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Phil. Blooming Mills Employees’ Org. v. Phil. Blooming Mills | G.R.

that their demo was not a declaration to strike because it isn’t

No. L-31195 | 5 Jun 1973 | Makasiar, J. | Castillo, A.R.L. directed at Resp firm

Facts: Issues:

 PBMEO is a legitimate labor union composed of the employees of 1. W/N Pet’rs are guilty of bargaining in bad faith. NO.
Resp while the rest of the Pet’rs are officers and members thereof 2. W/N the CIR committed GAD when it refused to act on the
 1 Mar 1969: they decided to stage a mass demonstration at petition. YES.
Malacañang on Mar 4 to protest alleged abuses of the Pasig police 3. REAL ISSUE: W/N Resp. CIR and PBM trenched upon Pet’rs’
o Workers in the 6AM-2PM shift would participate, constitutional immunities. YES.
followed by those in the 7AM-4PM and 8AM-5PM shifts
o They informed Resp PBM of their proposed demo
 2 Mar: company learned of such plans
 3 Mar: Company called a meeting, asking the union to I.
confirm/deny said demo; PBMEO Spokesman Pagcu confirmed  Basic concepts/principles:
the plans; stated that the demo/rally can’t be cancelled anymore o 1. In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of
due to its being agreed upon; and that the demo has nothing to do the dignity and worth of the human personality is the
with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with central core & cardinal article of faith of our civilization.
Management The inviolable character of man as an individual must be
o Management informed PBMEO that though "protected to the largest possible extent in his thoughts
demonstration is an inalienable Constitutional right, they and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person."
shouldn’t unduly prejudice the Company; Mgmt. warned o 2. Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of
Pet’rs that without previously approved leave of absence, liberty, equality and security "against the assaults of
the officers would be dismissed on the ground of violating opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the
the existing CBA, i.e., illegal strike erosion of small encroachments, and the scorn and
 Later that day, Company called another meeting, reiterating and derision of those who have no patience with general
appealing to the PBMEO reps that while all workers may join the principles."
demo, the workers for the first and regular shift should be excused o Jackson: BoR meant to withdraw "certain subjects from
from joining and should report to work, so as not to violate Art. the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them
XXIV of the CBA, “NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE” beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and
o All those who won’t follow will be dismissed, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the
officers shall be primarily liable as organizers courts
o Union panel countered that it was too late to change plans o 3. Freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the
 Pet’rs and their members numbering ~400 proceed with the demo right to petition are included among the immunities
despite Resp’s pleas, so Resp charged them with a violation of RA reserved by the sovereign people
875 & CBA providing “No Strike and No Lockout”  Holmes: to protect the ideas that we abhor or
 Pet’rs allege that the mass demo was a valid exercise of their hate more than the ideas we cherish
constitutional freedom of speech against alleged police abuse; and
 Socrates: not only to protect the minority who in fact Resp’s duty to protect Pet’rs from police harassment so that
want to talk, but also to benefit the majority who they can report to work free from harassment, vexation, or peril
refuse to listen  The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused,
 Douglas: the liberties of one are the liberties of harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace
all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless the officers of the municipality. The condition in which the employees
liberties of all are protected. found themselves vis-a-vis the Pasig police vitally affected their
o 4. Rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, right to individual existence as well as that of their families.
are not only civil but also political rights  Employer’s material loss can be repaired or adequately
 The citizen is accorded these rights so that he can compensated, but the debasement of the human being broken in
appeal to the appropriate governmental officers morale and brutalized in spirit can never be fully evaluated in
or agencies for redress and protection as well as monetary terms. The wounds fester and the scars remain to
for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on humiliate him to his dying day, even as he cries in anguish for
erring public officers and employees. retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on bruised tissues.
o 5. While BoR also protects property rights, the primacy  The CIR’s construction of the CBA that stipulated working shifts
of human rights over property rights is deny the workers the right to stage mass demonstrations against
recognized. Because these freedoms are "delicate and police abuses during working hours constitutes virtual tyranny over
vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society" the mind and life of the workers and deserves severe condemnation
and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise  Sine qua non of an effective demonstration esp. by a labor union is
almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions," the complete unity of the union members as well as their total
they "need breathing space to survive," permitting presence at the demo site in order to generate maximum sympathy
government regulation only "with narrow specificity." for the validity of their cause and immediate action on the relevant
 Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but gov’t agencies’ part
human rights are imprescriptible. If human rights are o Diminishing the participants by one-third indicates
extinguished by the passage of time, then the BoR is a useless disunity; rejecting the Union’s request for excuse from
attempt to limit the power of government work constitutes a lack of human understanding or
 Rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred compassion on the part of the firm
position: essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and III.
political institutions; such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity  Resp is the one guilty of unfair labor practice in refusing to permit
and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions." its employees to join the mass demo and the subsequent separation
 Test for validity of restriction/impairment of property rights: mere of the individual Pet’rs from the service
reasonable or rational relation between the means employed by the  Purpose of the mass demo was for their mutual aid and protection
law and its object or purpose (law is neither arbitrary nor against alleged police abuses, denial of which was interference
discriminatory nor oppressive) is enough with or restraint on the right of the employees to engage in such
 BUT test for validity of a constitutional or valid infringement of common action
human rights is higher: existence of a grave and immediate danger  Resp’s threat of dismissal tended to coerce the employees from
of a substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent joining the mass demo; however, the employees’ issues against the
II. local police superseded the threat; they had the courage to proceed
 CIR deemed Pet’rs guilty of bargaining in bad faith and hence in with the demo
violation of CBA; this conclusion CAN’T be sustained against
democratic principles—Pet’rs exercised their freedoms and it was
 One day's pay means much to a laborer, more especially if he has a liberty contained in our Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to
family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their one-day the demands of the moment makes easier another, larger surrender.
salary hoping that their demonstration would bring about the  (See earlier Douglas quote)
desired relief from police abuses  Douglas: even if we should sense no danger to our own liberties,
IV. even if we feel secure because we belong to a group that is
 Sec. 5, Art. II, 1987 Const. imposes upon the State "the promotion important and respected, we must recognize that our Bill of Rights
of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of is a code of fair play for the less fortunate that we in all honor and
all of the people," good conscience must be observe
 Guarantee is emphasized by Sec. 6, Art. XIV, Const.: "the State  Mgmt. has shown complete lack of sympathetic understanding of
shall afford protection to labor ...". the plight of its laborers who claim that they are being subjected to
 Respondent CIR as an agency of the State is under obligation at all indignities by the local police
times to give meaning and substance to these constitutional  Opportunism and expediency in conserving its income or profits
guarantees in favor of the working man assaulted the immunities and welfare of its employees; pure
 Under Industrial Peace Act: CIR is enjoined to effect the policy of selfishness, if not greed
the law "to eliminate the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging
and protecting the exercise by employees of their right to self- PETITION GRANTED. CIR orders set aside; Pet’rs directed re-instated
organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the with full back-pay from separation to re-instatement, minus one day’s pay
promotion of their moral, social and economic well-being." It is and whatever earnings they might have realized from other sources during
most unfortunate in the case at bar that the very governmental their separation.
agency designed therefor failed to implement this policy and failed
to keep faith with its avowed mission BARREDO, J., dissenting:
 A violation of a constitutional right divests the court of  As presented by petitioners themselves and in the light of its
jurisdiction; its judgment is null and void and confers no rights attendant circumstances, this case does not call for the resolution
 Having violated these basic human rights of the laborers, the Court of any constitutional issue
of Industrial Relations ousted itself of jurisdiction and the  Even the most valuable of our constitutional rights may be
questioned orders it issued in the instant case are a nullity protected by the courts only when their jurisdiction over the
VI. SUMMARY: Mere fact that MR was filed two days late doesn’t defeat subject matter is unquestionably established and the applicable
rights; procedural rule doesn’t prevail over constitutional rights. In general, rules of procedure consistent with substantive and procedural due
all causes of action and defenses presently available must be specifically process are observed
raised in the complaint or answer, else those not raised are deemed waived.  No constitutional right can be sacrificed in the altar of procedural
But a constitutional issue can be raised at any time if it is the lis mota of the technicalities, very often fittingly downgraded as niceties but as far
case. as I know, this principle is applied to annul or set aside final
judgments only in cases wherein there is a possible denial of due
Conclusion: process.
 Douglas: preservation of liberties does not depend on motives. A o No instance cited/mentioned that wherein a final and
suppression of liberty has the same effect whether the suppressor executory judgment has been invalidated and set aside
be a reformer or an outlaw. The only protection against misguided upon the ground that the same has the effect of
zeal is a constant alertness of the infractions of the guarantees of sanctioning the violation of a constitutional right, unless
such violation amounts to a denial of due process
o Main opinion, without support of law or jurisprudence,  (Talks about prescriptive periods; that rules fixing periods for the
nudely asserts as if a universal rule, that the violation of a finality of judgments are more substantive than procedural in
constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as nature, as they effect the creation/termination of rights pursuant to
a consequence its judgment is null and void and confers the terms of the particular judgment concerned.)
no rights
 Pet’rs do not claim they were denied due process, nor do they TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
pretend that in denying their MR, the CIR and private firm
trenched upon any of their constitutional immunities, contrary to  Not a declaration of strike nor directed in any manner against
main opinion respondent employer, and ordering the dismissal of the union
 Pet’rs argument that the CIR committed an error of jurisdiction by office manifestly constituted GAD
finding the former guilty of bargaining in bad faith has no o Demo is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Const.
constitutional color o No willful violation of CBA “no-strike” clause
o Decisions, erroneous or not, become final after the period  CIR’s en banc resolution dismissing Pet’rs’ MR for having been
fixed by law; litigations would be endless, no questions filed two days late, after expiration of the reglementary five-day
would be finally settled; and titles to property would period fixed by its rules, due to the negligence of petitioners'
become precarious if the losing party were allowed to counsel and/or the union president should be set aside as GAD
reopen them at any time in the future o Considering the monstrous injustice that would otherwise
o The fact that the error is in the interpretation, construction be caused the petitioners through their summary dismissal
or application of a constitutional precept not constituting a from employment, simply because they sought in good
denial of due process, should not make any difference faith to exercise basic human rights guaranteed them by
 Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities vs. Secretary the Const.
of Education: it is one of our (the Supreme Court's) decisional o No proof of actual loss form the one-day stoppage of
practices that unless a constitutional point is specifically raised, work was shown by Resp.
insisted upon and adequately argued, the court will not consider it  Due process is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason,
 Sec. 2(5), Art. VII, Const.’s grant of power to review decisions of obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively put, arbitrariness is
lower courts involving questions of law, including constitutional ruled out and unfairness avoided ... Due process is thus hostile to
issues, is qualified in that it must be exercised only in the manner any official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly it
provided in the law of the Rules of Court has been identified as freedom from arbitrariness
 I cannot conceive of anything more pernicious and destructive to a
trustful administration of justice than the idea that, even without
any showing of denial of due process or want of jurisdiction of the
court, a final and executory judgment of such court may still be set
aside or reopened in instances other than those expressly allowed
 Dy Cay v. Crossfield: public policy and sound practice demand
that, at the risk of occasional errors, judgments of courts should
become final at some definite date fixed by law. The very object
for which courts were instituted was to put an end to controversies.
To fulfill this purpose and to do so speedily, certain time limits,
more or less arbitrary, have to be set up to spur on the slothful