the estate or title acquired, or any reversion to the former owner. x x
x.[8]

Contrary to the stance of petitioners, this Court had ruled otherwise in Heirs of Timoteo Moreno and Maria Rotea v.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority,[9] thus

Moreover, respondent MCIAA has brought to our attention a significant and telling portion in the Decision in Civil Case No.
R-1881 validating our discernment that the expropriation by the predecessors of respondent was ordered under the
running impression that Lahug Airport would continue in operation

As for the public purpose of the expropriation proceeding, it cannot now be doubted. Although Mactan Airport is being
constructed, it does not take away the actual usefulness and importance of the Lahug Airport: it is handling the air traffic
both civilian and military. From it aircrafts fly to Mindanao and Visayas and pass thru it on their flights to the North and
Manila. Then, no evidence was adduced to show how soon is the Mactan Airport to be placed in operation and whether
the Lahug Airport will be closed immediately thereafter. It is up to the other departments of the Government to determine
said matters. The Court cannot substitute its judgment for those of the said departments or agencies. In the absence of
such showing, the Court will presume that the Lahug Airport will continue to be in operation (emphasis supplied).

While in the trial in Civil Case No. R-1881 [we] could have simply acknowledged the presence of public purpose for the
exercise of eminent domain regardless of the survival of Lahug Airport, the trial court in its Decision chose not to do so but
instead prefixed its finding of public purpose upon its understanding that Lahug Airport will continue to be in operation.
Verily, these meaningful statements in the body of the Decision warrant the conclusion that the expropriated properties
would remain to be so until it was confirmed that Lahug Airport was no longer in operation. This inference further implies
two (2) things: (a) after the Lahug Airport ceased its undertaking as such and the expropriated lots were not being used
for any airport expansion project, the rights vis--vis the expropriated Lots Nos. 916 and 920 as between the State and
their former owners, petitioners herein, must be equitably adjusted; and (b) the foregoing unmistakable declarations in the
body of the Decision should merge with and become an intrinsic part of the fallo thereof which under the premises is
clearly inadequate since the dispositive portion is not in accord with the findings as contained in the body thereof.[10]

Indeed, the Decision in Civil Case No. R-1881 should be read in its entirety, wherein it is apparent that the acquisition by
the Republic of the expropriated lots was subject to the condition that the Lahug Airport would continue its operation. The
condition not having materialized because the airport had been abandoned, the former owner should then be allowed to
reacquire the expropriated property.[11]

On this note, we take this opportunity to revisit our ruling in Fery, which involved an expropriation suit commenced upon
parcels of land to be used as a site for a public market. Instead of putting up a public market, respondent Cabanatuan
constructed residential houses for lease on the area. Claiming that the municipality lost its right to the property taken since
it did not pursue its public purpose, petitioner Juan Fery, the former owner of the lots expropriated, sought to recover his
properties. However, as he had admitted that, in 1915, respondent Cabanatuan acquired a fee simple title to the lands in
question, judgment was rendered in favor of the municipality, following American jurisprudence, particularly City of Fort
Wayne v. Lake Shore & M.S. RY. Co.,[12] McConihay v. Theodore Wright,[13] and Reichling v. Covington Lumber
Co.,[14] all uniformly holding that the transfer to a third party of the expropriated real property, which necessarily resulted
in the abandonment of the particular public purpose for which the property was taken, is not a ground for the recovery of
the same by its previous owner, the title of the expropriating agency being one of fee simple.

Obviously, Fery was not decided pursuant to our now sacredly held constitutional right that private property shall not be
taken for public use without just compensation.[15] It is well settled that the taking of private property by the Governments
power of eminent domain is subject to two mandatory requirements: (1) that it is for a particular public purpose; and (2)
that just compensation be paid to the property owner. These requirements partake of the nature of implied conditions that
should be complied with to enable the condemnor to keep the property expropriated.[16]

More particularly, with respect to the element of public use, the expropriator should commit to use the property pursuant to
the purpose stated in the petition for expropriation filed, failing which, it should file another petition for the new purpose. If
not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the said property to its private owner, if the latter desires to
reacquire the same. Otherwise, the judgment of expropriation suffers an intrinsic flaw, as it would lack one indispensable
element for the proper exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely, the particular public purpose for which the
property will be devoted. Accordingly, the private property owner would be denied due process of law, and the judgment
would violate the property owners right to justice, fairness, and equity.

In light of these premises, we now expressly hold that the taking of private property, consequent to the Governments
exercise of its power of eminent domain, is always subject to the condition that the property be devoted to the specific
public purpose for which it was taken. Corollarily, if this particular purpose or intent is not initiated or not at all pursued,
and is peremptorily abandoned, then the former owners, if they so desire, may seek the reversion of the property, subject
to the return of the amount of just compensation received. In such a case, the exercise of the power of eminent domain
has become improper for lack of the required factual justification.[17]

Even without the foregoing declaration, in the instant case, on the question of whether respondents were able to establish
the existence of an oral compromise agreement that entitled them to repurchase Lot No. 88 should the operations of the
Lahug Airport be abandoned, we rule in the affirmative.

It bears stressing that both the RTC, Branch 57, Cebu and the CA have passed upon this factual issue and have
declared, in no uncertain terms, that a compromise agreement was, in fact, entered into between the Government and
respondents, with the former undertaking to resell Lot No. 88 to the latter if the improvement and expansion of the Lahug
Airport would not be pursued. In affirming the factual finding of the RTC to this effect, the CA declared

Lozadas testimony is cogent. An octogenarian widower-retiree and a resident of Moon Park, California since 1974, he
testified that government representatives verbally promised him and his late wife while the expropriation proceedings were
on-going that the government shall return the property if the purpose for the expropriation no longer exists. This promise
was made at the premises of the airport. As far as he could remember, there were no expropriation proceedings against
his property in 1952 because the first notice of expropriation he received was in 1962. Based on the promise, he did not
hire a lawyer. Lozada was firm that he was promised that the lot would be reverted to him once the public use of the lot
ceases. He made it clear that the verbal promise was made in Lahug with other lot owners before the 1961 decision was
handed down, though he could not name the government representatives who made the promise. It was just a verbal
promise; nevertheless, it is binding. The fact that he could not supply the necessary details for the establishment of his
assertions during cross-examination, but that When it will not be used as intended, it will be returned back, we just
believed in the government, does not dismantle the credibility and truthfulness of his allegation. This Court notes that he
was 89 years old when he testified in November 1997 for an incident which happened decades ago. Still, he is a
competent witness capable of perceiving and making his perception known. The minor lapses are immaterial. The
decision of the competency of a witness rests primarily with the trial judge and must not be disturbed on appeal unless it is
clear that it was erroneous. The objection to his competency must be made before he has given any testimony or as soon
as the incompetency becomes apparent. Though Lozada is not part of the compromise agreement,[18] he nevertheless
adduced sufficient evidence to support his claim.[19]

As correctly found by the CA, unlike in Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority v. Court of Appeals,[20] cited by
petitioners, where respondent therein offered testimonies which were hearsay in nature, the testimony of Lozada was
based on personal knowledge as the assurance from the government was personally made to him. His testimony on
cross-examination destroyed neither his credibility as a witness nor the truthfulness of his words.
Verily, factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the CA, are binding and conclusive on this Court and
may not be reviewed. A petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court contemplates only questions of law and
not of fact.[21] Not one of the exceptions to this rule is present in this case to warrant a reversal of such findings.

As regards the position of petitioners that respondents testimonial evidence violates the Statute of Frauds, suffice it to
state that the Statute of Frauds operates only with respect to executory contracts, and does not apply to contracts which
have been completely or partially performed, the rationale thereof being as follows:

In executory contracts there is a wide field for fraud because unless they be in writing there is no palpable evidence of the
intention of the contracting parties. The statute has precisely been enacted to prevent fraud. However, if a contract has
been totally or partially performed, the exclusion of parol evidence would promote fraud or bad faith, for it would enable
the defendant to keep the benefits already delivered by him from the transaction in litigation, and, at the same time, evade
the obligations, responsibilities or liabilities assumed or contracted by him thereby.[22]

In this case, the Statute of Frauds, invoked by petitioners to bar the claim of respondents for the reacquisition of Lot No.
88, cannot apply, the oral compromise settlement having been partially performed. By reason of such assurance made in
their favor, respondents relied on the same by not pursuing their appeal before the CA. Moreover, contrary to the claim of
petitioners, the fact of Lozadas eventual conformity to the appraisal of Lot No. 88 and his seeking the correction of a
clerical error in the judgment as to the true area of Lot No. 88 do not conclusively establish that respondents absolutely
parted with their property. To our mind, these acts were simply meant to cooperate with the government, particularly
because of the oral promise made to them.

The right of respondents to repurchase Lot No. 88 may be enforced based on a constructive trust constituted on the
property held by the government in favor of the former. On this note, our ruling in Heirs of Timoteo Moreno is instructive,
viz.:

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority is correct in stating that one would not find an express statement in the
Decision in Civil Case No. R-1881 to the effect that the [condemned] lot would return to [the landowner] or that [the
landowner] had a right to repurchase the same if the purpose for which it was expropriated is ended or abandoned or if
the property was to be used other than as the Lahug Airport. This omission notwithstanding, and while the inclusion of this
pronouncement in the judgment of condemnation would have been ideal, such precision is not absolutely necessary nor is
it fatal to the cause of petitioners herein. No doubt, the return or repurchase of the condemned properties of petitioners
could be readily justified as the manifest legal effect or consequence of the trial courts underlying presumption that Lahug
Airport will continue to be in operation when it granted the complaint for eminent domain and the airport discontinued its
activities.

The predicament of petitioners involves a constructive trust, one that is akin to the implied trust referred to in Art. 1454 of
the Civil Code, If an absolute conveyance of property is made in order to secure the performance of an obligation of the
grantor toward the grantee, a trust by virtue of law is established. If the fulfillment of the obligation is offered by the grantor
when it becomes due, he may demand the reconveyance of the property to him. In the case at bar, petitioners conveyed
Lots No. 916 and 920 to the government with the latter obliging itself to use the realties for the expansion of Lahug Airport;
failing to keep its bargain, the government can be compelled by petitioners to reconvey the parcels of land to them,
otherwise, petitioners would be denied the use of their properties upon a state of affairs that was not conceived nor
contemplated when the expropriation was authorized.

Although the symmetry between the instant case and the situation contemplated by Art. 1454 is not perfect, the provision
is undoubtedly applicable. For, as explained by an expert on the law of trusts: The only problem of great importance in the
field of constructive trust is to decide whether in the numerous and varying fact situations presented to the courts there is
a wrongful holding of property and hence a threatened unjust enrichment of the defendant. Constructive trusts are fictions
of equity which are bound by no unyielding formula when they are used by courts as devices to remedy any situation in
which the holder of legal title may not in good conscience retain the beneficial interest.

In constructive trusts, the arrangement is temporary and passive in which the trustees sole duty is to transfer the title and
possession over the property to the plaintiff-beneficiary. Of course, the wronged party seeking the aid of a court of equity
in establishing a constructive trust must himself do equity. Accordingly, the court will exercise its discretion in deciding
what acts are required of the plaintiff-beneficiary as conditions precedent to obtaining such decree and has the obligation
to reimburse the trustee the consideration received from the latter just as the plaintiff-beneficiary would if he proceeded on
the theory of rescission. In the good judgment of the court, the trustee may also be paid the necessary expenses he may
have incurred in sustaining the property, his fixed costs for improvements thereon, and the monetary value of his services
in managing the property to the extent that plaintiff-beneficiary will secure a benefit from his acts.

The rights and obligations between the constructive trustee and the beneficiary, in this case, respondent MCIAA and
petitioners over Lots Nos. 916 and 920, are echoed in Art. 1190 of the Civil Code, When the conditions have for their
purpose the extinguishment of an obligation to give, the parties, upon the fulfillment of said conditions, shall return to each
other what they have received x x x In case of the loss, deterioration or improvement of the thing, the provisions which,
with respect to the debtor, are laid down in the preceding article shall be applied to the party who is bound to return x x
x.[23]

On the matter of the repurchase price, while petitioners are obliged to reconvey Lot No. 88 to respondents, the latter must
return to the former what they received as just compensation for the expropriation of the property, plus legal interest to be
computed from default, which in this case runs from the time petitioners comply with their obligation to respondents.

Respondents must likewise pay petitioners the necessary expenses they may have incurred in maintaining Lot No. 88, as
well as the monetary value of their services in managing it to the extent that respondents were benefited thereby.

Following Article 1187[24] of the Civil Code, petitioners may keep whatever income or fruits they may have obtained from
Lot No. 88, and respondents need not account for the interests that the amounts they received as just compensation may
have earned in the meantime.

In accordance with Article 1190[25] of the Civil Code vis--vis Article 1189, which provides that (i)f a thing is improved by its
nature, or by time, the improvement shall inure to the benefit of the creditor x x x, respondents, as creditors, do not have
to pay, as part of the process of restitution, the appreciation in value of Lot No. 88, which is a natural consequence of
nature and time.[26]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The February 28, 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals, affirming the October 22,
1999 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 87, Cebu City, and its February 7, 2007 Resolution are AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION as follows:

1. Respondents are ORDERED to return to petitioners the just compensation they received for the expropriation of Lot
No. 88, plus legal interest, in the case of default, to be computed from the time petitioners comply with their obligation to
reconvey Lot No. 88 to them;

2. Respondents are ORDERED to pay petitioners the necessary expenses the latter incurred in maintaining Lot No. 88,
plus the monetary value of their services to the extent that respondents were benefited thereby;

3. Petitioners are ENTITLED to keep whatever fruits and income they may have obtained from Lot No. 88; and

4. Respondents are also ENTITLED to keep whatever interests the amounts they received as just compensation may
have earned in the meantime, as well as the appreciation in value of Lot No. 88, which is a natural consequence of nature
and time;

In light of the foregoing modifications, the case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 57, Cebu City, only for
the purpose of receiving evidence on the amounts that respondents will have to pay petitioners in accordance with this
Courts decision. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 146886. April 30, 2003]

DEVORAH E. BARDILLON, petitioner, vs. BARANGAY MASILI of Calamba, Laguna, respondent.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

An expropriation suit is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Accordingly, it falls within the jurisdiction of regional trial courts,
regardless of the value of the subject property.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the January 10, 2001
Decision and the February 5, 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals[2] (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 61088. The dispositive
part of the Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present [P]etition for [C]ertiorari is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and
accordingly DISMISSED, for lack of merit.[3]

The assailed Resolution[4] denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.

The Facts

The factual antecedents are summarized by the CA as follows:

At the root of this present [P]etition is the controversy surrounding the two (2) [C]omplaints for eminent domain which were
filed by herein respondent for the purpose of expropriating a ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (144) square meter-parcel of
land, otherwise known as Lot 4381-D situated in Barangay Masili, Calamba, Laguna and owned by herein petitioner under
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 383605 of the Registry of Deeds of Calamba, Laguna. Petitioner acquired from Makiling
Consolidated Credit Corporation the said lot pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale which was executed by and between the
former and the latter on October 7, 1996.

The first [C]omplaint for eminent domain, docketed as Civil Case No. 3648 and entitled Brgy. Masili, Calamba, Laguna v.
Emelita A. Reblara, Eugenia Almazan & Devorah E. Bardillon, was filed before the Municipal Trial Court of Calamba,
Laguna (MTC) on February 23, 1998, following the failure of Barangay Masili to reach an agreement with herein petitioner
on the purchase offer of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200,000.00). The expropriation of Lot 4381-D was
being pursued in view of providing Barangay Masili a multi-purpose hall for the use and benefit of its constituents.

On March 5, 1999, the MTC issued an order dismissing Civil Case No. 3648 for lack of interest for failure of the
[respondent] and its counsel to appear at the pre-trial. The MTC, in its Order dated May 3, 1999, denied [respondents]
[M]otion for [R]econsideration thereof.

The second [C]omplaint for eminent domain, docketed as Civil Case No. 2845-99-C and entitled Brgy. Masili, Calamba,
Laguna v. Devorah E. Bardillon, was filed before Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna (RTC) on
October 18, 1999. This [C]omplaint also sought the expropriation of the said Lot 4381-D for the erection of a multi-purpose
hall of Barangay Masili, but petitioner, by way of a Motion to Dismiss, opposed this [C]omplaint by alleging in the main that
it violated Section 19(f) of Rule 16 in that [respondents] cause of action is barred by prior judgment, pursuant to the
doctrine of res judicata.

On January 21, 2000, [the] Judge issued an order denying petitioners Motion to Dismiss, holding that the MTC which
ordered the dismissal of Civil Case No. 3648 has no jurisdiction over the said expropriation proceeding.

With the subsequent approval of Municipal Ordinance No. 2000-261 on July 10, 2000, and the submission thereof in
compliance with [the] Judges Order dated June 9, 2000 requiring herein respondent to produce the authority for the
expropriation through the Municipal Council of Calamba, Laguna, the assailed Order dated August 4, 2000 was issued in
favor of Barangay Masili x x x and, on August 16, 2000, the corresponding order for the issuance of the [W]rit of
[P]ossession over Lot 4381-D.[5]

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In dismissing the Petition, the CA held that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calamba, Laguna (Branch 37)[6] did not
commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed Orders. It ruled that the second Complaint for eminent domain
(Civil Case No. 2845-99-C) was not barred by res judicata. The reason is that the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), which
dismissed the first Complaint for eminent domain (Civil Case No. 3648), had no jurisdiction over the action.

Hence, this Petition.[7]

The Issues

In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration:

A. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction
when it denied and dismissed petitioners appeal;
B. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion when it did not pass upon and
consider the pending Motion for Reconsideration which was not resolved by the Regional Trial Court before issuing the
questioned Orders of 4 and 16 August 2000;

C. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in taking the total amount of the
assessed value of the land and building to confer jurisdiction to the court a quo;

D. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in ignoring the fact that there is
an existing multi-purpose hall erected in the land owned by Eugenia Almazan which should be subject of expropriation;
and

E. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in failing to consider the issue of
forum shopping committed by Respondent Masili.[8]

Simply put, the issues are as follows: (1) whether the MTC had jurisdiction over the expropriation case; (2) whether the
dismissal of that case before the MTC constituted res judicata; (3) whether the CA erred when it ignored the issue of entry
upon the premises; and (4) whether respondent is guilty of forum shopping.

The Courts Ruling

The Petition has no merit.

First Issue:

Jurisdiction Over Expropriation

Petitioner claims that, since the value of the land is only P11,448, the MTC had jurisdiction over the case.[9]

On the other hand, the appellate court held that the assessed value of the property was P28,960.[10] Thus, the MTC did
not have jurisdiction over the expropriation proceedings, because the amount involved was beyond the P20,000
jurisdictional amount cognizable by MTCs.

An expropriation suit does not involve the recovery of a sum of money. Rather, it deals with the exercise by the
government of its authority and right to take property for public use.[11] As such, it is incapable of pecuniary estimation
and should be filed with the regional trial courts.[12]

This was explained by the Court in Barangay San Roque v. Heirs of Francisco Pastor:[13]

It should be stressed that the primary consideration in an expropriation suit is whether the government or any of its
instrumentalities has complied with the requisites for the taking of private property. Hence, the courts determine the
authority of the government entity, the necessity of the expropriation, and the observance of due process. In the main, the
subject of an expropriation suit is the governments exercise of eminent domain, a matter that is incapable of pecuniary
estimation.

True, the value of the property to be expropriated is estimated in monetary terms, for the court is duty-bound to determine
the just compensation for it. This, however, is merely incidental to the expropriation suit. Indeed, that amount is
determined only after the court is satisfied with the propriety of the expropriation.

Verily, the Court held in Republic of the Philippines v. Zurbano that condemnation proceedings are within the jurisdiction
of Courts of First Instance, the forerunners of the regional trial courts. The said case was decided during the effectivity of
the Judiciary Act of 1948 which, like BP 129 in respect to RTCs, provided that courts of first instance had original
jurisdiction over all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is not capable of pecuniary estimation. The 1997
amendments to the Rules of Court were not intended to change these jurisprudential precedents.[14]

To reiterate, an expropriation suit is within the jurisdiction of the RTC regardless of the value of the land, because the
subject of the action is the governments exercise of eminent domain -- a matter that is incapable of pecuniary estimation.

Second Issue:

Res Judicata

Petitioner claims that the MTCs dismissal of the first Complaint for eminent domain was with prejudice, since there was no
indication to the contrary in the Order of dismissal. She contends that the filing of the second Complaint before the RTC
should therefore be dismissed on account of res judicata.

Res judicata literally means a matter adjudged, judicially acted upon or decided, or settled by judgment.[15] It provides
that a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive as to the rights of the parties
and their privies; and constitutes an absolute bar to subsequent actions involving the same claim, demand or cause of
action.[16]

The following are the requisites of res judicata: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) the court that rendered it had
jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) it is a judgment on the merits; and (4) there is -- between the first
and the second actions -- an identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action.[17]
Since the MTC had no jurisdiction over expropriation proceedings, the doctrine of res judicata finds no application even if
the Order of dismissal may have been an adjudication on the merits.

Third Issue:

Legality of Entry Into Premises

Petitioner argues that the CA erred when it ignored the RTCs Writ of Possession over her property, issued despite the
pending Motion for Reconsideration of the ruling dismissing the Complaint. We are not persuaded.

The requirements for the issuance of a writ of possession in an expropriation case are expressly and specifically governed
by Section 2 of Rule 67 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.[18] On the part of local government units, expropriation is
also governed by Section 19 of the Local Government Code.[19] Accordingly, in expropriation proceedings, the requisites
for authorizing immediate entry are as follows: (1) the filing of a complaint for expropriation sufficient in form and
substance; and (2) the deposit of the amount equivalent to 15 percent of the fair market value of the property to be
expropriated based on its current tax declaration.[20]

In the instant case, the issuance of the Writ of Possession in favor of respondent after it had filed the Complaint for
expropriation and deposited the amount required was proper, because it had complied with the foregoing requisites.

The issue of the necessity of the expropriation is a matter properly addressed to the RTC in the course of the
expropriation proceedings. If petitioner objects to the necessity of the takeover of her property, she should say so in her
Answer to the Complaint.[21] The RTC has the power to inquire into the legality of the exercise of the right of eminent
domain and to determine whether there is a genuine necessity for it.[22]

Fourth Issue:

Forum Shopping

Petitioner claims that respondent is guilty of forum shopping, because it scouted for another forum after obtaining an
unfavorable Decision from the MTC.

The test for determining the presence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis pendentia are present in two or
more pending cases, such that a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another.[23]

Be it noted that the earlier case lodged with the MTC had already been dismissed when the Complaint was filed before
the RTC. Even granting arguendo that both cases were still pending, a final judgment in the MTC case will not constitute
res judicata in the RTC, since the former had no jurisdiction over the expropriation case.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
LOURDES DE LA PAZ MASIKIP,

Petitioner,

- versus -

THE CITY OF PASIG, HON. MARIETTA A. LEGASPI, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court
of Pasig City, Branch 165 and THE COURT OF APPEALS,

Respondents.

G.R. No. 136349

Present:

PUNO, J., Chairman,

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,

CORONA,

AZCUNA, and

GARCIA, JJ.

Promulgated:

January 23, 2006

x----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

SANDOVAL GUTIERREZ, J.:


Where the taking by the State of private property is done for the benefit of a small community which seeks to have its own
sports and recreational facility, notwithstanding that there is such a recreational facility only a short distance away, such
taking cannot be considered to be for public use. Its expropriation is not valid. In this case, the Court defines what
constitutes a genuine necessity for public use.

This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated October 31, 1997 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 41860 affirming the Order[2] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 165, Pasig City, dated May 7, 1996 in S.C.A. No.
873. Likewise assailed is the Resolution[3] of the same court dated November 20, 1998 denying petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration.

The facts of the case are:

Petitioner Lourdes Dela Paz Masikip is the registered owner of a parcel of land with an area of 4,521 square meters
located at Pag-Asa, Caniogan, Pasig City, Metro Manila.

In a letter dated January 6, 1994, the then Municipality of Pasig, now City of Pasig, respondent, notified petitioner of its
intention to expropriate a 1,500 square meter portion of her property to be used for the sports development and
recreational activities of the residents of Barangay Caniogan. This was pursuant to Ordinance No. 42, Series of 1993
enacted by the then Sangguniang Bayan of Pasig.

Again, on March 23, 1994, respondent wrote another letter to petitioner, but this time the purpose was allegedly in line
with the program of the Municipal Government to provide land opportunities to deserving poor sectors of our community.

On May 2, 1994, petitioner sent a reply to respondent stating that the intended expropriation of her property is
unconstitutional, invalid, and oppressive, as the area of her lot is neither sufficient nor suitable to provide land
opportunities to deserving poor sectors of our community.

In its letter of December 20, 1994, respondent reiterated that the purpose of the expropriation of petitioners property is to
provide sports and recreational facilities to its poor residents.

Subsequently, on February 21, 1995, respondent filed with the trial court a complaint for expropriation, docketed as SCA
No. 873. Respondent prayed that the trial court, after due notice and hearing, issue an order for the condemnation of the
property; that commissioners be appointed for the purpose of determining the just compensation; and that judgment be
rendered based on the report of the commissioners.

On April 25, 1995, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the following grounds:

PLAINTIFF HAS NO CAUSE OF ACTION FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN,
CONSIDERING THAT:

(A) THERE IS NO GENUINE NECESSITY FOR THE TAKING OF THE PROPERTY SOUGHT TO BE EXPROPRIATED.

(B) PLAINTIFF HAS ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY CHOSEN THE PROPERTY SOUGHT TO BE
EXPROPRIATED.
(C) EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT DEFENDANTS PROPERTY MAY BE EXPROPRIATED BY PLAINTIFF, THE
FAIR MARKET VALUE OF THE PROPERTY TO BE EXPROPRIATED FAR EXCEEDS SEVENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND
PESOS (P78,000.00)

II

PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT IS DEFECTIVE IN FORM AND SUBSTANCE, CONSIDERING THAT:

(A) PLAINTIFF FAILS TO ALLEGE WITH CERTAINTY THE PURPOSE OF THE EXPROPRIATION.

(B) PLAINTIFF HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE PREREQUISITES LAID DOWN IN SECTION 34, RULE VI OF
THE RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; THUS, THE INSTANT
EXPROPRIATION PROCEEDING IS PREMATURE.

III

THE GRANTING OF THE EXPROPRIATION WOULD VIOLATE SECTION 261 (V) OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION
CODE.

IV

PLAINTIFF CANNOT TAKE POSSESSION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY BY MERELY DEPOSITING AN AMOUNT
EQUAL TO FIFTEEN PERCENT (15%) OF THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY BASED ON THE CURRENT TAX
DECLARATION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.[4]

On May 7, 1996, the trial court issued an Order denying the Motion to Dismiss,[5] on the ground that there is a genuine
necessity to expropriate the property for the sports and recreational activities of the residents of Pasig. As to the issue of
just compensation, the trial court held that the same is to be determined in accordance with the Revised Rules of Court.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the trial court in its Order of July 31, 1996. Forthwith, it
appointed the City Assessor and City Treasurer of Pasig City as commissioners to ascertain the just compensation. This
prompted petitioner to file with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
41860. On October 31, 1997, the Appellate Court dismissed the petition for lack of merit. Petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated November 20, 1998.

Hence, this petition anchored on the following grounds:

THE QUESTIONED DECISION DATED 31 OCTOBER 1997 (ATTACHMENT A) AND RESOLUTION DATED 20
NOVEMBER 1998 (ATTACHMENT B) ARE CONTRARY TO LAW, THE RULES OF COURT AND JURISPRUDENCE
CONSIDERING THAT:
I

A. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT THERE IS GENUINE NECESSITY FOR THE TAKING OF THE
PETITIONERS PROPERTY.

B. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT THE PUBLIC USE REQUIREMENT FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE
POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH.

C. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT RESPONDENT CITY OF PASIG HAS COMPLIED WITH ALL
CONDITIONS PRECEDENT FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN.

THE COURT A QUOS ORDER DATED 07 MAY 1996 AND 31 JULY 1996, WHICH WERE AFFIRMED BY THE COURT
OF APPEALS, EFFECTIVELY AMOUNT TO THE TAKING OF PETITIONERS PROPERTY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS
OF LAW:

II

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING OF RULE ON ACTIONABLE DOCUMENTS TO THE
DOCUMENTS ATTACHED TO RESPONDENT CITY OF PASIGS COMPLAINT DATED 07 APRIL 1995 TO JUSTIFY
THE COURT A QUOS DENIAL OF PETITIONERS RESPONSIVE PLEADING TO THE COMPLAINT FOR
EXPROPRIATION (THE MOTION TO DISMISS DATED 21 APRIL 1995).

III

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING THE RULE ON HYPOTHETICAL ADMISSION OF FACTS
ALLEGED IN A COMPLAINT CONSIDERING THAT THE MOTION TO DISMISS FILED BY PETITIONER IN THE
EXPROPRIATION CASE BELOW WAS THE RESPONSIVE PLEADING REQUIRED TO BE FILED UNDER THE THEN
RULE 67 OF THE RULES OF COURT AND NOT AN ORIDNARY MOTION TO DISMISS UNDER RULE 16 OF THE
RULES OF COURT.

The foregoing arguments may be synthesized into two main issues one substantive and one procedural. We will first
address the procedural issue.

Petitioner filed her Motion to Dismiss the complaint for expropriation on April 25, 1995. It was denied by the trial court on
May 7, 1996. At that time, the rule on expropriation was governed by Section 3, Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of Court
which provides:

SEC. 3. Defenses and objections. Within the time specified in the summons, each defendant, in lieu of an answer, shall
present in a single motion to dismiss or for other appropriate relief, all his objections and defenses to the right of the
plaintiff to take his property for the use or purpose specified in the complaint. All such objections and defenses not so
presented are waived. A copy of the motion shall be served on the plaintiffs attorney of record and filed with the court with
proof of service.
The motion to dismiss contemplated in the above Rule clearly constitutes the responsive pleading which takes the place
of an answer to the complaint for expropriation. Such motion is the pleading that puts in issue the right of the plaintiff to
expropriate the defendants property for the use specified in the complaint. All that the law requires is that a copy of the
said motion be served on plaintiffs attorney of record. It is the court that at its convenience will set the case for trial after
the filing of the said pleading.[6]

The Court of Appeals therefore erred in holding that the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner hypothetically admitted the
truth of the facts alleged in the complaint, specifically that there is a genuine necessity to expropriate petitioners property
for public use. Pursuant to the above Rule, the motion is a responsive pleading joining the issues. What the trial court
should have done was to set the case for the reception of evidence to determine whether there is indeed a genuine
necessity for the taking of the property, instead of summarily making a finding that the taking is for public use and
appointing commissioners to fix just compensation. This is especially so considering that the purpose of the expropriation
was squarely challenged and put in issue by petitioner in her motion to dismiss.

Significantly, the above Rule allowing a defendant in an expropriation case to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer
was amended by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect on July 1, 1997. Section 3, Rule 67 now expressly
mandates that any objection or defense to the taking of the property of a defendant must be set forth in an answer.

The fact that the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 41860 on October 31, after the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure took effect, is of no moment. It is only fair that the Rule at the time petitioner filed her motion to dismiss
should govern. The new provision cannot be applied retroactively to her prejudice.

We now proceed to address the substantive issue.

In the early case of US v. Toribio,[7] this Court defined the power of eminent domain as 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. It has also been described as the power of the State or its
instrumentalities to take private property for public use and is inseparable from sovereignty and inherent in government.[8]

The power of eminent domain is lodged in the legislative branch of the government. It delegates the exercise thereof to
local government units, other public entities and public utility corporations,[9] subject only to Constitutional limitations.
Local governments have no inherent power of eminent domain and may exercise it only when expressly authorized by
statute.[10] Section 19 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) prescribes the delegation by
Congress of the power of eminent domain to local government units and lays down the parameters for its exercise, thus:

SEC. 19. Eminent Domain. A local government unit may, through its chief executive and acting pursuant to an ordinance,
exercise the power of eminent domain for public use, purpose or welfare for the benefit of the poor and the landless, upon
payment of just compensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and pertinent laws: Provided, however, That,
the power of eminent domain may not be exercised unless a valid and definite offer has been previously made to the
owner and such offer was not accepted: Provided, further, That, the local government unit may immediately take
possession of the property upon the filing of expropriation proceedings and upon making a deposit with the proper court of
at least fifteen percent (15%) of the fair market value of the property based on the current tax declaration of the property
to be expropriated: Provided, finally, That, the amount to be paid for expropriated property shall be determined by the
proper court, based on the fair market value at the time of the taking of the property.

Judicial review of the exercise of eminent domain is limited to the following areas of concern: (a) the adequacy of the
compensation, (b) the necessity of the taking, and (c) the public use character of the purpose of the taking.[11]

In this case, petitioner contends that respondent City of Pasig failed to establish a genuine necessity which justifies the
condemnation of her property. While she does not dispute the intended public purpose, nonetheless, she insists that there
must be a genuine necessity for the proposed use and purposes. According to petitioner, there is already an established
sports development and recreational activity center at Rainforest Park in Pasig City, fully operational and being utilized by
its residents, including those from Barangay Caniogan. Respondent does not dispute this. Evidently, there is no genuine
necessity to justify the expropriation.
The right to take private property for public purposes necessarily originates from the necessity and the taking must be
limited to such necessity. In City of Manila v. Chinese Community of Manila,[12] we held that the very foundation of the
right to exercise eminent domain is a genuine necessity and that necessity must be of a public character. Moreover, the
ascertainment of the necessity must precede or accompany and not follow, the taking of the land. In City of Manila v.
Arellano Law College,[13] we ruled that necessity within the rule that the particular property to be expropriated must be
necessary, does not mean an absolute but only a reasonable or practical necessity, such as would combine the greatest
benefit to the public with the least inconvenience and expense to the condemning party and the property owner consistent
with such benefit.

Applying this standard, we hold that respondent City of Pasig has failed to establish that there is a genuine necessity to
expropriate petitioners property. Our scrutiny of the records shows that the Certification[14] issued by the Caniogan
Barangay Council dated November 20, 1994, the basis for the passage of Ordinance No. 42 s. 1993 authorizing the
expropriation, indicates that the intended beneficiary is the Melendres Compound Homeowners Association, a private,
non-profit organization, not the residents of Caniogan. It can be gleaned that the members of the said Association are
desirous of having their own private playground and recreational facility. Petitioners lot is the nearest vacant space
available. The purpose is, therefore, not clearly and categorically public. The necessity has not been shown, especially
considering that there exists an alternative facility for sports development and community recreation in the area, which is
the Rainforest Park, available to all residents of Pasig City, including those of Caniogan.

The right to own and possess property is one of the most cherished rights of men. It is so fundamental that it has been
written into organic law of every nation where the rule of law prevails. Unless the requisite of genuine necessity for the
expropriation of ones property is clearly established, it shall be the duty of the courts to protect the rights of individuals to
their private property. Important as the power of eminent domain may be, the inviolable sanctity which the Constitution
attaches to the property of the individual requires not only that the purpose for the taking of private property be specified.
The genuine necessity for the taking, which must be of a public character, must also be shown to exist.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 41860 are REVERSED. The complaint for expropriation filed before the trial court by respondent City of
Pasig, docketed as SCA No. 873, is ordered DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-22734 September 15, 1967

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner,


vs.
MANUEL B. PINEDA, as one of the heirs of deceased ATANASIO PINEDA, respondent.

Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.


Manuel B. Pineda for and in his own behalf as respondent.

BENGZON, J.P., J.:

On May 23, 1945 Atanasio Pineda died, survived by his wife, Felicisima Bagtas, and 15 children, the eldest of whom is
Manuel B. Pineda, a lawyer. Estate proceedings were had in the Court of First Instance of Manila (Case No. 71129)
wherein the surviving widow was appointed administratrix. The estate was divided among and awarded to the heirs and
the proceedings terminated on June 8, 1948. Manuel B. Pineda's share amounted to about P2,500.00.

After the estate proceedings were closed, the Bureau of Internal Revenue investigated the income tax liability of the
estate for the years 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1948 and it found that the corresponding income tax returns were not filed.
Thereupon, the representative of the Collector of Internal Revenue filed said returns for the estate on the basis of
information and data obtained from the aforesaid estate proceedings and issued an assessment for the following:

1. Deficiency income tax


1945 P135.83
1946 436.95
1947 1,206.91 P1,779.69
Add: 5% surcharge 88.98
1% monthly interest from November 30, 1953 to April 15, 1957 720.77
Compromise for late filing 80.00
Compromise for late payment 40.00
Total amount due
P2,707.44
===========
2. Additional residence tax for 1945 P14.50
===========
3. Real Estate dealer's tax for the fourth quarter of 1946 and the whole year of 1947 P207.50
===========
Manuel B. Pineda, who received the assessment, contested the same. Subsequently, he appealed to the Court of Tax
Appeals alleging that he was appealing "only that proportionate part or portion pertaining to him as one of the heirs."

After hearing the parties, the Court of Tax Appeals rendered judgment reversing the decision of the Commissioner on the
ground that his right to assess and collect the tax has prescribed. The Commissioner appealed and this Court affirmed the
findings of the Tax Court in respect to the assessment for income tax for the year 1947 but held that the right to assess
and collect the taxes for 1945 and 1946 has not prescribed. For 1945 and 1946 the returns were filed on August 24, 1953;
assessments for both taxable years were made within five years therefrom or on October 19, 1953; and the action to
collect the tax was filed within five years from the latter date, on August 7, 1957. For taxable year 1947, however, the
return was filed on March 1, 1948; the assessment was made on October 19, 1953, more than five years from the date
the return was filed; hence, the right to assess income tax for 1947 had prescribed. Accordingly, We remanded the case
to the Tax Court for further appropriate proceedings.1

In the Tax Court, the parties submitted the case for decision without additional evidence.

On November 29, 1963 the Court of Tax Appeals rendered judgment holding Manuel B. Pineda liable for the payment
corresponding to his share of the following taxes:

Deficiency income tax

1945 P135.83
1946 436.95
Real estate dealer's fixed tax 4th quarter of 1946 and whole year of 1947 P187.50
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has appealed to Us and has proposed to hold Manuel B. Pineda liable for the
payment of all the taxes found by the Tax Court to be due from the estate in the total amount of P760.28 instead of only
for the amount of taxes corresponding to his share in the estate.1awphîl.nèt

Manuel B. Pineda opposes the proposition on the ground that as an heir he is liable for unpaid income tax due the estate
only up to the extent of and in proportion to any share he received. He relies on Government of the Philippine Islands v.
Pamintuan2 where We held that "after the partition of an estate, heirs and distributees are liable individually for the
payment of all lawful outstanding claims against the estate in proportion to the amount or value of the property they have
respectively received from the estate."

We hold that the Government can require Manuel B. Pineda to pay the full amount of the taxes assessed.

Pineda is liable for the assessment as an heir and as a holder-transferee of property belonging to the estate/taxpayer. As
an heir he is individually answerable for the part of the tax proportionate to the share he received from the inheritance.3
His liability, however, cannot exceed the amount of his share.4
As a holder of property belonging to the estate, Pineda is liable for he tax up to the amount of the property in his
possession. The reason is that the Government has a lien on the P2,500.00 received by him from the estate as his share
in the inheritance, for unpaid income taxes4a for which said estate is liable, pursuant to the last paragraph of Section 315
of the Tax Code, which we quote hereunder:

If any person, corporation, partnership, joint-account (cuenta en participacion), association, or insurance company liable
to pay the income tax, neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount shall be a lien in favor of the
Government of the Philippines from the time when the assessment was made by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
until paid with interest, penalties, and costs that may accrue in addition thereto upon all property and rights to property
belonging to the taxpayer: . . .

By virtue of such lien, the Government has the right to subject the property in Pineda's possession, i.e., the P2,500.00, to
satisfy the income tax assessment in the sum of P760.28. After such payment, Pineda will have a right of contribution
from his co-heirs,5 to achieve an adjustment of the proper share of each heir in the distributable estate.

All told, the Government has two ways of collecting the tax in question. One, by going after all the heirs and collecting
from each one of them the amount of the tax proportionate to the inheritance received. This remedy was adopted in
Government of the Philippine Islands v. Pamintuan, supra. In said case, the Government filed an action against all the
heirs for the collection of the tax. This action rests on the concept that hereditary property consists only of that part which
remains after the settlement of all lawful claims against the estate, for the settlement of which the entire estate is first
liable.6 The reason why in case suit is filed against all the heirs the tax due from the estate is levied proportionately
against them is to achieve thereby two results: first, payment of the tax; and second, adjustment of the shares of each heir
in the distributed estate as lessened by the tax.

Another remedy, pursuant to the lien created by Section 315 of the Tax Code upon all property and rights to property
belonging to the taxpayer for unpaid income tax, is by subjecting said property of the estate which is in the hands of an
heir or transferee to the payment of the tax due, the estate. This second remedy is the very avenue the Government took
in this case to collect the tax. The Bureau of Internal Revenue should be given, in instances like the case at bar, the
necessary discretion to avail itself of the most expeditious way to collect the tax as may be envisioned in the particular
provision of the Tax Code above quoted, because taxes are the lifeblood of government and their prompt and certain
availability is an imperious need.7 And as afore-stated in this case the suit seeks to achieve only one objective: payment
of the tax. The adjustment of the respective shares due to the heirs from the inheritance, as lessened by the tax, is left to
await the suit for contribution by the heir from whom the Government recovered said tax.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is modified. Manuel B. Pineda is hereby ordered to pay to the Commissioner
of Internal Revenue the sum of P760.28 as deficiency income tax for 1945 and 1946, and real estate dealer's fixed tax for
the fourth quarter of 1946 and for the whole year 1947, without prejudice to his right of contribution for his co-heirs. No
costs. So ordered.
MANILA INTERNATIONAL G.R. No. 155650
AIRPORT AUTHORITY,

Petitioner, Present:

PANGANIBAN, C.J.,

PUNO,

QUISUMBING,

YNARES-SANTIAGO,

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,

- versus - CARPIO,

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

CORONA,

CARPIO MORALES,

CALLEJO, SR.,

AZCUNA,

COURT OF APPEALS, CITY OF TINGA,

PARAAQUE, CITY MAYOR OF CHICO-NAZARIO,


PARAAQUE, SANGGUNIANG GARCIA, and

PANGLUNGSOD NG PARAAQUE, VELASCO, JR., JJ.

CITY ASSESSOR OF PARAAQUE,

and CITY TREASURER OF Promulgated:

PARAAQUE,

Respondents. July 20, 2006

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

D E C I S I ON

CARPIO, J.:

The Antecedents

Petitioner Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) operates the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Complex in
Paraaque City under Executive Order No. 903, otherwise known as the Revised Charter of the Manila International Airport
Authority (MIAA Charter). Executive Order No. 903 was issued on 21 July 1983 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Subsequently, Executive Order Nos. 909[1] and 298[2] amended the MIAA Charter.

As operator of the international airport, MIAA administers the land, improvements and equipment within the NAIA
Complex. The MIAA Charter transferred to MIAA approximately 600 hectares of land,[3] including the runways and
buildings (Airport Lands and Buildings) then under the Bureau of Air Transportation.[4] The MIAA Charter further provides
that no portion of the land transferred to MIAA shall be disposed of through sale or any other mode unless specifically
approved by the President of the Philippines.[5]
On 21 March 1997, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) issued Opinion No. 061. The OGCC opined
that the Local Government Code of 1991 withdrew the exemption from real estate tax granted to MIAA under Section 21
of the MIAA Charter. Thus, MIAA negotiated with respondent City of Paraaque to pay the real estate tax imposed by the
City. MIAA then paid some of the real estate tax already due.

On 28 June 2001, MIAA received Final Notices of Real Estate Tax Delinquency from the City of Paraaque for the taxable
years 1992 to 2001. MIAAs real estate tax delinquency is broken down as follows:

TAX DECLARATION

TAXABLE YEAR

TAX DUE

PENALTY

TOTAL

E-016-01370

1992-2001

19,558,160.00

11,201,083.20

30,789,243.20

E-016-01374

1992-2001

111,689,424.90

68,149,479.59

179,838,904.49

E-016-01375

1992-2001

20,276,058.00

12,371,832.00

32,647,890.00

E-016-01376

1992-2001

58,144,028.00

35,477,712.00

93,621,740.00

E-016-01377

1992-2001

18,134,614.65

11,065,188.59

29,199,803.24
E-016-01378

1992-2001

111,107,950.40

67,794,681.59

178,902,631.99

E-016-01379

1992-2001

4,322,340.00

2,637,360.00

6,959,700.00

E-016-01380

1992-2001

7,776,436.00

4,744,944.00

12,521,380.00

*E-016-013-85

1998-2001

6,444,810.00

2,900,164.50

9,344,974.50

*E-016-01387

1998-2001

34,876,800.00

5,694,560.00

50,571,360.00

*E-016-01396

1998-2001

75,240.00

33,858.00

109,098.00

GRAND TOTAL

P392,435,861.95

P232,070,863.47

P 624,506,725.42

1992-1997 RPT was paid on Dec. 24, 1997 as per O.R.#9476102 for P4,207,028.75
#9476101 for P28,676,480.00

#9476103 for P49,115.00[6]

On 17 July 2001, the City of Paraaque, through its City Treasurer, issued notices of levy and warrants of levy on the
Airport Lands and Buildings. The Mayor of the City of Paraaque threatened to sell at public auction the Airport Lands and
Buildings should MIAA fail to pay the real estate tax delinquency. MIAA thus sought a clarification of OGCC Opinion No.
061.

On 9 August 2001, the OGCC issued Opinion No. 147 clarifying OGCC Opinion No. 061. The OGCC pointed out that
Section 206 of the Local Government Code requires persons exempt from real estate tax to show proof of exemption. The
OGCC opined that Section 21 of the MIAA Charter is the proof that MIAA is exempt from real estate tax.

On 1 October 2001, MIAA filed with the Court of Appeals an original petition for prohibition and injunction, with prayer for
preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. The petition sought to restrain the City of Paraaque from imposing
real estate tax on, levying against, and auctioning for public sale the Airport Lands and Buildings. The petition was
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 66878.

On 5 October 2001, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition because MIAA filed it beyond the 60-day reglementary
period. The Court of Appeals also denied on 27 September 2002 MIAAs motion for reconsideration and supplemental
motion for reconsideration. Hence, MIAA filed on 5 December 2002 the present petition for review.[7]

Meanwhile, in January 2003, the City of Paraaque posted notices of auction sale at the Barangay Halls of Barangays
Vitalez, Sto. Nio, and Tambo, Paraaque City; in the public market of Barangay La Huerta; and in the main lobby of the
Paraaque City Hall. The City of Paraaque published the notices in the 3 and 10 January 2003 issues of the Philippine
Daily Inquirer, a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. The notices announced the public auction sale of the
Airport Lands and Buildings to the highest bidder on 7 February 2003, 10:00 a.m., at the Legislative Session Hall Building
of Paraaque City.

A day before the public auction, or on 6 February 2003, at 5:10 p.m., MIAA filed before this Court an Urgent Ex-Parte and
Reiteratory Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order. The motion sought to restrain respondents the City
of Paraaque, City Mayor of Paraaque, Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Paraaque, City Treasurer of Paraaque, and the City
Assessor of Paraaque (respondents) from auctioning the Airport Lands and Buildings.

On 7 February 2003, this Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) effective immediately. The Court ordered
respondents to cease and desist from selling at public auction the Airport Lands and Buildings. Respondents received the
TRO on the same day that the Court issued it. However, respondents received the TRO only at 1:25 p.m. or three hours
after the conclusion of the public auction.

On 10 February 2003, this Court issued a Resolution confirming nunc pro tunc the TRO.

On 29 March 2005, the Court heard the parties in oral arguments. In compliance with the directive issued during the
hearing, MIAA, respondent City of Paraaque, and the Solicitor General subsequently submitted their respective
Memoranda.

MIAA admits that the MIAA Charter has placed the title to the Airport Lands and Buildings in the name of MIAA. However,
MIAA points out that it cannot claim ownership over these properties since the real owner of the Airport Lands and
Buildings is the Republic of the Philippines. The MIAA Charter mandates MIAA to devote the Airport Lands and Buildings
for the benefit of the general public. Since the Airport Lands and Buildings are devoted to public use and public service,
the ownership of these properties remains with the State. The Airport Lands and Buildings are thus inalienable and are
not subject to real estate tax by local governments.

MIAA also points out that Section 21 of the MIAA Charter specifically exempts MIAA from the payment of real estate tax.
MIAA insists that it is also exempt from real estate tax under Section 234 of the Local Government Code because the
Airport Lands and Buildings are owned by the Republic. To justify the exemption, MIAA invokes the principle that the
government cannot tax itself. MIAA points out that the reason for tax exemption of public property is that its taxation would
not inure to any public advantage, since in such a case the tax debtor is also the tax creditor.
Respondents invoke Section 193 of the Local Government Code, which expressly withdrew the tax exemption privileges
of government-owned and-controlled corporations upon the effectivity of the Local Government Code. Respondents also
argue that a basic rule of statutory construction is that the express mention of one person, thing, or act excludes all
others. An international airport is not among the exceptions mentioned in Section 193 of the Local Government Code.
Thus, respondents assert that MIAA cannot claim that the Airport Lands and Buildings are exempt from real estate tax.

Respondents also cite the ruling of this Court in Mactan International Airport v. Marcos[8] where we held that the Local
Government Code has withdrawn the exemption from real estate tax granted to international airports. Respondents further
argue that since MIAA has already paid some of the real estate tax assessments, it is now estopped from claiming that
the Airport Lands and Buildings are exempt from real estate tax.

The Issue

This petition raises the threshold issue of whether the Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are exempt from real estate
tax under existing laws. If so exempt, then the real estate tax assessments issued by the City of Paraaque, and all
proceedings taken pursuant to such assessments, are void. In such event, the other issues raised in this petition become
moot.

The Courts Ruling

We rule that MIAAs Airport Lands and Buildings are exempt from real estate tax imposed by local governments.

First, MIAA is not a government-owned or controlled corporation but an instrumentality of the National Government and
thus exempt from local taxation. Second, the real properties of MIAA are owned by the Republic of the Philippines and
thus exempt from real estate tax.

1. MIAA is Not a Government-Owned or Controlled Corporation

Respondents argue that MIAA, being a government-owned or controlled corporation, is not exempt from real estate tax.
Respondents claim that the deletion of the phrase any government-owned or controlled so exempt by its charter in
Section 234(e) of the Local Government Code withdrew the real estate tax exemption of government-owned or controlled
corporations. The deleted phrase appeared in Section 40(a) of the 1974 Real Property Tax Code enumerating the entities
exempt from real estate tax.

There is no dispute that a government-owned or controlled corporation is not exempt from real estate tax. However, MIAA
is not a government-owned or controlled corporation. Section 2(13) of the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative
Code of 1987 defines a government-owned or controlled corporation as follows:

SEC. 2. General Terms Defined. x x x x

(13) Government-owned or controlled corporation refers to any agency organized as a stock or non-stock corporation,
vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature, and owned by the
Government directly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or, where applicable as in the case of stock
corporations, to the extent of at least fifty-one (51) percent of its capital stock: x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
A government-owned or controlled corporation must be organized as a stock or non-stock corporation. MIAA is not
organized as a stock or non-stock corporation. MIAA is not a stock corporation because it has no capital stock divided into
shares. MIAA has no stockholders or voting shares. Section 10 of the MIAA Charter[9] provides:

SECTION 10. Capital. The capital of the Authority to be contributed by the National Government shall be increased from
Two and One-half Billion (P2,500,000,000.00) Pesos to Ten Billion (P10,000,000,000.00) Pesos to consist of:

(a) The value of fixed assets including airport facilities, runways and equipment and such other properties, movable and
immovable[,] which may be contributed by the National Government or transferred by it from any of its agencies, the
valuation of which shall be determined jointly with the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on
Audit on the date of such contribution or transfer after making due allowances for depreciation and other deductions
taking into account the loans and other liabilities of the Authority at the time of the takeover of the assets and other
properties;

(b) That the amount of P605 million as of December 31, 1986 representing about seventy percentum (70%) of the
unremitted share of the National Government from 1983 to 1986 to be remitted to the National Treasury as provided for in
Section 11 of E. O. No. 903 as amended, shall be converted into the equity of the National Government in the Authority.
Thereafter, the Government contribution to the capital of the Authority shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act.

Clearly, under its Charter, MIAA does not have capital stock that is divided into shares.

Section 3 of the Corporation Code[10] defines a stock corporation as one whose capital stock is divided into shares and x
x x authorized to distribute to the holders of such shares dividends x x x. MIAA has capital but it is not divided into shares
of stock. MIAA has no stockholders or voting shares. Hence, MIAA is not a stock corporation.

MIAA is also not a non-stock corporation because it has no members. Section 87 of the Corporation Code defines a non-
stock corporation as one where no part of its income is distributable as dividends to its members, trustees or officers. A
non-stock corporation must have members. Even if we assume that the Government is considered as the sole member of
MIAA, this will not make MIAA a non-stock corporation. Non-stock corporations cannot distribute any part of their income
to their members. Section 11 of the MIAA Charter mandates MIAA to remit 20% of its annual gross operating income to
the National Treasury.[11] This prevents MIAA from qualifying as a non-stock corporation.

Section 88 of the Corporation Code provides that non-stock corporations are organized for charitable, religious,
educational, professional, cultural, recreational, fraternal, literary, scientific, social, civil service, or similar purposes, like
trade, industry, agriculture and like chambers. MIAA is not organized for any of these purposes. MIAA, a public utility, is
organized to operate an international and domestic airport for public use.

Since MIAA is neither a stock nor a non-stock corporation, MIAA does not qualify as a government-owned or controlled
corporation. What then is the legal status of MIAA within the National Government?

MIAA is a government instrumentality vested with corporate powers to perform efficiently its governmental functions.
MIAA is like any other government instrumentality, the only difference is that MIAA is vested with corporate powers.
Section 2(10) of the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative Code defines a government instrumentality as follows:

SEC. 2. General Terms Defined. x x x x


(10) Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework,
vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special
funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

When the law vests in a government instrumentality corporate powers, the instrumentality does not become a corporation.
Unless the government instrumentality is organized as a stock or non-stock corporation, it remains a government
instrumentality exercising not only governmental but also corporate powers. Thus, MIAA exercises the governmental
powers of eminent domain,[12] police authority[13] and the levying of fees and charges.[14] At the same time, MIAA
exercises all the powers of a corporation under the Corporation Law, insofar as these powers are not inconsistent with the
provisions of this Executive Order.[15]

Likewise, when the law makes a government instrumentality operationally autonomous, the instrumentality remains part of
the National Government machinery although not integrated with the department framework. The MIAA Charter expressly
states that transforming MIAA into a separate and autonomous body[16] will make its operation more financially
viable.[17]

Many government instrumentalities are vested with corporate powers but they do not become stock or non-stock
corporations, which is a necessary condition before an agency or instrumentality is deemed a government-owned or
controlled corporation. Examples are the Mactan International Airport Authority, the Philippine Ports Authority, the
University of the Philippines and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. All these government instrumentalities exercise corporate
powers but they are not organized as stock or non-stock corporations as required by Section 2(13) of the Introductory
Provisions of the Administrative Code. These government instrumentalities are sometimes loosely called government
corporate entities. However, they are not government-owned or controlled corporations in the strict sense as understood
under the Administrative Code, which is the governing law defining the legal relationship and status of government
entities.

A government instrumentality like MIAA falls under Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code, which states:

SEC. 133. Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of Local Government Units. Unless otherwise provided herein, the
exercise of the taxing powers of provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays shall not extend to the levy of the
following:

xxxx

(o) Taxes, fees or charges of any kind on the National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities and local
government units. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Section 133(o) recognizes the basic principle that local governments cannot tax the national government, which
historically merely delegated to local governments the power to tax. While the 1987 Constitution now includes taxation as
one of the powers of local governments, local governments may only exercise such power subject to such guidelines and
limitations as the Congress may provide.[18]

When local governments invoke the power to tax on national government instrumentalities, such power is construed
strictly against local governments. The rule is that a tax is never presumed and there must be clear language in the law
imposing the tax. Any doubt whether a person, article or activity is taxable is resolved against taxation. This rule applies
with greater force when local governments seek to tax national government instrumentalities.

Another rule is that a tax exemption is strictly construed against the taxpayer claiming the exemption. However, when
Congress grants an exemption to a national government instrumentality from local taxation, such exemption is construed
liberally in favor of the national government instrumentality. As this Court declared in Maceda v. Macaraig, Jr.:
The reason for the rule does not apply in the case of exemptions running to the benefit of the government itself or its
agencies. In such case the practical effect of an exemption is merely to reduce the amount of money that has to be
handled by government in the course of its operations. For these reasons, provisions granting exemptions to government
agencies may be construed liberally, in favor of non tax-liability of such agencies.[19]

There is, moreover, no point in national and local governments taxing each other, unless a sound and compelling policy
requires such transfer of public funds from one government pocket to another.

There is also no reason for local governments to tax national government instrumentalities for rendering essential public
services to inhabitants of local governments. The only exception is when the legislature clearly intended to tax
government instrumentalities for the delivery of essential public services for sound and compelling policy considerations.
There must be express language in the law empowering local governments to tax national government instrumentalities.
Any doubt whether such power exists is resolved against local governments.

Thus, Section 133 of the Local Government Code states that unless otherwise provided in the Code, local governments
cannot tax national government instrumentalities. As this Court held in Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming
Corporation:

The states have no power by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the operation of
constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the federal government. (MC Culloch
v. Maryland, 4 Wheat 316, 4 L Ed. 579)

This doctrine emanates from the supremacy of the National Government over local governments.

Justice Holmes, speaking for the Supreme Court, made reference to the entire absence of power on the part of the States
to touch, in that way (taxation) at least, the instrumentalities of the United States (Johnson v. Maryland, 254 US 51) and it
can be agreed that no state or political subdivision can regulate a federal instrumentality in such a way as to prevent it
from consummating its federal responsibilities, or even to seriously burden it in the accomplishment of them. (Antieau,
Modern Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, p. 140, emphasis supplied)

Otherwise, mere creatures of the State can defeat National policies thru extermination of what local authorities may
perceive to be undesirable activities or enterprise using the power to tax as a tool for regulation (U.S. v. Sanchez, 340 US
42).

The power to tax which was called by Justice Marshall as the power to destroy (Mc Culloch v. Maryland, supra) cannot be
allowed to defeat an instrumentality or creation of the very entity which has the inherent power to wield it. [20]

2. Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are Owned by the Republic

a. Airport Lands and Buildings are of Public Dominion

The Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are property of public dominion and therefore owned by the State or the
Republic of the Philippines. The Civil Code provides:
ARTICLE 419. Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership.

ARTICLE 420. The following things are property of public dominion:

(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State,
banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;

(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the
development of the national wealth. (Emphasis supplied)

ARTICLE 421. All other property of the State, which is not of the character stated in the preceding article, is patrimonial
property.

ARTICLE 422. Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of
the patrimonial property of the State.

No one can dispute that properties of public dominion mentioned in Article 420 of the Civil Code, like roads, canals, rivers,
torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, are owned by the State. The term ports includes seaports and
airports. The MIAA Airport Lands and Buildings constitute a port constructed by the State. Under Article 420 of the Civil
Code, the MIAA Airport Lands and Buildings are properties of public dominion and thus owned by the State or the
Republic of the Philippines.

The Airport Lands and Buildings are devoted to public use because they are used by the public for international and
domestic travel and transportation. The fact that the MIAA collects terminal fees and other charges from the public does
not remove the character of the Airport Lands and Buildings as properties for public use. The operation by the government
of a tollway does not change the character of the road as one for public use. Someone must pay for the maintenance of
the road, either the public indirectly through the taxes they pay the government, or only those among the public who
actually use the road through the toll fees they pay upon using the road. The tollway system is even a more efficient and
equitable manner of taxing the public for the maintenance of public roads.

The charging of fees to the public does not determine the character of the property whether it is of public dominion or not.
Article 420 of the Civil Code defines property of public dominion as one intended for public use. Even if the government
collects toll fees, the road is still intended for public use if anyone can use the road under the same terms and conditions
as the rest of the public. The charging of fees, the limitation on the kind of vehicles that can use the road, the speed
restrictions and other conditions for the use of the road do not affect the public character of the road.

The terminal fees MIAA charges to passengers, as well as the landing fees MIAA charges to airlines, constitute the bulk of
the income that maintains the operations of MIAA. The collection of such fees does not change the character of MIAA as
an airport for public use. Such fees are often termed users tax. This means taxing those among the public who actually
use a public facility instead of taxing all the public including those who never use the particular public facility. A users tax
is more equitable a principle of taxation mandated in the 1987 Constitution.[21]

The Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA, which its Charter calls the principal airport of the Philippines for both
international and domestic air traffic,[22] are properties of public dominion because they are intended for public use. As
properties of public dominion, they indisputably belong to the State or the Republic of the Philippines.
b. Airport Lands and Buildings are Outside the Commerce of Man

The Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are devoted to public use and thus are properties of public dominion. As
properties of public dominion, the Airport Lands and Buildings are outside the commerce of man. The Court has ruled
repeatedly that properties of public dominion are outside the commerce of man. As early as 1915, this Court already ruled
in Municipality of Cavite v. Rojas that properties devoted to public use are outside the commerce of man, thus:

According to article 344 of the Civil Code: Property for public use in provinces and in towns comprises the provincial and
town roads, the squares, streets, fountains, and public waters, the promenades, and public works of general service
supported by said towns or provinces.

The said Plaza Soledad being a promenade for public use, the municipal council of Cavite could not in 1907 withdraw or
exclude from public use a portion thereof in order to lease it for the sole benefit of the defendant Hilaria Rojas. In leasing a
portion of said plaza or public place to the defendant for private use the plaintiff municipality exceeded its authority in the
exercise of its powers by executing a contract over a thing of which it could not dispose, nor is it empowered so to do.

The Civil Code, article 1271, prescribes that everything which is not outside the commerce of man may be the object of a
contract, and plazas and streets are outside of this commerce, as was decided by the supreme court of Spain in its
decision of February 12, 1895, which says: Communal things that cannot be sold because they are by their very nature
outside of commerce are those for public use, such as the plazas, streets, common lands, rivers, fountains, etc.
(Emphasis supplied) [23]

Again in Espiritu v. Municipal Council, the Court declared that properties of public dominion are outside the commerce of
man:

xxx Town plazas are properties of public dominion, to be devoted to public use and to be made available to the public in
general. They are outside the commerce of man and cannot be disposed of or even leased by the municipality to private
parties. While in case of war or during an emergency, town plazas may be occupied temporarily by private individuals, as
was done and as was tolerated by the Municipality of Pozorrubio, when the emergency has ceased, said temporary
occupation or use must also cease, and the town officials should see to it that the town plazas should ever be kept open
to the public and free from encumbrances or illegal private constructions.[24] (Emphasis supplied)

The Court has also ruled that property of public dominion, being outside the commerce of man, cannot be the subject of
an auction sale.[25]

Properties of public dominion, being for public use, are not subject to levy, encumbrance or disposition through public or
private sale. Any encumbrance, levy on execution or auction sale of any property of public dominion is void for being
contrary to public policy. Essential public services will stop if properties of public dominion are subject to encumbrances,
foreclosures and auction sale. This will happen if the City of Paraaque can foreclose and compel the auction sale of the
600-hectare runway of the MIAA for non-payment of real estate tax.

Before MIAA can encumber[26] the Airport Lands and Buildings, the President must first withdraw from public use the
Airport Lands and Buildings. Sections 83 and 88 of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. 141, which remains to
this day the existing general law governing the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain other than
timber and mineral lands,[27] provide:

SECTION 83. Upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the President may
designate by proclamation any tract or tracts of land of the public domain as reservations for the use of the Republic of the
Philippines or of any of its branches, or of the inhabitants thereof, in accordance with regulations prescribed for this
purposes, or for quasi-public uses or purposes when the public interest requires it, including reservations for highways,
rights of way for railroads, hydraulic power sites, irrigation systems, communal pastures or lequas communales, public
parks, public quarries, public fishponds, working mens village and other improvements for the public benefit.
SECTION 88. The tract or tracts of land reserved under the provisions of Section eighty-three shall be non-alienable and
shall not be subject to occupation, entry, sale, lease, or other disposition until again declared alienable under the
provisions of this Act or by proclamation of the President. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus, unless the President issues a proclamation withdrawing the Airport Lands and Buildings from public use, these
properties remain properties of public dominion and are inalienable. Since the Airport Lands and Buildings are inalienable
in their present status as properties of public dominion, they are not subject to levy on execution or foreclosure sale. As
long as the Airport Lands and Buildings are reserved for public use, their ownership remains with the State or the
Republic of the Philippines.

The authority of the President to reserve lands of the public domain for public use, and to withdraw such public use, is
reiterated in Section 14, Chapter 4, Title I, Book III of the Administrative Code of 1987, which states:

SEC. 14. Power to Reserve Lands of the Public and Private Domain of the Government. (1) The President shall have the
power to reserve for settlement or public use, and for specific public purposes, any of the lands of the public domain, the
use of which is not otherwise directed by law. The reserved land shall thereafter remain subject to the specific public
purpose indicated until otherwise provided by law or proclamation;

x x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

There is no question, therefore, that unless the Airport Lands and Buildings are withdrawn by law or presidential
proclamation from public use, they are properties of public dominion, owned by the Republic and outside the commerce of
man.

c. MIAA is a Mere Trustee of the Republic

MIAA is merely holding title to the Airport Lands and Buildings in trust for the Republic. Section 48, Chapter 12, Book I of
the Administrative Code allows instrumentalities like MIAA to hold title to real properties owned by the Republic, thus:

SEC. 48. Official Authorized to Convey Real Property. Whenever real property of the Government is authorized by law to
be conveyed, the deed of conveyance shall be executed in behalf of the government by the following:

(1) For property belonging to and titled in the name of the Republic of the Philippines, by the President, unless the
authority therefor is expressly vested by law in another officer.

(2) For property belonging to the Republic of the Philippines but titled in the name of any political subdivision or of any
corporate agency or instrumentality, by the executive head of the agency or instrumentality. (Emphasis supplied)

In MIAAs case, its status as a mere trustee of the Airport Lands and Buildings is clearer because even its executive head
cannot sign the deed of conveyance on behalf of the Republic. Only the President of the Republic can sign such deed of
conveyance.[28]
d. Transfer to MIAA was Meant to Implement a Reorganization

The MIAA Charter, which is a law, transferred to MIAA the title to the Airport Lands and Buildings from the Bureau of Air
Transportation of the Department of Transportation and Communications. The MIAA Charter provides:

SECTION 3. Creation of the Manila International Airport Authority. x x x x

The land where the Airport is presently located as well as the surrounding land area of approximately six hundred
hectares, are hereby transferred, conveyed and assigned to the ownership and administration of the Authority, subject to
existing rights, if any. The Bureau of Lands and other appropriate government agencies shall undertake an actual survey
of the area transferred within one year from the promulgation of this Executive Order and the corresponding title to be
issued in the name of the Authority. Any portion thereof shall not be disposed through sale or through any other mode
unless specifically approved by the President of the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied)

SECTION 22. Transfer of Existing Facilities and Intangible Assets. All existing public airport facilities, runways, lands,
buildings and other property, movable or immovable, belonging to the Airport, and all assets, powers, rights, interests and
privileges belonging to the Bureau of Air Transportation relating to airport works or air operations, including all equipment
which are necessary for the operation of crash fire and rescue facilities, are hereby transferred to the Authority. (Emphasis
supplied)

SECTION 25. Abolition of the Manila International Airport as a Division in the Bureau of Air Transportation and Transitory
Provisions. The Manila International Airport including the Manila Domestic Airport as a division under the Bureau of Air
Transportation is hereby abolished.

x x x x.

The MIAA Charter transferred the Airport Lands and Buildings to MIAA without the Republic receiving cash, promissory
notes or even stock since MIAA is not a stock corporation.

The whereas clauses of the MIAA Charter explain the rationale for the transfer of the Airport Lands and Buildings to MIAA,
thus:

WHEREAS, the Manila International Airport as the principal airport of the Philippines for both international and domestic
air traffic, is required to provide standards of airport accommodation and service comparable with the best airports in the
world;

WHEREAS, domestic and other terminals, general aviation and other facilities, have to be upgraded to meet the current
and future air traffic and other demands of aviation in Metro Manila;

WHEREAS, a management and organization study has indicated that the objectives of providing high standards of
accommodation and service within the context of a financially viable operation, will best be achieved by a separate and
autonomous body; and

WHEREAS, under Presidential Decree No. 1416, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1772, the President of the
Philippines is given continuing authority to reorganize the National Government, which authority includes the creation of
new entities, agencies and instrumentalities of the Government[.] (Emphasis supplied)
The transfer of the Airport Lands and Buildings from the Bureau of Air Transportation to MIAA was not meant to transfer
beneficial ownership of these assets from the Republic to MIAA. The purpose was merely to reorganize a division in the
Bureau of Air Transportation into a separate and autonomous body. The Republic remains the beneficial owner of the
Airport Lands and Buildings. MIAA itself is owned solely by the Republic. No party claims any ownership rights over
MIAAs assets adverse to the Republic.

The MIAA Charter expressly provides that the Airport Lands and Buildings shall not be disposed through sale or through
any other mode unless specifically approved by the President of the Philippines. This only means that the Republic
retained the beneficial ownership of the Airport Lands and Buildings because under Article 428 of the Civil Code, only the
owner has the right to x x x dispose of a thing. Since MIAA cannot dispose of the Airport Lands and Buildings, MIAA does
not own the Airport Lands and Buildings.

At any time, the President can transfer back to the Republic title to the Airport Lands and Buildings without the Republic
paying MIAA any consideration. Under Section 3 of the MIAA Charter, the President is the only one who can authorize the
sale or disposition of the Airport Lands and Buildings. This only confirms that the Airport Lands and Buildings belong to
the Republic.

e. Real Property Owned by the Republic is Not Taxable

Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code exempts from real estate tax any [r]eal property owned by the Republic of
the Philippines. Section 234(a) provides:

SEC. 234. Exemptions from Real Property Tax. The following are exempted from payment of the real property tax:

(a) Real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines or any of its political subdivisions except when the beneficial
use thereof has been granted, for consideration or otherwise, to a taxable person;

x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

This exemption should be read in relation with Section 133(o) of the same Code, which prohibits local governments from
imposing [t]axes, fees or charges of any kind on the National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities x x x. The
real properties owned by the Republic are titled either in the name of the Republic itself or in the name of agencies or
instrumentalities of the National Government. The Administrative Code allows real property owned by the Republic to be
titled in the name of agencies or instrumentalities of the national government. Such real properties remain owned by the
Republic and continue to be exempt from real estate tax.

The Republic may grant the beneficial use of its real property to an agency or instrumentality of the national government.
This happens when title of the real property is transferred to an agency or instrumentality even as the Republic remains
the owner of the real property. Such arrangement does not result in the loss of the tax exemption. Section 234(a) of the
Local Government Code states that real property owned by the Republic loses its tax exemption only if the beneficial use
thereof has been granted, for consideration or otherwise, to a taxable person. MIAA, as a government instrumentality, is
not a taxable person under Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code. Thus, even if we assume that the Republic has
granted to MIAA the beneficial use of the Airport Lands and Buildings, such fact does not make these real properties
subject to real estate tax.

However, portions of the Airport Lands and Buildings that MIAA leases to private entities are not exempt from real estate
tax. For example, the land area occupied by hangars that MIAA leases to private corporations is subject to real estate tax.
In such a case, MIAA has granted the beneficial use of such land area for a consideration to a taxable person and
therefore such land area is subject to real estate tax. In Lung Center of the Philippines v. Quezon City, the Court ruled:
Accordingly, we hold that the portions of the land leased to private entities as well as those parts of the hospital leased to
private individuals are not exempt from such taxes. On the other hand, the portions of the land occupied by the hospital
and portions of the hospital used for its patients, whether paying or non-paying, are exempt from real property taxes.[29]

3. Refutation of Arguments of Minority

The minority asserts that the MIAA is not exempt from real estate tax because Section 193 of the Local Government Code
of 1991 withdrew the tax exemption of all persons, whether natural or juridical upon the effectivity of the Code. Section
193 provides:

SEC. 193. Withdrawal of Tax Exemption Privileges Unless otherwise provided in this Code, tax exemptions or incentives
granted to, or presently enjoyed by all persons, whether natural or juridical, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, except local water districts, cooperatives duly registered under R.A. No. 6938, non-stock and non-profit
hospitals and educational institutions are hereby withdrawn upon effectivity of this Code. (Emphasis supplied)

The minority states that MIAA is indisputably a juridical person. The minority argues that since the Local Government
Code withdrew the tax exemption of all juridical persons, then MIAA is not exempt from real estate tax. Thus, the minority
declares:

It is evident from the quoted provisions of the Local Government Code that the withdrawn exemptions from realty tax
cover not just GOCCs, but all persons. To repeat, the provisions lay down the explicit proposition that the withdrawal of
realty tax exemption applies to all persons. The reference to or the inclusion of GOCCs is only clarificatory or illustrative of
the explicit provision.

The term All persons encompasses the two classes of persons recognized under our laws, natural and juridical persons.
Obviously, MIAA is not a natural person. Thus, the determinative test is not just whether MIAA is a GOCC, but whether
MIAA is a juridical person at all. (Emphasis and underscoring in the original)

The minority posits that the determinative test whether MIAA is exempt from local taxation is its status whether MIAA is a
juridical person or not. The minority also insists that Sections 193 and 234 may be examined in isolation from Section
133(o) to ascertain MIAAs claim of exemption.

The argument of the minority is fatally flawed. Section 193 of the Local Government Code expressly withdrew the tax
exemption of all juridical persons [u]nless otherwise provided in this Code. Now, Section 133(o) of the Local Government
Code expressly provides otherwise, specifically prohibiting local governments from imposing any kind of tax on national
government instrumentalities. Section 133(o) states:

SEC. 133. Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of Local Government Units. Unless otherwise provided herein, the
exercise of the taxing powers of provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays shall not extend to the levy of the
following:

xxxx

(o) Taxes, fees or charges of any kinds on the National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and local
government units. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
By express mandate of the Local Government Code, local governments cannot impose any kind of tax on national
government instrumentalities like the MIAA. Local governments are devoid of power to tax the national government, its
agencies and instrumentalities. The taxing powers of local governments do not extend to the national government, its
agencies and instrumentalities, [u]nless otherwise provided in this Code as stated in the saving clause of Section 133.
The saving clause refers to Section 234(a) on the exception to the exemption from real estate tax of real property owned
by the Republic.

The minority, however, theorizes that unless exempted in Section 193 itself, all juridical persons are subject to tax by local
governments. The minority insists that the juridical persons exempt from local taxation are limited to the three classes of
entities specifically enumerated as exempt in Section 193. Thus, the minority states:

x x x Under Section 193, the exemption is limited to (a) local water districts; (b) cooperatives duly registered under
Republic Act No. 6938; and (c) non-stock and non-profit hospitals and educational institutions. It would be belaboring the
obvious why the MIAA does not fall within any of the exempt entities under Section 193. (Emphasis supplied)

The minoritys theory directly contradicts and completely negates Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code. This
theory will result in gross absurdities. It will make the national government, which itself is a juridical person, subject to tax
by local governments since the national government is not included in the enumeration of exempt entities in Section 193.
Under this theory, local governments can impose any kind of local tax, and not only real estate tax, on the national
government.

Under the minoritys theory, many national government instrumentalities with juridical personalities will also be subject to
any kind of local tax, and not only real estate tax. Some of the national government instrumentalities vested by law with
juridical personalities are: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,[30] Philippine Rice Research Institute,[31] Laguna Lake

Development Authority,[32] Fisheries Development Authority,[33] Bases Conversion Development Authority,[34]


Philippine Ports Authority,[35] Cagayan de Oro Port Authority,[36] San Fernando Port Authority,[37] Cebu Port
Authority,[38] and Philippine National Railways.[39]

The minoritys theory violates Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code which expressly prohibits local governments
from imposing any kind of tax on national government instrumentalities. Section 133(o) does not distinguish between
national government instrumentalities with or without juridical personalities. Where the law does not distinguish, courts
should not distinguish. Thus, Section 133(o) applies to all national government instrumentalities, with or without juridical
personalities. The determinative test whether MIAA is exempt from local taxation is not whether MIAA is a juridical person,
but whether it is a national government instrumentality under Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code. Section
133(o) is the specific provision of law prohibiting local governments from imposing any kind of tax on the national
government, its agencies and instrumentalities.

Section 133 of the Local Government Code starts with the saving clause [u]nless otherwise provided in this Code. This
means that unless the Local Government Code grants an express authorization, local governments have no power to tax
the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities. Clearly, the rule is local governments have no power to tax
the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities. As an exception to this rule, local governments may tax the
national government, its agencies and instrumentalities only if the Local Government Code expressly so provides.

The saving clause in Section 133 refers to the exception to the exemption in Section 234(a) of the Code, which makes the
national government subject to real estate tax when it gives the beneficial use of its real properties to a taxable entity.
Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code provides:

SEC. 234. Exemptions from Real Property Tax The following are exempted from payment of the real property tax:
(a) Real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines or any of its political subdivisions except when the beneficial
use thereof has been granted, for consideration or otherwise, to a taxable person.

x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

Under Section 234(a), real property owned by the Republic is exempt from real estate tax. The exception to this
exemption is when the government gives the beneficial use of the real property to a taxable entity.

The exception to the exemption in Section 234(a) is the only instance when the national government, its agencies and
instrumentalities are subject to any kind of tax by local governments. The exception to the exemption applies only to real
estate tax and not to any other tax. The justification for the exception to the exemption is that the real property, although
owned by the Republic, is not devoted to public use or public service but devoted to the private gain of a taxable person.

The minority also argues that since Section 133 precedes Section 193 and 234 of the Local Government Code, the later
provisions prevail over Section 133. Thus, the minority asserts:

x x x Moreover, sequentially Section 133 antecedes Section 193 and 234. Following an accepted rule of construction, in
case of conflict the subsequent provisions should prevail. Therefore, MIAA, as a juridical person, is subject to real
property taxes, the general exemptions attaching to instrumentalities under Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code
being qualified by Sections 193 and 234 of the same law. (Emphasis supplied)

The minority assumes that there is an irreconcilable conflict between Section 133 on one hand, and Sections 193 and 234
on the other. No one has urged that there is such a conflict, much less has any one presented a persuasive argument that
there is such a conflict. The minoritys assumption of an irreconcilable conflict in the statutory provisions is an egregious
error for two reasons.

First, there is no conflict whatsoever between Sections 133 and 193 because Section 193 expressly admits its
subordination to other provisions of the Code when Section 193 states [u]nless otherwise provided in this Code. By its
own words, Section 193 admits the superiority of other provisions of the Local Government Code that limit the exercise of
the taxing power in Section 193. When a provision of law grants a power but withholds such power on certain matters,
there is no conflict between the grant of power and the withholding of power. The grantee of the power simply cannot
exercise the power on matters withheld from its power.

Second, Section 133 is entitled Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of Local Government Units. Section 133 limits
the grant to local governments of the power to tax, and not merely the exercise of a delegated power to tax. Section 133
states that the taxing powers of local governments shall not extend to the levy of any kind of tax on the national
government, its agencies and instrumentalities. There is no clearer limitation on the taxing power than this.

Since Section 133 prescribes the common limitations on the taxing powers of local governments, Section 133 logically
prevails over Section 193 which grants local governments such taxing powers. By their very meaning and purpose, the
common limitations on the taxing power prevail over the grant or exercise of the taxing power. If the taxing power of local
governments in Section 193 prevails over the limitations on such taxing power in Section 133, then local governments can
impose any kind of tax on the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities a gross absurdity.

Local governments have no power to tax the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities, except as otherwise
provided in the Local Government Code pursuant to the saving clause in Section 133 stating [u]nless otherwise provided
in this Code. This exception which is an exception to the exemption of the Republic from real estate tax imposed by local
governments refers to Section 234(a) of the Code. The exception to the exemption in Section 234(a) subjects real
property owned by the Republic, whether titled in the name of the national government, its agencies or instrumentalities,
to real estate tax if the beneficial use of such property is given to a taxable entity.
The minority also claims that the definition in the Administrative Code of the phrase government-owned or controlled
corporation is not controlling. The minority points out that Section 2 of the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative
Code admits that its definitions are not controlling when it provides:

SEC. 2. General Terms Defined. Unless the specific words of the text, or the context as a whole, or a particular statute,
shall require a different meaning:

xxxx

The minority then concludes that reliance on the Administrative Code definition is flawed.

The minoritys argument is a non sequitur. True, Section 2 of the Administrative Code recognizes that a statute may
require a different meaning than that defined in the Administrative Code. However, this does not automatically mean that
the definition in the Administrative Code does not apply to the Local Government Code. Section 2 of the Administrative
Code clearly states that unless the specific words x x x of a particular statute shall require a different meaning, the
definition in Section 2 of the Administrative Code shall apply. Thus, unless there is specific language in the Local
Government Code defining the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation differently from the definition in the
Administrative Code, the definition in the Administrative Code prevails.

The minority does not point to any provision in the Local Government Code defining the phrase government-owned or
controlled corporation differently from the definition in the Administrative Code. Indeed, there is none. The Local
Government Code is silent on the definition of the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation. The Administrative
Code, however, expressly defines the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation. The inescapable conclusion is
that the Administrative Code definition of the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation applies to the Local
Government Code.

The third whereas clause of the Administrative Code states that the Code incorporates in a unified document the major
structural, functional and procedural principles and rules of governance. Thus, the Administrative Code is the governing
law defining the status and relationship of government departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities.
Unless a statute expressly provides for a different status and relationship for a specific government unit or entity, the
provisions of the Administrative Code prevail.

The minority also contends that the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation should apply only to corporations
organized under the Corporation Code, the general incorporation law, and not to corporations created by special charters.
The minority sees no reason why government corporations with special charters should have a capital stock. Thus, the
minority declares:

I submit that the definition of government-owned or controlled corporations under the Administrative Code refer to those
corporations owned by the government or its instrumentalities which are created not by legislative enactment, but formed
and organized under the Corporation Code through registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In short,
these are GOCCs without original charters.

xxxx

It might as well be worth pointing out that there is no point in requiring a capital structure for GOCCs whose full ownership
is limited by its charter to the State or Republic. Such GOCCs are not empowered to declare dividends or alienate their
capital shares.

The contention of the minority is seriously flawed. It is not in accord with the Constitution and existing legislations. It will
also result in gross absurdities.
First, the Administrative Code definition of the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation does not distinguish
between one incorporated under the Corporation Code or under a special charter. Where the law does not distinguish,
courts should not distinguish.

Second, Congress has created through special charters several government-owned corporations organized as stock
corporations. Prime examples are the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. The
special charter[40] of the Land Bank of the Philippines provides:

SECTION 81. Capital. The authorized capital stock of the Bank shall be nine billion pesos, divided into seven hundred and
eighty million common shares with a par value of ten pesos each, which shall be fully subscribed by the Government, and
one hundred and twenty million preferred shares with a par value of ten pesos each, which shall be issued in accordance
with the provisions of Sections seventy-seven and eighty-three of this Code. (Emphasis supplied)

Likewise, the special charter[41] of the Development Bank of the Philippines provides:

SECTION 7. Authorized Capital Stock Par value. The capital stock of the Bank shall be Five Billion Pesos to be divided
into Fifty Million common shares with par value of P100 per share. These shares are available for subscription by the
National Government. Upon the effectivity of this Charter, the National Government shall subscribe to Twenty-Five Million
common shares of stock worth Two Billion Five Hundred Million which shall be deemed paid for by the Government with
the net asset values of the Bank remaining after the transfer of assets and liabilities as provided in Section 30 hereof.
(Emphasis supplied)

Other government-owned corporations organized as stock corporations under their special charters are the Philippine
Crop Insurance Corporation,[42] Philippine International Trading Corporation,[43] and the Philippine National Bank[44]
before it was reorganized as a stock corporation under the Corporation Code. All these government-owned corporations
organized under special charters as stock corporations are subject to real estate tax on real properties owned by them. To
rule that they are not government-owned or controlled corporations because they are not registered with the Securities
and Exchange Commission would remove them from the reach of Section 234 of the Local Government Code, thus
exempting them from real estate tax.

Third, the government-owned or controlled corporations created through special charters are those that meet the two
conditions prescribed in Section 16, Article XII of the Constitution. The first condition is that the government-owned or
controlled corporation must be established for the common good. The second condition is that the government-owned or
controlled corporation must meet the test of economic viability. Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution provides:

SEC. 16. The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private
corporations. Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or established by special charters in the
interest of the common good and subject to the test of economic viability. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The Constitution expressly authorizes the legislature to create government-owned or controlled corporations through
special charters only if these entities are required to meet the twin conditions of common good and economic viability. In
other words, Congress has no power to create government-owned or controlled corporations with special charters unless
they are made to comply with the two conditions of common good and economic viability. The test of economic viability
applies only to government-owned or controlled corporations that perform economic or commercial activities and need to
compete in the market place. Being essentially economic vehicles of the State for the common good meaning for
economic development purposes these government-owned or controlled corporations with special charters are usually
organized as stock corporations just like ordinary private corporations.

In contrast, government instrumentalities vested with corporate powers and performing governmental or public functions
need not meet the test of economic viability. These instrumentalities perform essential public services for the common
good, services that every modern State must provide its citizens. These instrumentalities need not be economically viable
since the government may even subsidize their entire operations. These instrumentalities are not the government-owned
or controlled corporations referred to in Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

Thus, the Constitution imposes no limitation when the legislature creates government instrumentalities vested with
corporate powers but performing essential governmental or public functions. Congress has plenary authority to create
government instrumentalities vested with corporate powers provided these instrumentalities perform essential government
functions or public services. However, when the legislature creates through special charters corporations that perform
economic or commercial activities, such entities known as government-owned or controlled corporations must meet the
test of economic viability because they compete in the market place.

This is the situation of the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines and similar
government-owned or controlled corporations, which derive their income to meet operating expenses solely from
commercial transactions in competition with the private sector. The intent of the Constitution is to prevent the creation of
government-owned or controlled corporations that cannot survive on their own in the market place and thus merely drain
the public coffers.

Commissioner Blas F. Ople, proponent of the test of economic viability, explained to the Constitutional Commission the
purpose of this test, as follows:

MR. OPLE: Madam President, the reason for this concern is really that when the government creates a corporation, there
is a sense in which this corporation becomes exempt from the test of economic performance. We know what happened in
the past. If a government corporation loses, then it makes its claim upon the taxpayers money through new equity
infusions from the government and what is always invoked is the common good. That is the reason why this year, out of a
budget of P115 billion for the entire government, about P28 billion of this will go into equity infusions to support a few
government financial institutions. And this is all taxpayers money which could have been relocated to agrarian reform, to
social services like health and education, to augment the salaries of grossly underpaid public employees. And yet this is
all going down the drain.

Therefore, when we insert the phrase ECONOMIC VIABILITY together with the common good, this becomes a restraint
on future enthusiasts for state capitalism to excuse themselves from the responsibility of meeting the market test so that
they become viable. And so, Madam President, I reiterate, for the committees consideration and I am glad that I am joined
in this proposal by Commissioner Foz, the insertion of the standard of ECONOMIC VIABILITY OR THE ECONOMIC
TEST, together with the common good.[45]

Father Joaquin G. Bernas, a leading member of the Constitutional Commission, explains in his textbook The 1987
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary:

The second sentence was added by the 1986 Constitutional Commission. The significant addition, however, is the phrase
in the interest of the common good and subject to the test of economic viability. The addition includes the ideas that they
must show capacity to function efficiently in business and that they should not go into activities which the private sector
can do better. Moreover, economic viability is more than financial viability but also includes capability to make profit and
generate benefits not quantifiable in financial terms.[46] (Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, the test of economic viability does not apply to government entities vested with corporate powers and performing
essential public services. The State is obligated to render essential public services regardless of the economic viability of
providing such service. The non-economic viability of rendering such essential public service does not excuse the State
from withholding such essential services from the public.

However, government-owned or controlled corporations with special charters, organized essentially for economic or
commercial objectives, must meet the test of economic viability. These are the government-owned or controlled
corporations that are usually organized under their special charters as stock corporations, like the Land Bank of the
Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. These are the government-owned or controlled corporations,
along with government-owned or controlled corporations organized under the Corporation Code, that fall under the
definition of government-owned or controlled corporations in Section 2(10) of the Administrative Code.
The MIAA need not meet the test of economic viability because the legislature did not create MIAA to compete in the
market place. MIAA does not compete in the market place because there is no competing international airport operated by
the private sector. MIAA performs an essential public service as the primary domestic and international airport of the
Philippines. The operation of an international airport requires the presence of personnel from the following government
agencies:

1. The Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, to document the arrival and departure of passengers, screening out
those without visas or travel documents, or those with hold departure orders;

2. The Bureau of Customs, to collect import duties or enforce the ban on prohibited importations;

3. The quarantine office of the Department of Health, to enforce health measures against the spread of infectious
diseases into the country;

4. The Department of Agriculture, to enforce measures against the spread of plant and animal diseases into the
country;

5. The Aviation Security Command of the Philippine National Police, to prevent the entry of terrorists and the escape of
criminals, as well as to secure the airport premises from terrorist attack or seizure;

6. The Air Traffic Office of the Department of Transportation and Communications, to authorize aircraft to enter or leave
Philippine airspace, as well as to land on, or take off from, the airport; and

7. The MIAA, to provide the proper premises such as runway and buildings for the government personnel, passengers,
and airlines, and to manage the airport operations.

All these agencies of government perform government functions essential to the operation of an international airport.

MIAA performs an essential public service that every modern State must provide its citizens. MIAA derives its revenues
principally from the mandatory fees and charges MIAA imposes on passengers and airlines. The terminal fees that MIAA
charges every passenger are regulatory or administrative fees[47] and not income from commercial transactions.

MIAA falls under the definition of a government instrumentality under Section 2(10) of the Introductory Provisions of the
Administrative Code, which provides:

SEC. 2. General Terms Defined. x x x x

(10) Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework,
vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special
funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

The fact alone that MIAA is endowed with corporate powers does not make MIAA a government-owned or controlled
corporation. Without a change in its capital structure, MIAA remains a government instrumentality under Section 2(10) of
the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative Code. More importantly, as long as MIAA renders essential public
services, it need not comply with the test of economic viability. Thus, MIAA is outside the scope of the phrase
government-owned or controlled corporations under Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
The minority belittles the use in the Local Government Code of the phrase government-owned or controlled corporation as
merely clarificatory or illustrative. This is fatal. The 1987 Constitution prescribes explicit conditions for the creation of
government-owned or controlled corporations. The Administrative Code defines what constitutes a government-owned or
controlled corporation. To belittle this phrase as clarificatory or illustrative is grave error.

To summarize, MIAA is not a government-owned or controlled corporation under Section 2(13) of the Introductory
Provisions of the Administrative Code because it is not organized as a stock or non-stock corporation. Neither is MIAA a
government-owned or controlled corporation under Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution because MIAA is not
required to meet the test of economic viability. MIAA is a government instrumentality vested with corporate powers and
performing essential public services pursuant to Section 2(10) of the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative Code.
As a government instrumentality, MIAA is not subject to any kind of tax by local governments under Section 133(o) of the
Local Government Code. The exception to the exemption in Section 234(a) does not apply to MIAA because MIAA is not
a taxable entity under the Local Government Code. Such exception applies only if the beneficial use of real property
owned by the Republic is given to a taxable entity.

Finally, the Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are properties devoted to public use and thus are properties of public
dominion. Properties of public dominion are owned by the State or the Republic. Article 420 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion:

(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State,
banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;

(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the
development of the national wealth. (Emphasis supplied)

The term ports x x x constructed by the State includes airports and seaports. The Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are
intended for public use, and at the very least intended for public service. Whether intended for public use or public service,
the Airport Lands and Buildings are properties of public dominion. As properties of public dominion, the Airport Lands and
Buildings are owned by the Republic and thus exempt from real estate tax under Section 234(a) of the Local Government
Code.

4. Conclusion

Under Section 2(10) and (13) of the Introductory Provisions of the Administrative Code, which governs the legal relation
and status of government units, agencies and offices within the entire government machinery, MIAA is a government
instrumentality and not a government-owned or controlled corporation. Under Section 133(o) of the Local Government
Code, MIAA as a government instrumentality is not a taxable person because it is not subject to [t]axes, fees or charges
of any kind by local governments. The only exception is when MIAA leases its real property to a taxable person as
provided in Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code, in which case the specific real property leased becomes
subject to real estate tax. Thus, only portions of the Airport Lands and Buildings leased to taxable persons like private
parties are subject to real estate tax by the City of Paraaque.

Under Article 420 of the Civil Code, the Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA, being devoted to public use, are properties
of public dominion and thus owned by the State or the Republic of the Philippines. Article 420 specifically mentions ports x
x x constructed by the State, which includes public airports and seaports, as properties of public dominion and owned by
the Republic. As properties of public dominion owned by the Republic, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Airport Lands
and Buildings are expressly exempt from real estate tax under Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code. This Court
has also repeatedly ruled that properties of public dominion are not subject to execution or foreclosure sale.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals of 5 October
2001 and 27 September 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 66878. We DECLARE the Airport Lands and Buildings of the Manila
International Airport Authority EXEMPT from the real estate tax imposed by the City of Paraaque. We declare VOID all the
real estate tax assessments, including the final notices of real estate tax delinquencies, issued by the City of Paraaque on
the Airport Lands and Buildings of the Manila International Airport Authority, except for the portions that the Manila
International Airport Authority has leased to private parties. We also declare VOID the assailed auction sale, and all its
effects, of the Airport Lands and Buildings of the Manila International Airport Authority.
G.R. No. 122846 January 20, 2009

WHITE LIGHT CORPORATION, TITANIUM CORPORATION and STA. MESA TOURIST & DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, Petitioners,
vs.
CITY OF MANILA, represented by DE CASTRO, MAYOR ALFREDO S. LIM, Respondent.

DECISION

Tinga, J.:

With another city ordinance of Manila also principally involving the tourist district as subject, the Court is confronted anew
with the incessant clash between government power and individual liberty in tandem with the archetypal tension between
law and morality.

In City of Manila v. Laguio, Jr.,1 the Court affirmed the nullification of a city ordinance barring the operation of motels and
inns, among other establishments, within the Ermita-Malate area. The petition at bar assails a similarly-motivated city
ordinance that prohibits those same establishments from offering short-time admission, as well as pro-rated or "wash up"
rates for such abbreviated stays. Our earlier decision tested the city ordinance against our sacred constitutional rights to
liberty, due process and equal protection of law. The same parameters apply to the present petition.

This Petition2 under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure, which seeks the reversal of the Decision3 in C.A.-
G.R. S.P. No. 33316 of the Court of Appeals, challenges the validity of Manila City Ordinance No. 7774 entitled, "An
Ordinance Prohibiting Short-Time Admission, Short-Time Admission Rates, and Wash-Up Rate Schemes in Hotels,
Motels, Inns, Lodging Houses, Pension Houses, and Similar Establishments in the City of Manila" (the Ordinance).

I.

The facts are as follows:

On December 3, 1992, City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim (Mayor Lim) signed into law the Ordinance.4 The Ordinance is
reproduced in full, hereunder:

SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby the declared policy of the City Government to protect the best interest,
health and welfare, and the morality of its constituents in general and the youth in particular.

SEC. 2. Title. This ordinance shall be known as "An Ordinance" prohibiting short time admission in hotels, motels, lodging
houses, pension houses and similar establishments in the City of Manila.

SEC. 3. Pursuant to the above policy, short-time admission and rate [sic], wash-up rate or other similarly concocted terms,
are hereby prohibited in hotels, motels, inns, lodging houses, pension houses and similar establishments in the City of
Manila.

SEC. 4. Definition of Term[s]. Short-time admission shall mean admittance and charging of room rate for less than twelve
(12) hours at any given time or the renting out of rooms more than twice a day or any other term that may be concocted
by owners or managers of said establishments but would mean the same or would bear the same meaning.

SEC. 5. Penalty Clause. Any person or corporation who shall violate any provision of this ordinance shall upon conviction
thereof be punished by a fine of Five Thousand (₱5,000.00) Pesos or imprisonment for a period of not exceeding one (1)
year or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court; Provided, That in case of [a] juridical person, the
president, the manager, or the persons in charge of the operation thereof shall be liable: Provided, further, That in case of
subsequent conviction for the same offense, the business license of the guilty party shall automatically be cancelled.

SEC. 6. Repealing Clause. Any or all provisions of City ordinances not consistent with or contrary to this measure or any
portion hereof are hereby deemed repealed.

SEC. 7. Effectivity. This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon approval.

Enacted by the city Council of Manila at its regular session today, November 10, 1992.

Approved by His Honor, the Mayor on December 3, 1992.

On December 15, 1992, the Malate Tourist and Development Corporation (MTDC) filed a complaint for declaratory relief
with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order ( TRO)5 with the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Manila, Branch 9 impleading as defendant, herein respondent City of Manila (the City) represented by Mayor
Lim.6 MTDC prayed that the Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be
declared invalid and unconstitutional. MTDC claimed that as owner and operator of the Victoria Court in Malate, Manila it
was authorized by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 259 to admit customers on a short time basis as well as to charge
customers wash up rates for stays of only three hours.

On December 21, 1992, petitioners White Light Corporation (WLC), Titanium Corporation (TC) and Sta. Mesa Tourist and
Development Corporation (STDC) filed a motion to intervene and to admit attached complaint-in-intervention7 on the
ground that the Ordinance directly affects their business interests as operators of drive-in-hotels and motels in Manila.8
The three companies are components of the Anito Group of Companies which owns and operates several hotels and
motels in Metro Manila.9
On December 23, 1992, the RTC granted the motion to intervene.10 The RTC also notified the Solicitor General of the
proceedings pursuant to then Rule 64, Section 4 of the Rules of Court. On the same date, MTDC moved to withdraw as
plaintiff.11

On December 28, 1992, the RTC granted MTDC's motion to withdraw.12 The RTC issued a TRO on January 14, 1993,
directing the City to cease and desist from enforcing the Ordinance.13 The City filed an Answer dated January 22, 1993
alleging that the Ordinance is a legitimate exercise of police power.14

On February 8, 1993, the RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction ordering the city to desist from the enforcement of
the Ordinance.15 A month later, on March 8, 1993, the Solicitor General filed his Comment arguing that the Ordinance is
constitutional.

During the pre-trial conference, the WLC, TC and STDC agreed to submit the case for decision without trial as the case
involved a purely legal question.16 On October 20, 1993, the RTC rendered a decision declaring the Ordinance null and
void. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, [O]rdinance No. 7774 of the City of Manila is hereby declared null and void.

Accordingly, the preliminary injunction heretofor issued is hereby made permanent.

SO ORDERED.
U.S. Supreme Court
Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905)
Lochner v. New York

No. 292

Argued February 23, 24, 1905

Decided April 17, 1906

198 U.S. 45

ERROR TO THE COUNTY COURT OF ONEIDA COUNTY,

STATE OF NEW YORK

Syllabus

The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty protected by the Fourteenth
Amendment, and this includes the right to purchase and sell labor, except as controlled by the State in the legitimate
exercise of its police power.

Liberty of contract relating to labor includes both parties to it; the one has as much right to purchase as the other to sell
labor.

There is no reasonable ground, on the score of health, for interfering with the liberty of the person or the right of free
contract, by determining the hours of labor, in the occupation of a baker. Nor can a law limiting such hours be justified a a
health law to safeguard the public health, or the health of the individuals following that occupation.

Section 110 of the labor law of the State of New York, providing that no employes shall be required or permitted to work in
bakeries more than sixty hours in a week, or ten hours a day, is not a legitimate exercise of the police power of the State,
but an unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract in
relation to labor, and, as such, it is in conflict with, and void under, the Federal Constitution.

This is a writ of error to the County Court of Oneida County, in the State of New York (to which court the record had been
remitted), to review the judgment of the Court of Appeal of that State affirming the judgment of the Supreme Court, which
itself affirmed the judgment of the County Court, convicting the defendant of a misdemeanor on an indictment under a
statute of that State, known, by its short title, as the labor

Page 198 U. S. 46

law. The section of the statute under which the indictment was found is section 110, and is reproduced in the margin, *
(together with the other sections of the labor law upon the subject of bakeries, being sections 111 to 115, both inclusive).
The indictment averred that the defendant

"wrongfully and unlawfully required and permitted an employee working for him in his biscuit, bread and cake bakery and
confectionery establishment, at the city of Utica, in this county, to work more than sixty hours in one week,"

after having been theretofore convicted of a violation of the same act, and therefore, as averred, he committed the crime
or misdemeanor, second offense. The plaintiff in error demurred to the indictment on several grounds, one of which was
that the facts stated did not

Page 198 U. S. 47

constitute a crime. The demurrer was overruled, and the plaintiff in error having refused to plead further, a plea of not
guilty was entered by order of the court and the trial commenced, and he was convicted of misdemeanor, second offense,
as indicted, and sentenced to pay a fine of $50 and to stand committed until paid, not to exceed fifty days in the Oneida
County jail. A certificate of reasonable doubt was granted by the county judge of Oneida County, whereon an appeal was
taken to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Fourth Department, where the judgment of conviction was affirmed.
73 App.Div.N.Y. 120. A further appeal was then taken to the Court of Appeals, where the judgment of conviction was
again affirmed. 177 N.Y. 145.

Page 198 U. S. 52

MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM, after making the foregoing statement of the facts, delivered the opinion of the court.

The indictment, it will be seen, charges that the plaintiff in error violated the one hundred and tenth section of article 8,
chapter 415, of the Laws of 1897, known as the labor law of the State of New York, in that he wrongfully and unlawfully
required and permitted an employee working for him to work more than sixty hours in one week. There is nothing in any of
the opinions delivered in this case, either in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals of the State, which construes the
section, in using the word "required," as referring to any physical force being used to obtain the labor of an employee. It is
assumed that the word means nothing more than the requirement arising from voluntary contract for such labor in excess
of the number of hours specified in the statute. There is no pretense in any of the opinions that the statute was intended to
meet a case of involuntary labor in any form. All the opinions assume that there is no real distinction, so far as this
question is concerned, between the words "required" and "permitted." The mandate of the statute that "no employee shall
be required or permitted to work," is the substantial equivalent of an enactment that "no employee shall contract or agree
to work," more than ten hours per day, and, as there is no provision for special emergencies, the statute is mandatory in
all cases. It is not an act merely fixing the number of hours which shall constitute a legal day's work, but an absolute
prohibition upon the employer's permitting, under any circumstances, more than ten hours' work to be done in his
establishment. The employee may desire to earn the extra money which would arise from his working more than the
prescribed

Page 198 U. S. 53

time, but this statute forbids the employer from permitting the employee to earn it.

The statute necessarily interferes with the right of contract between the employer and employes concerning the number of
hours in which the latter may labor in the bakery of the employer. The general right to make a contract in relation to his
business is part of the liberty of the individual protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.
Allgeyer v. Louisiana, 165 U. S. 578. Under that provision, no State can deprive any person of life, liberty or property
without due process of law. The right to purchase or to sell labor is part of the liberty protected by this amendment unless
there are circumstances which exclude the right. There are, however, certain powers, existing in the sovereignty of each
State in the Union, somewhat vaguely termed police powers, the exact description and limitation of which have not been
attempted by the courts. Those powers, broadly stated and without, at present, any attempt at a more specific limitation,
relate to the safety, health, morals and general welfare of the public. Both property and liberty are held on such
reasonable conditions as may be imposed by the governing power of the State in the exercise of those powers, and with
such conditions the Fourteenth Amendment was not designed to interfere. Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U. S. 623; In re
Kemmler, 136 U. S. 436; Crowley v. Christensen, 137 U. S. 86; In re Converse, 137 U. S. 624.

The State therefore has power to prevent the individual from making certain kinds of contracts, and, in regard to them, the
Federal Constitution offers no protection. If the contract be one which the State, in the legitimate exercise of its police
power, has the right to prohibit, it is not prevented from prohibiting it by the Fourteenth Amendment. Contracts in violation
of a statute, either of the Federal or state government, or a contract to let one's property for immoral purposes, or to do
any other unlawful act, could obtain no protection from the Federal Constitution as coming under the liberty of

Page 198 U. S. 54

person or of free contract. Therefore, when the State, by its legislature, in the assumed exercise of its police powers, has
passed an act which seriously limits the right to labor or the right of contract in regard to their means of livelihood between
persons who are sui juris (both employer and employee), it becomes of great importance to determine which shall prevail
-- the right of the individual to labor for such time as he may choose or the right of the State to prevent the individual from
laboring or from entering into any contract to labor beyond a certain time prescribed by the State.

This court has recognized the existence and upheld the exercise of the police powers of the States in many cases which
might fairly be considered as border ones, and it has, in the course of its determination of questions regarding the
asserted invalidity of such statutes on the ground of their violation of the rights secured by the Federal Constitution, been
guided by rules of a very liberal nature, the application of which has resulted, in numerous instances, in upholding the
validity of state statutes thus assailed. Among the later cases where the state law has been upheld by this court is that of
Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366. A provision in the act of the legislature of Utah was there under consideration, the act
limiting the employment of workmen in all underground mines or workings to eight hours per day "except in cases of
emergency, where life or property is in imminent danger." It also limited the hours of labor in smelting and other
institutions for the reduction or refining of ores or metals to eight hours per day except in like cases of emergency. The act
was held to be a valid exercise of the police powers of the State. A review of many of the cases on the subject, decided by
this and other courts, is given in the opinion. It was held that the kind of employment, mining, smelting, etc., and the
character of the employes in such kinds of labor, were such as to make it reasonable and proper for the State to interfere
to prevent the employees from being constrained by the rules laid down by the proprietors in regard to labor. The following
citation

Page 198 U. S. 55

from the observations of the Supreme Court of Utah in that case was made by the judge writing the opinion of this court,
and approved:

"The law in question is confined to the protection of that class of people engaged in labor in underground mines and in
smelters and other works wherein ores are reduced and refined. This law applies only to the classes subjected by their
employment to the peculiar conditions and effects attending underground mining and work in smelters and other works for
the reduction and refining of ores. Therefore it is not necessary to discuss or decide whether the legislature can fix the
hours of labor in other employments."

It will be observed that, even with regard to that class of labor, the Utah statute provided for cases of emergency wherein
the provisions of the statute would not apply. The statute now before this court has no emergency clause in it, and, if the
statute is valid, there are no circumstances and no emergencies under which the slightest violation of the provisions of the
act would be innocent. There is nothing in Holden v. Hardy which covers the case now before us. Nor does Atkin v.
Kansas, 191 U. S. 207, touch the case at bar. The Atkin case was decided upon the right of the State to control its
municipal corporations and to prescribe the condition upon which it will permit work of a public character to be done for a
municipality. Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U. S. 13, is equally far from an authority for this legislation. The
employees in that case were held to be at a disadvantage with the employer in matters of wages, they being miners and
coal workers, and the act simply provided for the cashing of coal orders when presented by the miner to the employer.
The latest case decided by this court involving the police power is that of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, decided at this term
and reported in 197 U. S. 197 U.S. 11. It related to compulsory vaccination, and the law was held valid as a proper
exercise of the police powers with reference to the public health. It was stated in the opinion that it was a case

"of an adult who, for aught that appears, was himself in perfect health and a fit

Page 198 U. S. 56

subject for vaccination, and yet, while remaining in the community, refused to obey the statute and the regulation adopted
in execution of its provisions for the protection of the public health and the public safety, confessedly endangered by the
presence of a dangerous disease."

That case is also far from covering the one now before the court.

Petit v. Minnesota, 177 U. S. 164, was upheld as a proper exercise of the police power relating to the observance of
Sunday, and the case held that the legislature had the right to declare that, as matter of law, keeping barber shops open
on Sunday was not a work of necessity or charity.

It must, of course, be conceded that there is a limit to the valid exercise of the police power by the State. There is no
dispute concerning this general proposition. Otherwise the Fourteenth Amendment would have no efficacy, and the
legislatures of the States would have unbounded power, and it would be enough to say that any piece of legislation was
enacted to conserve the morals, the health or the safety of the people; such legislation would be valid no matter how
absolutely without foundation the claim might be. The claim of the police power would be a mere pretext -- become
another and delusive name for the supreme sovereignty of the State to be exercised free from constitutional restraint. This
is not contended for. In every case that comes before this court, therefore, where legislation of this character is concerned
and where the protection of the Federal Constitution is sought, the question necessarily arises: is this a fair, reasonable
and appropriate exercise of the police power of the State, or is it an unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference
with the right of the individual to his personal liberty or to enter into those contracts in relation to labor which may seem to
him appropriate or necessary for the support of himself and his family? Of course, the liberty of contract relating to labor
includes both parties to it. The one has as much right to purchase as the other to sell labor.

This is not a question of substituting the judgment of the

Page 198 U. S. 57

court for that of the legislature. If the act be within the power of the State, it is valid although the judgment of the court
might be totally opposed to the enactment of such a law. But the question would still remain: is it within the police power of
the State?, and that question must be answered by the court.

The question whether this act is valid as a labor law, pure and simple, may be dismissed in a few words. There is no
reasonable ground for interfering with the liberty of person or the right of free contract by determining the hours of labor in
the occupation of a baker. There is no contention that bakers as a class are not equal in intelligence and capacity to men
in other trades or manual occupations, or that they are able to assert their rights and care for themselves without the
protecting arm of the State, interfering with their independence of judgment and of action. They are in no sense wards of
the State. Viewed in the light of a purely labor law, with no reference whatever to the question of health, we think that a
law like the one before us involves neither the safety, the morals, nor the welfare of the public, and that the interest of the
public is not in the slightest degree affected by such an act. The law must be upheld, if at all, as a law pertaining to the
health of the individual engaged in the occupation of a baker. It does not affect any other portion of the public than those
who are engaged in that occupation. Clean and wholesome bread does not depend upon whether the baker works but ten
hours per day or only sixty hours a week. The limitation of the hours of labor does not come within the police power on
that ground.

It is a question of which of two powers or rights shall prevail -- the power of the State to legislate or the right of the
individual to liberty of person and freedom of contract. The mere assertion that the subject relates though but in a remote
degree to the public health does not necessarily render the enactment valid. The act must have a more direct relation, as
a means to an end, and the end itself must be appropriate and legitimate, before an act can be held to be valid which
interferes

Page 198 U. S. 58

with the general right of an individual to be free in his person and in his power to contract in relation to his own labor.

This case has caused much diversity of opinion in the state courts. In the Supreme Court, two of the five judges
composing the Appellate Division dissented from the judgment affirming the validity of the act. In the Court of Appeals,
three of the seven judges also dissented from the judgment upholding the statute. Although found in what is called a labor
law of the State, the Court of Appeals has upheld the act as one relating to the public health -- in other words, as a health
law. One of the judges of the Court of Appeals, in upholding the law, stated that, in his opinion, the regulation in question
could not be sustained unless they were able to say, from common knowledge, that working in a bakery and candy factory
was an unhealthy employment. The judge held that, while the evidence was not uniform, it still led him to the conclusion
that the occupation of a baker or confectioner was unhealthy, and tended to result in diseases of the respiratory organs.
Three of the judges dissented from that view, and they thought the occupation of a baker was not to such an extent
unhealthy as to warrant the interference of the legislature with the liberty of the individual.

We think the limit of the police power has been reached and passed in this case. There is, in our judgment, no reasonable
foundation for holding this to be necessary or appropriate as a health law to safeguard the public health or the health of
the individuals who are following the trade of a baker. If this statute be valid, and if, therefore, a proper case is made out in
which to deny the right of an individual, sui juris, as employer or employee, to make contracts for the labor of the latter
under the protection of the provisions of the Federal Constitution, there would seem to be no length to which legislation of
this nature might not go. The case differs widely, as we have already stated, from the expressions of this court in regard to
laws of this nature, as stated in Holden v. Hardy and Jacobson v. Massachusetts, supra.

Page 198 U. S. 59

We think that there can be no fair doubt that the trade of a baker, in and of itself, is not an unhealthy one to that degree
which would authorize the legislature to interfere with the right to labor, and with the right of free contract on the part of the
individual, either as employer or employee. In looking through statistics regarding all trades and occupations, it may be
true that the trade of a baker does not appear to be as healthy as some other trades, and is also vastly more healthy than
still others. To the common understanding, the trade of a baker has never been regarded as an unhealthy one. Very likely,
physicians would not recommend the exercise of that or of any other trade as a remedy for ill health. Some occupations
are more healthy than others, but we think there are none which might not come under the power of the legislature to
supervise and control the hours of working therein if the mere fact that the occupation is not absolutely and perfectly
healthy is to confer that right upon the legislative department of the Government. It might be safely affirmed that almost all
occupations more or less affect the health. There must be more than the mere fact of the possible existence of some
small amount of unhealthiness to warrant legislative interference with liberty. It is unfortunately true that labor, even in any
department, may possibly carry with it the seeds of unhealthiness. But are we all, on that account, at the mercy of
legislative majorities? A printer, a tinsmith, a locksmith, a carpenter, a cabinetmaker, a dry goods clerk, a bank's, a
lawyer's or a physician's clerk, or a clerk in almost any kind of business, would all come under the power of the legislature
on this assumption. No trade, no occupation, no mode of earning one's living could escape this all-pervading power, and
the acts of the legislature in limiting the hours of labor in all employments would be valid although such limitation might
seriously cripple the ability of the laborer to support himself and his family. In our large cities there are many buildings into
which the sun penetrates for but a short time in each day, and these buildings are occupied by people carrying on the

Page 198 U. S. 60

business of bankers, brokers, lawyers, real estate, and many other kinds of business, aided by many clerks, messengers,
and other employs. Upon the assumption of the validity of this act under review, it is not possible to say that an act
prohibiting lawyers' or bank clerks, or others from contracting to labor for their employers more than eight hours a day
would be invalid. It might be said that it is unhealthy to work more than that number of hours in an apartment lighted by
artificial light during the working hours of the day; that the occupation of the bank clerk, the lawyer's clerk, the real estate
clerk, or the broker's clerk in such offices is therefore unhealthy, and the legislature, in its paternal wisdom, must therefore
have the right to legislate on the subject of, and to limit the hours for, such labor, and, if it exercises that power and its
validity be questioned, it is sufficient to say it has reference to the public health; it has reference to the health of the
employees condemned to labor day after day in buildings where the sun never shines; it is a health law, and therefore it is
valid, and cannot be questioned by the courts.

It is also urged, pursuing the same line of argument, that it is to the interest of the State that its population should be
strong and robust, and therefore any legislation which may be said to tend to make people healthy must be valid as health
laws, enacted under the police power. If this be a valid argument and a justification for this kind of legislation, it follows
that the protection of the Federal Constitution from undue interference with liberty of person and freedom of contract is
visionary wherever the law is sought to be justified as a valid exercise of the police power. Scarcely any law but might find
shelter under such assumptions, and conduct, properly so called, as well as contract, would come under the restrictive
sway of the legislature. Not only the hours of employees, but the hours of employers, could be regulated, and doctors,
lawyers, scientists, all professional men, as well as athletes and artisans, could be forbidden to fatigue their brains and
bodies by prolonged hours of exercise, lest the fighting strength

Page 198 U. S. 61

of the State be impaired. We mention these extreme cases because the contention is extreme. We do not believe in the
soundness of the views which uphold this law. On the contrary, we think that such a law as this, although passed in the
assumed exercise of the police power, and as relating to the public health, or the health of the employees named, is not
within that power, and is invalid. The act is not, within any fair meaning of the term, a health law, but is an illegal
interference with the rights of individuals, both employers and employees, to make contracts regarding labor upon such
terms as they may think best, or which they may agree upon with the other parties to such contracts. Statutes of the
nature of that under review, limiting the hours in which grown and intelligent men may labor to earn their living, are mere
meddlesome interferences with the rights of the individual, and they are not saved from condemnation by the claim that
they are passed in the exercise of the police power and upon the subject of the health of the individual whose rights are
interfered with, unless there be some fair ground, reasonable in and of itself, to say that there is material danger to the
public health or to the health of the employees if the hours of labor are not curtailed. If this be not clearly the case, the
individuals whose rights are thus made the subject of legislative interference are under the protection of the Federal
Constitution regarding their liberty of contract as well as of person, and the legislature of the State has no power to limit
their right as proposed in this statute. All that it could properly do has been done by it with regard to the conduct of
bakeries, as provided for in the other sections of the act above set forth. These several sections provide for the inspection
of the premises where the bakery is carried on, with regard to furnishing proper wash-rooms and water-closets, apart from
the bake-room, also with regard to providing proper drainage, plumbing and painting; the sections, in addition, provide for
the height of the ceiling, the cementing or tiling of floors, where necessary in the opinion of the factory inspector, and for
other things of

Page 198 U. S. 62
that nature; alterations are also provided for and are to be made where necessary in the opinion of the inspector, in order
to comply with the provisions of the statute. These various sections may be wise and valid regulations, and they certainly
go to the full extent of providing for the cleanliness and the healthiness, so far as possible, of the quarters in which
bakeries are to be conducted. Adding to all these requirements a prohibition to enter into any contract of labor in a bakery
for more than a certain number of hours a week is, in our judgment, so wholly beside the matter of a proper, reasonable
and fair provision as to run counter to that liberty of person and of free contract provided for in the Federal Constitution.

It was further urged on the argument that restricting the hours of labor in the case of bakers was valid because it tended to
cleanliness on the part of the workers, as a man was more apt to be cleanly when not overworked, and, if cleanly, then his
"output" was also more likely to be so. What has already been said applies with equal force to this contention. We do not
admit the reasoning to be sufficient to justify the claimed right of such interference. The State in that case would assume
the position of a supervisor, or pater familias, over every act of the individual, and its right of governmental interference
with his hours of labor, his hours of exercise, the character thereof, and the extent to which it shall be carried would be
recognized and upheld. In our judgment, it is not possible, in fact, to discover the connection between the number of hours
a baker may work in the bakery and the healthful quality of the bread made by the workman. The connection, if any exists,
is too shadowy and thin to build any argument for the interference of the legislature. If the man works ten hours a day, it is
all right, but if ten and a half or eleven, his health is in danger and his bread may be unhealthful, and, therefore, he shall
not be permitted to do it. This, we think, is unreasonable, and entirely arbitrary. When assertions such as we have
adverted to become necessary in order to give, if possible, a plausible foundation for the contention that the law is a
"health law,"

Page 198 U. S. 63

it gives rise to at least a suspicion that there was some other motive dominating the legislature than the purpose to
subserve the public health or welfare.

This interference on the part of the legislatures of the several States with the ordinary trades and occupations of the
people seems to be on the increase. In the Supreme Court of New York, in the case of People v. Beattie, Appellate
Division, First Department, decided in 1904, 89 N.Y.Supp. 193, a statute regulating the trade of horseshoeing, and
requiring the person practicing such trade to be examined and to obtain a certificate from a board of examiners and file
the same with the clerk of the county wherein the person proposes to practice his trade, was held invalid as an arbitrary
interference with personal liberty and private property without due process of law. The attempt was made, unsuccessfully,
to justify it as a health law.

The same kind of a statute was held invalid (In re Aubry) by the Supreme Court of Washington in December, 1904. 78
Pac.Rep. 900. The court held that the act deprived citizens of their liberty and property without due process of law and
denied to them the equal protection of the laws. It also held that the trade of a horseshoer is not a subject of regulation
under the police power of the State as a business concerning and directly affecting the health, welfare or comfort of its
inhabitants, and that, therefore, a law which provided for the examination and registration of horseshoers in certain cities
was unconstitutional as an illegitimate exercise of the police power.

The Supreme Court of Illinois in Bessette v. People, 193 Illinois 334, also held that a law of the same nature, providing for
the regulation and licensing of horseshoers, was unconstitutional as an illegal interference with the liberty of the individual
in adopting and pursuing such calling as he may choose, subject only to the restraint necessary secure the common
welfare. See also Godcharles v. Wigeman, 113 Pa. St. 431, 437; Low v. Rees Printing Co., 41 Nebraska 127, 145. In

Page 198 U. S. 64

these cases, the courts upheld the right of free contract and the right to purchase and sell labor upon such terms as the
parties may agree to.

It is impossible for us to shut our eyes to the fact that many of the laws of this character, while passed under what is
claimed to be the police power for the purpose of protecting the public health or welfare, are, in reality, passed from other
motives. We are justified in saying so when, from the character of the law and the subject upon which it legislates, it is
apparent that the public health or welfare bears but the most remote relation to the law. The purpose of a statute must be
determined from the natural and legal effect of the language employed, and whether it is or is not repugnant to the
Constitution of the United States must be determined from the natural effect of such statutes when put into operation, and
not from their proclaimed purpose. Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313; Brimmer v. Rebman, 138 U. S. 78. The court
looks beyond the mere letter of the law in such cases. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356.

It is manifest to us that the limitation of the hours of labor as provided for in this section of the statute under which the
indictment was found, and the plaintiff in error convicted, has no such direct relation to, and no such substantial effect
upon, the health of the employee as to justify us in regarding the section as really a health law. It seems to us that the real
object and purpose were simply to regulate the hours of labor between the master and his employees (all being men sui
juris) in a private business, not dangerous in any degree to morals or in any real and substantial degree to the health of
the employees. Under such circumstances, the freedom of master and employee to contract with each other in relation to
their employment, and in defining the same, cannot be prohibited or interfered with without violating the Federal
Constitution.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York, as well as that of the Supreme Court and of the County Court of
Oneida County, must be reversed, and the case remanded to

Page 198 U. S. 65

the County Court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
Reversed.

"§ 110. Hours of labor in bakeries and confectionery establishments. -- No employee shall be required or permitted to
work in a biscuit, bread or cake bakery or confectionery establishment more than sixty hours in any one week, or more
than ten hours in any one day, unless for the purpose of making a shorter work day on the last day of the week; nor more
hours in any one week than will make an average of ten hours per day for the number of days during such week in which
such employee shall work."

"§ 111. Drainage and plumbing of building and rooms occupied by bakeries. -- All buildings or rooms occupied as biscuit,
bread, pie or cake bakeries shall be drained and plumbed in a manner conducive to the proper and healthful sanitary
condition thereof, and shall be constructed with air shafts, windows or ventilating pipes, sufficient to insure ventilation. The
factory inspector may direct the proper drainage, plumbing and ventilation of such rooms or buildings. No cellar or
basement not now used for a bakery shall hereafter be so occupied or used unless the proprietor shall comply with the
sanitary provisions of this article."

"§ 112. Requirements as to rooms, furniture, utensils and manufactured products. -- Every room used for the manufacture
of flour or meal food products shall be at least eight feet in height and shall have, if deemed necessary by the factory
inspector, an impermeable floor constructed of cement, or of tiles laid in cement, or an additional flooring of wood properly
saturated with linseed oil. The side walls of such rooms shall be plastered or wainscoted. The factory inspector may
require the side walls and ceiling to be whitewashed at least once in three months. He may also require the woodwork of
such walls to be painted. The furniture and utensils shall be so arranged as to be readily cleansed and not prevent the
proper cleaning of any part of a room. The manufactured flour or meal food products shall be kept in dry and airy rooms,
so arranged that the floors, shelves and all other facilities for storing the same can be properly cleaned. No domestic
animal, except cats, shall be allowed to remain in a room used as a biscuit, bread, pie, or cake bakery, or any room in
such bakery where flour or meal product are stored."

"§ 113. Wash-rooms and closets; sleeping places. -- Every such bakery shall be provided with a proper washroom and
water-closet or water-closet apart from the bake-room, or room where the manufacture of such food product is conducted,
and no water-closet, earth-closet, privy or ash-pit shall be within or connected directly with the bake-room of any bakery,
hotel or public restaurant."

"No person shall sleep in a room occupied as a bake-room. Sleeping places for the persons employed in the bakery shall
be separate from the rooms where flour or meal food products are manufactured or stored. If the sleeping places are on
the same floor where such products are manufactured, stored or sold, the factory inspector may inspect and order them
put in a proper sanitary condition."

"§ 114. Inspection of bakeries. -- The factory inspector shall cause all bakeries to be inspected. If it be found upon such
inspection that the bakeries so inspected are constructed and conducted in compliance with the provisions of this chapter,
the factory inspector shall issue a certificate to the person owning or conducting such bakeries."

"§ 115. Notice requiring alterations. -- If, in the opinion of the factory inspector, alterations are required in or upon
premises occupied and used as bakeries in order to comply with the provisions of this article, a written notice shall be
served by him upon the owner, agent or lessee of such premises, either personally or by mail, requiring such alteration to
be made within sixty day after such service, and such alterations hall be made accordingly."

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE WHITE and MR. JUSTICE DAY concurred, dissenting.

While this court has not attempted to mark the precise boundaries of what is called the police power of the State, the
existence of the power has been uniformly recognized, both by the Federal and state courts.

All the cases agree that this power extends at least to the protection of the lives, the health, and the safety of the public
against the injurious exercise by any citizen of his own rights.

In Patterson v. Kentucky, 97 U. S. 501, after referring to the general principle that rights given by the Constitution cannot
be impaired by state legislation of any kind, this court said:

"It [this court] has, nevertheless, with marked distinctness and uniformity, recognized the necessity, growing out of the
fundamental conditions of civil society, of upholding state police regulations which were enacted in good faith and had
appropriate and direct connection with that protection to life, health, and property which each State owes to her citizens."

So, in Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U. S. 27:

"But neither the [14th] Amendment -- broad and comprehensive as it is -- nor any other Amendment was designed to
interfere with the power of the State, sometimes termed its police power, to prescribe regulations to promote the health,
peace, morals, education, and good order of the people."

Speaking generally, the State, in the exercise of its powers, may not unduly interfere with the right of the citizen to enter
into contracts that may be necessary and essential in the enjoyment of the inherent rights belonging to everyone, among
which rights is the right

"to be free in the enjoyment of all his faculties; to be free to use them in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to
earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; to pursue any livelihood or avocation."
This was declared

Page 198 U. S. 66

in Allgeyer v. Louisiana, 165 U. S. 578, 165 U. S. 589. But, in the same case, it was conceded that the right to contract in
relation to persons and property or to do business within a State may be "regulated, and sometimes prohibited, when the
contracts or business conflict with the policy of the State as contained in its statutes." (P. 165 U. S. 591).

So, as said in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366, 169 U. S. 391:

"This right of contract, however, is itself subject to certain limitations which the State may lawfully impose in the exercise
of its police powers. While this power is inherent in all government, it has doubtless been greatly expanded in its
application during the past century owing to an enormous increase in the number of occupations which are dangerous, or
so far detrimental to the health of the employees as to demand special precautions for their wellbeing and protection, or
the safety of adjacent property. While this court has held, notably in the cases of Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U. S. 97,
and Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, that the police power cannot be put forward as an excuse for oppressive and
unjust legislation, it may be lawfully resorted to for the purpose of preserving the public health, safety or morals, or the
abatement of public nuisances, and 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."

"Lawton v. Steele, 152 U. S. 133, 152 U. S. 136."

Referring to the limitations placed by the State upon the hours of workmen, the court in the same case said (p. 118 U. S.
395):

"These employments, when too long pursued, the legislature has judged to be detrimental to the health of the employees,
and, so long as there are reasonable grounds for believing that this is so, its decision upon this subject cannot be
reviewed by the Federal courts."

Subsequently in Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U. S. 183, 177 U. S. 188, this court said:

"Regulations respecting the pursuit of a lawful trade or business are of very frequent occurrence in the various cities of the
country, and what such regulations shall be and

Page 198 U. S. 67

to what particular trade, business or occupation they shall apply are questions for the State to determine, and their
determination comes within the proper exercise of the police power by the State, and unless the regulations are so utterly
unreasonable and extravagant in their nature and purpose that the property and personal rights of the citizen are
unnecessarily, and in a manner wholly arbitrary, interfered with or destroyed without due process of law, they do not
extend beyond the power of the State to pass, and they form no subject for Federal interference."

"As stated in Crowley v. Christensen, 137 U. S. 86,"

"the possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the
governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order and morals of the community."

In St. Louis, Iron Mountain &c. Ry. v. Paul, 173 U. S. 404, 173 U. S. 409, and in Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U. S.
13, 183 U. S. 21, 183 U. S. 22, it was distinctly adjudged that the right of contract was not "absolute in respect to every
matter, but may be subjected to the restraints demanded by the safety and welfare of the State." Those cases illustrate
the extent to which the State may restrict or interfere with the exercise of the right of contracting.

The authorities on the same line are so numerous that further citations are unnecessary.

I take it to be firmly established that what is called the liberty of contract may, within certain limits, be subjected to
regulations designed and calculated to promote the general welfare or to guard the public health, the public morals or the
public safety. "The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not
import," this court has recently said,

"an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are
manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good."

Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11.

Page 198 U. S. 68

Granting then that there is a liberty of contract which cannot be violated even under the sanction of direct legislative
enactment, but assuming, as according to settled law we may assume, that such liberty of contract is subject to such
regulations as the State may reasonably prescribe for the common good and the wellbeing of society, what are the
conditions under which the judiciary may declare such regulations to be in excess of legislative authority and void? Upon
this point there is no room for dispute, for the rule is universal that a legislative enactment, Federal or state, is never to be
disregarded or held invalid unless it be, beyond question, plainly and palpably in excess of legislative power. In Jacobson
v. Massachusetts, supra, we said that the power of the courts to review legislative action in respect of a matter affecting
the general welfare exists only

"when that which the legislature has done comes within the rule that, if a statute purporting to have been enacted to
protect the public health, the public morals or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is,
beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law"

-- citing Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U. S. 623, 123 U. S. 661; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313, 136 U. S. 320; Atkin v.
Kansas, 191 U. S. 207, 191 U. S. 223. If there be doubt as to the validity of the statute, that doubt must therefore be
resolved in favor of its validity, and the courts must keep their hands off, leaving the legislature to meet the responsibility
for unwise legislation. If the end which the legislature seeks to accomplish be one to which its power extends, and if the
means employed to that end, although not the wisest or best, are yet not plainly and palpably unauthorized by law, then
the court cannot interfere. In other words, when the validity of a statute is questioned, the burden of proof, so to speak, is
upon those who assert it to be unconstitutional. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 17 U. S. 421.

Let these principles be applied to the present case. By the. statute in question, it is provided that

"No employee shall be required or permitted to work in a biscuit, bread or cake

Page 198 U. S. 69

bakery or confectionery establishment more than sixty hours in any one week, or more than ten hours in any one day,
unless for the purpose of making a shorter work day on the last day of the week; nor more hours in any one week than will
make an average of ten hours per day for the number of days during such week in which such employee shall work."

It is plain that this statute was enacted in order to protect the physical wellbeing of those who work in bakery and
confectionery establishments. It may be that the statute had its origin, in part, in the belief that employers and employees
in such establishments were not upon an equal footing, and that the necessities of the latter often compelled them to
submit to such exactions as unduly taxed their strength. Be this as it may, the statute must be taken as expressing the
belief of the people of New York that, as a general rule, and in the case of the average man, labor in excess of sixty hours
during a week in such establishments may endanger the health of those who thus labor. Whether or not this be wise
legislation it is not the province of the court to inquire. Under our systems of government, the courts are not concerned
with the wisdom or policy of legislation. So that, in determining the question of power to interfere with liberty of contract,
the court may inquire whether the means devised by the State are germane to an end which may be lawfully
accomplished and have a real or substantial relation to the protection of health, as involved in the daily work of the
persons, male and female, engaged in bakery and confectionery establishments. But when this inquiry is entered upon, I
find it impossible, in view of common experience, to say that there is here no real or substantial relation between the
means employed by the State and the end sought to be accomplished by its legislation. Mugler v. Kansas, supra. Nor can
I say that the statute has no appropriate or direct connection with that protection to health which each State owes to her
citizens, Patterson v. Kentucky, supra; or that it is not promotive of the health of the employees in question, Holden v.
Hardy, Lawton v. Steele,

Page 198 U. S. 70

supra; or that the regulation prescribed by the State is utterly unreasonable and extravagant or wholly arbitrary, Gundling
v. Chicago, supra. Still less can I say that the statute is, beyond question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by
the fundamental law. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, supra. Therefore, I submit that this court will transcend its functions if it
assumes to annul the statute of New York. It must be remembered that this statute does not apply to all kinds of business.
It applies only to work in bakery and confectionery establishments, in which, as all know, the air constantly breathed by
workmen is not as pure and healthful as that to be found in some other establishments or out of doors.

Professor Hirt, in his treatise on the "Diseases of the Workers," has said:

"The labor of the bakers is among the hardest and most laborious imaginable, because it has to be performed under
conditions injurious to the health of those engaged in it. It is hard, very hard work, not only because it requires a great deal
of physical exertion in an overheated workshop and during unreasonably long hours, but more so because of the erratic
demands of the public, compelling the baker to perform the greater part of his work at night, thus depriving him of an
opportunity to enjoy the necessary rest and sleep, a fact which is highly injurious to his health."

Another writer says:

"The constant inhaling of flour dust causes inflammation of the lungs and of the bronchial tubes. The eyes also suffer
through this dust, which is responsible for the many cases of running eyes among the bakers. The long hours of toil to
which all bakers are subjected produce rheumatism, cramps and swollen legs. The intense heat in the workshops induces
the workers to resort to cooling drinks, which, together with their habit of exposing the greater part of their bodies to the
change in the atmosphere, is another source of a number of diseases of various organs. Nearly all bakers are pale-faced
and of more delicate health than the workers of other crafts, which is chiefly due to their hard work and their irregular and
unnatural mode of living, whereby the power of resistance against disease is

Page 198 U. S. 71

greatly diminished. The average age of a baker is below that of other workmen; they seldom live over their fiftieth year,
most of them dying between the ages of forty and fifty. During periods of epidemic diseases, the bakers are generally the
first to succumb to the disease, and the number swept away during such periods far exceeds the number of other crafts in
comparison to the men employed in the respective industries. When, in 1720, the plague visited the city of Marseilles,
France, every baker in the city succumbed to the epidemic, which caused considerable excitement in the neighboring
cities and resulted in measures for the sanitary protection of the bakers."

In the Eighteenth Annual Report by the New York Bureau of Statistics of Labor it is stated that, among the occupations
involving exposure to conditions that interfere with nutrition is that of a baker (p. 52). In that Report, it is also stated that,

"from a social point of view, production will be increased by any change in industrial organization which diminishes the
number of idlers, paupers and criminals. Shorter hours of work, by allowing higher standards of comfort and purer family
life, promise to enhance the industrial efficiency of the wage-working class -- improved health, longer life, more content
and greater intelligence and inventiveness."

(P. 82).

Statistics show that the average daily working time among workingmen in different countries is, in Australia, 8 hours; in
Great Britain, 9; in the United States, 9; in Denmark, 9; in Norway, 10; Sweden, France and Switzerland, 10; Germany,
10; Belgium, Italy and Austria, 11, and in Russia, 12 hours.

We judicially know that the question of the number of hours during which a workman should continuously labor has been,
for a long period, and is yet, a subject of serious consideration among civilized peoples and by those having special
knowledge of the laws of health. Suppose the statute prohibited labor in bakery and confectionery establishments in
excess of eighteen hours each day. No one, I take it, could dispute the power of the State to enact such a statute. But the
statute

Page 198 U. S. 72

before us does not embrace extreme or exceptional cases. It may be said to occupy a middle ground in respect of the
hours of labor. What is the true ground for the State to take between legitimate protection, by legislation, of the public
health and liberty of contract is not a question easily solved, nor one in respect of which there is or can be absolute
certainty. There are very few, if any, questions in political economy about which entire certainty may be predicated. One
writer on relation of the State to labor has well said:

"The manner, occasion, and degree in which the State may interfere with the industrial freedom of its citizens is one of the
most debatable and difficult questions of social science."

Jevons, 33.

We also judicially know that the number of hours that should constitute a day's labor in particular occupations involving the
physical strength and safety of workmen has been the subject of enactments by Congress and by nearly all of the States.
Many if not most of those enactments fix eight hours as the proper basis of a day's labor.

I do not stop to consider whether any particular view of this economic question presents the sounder theory. What the
precise facts are it may be difficult to say. It is enough for the determination of this case, and it is enough for this court to
know, that the question is one about which there is room for debate and for an honest difference of opinion. There are
many reasons of a weighty, substantial character, based upon the experience of mankind, in support of the theory that, all
things considered, more than ten hours' steady work each day, from week to week, in a bakery or confectionery
establishment, may endanger the health, and shorten the lives of the workmen, thereby diminishing their physical and
mental capacity to serve the State, and to provide for those dependent upon them.

If such reasons exist, that ought to be the end of this case, for the State is not amenable to the judiciary in respect of its
legislative enactments unless such enactments are plainly, palpably, beyond all question, inconsistent with the
Constitution

Page 198 U. S. 73

of the United States. We are not to presume that the State of New York has acted in bad faith. Nor can we assume that its
legislature acted without due deliberation, or that it did not determine this question upon the fullest attainable information,
and for the common good. We cannot say that the State has acted without reason, nor ought we to proceed upon the
theory that its action is a mere sham. Our duty, I submit, is to sustain the statute as not being in conflict with the Federal
Constitution for the reason -- and such is an all-sufficient reason -- it is not shown to be plainly and palpably inconsistent
with that instrument. Let the State alone in the management of its purely domestic affairs so long as it does not appear
beyond all question that it has violated the Federal Constitution. This view necessarily results from the principle that the
health and safety of the people of a State are primarily for the State to guard and protect.

I take leave to say that the New York statute, in the particulars here involved, cannot be held to be in conflict with the
Fourteenth Amendment without enlarging the scope of the Amendment far beyond its original purpose and without
bringing under the supervision of this court matters which have been supposed to belong exclusively to the legislative
departments of the several States when exerting their conceded power to guard the health and safety of their citizens by
such regulations as they in their wisdom deem best. Health laws of every description constitute, said Chief Justice
Marshall, a part of that mass of legislation which

"embraces everything within the territory of a State not surrendered to the General Government; all which can be most
advantageously exercised by the States themselves."

Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 22 U. S. 203. A decision that the New York statute is void under the Fourteenth
Amendment will, in my opinion, involve consequences of a far-reaching and mischievous character; for such a decision
would seriously cripple the inherent power of the States to care for the lives, health and wellbeing of their citizens. Those
are matters which can be best controlled by the States.

Page 198 U. S. 74

The preservation of the just powers of the States is quite as vital as the preservation of the powers of the General
Government.

When this court had before it the question of the constitutionality of a statute of Kansas making it a criminal offense for a
contractor for public work to permit or require his employees to perform labor upon such work in excess of eight hours
each day, it was contended that the statute was in derogation of the liberty both of employees and employer. It was further
contended that the Kansas statute was mischievous in its tendencies. This court, while disposing of the question only as it
affected public work, held that the Kansas statute was not void under the Fourteenth Amendment. But it took occasion to
say what may well be here repeated:

"The responsibility therefor rests upon legislators, not upon the courts. No evils arising from such legislation could be
more far-reaching than those that might come to our system of government if the judiciary, abandoning the sphere
assigned to it by the fundamental law, should enter the domain of legislation, and upon grounds merely of justice or
reason or wisdom, annul statutes that had received the sanction of the people's representatives. We are reminded by
counsel that it is the solemn duty of the courts in cases before them to guard the constitutional rights of the citizen against
merely arbitrary power. That is unquestionably true. But it is equally true -- indeed, the public interests imperatively
demand -- that legislative enactments should be recognized and enforced by the courts as embodying the will of the
people unless they are plainly and palpably, beyond all question, in violation of the fundamental law of the Constitution."

Atkin v. Kansas, 191 U. S. 207, 191 U. S. 223.

The judgment in my opinion should be affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES dissenting.

I regret sincerely that I am unable to agree with the judgment

Page 198 U. S. 75

in this case, and that I think it my duty to express my dissent.

This case is decided upon an economic theory which a large part of the country does not entertain. If it were a question
whether I agreed with that theory, I should desire to study it further and long before making up my mind. But I do not
conceive that to be my duty, because I strongly believe that my agreement or disagreement has nothing to do with the
right of a majority to embody their opinions in law. It is settled by various decisions of this court that state constitutions and
state laws may regulate life in many ways which we, as legislators, might think as injudicious, or, if you like, as tyrannical,
as this, and which, equally with this, interfere with the liberty to contract. Sunday laws and usury laws are ancient
examples. A more modern one is the prohibition of lotteries. The liberty of the citizen to do as he likes so long as he does
not interfere with the liberty of others to do the same, which has been a shibboleth for some well known writers, is
interfered with by school laws, by the Post Office, by every state or municipal institution which takes his money for
purposes thought desirable, whether he likes it or not. The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's
Social Statics. The other day, we sustained the Massachusetts vaccination law. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S.
11. United States and state statutes and decisions cutting down the liberty to contract by way of combination are familiar
to this court. Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U. S. 197. Two years ago, we upheld the prohibition of sales of
stock on margins or for future delivery in the constitution of California. Otis v. Parker, 187 U. S. 606. The decision
sustaining an eight hour law for miners is still recent. Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366. Some of these laws embody
convictions or prejudices which judges are likely to share. Some may not. But a constitution is not intended to embody a
particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the State or of laissez faire.

Page 198 U. S. 76

It is made for people of fundamentally differing views, and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar
or novel and even shocking ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question whether statutes embodying them
conflict with the Constitution of the United States.

General propositions do not decide concrete cases. The decision will depend on a judgment or intuition more subtle than
any articulate major premise. But I think that the proposition just stated, if it is accepted, will carry us far toward the end.
Every opinion tends to become a law. I think that the word liberty in the Fourteenth Amendment is perverted when it is
held to prevent the natural outcome of a dominant opinion, unless it can be said that a rational and fair man necessarily
would admit that the statute proposed would infringe fundamental principles as they have been understood by the
traditions of our people and our law. It does not need research to show that no such sweeping condemnation can be
passed upon the statute before us. A reasonable man might think it a proper measure on the score of health. Men whom I
certainly could not pronounce unreasonable would uphold it as a first instalment of a general regulation of the hours of
work. Whether in the latter aspect it would be open to the charge of inequality I think it unnecessary to discuss.
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., on behalf of the South-South Network (SSN) for Non-
State Armed Group Engagement, and ATTY. SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR.,

Petitioners,

- versus -

ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, THE CHIEF OF
STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE,

Respondents.

x ------------------------------- x

KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by its Chairperson Elmer Labog, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR
UNIONS-KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU-KMU), represented by its National President Joselito V. Ustarez and
Secretary General Antonio C. Pascual, and CENTER FOR TRADE UNION AND HUMAN RIGHTS, represented by its
Executive Director Daisy Arago,

Petitioners,

- versus -

HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, NORBERTO GONZALES, in his capacity as
Acting Secretary of National Defense, HON. RAUL GONZALES, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, HON.
RONALDO PUNO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, GEN. HERMOGENES
ESPERON, in his capacity as AFP Chief of Staff, and DIRECTOR GENERAL OSCAR CALDERON, in his capacity
as PNP Chief of Staff,

Respondents.

x ------------------------------------ x

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), GENERAL ALLIANCE BINDING WOMEN FOR REFORMS,
INTEGRITY, EQUALITY, LEADERSHIP AND ACTION (GABRIELA), KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS
(KMP), MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (MCCCL), CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY,
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE), KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG
MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY), SOLIDARITY OF CAVITE WORKERS, LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS),
ANAKBAYAN, PAMBANSANG LAKAS NG KILUSANG MAMAMALAKAYA (PAMALAKAYA), ALLIANCE OF
CONCERNED TEACHERS (ACT), MIGRANTE, HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY (HEAD), AGHAM, TEOFISTO
GUINGONA, JR., DR. BIENVENIDO LUMBERA, RENATO CONSTANTINO, JR., SISTER MARY JOHN MANANSAN
OSB, DEAN CONSUELO PAZ, ATTY. JOSEFINA LICHAUCO, COL. GERRY CUNANAN (ret.), CARLITOS SIGUION-
REYNA, DR. CAROLINA PAGADUAN-ARAULLO, RENATO REYES, DANILO RAMOS, EMERENCIANA DE LESUS,
RITA BAUA, REY CLARO CASAMBRE,

Petitioners,
- versus -

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE


SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING
SECRETARY NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY
RONALDO PUNO. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL
DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-
MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and
investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON,

Respondents.

x ------------------------------------ x

KARAPATAN, ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PEOPLES RIGHTS, represented herein by Dr. Edelina de
la Paz, and representing the following organizations: HUSTISYA, represented by Evangeline Hernandez and also
on her own behalf; DESAPARECIDOS, represented by Mary Guy Portajada and also on her own behalf,
SAMAHAN NG MGA EX-DETAINEES LABAN SA DETENSYON AT PARA SA AMNESTIYA (SELDA), represented by
Donato Continente and also on his own behalf, ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE (EMJP),
represented by Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, UCCP, and PROMOTION OF CHURCH PEOPLES RESPONSE,
represented by Fr. Gilbert Sabado, OCARM,

Petitioners,

- versus -

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE


SECRETARTY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, DEPARTMENT
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING
SECRETARY NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY
RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL
DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-
MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and
investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON,

Respondents.

x------------------------------------ x

THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), represented by Atty. Feliciano M. Bautista, COUNSELS FOR
THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY (CODAL), SEN. MA. ANA CONSUELO A.S. MADRIGAL and FORMER SENATORS
SERGIO OSMEA III and WIGBERTO E. TAADA,

Petitioners,
- versus -

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND THE MEMBERS OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL (ATC),

Respondents.

x------------------------------------- x

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG (BAYAN-ST), GABRIELA-ST, KATIPUNAN NG MGA


SAMAHYANG MAGSASAKA-TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (KASAMA-TK), MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS
FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (MCCCL), PEOPLES MARTYRS, ANAKBAYAN-ST, PAMALAKAYA-ST, CONFEDERATION
FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE-ST),
PAGKAKAISAT UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGBUBUKID SA LAGUNA (PUMALAG), SAMAHAN NG MGA MAMAMAYAN
SA TABING RILES (SMTR-ST), LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), BAYAN MUNA-ST, KONGRESO NG MGA
MAGBUBUKID PARA SA REPORMANG AGRARYO KOMPRA, BIGKIS AT LAKAS NG MGA KATUTUBO SA TIMOG
KATAGALUGAN (BALATIK), SAMAHAN AT UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGSASAKANG KABABAIHAN SA TIMOG
KATAGALUGAN (SUMAMAKA-TK), STARTER, LOSOS RURAL POOR ORGANIZATION FOR PROGRESS &
EQUALITY, CHRISTIAN NIO LAJARA, TEODORO REYES, FRANCESCA B. TOLENTINO, JANNETTE E.
BARRIENTOS, OSCAR T. LAPIDA, JR., DELFIN DE CLARO, SALLY P. ASTRERA, ARNEL SEGUNE BELTRAN,

Petitioners,

- versus -

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE


SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, DEPARTMENT OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING
SECRETARY NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMEN T SECRETARY
RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINCANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL
DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ANTI-
MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and
investigative elements, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON,

Respondents.

G.R. No. 178552

Present:

CORONA, C.J.,

CARPIO,

CARPIO MORALES,

VELASCO, JR.,

NACHURA,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BRION,

PERALTA,

BERSAMIN,

DEL CASTILLO,

ABAD,

VILLARAMA, JR.,

PEREZ,

MENDOZA, and

SERENO, JJ.

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Before the Court are six petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9372 (RA 9372), An Act to Secure
the State and Protect our People from Terrorism, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007,[1] signed into law
on March 6, 2007.

Following the effectivity of RA 9372 on July 15, 2007,[2] petitioner Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc., a
non-government organization, and Atty. Soliman Santos, Jr., a concerned citizen, taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for
certiorari and prohibition on July 16, 2007 docketed as G.R. No. 178552. On even date, petitioners Kilusang Mayo Uno
(KMU), National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), and Center for Trade Union and Human
Rights (CTUHR), represented by their respective officers[3] who are also bringing the action in their capacity as citizens,
filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178554.

The following day, July 17, 2007, organizations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), General Alliance Binding
Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action (GABRIELA), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),
Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of
Government Employees (COURAGE), Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Solidarity of Cavite Workers
(SCW), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya
(PAMALAKAYA), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Migrante, Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), and Agham,
represented by their respective officers,[4] and joined by concerned citizens and taxpayers Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Dr.
Bienvenido Lumbera, Renato Constantino, Jr., Sister Mary John Manansan, OSB, Dean Consuelo Paz, Atty. Josefina
Lichauco, Retired Col. Gerry Cunanan, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Dr. Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes, Danilo
Ramos, Emerenciana de Jesus, Rita Baua and Rey Claro Casambre filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed
as G.R. No. 178581.

On August 6, 2007, Karapatan and its alliance member organizations Hustisya, Desaparecidos, Samahan ng mga Ex-
Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP),
and Promotion of Church Peoples Response (PCPR), which were represented by their respective officers[5] who are also
bringing action on their own behalf, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178890.

On August 29, 2007, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Counsels for the Defense of Liberty (CODAL),[6] Senator
Ma. Ana Consuelo A.S. Madrigal, Sergio Osmea III, and Wigberto E. Taada filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition
docketed as G.R. No. 179157.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST), other regional chapters and organizations mostly based
in the Southern Tagalog Region,[7] and individuals[8] followed suit by filing on September 19, 2007 a petition for certiorari
and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 179461 that replicates the allegations raised in the BAYAN petition in G.R. No.
178581.

Impleaded as respondents in the various petitions are the Anti-Terrorism Council[9] composed of, at the time of the filing
of the petitions, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as Chairperson, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales as Vice
Chairperson, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Acting Defense Secretary and National Security Adviser
Norberto Gonzales, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, and Finance Secretary Margarito Teves as
members. All the petitions, except that of the IBP, also impleaded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff
Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Oscar Calderon.

The Karapatan, BAYAN and BAYAN-ST petitions likewise impleaded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the support
agencies for the Anti-Terrorism Council like the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Bureau of
Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Office of Civil Defense, Intelligence Service of the AFP, Anti-Money Laundering
Center, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and the PNP intelligence and investigative elements.

The petitions fail.

Petitioners resort to certiorari is improper

Preliminarily, certiorari does not lie against respondents who do not exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Section 1,
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is clear:

Section 1. Petition for certiorari.When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted
without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be
rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as
law and justice may require. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Parenthetically, petitioners do not even allege with any modicum of particularity how respondents acted without or in
excess of their respective jurisdictions, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

The impropriety of certiorari as a remedy aside, the petitions fail just the same.

In constitutional litigations, the power of judicial review is limited by four exacting requisites, viz: (a) there must be an
actual case or controversy; (b) petitioners must possess locus standi; (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at
the earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the lis mota of the case.[10]

In the present case, the dismal absence of the first two requisites, which are the most essential, renders the discussion of
the last two superfluous.

Petitioners lack locus standi

Locus standi or legal standing requires a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions.[11]

Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The Executive Secretary[12] summarized the rule on locus standi, thus:
Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has
sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question
on standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions.

[A] party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a direct and personal interest. It must show not only that
the law or any governmental act is invalid, but also that it sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct
injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that it suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must show that it has
been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which it is lawfully entitled or that it is about to be subjected to
some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.

For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional question, it must show that (1) it has personally suffered
some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government, (2) the injury is fairly
traceable to the challenged action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied.)

Petitioner-organizations assert locus standi on the basis of being suspected communist fronts by the government,
especially the military; whereas individual petitioners invariably invoke the transcendental importance doctrine and their
status as citizens and taxpayers.

While Chavez v. PCGG[13] holds that transcendental public importance dispenses with the requirement that petitioner
has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and personal injury, cases involving the constitutionality of penal
legislation belong to an altogether different genus of constitutional litigation. Compelling State and societal interests in the
proscription of harmful conduct, as will later be elucidated, necessitate a closer judicial scrutiny of locus standi.

Petitioners have not presented any personal stake in the outcome of the controversy. None of them faces any charge
under RA 9372.

KARAPATAN, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, SELDA, EMJP and PCR, petitioners in G.R. No. 178890, allege that they have
been subjected to close security surveillance by state security forces, their members followed by suspicious persons and
vehicles with dark windshields, and their offices monitored by men with military build. They likewise claim that they have
been branded as enemies of the [S]tate.[14]

Even conceding such gratuitous allegations, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) correctly points out that petitioners
have yet to show any connection between the purported surveillance and the implementation of RA 9372.

BAYAN, GABRIELA, KMP, MCCCL, COURAGE, KADAMAY, SCW, LFS, Anakbayan, PAMALAKAYA, ACT, Migrante,
HEAD and Agham, petitioner-organizations in G.R. No. 178581, would like the Court to take judicial notice of respondents
alleged action of tagging them as militant organizations fronting for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its
armed wing, the National Peoples Army (NPA). The tagging, according to petitioners, is tantamount to the effects of
proscription without following the procedure under the law.[15] The petition of BAYAN-ST, et al. in G.R. No. 179461
pleads the same allegations.

The Court cannot take judicial notice of the alleged tagging of petitioners.

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the matter must be one of common and
general knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known
to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what facts may be assumed to be
judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records
and facts of general notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a reasonable dispute in that it
is either: (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready
determination by resorting to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.
Things of common knowledge, of which courts take judicial matters coming to the knowledge of men generally in the
course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and
are capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally known, and which may be found
in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are judicially noticed, provided, they are of such universal notoriety
and so generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every person. As
the common knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of particular facts have been judicially noticed as
being matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the
existence or non-existence of a fact of which the court has no constructive knowledge.[16] (emphasis and underscoring
supplied.)

No ground was properly established by petitioners for the taking of judicial notice. Petitioners apprehension is insufficient
to substantiate their plea. That no specific charge or proscription under RA 9372 has been filed against them, three years
after its effectivity, belies any claim of imminence of their perceived threat emanating from the so-called tagging.

The same is true with petitioners KMU, NAFLU and CTUHR in G.R. No. 178554, who merely harp as well on their
supposed link to the CPP and NPA. They fail to particularize how the implementation of specific provisions of RA 9372
would result in direct injury to their organization and members.

While in our jurisdiction there is still no judicially declared terrorist organization, the United States of America[17] (US) and
the European Union[18] (EU) have both classified the CPP, NPA and Abu Sayyaf Group as foreign terrorist organizations.
The Court takes note of the joint statement of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales
that the Arroyo Administration would adopt the US and EU classification of the CPP and NPA as terrorist
organizations.[19] Such statement notwithstanding, there is yet to be filed before the courts an application to declare the
CPP and NPA organizations as domestic terrorist or outlawed organizations under RA 9372. Again, RA 9372 has been in
effect for three years now. From July 2007 up to the present, petitioner-organizations have conducted their activities fully
and freely without any threat of, much less an actual, prosecution or proscription under RA 9372.

Parenthetically, the Fourteenth Congress, in a resolution initiated by Party-list Representatives Saturnino Ocampo,
Teodoro Casio, Rafael Mariano and Luzviminda Ilagan,[20] urged the government to resume peace negotiations with the
NDF by removing the impediments thereto, one of which is the adoption of designation of the CPP and NPA by the US
and EU as foreign terrorist organizations. Considering the policy statement of the Aquino Administration[21] of resuming
peace talks with the NDF, the government is not imminently disposed to ask for the judicial proscription of the CPP-NPA
consortium and its allied organizations.

More important, there are other parties not before the Court with direct and specific interests in the questions being
raised.[22] Of recent development is the filing of the first case for proscription under Section 17[23] of RA 9372 by the
Department of Justice before the Basilan Regional Trial Court against the Abu Sayyaf Group.[24] Petitioner-organizations
do not in the least allege any link to the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Some petitioners attempt, in vain though, to show the imminence of a prosecution under RA 9372 by alluding to past
rebellion charges against them.

In Ladlad v. Velasco,[25] the Court ordered the dismissal of rebellion charges filed in 2006 against then Party-List
Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, Liza Maza of GABRIELA, and Joel Virador, Teodoro
Casio and Saturnino Ocampo of Bayan Muna. Also named in the dismissed rebellion charges were petitioners Rey Claro
Casambre, Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes, Rita Baua, Emerencia de Jesus and Danilo Ramos; and accused
of being front organizations for the Communist movement were petitioner-organizations KMU, BAYAN, GABRIELA,
PAMALAKAYA, KMP, KADAMAY, LFS and COURAGE.[26]

The dismissed rebellion charges, however, do not save the day for petitioners. For one, those charges were filed in 2006,
prior to the enactment of RA 9372, and dismissed by this Court. For another, rebellion is defined and punished under the
Revised Penal Code. Prosecution for rebellion is not made more imminent by the enactment of RA 9372, nor does the
enactment thereof make it easier to charge a person with rebellion, its elements not having been altered.
Conversely, previously filed but dismissed rebellion charges bear no relation to prospective charges under RA 9372. It
cannot be overemphasized that three years after the enactment of RA 9372, none of petitioners has been charged.

Petitioners IBP and CODAL in G.R. No. 179157 base their claim of locus standi on their sworn duty to uphold the
Constitution. The IBP zeroes in on Section 21 of RA 9372 directing it to render assistance to those arrested or detained
under the law.

The mere invocation of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not, however, suffice to clothe the IBP or any of its
members with standing.[27] The IBP failed to sufficiently demonstrate how its mandate under the assailed statute revolts
against its constitutional rights and duties. Moreover, both the IBP and CODAL have not pointed to even a single arrest or
detention effected under RA 9372.

Former Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, who claims to have been the subject of political surveillance, also lacks
locus standi. Prescinding from the veracity, let alone legal basis, of the claim of political surveillance, the Court finds that
she has not shown even the slightest threat of being charged under RA 9372. Similarly lacking in locus standi are former
Senator Wigberto Taada and Senator Sergio Osmea III, who cite their being respectively a human rights advocate and an
oppositor to the passage of RA 9372. Outside these gratuitous statements, no concrete injury to them has been
pinpointed.

Petitioners Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network and Atty. Soliman Santos Jr. in G.R. No. 178552 also
conveniently state that the issues they raise are of transcendental importance, which must be settled early and are of far-
reaching implications, without mention of any specific provision of RA 9372 under which they have been charged, or may
be charged. Mere invocation of human rights advocacy has nowhere been held sufficient to clothe litigants with locus
standi. Petitioners must show an actual, or immediate danger of sustaining, direct injury as a result of the laws
enforcement. To rule otherwise would be to corrupt the settled doctrine of locus standi, as every worthy cause is an
interest shared by the general public.

Neither can locus standi be conferred upon individual petitioners as taxpayers and citizens. A taxpayer suit is proper only
when there is an exercise of the spending or taxing power of Congress,[28] whereas citizen standing must rest on direct
and personal interest in the proceeding.[29]

RA 9372 is a penal statute and does not even provide for any appropriation from Congress for its implementation, while
none of the individual petitioner-citizens has alleged any direct and personal interest in the implementation of the law.

It bears to stress that generalized interests, albeit accompanied by the assertion of a public right, do not establish locus
standi. Evidence of a direct and personal interest is key.

Petitioners fail to present an actual case or controversy

By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or controversy.

Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by
law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.[30] (emphasis and
underscoring supplied.)

As early as Angara v. Electoral Commission,[31] the Court ruled that the power of judicial review is limited to actual cases
or controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties. Any attempt at abstraction could only
lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not
conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion.[32]

Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v. COMELEC[33] cannot be more emphatic:

[C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest, however intellectually challenging.
The controversy must be justiciabledefinite and concrete, touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal
interests. In other words, the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right, on the one hand, and a
denial thereof on the other hand; that is, it must concern a real and not merely a theoretical question or issue. There ought
to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree conclusive in nature, as
distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

Thus, a petition to declare unconstitutional a law converting the Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized City was
held to be premature as it was tacked on uncertain, contingent events.[34] Similarly, a petition that fails to allege that an
application for a license to operate a radio or television station has been denied or granted by the authorities does not
present a justiciable controversy, and merely wheedles the Court to rule on a hypothetical problem.[35]

The Court dismissed the petition in Philippine Press Institute v. Commission on Elections[36] for failure to cite any specific
affirmative action of the Commission on Elections to implement the assailed resolution. It refused, in Abbas v.
Commission on Elections,[37] to rule on the religious freedom claim of the therein petitioners based merely on a perceived
potential conflict between the provisions of the Muslim Code and those of the national law, there being no actual
controversy between real litigants.

The list of cases denying claims resting on purely hypothetical or anticipatory grounds goes on ad infinitum.

The Court is not unaware that a reasonable certainty of the occurrence of a perceived threat to any constitutional interest
suffices to provide a basis for mounting a constitutional challenge. This, however, is qualified by the requirement that
there must be sufficient facts to enable the Court to intelligently adjudicate the issues.[38]

Very recently, the US Supreme Court, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project,[39] allowed the pre-enforcement review of a
criminal statute, challenged on vagueness grounds, since plaintiffs faced a credible threat of prosecution and should not
be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief.[40] The plaintiffs therein filed
an action before a federal court to assail the constitutionality of the material support statute, 18 U.S.C. 2339B (a) (1),[41]
proscribing the provision of material support to organizations declared by the Secretary of State as foreign terrorist
organizations. They claimed that they intended to provide support for the humanitarian and political activities of two such
organizations.

Prevailing American jurisprudence allows an adjudication on the merits when an anticipatory petition clearly shows that
the challenged prohibition forbids the conduct or activity that a petitioner seeks to do, as there would then be a justiciable
controversy.[42]

Unlike the plaintiffs in Holder, however, herein petitioners have failed to show that the challenged provisions of RA 9372
forbid constitutionally protected conduct or activity that they seek to do. No demonstrable threat has been established,
much less a real and existing one.

Petitioners obscure allegations of sporadic surveillance and supposedly being tagged as communist fronts in no way
approximate a credible threat of prosecution. From these allegations, the Court is being lured to render an advisory
opinion, which is not its function.[43]

Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become pleas for declaratory relief, over which the Court has no
original jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory actions characterized by double contingency, where both the activity the
petitioners intend to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it of a public official are merely theorized, lie beyond judicial
review for lack of ripeness.[44]

The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not avail to take the present petitions out of the realm of
the surreal and merely imagined. Such possibility is not peculiar to RA 9372 since the exercise of any power granted by
law may be abused.[45] Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real events before courts may step in to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.

A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein certain rules of constitutional litigation are
rightly excepted

Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the crime of terrorism[46] under RA
9372 in that terms like widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace and coerce the government to
give in to an unlawful demand are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the
prohibited acts.

Respondents, through the OSG, counter that the doctrines of void-for-vagueness and overbreadth find no application in
the present case since these doctrines apply only to free speech cases; and that RA 9372 regulates conduct, not speech.

For a jurisprudentially guided understanding of these doctrines, it is imperative to outline the schools of thought on
whether the void-for-vagueness and overbreadth doctrines are equally applicable grounds to assail a penal statute.

Respondents interpret recent jurisprudence as slanting toward the idea of limiting the application of the two doctrines to
free speech cases. They particularly cite Romualdez v. Hon. Sandiganbayan[47] and Estrada v. Sandiganbayan.[48]

The Court clarifies.

At issue in Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan was whether the word intervene in Section 5[49] of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act was intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad. The Court stated that the overbreadth and the vagueness
doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases, and are not appropriate for testing the validity of penal
statutes.[50] It added that, at any rate, the challenged provision, under which the therein petitioner was charged, is not
vague.[51]

While in the subsequent case of Romualdez v. Commission on Elections,[52] the Court stated that a facial invalidation of
criminal statutes is not appropriate, it nonetheless proceeded to conduct a vagueness analysis, and concluded that the
therein subject election offense[53] under the Voters Registration Act of 1996, with which the therein petitioners were
charged, is couched in precise language.[54]

The two Romualdez cases rely heavily on the Separate Opinion[55] of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in the Estrada case,
where the Court found the Anti-Plunder Law (Republic Act No. 7080) clear and free from ambiguity respecting the
definition of the crime of plunder.

The position taken by Justice Mendoza in Estrada relates these two doctrines to the concept of a facial invalidation as
opposed to an as-applied challenge. He basically postulated that allegations that a penal statute is vague and overbroad
do not justify a facial review of its validity. The pertinent portion of the Concurring Opinion of Justice Mendoza, which was
quoted at length in the main Estrada decision, reads:

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling
effect" upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all
society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute
drawn with narrow specificity." The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester
because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very
existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws
against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for
testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have
not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,
the Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms,
seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when
invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been
held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger
must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid." As for the vagueness doctrine, it is
said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who
engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct
of others."

In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their
faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be
made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that
"one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it
might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional." As
has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically
produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as
applied' to a particular defendant." Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-
Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.

Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied
to parties not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally protected. It constitutes a departure from the case and
controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in
sterile abstract contexts. But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris

[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies
before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative
remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative
and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that
is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.

For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be
employed "sparingly and only as a last resort," and is generally disfavored. In determining the constitutionality of a statute,
therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct
with which the defendant is charged.[56] (Underscoring supplied.)

The confusion apparently stems from the interlocking relation of the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines as grounds for
a facial or as-applied challenge against a penal statute (under a claim of violation of due process of law) or a speech
regulation (under a claim of abridgement of the freedom of speech and cognate rights).

To be sure, the doctrine of vagueness and the doctrine of overbreadth do not operate on the same plane.
A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. It is repugnant to the Constitution in two
respects: (1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the
conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.[57] The overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a governmental
purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may not be achieved by means which
sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.[58]

As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth doctrine assumes that individuals will understand what a
statute prohibits and will accordingly refrain from that behavior, even though some of it is protected.[59]

A facial challenge is likewise different from an as-applied challenge.

Distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only extant facts affecting real litigants, a facial invalidation is
an examination of the entire law, pinpointing its flaws and defects, not only on the basis of its actual operation to the
parties, but also on the assumption or prediction that its very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain
from constitutionally protected speech or activities.[60]

Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle[61] in his concurring opinion that the vagueness and overbreadth
doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applicable to penal laws. A litigant cannot thus successfully mount a
facial challenge against a criminal statute on either vagueness or overbreadth grounds.

The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert the chilling effect on protected
speech, the exercise of which should not at all times be abridged.[62] As reflected earlier, this rationale is inapplicable to
plain penal statutes that generally bear an in terrorem effect in deterring socially harmful conduct. In fact, the legislature
may even forbid and penalize acts formerly considered innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains from diminishing or
dissuading the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.[63]

The Court reiterated that there are critical limitations by which a criminal statute may be challenged and underscored that
an on-its-face invalidation of penal statutes x x x may not be allowed.[64]

[T]he rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious freedom, and other fundamental rights
may be facially challenged. Under no case may ordinary penal statutes be subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is
obvious. If a facial challenge to a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of crimes may be hampered. No prosecution
would be possible. A strong criticism against employing a facial challenge in the case of penal statutes, if the same is
allowed, would effectively go against the grain of the doctrinal requirement of an existing and concrete controversy before
judicial power may be appropriately exercised. A facial challenge against a penal statute is, at best, amorphous and
speculative. It would, essentially, force the court to consider third parties who are not before it. As I have said in my
opposition to the allowance of a facial challenge to attack penal statutes, such a test will impair the States ability to deal
with crime. If warranted, there would be nothing that can hinder an accused from defeating the States power to prosecute
on a mere showing that, as applied to third parties, the penal statute is vague or overbroad, notwithstanding that the law is
clear as applied to him.[65] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

It is settled, on the other hand, that the application of the overbreadth doctrine is limited to a facial kind of challenge and,
owing to the given rationale of a facial challenge, applicable only to free speech cases.

By its nature, the overbreadth doctrine has to necessarily apply a facial type of invalidation in order to plot areas of
protected speech, inevitably almost always under situations not before the court, that are impermissibly swept by the
substantially overbroad regulation. Otherwise stated, a statute cannot be properly analyzed for being substantially
overbroad if the court confines itself only to facts as applied to the litigants.

The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an exception to some of the usual rules of
constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if
the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating its improper applications
on a case to case basis. Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and can only
assert their own interests. In overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are permitted to raise the rights of
third parties; and the court invalidates the entire statute "on its face," not merely "as applied for" so that the overbroad law
becomes unenforceable until a properly authorized court construes it more narrowly. The factor that motivates courts to
depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the concern with the "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on
third parties not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad laws "very existence may cause
others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression." An overbreadth ruling is
designed to remove that deterrent effect on the speech of those third parties.[66] (Emphasis in the original omitted;
underscoring supplied.)

In restricting the overbreadth doctrine to free speech claims, the Court, in at least two cases,[67] observed that the US
Supreme Court has not recognized an overbreadth doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment,[68] and
that claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate
only spoken words.[69] In Virginia v. Hicks,[70] it was held that rarely, if ever, will an overbreadth challenge succeed
against a law or regulation that is not specifically addressed to speech or speech-related conduct. Attacks on overly broad
statutes are justified by the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected expression.[71]

Since a penal statute may only be assailed for being vague as applied to petitioners, a limited vagueness analysis of the
definition of terrorism in RA 9372 is legally impermissible absent an actual or imminent charge against them

While Estrada did not apply the overbreadth doctrine, it did not preclude the operation of the vagueness test on the Anti-
Plunder Law as applied to the therein petitioner, finding, however, that there was no basis to review the law on its face
and in its entirety.[72] It stressed that statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated only 'as
applied' to a particular defendant.[73]

American jurisprudence[74] instructs that vagueness challenges that do not involve the First Amendment must be
examined in light of the specific facts of the case at hand and not with regard to the statute's facial validity.

For more than 125 years, the US Supreme Court has evaluated defendants claims that criminal statutes are
unconstitutionally vague, developing a doctrine hailed as among the most important guarantees of liberty under law.[75]

In this jurisdiction, the void-for-vagueness doctrine asserted under the due process clause has been utilized in examining
the constitutionality of criminal statutes. In at least three cases,[76] the Court brought the doctrine into play in analyzing an
ordinance penalizing the non-payment of municipal tax on fishponds, the crime of illegal recruitment punishable under
Article 132(b) of the Labor Code, and the vagrancy provision under Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. Notably,
the petitioners in these three cases, similar to those in the two Romualdez and Estrada cases, were actually charged with
the therein assailed penal statute, unlike in the present case.

There is no merit in the claim that RA 9372 regulates speech so as to permit a facial analysis of its validity

From the definition of the crime of terrorism in the earlier cited Section 3 of RA 9372, the following elements may be
culled: (1) the offender commits an act punishable under any of the cited provisions of the Revised Penal Code, or under
any of the enumerated special penal laws; (2) the commission of the predicate crime sows and creates a condition of
widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace; and (3) the offender is actuated by the desire to coerce
the government to give in to an unlawful demand.

In insisting on a facial challenge on the invocation that the law penalizes speech, petitioners contend that the element of
unlawful demand in the definition of terrorism[77] must necessarily be transmitted through some form of expression
protected by the free speech clause.

The argument does not persuade. What the law seeks to penalize is conduct, not speech.
Before a charge for terrorism may be filed under RA 9372, there must first be a predicate crime actually committed to
trigger the operation of the key qualifying phrases in the other elements of the crime, including the coercion of the
government to accede to an unlawful demand. Given the presence of the first element, any attempt at singling out or
highlighting the communicative component of the prohibition cannot recategorize the unprotected conduct into a protected
speech.

Petitioners notion on the transmission of message is entirely inaccurate, as it unduly focuses on just one particle of an
element of the crime. Almost every commission of a crime entails some mincing of words on the part of the offender like in
declaring to launch overt criminal acts against a victim, in haggling on the amount of ransom or conditions, or in
negotiating a deceitful transaction. An analogy in one U.S. case[78] illustrated that the fact that the prohibition on
discrimination in hiring on the basis of race will require an employer to take down a sign reading White Applicants Only
hardly means that the law should be analyzed as one regulating speech rather than conduct.

Utterances not elemental but inevitably incidental to the doing of the criminal conduct alter neither the intent of the law to
punish socially harmful conduct nor the essence of the whole act as conduct and not speech. This holds true a fortiori in
the present case where the expression figures only as an inevitable incident of making the element of coercion
perceptible.

[I]t is true that the agreements and course of conduct here were as in most instances brought about through speaking or
writing. But it has never been deemed an abridgement of freedom of speech or press to make a course of conduct illegal
merely because the conduct was, in part, initiated, evidenced, or carried out by means of language, either spoken, written,
or printed. Such an expansive interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press would make it practically
impossible ever to enforce laws against agreements in restraint of trade as well as many other agreements and
conspiracies deemed injurious to society.[79] (italics and underscoring supplied)

Certain kinds of speech have been treated as unprotected conduct, because they merely evidence a prohibited
conduct.[80] Since speech is not involved here, the Court cannot heed the call for a facial analysis.

IN FINE, Estrada and the other cited authorities engaged in a vagueness analysis of the therein subject penal statute as
applied to the therein petitioners inasmuch as they were actually charged with the pertinent crimes challenged on
vagueness grounds. The Court in said cases, however, found no basis to review the assailed penal statute on its face and
in its entirety.

In Holder, on the other hand, the US Supreme Court allowed the pre-enforcement review of a criminal statute, challenged
on vagueness grounds, since the therein plaintiffs faced a credible threat of prosecution and should not be required to
await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief.

As earlier reflected, petitioners have established neither an actual charge nor a credible threat of prosecution under RA
9372. Even a limited vagueness analysis of the assailed definition of terrorism is thus legally impermissible. The Court
reminds litigants that judicial power neither contemplates speculative counseling on a statutes future effect on hypothetical
scenarios nor allows the courts to be used as an extension of a failed legislative lobbying in Congress.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 148208. December 15, 2004]

CENTRAL BANK (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner, vs. BANGKO
SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS and the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, respondents.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

Can a provision of law, initially valid, become subsequently unconstitutional, on the ground that its continued operation
would violate the equal protection of the law? We hold that with the passage of the subsequent laws amending the charter
of seven (7) other governmental financial institutions (GFIs), the continued operation of the last proviso of Section 15(c),
Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7653, constitutes invidious discrimination on the 2,994 rank-and-file employees of the
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

I.

The Case

First the facts.

On July 3, 1993, R.A. No. 7653 (the New Central Bank Act) took effect. It abolished the old Central Bank of the
Philippines, and created a new BSP.

On June 8, 2001, almost eight years after the effectivity of R.A. No. 7653, petitioner Central Bank (now BSP) Employees
Association, Inc., filed a petition for prohibition against BSP and the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President, to
restrain respondents from further implementing the last proviso in Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, on the ground
that it is unconstitutional.

Article II, Section 15(c) of R.A. No. 7653 provides:

Section 15. Exercise of Authority - In the exercise of its authority, the Monetary Board shall:

xxx xxx xxx

(c) establish a human resource management system which shall govern the selection, hiring, appointment, transfer,
promotion, or dismissal of all personnel. Such system shall aim to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels of
the Bangko Sentral in accordance with sound principles of management.

A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject to the Boards approval, shall be
instituted as an integral component of the Bangko Sentrals human resource development program: Provided, That the
Monetary Board shall make its own system conform as closely as possible with the principles provided for under Republic
Act No. 6758 [Salary Standardization Act]. Provided, however, That compensation and wage structure of employees
whose positions fall under salary grade 19 and below shall be in accordance with the rates prescribed under Republic Act
No. 6758. [emphasis supplied]

The thrust of petitioners challenge is that the above proviso makes an unconstitutional cut between two classes of
employees in the BSP, viz: (1) the BSP officers or those exempted from the coverage of the Salary Standardization Law
(SSL) (exempt class); and (2) the rank-and-file (Salary Grade [SG] 19 and below), or those not exempted from the
coverage of the SSL (non-exempt class). It is contended that this classification is a classic case of class legislation,
allegedly not based on substantial distinctions which make real differences, but solely on the SG of the BSP personnels
position. Petitioner also claims that it is not germane to the purposes of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, the most
important of which is to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels in the BSP.[1] Petitioner offers the following
sub-set of arguments:

a. the legislative history of R.A. No. 7653 shows that the questioned proviso does not appear in the original and amended
versions of House Bill No. 7037, nor in the original version of Senate Bill No. 1235; [2]

b. subjecting the compensation of the BSP rank-and-file employees to the rate prescribed by the SSL actually defeats the
purpose of the law[3] of establishing professionalism and excellence at all levels in the BSP; [4] (emphasis supplied)

c. the assailed proviso was the product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of Senate Bill No. 1235, without
showing its relevance to the objectives of the law, and even admitted by one senator as discriminatory against low-
salaried employees of the BSP;[5]

d. GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS personnel are all exempted from the coverage of the SSL; thus within the class of rank-and-
file personnel of government financial institutions (GFIs), the BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon;[6] and

e. the assailed proviso has caused the demoralization among the BSP rank-and-file and resulted in the gross disparity
between their compensation and that of the BSP officers.[7]

In sum, petitioner posits that the classification is not reasonable but arbitrary and capricious, and violates the equal
protection clause of the Constitution.[8] Petitioner also stresses: (a) that R.A. No. 7653 has a separability clause, which
will allow the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the proviso in question without affecting the other provisions; and (b)
the urgency and propriety of the petition, as some 2,994 BSP rank-and-file employees have been prejudiced since 1994
when the proviso was implemented. Petitioner concludes that: (1) since the inequitable proviso has no force and effect of
law, respondents implementation of such amounts to lack of jurisdiction; and (2) it has no appeal nor any other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course except through this petition for prohibition, which this Court should
take cognizance of, considering the transcendental importance of the legal issue involved.[9]

Respondent BSP, in its comment,[10] contends that the provision does not violate the equal protection clause and can
stand the constitutional test, provided it is construed in harmony with other provisions of the same law, such as fiscal and
administrative autonomy of BSP, and the mandate of the Monetary Board to establish professionalism and excellence at
all levels in accordance with sound principles of management.

The Solicitor General, on behalf of respondent Executive Secretary, also defends the validity of the provision. Quite
simplistically, he argues that the classification is based on actual and real differentiation, even as it adheres to the
enunciated policy of R.A. No. 7653 to establish professionalism and excellence within the BSP subject to prevailing laws
and policies of the national government.[11]

II.

Issue

Thus, the sole - albeit significant - issue to be resolved in this case is whether the last paragraph of Section 15(c), Article II
of R.A. No. 7653, runs afoul of the constitutional mandate that "No person shall be. . . denied the equal protection of the
laws."[12]

III.

Ruling

A. UNDER THE PRESENT STANDARDS OF EQUAL

PROTECTION, SECTION 15(c), ARTICLE II OF R.A. NO. 7653

IS VALID.

Jurisprudential standards for equal protection challenges indubitably show that the classification created by the
questioned proviso, on its face and in its operation, bears no constitutional infirmities.

It is settled in constitutional law that the "equal protection" clause does not prevent the Legislature from establishing
classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules shall operate - so long as the classification is not
unreasonable. As held in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers Union,[13] and reiterated in a long line of cases:[14]

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of
the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every
man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean
indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be
treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that
are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory
within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one
another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of
inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of the
law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This
Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or
rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.

In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over matters within its jurisdiction, the
state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. It is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific
or marked differences of things or in their relation. Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with
mathematical nicety. Hence, legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions, for the equal
protection guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm, and legislation is
addressed to evils as they may appear. (citations omitted)

Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification.[15] The equal protection clause is not infringed
by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class.[16] If the groupings are characterized by
substantial distinctions that make real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from another.[17]
The classification must also be germane to the purpose of the law and must apply to all those belonging to the same
class.[18]

In the case at bar, it is clear in the legislative deliberations that the exemption of officers (SG 20 and above) from the SSL
was intended to address the BSPs lack of competitiveness in terms of attracting competent officers and executives. It was
not intended to discriminate against the rank-and-file. If the end-result did in fact lead to a disparity of treatment between
the officers and the rank-and-file in terms of salaries and benefits, the discrimination or distinction has a rational basis and
is not palpably, purely, and entirely arbitrary in the legislative sense. [19]

That the provision was a product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of the Senate Bill does not detract
from its validity. As early as 1947 and reiterated in subsequent cases,[20] this Court has subscribed to the conclusiveness
of an enrolled bill to refuse invalidating a provision of law, on the ground that the bill from which it originated contained no
such provision and was merely inserted by the bicameral conference committee of both Houses.

Moreover, it is a fundamental and familiar teaching that all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the
constitutionality of a statute.[21] An act of the legislature, approved by the executive, is presumed to be within
constitutional limitations.[22] To justify the nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution, not a doubtful and equivocal breach.[23]

B. THE ENACTMENT, HOWEVER, OF SUBSEQUENT LAWS -

EXEMPTING ALL OTHER RANK-AND-FILE EMPLOYEES

OF GFIs FROM THE SSL - RENDERS THE CONTINUED

APPLICATION OF THE CHALLENGED PROVISION

A VIOLATION OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.

While R.A. No. 7653 started as a valid measure well within the legislatures power, we hold that the enactment of
subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of other GFIs leeched all validity out of the challenged proviso.

1. The concept of relative constitutionality.

The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be determined by a mere comparison of its provisions with
applicable provisions of the Constitution, since the statute may be constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and
invalid in its application to another.[24]

A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered circumstances.[25] Thus, if a statute in its
practical operation becomes arbitrary or confiscatory, its validity, even though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to
inquiry and investigation in the light of changed conditions.[26]

Demonstrative of this doctrine is Vernon Park Realty v. City of Mount Vernon,[27] where the Court of Appeals of New York
declared as unreasonable and arbitrary a zoning ordinance which placed the plaintiff's property in a residential district,
although it was located in the center of a business area. Later amendments to the ordinance then prohibited the use of the
property except for parking and storage of automobiles, and service station within a parking area. The Court found the
ordinance to constitute an invasion of property rights which was contrary to constitutional due process. It ruled:

While the common council has the unquestioned right to enact zoning laws respecting the use of property in accordance
with a well-considered and comprehensive plan designed to promote public health, safety and general welfare, such
power is subject to the constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably and this is so
whenever the zoning ordinance precludes the use of the property for any purpose for which it is reasonably adapted. By
the same token, an ordinance valid when adopted will nevertheless be stricken down as invalid when, at a later time, its
operation under changed conditions proves confiscatory such, for instance, as when the greater part of its value is
destroyed, for which the courts will afford relief in an appropriate case.[28] (citations omitted, emphasis supplied)

In the Philippine setting, this Court declared the continued enforcement of a valid law as unconstitutional as a
consequence of significant changes in circumstances. Rutter v. Esteban[29] upheld the constitutionality of the moratorium
law - its enactment and operation being a valid exercise by the State of its police power[30] - but also ruled that the
continued enforcement of the otherwise valid law would be unreasonable and oppressive. It noted the subsequent
changes in the countrys business, industry and agriculture. Thus, the law was set aside because its continued operation
would be grossly discriminatory and lead to the oppression of the creditors. The landmark ruling states:[31]

The question now to be determined is, is the period of eight (8) years which Republic Act No. 342 grants to debtors of a
monetary obligation contracted before the last global war and who is a war sufferer with a claim duly approved by the
Philippine War Damage Commission reasonable under the present circumstances?

It should be noted that Republic Act No. 342 only extends relief to debtors of prewar obligations who suffered from the
ravages of the last war and who filed a claim for their losses with the Philippine War Damage Commission. It is therein
provided that said obligation shall not be due and demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after settlement of
the claim filed by the debtor with said Commission. The purpose of the law is to afford to prewar debtors an opportunity to
rehabilitate themselves by giving them a reasonable time within which to pay their prewar debts so as to prevent them
from being victimized by their creditors. While it is admitted in said law that since liberation conditions have gradually
returned to normal, this is not so with regard to those who have suffered the ravages of war and so it was therein declared
as a policy that as to them the debt moratorium should be continued in force (Section 1).

But we should not lose sight of the fact that these obligations had been pending since 1945 as a result of the issuance of
Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 and at present their enforcement is still inhibited because of the enactment of Republic
Act No. 342 and would continue to be unenforceable during the eight-year period granted to prewar debtors to afford them
an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, which in plain language means that the creditors would have to observe a vigil
of at least twelve (12) years before they could effect a liquidation of their investment dating as far back as 1941. his period
seems to us unreasonable, if not oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is plausible, and should be commended, the
relief accorded works injustice to creditors who are practically left at the mercy of the debtors. Their hope to effect
collection becomes extremely remote, more so if the credits are unsecured. And the injustice is more patent when, under
the law, the debtor is not even required to pay interest during the operation of the relief, unlike similar statutes in the
United States.

xxx xxx xxx

In the face of the foregoing observations, and consistent with what we believe to be as the only course dictated by justice,
fairness and righteousness, we feel that the only way open to us under the present circumstances is to declare that the
continued operation and enforcement of Republic Act No. 342 at the present time is unreasonable and oppressive, and
should not be prolonged a minute longer, and, therefore, the same should be declared null and void and without effect.
(emphasis supplied, citations omitted)

2. Applicability of the equal protection clause.

In the realm of equal protection, the U.S. case of Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ivey[32] is illuminating. The Supreme Court
of Florida ruled against the continued application of statutes authorizing the recovery of double damages plus attorney's
fees against railroad companies, for animals killed on unfenced railroad right of way without proof of negligence.
Competitive motor carriers, though creating greater hazards, were not subjected to similar liability because they were not
yet in existence when the statutes were enacted. The Court ruled that the statutes became invalid as denying equal
protection of the law, in view of changed conditions since their enactment.

In another U.S. case, Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Faulkner,[33] the Court of Appeals of Kentucky declared unconstitutional a
provision of a statute which imposed a duty upon a railroad company of proving that it was free from negligence in the
killing or injury of cattle by its engine or cars. This, notwithstanding that the constitutionality of the statute, enacted in
1893, had been previously sustained. Ruled the Court:

The constitutionality of such legislation was sustained because it applied to all similar corporations and had for its object
the safety of persons on a train and the protection of property. Of course, there were no automobiles in those days. The
subsequent inauguration and development of transportation by motor vehicles on the public highways by common carriers
of freight and passengers created even greater risks to the safety of occupants of the vehicles and of danger of injury and
death of domestic animals. Yet, under the law the operators of that mode of competitive transportation are not subject to
the same extraordinary legal responsibility for killing such animals on the public roads as are railroad companies for killing
them on their private rights of way.

The Supreme Court, speaking through Justice Brandeis in Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. Co. v. Walters, 294 U.S. 405, 55
S.Ct. 486, 488, 79 L.Ed. 949, stated, A statute valid when enacted may become invalid by change in the conditions to
which it is applied. The police power is subject to the constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or
unreasonably. A number of prior opinions of that court are cited in support of the statement. The State of Florida for many
years had a statute, F.S.A. 356.01 et seq. imposing extraordinary and special duties upon railroad companies, among
which was that a railroad company was liable for double damages and an attorney's fee for killing livestock by a train
without the owner having to prove any act of negligence on the part of the carrier in the operation of its train. In Atlantic
Coast Line Railroad Co. v. Ivey, it was held that the changed conditions brought about by motor vehicle transportation
rendered the statute unconstitutional since if a common carrier by motor vehicle had killed the same animal, the owner
would have been required to prove negligence in the operation of its equipment. Said the court, This certainly is not equal
protection of the law.[34] (emphasis supplied)

Echoes of these rulings resonate in our case law, viz:

[C]ourts are not confined to the language of the statute under challenge in determining whether that statute has any
discriminatory effect. A statute nondiscriminatory on its face may be grossly discriminatory in its operation. Though the law
itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil
eye and unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar
circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution.[35]
(emphasis supplied, citations omitted)

[W]e see no difference between a law which denies equal protection and a law which permits of such denial. A law may
appear to be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it permits of unjust and illegal discrimination, it is within the
constitutional prohibition.. In other words, statutes may be adjudged unconstitutional because of their effect in operation. If
a law has the effect of denying the equal protection of the law it is unconstitutional. .[36] (emphasis supplied, citations
omitted

3. Enactment of R.A. Nos. 7907 + 8282 + 8289 + 8291 + 8523 + 8763

+ 9302 = consequential unconstitutionality of challenged proviso.

According to petitioner, the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653 is also violative of the equal protection
clause because after it was enacted, the charters of the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS were also amended, but the personnel
of the latter GFIs were all exempted from the coverage of the SSL.[37] Thus, within the class of rank-and-file personnel of
GFIs, the BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon.

Indeed, we take judicial notice that after the new BSP charter was enacted in 1993, Congress also undertook the
amendment of the charters of the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS, and three other GFIs, from 1995 to 2004, viz:
1. R.A. No. 7907 (1995) for Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP);

2. R.A. No. 8282 (1997) for Social Security System (SSS);

3. R.A. No. 8289 (1997) for Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation, (SBGFC);

4. R.A. No. 8291 (1997) for Government Service Insurance System (GSIS);

5. R.A. No. 8523 (1998) for Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP);

6. R.A. No. 8763 (2000) for Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC);[38] and

7. R.A. No. 9302 (2004) for Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

It is noteworthy, as petitioner points out, that the subsequent charters of the seven other GFIs share this common proviso:
a blanket exemption of all their employees from the coverage of the SSL, expressly or impliedly, as illustrated below:

1. LBP (R.A. No. 7907)

Section 10. Section 90 of [R.A. No. 3844] is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 90. Personnel. -

xxx xxx xxx

All positions in the Bank shall be governed by a compensation, position classification system and qualification standards
approved by the Banks Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and
responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector
and shall be subject to periodic review by the Board no more than once every two (2) years without prejudice to yearly
merit reviews or increases based on productivity and profitability. The Bank shall therefore be exempt from existing laws,
rules and regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification standards. It shall however endeavor to
make its system conform as closely as possible with the principles under Republic Act No. 6758. (emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

2. SSS (R.A. No. 8282)

Section 1. [Amending R.A. No. 1161, Section 3(c)]:

xxx xxx xxx

(c)The Commission, upon the recommendation of the SSS President, shall appoint an actuary and such other personnel
as may [be] deemed necessary; fix their reasonable compensation, allowances and other benefits; prescribe their duties
and establish such methods and procedures as may be necessary to insure the efficient, honest and economical
administration of the provisions and purposes of this Act: Provided, however, That the personnel of the SSS below the
rank of Vice President shall be appointed by the SSS President: Provided, further, That the personnel appointed by the
SSS President, except those below the rank of assistant manager, shall be subject to the confirmation by the
Commission; Provided further, That the personnel of the SSS shall be selected only from civil service eligibles and be
subject to civil service rules and regulations: Provided, finally, That the SSS shall be exempt from the provisions of
Republic Act No. 6758 and Republic Act No. 7430. (emphasis supplied)

3. SBGFC (R.A. No. 8289)

Section 8. [Amending R.A. No. 6977, Section 11]:

xxx xxx xxx

The Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation shall:

xxx xxx xxx

(e) notwithstanding the provisions of Republic Act No. 6758, and Compensation Circular No. 10, series of 1989 issued by
the Department of Budget and Management, the Board of Directors of SBGFC shall have the authority to extend to the
employees and personnel thereof the allowance and fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently enjoyed by
the employees and personnel of other government financial institutions. (emphases supplied)

4. GSIS (R.A. No. 8291)

Section 1. [Amending Section 43(d)].

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 43. Powers and Functions of the Board of Trustees. - The Board of Trustees shall have the following powers and
functions:
xxx xxx xxx

(d) upon the recommendation of the President and General Manager, to approve the GSIS organizational and
administrative structures and staffing pattern, and to establish, fix, review, revise and adjust the appropriate compensation
package for the officers and employees of the GSIS with reasonable allowances, incentives, bonuses, privileges and
other benefits as may be necessary or proper for the effective management, operation and administration of the GSIS,
which shall be exempt from Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law and Republic Act
No. 7430, otherwise known as the Attrition Law. (emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

5. DBP (R.A. No. 8523)

Section 6. [Amending E.O. No. 81, Section 13]:

Section 13. Other Officers and Employees. - The Board of Directors shall provide for an organization and staff of officers
and employees of the Bank and upon recommendation of the President of the Bank, fix their remunerations and other
emoluments. All positions in the Bank shall be governed by the compensation, position classification system and
qualification standards approved by the Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job analysis of actual duties and
responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector
and shall be subject to periodic review by the Board of Directors once every two (2) years, without prejudice to yearly
merit or increases based on the Banks productivity and profitability. The Bank shall, therefore, be exempt from existing
laws, rules, and regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification standards. The Bank shall however,
endeavor to make its system conform as closely as possible with the principles under Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758, as amended). (emphasis supplied)

6. HGC (R.A. No. 8763)

Section 9. Powers, Functions and Duties of the Board of Directors. - The Board shall have the following powers, functions
and duties:

xxx xxx xxx

(e) To create offices or positions necessary for the efficient management, operation and administration of the Corporation:
Provided, That all positions in the Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) shall be governed by a compensation and position
classification system and qualifications standards approved by the Corporations Board of Directors based on a
comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities: Provided, further, That the compensation plan
shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector and which shall be exempt from Republic
Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law, and from other laws, rules and regulations on salaries
and compensations; and to establish a Provident Fund and determine the Corporations and the employees contributions
to the Fund; (emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

7. PDIC (R.A. No. 9302)

Section 2. Section 2 of [Republic Act No. 3591, as amended] is hereby further amended to read:

xxx xxx xxx

3.

xxx xxx xxx

A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject to the Boards approval, shall be
instituted as an integral component of the Corporations human resource development program: Provided, That all
positions in the Corporation shall be governed by a compensation, position classification system and qualification
standards approved by the Board based on a comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities.
The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans of other government financial
institutions and shall be subject to review by the Board no more than once every two (2) years without prejudice to yearly
merit reviews or increases based on productivity and profitability. The Corporation shall therefore be exempt from existing
laws, rules and regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification standards. It shall however endeavor
to make its system conform as closely as possible with the principles under Republic Act No. 6758, as amended.
(emphases supplied)

Thus, eleven years after the amendment of the BSP charter, the rank-and-file of seven other GFIs were granted the
exemption that was specifically denied to the rank-and-file of the BSP. And as if to add insult to petitioners injury, even the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was granted the same blanket exemption from the SSL in 2000![39]

The prior view on the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7653 was confined to an evaluation of its classification between the
rank-and-file and the officers of the BSP, found reasonable because there were substantial distinctions that made real
differences between the two classes.

The above-mentioned subsequent enactments, however, constitute significant changes in circumstance that considerably
alter the reasonability of the continued operation of the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653,
thereby exposing the proviso to more serious scrutiny. This time, the scrutiny relates to the constitutionality of the
classification - albeit made indirectly as a consequence of the passage of eight other laws - between the rank-and-file of
the BSP and the seven other GFIs. The classification must not only be reasonable, but must also apply equally to all
members of the class. The proviso may be fair on its face and impartial in appearance but it cannot be grossly
discriminatory in its operation, so as practically to make unjust distinctions between persons who are without
differences.[40]

Stated differently, the second level of inquiry deals with the following questions: Given that Congress chose to exempt
other GFIs (aside the BSP) from the coverage of the SSL, can the exclusion of the rank-and-file employees of the BSP
stand constitutional scrutiny in the light of the fact that Congress did not exclude the rank-and-file employees of the other
GFIs? Is Congress power to classify so unbridled as to sanction unequal and discriminatory treatment, simply because
the inequity manifested itself, not instantly through a single overt act, but gradually and progressively, through seven
separate acts of Congress? Is the right to equal protection of the law bounded in time and space that: (a) the right can
only be invoked against a classification made directly and deliberately, as opposed to a discrimination that arises
indirectly, or as a consequence of several other acts; and (b) is the legal analysis confined to determining the validity
within the parameters of the statute or ordinance (where the inclusion or exclusion is articulated), thereby proscribing any
evaluation vis--vis the grouping, or the lack thereof, among several similar enactments made over a period of time?

In this second level of scrutiny, the inequality of treatment cannot be justified on the mere assertion that each exemption
(granted to the seven other GFIs) rests on a policy determination by the legislature. All legislative enactments necessarily
rest on a policy determination - even those that have been declared to contravene the Constitution. Verily, if this could
serve as a magic wand to sustain the validity of a statute, then no due process and equal protection challenges would
ever prosper. There is nothing inherently sacrosanct in a policy determination made by Congress or by the Executive; it
cannot run riot and overrun the ramparts of protection of the Constitution.

In fine, the policy determination argument may support the inequality of treatment between the rank-and-file and the
officers of the BSP, but it cannot justify the inequality of treatment between BSP rank-and-file and other GFIs who are
similarly situated. It fails to appreciate that what is at issue in the second level of scrutiny is not the declared policy of each
law per se, but the oppressive results of Congress inconsistent and unequal policy towards the BSP rank-and-file and
those of the seven other GFIs. At bottom, the second challenge to the constitutionality of Section 15(c), Article II of
Republic Act No. 7653 is premised precisely on the irrational discriminatory policy adopted by Congress in its treatment of
persons similarly situated. In the field of equal protection, the guarantee that "no person shall be denied the equal
protection of the laws includes the prohibition against enacting laws that allow invidious discrimination, directly or
indirectly. If a law has the effect of denying the equal protection of the law, or permits such denial, it is
unconstitutional.[41]

It is against this standard that the disparate treatment of the BSP rank-and-file from the other GFIs cannot stand judicial
scrutiny. For as regards the exemption from the coverage of the SSL, there exist no substantial distinctions so as to
differentiate, the BSP rank-and-file from the other rank-and-file of the seven GFIs. On the contrary, our legal history shows
that GFIs have long been recognized as comprising one distinct class, separate from other governmental entities.

Before the SSL, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 985 (1976) declared it as a State policy (1) to provide equal pay for
substantially equal work, and (2) to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities,
and qualification requirements of the positions. P.D. No. 985 was passed to address disparities in pay among similar or
comparable positions which had given rise to dissension among government employees. But even then, GFIs and
government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs) were already identified as a distinct class among government
employees. Thus, Section 2 also provided, [t]hat notwithstanding a standardized salary system established for all
employees, additional financial incentives may be established by government corporation and financial institutions for their
employees to be supported fully from their corporate funds and for such technical positions as may be approved by the
President in critical government agencies.[42]

The same favored treatment is made for the GFIs and the GOCCs under the SSL. Section 3(b) provides that one of the
principles governing the Compensation and Position Classification System of the Government is that: [b]asic
compensation for all personnel in the government and government-owned or controlled corporations and financial
institutions shall generally be comparable with those in the private sector doing comparable work, and must be in
accordance with prevailing laws on minimum wages.

Thus, the BSP and all other GFIs and GOCCs were under the unified Compensation and Position Classification System of
the SSL,[43] but rates of pay under the SSL were determined on the basis of, among others, prevailing rates in the private
sector for comparable work. Notably, the Compensation and Position Classification System was to be governed by the
following principles: (a) just and equitable wages, with the ratio of compensation between pay distinctions maintained at
equitable levels;[44] and (b) basic compensation generally comparable with the private sector, in accordance with
prevailing laws on minimum wages.[45] Also, the Department of Budget and Management was directed to use, as guide
for preparing the Index of Occupational Services, the Benchmark Position Schedule, and the following factors:[46]

(1) the education and experience required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the positions;

(2) the nature and complexity of the work to be performed;

(3) the kind of supervision received;

(4) mental and/or physical strain required in the completion of the work;

(5) nature and extent of internal and external relationships;


(6) kind of supervision exercised;

(7) decision-making responsibility;

(8) responsibility for accuracy of records and reports;

(9) accountability for funds, properties and equipment; and

(10) hardship, hazard and personal risk involved in the job.

The Benchmark Position Schedule enumerates the position titles that fall within Salary Grades 1 to 20.

Clearly, under R.A. No. 6758, the rank-and-file of all GFIs were similarly situated in all aspects pertaining to compensation
and position classification, in consonance with Section 5, Article IX-B of the 1997 Constitution.[47]

Then came the enactment of the amended charter of the BSP, implicitly exempting the Monetary Board from the SSL by
giving it express authority to determine and institute its own compensation and wage structure. However, employees
whose positions fall under SG 19 and below were specifically limited to the rates prescribed under the SSL.

Subsequent amendments to the charters of other GFIs followed. Significantly, each government financial institution (GFI)
was not only expressly authorized to determine and institute its own compensation and wage structure, but also explicitly
exempted - without distinction as to salary grade or position - all employees of the GFI from the SSL.

It has been proffered that legislative deliberations justify the grant or withdrawal of exemption from the SSL, based on the
perceived need to fulfill the mandate of the institution concerned considering, among others, that: (1) the GOCC or GFI is
essentially proprietary in character; (2) the GOCC or GFI is in direct competition with their [sic] counterparts in the private
sector, not only in terms of the provisions of goods or services, but also in terms of hiring and retaining competent
personnel; and (3) the GOCC or GFI are or were [sic] experiencing difficulties filling up plantilla positions with competent
personnel and/or retaining these personnel. The need for the scope of exemption necessarily varies with the particular
circumstances of each institution, and the corresponding variance in the benefits received by the employees is merely
incidental.

The fragility of this argument is manifest. First, the BSP is the central monetary authority,[48] and the banker of the
government and all its political subdivisions.[49] It has the sole power and authority to issue currency;[50] provide policy
directions in the areas of money, banking, and credit; and supervise banks and regulate finance companies and non-bank
financial institutions performing quasi-banking functions, including the exempted GFIs.[51] Hence, the argument that the
rank-and-file employees of the seven GFIs were exempted because of the importance of their institutions mandate cannot
stand any more than an empty sack can stand.

Second, it is certainly misleading to say that the need for the scope of exemption necessarily varies with the particular
circumstances of each institution. Nowhere in the deliberations is there a cogent basis for the exclusion of the BSP rank-
and-file from the exemption which was granted to the rank-and-file of the other GFIs and the SEC. As point in fact, the
BSP and the seven GFIs are similarly situated in so far as Congress deemed it necessary for these institutions to be
exempted from the SSL. True, the SSL-exemption of the BSP and the seven GFIs was granted in the amended charters
of each GFI, enacted separately and over a period of time. But it bears emphasis that, while each GFI has a mandate
different and distinct from that of another, the deliberations show that the raison dtre of the SSL-exemption was
inextricably linked to and for the most part based on factors common to the eight GFIs, i.e., (1) the pivotal role they play in
the economy; (2) the necessity of hiring and retaining qualified and effective personnel to carry out the GFIs mandate; and
(3) the recognition that the compensation package of these GFIs is not competitive, and fall substantially below industry
standards. Considering further that (a) the BSP was the first GFI granted SSL exemption; and (b) the subsequent
exemptions of other GFIs did not distinguish between the officers and the rank-and-file; it is patent that the classification
made between the BSP rank-and-file and those of the other seven GFIs was inadvertent, and NOT intended, i.e., it was
not based on any substantial distinction vis--vis the particular circumstances of each GFI. Moreover, the exemption
granted to two GFIs makes express reference to allowance and fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently
enjoyed by the employees and personnel of other GFIs,[52] underscoring that GFIs are a particular class within the realm
of government entities.

It is precisely this unpremeditated discrepancy in treatment of the rank-and-file of the BSP - made manifest and glaring
with each and every consequential grant of blanket exemption from the SSL to the other GFIs - that cannot be rationalized
or justified. Even more so, when the SEC - which is not a GFI - was given leave to have a compensation plan that shall be
comparable with the prevailing compensation plan in the [BSP] and other [GFIs],[53] then granted a blanket exemption
from the SSL, and its rank-and-file endowed a more preferred treatment than the rank-and-file of the BSP.

The violation to the equal protection clause becomes even more pronounced when we are faced with this undeniable
truth: that if Congress had enacted a law for the sole purpose of exempting the eight GFIs from the coverage of the SSL,
the exclusion of the BSP rank-and-file employees would have been devoid of any substantial or material basis. It bears no
moment, therefore, that the unlawful discrimination was not a direct result arising from one law. Nemo potest facere per
alium quod non potest facere per directum. No one is allowed to do indirectly what he is prohibited to do directly.

It has also been proffered that similarities alone are not sufficient to support the conclusion that rank-and-file employees of
the BSP may be lumped together with similar employees of the other GOCCs for purposes of compensation, position
classification and qualification standards. The fact that certain persons have some attributes in common does not
automatically make them members of the same class with respect to a legislative classification. Cited is the ruling in
Johnson v. Robinson:[54] this finding of similarity ignores that a common characteristic shared by beneficiaries and
nonbeneficiaries alike, is not sufficient to invalidate a statute when other characteristics peculiar to only one group
rationally explain the statutes different treatment of the two groups.

The reference to Johnson is inapropos. In Johnson, the US Court sustained the validity of the classification as there were
quantitative and qualitative distinctions, expressly recognized by Congress, which formed a rational basis for the
classification limiting educational benefits to military service veterans as a means of helping them readjust to civilian life.
The Court listed the peculiar characteristics as follows:

First, the disruption caused by military service is quantitatively greater than that caused by alternative civilian service. A
conscientious objector performing alternative service is obligated to work for two years. Service in the Armed Forces, on
the other hand, involves a six-year commitment

xxx xxx xxx

Second, the disruptions suffered by military veterans and alternative service performers are qualitatively different. Military
veterans suffer a far greater loss of personal freedom during their service careers. Uprooted from civilian life, the military
veteran becomes part of the military establishment, subject to its discipline and potentially hazardous duty. Congress was
acutely aware of the peculiar disabilities caused by military service, in consequence of which military servicemen have a
special need for readjustment benefits[55] (citations omitted)

In the case at bar, it is precisely the fact that as regards the exemption from the SSL, there are no characteristics peculiar
only to the seven GFIs or their rank-and-file so as to justify the exemption which BSP rank-and-file employees were
denied (not to mention the anomaly of the SEC getting one). The distinction made by the law is not only superficial,[56]
but also arbitrary. It is not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between the BSP rank-and-file and
the seven other GFIs.

Moreover, the issue in this case is not - as the dissenting opinion of Mme. Justice Carpio-Morales would put it - whether
being an employee of a GOCC or GFI is reasonable and sufficient basis for exemption from R.A. No. 6758. It is Congress
itself that distinguished the GFIs from other government agencies, not once but eight times, through the enactment of R.A.
Nos. 7653, 7907, 8282, 8289, 8291, 8523, 8763, and 9302. These laws may have created a preferred sub-class within
government employees, but the present challenge is not directed at the wisdom of these laws. Rather, it is a legal
conundrum involving the exercise of legislative power, the validity of which must be measured not only by looking at the
specific exercise in and by itself (R.A. No. 7653), but also as to the legal effects brought about by seven separate
exercises - albeit indirectly and without intent.

Thus, even if petitioner had not alleged a comparable change in the factual milieu as regards the compensation, position
classification and qualification standards of the employees of the BSP (whether of the executive level or of the rank-and-
file) since the enactment of the new Central Bank Act is of no moment. In GSIS v. Montesclaros,[57] this Court resolved
the issue of constitutionality notwithstanding that claimant had manifested that she was no longer interested in pursuing
the case, and even when the constitutionality of the said provision was not squarely raised as an issue, because the issue
involved not only the claimant but also others similarly situated and whose claims GSIS would also deny based on the
challenged proviso. The Court held that social justice and public interest demanded the resolution of the constitutionality
of the proviso. And so it is with the challenged proviso in the case at bar.

It bears stressing that the exemption from the SSL is a privilege fully within the legislative prerogative to give or deny.
However, its subsequent grant to the rank-and-file of the seven other GFIs and continued denial to the BSP rank-and-file
employees breached the latters right to equal protection. In other words, while the granting of a privilege per se is a matter
of policy exclusively within the domain and prerogative of Congress, the validity or legality of the exercise of this
prerogative is subject to judicial review.[58] So when the distinction made is superficial, and not based on substantial
distinctions that make real differences between those included and excluded, it becomes a matter of arbitrariness that this
Court has the duty and the power to correct.[59] As held in the United Kingdom case of Hooper v. Secretary of State for
Work and Pensions,[60] once the State has chosen to confer benefits, discrimination contrary to law may occur where
favorable treatment already afforded to one group is refused to another, even though the State is under no obligation to
provide that favorable treatment. [61]

The disparity of treatment between BSP rank-and-file and the rank-and-file of the other seven GFIs definitely bears the
unmistakable badge of invidious discrimination - no one can, with candor and fairness, deny the discriminatory character
of the subsequent blanket and total exemption of the seven other GFIs from the SSL when such was withheld from the
BSP. Alikes are being treated as unalikes without any rational basis.

Again, it must be emphasized that the equal protection clause does not demand absolute equality but it requires that all
persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities
enforced. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall
be given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of
burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion; whatever restrictions cast on some
in the group is equally binding on the rest.[62]

In light of the lack of real and substantial distinctions that would justify the unequal treatment between the rank-and-file of
BSP from the seven other GFIs, it is clear that the enactment of the seven subsequent charters has rendered the
continued application of the challenged proviso anathema to the equal protection of the law, and the same should be
declared as an outlaw.

IV.

Equal Protection Under


International Lens

In our jurisdiction, the standard and analysis of equal protection challenges in the main have followed the rational basis
test, coupled with a deferential attitude to legislative classifications[63] and a reluctance to invalidate a law unless there is
a showing of a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. [64]

A. Equal Protection

in the United States

In contrast, jurisprudence in the U.S. has gone beyond the static rational basis test. Professor Gunther highlights the
development in equal protection jurisprudential analysis, to wit: [65]

Traditionally, equal protection supported only minimal judicial intervention in most contexts. Ordinarily, the command of
equal protection was only that government must not impose differences in treatment except upon some reasonable
differentiation fairly related to the object of regulation. The old variety of equal protection scrutiny focused solely on the
means used by the legislature: it insisted merely that the classification in the statute reasonably relates to the legislative
purpose. Unlike substantive due process, equal protection scrutiny was not typically concerned with identifying
fundamental values and restraining legislative ends. And usually the rational classification requirement was readily
satisfied: the courts did not demand a tight fit between classification and purpose; perfect congruence between means
and ends was not required.

xxx xxx xxx

[From marginal intervention to major cutting edge: The Warren Courts new equal protection and the two-tier approach.]

From its traditional modest role, equal protection burgeoned into a major intervention tool during the Warren era,
especially in the 1960s. The Warren Court did not abandon the deferential ingredients of the old equal protection: in most
areas of economic and social legislation, the demands imposed by equal protection remained as minimal as everBut the
Court launched an equal protection revolution by finding large new areas for strict rather than deferential scrutiny. A
sharply differentiated two-tier approach evolved by the late 1960s: in addition to the deferential old equal protection, a new
equal protection, connoting strict scrutiny, arose. The intensive review associated with the new equal protection imposed
two demands - a demand not only as to means but also one as to ends. Legislation qualifying for strict scrutiny required a
far closer fit between classification and statutory purpose than the rough and ready flexibility traditionally tolerated by the
old equal protection: means had to be shown necessary to achieve statutory ends, not merely reasonably related ones.
Moreover, equal protection became a source of ends scrutiny as well: legislation in the areas of the new equal protection
had to be justified by compelling state interests, not merely the wide spectrum of legitimate state ends.

The Warren Court identified the areas appropriate for strict scrutiny by searching for two characteristics: the presence of a
suspect classification; or an impact on fundamental rights or interests. In the category of suspect classifications, the
Warren Courts major contribution was to intensify the strict scrutiny in the traditionally interventionist area of racial
classifications. But other cases also suggested that there might be more other suspect categories as well: illegitimacy and
wealth for example. But it was the fundamental interests ingredient of the new equal protection that proved particularly
dynamic, open-ended, and amorphous.. [Other fundamental interests included voting, criminal appeals, and the right of
interstate travel .]

xxx xxx xxx

The Burger Court and Equal Protection.

The Burger Court was reluctant to expand the scope of the new equal protection, although its best established ingredient
retains vitality. There was also mounting discontent with the rigid two-tier formulations of the Warren Courts equal
protection doctrine. It was prepared to use the clause as an interventionist tool without resorting to the strict language of
the new equal protection. [Among the fundamental interests identified during this time were voting and access to the
ballot, while suspect classifications included sex, alienage and illegitimacy.]

xxx xxx xxx

Even while the two-tier scheme has often been adhered to in form, there has also been an increasingly noticeable
resistance to the sharp difference between deferential old and interventionist new equal protection. A number of justices
sought formulations that would blur the sharp distinctions of the two-tiered approach or that would narrow the gap
between strict scrutiny and deferential review. The most elaborate attack came from Justice Marshall, whose frequently
stated position was developed most elaborately in his dissent in the Rodriguez case: [66]

The Court apparently seeks to establish [that] equal protection cases fall into one of two neat categories which dictate the
appropriate standard of review - strict scrutiny or mere rationality. But this (sic) Courts [decisions] defy such easy
categorization. A principled reading of what this Court has done reveals that it has applied a spectrum of standards in
reviewing discrimination allegedly violative of the equal protection clause. This spectrum clearly comprehends variations
in the degree of care with which Court will scrutinize particular classification, depending, I believe, on the constitutional
and societal importance of the interests adversely affected and the recognized invidiousness of the basis upon which the
particular classification is drawn.

Justice Marshalls sliding scale approach describes many of the modern decisions, although it is a formulation that the
majority refused to embrace. But the Burger Courts results indicate at least two significant changes in equal protection
law: First, invocation of the old equal protection formula no longer signals, as it did with the Warren Court, an extreme
deference to legislative classifications and a virtually automatic validation of challenged statutes. Instead, several cases,
even while voicing the minimal rationality hands-off standards of the old equal protection, proceed to find the statute
unconstitutional. Second, in some areas the modern Court has put forth standards for equal protection review that, while
clearly more intensive than the deference of the old equal protection, are less demanding than the strictness of the new
equal protection. Sex discrimination is the best established example of an intermediate level of review. Thus, in one case,
the Court said that classifications by gender must serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially
related to achievement of those objectives. That standard is intermediate with respect to both ends and means: where
ends must be compelling to survive strict scrutiny and merely legitimate under the old mode, important objectives are
required here; and where means must be necessary under the new equal protection, and merely rationally related under
the old equal protection, they must be substantially related to survive the intermediate level of review. (emphasis supplied,
citations omitted)

B. Equal Protection

in Europe

The United Kingdom and other members of the European Community have also gone forward in discriminatory legislation
and jurisprudence. Within the United Kingdom domestic law, the most extensive list of protected grounds can be found in
Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex, race,
colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property,
birth or other status. This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex and religion is
regarded as grounds that require strict scrutiny. A further indication that certain forms of discrimination are regarded as
particularly suspect under the Covenant can be gleaned from Article 4, which, while allowing states to derogate from
certain Covenant articles in times of national emergency, prohibits derogation by measures that discriminate solely on the
grounds of race, colour, language, religion or social origin.[67]

Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights has developed a test of justification which varies with the ground of
discrimination. In the Belgian Linguistics case[68] the European Court set the standard of justification at a low level:
discrimination would contravene the Convention only if it had no legitimate aim, or there was no reasonable relationship of
proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised.[69] But over the years, the European
Court has developed a hierarchy of grounds covered by Article 14 of the ECHR, a much higher level of justification being
required in respect of those regarded as suspect (sex, race, nationality, illegitimacy, or sexual orientation) than of others.
Thus, in Abdulaziz, [70] the European Court declared that:

. . . [t]he advancement of the equality of the sexes is today a major goal in the member States of the Council of Europe.
This means that very weighty reasons would have to be advanced before a difference of treatment on the ground of sex
could be regarded as compatible with the Convention.

And in Gaygusuz v. Austria,[71] the European Court held that very weighty reasons would have to be put forward before
the Court could regard a difference of treatment based exclusively on the ground of nationality as compatible with the
Convention.[72] The European Court will then permit States a very much narrower margin of appreciation in relation to
discrimination on grounds of sex, race, etc., in the application of the Convention rights than it will in relation to distinctions
drawn by states between, for example, large and small land-owners. [73]

C. Equality under

International Law

The principle of equality has long been recognized under international law. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Non-discrimination, together with
equality before the law and equal protection of the law without any discrimination, constitutes basic principles in the
protection of human rights. [74]

Most, if not all, international human rights instruments include some prohibition on discrimination and/or provisions about
equality.[75] The general international provisions pertinent to discrimination and/or equality are the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);[76] the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD);[77] the Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC).

In the broader international context, equality is also enshrined in regional instruments such as the American Convention
on Human Rights;[78] the African Charter on Human and People's Rights;[79] the European Convention on Human
Rights;[80] the European Social Charter of 1961 and revised Social Charter of 1996; and the European Union Charter of
Rights (of particular importance to European states). Even the Council of the League of Arab States has adopted the Arab
Charter on Human Rights in 1994, although it has yet to be ratified by the Member States of the League.[81]

The equality provisions in these instruments do not merely function as traditional "first generation" rights, commonly
viewed as concerned only with constraining rather than requiring State action. Article 26 of the ICCPR requires
guarantee[s] of equal and effective protection against discrimination while Articles 1 and 14 of the American and
European Conventions oblige States Parties to ensure ... the full and free exercise of [the rights guaranteed] ... without
any discrimination and to secure without discrimination the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed.[82] These provisions
impose a measure of positive obligation on States Parties to take steps to eradicate discrimination.
In the employment field, basic detailed minimum standards ensuring equality and prevention of discrimination, are laid
down in the ICESCR[83] and in a very large number of Conventions administered by the International Labour
Organisation, a United Nations body. [84] Additionally, many of the other international and regional human rights
instruments have specific provisions relating to employment.[85]

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has also gone beyond the earlier tendency to view the prohibition against
discrimination (Article 26) as confined to the ICCPR rights.[86] In Broeks[87] and Zwaan-de Vries,[88] the issue before the
Committee was whether discriminatory provisions in the Dutch Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV) fell within the scope of
Article 26. The Dutch government submitted that discrimination in social security benefit provision was not within the
scope of Article 26, as the right was contained in the ICESCR and not the ICCPR. They accepted that Article 26 could go
beyond the rights contained in the Covenant to other civil and political rights, such as discrimination in the field of taxation,
but contended that Article 26 did not extend to the social, economic, and cultural rights contained in ICESCR. The
Committee rejected this argument. In its view, Article 26 applied to rights beyond the Covenant including the rights in
other international treaties such as the right to social security found in ICESCR:

Although Article 26 requires that legislation should prohibit discrimination, it does not of itself contain any obligation with
respect to the matters that may be provided for by legislation. Thus it does not, for example, require any state to enact
legislation to provide for social security. However, when such legislation is adopted in the exercise of a State's sovereign
power, then such legislation must comply with Article 26 of the Covenant.[89]

Breaches of the right to equal protection occur directly or indirectly. A classification may be struck down if it has the
purpose or effect of violating the right to equal protection. International law recognizes that discrimination may occur
indirectly, as the Human Rights Committee[90] took into account the definitions of discrimination adopted by CERD and
CEDAW in declaring that:

. . . discrimination as used in the [ICCPR] should be understood to imply any distinction, exclusion, restriction or
preference which is based on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, property, birth or other status, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the
recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms. [91] (emphasis supplied)

Thus, the two-tier analysis made in the case at bar of the challenged provision, and its conclusion of unconstitutionality by
subsequent operation, are in cadence and in consonance with the progressive trend of other jurisdictions and in
international law. There should be no hesitation in using the equal protection clause as a major cutting edge to eliminate
every conceivable irrational discrimination in our society. Indeed, the social justice imperatives in the Constitution, coupled
with the special status and protection afforded to labor, compel this approach.[92]

Apropos the special protection afforded to labor under our Constitution and international law, we held in International
School Alliance of Educators v. Quisumbing: [93]

That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution and laws reflect the policy
against these evils. The Constitution in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest
priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social,
economic, and political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, "in the exercise of
his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good
faith."

International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination. General principles of
law include principles of equity, i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Discrimination in
Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation - all embody
the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its
Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.

In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of capital, inequality and
discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.

The Constitution specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work." These conditions are not
restricted to the physical workplace - the factory, the office or the field - but include as well the manner by which
employers treat their employees.

The Constitution also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all." Similarly, the Labor Code
provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed." It would be an affront to
both the spirit and letter of these provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to promote and ensure equal
employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.

xxx xxx xxx

Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 7 thereof, provides:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and [favorable]
conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:

a. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:


i. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being
guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

xxx xxx xxx

The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal truism of "equal pay for
equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications, skill, effort and responsibility, under similar
conditions, should be paid similar salaries. (citations omitted)

Congress retains its wide discretion in providing for a valid classification, and its policies should be accorded recognition
and respect by the courts of justice except when they run afoul of the Constitution.[94] The deference stops where the
classification violates a fundamental right, or prejudices persons accorded special protection by the Constitution. When
these violations arise, this Court must discharge its primary role as the vanguard of constitutional guaranties, and require
a stricter and more exacting adherence to constitutional limitations. Rational basis should not suffice.

Admittedly, the view that prejudice to persons accorded special protection by the Constitution requires a stricter judicial
scrutiny finds no support in American or English jurisprudence. Nevertheless, these foreign decisions and authorities are
not per se controlling in this jurisdiction. At best, they are persuasive and have been used to support many of our
decisions.[95] We should not place undue and fawning reliance upon them and regard them as indispensable mental
crutches without which we cannot come to our own decisions through the employment of our own endowments. We live in
a different ambience and must decide our own problems in the light of our own interests and needs, and of our qualities
and even idiosyncrasies as a people, and always with our own concept of law and justice.[96] Our laws must be construed
in accordance with the intention of our own lawmakers and such intent may be deduced from the language of each law
and the context of other local legislation related thereto. More importantly, they must be construed to serve our own public
interest which is the be-all and the end-all of all our laws. And it need not be stressed that our public interest is distinct and
different from others.[97]

In the 2003 case of Francisco v. House of Representatives, this Court has stated that: [A]merican jurisprudence and
authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no longer controlling within our
jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned....[I]n resolving
constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable
because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and needs.[98] Indeed, although the Philippine
Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. [99]

Further, the quest for a better and more equal world calls for the use of equal protection as a tool of effective judicial
intervention.

Equality is one ideal which cries out for bold attention and action in the Constitution. The Preamble proclaims equality as
an ideal precisely in protest against crushing inequities in Philippine society. The command to promote social justice in
Article II, Section 10, in all phases of national development, further explicitated in Article XIII, are clear commands to the
State to take affirmative action in the direction of greater equality. [T]here is thus in the Philippine Constitution no lack of
doctrinal support for a more vigorous state effort towards achieving a reasonable measure of equality.[100]

Our present Constitution has gone further in guaranteeing vital social and economic rights to marginalized groups of
society, including labor.[101] Under the policy of social justice, the law bends over backward to accommodate the
interests of the working class on the humane justification that those with less privilege in life should have more in law.[102]
And the obligation to afford protection to labor is incumbent not only on the legislative and executive branches but also on
the judiciary to translate this pledge into a living reality.[103] Social justice calls for the humanization of laws and the
equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception
may at least be approximated.[104]

V.

A Final Word

Finally, concerns have been raised as to the propriety of a ruling voiding the challenged provision. It has been proffered
that the remedy of petitioner is not with this Court, but with Congress, which alone has the power to erase any inequity
perpetrated by R.A. No. 7653. Indeed, a bill proposing the exemption of the BSP rank-and-file from the SSL has
supposedly been filed.

Under most circumstances, the Court will exercise judicial restraint in deciding questions of constitutionality, recognizing
the broad discretion given to Congress in exercising its legislative power. Judicial scrutiny would be based on the rational
basis test, and the legislative discretion would be given deferential treatment. [105]

But if the challenge to the statute is premised on the denial of a fundamental right, or the perpetuation of prejudice against
persons favored by the Constitution with special protection, judicial scrutiny ought to be more strict. A weak and watered
down view would call for the abdication of this Courts solemn duty to strike down any law repugnant to the Constitution
and the rights it enshrines. This is true whether the actor committing the unconstitutional act is a private person or the
government itself or one of its instrumentalities. Oppressive acts will be struck down regardless of the character or nature
of the actor. [106]

Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue on whether or not the
prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met, or the limitations respected, is justiciable or non-political, the crux
of the problem being one of legality or validity of the contested act, not its wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications,
conditions or limitations - particularly those prescribed or imposed by the Constitution - would be set at naught. What is
more, the judicial inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof are the main functions of courts of justice under the
Presidential form of government adopted in our 1935 Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its
basic predicates. As a consequence, We have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing upon said issue,
but are under the ineluctable obligation - made particularly more exacting and peremptory by our oath, as members of the
highest Court of the land, to support and defend the Constitution - to settle it. This explains why, in Miller v. Johnson, it
was held that courts have a "duty, rather than a power", to determine whether another branch of the government has "kept
within constitutional limits." Not satisfied with this postulate, the court went farther and stressed that, if the Constitution
provides how it may be amended - as it is in our 1935 Constitution - "then, unless the manner is followed, the judiciary as
the interpreter of that constitution, will declare the amendment invalid." In fact, this very Court - speaking through Justice
Laurel, an outstanding authority on Philippine Constitutional Law, as well as one of the highly respected and foremost
leaders of the Convention that drafted the 1935 Constitution - declared, as early as July 15, 1936, that "(i)n times of social
disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely
obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to
determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments" of the government.[107] (citations omitted;
emphasis supplied)

In the case at bar, the challenged proviso operates on the basis of the salary grade or officer-employee status. It is akin to
a distinction based on economic class and status, with the higher grades as recipients of a benefit specifically withheld
from the lower grades. Officers of the BSP now receive higher compensation packages that are competitive with the
industry, while the poorer, low-salaried employees are limited to the rates prescribed by the SSL. The implications are
quite disturbing: BSP rank-and-file employees are paid the strictly regimented rates of the SSL while employees higher in
rank - possessing higher and better education and opportunities for career advancement - are given higher compensation
packages to entice them to stay. Considering that majority, if not all, the rank-and-file employees consist of people whose
status and rank in life are less and limited, especially in terms of job marketability, it is they - and not the officers - who
have the real economic and financial need for the adjustment This is in accord with the policy of the Constitution "to free
the people from poverty, provide adequate social services, extend to them a decent standard of living, and improve the
quality of life for all.[108] Any act of Congress that runs counter to this constitutional desideratum deserves strict scrutiny
by this Court before it can pass muster.

To be sure, the BSP rank-and-file employees merit greater concern from this Court. They represent the more impotent
rank-and-file government employees who, unlike employees in the private sector, have no specific right to organize as a
collective bargaining unit and negotiate for better terms and conditions of employment, nor the power to hold a strike to
protest unfair labor practices. Not only are they impotent as a labor unit, but their efficacy to lobby in Congress is almost
nil as R.A. No. 7653 effectively isolated them from the other GFI rank-and-file in compensation. These BSP rank-and-file
employees represent the politically powerless and they should not be compelled to seek a political solution to their
unequal and iniquitous treatment. Indeed, they have waited for many years for the legislature to act. They cannot be
asked to wait some more for discrimination cannot be given any waiting time. Unless the equal protection clause of the
Constitution is a mere platitude, it is the Courts duty to save them from reasonless discrimination.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hold that the continued operation and implementation of the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article
II of Republic Act No. 7653 is unconstitutional.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Azcuna, Tinga, and Chico-
Nazario, JJ., concur.

Panganiban, Carpio, Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., see dissenting.

Corona, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., on leave.


G.R. No. 167011 April 30, 2008

SPOUSES CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ and ERLINDA R. ROMUALDEZ, petitioners,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DENNIS GARAY, respondents.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This treats of the Petition for Review on Certiorari with a prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or
Writ of Preliminary Injunction filed by petitioners Spouses Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda R. Romualdez seeking to
annul and set aside the Resolutions, dated 11 June 20041 and 27 January 20052 of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) in E.O. Case No. 2000-36. In the Resolution of 11 June 2004, the COMELEC En Banc directed the Law
Department to file the appropriate Information with the proper court against petitioners Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda
Romualdez for violation of Section 10(g) and (j)3 in relation to Section 45(j)4 of Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known
as The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.5 Petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration thereon was denied.

The factual antecedents leading to the instant Petition are presented hereunder:

On 12 July 2000, private respondent Dennis Garay, along with Angelino Apostol6 filed a Complaint-Affidavit7 with the
COMELEC thru the Office of the Election Officer in Burauen, Leyte, charging petitioners with violation of Section
261(y)(2)8 and Section 261(y)(5)9 of the Omnibus Election Code, similarly referred to as Batas Pambansa Blg. 881; and
Section 1210 of Republic Act No. 8189.

Private respondent deposed, inter alia, that: petitioners are of legal ages and residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa
Street, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City; on 9 May 2000 and 11 May 2000, petitioners Carlos S. Romualdez and
Erlinda R. Romualdez, applied for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election Officer of Burauen, Leyte, as
evidenced by Voter Registration Record Nos. 42454095 and 07902952, respectively; in their sworn applications,
petitioners made false and untruthful representations in violation of Section 1011 of Republic Act Nos. 8189, by indicating
therein that they are residents of 935 San Jose Street, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and in fact, they were and still are
residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa Street, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City, and registered voters of
Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City, Precinct No. 4419-A, as evidenced by Voter Registration
Record Nos. 26195824 and 26195823; and that petitioners, knowing fully well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not
fill the blank spaces in said applications corresponding to the length of time which they have resided in Burauen, Leyte. In
fine, private respondent charged petitioners, to wit:

Respondent-spouses, Carlos Sison Romualdez and Erlinda Reyes Romualdez committed and consummated election
offenses in violation of our election laws, specifically, Sec. 261, paragraph (y), subparagraph (2), for knowingly making
any false or untruthful statements relative to any data or information required in the application for registration, and of Sec.
261, paragraph (y), subparagraph (5), committed by any person who, being a registered voter, registers anew without
filing an application for cancellation of his previous registration, both of the Omnibus Election Code (BP Blg. 881), and of
Sec. 12, RA 8189 (Voter Registration Act) for failure to apply for transfer of registration records due to change of
residence to another city or municipality."12

The Complaint-Affidavit contained a prayer that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the COMELEC, and if the
evidence so warrants, the corresponding Information against petitioners be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for
the prosecution of the same.

Petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss13 dated 2 April 2001. They contended therein that they
did not make any false or untruthful statements in their application for registration. They avowed that they intended to
reside in Burauen, Leyte, since the year 1989. On 9 May 2000, they took actual residence in Burauen, Leyte, by leasing
for five (5) years, the house of Juanito and Fe Renomeron at No. 935, San Jose Street in Burauen, Leyte. On even date,
the Barangay District III Council of Burauen passed a Resolution of Welcome, expressing therein its gratitude and
appreciation to petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez for choosing the Barangay as his official residence.14

On 28 November 2003, Atty. Maria Norina S. Tangaro-Casingal, COMELEC Investigating Officer, issued a Resolution,
recommending to the COMELEC Law Department (Investigation and Prosecution Division), the filing of the appropriate
Information against petitioners, disposing, thus:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Law Department (Investigation and Prosecution Division), RECOMMENDS to file the
necessary information against Carlos Sison Romualdez before the proper Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 10
(g) and (j) in relation to Section 45 (j) of Republic Act 8189 and to authorize the Director IV of the Law Department to
designate a Comelec Prosecutor to handle the prosecution of the case with the duty to submit periodic report after every
hearing of the case.15

On 11 June 2004, the COMELEC En Banc found no reason to depart from the recommendatory Resolution of 28
November 2003, and ordered, viz:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Law Department is hereby directed to file the appropriate information with the
proper court against respondents CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ AND ERLINDA ROMUALDEZ for violation of Section 10 (g)
and (j) in relation to Section 45 (j) of the Republic Act No. 8189.16

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereon.


Acting on the Motion, the COMELEC found no cogent reason to disturb the assailed En Banc Resolution of 11 June
2004,17 rationalizing, thus:

However, perusal of the records reveal (sic) that the arguments and issues raised in the Motion for Reconsideration are
merely a rehash of the arguments advanced by the Respondents in [their] Memorandum received by the Law Department
on 17 April 2001, the same [w]as already considered by the Investigating Officer and was discussed in her
recommendation which eventually was made as the basis for the En Banc’s resolution.

As aptly observed by the Investigating Officer, the filing of request for the cancellation and transfer of Voting Registration
Record does not automatically cancel the registration records. The fact remains that at the time of application for
registration as new voter of the herein Respondents on May 9 and 11, 2001 in the Office of Election Officer of Burauen,
Leyte their registration in Barangay 4419-A, Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame Quezon City was still valid and
subsisting.18

On 12 January 2006, Alioden D. Dalaig, Director IV, Law Department of the COMELEC filed with the RTC, Burauen,
Leyte, separate Informations against petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez19 for violation of Section 10(g), in relation to Section
45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, and against petitioner Erlinda R. Romualdez20 for violation of Section 10(g), in relation to
Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, subsequently docketed as Crim. Case No. BN-06-03-4185 and Crim. Case No.
BN-06-03-4183, respectively. Moreover, separate Informations for violation of Section 10(j), in relation to Section 45(j) of
Republic Act No. 8189 were filed against petitioners.21

Hence, petitioners come to us via the instant Petition, submitting the following arguments:

RESPONDENT COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF OR


IN EXCESS OF ITS JURISDICTION; and

II

COMELEC GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT PREMISED ITS RESOLUTION ON A MISAPPREHENSION
OF FACTS AND FAILED TO CONSIDER CERTAIN RELEVANT FACTS THAT WOULD JUSTIFY A DIFFERENT
CONCLUSION.22

On 4 May 2006, petitioners filed a Motion Reiterating Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for
Indirect Contempt,23 alleging that two separate Informations, both dated 12 January 2006, were filed with the RTC by the
COMELEC against petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez for violation of Section 10(j), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act
No. 8189, in Criminal Case No. BN-06-03-9184; and for violation of Section 10(g), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic
Act No. 8189, in Criminal Case No. BN-06-03-9185. Similarly, the Motion alleged that the COMELEC filed with the RTC,
two separate Informations, both dated 12 January 2006, against petitioner Erlinda R. Romualdez, charging her with the
same offenses as those charged against petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez, and thereafter, docketed as Criminal Case No.
BN-06-03-9182, and No. BN-06-03-9183.

On 20 June 2006, this Court issued a Resolution24 denying for lack of merit petitioners’ Motion Reiterating Prayer for
Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for Indirect Contempt.

We shall now resolve, in seriatim, the arguments raised by petitioners.

Petitioners contend that the election offenses for which they are charged by private respondent are entirely different from
those which they stand to be accused of before the RTC by the COMELEC. According to petitioners, private respondent’s
complaint charged them for allegedly violating, to wit: 1) Section 261(y)(2) and Section 261(y)(5) of the Omnibus Election
Code, and 2) Section 12 of the Voter’s Registration Act; however, the COMELEC En Banc directed in the assailed
Resolutions, that they be charged for violations of Section 10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of the Voter’s
Registration Act. Essentially, petitioners are of the view that they were not accorded due process of law. Specifically, their
right to refute or submit documentary evidence against the new charges which COMELEC ordered to be filed against
them. Moreover, petitioners insist that Section 45(j) of the Voter’s Registration Act is vague as it does not refer to a
definite provision of the law, the violation of which would constitute an election offense; hence, it runs contrary to Section
14(1)25 and Section 14(2),26 Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

We are not persuaded.

First. The Complaint-Affidavit filed by private respondent with the COMELEC is couched in a language which embraces
the allegations necessary to support the charge for violation of Section 10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of
Republic Act No. 8189.

A reading of the relevant laws is in order, thus:

Section 10(g) and Section 10(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, provide as follows:

SEC. 10 – Registration of Voters. - A qualified voter shall be registered in the permanent list of voters in a precinct of the
city or municipality wherein he resides to be able to vote in any election. To register as a voter, he shall personally
accomplish an application form for registration as prescribed by the Commission in three (3) copies before the Election
Officer on any date during office hours after having acquired the qualifications of a voter.

The application shall contain the following data:


xxxx

(g) Periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration;

xxxx

(j) A statement that the application is not a registered voter of any precinct;

The application for registration shall contain three (3) specimen signatures of the applicant, clear and legible rolled prints
of his left and right thumbprints, with four identification size copies of his latest photograph, attached thereto, to be taken
at the expense of the Commission.

Before the applicant accomplishes his application for registration, the Election Officer shall inform him of the qualifications
and disqualifications prescribed by law for a voter, and thereafter, see to it that the accomplished application contains all
the data therein required and that the applicant’s specimen signatures, fingerprints, and photographs are properly affixed
in all copies of the voter’s application.

Moreover, Section 45(j) of the same Act, recites, thus:

SEC. 45. Election Offense. – The following shall be considered election offenses under this Act:

xxxx

(j) Violation of any of the provisions of this Act.

Significantly, the allegations in the Complaint-Affidavit which was filed with the Law Department of the COMELEC, support
the charge directed by the COMELEC En Banc to be filed against petitioners with the RTC. Even a mere perusal of the
Complaint-Affidavit would readily show that Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8189 was specifically mentioned therein. On
the matter of the acts covered by Section 10(g) and (j), the Complaint-Affidavit, spells out the following allegations, to wit:

5. Respondent-spouses made false and untruthful representations in their applications (Annexes "B" and "C") in violation
of the requirements of Section 10, RA 8189 (The Voter’s Registration Act):

5.1 Respondent-spouses, in their sworn applications (Annexes "B" and "C", claimed to be residents of 935 San Jose
[S]treet, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and in fact, they were and still are residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa
[S]treet, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City and registered voters of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District
IV, Quezon City, Precinct No. 4419-A, a copy of the Certification issued by Hon. Emmanuel V. Gozon, Punong Barangay,
Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City is hereto attached and made an integral part hereof, as Annex "D";

5.2 Respondent-spouses knowing fully well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not fill the blank spaces in their
applications (Annexes "B" and "C") corresponding to the length of time they have resided in Burauen, Leyte;

6. Respondent-spouses, in (sic) all intents and purposes, were and still are residents and registered voters of Quezon
City, as evidenced by Voter Registration Record Nos. 26195824 and 26195823, respectively; photocopies of which are
hereto attached as Annexes "E" and "F"[.] Likewise, attached is a "Certification" (Annex "G") of Ms. Evelyn B. Bautista,
Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Election Officer, Fourth District, Quezon City, dated May 31, 2000, together with a
certified copy of the computer print-out of the list of voters of Precinct No. 4419-A (Annex "G-1" ) containing the names of
voters Carlos Romualdez and Erlinda Reyes Romualdez. The Certification reads as follows:

"THIS IS TO CERTIFY that as per office record MR. CARLOS ROMUALDEZ and MS. ERLINDA REYES ROMUALDEZ
are registered voters of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City, Precinct Number 4419A with
voters affidavit serial nos. 26195824 and 26195823, respectively.

This certification is issued for whatever legal purpose it may serve."

7. Respondent-spouses, registered as new voters of the Municipality of Burauen, Leyte, [in spite of] the fact that they were
and still are, registered voters of Quezon City as early as June 22, 1997;

7.1 That, Double Registration is an election offense.

A person qualified as a voter is only allowed to register once.

If a person registers anew as a voter in spite of a subsisting registration, the new application for registration will be
disapproved. The registrant is also liable not only for an election offense of double registration, but also for another
election offense of knowingly making any false or untruthful statement relative to any data or information required in the
application for registration.

In fact, when a person applies for registration as a voter, he or she fills up a Voter Registration Record form in his or her
own handwriting, which contains a Certification which reads:

"I do solemnly swear that the above statements regarding my person are true and correct; that I possess all the
qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter; that the thumbprints, specimen signatures and photographs
appearing herein are mine; and that I am not registered as a voter in any other precinct."27
Petitioners cannot be said to have been denied due process on the claim that the election offenses charged against them
by private respondent are entirely different from those for which they stand to be accused of before the RTC, as charged
by the COMELEC. In the first place, there appears to be no incongruity between the charges as contained in the
Complaint-Affidavit and the Informations filed before the RTC, notwithstanding the denomination by private respondent of
the alleged violations to be covered by Section 261(y)(2) and Section 261(y)(5) of the Omnibus Election Code and Section
12 of Republic Act No. 8189. Evidently, the Informations directed to be filed by the COMELEC against petitioners, and
which were, in fact, filed with the RTC, were based on the same set of facts as originally alleged in the private
respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit.

Petitioners buttress their claim of lack of due process by relying on the case of Lacson v. Executive Secretary.28 Citing
Lacson, petitioners argue that the real nature of the criminal charge is determined by the actual recital of facts in the
Complaint or Information; and that the object of such written accusations was to furnish the accused with such a
description of the charge against him, as will enable him to make his defense. Let it be said that, in Lacson, this court
resolved the issue of whether under the allegations in the subject Informations therein, it is the Sandiganbayan or the
Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the multiple murder case against therein petitioner and intervenors. In
Lacson, we underscored the elementary rule that the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the
Complaint or Information, and not by the evidence presented by the parties at the trial.29 Indeed, in Lacson, we
articulated that the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the Information nor
from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the
actual recital of facts in the Complaint or Information.30

Petitioners’ reliance on Lacson, however, does not support their claim of lack of due process because, as we have said,
the charges contained in private respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit and the charges as directed by the COMELEC to be
filed are based on the same set of facts. In fact, the nature of the criminal charges in private respondent’s Complaint-
Affidavit and that of the charges contained in the Informations filed with the RTC, pursuant to the COMELEC Resolution
En Banc are the same, such that, petitioners cannot claim that they were not able to refute or submit documentary
evidence against the charges that the COMELEC filed with the RTC. Petitioners were afforded due process because they
were granted the opportunity to refute the allegations in private respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit. On 2 April 2001, in
opposition to the Complaint-Affidavit, petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss with the Law
Department of the COMELEC. They similarly filed a Memorandum before the said body. Finding that due process was not
dispensed with under the circumstances in the case at bar, we agree with the stance of the Office of the Solicitor General
that petitioners were reasonably apprised of the nature and description of the charges against them. It likewise bears
stressing that preliminary investigations were conducted whereby petitioners were informed of the complaint and of the
evidence submitted against them. They were given the opportunity to adduce controverting evidence for their defense. In
all these stages, petitioners actively participated.

The instant case calls to our minds Orquinaza v. People,31 wherein the concerned police officer therein designated the
offense charged as sexual harassment; but, the prosecutor found that there was no transgression of the anti-sexual
harassment law, and instead, filed an Information charging therein petitioner with acts of lasciviousness. On a claim that
there was deprivation of due process, therein petitioner argued that the Information for acts of lasciviousness was void as
the preliminary investigation conducted was for sexual harassment. The court held that the designation by the police
officer of the offense is not conclusive as it is within the competence of the prosecutor to assess the evidence submitted
and determine therefrom the appropriate offense to be charged.

Accordingly, the court pronounced that the complaint contained all the allegations to support the charge of acts of
lasciviousness under the Revised Penal Code; hence, the conduct of another preliminary investigation for the offense of
acts of lasciviousness would be a futile exercise because the complainant would only be presenting the same facts and
evidence which have already been studied by the prosecutor.32 The court frowns upon such superfluity which only serves
to delay the prosecution and disposition of the criminal complaint.33

Second. Petitioners would have this court declare Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189 vague, on the ground that it
contravenes the fair notice requirement of the 1987 Constitution, in particular, Section 14(1) and Section 14(2), Article III
of thereof. Petitioners submit that Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189 makes no reference to a definite provision of the
law, the violation of which would constitute an election offense.

We are not convinced.

The void-for-vagueness doctrine holds that a law is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess
at its meaning and differ as to its application.34 However, this Court has imposed certain limitations by which a criminal
statute, as in the challenged law at bar, may be scrutinized. This Court has declared that facial invalidation35 or an "on-
its-face" invalidation of criminal statutes is not appropriate.36 We have so enunciated in no uncertain terms in Romualdez
v. Sandiganbayan, 37 thus:

In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their
faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be
made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that
'one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it
might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional.' As
has been pointed out, 'vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically
produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as
applied' to a particular defendant.'" (underscoring supplied)

"To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity." While mentioned in
passing in some cases, the void-for-vagueness concept has yet to find direct application in our jurisdiction. In Yu Cong
Eng v. Trinidad, the Bookkeeping Act was found unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause, not
because it was vague. Adiong v. Comelec decreed as void a mere Comelec Resolution, not a statute. Finally, Santiago v.
Comelec held that a portion of RA 6735 was unconstitutional because of undue delegation of legislative powers, not
because of vagueness.

Indeed, an "on-its-face" invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass acquittal of parties whose cases may not
have even reached the courts. Such invalidation would constitute a departure from the usual requirement of "actual case
and controversy" and permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context having no factual concreteness. In Younger
v. Harris, this evil was aptly pointed out by the U.S. Supreme Court in these words:

"[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies
before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative
remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative
and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, x x x ordinarily results in a kind of case
that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided."

For this reason, generally disfavored is an on-its-face invalidation of statutes, described as a "manifestly strong medicine"
to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort." In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its
provisions that have allegedly been violated must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant has
been charged. (Emphasis supplied.)

At the outset, we declare that under these terms, the opinions of the dissent which seek to bring to the fore the purported
ambiguities of a long list of provisions in Republic Act No. 8189 can be deemed as a facial challenge. An appropriate "as
applied" challenge in the instant Petition should be limited only to Section 45 (j) in relation to Sections 10 (g) and (j) of
Republic Act No. 8189—the provisions upon which petitioners are charged. An expanded examination of the law covering
provisions which are alien to petitioners’ case would be antagonistic to the rudiment that for judicial review to be
exercised, there must be an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, and not conjectural
or anticipatory.

We further quote the relevant ruling in David v. Arroyo on the proscription anent a facial challenge:38

Moreover, the overbreadth doctrine is not intended for testing the validity of a law that "reflects legitimate state interest in
maintaining comprehensive control over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct." Undoubtedly, lawless violence,
insurrection and rebellion are considered "harmful" and "constitutionally unprotected conduct." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,
it was held:

It remains a matter of no little difficulty to determine when a law may properly be held void on its face and when such
summary action is inappropriate. But the plain import of our cases is, at the very least, that facial overbreadth adjudication
is an exception to our traditional rules of practice and that its function, a limited one at the outset, attenuates as the
otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves from pure speech toward conduct and that
conduct even if expressive falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate state interests in
maintaining comprehensive controls over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct.

Thus, claims of facial overbreadth are entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only
"spoken words" and again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against
ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." Here, the incontrovertible fact remains that PP
1017 pertains to a spectrum of conduct, not free speech, which is manifestly subject to state regulation.

Second, facial invalidation of laws is considered as "manifestly strong medicine," to be used "sparingly and only as a last
resort," and is "generally disfavored;" The reason for this is obvious. Embedded in the traditional rules governing
constitutional adjudication is the principle that a person to whom a law may be applied will not be heard to challenge a law
on the ground that it may conceivably be applied unconstitutionally to others, i.e., in other situations not before the Court.
A writer and scholar in Constitutional Law explains further:

The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an exception to some of the usual rules of
constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if
the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating its improper applications
on a case to case basis. Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and can only
assert their own interests. In overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are permitted to raise the rights of
third parties; and the court invalidates the entire statute "on its face," not merely "as applied for" so that the overbroad law
becomes unenforceable until a properly authorized court construes it more narrowly. The factor that motivates courts to
depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the concern with the "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on
third parties not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad laws "very existence may cause
others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression." An overbreadth ruling is
designed to remove that deterrent effect on the speech of those third parties.

In other words, a facial challenge using the overbreadth doctrine will require the Court to examine PP 1017 and pinpoint
its flaws and defects, not on the basis of its actual operation to petitioners, but on the assumption or prediction that its very
existence may cause others not before the Court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression.

Xxx xxx xxx

And third, a facial challenge on the ground of overbreadth is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the
challenger must establish that there can be no instance when the assailed law may be valid. Here, petitioners did not
even attempt to show whether this situation exists.
Petitioners likewise seek a facial review of PP 1017 on the ground of vagueness. This, too, is unwarranted.

Related to the "overbreadth" doctrine is the "void for vagueness doctrine" which holds that "a law is facially invalid if men
of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application." It is subject to the same
principles governing overbreadth doctrine. For one, it is also an analytical tool for testing "on their faces" statutes in free
speech cases. And like overbreadth, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its
possible applications.

Be that as it may, the test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the language
conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and
practice.39 This Court has similarly stressed that the vagueness doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty
for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude.40

As structured, Section 4541 of Republic Act No. 8189 makes a recital of election offenses under the same Act. Section
45(j) is, without doubt, crystal in its specification that a violation of any of the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189 is an
election offense. The language of Section 45(j) is precise. The challenged provision renders itself to no other
interpretation. A reading of the challenged provision involves no guesswork. We do not see herein an uncertainty that
makes the same vague.

Notably, herein petitioners do not cite a word in the challenged provision, the import or meaning of which they do not
understand. This is in stark contrast to the case of Estrada v. Sandiganbayan42 where therein petitioner sought for
statutory definition of particular words in the challenged statute. Even then, the Court in Estrada rejected the argument.

This Court reasoned:

The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general
terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them; much less do we have to define
every word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define
each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so
define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the
legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law."

Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain
and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal
meaning to those words. The intention of the lawmakers who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers to
use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed.

Perforce, this Court has underlined that an act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in
its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to
provide all the details in advance as in all other statutes.43

The evident intent of the legislature in including in the catena of election offenses the violation of any of the provisions of
Republic Act No. 8189, is to subsume as punishable, not only the commission of proscribed acts, but also the omission of
acts enjoined to be observed. On this score, the declared policy of Republic Act No. 8189 is illuminating. The law
articulates the policy of the State to systematize the present method of registration in order to establish a clean, complete,
permanent and updated list of voters. A reading of Section 45 (j) conjointly with the provisions upon which petitioners are
charged, i.e., Sections 10 (g) and (j) would reveal that the matters that are required to be set forth under the aforesaid
sections are crucial to the achievement of a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters. The factual
information required by the law is sought not for mere embellishment.

There is a definitive governmental purpose when the law requires that such facts should be set forth in the application.
The periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration delve into the matter of residency, a requisite
which a voter must satisfy to be deemed a qualified voter and registered in the permanent list of voters in a precinct of the
city or municipality wherein he resides. Of even rationality exists in the case of the requirement in Section 10 (j),
mandating that the applicant should state that he/she is not a registered voter of any precinct. Multiple voting by so-called
flying voters are glaring anomalies which this country strives to defeat. The requirement that such facts as required by
Section 10 (g) and Section 10 (j) be stated in the voter’s application form for registration is directly relevant to the right of
suffrage, which the State has the right to regulate.

It is the opportune time to allude to the case of People v. Gatchalian44 where the therein assailed law contains a similar
provision as herein assailed before us. Republic Act No. 602 also penalizes any person who willfully violates any of the
provisions of the Act. The Court dismissed the challenged, and declared the provision constitutional. The Court in
Gatchalian read the challenged provision, "any of the provisions of this [A]ct" conjointly with Section 3 thereof which was
the pertinent portion of the law upon which therein accused was prosecuted. Gatchalian considered the terms as all-
embracing; hence, the same must include what is enjoined in Section 3 thereof which embodies the very fundamental
purpose for which the law has been adopted. This Court ruled that the law by legislative fiat intends to punish not only
those expressly declared unlawful but even those not so declared but are clearly enjoined to be observed to carry out the
fundamental purpose of the law.45 Gatchalian remains good law, and stands unchallenged.

It also does not escape the mind of this Court that the phraseology in Section 45(j) is employed by Congress in a number
of our laws.46 These provisions have not been declared unconstitutional.

Moreover, every statute has in its favor the presumption of validity.47 To justify its nullification, there must be a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution, and not one that is doubtful, speculative or argumentative.48 We hold that
petitioners failed to overcome the heavy presumption in favor of the law. Its constitutionality must be upheld in the
absence of substantial grounds for overthrowing the same.

A salient point. Courts will refrain from touching upon the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is the
very lis mota. In the case at bar, the lis mota is the alleged grave abuse of discretion of the COMELEC in finding probable
cause for the filing of criminal charges against petitioners.

Third. Petitioners maintain that the COMELEC En Banc, premised its finding on a misapprehension of facts, and
committed grave abuse of discretion in directing the filing of Informations against them with the RTC.

We are once again unimpressed.

The constitutional grant of prosecutorial power in the COMELEC finds statutory expression under Section 26549 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code.50 The task of the COMELEC whenever any
election offense charge is filed before it is to conduct the preliminary investigation of the case, and make a determination
of probable cause. Under Section 8(b), Rule 34 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the investigating officer makes a
determination of whether there is a reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed.51 In Baytan v.
COMELEC,52 this Court, sufficiently elucidated on the matter of probable cause in the prosecution of election offenses,
viz:

It is also well-settled that the finding of probable cause in the prosecution of election offenses rests in the COMELEC's
sound discretion. The COMELEC exercises the constitutional authority to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute
cases for violation of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offense and malpractices.
Generally, the Court will not interfere with such finding of the COMELEC absent a clear showing of grave abuse of
discretion. This principle emanates from the COMELEC's exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all
election offenses punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the same, except as may otherwise be provided by
law.53

It is succinct that courts will not substitute the finding of probable cause by the COMELEC in the absence of grave abuse
of discretion. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in
an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.54

According to the COMELEC En Banc, the investigating officer, in the case at bar, held that there was sufficient cause for
the filing of criminal charges against petitioners, and found no reason to depart therefrom. Without question, on May 9 and
11 of 2001, petitioners applied for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election Officer of Burauen, Leyte,
notwithstanding the existence of petitioners’ registration records as registered voters of Precinct No. 4419-A of Barangay
Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City. The directive by the COMELEC which affirmed the Resolution55 of
28 November 2000 of Investigating Officer Atty. Tangaro-Casingal does not appear to be wanting in factual basis, such
that a reasonably prudent man would conclude that there exists probable cause to hold petitioners for trial. Thus, in the
aforesaid Resolution, the Investigating Officer, found:

A violation therefore of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8189 is an election offense.

In the instant case, when respondents Carlos Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez filed their respective applications for
registration as new voters with the Office of the Election Officer of Burauen, Leyte on May 9 and 11, 2001, respectively,
they stated under oath that they are not registered voters in other precinct (VRR Nos. 42454095 and 07902941).
However, contrary to their statements, records show they are still registered voters of Precinct No. 4419-A, barangay
Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City, as per VRR Nos. 26195825 and 26195823. In other words,
respondents’ registration records in Quezon City is (sic) still in existence.

While it may be true that respondents had written the City Election Officer of District IV, Quezon City for cancellation of
their voter’s registration record as voter’s (sic) therein, they cannot presume that the same will be favorably acted upon.
Besides, RA 8189 provides for the procedure in cases of transfer of residence to another city/municipality which must be
complied with, to wit:

"Section 12. Change of Residence to Another City or Municipality. – Any registered voter who has transferred residence to
another city or municipality may apply with the Election Officer of his new residence for the transfer of his registration
records.

The application for transfer of registration shall be subject to the requirements of notice and hearing and the approval of
the Election Registration Board, in accordance with this Act. Upon approval, of the application for transfer, and after notice
of such approval to the Election Officer of their former residence of the voter, said Election Officer shall transmit by
registered mail the voter’s registration record to the Election Officer of the voter’s new residence."

They cannot claim ignorance of the abovestated provision on the procedure for transfer of registration records by reason
of transferred new residence to another municipality. Based on the affidavit executed by one Eufemia S. Cotoner, she
alleged that the refusal of the Assistant Election Officer Ms. Estrella Perez to accept the letter of respondents was due to
improper procedure because respondents should have filed the required request for transfer with the Election Officer of
Burauen, Leyte. Despite this knowledge, however, they proceeded to register as new voters of Burauen, Leyte,
notwithstanding the existence of their previous registrations in Quezon City.

In their subsequent affidavit of Transfer of Voters Registration under Section 12 of Republic Act 8189, respondents
admitted that they erroneously filed an application as a new voter (sic) with the office of the Election Officer of Burauen,
Leyte, by reason of an honest mistake, which they now desire to correct. (underscoring ours).
Respondents lose sight of the fact that a statutory offense, such as violation of election law, is mala prohibita. Proof of
criminal intent is not necessary. Good faith, ignorance or lack of malice is beside the point. Commission of the act is
sufficient. It is the act itself that is punished.

xxxx

In view of the foregoing, the Law Department respectfully submits that there is probable cause to hold respondents Carlos
Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez for trial in violation of Section 10(g) and (j) in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act
No. 8189. There is no doubt that they applied for registration as new voters of Burauen, Leyte consciously, freely and
voluntarily.56

We take occasion to reiterate that the Constitution grants to the COMELEC the power to prosecute cases or violations of
election laws. Article IX (C), Section 2 (6) of the 1987 Constitution, provides:

(6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate
and where appropriate, prosecute cases or violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election
frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

This power to prosecute necessarily involves the power to determine who shall be prosecuted, and the corollary right to
decide whom not to prosecute.57 Evidently, must this power to prosecute also include the right to determine under which
laws prosecution will be pursued. The courts cannot dictate the prosecution nor usurp its discretionary powers. As a rule,
courts cannot interfere with the prosecutor’s discretion and control of the criminal prosecution.58 Its rationale cannot be
doubted. For the business of a court of justice is to be an impartial tribunal, and not to get involved with the success or
failure of the prosecution to prosecute.59 Every now and then, the prosecution may err in the selection of its strategies,
but such errors are not for neutral courts to rectify, any more than courts should correct the blunders of the defense.60

Fourth. In People v. Delgado,61 this Court said that when the COMELEC, through its duly authorized law officer, conducts
the preliminary investigation of an election offense and upon a prima facie finding of a probable cause, files the
Information in the proper court, said court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, all the subsequent
disposition of said case must be subject to the approval of the court. The records show that Informations charging
petitioners with violation of Section 10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189 had been filed with
the RTC. The case must, thus, be allowed to take its due course.

It may be recalled that petitioners prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order or Writ of Preliminary
Injunction before this Court to restrain the COMELEC from executing its Resolutions of 11 June 2004 and 27 January
2005. In a Resolution dated 20 June 2006, this Court En Banc denied for lack of merit petitioners’ Motion Reiterating
Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for Indirect Contempt. Logically, the normal course of trial
is expected to have continued in the proceedings a quo.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The assailed Resolutions, dated 11 June 2004 and 27 January 2005 of the
COMELEC En Banc are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
U.S. Supreme Court
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)
Plessy v. Ferguson

No. 210

Argued April 18, 1896

Decided May 18, 1896

163 U.S. 537

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

Syllabus

The statute of Louisiana, acts of 1890, c. 111, requiring railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in that
State, to provide equal, but separate, accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more
passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure
separate accommodations; and providing that no person shall be permitted to occupy seats in coaches other than the
ones assigned to them, on account

[538]

of the race they belong to; and requiring the officer of the passenger train to assign each passenger to the coach or
compartment assigned for the race to which he or she belong; and imposing fines or imprisonment upon passengers
insisting on going into a coach or compartment other than the one set aide for the race to which he or she belongs; and
conferring upon officers of the train power to refuse to carry on the train passengers refusing to occupy the coach or
compartment assigned to them, and exempting the railway company from liability for such refusal, are not in conflict with
the provisions either of the Thirteenth Amendment or of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States.

This was a petition for writs of prohibition and certiorari, originally filed in the Supreme Court of the State by Plessy, the
plaintiff in error, against the Hon. John H. Ferguson, judge of the criminal District Court for the parish of Orleans, and
setting forth in substance the following facts:

That petitioner was a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of Louisiana, of mixed descent, in the
proportion of seven eighths Caucasian and one eighth African blood; that the mixture of colored blood was not discernible
in him, and that he was entitled to every recognition, right, privilege and immunity secured to the citizens of the United
States of the white race by its Constitution and laws; that, on June 7, 1892, he engaged and paid for a first class passage
on the East Louisiana Railway from New Orleans to Covington, in the same State, and thereupon entered a passenger
train, and took possession of a vacant seat in a coach where passengers of the white race were accommodated; that
such railroad company was incorporated by the laws of Louisiana as a common carrier, and was not authorized to
distinguish between citizens according to their race. But, notwithstanding this, petitioner was required by the conductor,
under penalty of ejection from said train and imprisonment, to vacate said coach and occupy another seat in a coach
assigned by said company for persons not of the white race, and for no other reason than that petitioner was of the
colored race; that, upon petitioner's refusal to comply with such order, he was, with the aid of a police officer, forcibly
ejected from said coach and hurried off to and imprisoned in the parish jail of

[539]

New Orleans, and there held to answer a charge made by such officer to the effect that he was guilty of having criminally
violated an act of the General Assembly of the State, approved July 10, 1890, in such case made and provided.

That petitioner was subsequently brought before the recorder of the city for preliminary examination and committed for
trial to the criminal District Court for the parish of Orleans, where an information was filed against him in the matter above
set forth, for a violation of the above act, which act the petitioner affirmed to be null and void, because in conflict with the
Constitution of the United States; that petitioner interposed a plea to such information based upon the unconstitutionality
of the act of the General Assembly, to which the district attorney, on behalf of the State, filed a demurrer; that, upon issue
being joined upon such demurrer and plea, the court sustained the demurrer, overruled the plea, and ordered petitioner to
plead over to the facts set forth in the information, and that, unless the judge of the said court be enjoined by a writ of
prohibition from further proceeding in such case, the court will proceed to fine and sentence petitioner to imprisonment,
and thus deprive him of his constitutional rights set forth in his said plea, notwithstanding the unconstitutionality of the act
under which he was being prosecuted; that no appeal lay from such sentence, and petitioner was without relief or remedy
except by writs of prohibition and certiorari. Copies of the information and other proceedings in the criminal District Court
were annexed to the petition as an exhibit.

Upon the filing of this petition, an order was issued upon the respondent to show cause why a writ of prohibition should
not issue and be made perpetual, and a further order that the record of the proceedings had in the criminal cause be
certified and transmitted to the Supreme Court.

To this order the respondent made answer, transmitting a certified copy of the proceedings, asserting the constitutionality
of the law, and averring that, instead of pleading or admitting that he belonged to the colored race, the said Plessy
declined and refused, either by pleading or otherwise, to admit
[540]

that he was in any sense or in any proportion a colored man.

The case coming on for a hearing before the Supreme Court, that court was of opinion that the law under which the
prosecution was had was constitutional, and denied the relief prayed for by the petitioner. Ex parte Plessy, 45 La. Ann. 80.
Whereupon petitioner prayed for a writ of error from this court, which was allowed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of Louisiana.

MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

This case turns upon the constitutionality of an act of the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, passed in 1890,
providing for separate railway carriages for the white and colored races. Acts 1890, No. 111, p. 152.

The first section of the statute enacts "that all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this State shall
provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races by providing two or more passenger coaches
for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations:
Provided, That this section shall not be construed to apply to street railroads. No person or persons, shall be admitted to
occupy seats in coaches other than the ones assigned to them on account of the race they belong to."

By the second section, it was enacted "that the officers of such passenger trains shall have power and are hereby
required

[541]

to assign each passenger to the coach or compartment used for the race to which such passenger belongs; any
passenger insisting on going into a coach or compartment to which by race he does not belong shall be liable to a fine of
twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison, and
any officer of any railroad insisting on assigning a passenger to a coach or compartment other than the one set aside for
the race to which said passenger belongs shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment
for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison; and should any passenger refuse to occupy the coach or
compartment to which he or she is assigned by the officer of such railway, said officer shall have power to refuse to carry
such passenger on his train, and for such refusal neither he nor the railway company which he represents shall be liable
for damages in any of the courts of this State."

The third section provides penalties for the refusal or neglect of the officers, directors, conductors, and employees of
railway companies to comply with the act, with a proviso that "nothing in this act shall be construed as applying to nurses
attending children of the other race." The fourth section is immaterial.

The information filed in the criminal District Court charged in substance that Plessy, being a passenger between two
stations within the State of Louisiana, was assigned by officers of the company to the coach used for the race to which he
belonged, but he insisted upon going into a coach used by the race to which he did not belong. Neither in the information
nor plea was his particular race or color averred. The petition for the writ of prohibition averred that petitioner was seven-
eighths Caucasian and one eighth African blood; that the mixture of colored blood was not discernible in him, and that he
was entitled to every right, privilege and immunity secured to citizens of the United States of the white race; and that,
upon such theory, he took possession of a vacant seat in a coach where passengers of the white race were
accommodated, and was ordered by the conductor to vacate

[542]

said coach and take a seat in another assigned to persons of the colored race, and, having refused to comply with such
demand, he was forcibly ejected with the aid of a police officer, and imprisoned in the parish jail to answer a charge of
having violated the above act.

The constitutionality of this act is attacked upon the ground that it conflicts both with the Thirteenth Amendment of the
Constitution, abolishing slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits certain restrictive legislation on the part
of the States.

1. That it does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime, is too clear for argument. Slavery implies involuntary servitude -- a state of bondage; the ownership
of mankind as a chattel, or at least the control of the labor and services of one man for the benefit of another, and the
absence of a legal right to the disposal of his own person, property and services. This amendment was said in the
Slaughterhouse Cases, 16 Wall. 36, to have been intended primarily to abolish slavery as it had been previously known in
this country, and that it equally forbade Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie trade when they amounted to slavery or
involuntary servitude, and that the use of the word "servitude" was intended to prohibit the use of all forms of involuntary
slavery, of whatever class or name. It was intimated, however, in that case that this amendment was regarded by the
statesmen of that day as insufficient to protect the colored race from certain laws which had been enacted in the Southern
States, imposing upon the colored race onerous disabilities and burdens and curtailing their rights in the pursuit of life,
liberty and property to such an extent that their freedom was of little value; and that the Fourteenth Amendment was
devised to meet this exigency.

So, too, in the Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3, 24, it was said that the act of a mere individual, the owner of an inn, a
public conveyance or place of amusement, refusing accommodations to colored people cannot be justly regarded as
imposing any badge of slavery or servitude upon the applicant, but
[543]

only as involving an ordinary civil injury, properly cognizable by the laws of the State and presumably subject to redress
by those laws until the contrary appears. "It would be running the slavery argument into the ground," said Mr. Justice
Bradley, "to make it apply to every act of discrimination which a person may see fit to make as to the guests he will
entertain, or as to the people he will take into his coach or cab or car, or admit to his concert or theatre, or deal with in
other matters of intercourse or business."

A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races -- a distinction which is founded in
the color of the two races and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by
color -- has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races, or reestablish a state of involuntary servitude.
Indeed, we do not understand that the Thirteenth Amendment is strenuously relied upon by the plaintiff in error in this
connection.

2. By the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof are made citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, and the States are forbidden from
making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or shall
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny to any person within their jurisdiction the
equal protection of the laws.

The proper construction of this amendment was first called to the attention of this court in the Slaughterhouse Cases, 16
Wall. 36, which involved, however, not a question of race, but one of exclusive privileges. The case did not call for any
expression of opinion as to the exact rights it was intended to secure to the colored race, but it was said generally that its
main purpose was to establish the citizenship of the negro, to give definitions of citizenship of the United States and of the
States, and to protect from the hostile legislation of the States the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United
States, as distinguished from those of citizens of the States.

[544]

The object of the amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the
nature of things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as
distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws
permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not
necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and have been generally, if not universally, recognized as within
the competency of the state legislatures in the exercise of their police power. The most common instance of this is
connected with the establishment of separate schools for white and colored children, which has been held to be a valid
exercise of the legislative power even by courts of States where the political rights of the colored race have been longest
and most earnestly enforced.

One of the earliest of these cases is that of Roberts v. City of Boston, 5 Cush. 19, in which the Supreme Judicial Court of
Massachusetts held that the general school committee of Boston had power to make provision for the instruction of
colored children in separate schools established exclusively for them, and to prohibit their attendance upon the other
schools. "The great principle," said Chief Justice Shaw, p. 206, "advanced by the learned and eloquent advocate for the
plaintiff" (Mr. Charles Sumner), "is that, by the constitution and laws of Massachusetts, all persons without distinction of
age or sex, birth or color, origin or condition, are equal before the law. . . . But when this great principle comes to be
applied to the actual and various conditions of persons in society, it will not warrant the assertion that men and women are
legally clothed with the same civil and political powers, and that children and adults are legally to have the same functions
and be subject to the same treatment, but only that the rights of all, as they are settled and regulated by law, are equally
entitled to the paternal consideration and protection of the law for their maintenance and security."

It was held that the powers of the committee extended to the establishment

[545]

of separate schools for children of different ages, sexes and colors, and that they might also establish special schools for
poor and neglected children, who have become too old to attend the primary school and yet have not acquired the
rudiments of learning to enable them to enter the ordinary schools. Similar laws have been enacted by Congress under its
general power of legislation over the District of Columbia, Rev.Stat.D.C. §§ 281, 282, 283, 310, 319, as well as by the
legislatures of many of the States, and have been generally, if not uniformly, sustained by the courts. State v. McCann, 21
Ohio St. 198; Lehew v. Brummell, 15 S.W. Rep. 765; Ward v. Flood, 48 California 36; Bertonneau v. School Directors, 3
Woods 177; People v. Gallagher, 93 N.Y. 438; Cory v. Carter, 48 Indiana 897; Dawson v. Lee, 3 Kentucky 49.

Laws forbidding the intermarriage of the two races may be said in a technical sense to interfere with the freedom of
contract, and yet have been universally recognized as within the police power of the State. State v. Gibson, 36 Indiana
389.

The distinction between laws interfering with the political equality of the negro and those requiring the separation of the
two races in schools, theatres and railway carriages has been frequently drawn by this court. Thus, in Strauder v. West
Virginia, 100 U. S. 303, it was held that a law of West Virginia limiting to white male persons, 21 years of age and citizens
of the State, the right to sit upon juries was a discrimination which implied a legal inferiority in civil society, which lessened
the security of the right of the colored race, and was a step toward reducing them to a condition of servility. Indeed, the
right of a colored man that, in the selection of jurors to pass upon his life, liberty and property, there shall be no exclusion
of his race and no discrimination against them because of color has been asserted in a number of cases. Virginia v.
Rives, 100 U. S. 313; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370; Bush v. Kentucky, 107 U. S. 110; Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U. S.
565. So, where the laws of a particular locality or the charter of a particular railway corporation has provided that no
person shall be excluded from the cars on account of

[546]

color, we have held that this meant that persons of color should travel in the same car as white ones, and that the
enactment was not satisfied by the company's providing cars assigned exclusively to people of color, though they were as
good as those which they assigned exclusively to white persons. Railroad Company v. Brown, 17 Wall. 445.

Upon the other hand, where a statute of Louisiana required those engaged in the transportation of passengers among the
States to give to all persons traveling within that State, upon vessels employed in that business, equal rights and
privileges in all parts of the vessel, without distinction on account of race or color, and subjected to an action for damages
the owner of such a vessel, who excluded colored passengers on account of their color from the cabin set aside by him
for the use of whites, it was held to be, so far as it applied to interstate commerce, unconstitutional and void. Hall v. De
Cuir, 95 U. S. 48. The court in this case, however, expressly disclaimed that it had anything whatever to do with the
statute as a regulation of internal commerce, or affecting anything else than commerce among the States.

In the Civil Rights Case, 109 U. S. 3, it was held that an act of Congress entitling all persons within the jurisdiction of the
United States to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of inns, public
conveyances, on land or water, theatres and other places of public amusement, and made applicable to citizens of every
race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude, was unconstitutional and void upon the ground that the
Fourteenth Amendment was prohibitory upon the States only, and the legislation authorized to be adopted by Congress
for enforcing it was not direct legislation on matters respecting which the States were prohibited from making or enforcing
certain laws, or doing certain acts, but was corrective legislation such as might be necessary or proper for counteracting
and redressing the effect of such laws or acts. In delivering the opinion of the court, Mr. Justice Bradley observed that the
Fourteenth Amendment "does not invest Congress with power to legislate upon subjects that are within the

[547]

domain of state legislation, but to provide modes of relief against state legislation or state action of the kind referred to. It
does not authorize Congress to create a code of municipal law for the regulation of private rights, but to provide modes of
redress against the operation of state laws and the action of state officers, executive or judicial, when these are
subversive of the fundamental rights specified in the amendment. Positive rights and privileges are undoubtedly secured
by the Fourteenth Amendment, but they are secured by way of prohibition against state laws and state proceedings
affecting those rights and privileges, and by power given to Congress to legislate for the purpose of carrying such
prohibition into effect, and such legislation must necessarily be predicated upon such supposed state laws or state
proceedings, and be directed to the correction of their operation and effect."

Much nearer, and, indeed, almost directly in point is the case of the Louisville, New Orleans &c. Railway v. Mississippi,
133 U. S. 587, wherein the railway company was indicted for a violation of a statute of Mississippi enacting that all
railroads carrying passengers should provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races by
providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger cars by a partition so as to
secure separate accommodations. The case was presented in a different aspect from the one under consideration,
inasmuch as it was an indictment against the railway company for failing to provide the separate accommodations, but the
question considered was the constitutionality of the law. In that case, the Supreme Court of Mississippi, 66 Mississippi
662, had held that the statute applied solely to commerce within the State, and that, being the construction of the state
statute by its highest court, was accepted as conclusive. "If it be a matter," said the court, p. 591, "respecting commerce
wholly within a State, and not interfering with commerce between the States, then obviously there is no violation of the
commerce clause of the Federal Constitution. . . . No question arises under this section as to the power of the State to
separate in different compartments interstate passengers

[548]

or affect in any manner the privileges and rights of such passengers. All that we can consider is whether the State has the
power to require that railroad trains within her limits shall have separate accommodations for the two races; that affecting
only commerce within the State is no invasion of the power given to Congress by the commerce clause."

A like course of reasoning applies to the case under consideration, since the Supreme Court of Louisiana in the case of
the State ex rel. Abbott v. Hicks, Judge, et al., 44 La.Ann. 770, held that the statute in question did not apply to interstate
passengers, but was confined in its application to passengers traveling exclusively within the borders of the State. The
case was decided largely upon the authority of Railway Co. v. State, 66 Mississippi 662, and affirmed by this court in 133
U. S. 587. In the present case, no question of interference with interstate commerce can possibly arise, since the East
Louisiana Railway appears to have been purely a local line, with both its termini within the State of Louisiana. Similar
statutes for the separation of the to races upon public conveyances were held to be constitutional in West Chester &c.
Railroad v. Miles, 55 Penn.St. 209; Day v. Owen, 5 Michigan 520; Chicago &c. Railway v. Williams, 5 Illinois 185;
Chesapeake &c. Railroad v. Wells, 85 Tennessee 613; Memphis &c. Railroad v. Benson, 85 Tennessee 627; The Sue, 22
Fed.Rep. 83; Logwood v. Memphis &c. Railroad, 23 Fed.Rep. 318; McGuinn v. Forbes, 37 Fed.Rep. 639; People v. King,
18 N.E.Rep. 245; Houck v. South Pac. Railway, 38 Fed.Rep. 226; Heard v. Georgia Railroad Co., 3 Int.Com.Com'n 111;
S.C., 1 Ibid. 428.

While we think the enforced separation of the races, as applied to the internal commerce of the State, neither abridges the
privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the
equal protection of the laws within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, we are not prepared to say that the
conductor, in assigning passengers to the coaches according to their race, does not act at his peril, or that the provision of
the second section of the act that denies to the passenger compensation
[549]

in damages for a refusal to receive him into the coach in which he properly belongs is a valid exercise of the legislative
power. Indeed, we understand it to be conceded by the State's Attorney that such part of the act as exempts from liability
the railway company and its officers is unconstitutional. The power to assign to a particular coach obviously implies the
power to determine to which race the passenger belongs, as well as the power to determine who, under the laws of the
particular State, is to be deemed a white and who a colored person. This question, though indicated in the brief of the
plaintiff in error, does not properly arise upon the record in this case, since the only issue made is as to the
unconstitutionality of the act so far as it requires the railway to provide separate accommodations and the conductor to
assign passengers according to their race.

It is claimed by the plaintiff in error that, in any mixed community, the reputation of belonging to the dominant race, in this
instance the white race, is property in the same sense that a right of action or of inheritance is property. Conceding this to
be so for the purposes of this case, we are unable to see how this statute deprives him of, or in any way affects his right
to, such property. If he be a white man and assigned to a colored coach, he may have his action for damages against the
company for being deprived of his so-called property. Upon the other hand, if he be a colored man and be so assigned, he
has been deprived of no property, since he is not lawfully entitled to the reputation of being a white man.

In this connection, it is also suggested by the learned counsel for the plaintiff in error that the same argument that will
justify the state legislature in requiring railways to provide separate accommodations for the two races will also authorize
them to require separate cars to be provided for people whose hair is of a certain color, or who are aliens, or who belong
to certain nationalities, or to enact laws requiring colored people to walk upon one side of the street and white people
upon the other, or requiring white men's houses to be painted white and colored men's black, or their vehicles or business
signs to be of different colors, upon the theory that one side

[550]

of the street is as good as the other, or that a house or vehicle of one color is as good as one of another color. The reply
to all this is that every exercise of the police power must be reasonable, and extend only to such laws as are enacted in
good faith for the promotion for the public good, and not for the annoyance or oppression of a particular class. Thus, in
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, it was held by this court that a municipal ordinance of the city of San Francisco to
regulate the carrying on of public laundries within the limits of the municipality violated the provisions of the Constitution of
the United States if it conferred upon the municipal authorities arbitrary power, at their own will and without regard to
discretion, in the legal sense of the term, to give or withhold consent as to persons or places without regard to the
competency of the persons applying or the propriety of the places selected for the carrying on of the business. It was held
to be a covert attempt on the part of the municipality to make an arbitrary and unjust discrimination against the Chinese
race. While this was the case of a municipal ordinance, a like principle has been held to apply to acts of a state legislature
passed in the exercise of the police power. Railroad Company v. Husen, 95 U. S. 465; Louisville & Nashville Railroad v.
Kentucky, 161 U. S. 677, and cases cited on p. 700; Duggett v. Hudson, 43 Ohio St. 548; Capen v. Foster, 12 Pick. 48;
State ex rel. Wood v. Baker, 38 Wisconsin 71; Monroe v. Collins, 17 Ohio St. 66; Hulseman v. Rems, 41 Penn. St. 396;
Orman v. Riley, 1 California 48.

So far, then, as a conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment is concerned, the case reduces itself to the question whether
the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and, with respect to this, there must necessarily be a large discretion
on the part of the legislature. In determining the question of reasonableness, it is at liberty to act with reference to the
established usages, customs, and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort and the
preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or
even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances

[551]

is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment than the acts of Congress requiring separate schools
for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or
the corresponding acts of state legislatures.

We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of
the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the
act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. The argument necessarily assumes that
if, as has been more than once the case and is not unlikely to be so again, the colored race should become the dominant
power in the state legislature, and should enact a law in precisely similar terms, it would thereby relegate the white race to
an inferior position. We imagine that the white race, at least, would not acquiesce in this assumption. The argument also
assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro
except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon
terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other's merits, and a
voluntary consent of individuals. As was said by the Court of Appeals of New York in People v. Gallagher, 93 N. Y. 438,
448, "this end can neither be accomplished nor promoted by laws which conflict with the general sentiment of the
community upon whom they are designed to operate. When the government, therefore, has secured to each of its citizens
equal rights before the law and equal opportunities for improvement and progress, it has accomplished the end for which
it was organized, and performed all of the functions respecting social advantages with which it is endowed."

Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the
attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation. If the civil and political rights of both
races be equal, one cannot be inferior to the other civilly
[552]

or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the
same plane.

It is true that the question of the proportion of colored blood necessary to constitute a colored person, as distinguished
from a white person, is one upon which there is a difference of opinion in the different States, some holding that any
visible admixture of black blood stamps the person as belonging to the colored race (State v. Chaver, 5 Jones [N.C.] 1, p.
11); others that it depends upon the preponderance of blood (Gray v. State, 4 Ohio 354; Monroe v. Collins, 17 Ohio St.
665); and still others that the predominance of white blood must only be in the proportion of three-fourths. (People v.
Dean, 4 Michigan 406; Jones v. Commonwealth, 80 Virginia 538). But these are questions to be determined under the
laws of each State, and are not properly put in issue in this case. Under the allegations of his petition, it may undoubtedly
become a question of importance whether, under the laws of Louisiana, the petitioner belongs to the white or colored
race.

The judgment of the court below is, therefore,

Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, dissenting.

By the Louisiana statute the validity of which is here involved, all railway companies (other than street railroad companies)
carrying passengers in that State are required to have separate but equal accommodations for white and colored persons
"by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a
partition so as to secure separate accommodations."

Under this statute, no colored person is permitted to occupy a seat in a coach assigned to white persons, nor any white
person to occupy a seat in a coach assigned to colored persons. The managers of the railroad are not allowed to exercise
any discretion in the premises, but are required to assign each passenger to some coach or compartment set apart for the
exclusive use of his race. If a passenger insists upon going into a coach or compartment not set apart for persons of his
race,

[553]

he is subject to be fined or to be imprisoned in the parish jail. Penalties are prescribed for the refusal or neglect of the
officers, directors, conductors and employees of railroad companies to comply with the provisions of the act.

Only "nurses attending children of the other race " are excepted from the operation of the statute. No exception is made of
colored attendants traveling with adults. A white man is not permitted to have his colored servant with him in the same
coach, even if his condition of health requires the constant, personal assistance of such servant. If a colored maid insists
upon riding in the same coach with a white woman whom she has been employed to serve, and who may need her
personal attention while traveling, she is subject to be fined or imprisoned for such an exhibition of zeal in the discharge of
duty.

While there may be in Louisiana persons of different races who are not citizens of the United States, the words in the act
"white and colored races" necessarily include all citizens of the United States of both races residing in that State. So that
we have before us a state enactment that compels, under penalties, the separation of the two races in railroad passenger
coaches, and makes it a crime for a citizen of either race to enter a coach that has been assigned to citizens of the other
race.

Thus, the State regulates the use of a public highway by citizens of the United States solely upon the basis of race.

However apparent the injustice of such legislation may be, we have only to consider whether it is consistent with the
Constitution of the United States.

That a railroad is a public highway, and that the corporation which owns or operates it is in the exercise of public
functions, is not, at this day, to be disputed. Mr. Justice Nelson, speaking for this court in New Jersey Steam Navigation
Co. v. Merchants' Bank, 6 How. 344, 382, said that a common carrier was in the exercise "of a sort of public office, and
has public duties to perform, from which he should not be permitted to exonerate himself without the assent of the parties
concerned."

Mr. Justice Strong, delivering the judgment of

[554]

this court in Olcott v. The Supervisors, 16 Wall. 678, 694, said: "That railroads, though constructed by private corporations
and owned by them, are public highways has been the doctrine of nearly all the courts ever since such conveniences for
passage and transportation have had any existence. Very early the question arose whether a State's right of eminent
domain could be exercised by a private corporation created for the purpose of constructing a railroad. Clearly it could not
unless taking land for such a purpose by such an agency is taking land for public use. The right of eminent domain
nowhere justifies taking property for a private use. Yet it is a doctrine universally accepted that a state legislature may
authorize a private corporation to take land for the construction of such a road, making compensation to the owner. What
else does this doctrine mean if not that building a railroad, though it be built by a private corporation, is an act done for a
public use."
So, in Township of Pine Grove v. Talcott, 19 Wall. 666, 676: "Though the corporation [a railroad company] was private, its
work was public, as much so as if it were to be constructed by the State." So, in Inhabitants of Worcester v. Western
Railroad Corporation, 4 Met. 564: "The establishment of that great thoroughfare is regarded as a public work, established
by public authority, intended for the public use and benefit, the use of which is secured to the whole community, and
constitutes, therefore, like a canal, turnpike or highway, a public easement. It is true that the real and personal property
necessary to the establishment and management of the railroad is vested in the corporation, but it is in trust for the
public."

In respect of civil rights common to all citizens, the Constitution of the United States does not, I think, permit any public
authority to know the race of those entitled to be protected in the enjoyment of such rights. Every true man has pride of
race, and, under appropriate circumstances, when the rights of others, his equals before the law, are not to be affected, it
is his privilege to express such pride and to take such action based upon it as to him seems proper. But I deny that any
legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the

[555]

race of citizens when the civil rights of those citizens are involved. Indeed, such legislation as that here in question is
inconsistent not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, National and State, but with the personal
liberty enjoyed by everyone within the United States.

The Thirteenth Amendment does not permit the withholding or the deprivation of any right necessarily inhering in freedom.
It not only struck down the institution of slavery as previously existing in the United States, but it prevents the imposition of
any burdens or disabilities that constitute badges of slavery or servitude. It decreed universal civil freedom in this country.
This court has so adjudged. But that amendment having been found inadequate to the protection of the rights of those
who had been in slavery, it was followed by the Fourteenth Amendment, which added greatly to the dignity and glory of
American citizenship and to the security of personal liberty by declaring that "all persons born or naturalized in the United
States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside," and
that "no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

These two amendments, if enforced according to their true intent and meaning, will protect all the civil rights that pertain to
freedom and citizenship. Finally, and to the end that no citizen should be denied, on account of his race, the privilege of
participating in the political control of his country, it as declared by the Fifteenth Amendment that "the right of citizens of
the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or
previous condition of servitude."
These notable additions to the fundamental law were welcomed by the friends of liberty throughout the world. They
removed the race line from our governmental systems. They had, as this court has said, a common purpose, namely to
secure "to a race recently emancipated, a race that through

[556]

many generations have been held in slavery, all the civil rights that the superior race enjoy."

They declared, in legal effect, this court has further said, "that the law in the States shall be the same for the black as for
the white; that all persons, whether colored or white, shall stand equal before the laws of the States, and, in regard to the
colored race, for whose protection the amendment was primarily designed, that no discrimination shall be made against
them by law because of their color."

We also said: "The words of the amendment, it is true, are prohibitory, but they contain a necessary implication of a
positive immunity, or right, most valuable to the colored race -- the right to exemption from unfriendly legislation against
them distinctively as colored -- exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society, Lessening the
security of their enjoyment of the rights which others enjoy, and discriminations which are steps towards reducing them to
the condition of a subject race."

It was, consequently, adjudged that a state law that excluded citizens of the colored race from juries, because of their race
and however well qualified in other respects to discharge the duties of jurymen, was repugnant to the Fourteenth
Amendment. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303, 306, 307; Virginia v. Rives, 100 U. S. 313; Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.
S. 339; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370, 386; Bush v. Kentucky, 107 U. S. 110, 116. At the present term, referring to the
previous adjudications, this court declared that "underlying all of those decisions is the principle that the Constitution of the
United States, in its present form, forbids, so far as civil and political rights are concerned, discrimination by the General
Government or the States against any citizen because of his race. All citizens are equal before the law." Gibson v.
Mississippi, 162 U.S. 565.

The decisions referred to show the scope of the recent amendments of the Constitution. They also show that it is not
within the power of a State to prohibit colored citizens, because of their race, from participating as jurors in the
administration of justice.

It as said in argument that the statute of Louisiana does

[557]

not discriminate against either race, but prescribes a rule applicable alike to white and colored citizens. But this argument
does not meet the difficulty. Everyone knows that the statute in question had its origin in the purpose not so much to
exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or
assigned to white persons. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination among whites in the matter of
accommodation for travelers. The thing to accomplish was, under the guise of giving equal accommodation for whites and
blacks, to compel the latter to keep to themselves while traveling in railroad passenger coaches. No one would be so
wanting in candor a to assert the contrary. The fundamental objection, therefore, to the statute is that it interferes with the
personal freedom of citizens. "Personal liberty," it has been well said, "consists in the power of locomotion, of changing
situation, or removing one's person to whatsoever places one's own inclination may direct, without imprisonment or
restraint unless by due course of law." 1 Bl.Com. *134. If a white man and a black man choose to occupy the same public
conveyance on a public highway, it is their right to do so, and no government, proceeding alone on grounds of race, can
prevent it without infringing the personal liberty of each.

It is one thing for railroad carriers to furnish, or to be required by law to furnish, equal accommodations for all whom they
are under a legal duty to carry. It is quite another thing for government to forbid citizens of the white and black races from
traveling in the same public conveyance, and to punish officers of railroad companies for permitting persons of the two
races to occupy the same passenger coach. If a State can prescribe, as a rule of civil conduct, that whites and blacks
shall not travel as passengers in the same railroad coach, why may it not so regulate the use of the streets of its cities and
towns as to compel white citizens to keep on one side of a street and black citizens to keep on the other? Why may it not,
upon like grounds, punish whites and blacks who ride together in streetcars or in open vehicles on a public road

[558]

or street? Why may it not require sheriffs to assign whites to one side of a courtroom and blacks to the other? And why
may it not also prohibit the commingling of the two races in the galleries of legislative halls or in public assemblages
convened for the consideration of the political questions of the day? Further, if this statute of Louisiana is consistent with
the personal liberty of citizens, why may not the State require the separation in railroad coaches of native and naturalized
citizens of the United States, or of Protestants and Roman Catholics?

The answer given at the argument to these questions was that regulations of the kind they suggest would be
unreasonable, and could not, therefore, stand before the law. Is it meant that the determination of questions of legislative
power depends upon the inquiry whether the statute whose validity is questioned is, in the judgment of the courts, a
reasonable one, taking all the circumstances into consideration? A statute may be unreasonable merely because a sound
public policy forbade its enactment. But I do not understand that the courts have anything to do with the policy or
expediency of legislation. A statute may be valid and yet, upon grounds of public policy, may well be characterized as
unreasonable. Mr. Sedgwick correctly states the rule when he says that, the legislative intention being clearly ascertained,
"the courts have no other duty to perform than to execute the legislative will, without any regard to their views as to the
wisdom or justice of the particular enactment." Stat. & Const. Constr. 324. There is a dangerous tendency in these latter
days to enlarge the functions of the courts by means of judicial interference with the will of the people as expressed by the
legislature. Our institutions have the distinguishing characteristic that the three departments of government are coordinate
and separate. Each must keep within the limits defined by the Constitution. And the courts best discharge their duty by
executing the will of the lawmaking power, constitutionally expressed, leaving the results of legislation to be dealt with by
the people through their representatives. Statutes must always have a reasonable construction. Sometimes they are to be
construed strictly; sometimes liberally, in order to carry out the legislative

[559]

will. But however construed, the intent of the legislature is to be respected, if the particular statute in question is valid,
although the courts, looking at the public interests, may conceive the statute to be both unreasonable and impolitic. If the
power exists to enact a statute, that ends the matter so far as the courts are concerned. The adjudged cases in which
statutes have been held to be void because unreasonable are those in which the means employed by the legislature were
not at all germane to the end to which the legislature was competent.

The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is in prestige, in achievements, in education,
in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast
to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no
superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor
tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of
the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil
rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is therefore to be regretted that this high tribunal, the
final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a State to regulate
the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race.

In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this
tribunal in the Dred Scott Case. It was adjudged in that case that the descendants of Africans who were imported into this
country and sold as slaves were not included nor intended to be included under the word "citizens" in the Constitution,
and could not claim any of the rights and privileges which that instrument provided for and secured to citizens of the
United States; that, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, they were "considered as a subordinate and inferior
class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant

[560]

race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as
those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them." 19 How. 393, 404. The recent amendments
of the Constitution, it was supposed, had eradicated these principles from our institutions. But it seems that we have yet,
in some of the States, a dominant race -- a superior class of citizens, which assumes to regulate the enjoyment of civil
rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race. The present decision, it may well be apprehended, will not only
stimulate aggressions, more or less brutal and irritating, upon the admitted rights of colored citizens, but will encourage
the belief that it is possible, by means of state enactments, to defeat the beneficent purposes which the people of the
United States had in view when they adopted the recent amendments of the Constitution, by one of which the blacks of
this country were made citizens of the United States and of the States in which they respectively reside, and whose
privileges and immunities, as citizens, the States are forbidden to abridge. Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from
the presence here of eight millions of blacks. The destinies of the two races in this country are indissolubly linked
together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be
planted under the sanction of law. What can more certainly arouse race hate, what more certainly create and perpetuate a
feeling of distrust between these races, than state enactments which, in fact, proceed on the ground that colored citizens
are so inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by white citizens. That, as all
will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation as was enacted in Louisiana.

The sure guarantee of the peace and security of each race is the clear, distinct, unconditional recognition by our
governments, National and State, of every right that inheres in civil freedom, and of the equality before the law of all
citizens of the United States, without regard to race. State enactments regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the
basis of race, and cunningly devised to defeat legitimate results of the

[561]

war under the pretence of recognizing equality of rights, can have no other result than to render permanent peace
impossible and to keep alive a conflict of races the continuance of which must do harm to all concerned. This question is
not met by the suggestion that social equality cannot exist between the white and black races in this country. That
argument, if it can be properly regarded as one, is scarcely worthy of consideration, for social equality no more exists
between two races when traveling in a passenger coach or a public highway than when members of the same races sit by
each other in a street car or in the jury box, or stand or sit with each other in a political assembly, or when they use in
common the street of a city or town, or when they are in the same room for the purpose of having their names placed on
the registry of voters, or when they approach the ballot box in order to exercise the high privilege of voting.

There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United
States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese
race. But, by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United
States, while citizens of the black race in Louisiana, many of whom, perhaps, risked their lives for the preservation of the
Union, who are entitled, by law, to participate in the political control of the State and nation, who are not excluded, by law
or by reason of their race, from public stations of any kind, and who have all the legal rights that belong to white citizens,
are yet declared to be criminals, liable to imprisonment, if they ride in a public coach occupied by citizens of the white
race. It is scarcely just to say that a colored citizen should not object to occupying a public coach assigned to his own
race. He does not object, nor, perhaps, would he object to separate coaches for his race if his rights under the law were
recognized. But he objecting, and ought never to cease objecting, to the proposition that citizens of the white and black
race can be adjudged criminals because they sit, or claim the right to sit, in the same public coach on a public highway.

[562]

The arbitrary separation of citizens on the basis of race while they are on a public highway is a badge of servitude wholly
inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. It cannot be justified
upon any legal grounds.

If evils will result from the commingling of the two races upon public highways established for the benefit of all, they will be
infinitely less than those that will surely come from state legislation regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the basis
of race. We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other peoples. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast
with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow
citizens, our equals before the law. The thin disguise of "equal" accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will
not mislead anyone, nor atone for the wrong this day done.

The result of the whole matter is that, while this court has frequently adjudged, and at the present term has recognized the
doctrine, that a State cannot, consistently with the Constitution of the United States, prevent white and black citizens,
having the required qualifications for jury service, from sitting in the same jury box, it is now solemnly held that a State
may prohibit white and black citizens from sitting in the same passenger coach on a public highway, or may require that
they be separated by a "partition," when in the same passenger coach. May it not now be reasonably expected that astute
men of the dominant race, who affect to be disturbed at the possibility that the integrity of the white race may be
corrupted, or that its supremacy will be imperiled, by contact on public highways with black people, will endeavor to
procure statutes requiring white and black jurors to be separated in the jury box by a "partition," and that, upon retiring
from the courtroom to consult as to their verdict, such partition, if it be a moveable one, shall be taken to their consultation
room and set up in such way as to prevent black jurors from coming too close to their brother jurors of the white race. If
the "partition" used in the courtroom happens to be stationary, provision could be made for screens with openings through

[563]

which jurors of the two races could confer as to their verdict without coming into personal contact with each other. I cannot
see but that, according to the principles this day announced, such state legislation, although conceived in hostility to, and
enacted for the purpose of humiliating, citizens of the United States of a particular race, would be held to be consistent
with the Constitution.

I do not deem it necessary to review the decisions of state courts to which reference was made in argument. Some, and
the most important, of them are wholly inapplicable because rendered prior to the adoption of the last amendments of the
Constitution, when colored people had very few rights which the dominant race felt obliged to respect. Others were made
at a time when public opinion in many localities was dominated by the institution of slavery, when it would not have been
safe to do justice to the black man, and when, so far as the rights of blacks were concerned, race prejudice was,
practically, the supreme law of the land. Those decisions cannot be guides in the era introduced by the recent
amendments of the supreme law, which established universal civil freedom, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in
the United States and residing here, obliterated the race line from our systems of governments, National and State, and
placed our free institutions upon the broad and sure foundation of the equality of all men before the law.

I am of opinion that the statute of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that
State, and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be
enacted in the several States of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous. Slavery, as an
institution tolerated by law would, it is true, have disappeared from our country, but there would remain a power in the
States, by sinister legislation, to interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom to regulate civil rights,
common to all citizens, upon the basis of race, and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American
citizens now constituting a part of the political community called the

[564]

People of the United States, for whom and by whom, through representatives, our government is administered. Such a
system is inconsistent with the guarantee given by the Constitution to each State of a republican form of government, and
may be stricken down by Congressional action, or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the
supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

For the reasons stated, I am constrained to withhold my assent from the opinion and judgment of the majority.

MR. JUSTICE BREWER did not hear the argument or participate in the decision of this case.
U.S. Supreme Court
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Argued December 9, 1952

Reargued December 8, 1953

Decided May 17, 1954*

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases come to us from the States of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. They are premised on
different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question justifies their consideration together in this
consolidated opinion. [Footnote 1]

[487]

In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining
admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis. In each instance,

[488]

they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation
according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the
Fourteenth Amendment. In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-judge federal district court denied
relief to the plaintiffs on the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine announced by this Court in Plessy v. Fergson, 163 U.
S. 537. Under that doctrine, equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities,
even though these facilities be separate. In the Delaware case, the Supreme Court of Delaware adhered to that doctrine,
but ordered that the plaintiffs be admitted to the white schools because of their superiority to the Negro schools.

The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal," and that hence they
are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. Because of the obvious importance of the question presented, the Court
took jurisdiction. [Footnote 2] Argument was heard in the 1952 Term, and reargument was heard this Term on certain
questions propounded by the Court. [Footnote 3]

[489]

Reargument was largely devoted to the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. It
covered exhaustively consideration of the Amendment in Congress, ratification by the states, then-existing practices in
racial segregation, and the views of proponents and opponents of the Amendment. This discussion and our own
investigation convince us that, although these sources cast some light, it is not enough to resolve the problem with which
we are faced. At best, they are inconclusive. The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments undoubtedly
intended them to remove all legal distinctions among "all persons born or naturalized in the United States." Their
opponents, just as certainly, were antagonistic to both the letter and the spirit of the Amendments and wished them to
have the most limited effect. What others in Congress and the state legislatures had in mind cannot be determined with
any degree of certainty.

An additional reason for the inconclusive nature of the Amendment's history with respect to segregated schools is the
status of public education at that time. [Footnote 4] In the South, the movement toward free common schools, supported

[490]

by general taxation, had not yet taken hold. Education of white children was largely in the hands of private groups.
Education of Negroes was almost nonexistent, and practically all of the race were illiterate. In fact, any education of
Negroes was forbidden by law in some states. Today, in contrast, many Negroes have achieved outstanding success in
the arts and sciences, as well as in the business and professional world. It is true that public school education at the time
of the Amendment had advanced further in the North, but the effect of the Amendment on Northern States was generally
ignored in the congressional debates. Even in the North, the conditions of public education did not approximate those
existing today. The curriculum was usually rudimentary; ungraded schools were common in rural areas; the school term
was but three months a year in many states, and compulsory school attendance was virtually unknown. As a
consequence, it is not surprising that there should be so little in the history of the Fourteenth Amendment relating to its
intended effect on public education.

In the first cases in this Court construing the Fourteenth Amendment, decided shortly after its adoption, the Court
interpreted it as proscribing all state-imposed discriminations against the Negro race. [Footnote 5] The doctrine of

[491]

"separate but equal" did not make its appearance in this Court until 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, supra,
involving not education but transportation. [Footnote 6] American courts have since labored with the doctrine for over half
a century. In this Court, there have been six cases involving the "separate but equal" doctrine in the field of public
education. [Footnote 7] In Cumming v. County Board of Education, 175 U. S. 528, and Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U. S. 78,
the validity of the doctrine itself was not challenged. [Footnote 8] In more recent cases, all on the graduate school

[492]

level, inequality was found in that specific benefits enjoyed by white students were denied to Negro students of the same
educational qualifications. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U. S. 337; Sipuel v. Oklahoma, 332 U. S. 631; Sweatt v.
Painter, 339 U. S. 629; McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U. S. 637. In none of these cases was it necessary to
reexamine the doctrine to grant relief to the Negro plaintiff. And in Sweatt v. Painter, supra, the Court expressly reserved
decision on the question whether Plessy v. Ferguson should be held inapplicable to public education.

In the instant cases, that question is directly presented. Here, unlike Sweatt v. Painter, there are findings below that the
Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula,
qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other "tangible" factors. [Footnote 9] Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on
merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases. We must look
instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.

In approaching this problem, we cannot turn the clock back to 1868, when the Amendment was adopted, or even to 1896,
when Plessy v. Ferguson was written. We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its
present place in American life throughout

[493]

the Nation. Only in this way can it be determined if segregation in public schools deprives these plaintiffs of the equal
protection of the laws.

Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance
laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our
democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed
forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural
values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these
days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an
education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to
all on equal terms.

We come then to the question presented: does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even
though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal
educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

In Sweatt v. Painter, supra, in finding that a segregated law school for Negroes could not provide them equal educational
opportunities, this Court relied in large part on "those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which
make for greatness in a law school." In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, supra, the Court, in requiring that a Negro
admitted to a white graduate school be treated like all other students, again resorted to intangible considerations: ". . . his
ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn his profession."

[494]

Such considerations apply with added force to children in grade and high schools. To separate them from others of similar
age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that
may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational
opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against
the Negro plaintiffs:

"Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The
impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as
denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with
the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to
deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system. [Footnote 10]"

Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, this finding is amply
supported by modern authority. [Footnote 11] Any language

[495]

in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to this finding is rejected.

We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational
facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions
have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws
guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such
segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. [Footnote 12]

Because these are class actions, because of the wide applicability of this decision, and because of the great variety of
local conditions, the formulation of decrees in these cases presents problems of considerable complexity. On reargument,
the consideration of appropriate relief was necessarily subordinated to the primary question -- the constitutionality of
segregation in public education. We have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the
laws. In order that we may have the full assistance of the parties in formulating decrees, the cases will be restored to the
docket, and the parties are requested to present further argument on Questions 4 and 5 previously propounded by the
Court for the reargument this Term. [Footnote 13] The Attorney General

[496]

of the United States is again invited to participate. The Attorneys General of the states requiring or permitting segregation
in public education will also be permitted to appear as amici curiae upon request to do so by September 15, 1954, and
submission of briefs by October 1, 1954. [Footnote 14]

It is so ordered.

* Together with No. 2, Briggs et al. v. Elliott et al., on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
South Carolina, argued December 9-10, 1952, reargued December 7-8, 1953; No. 4, Davis et al. v. County School Board
of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al., on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Virginia, argued December 10, 1952, reargued December 7-8, 1953, and No. 10, Gebhart et al. v. Belton et al., on
certiorari to the Supreme Court of Delaware, argued December 11, 1952, reargued December 9, 1953.

[Footnote 1]

In the Kansas case, Brown v. Board of Education, the plaintiffs are Negro children of elementary school age residing in
Topeka. They brought this action in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas to enjoin enforcement of a
Kansas statute which permits, but does not require, cities of more than 15,000 population to maintain separate school
facilities for Negro and white students. Kan.Gen.Stat. § 72-1724 (1949). Pursuant to that authority, the Topeka Board of
Education elected to establish segregated elementary schools. Other public schools in the community, however, are
operated on a nonsegregated basis. The three-judge District Court, convened under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284, found
that segregation in public education has a detrimental effect upon Negro children, but denied relief on the ground that the
Negro and white schools were substantially equal with respect to buildings, transportation, curricula, and educational
qualifications of teachers. 98 F.Supp. 797. The case is here on direct appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1253.

In the South Carolina case, Briggs v. Elliott, the plaintiffs are Negro children of both elementary and high school age
residing in Clarendon County. They brought this action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South
Carolina to enjoin enforcement of provisions in the state constitution and statutory code which require the segregation of
Negroes and whites in public schools. S.C.Const., Art. XI, § 7; S.C.Code § 5377 (1942). The three-judge District Court,
convened under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284, denied the requested relief. The court found that the Negro schools were
inferior to the white schools, and ordered the defendants to begin immediately to equalize the facilities. But the court
sustained the validity of the contested provisions and denied the plaintiffs admission to the white schools during the
equalization program. 98 F.Supp. 529. This Court vacated the District Court's judgment and remanded the case for the
purpose of obtaining the court's views on a report filed by the defendants concerning the progress made in the
equalization program. 342 U. S. 350. On remand, the District Court found that substantial equality had been achieved
except for buildings and that the defendants were proceeding to rectify this inequality as well. 103 F.Supp. 920. The case
is again here on direct appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1253.

In the Virginia case, Davis v. County School Board, the plaintiffs are Negro children of high school age residing in Prince
Edward County. They brought this action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to enjoin
enforcement of provisions in the state constitution and statutory code which require the segregation of Negroes and
whites in public schools. Va.Const., § 140; Va.Code § 22-221 (1950). The three-judge District Court, convened under 28
U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284, denied the requested relief. The court found the Negro school inferior in physical plant,
curricula, and transportation, and ordered the defendants forthwith to provide substantially equal curricula and
transportation and to "proceed with all reasonable diligence and dispatch to remove" the inequality in physical plant. But,
as in the South Carolina case, the court sustained the validity of the contested provisions and denied the plaintiffs
admission to the white schools during the equalization program. 103 F.Supp. 337. The case is here on direct appeal
under 28 U.S.C. § 1253.

In the Delaware case, Gebhart v. Belton, the plaintiffs are Negro children of both elementary and high school age residing
in New Castle County. They brought this action in the Delaware Court of Chancery to enjoin enforcement of provisions in
the state constitution and statutory code which require the segregation of Negroes and whites in public schools.
Del.Const., Art. X, § 2; Del.Rev.Code § 2631 (1935). The Chancellor gave judgment for the plaintiffs and ordered their
immediate admission to schools previously attended only by white children, on the ground that the Negro schools were
inferior with respect to teacher training, pupil-teacher ratio, extracurricular activities, physical plant, and time and distance
involved in travel. 87 A.2d 862. The Chancellor also found that segregation itself results in an inferior education for Negro
children (see note 10 infra), but did not rest his decision on that ground. Id. at 865. The Chancellor's decree was affirmed
by the Supreme Court of Delaware, which intimated, however, that the defendants might be able to obtain a modification
of the decree after equalization of the Negro and white schools had been accomplished. 91 A.2d 137, 152. The
defendants, contending only that the Delaware courts had erred in ordering the immediate admission of the Negro
plaintiffs to the white schools, applied to this Court for certiorari. The writ was granted, 344 U.S. 891. The plaintiffs, who
were successful below, did not submit a cross-petition.

[Footnote 2]

344 U. S. 1, 141, 891.

[Footnote 3]
345 U.S. 972. The Attorney General of the United States participated both Terms as amicus curiae.

[Footnote 4]

For a general study of the development of public education prior to the Amendment, see Butts and Cremin, A History of
Education in American Culture (1953), Pts. I, II; Cubberley, Public Education in the United States (1934 ed.), cc. II-XII.
School practices current at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment are described in Butts and Cremin,
supra, at 269-275; Cubberley, supra, at 288-339, 408-431; Knight, Public Education in the South (1922), cc. VIII, IX. See
also H. Ex.Doc. No. 315, 41st Cong., 2d Sess. (1871). Although the demand for free public schools followed substantially
the same pattern in both the North and the South, the development in the South did not begin to gain momentum until
about 1850, some twenty years after that in the North. The reasons for the somewhat slower development in the South
(e.g., the rural character of the South and the different regional attitudes toward state assistance) are well explained in
Cubberley, supra, at 408-423. In the country as a whole, but particularly in the South, the War virtually stopped all
progress in public education. Id. at 427-428. The low status of Negro education in all sections of the country, both before
and immediately after the War, is described in Beale, A History of Freedom of Teaching in American Schools (1941), 112-
132, 175-195. Compulsory school attendance laws were not generally adopted until after the ratification of the Fourteenth
Amendment, and it was not until 1918 that such laws were in force in all the states. Cubberley, supra, at 563-565.

[Footnote 5]

Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 67-72 (1873); Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303, 307-308 (1880):

"It ordains that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, or deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. What is this but declaring that the law in the States shall be
the same for the black as for the white; that all persons, whether colored or white, shall stand equal before the laws of the
States, and, in regard to the colored race, for whose protection the amendment was primarily designed, that no
discrimination shall be made against them by law because of their color? The words of the amendment, it is true, are
prohibitory, but they contain a necessary implication of a positive immunity, or right, most valuable to the colored race --
the right to exemption from unfriendly legislation against them distinctively as colored -- exemption from legal
discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society, lessening the security of their enjoyment of the rights which others
enjoy, and discriminations which are steps towards reducing them to the condition of a subject race."

See also Virginia v. Rives, 100 U. S. 313, 318 (1880); Ex parte Virginia, 100 U. S. 339, 344-345 (1880).

[Footnote 6]

The doctrine apparently originated in Roberts v. City of Boston, 59 Mass.198, 206 (1850), upholding school segregation
against attack as being violative of a state constitutional guarantee of equality. Segregation in Boston public schools was
eliminated in 1855. Mass.Acts 1855, c. 256. But elsewhere in the North, segregation in public education has persisted in
some communities until recent years. It is apparent that such segregation has long been a nationwide problem, not merely
one of sectional concern.

[Footnote 7]

See also Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U. S. 45 (1908).

[Footnote 8]

In the Cummin case, Negro taxpayers sought an injunction requiring the defendant school board to discontinue the
operation of a high school for white children until the board resumed operation of a high school for Negro children.
Similarly, in the Gong Lum case, the plaintiff, a child of Chinese descent, contended only that state authorities had
misapplied the doctrine by classifying him with Negro children and requiring him to attend a Negro school.

[Footnote 9]

In the Kansas case, the court below found substantial equality as to all such factors. 98 F.Supp. 797, 798. In the South
Carolina case, the court below found that the defendants were proceeding "promptly and in good faith to comply with the
court's decree." 103 F.Supp. 920, 921. In the Virginia case, the court below noted that the equalization program was
already "afoot and progressing" (103 F.Supp. 337, 341); since then, we have been advised, in the Virginia Attorney
General's brief on reargument, that the program has now been completed. In the Delaware case, the court below similarly
noted that the state's equalization program was well under way. 91 A.2d 137, 149.

[Footnote 10]

A similar finding was made in the Delaware case:

"I conclude from the testimony that, in our Delaware society, State-imposed segregation in education itself results in the
Negro children, as a class, receiving educational opportunities which are substantially inferior to those available to white
children otherwise similarly situated."

87 A.2d 862, 865.

[Footnote 11]
K.B. Clark, Effect of Prejudice and Discrimination on Personality Development (Mid-century White House Conference on
Children and Youth, 1950); Witmer and Kotinsky, Personality in the Making (1952), c. VI; Deutscher and Chein, The
Psychological Effects of Enforced Segregation A Survey of Social Science Opinion, 26 J.Psychol. 259 (1948); Chein,
What are the Psychological Effects of Segregation Under Conditions of Equal Facilities?, 3 Int.J.Opinion and Attitude Res.
229 (1949); Brameld, Educational Costs, in Discrimination and National Welfare (MacIver, ed., 1949), 44-48; Frazier, The
Negro in the United States (1949), 674-681. And see generally Myrdal, An American Dilemma (1944).

[Footnote 12]

See Bolling v. Sharpe, post, p. 497, concerning the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

[Footnote 13]

"4. Assuming it is decided that segregation in public schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment"

"(a) would a decree necessarily follow providing that, within the limits set by normal geographic school districting, Negro
children should forthwith be admitted to schools of their choice, or"

"(b) may this Court, in the exercise of its equity powers, permit an effective gradual adjustment to be brought about from
existing segregated systems to a system not based on color distinctions?"

"5. On the assumption on which questions 4(a) and (b) are based, and assuming further that this Court will exercise its
equity powers to the end described in question 4(b),"

"(a) should this Court formulate detailed decrees in these cases;"

"(b) if so, what specific issues should the decrees reach;"

"(c) should this Court appoint a special master to hear evidence with a view to recommending specific terms for such
decrees;"

"(d) should this Court remand to the courts of first instance with directions to frame decrees in these cases and, if so, what
general directions should the decrees of this Court include and what procedures should the courts of first instance follow
in arriving at the specific terms of more detailed decrees?"
G.R. No. 179267 June 25, 2013

JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City, and
ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD,
JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA, Respondents.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinos- or 93 percent of a total
population of 93.3 million – adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.1 Yet, the admonition for husbands to love their
wives as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her2 failed to prevent, or even to curb,
the pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
reported that, for the years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms of abuse and violence
and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands
and live-in partners."3

Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups, Congress enacted Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures
for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004.4

R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children
(VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or any person who has or had a sexual
or dating relationship, or with whom the woman has a common child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the
barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of
barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care providers, and other local
government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.

A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being violative of the equal protection
and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of judicial power to barangay officials.

The Factual Antecedents

On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of her minor children, a
verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a
Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed
to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital infidelity on the
part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support.7

Private respondent's claims

Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former was eleven years her senior.
They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who is the natural child of petitioner but whom
private respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old.8

Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved around her husband. On the other
hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant, controlling, and demands absolute obedience from his
wife and children. He forbade private respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she took up
law, and even when she was already working part time at a law office, petitioner trivialized her ambitions and prevailed
upon her to just stay at home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive wife still catches the eye of some men, at
one point threatening that he would have any man eyeing her killed.9

Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson's Bank, Bacolod City, who
is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted him about it in
2004. He even boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private
respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their accounts with the bank.10

Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and emotionally wounded. In one of
their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on both arms and shook her with such force that caused bruises and
hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding. Petitioner
sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text messages he sent to his paramour and whom
he blamed for squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times. When private respondent
decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner would beat her
up. Even the small boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-year-old son said that when he grows up, he
would beat up his father because of his cruelty to private respondent.11

All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On December 17, 2005, while
at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled
the house instead of taking her to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in which time
petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has been
undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications.12
When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to file charges against the bank
manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's job. He then packed his things and told private
respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family
home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and
has not sired a child with her.13

Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would take her children from her and
deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously warned her that if she goes on a legal battle with him, she would
not get a single centavo.14

Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is the President of three
corporations – 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation – of which he and
private respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private
respondent merely draws a monthly salary of ₱20,000.00 from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation.
Household expenses amounting to not less than ₱200,000.00 a month are paid for by private respondent through the use
of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation together with the bills for utilities.15

On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of ₱60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and enjoys
unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of pesos from the corporations.16 After private
respondent confronted him about the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all
the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full information about said
businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an accounting of the
businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos.17

Action of the RTC of Bacolod City

Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private respondent and her children
exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO18 on March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted
hereunder:

Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:

a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home within 24 hours from receipt of
the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering that he be removed by police officers from the conjugal
dwelling; this order is enforceable notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic
Act No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private respondent herein) to enter the
conjugal dwelling without any danger from the Respondent.

After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the Petitioner decides to return to the
conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be assisted by police officers when re-entering the family home.

The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March 2006 because of the danger that
the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her when he arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.

b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and driver from a distance of
1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioner may be temporarily residing.

c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner, directly or indirectly, or through
other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children, mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers,
letters and the like. Visitation rights to the children may be subject of a modified TPO in the future.

d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and ordering the Philippine National
Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial Director of the PNP to cancel all the Respondent's firearm
licenses. He should also be ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or control.

e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house for them, and educational
and medical expenses.

f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.

g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received from all the corporations from 1
January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as President of the corporations and his Comptroller, must submit
to the Court not later than 2 April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be reported to the court by the
Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain of Indirect Contempt of Court.

h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and considering the financial resources
of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner sues she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to
put up a BOND TO KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.

On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended TPO,20 effective for thirty (30)
days, which included the following additional provisions:

i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan Patrol and the Starex Van which
they are using in Negros Occidental.
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Parañaque, the continued use of the Starex
van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.

k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient sureties.

l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php
150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00) per month until the matter of
support could be finally resolved.

Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the
TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day notice
rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by
private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or
reducing the amount of the bond from ₱5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at ₱100,000.00.

Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his
children.

On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the following modifications prayed
for by private respondent:

a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of Rosalie and her children to
Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
counsel, otherwise be declared in Indirect Contempt of Court;

b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal house in Pitimini St., Capitolville
Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;

c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to remove Respondent from the
conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot
return until 48 hours after the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her representatives can remove
things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of the household furniture, equipment and other things in the
conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court.

d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three
petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be
declared in indirect contempt of Court;

e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of Court within 24 hours from
receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;

f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon presentation of proof of payment of such
expenses.23

Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully comply with the TPO; and
committed new acts of harassment against her and their children, private respondent filed another application24 for the
issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter

alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the latter was purportedly no
longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex Van used by private respondent and the
children. A writ of replevin was served upon private respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms
that scared the two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard.25

While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly attempted to kidnap him, which
incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On another occasion, petitioner allegedly
grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann
subsequently filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection
of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."

Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids working at the conjugal home of a
complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against private respondent. This came about after private respondent,
armed with a TPO, went to said home to get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a
housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for qualified theft against Jamola.27

On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as follows:

Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:

1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts of violence against the
offended party;

2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating in any form with the offended
party, either directly or indirectly;
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents, from all the Petitioners
Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers, her mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo,
driver Romeo Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other
household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioners
are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools of the three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not contact
the schools of the children directly or indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees
directly, otherwise he will have access to the children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered nugatory;

4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK to the Court;

5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00 for rental for the period from
August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from March 2006 to August 2006 the total amount of
Php1,312,000.00;

6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and Php25,000.00;

7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a Starex van with Plate No. FFD
991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles, respondent is ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle
which is the one taken by J Bros Tading;

8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the conjugal assets, or those real
properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner
Rosalie J. Garcia and respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home located in No. 14, Pitimini St.,
Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or those in which the conjugal
partnership of gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent have an interest in and listed in Annexes "I," "I-1,"
and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT Nos. T-186325 and T-168814;

9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a copy of this TEMPORARY
PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer, sale, encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited
properties to any person, entity or corporation without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall
affix her signature in the presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that her signature will be
forged in order to effect the encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the conjugal partnership of gains.

In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for another ten (10) days, and
gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed, extended, or
modified. Upon petitioner's manifestation,30 however, that he has not received a copy of private respondent's motion to
modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a copy of
said motion. Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been issued renewing the TPO dated
August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:

xxxx

x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary Protection Order issued on
August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days and continuously extended and renewed for thirty
(30) days, after each expiration, until further orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the court.

After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the required comment to private
respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an "exercise in futility."33

Proceedings before the CA

During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a petition34 for prohibition
(CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order, challenging (1) the
constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of
the modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."

On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order36 (TRO) against the enforcement of
the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.

Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed36 the petition for failure of petitioner to raise
the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve
the same. Secondly, the challenge to the validity

of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the trial court constituted a
collateral attack on said law.

His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007,
petitioner is now before us alleging that –

The Issues

I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY THAT THE ISSUE OF
CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE PETITION
CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.

II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262 IS
DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.

III.

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS COUNTER TO
THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.

IV.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE TO THE POLICY OF THE
STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.

V.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS INVALID AND
UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE BARANGAY
OFFICIALS.38

The Ruling of the Court

Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of R.A. 9262, we shall first tackle
the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by
petitioner.

As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity so that if not raised in the
pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on
appeal.39 Courts will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.40

In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of Bacolod City, petitioner argues that
the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to tackle the complex issue of
constitutionality."41

We disagree.

Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute.

At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as Regional Trial Courts. Under
R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997," family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear
and decide cases of domestic violence against women and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme Court
designated from among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court in each of several key cities
identified.43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now provides that Regional Trial
Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the
latter law, viz:

SEC. 7. Venue. – The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction
over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where
the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was
committed at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis supplied)

Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of authority as a court of general
original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, land registration,
guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency.44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the
constitutionality of a statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to determine
what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law."46 The Constitution vests
the power of judicial review or the power to declare the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or
executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all
RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution contemplates that the inferior courts
should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final
judgments of inferior courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in issue." Section 5, Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution reads in part as follows:

SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxx

2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final
judgments and orders of lower courts in:
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential
decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

xxxx

Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could have been raised at the
earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection order before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had
jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the review of this Court.

Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children, lays down a new kind of
procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition to the petition and not an answer.49 Thus:

SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. – (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition which he himself shall verify. It
must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order
should not be issued.

(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint, but any cause of
action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)

We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, cross-claim and third-party
complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality cannot likewise be raised therein. A
counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other relief which a defending party may have against an opposing
party.50 A cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or
occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein.51 Finally, a third-party
complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action for
contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim.52 As pointed out by Justice
Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could be the subject of a
counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint. Therefore, it is not prohibited from being raised in the opposition in
view of the familiar maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo because the right of private
respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very statute the validity of which is being attacked53 by
petitioner who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of
R.A. 9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection order.

That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have deterred petitioner from raising the
same in his Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of a statute is one of law which does not need to be
supported by evidence.54 Be that as it may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the conduct of a
hearing to determine legal issues, among others, viz:

SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further hearing, it may issue an order
containing the following:

(a) Facts undisputed and admitted;

(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;

(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be presented;

(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of affidavits; and

(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day, to the extent possible, within
the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection order issued. (Emphasis supplied)

To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when necessary, Section 26 (b) of
A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection order issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or
renew the said order for a period of thirty (30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the
extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of the parties. With the private
respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional issues, without necessarily
running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of the rules on summary procedure.

In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction and
temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon an honest belief that if
he finds succor in a superior court, he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-
SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued
by the trial court. Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case against the enforcement of the TPO,
the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was improper, and it effectively hindered the case from taking its
normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.

As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal of a
judgment granting permanent protection shall not stay its enforcement,55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only
for thirty (30) days at a time,56 should not be enjoined.

The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself entitle a litigant to have the same
enjoined.57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United States declared, thus:
Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to their separate and distinct
prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or member
of the community is immune from prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a
prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in equity which
exerts its extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. (Citations omitted)

The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully the merits of the case. It bears
stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex parte so as to protect women and their children from acts of
violence. To issue an injunction against such orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.

Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to determine novel issues, or issues of
first impression, with far-reaching implications. We have, time and again, discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of
constitutional issues, and with more reason now, in view of private respondent's plea in her Comment59 to the instant
Petition that we should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And so we shall.

Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.

Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and child abuse, which could very
well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of
the remedies under the law.60

A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723,61 which became R.A. 9262, reveals that while the
sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed what she called
a "synthesized measure"62 – an amalgamation of two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti-
Abuse of Women in Intimate Relationships Act"63 – providing protection to "all family members, leaving no one in
isolation" but at the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence and abuse,64
nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied protection under the same measure. We quote pertinent
portions of the deliberations:

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's groups have expressed concerns
and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to include domestic violence apart from against women as well as other
members of the household, including children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to address
domestic violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the spouses or the female
partners in a relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good Senator respond to this kind of
observation?

Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves "WIIR" Women in Intimate
Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic violence. But plenty of men are also being abused by
women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of the family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective
measures for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those related with the family.65

xxx

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

xxxx

The President Pro Tempore. x x x

Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to women and not to families
which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I have is that we would be having a broader scope rather
than just women, if I remember correctly, Madam sponsor.

Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.

As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation period.

I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.

Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me wrong. However, I believe that
there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the domestic environment.

As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the opportunity to file a case against
their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not decade, of battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope to include
even the men, assuming they can at all be abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the already
difficult situation for women, Mr. President.

I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am sure that the men in this
Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree with this representation. Whether we like it or not, it is an
unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal opportunities
especially in the domestic environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel that he is stronger, more superior
to the Filipino woman.
xxxx

The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?

Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill because the family members
have been included in this proposed measure since the other members of the family other than women are also possible
victims of violence. While women are most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure focuses
on women, the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be victimized and that children are
almost always the helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be enough protection extended to other
family members particularly children who are excluded. Although Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less,
addresses the special needs of abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection orders for one are not available
in said law.

I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men, fearing that they may use this
law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However, we should also recognize that there are established
procedures and standards in our courts which give credence to evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and
whimsically entertain baseless complaints.

Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the family as the basic social
institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations between men and women in our society, I believe we have an
obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of both husband and wife and their immediate family members, particularly
children.

While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members as a critical input arrived at
after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts, sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr.
President.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.

Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.

Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda would be removing the "men and
children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on women alone. That will be the net effect of that proposed
amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not
sure now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.

I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept this, I will propose an
amendment to the amendment rather than object to the amendment, Mr. President.

xxxx

Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?

xxxx

Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.

The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?

Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the distinguished proponent of the
amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At
saka iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children
from this particular measure.

So, if I may propose an amendment –

The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.

Senator Sotto. – more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of fact, it is not limited to minors.
The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen 14, 15-year-old children being abused by their
fathers, even by their mothers. And it breaks my heart to find out about these things.

Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will update that. It will enhance and
hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only women.
SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS

Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the bill but not the children.

Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.

The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.

Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.

Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment, as amended, is
approved.66

It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute.67 Hence, we dare
not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of Congress in limiting the protection against violence
and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in this
proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice may be
perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by the legislative. By the
principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of
any law.68 We only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution. However, none was sufficiently shown in this
case.

R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws.

Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope
Workers' Union69 is instructive:

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of
the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every
man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean
indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be
treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that
are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory
within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one
another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of
inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the
law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This
Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or
rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied)

Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on a valid classification as shall
hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal protection clause by favoring women over men as victims
of violence and abuse to whom the State extends its protection.

I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.

The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than men to be victims of
violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all make for real differences justifying the
classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre succinctly states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of
true equality."70

A. Unequal power relationship between men and women

According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender Equality and Women's
Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship
between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence". Societal norms and traditions dictate people to
think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and take on dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men's
companions and supporters, and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining more power
over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of men's expression of
controlling women to retain power.71

The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its Resolution 48/104 on the
Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on December 20, 1993 stating that "violence against women is a
manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and
discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against
women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with
men."72

Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of gender-based violence and developments
in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing
Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder:

History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The patriarch of a family was accorded
the right to use force on members of the family under his control. I quote the early studies:

Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy – the institutional rule of men. Women were seen
in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both physically and intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women
whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the authority of men. In law, they were treated as property.

The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if she endangered his property
right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions oriented towards the patriarchal family strengthened the male
dominated structure of society.

English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent Blackstone has been quoted in
his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one and that one was the husband. However, in the late 1500s and
through the entire 1600s, English common law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus, common
law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than their
thumb.

In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or inflict corporeal punishment
ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given more importance than preventing violence to women.

The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English common law. In 1871, the
Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to strike down the common law right of a husband to beat his
wife:

The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick
her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law... In person, the wife is
entitled to the same protection of the law that the husband can invoke for himself.

As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The temperance leagues initiated it.
These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the evils of alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they
demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was
joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They fought for women's right to vote, to
own property, and more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.

The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public gaze. They succeeded in
transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less than the United States Supreme Court, in 1992 case
Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:

In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the victims of severe assaults by their
male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of every eight husbands had assaulted their wives
during the past year. The [American Medical Association] views these figures as "marked underestimates," because the
nature of these incidents discourages women from reporting them, and because surveys typically exclude the very poor,
those who do not speak English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals when the survey is
conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence agree that the true incidence of partner violence is
probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted women per year."

Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex-
partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted
by their male partners. Many of these incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating takes place,
moreover, child abuse is often present as well.

Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most visible form of abuse. Psychological
abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation of women, is also common.

Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they perceive no superior
alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in shelters return to their husbands, in large part because
they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of
Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United States are killed by their
spouses...Thirty percent of female homicide victims are killed by their male partners.

Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.

In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The United States Charter and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly
adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993,
the UN General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. World
conferences on the role and rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing.
The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.
The Philippines has been in cadence with the half – and full – steps of all these women's movements. No less than
Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State to recognize the role of women in nation building and to
ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act
No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for
Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations omitted)

B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"

victims of violence.

At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against women and children show that

x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing 55.63% of total cases reported
(9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases out of 4,354 cases which represent 54.31%.
xxx (T)he total number of women in especially difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608
cases. xxx (T)here are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first semester of 2003. Female
violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were
committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners.73

Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on violence against women across an
eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different VAW
categories since its implementation in 2004,74 thus:

Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011*

Reported
Cases 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Rape 997 927 659 837 811 770 1,042 832
Incestuous Rape 38 46 26 22 28 27 19 23
Attempted Rape 194 148 185 147 204 167 268 201
Acts of
Lasciviousness 580 536 382 358 445 485 745 625
Physical
Injuries 3,553 2,335 1,892 1,505 1,307 1,498 2,018 1,588
Sexual
Harassment 53 37 38 46 18 54 83 63
RA 9262 218 924 1,269 2,387 3,599 5,285 9,974 9,021
Threats 319 223 199 182 220 208 374 213
Seduction 62 19 29 30 19 19 25 15
Concubinage 121 102 93 109 109 99 158 128
RA 9208 17 11 16 24 34 152 190 62
Abduction
/Kidnapping 29 16 34 23 28 18 25 22
Unjust Vexation 90 50 59 59 83 703 183 155
Total 6,271 5,374 4,881 5,729 6,905 9,485 15,104 12,948
*2011 report covers only from January to August

Source: Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)

On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence against men in the Philippines
because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because many men will not even attempt to report the situation.
In the United Kingdom, 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times,
compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who had ever experienced domestic violence; and women constituted
89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence.75 Statistics in Canada show that spousal
violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause injury than the other way around (18 percent versus 44
percent). Men, who experience violence from their spouses are much less likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of
their spouses, and much less likely to experience sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman
against a spouse are in self-defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional abuse.76

While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against men in the Philippines, the same
cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid.

In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn vehicles to pick up, gather and
deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by their vehicle-drawing animals in any public highways, streets,
plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its
application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those animals, although not utilized, but
similarly pass through the same streets.

The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be non-vehicle-drawing animals
that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be negligible and their appearance therein merely occasional,
compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute a menace to the health of the community."77 The mere fact that the
legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for every
classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby
rendered invalid.78

C. Gender bias and prejudices

From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes against women are often treated
differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was argued by then United States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now
Vice President, chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy as a valid
exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the
widespread gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of rape or domestic violence,
subjecting them to "double victimization" – first at the hands of the offender and then of the legal system.79

Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723 that "(w)henever violence
occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and advise the parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once the
complainant brings the case to the prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might later be
withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating,
recurring and often serious nature of domestic violence."80

Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.

In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge.
He used derogatory and irreverent language in reference to the complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A.
9262, calling her as "only a live-in partner" and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate
relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being motivated by "insatiable greed" and of
absconding with the contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and lack of gender
sensitivity.

The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases and prejudices against women.
As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting
discrimination through specific measures focused on women does not discriminate against men.82 Petitioner's
contention,83 therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men"
law deserves scant consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to take all appropriate
measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the
elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the
superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women."84 Justice Puno correctly pointed out that
"(t)he paradigm shift changing the character of domestic violence from a private affair to a public offense will require the
development of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the judges."85

II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.

The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence committed
against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as follows:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children and
guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its members
particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.

Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in keeping with
the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the
Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.

In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on August 5, 1981.
Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on October 6, 2003.86 This
Convention mandates that State parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law87 and shall take all
appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations on
the basis of equality of men and women.88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and
its two protocols.89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective protocols.

III. The classification is not limited to existing

conditions only, and apply equally to all members

Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was promulgated, but to future
conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women and their children are threatened by violence and
abuse.

R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section 3 thereof defines VAWC as:

x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a
woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against
her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in
physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault,
coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;

B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but is
not limited to:

a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and
sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene
publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing
the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;

b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or
other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;

c) Prostituting the woman or child.

C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the
victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation,
repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or
psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to
witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common
children.

D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is
not limited to the following:

1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation,
business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as
defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;

2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal,
community or property owned in common;

3. destroying household property;

4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.

It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable to research that has exposed
the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described here are also found in the U.N. Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women.90 Hence, the argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what
constitutes abuse removes the difference between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.

There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse petitioner in his defense. The
acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited
acts. They are worded with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
prohibited, and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application.91 Yet, petitioner insists92 that phrases like
"depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or common
money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional anguish" are so vague that they make every
quarrel a case of spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable
degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld – not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to
suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or
detailed in its provisions.93

There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father as the culprit. As defined
above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating
relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the
woman encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the offender be related or
connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the
application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus, in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses
Tan,94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be proper respondents in the case filed by
the latter upon the allegation that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had community of design and purpose in
tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family
home; and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically.

R.A. 9262 is not violative of the


due process clause of the Constitution.

Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all protections afforded by the due
process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and practically no opportunity to
respond, the husband is stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a
matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened."95
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their children, their family or
household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further
harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.96

"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is afforded all the
remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk
of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety in the family residence, and to
prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables the
court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent their abduction by the
perpetrator and to ensure their financial support."97

The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the petitioner98 thereby
undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC
if further violence is to be prevented,"99 the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and
hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order
is necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent such violence, which is
about to recur.100

There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order. The victim is required not
only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition.101

The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due process. Just like a writ of
preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could
be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC may
already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing
were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of
procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests,103 among which is protection of
women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.

It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that notice be immediately
given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service. Moreover, the court shall order
that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs are
initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent.104

Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and service of the notice upon
the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from service. The date of the
preliminary conference and hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice.105

The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by the affidavits of
witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.106

It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be apprised of the charges
imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family,
property, guns, money, children, job, future em