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Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators vs.

City of Manila, July 31, 1967


FACTS:
-June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 4760.
-Petition for Prohibition against Ordinance No. 4760 was filed on July 1963 by the petitioners
against the Mayor of Manila.
-There was the assertion of its being beyond the powers of the Municipal Board of the City of
Manila to enact insofar as it would regulate motels, on the ground that in the revised charter of
the City of Manila or in any other law, no reference is made to motels
-Then came to the conclusion of the lower court that "the challenged Ordinance No. 4760 of the
City of Manila, would be unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void. Hence, this appeal.
PETITIONER-APPELLEES CONTENTION:
-That the ordinance is unconstitutional and void on due process grounds, not only for being
arbitrary, unreasonable or oppressive (requiring second class motels to have a dining room,
invasion of the right to privacy, subsequent conviction would cause the automatic cancellation of
the license of the offended party, in effect causing the destruction of the business and loss of its
investments) but also for being vague, indefinite and uncertain (prohibiting a person less than
18 years old from being accepted more than twice every 24 hrs.).
RESPONDENT-APPELLANTS CONTENTION:
-Challenged ordinance bears a reasonable relation to a proper purpose, which is to curb
immorality, a valid and proper exercise of the police power and that only the guests or
customers not the operators before the court could complain of the alleged invasion of the right
to privacy and the guaranty against self- incrimination
-To admonished the lower court against such a sweeping condemnation of the challenged
ordinance.
ISSUE: WON Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila is violative of the due process clause
RULING: No. Judgment Reversed.
-It does not violate due process clause as it is a manifestation of a police power measure being
specifically aimed to safeguard public morals.
- Limitations imposed on the part of the petitioners cannot be viewed as a transgression against
the command of due process. It is neither unreasonable nor arbitrary. Precisely it was intended
to curb the opportunity for the immoral or illegitimate use
-None is even attempted here by the petitioners to attach to an ordinance of such character the
taint of nullity for an alleged failure to meet the due process requirement. Nor does it lend any
semblance even of deceptive plausibility to petitioners' indictment of Ordinance No. 4760 on
due process grounds to single out such features as the increased fees for motels and hotels,
the curtailment of the area of freedom to contract, and, in certain particulars, its alleged
vagueness.
- The presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of
record for overthrowing the statute. No such factual foundation being laid in the present case,
the lower court deciding the matter on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts, the
presumption of validity must prevail and the judgment against the ordinance set aside.
-Moreover, the increase in the licensed fees was intended to discourage "establishments of the
kind from operating for purpose other than legal" and at the same time, to increase "the income
of the city government
CONSTI DOCTRINE:
The standard of due process which must exist both as a procedural and a substantive requisite
to free the challenged ordinance, or any governmental action for that matter, from the imputation
of legal infirmity sufficient to spell its doom is its responsiveness to the supremacy of reason,
obedience to the dictates of justice.
DISPOSITION:
Wherefore, the judgment of the lower court is reversed and the injunction issued lifted forthwith.
With costs.