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G.R.No.169838

TodayisThursday,August20,2015

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
ENBANC
G.R.No.169838April25,2006
BAYAN,KARAPATAN,KILUSANGMAGBUBUKIDNGPILIPINAS(KMP),GABRIELA,Fr.JoseDizon,Renato
Constantino,Jr.,FroyelYaneza,andFahimaTajar,Petitioners,
vs.
EDUARDOERMITA,inhiscapacityasExecutiveSecretary,ManilaCityMayorLITOATIENZA,Chiefofthe
PhilippineNationalPolice,Gen.ARTUROM.LOMIBAO,NCRPOChiefMaj.Gen.VIDALQUEROL,and
WesternPoliceDistrictChiefGen.PEDROBULAONG,Respondents.
xx
G.R.No.169848April25,2006
JessDelPrado,WilsonFortaleza,LeodydeGuzman,PedroPinlac,CarmelitaMorante,RastiDelizo,Paul
Bangay,MarieJoOcampo,LiliadelaCruz,CristetaRamos,AdelaidaRamos,MaryGraceGonzales,
MichaelTorres,RendoSabusap,PreciousBalute,RoxanneMagboo,ErnieBautista,JosephdeJesus,
MargaritaEscober,DjoannalynJanier,MagdalenaSellote,MannyQuiazon,EricsonDizon,NenitaCruzat,
LeonardoDelosReyes,PedritoFadrigon,Petitioners,
vs.
EDUARDOERMITA,inhisofficialcapacityasTheExecutiveSecretaryandinhispersonalcapacity,
ANGELOREYES,inhisofficialcapacityasSecretaryoftheInteriorandLocalGovernments,ARTURO
LOMIBAO,inhisofficialcapacityastheChief,PhilippineNationalPolice,VIDALQUEROL,inhisofficial
capacityastheChief,NationalCapitalRegionalPoliceOffice(NCRPO),PEDROBULAONG,inhisofficial
capacityastheChief,ManilaPoliceDistrict(MPD)ANDALLOTHERPUBLICOFFICERSGARCIA,andAND
PRIVATEINDIVIDUALSACTINGUNDERTHEIRCONTROL,SUPERVISIONANDINSTRUCTIONS,
Respondents.
xx
G.R.No.169881April25,2006
KILUSANGMAYOUNO,representedbyitsChairpersonELMERC.LABOGandSecretaryGeneralJOEL
MAGLUNSOD,NATIONALFEDERATIONOFLABORUNIONSKILUSANGMAYOUNO(NAFLUKMU),
representedbyitsNationalPresident,JOSELITOV.USTAREZ,ANTONIOC.PASCUAL,SALVADORT.
CARRANZA,GILDASUMILANG,FRANCISCOLASTRELLA,andROQUEM.TAN,Petitioners,
vs.
THEHONORABLEEXECUTIVESECRETARY,PNPDIRECTORGENRALARTUROLOMIBAO,HONORABLE
MAYORLITOATIENZA,andPNPMPDCHIEFSUPT.PEDROBULAONG,Respondents.
DECISION
AZCUNA,J.:
Petitionerscomeinthreegroups.
The first petitioners, Bayan, et al., in G.R. No. 169838,1 allege that they are citizens and taxpayers of the
Philippinesandthattheirrightsasorganizationsandindividualswereviolatedwhentherallytheyparticipatedin
onOctober6,2005wasviolentlydispersedbypolicemenimplementingBatasPambansa(B.P.)No.880.
Thesecondgroupconsistsof26individualpetitioners,JessdelPrado,etal.,inG.R.No.169848,2whoallege
thattheywereinjured,arrestedanddetainedwhenapeacefulmassactiontheyheldonSeptember26,2005was
preempted and violently dispersed by the police. They further assert that on October 5, 2005, a group they
participated in marched to Malacaang to protest issuances of the Palace which, they claim, put the country
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underan"undeclared"martialrule,andtheprotestwaslikewisedispersedviolentlyandmanyamongthemwere
arrestedandsufferedinjuries.
The third group, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), et al., petitioners in G.R. No. 169881,3 allege that they conduct
peaceful mass actions and that their rights as organizations and those of their individual members as citizens,
specificallytherighttopeacefulassembly,areaffectedbyBatasPambansaNo.880andthepolicyof"Calibrated
PreemptiveResponse"(CPR)beingfollowedtoimplementit.
KMU, et al., claim that on October 4, 2005, a rally KMU cosponsored was to be conducted at the Mendiola
bridge but police blocked them along C.M. Recto and Lepanto Streets and forcibly dispersed them, causing
injuriestoseveraloftheirmembers.TheyfurtherallegethatonOctober6,2005,amultisectoralrallywhichKMU
alsocosponsoredwasscheduledtoproceedalongEspaaAvenueinfrontoftheUniversityofSantoTomasand
going towards Mendiola bridge. Police officers blocked them along Morayta Street and prevented them from
proceeding further. They were then forcibly dispersed, causing injuries on one of them.4 Three other rallyists
werearrested.
AllpetitionersassailBatasPambansaNo.880,someofthemintotoandothersonlySections4,5,6,12,13(a),
and14(a),aswellasthepolicyofCPR.Theyseektostopviolentdispersalsofralliesunderthe"nopermit,no
rally"policyandtheCPRpolicyrecentlyannounced.
B.P.No.880,"ThePublicAssemblyActof1985,"provides:
BatasPambansaBlg.880
An Act Ensuring The Free Exercise By The People Of Their Right Peaceably To Assemble And Petition The
Government[And]ForOtherPurposes
BeitenactedbytheBatasangPambansainsessionassembled:
Section1.Title.ThisActshallbeknownas"ThePublicAssemblyActof1985."
Sec. 2. Declaration of policy. The constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the
governmentforredressofgrievancesisessentialandvitaltothestrengthandstabilityoftheState.Tothisend,
the State shall ensure the free exercise of such right without prejudice to the rights of others to life, liberty and
equalprotectionofthelaw.
Sec.3.Definitionofterms.ForpurposesofthisAct:
(a) "Public assembly" means any rally, demonstration, march, parade, procession or any other form of
massorconcertedactionheldinapublicplaceforthepurposeofpresentingalawfulcauseorexpressing
an opinion to the general public on any particular issue or protesting or influencing any state of affairs
whetherpolitical,economicorsocialorpetitioningthegovernmentforredressofgrievances.
Theprocessions,rallies,parades,demonstrations,publicmeetingsandassemblagesforreligiouspurposes
shall be governed by local ordinances Provided, however, That the declaration of policy as provided in
Section2ofthisActshallbefaithfullyobserved.
The definition herein contained shall not include picketing and other concerted action in strike areas by
workersandemployeesresultingfromalabordisputeasdefinedbytheLaborCode,itsimplementingrules
andregulations,andbytheBatasPambansaBilang227.
(b)"Publicplace"shallincludeanyhighway,boulevard,avenue,road,street,bridgeorotherthoroughfare,
park,plaza,square,and/oranyopenspaceofpublicownershipwherethepeopleareallowedaccess.
(c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the military, police and other peace
keepingauthoritiesshallobserveduringapublicassemblyorinthedispersalofthesame.
(d) "Modification of a permit" shall include the change of the place and time of the public assembly,
reroutingoftheparadeorstreetmarch,thevolumeofloudspeakersorsoundsystemandsimilarchanges.
Sec. 4. Permit when required and when not required. A written permit shall be required for any person or
persons to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place. However, no permit shall be required if the
public assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private
property,inwhichcaseonlytheconsentoftheownerortheoneentitledtoitslegalpossessionisrequired,orin
thecampusofagovernmentownedandoperatededucationalinstitutionwhichshallbesubjecttotherulesand
regulationsofsaideducationalinstitution.Politicalmeetingsorralliesheldduringanyelectioncampaignperiodas
providedforbylawarenotcoveredbythisAct.
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Sec.5.Applicationrequirements.Allapplicationsforapermitshallcomplywiththefollowingguidelines:
(a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the leaders or organizers the
purposeofsuchpublicassemblythedate,timeanddurationthereof,andplaceorstreetstobeusedfor
the intended activity and the probable number of persons participating, the transport and the public
addresssystemstobeused.
(b)TheapplicationshallincorporatethedutyandresponsibilityoftheapplicantunderSection8hereof.
(c)Theapplicationshallbefiledwiththeofficeofthemayorofthecityormunicipalityinwhosejurisdiction
theintendedactivityistobeheld,atleastfive(5)workingdaysbeforethescheduledpublicassembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, which must be duly acknowledged in writing, the office of the city or
municipal mayor shall cause the same to immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or
municipalbuilding.
Sec.6.Actiontobetakenontheapplication.
(a)Itshallbethedutyofthemayororanyofficialactinginhisbehalftoissueorgrantapermitunlessthere
isclearandconvincingevidencethatthepublicassemblywillcreateaclearandpresentdangertopublic
order,publicsafety,publicconvenience,publicmoralsorpublichealth.
(b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days
fromthedatetheapplicationwasfiled,failingwhich,thepermitshallbedeemedgranted.Shouldforany
reason the mayor or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a permit, said
applicationshallbepostedbytheapplicantonthepremisesoftheofficeofthemayorandshallbedeemed
tohavebeenfiled.
(c)Ifthemayorisoftheviewthatthereisimminentandgravedangerofasubstantiveevilwarrantingthe
denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the
matter.
(d)Theactiononthepermitshallbeinwritingandservedontheapplica[nt]withintwentyfourhours.
(e)Ifthemayororanyofficialactinginhisbehalfdeniestheapplicationormodifiesthetermsthereofinhis
permit,theapplicantmaycontestthedecisioninanappropriatecourtoflaw.
(f)IncasesuitisbroughtbeforetheMetropolitanTrialCourt,theMunicipalTrialCourt,theMunicipalCircuit
TrialCourt,theRegionalTrialCourt,ortheIntermediateAppellatecourt,itsdecisionsmaybeappealedto
theappropriatecourtwithinfortyeight(48)hoursafterreceiptofthesame.Noappealbondandrecordon
appeal shall be required. A decision granting such permit or modifying it in terms satisfactory to the
applicantshallbeimmediatelyexecutory.
(g) All cases filed in court under this section shall be decided within twentyfour (24) hours from date of
filing.Casesfiledhereundershallbeimmediatelyendorsedtotheexecutivejudgefordispositionor,inhis
absence,tothenextinrank.
(h)Inallcases,anydecisionmaybeappealedtotheSupremeCourt.
(i)Telegraphicappealstobefollowedbyformalappealsareherebyallowed.
Sec.7.UseofPublicthroroughfare.Shouldtheproposedpublicassemblyinvolvetheuse,foranappreciable
length of time, of any public highway, boulevard, avenue, road or street, the mayor or any official acting in his
behalf may, to prevent grave public inconvenience, designate the route thereof which is convenient to the
participants or reroute the vehicular traffic to another direction so that there will be no serious or undue
interferencewiththefreeflowofcommerceandtrade.
Sec. 8. Responsibility of applicant. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the leaders and organizers of a
publicassemblytotakeallreasonablemeasuresandstepstotheendthattheintendedpublicassemblyshallbe
conducted peacefully in accordance with the terms of the permit. These shall include but not be limited to the
following:
(a)Toinformtheparticipantsoftheirresponsibilityunderthepermit

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(b) To police the ranks of the demonstrators in order to prevent nondemonstrators from disrupting the
lawfulactivitiesofthepublicassembly
(c) To confer with local government officials concerned and law enforcers to the end that the public
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assemblymaybeheldpeacefully
(d)Toseetoitthatthepublicassemblyundertakenshallnotgobeyondthetimestatedinthepermitand
(e)Totakepositivestepsthatdemonstratorsdonotmolestanypersonordoanyactundulyinterferingwith
therightsofotherpersonsnotparticipatinginthepublicassembly.
Sec.9.Noninterferencebylawenforcementauthorities.Lawenforcementagenciesshallnotinterferewiththe
holdingofapublicassembly.However,toadequatelyensurepublicsafety,alawenforcementcontingentunder
thecommandofaresponsiblepoliceofficermaybedetailedandstationedinaplaceatleastonehundred(100)
metersawayfromtheareaofactivityreadytomaintainpeaceandorderatalltimes.
Sec. 10. Police assistance when requested. It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies, when their
assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their
responsibilitytoprovideproperprotectiontothoseexercisingtheirrightpeaceablytoassembleandthefreedom
ofexpressionisprimordial.Towardsthisend,lawenforcementagenciesshallobservethefollowingguidelines:
(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete
uniformwiththeirnameplatesandunitstowhichtheybelongdisplayedprominentlyonthefrontanddorsal
partsoftheiruniformandmustobservethepolicyof"maximumtolerance"ashereindefined
(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be
equippedwithbatonorriotsticks,shields,crashhelmetswithvisor,gasmasks,bootsoranklehighshoes
withshinguards
(c)Teargas,smokegrenades,watercannons,oranysimilarantiriotdeviceshallnotbeusedunlessthe
public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of
property.
Sec. 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit. No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed.
However,whenanassemblybecomesviolent,thepolicemaydispersesuchpublicassemblyasfollows:
(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call
theattentionoftheleadersofthepublicassemblyandaskthelattertopreventanypossibledisturbance
(b)Ifactualviolencestartstoapointwhererocksorotherharmfulobjectsfromtheparticipantsarethrown
at the police or at the nonparticipants, or at any property causing damage to such property, the ranking
officerofthelawenforcementcontingentshallaudiblywarntheparticipantsthatifthedisturbancepersists,
thepublicassemblywillbedispersed
(c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or
abate,therankingofficerofthelawenforcementcontingentshallaudiblyissueawarningtotheparticipants
ofthepublicassembly,andafterallowingareasonableperiodoftimetolapse,shallimmediatelyorderitto
forthwithdisperse
(d)Noarrestofanyleader,organizerorparticipantshallalsobemadeduringthepublicassemblyunless
heviolatesduringtheassemblyalaw,statute,ordinanceoranyprovisionofthisAct.Sucharrestshallbe
governedbyArticle125oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamended
(e) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the public assembly shall not
constituteagroundfordispersal.
Sec.12.Dispersalofpublicassemblywithoutpermit.Whenthepublicassemblyisheldwithoutapermitwherea
permitisrequired,thesaidpublicassemblymaybepeacefullydispersed.
Sec.13.Prohibitedacts.ThefollowingshallconstituteviolationsoftheAct:
(a)TheholdingofanypublicassemblyasdefinedinthisActbyanyleaderororganizerwithouthavingfirst
securedthatwrittenpermitwhereapermitisrequiredfromtheofficeconcerned,ortheuseofsuchpermit
forsuchpurposesinanyplaceotherthanthosesetoutinsaidpermit:Provided,however,Thatnoperson
canbepunishedorheldcriminallyliableforparticipatinginorattendinganotherwisepeacefulassembly
(b)ArbitraryandunjustifieddenialormodificationofapermitinviolationoftheprovisionsofthisActbythe
mayororanyotherofficialactinginhisbehalf
(c)Theunjustifiedandarbitraryrefusaltoacceptoracknowledgereceiptoftheapplicationforapermitby
themayororanyofficialactinginhisbehalf
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(d)Obstructing,impeding,disruptingorotherwisedenyingtheexerciseoftherighttopeacefulassembly
(e) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement agency or any person to
dispersethepublicassembly
(f)ActsinviolationofSection10hereof
(g)Actsdescribedhereunderifcommittedwithinonehundred(100)metersfromtheareaofactivityofthe
publicassemblyorontheoccasionthereof:
1.thecarryingofadeadlyoroffensiveweaponordevicesuchasfirearm,pillbox,bomb,andthelike
2.thecarryingofabladedweaponandthelike
3.themaliciousburningofanyobjectinthestreetsorthoroughfares
4.thecarryingoffirearmsbymembersofthelawenforcementunit
5. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public assembly by the use of a
motorvehicle,itshornsandloudsoundsystems.
Sec. 14. Penalties. Any person found guilty and convicted of any of the prohibited acts defined in the
immediatelyprecedingsectionshallbepunishedasfollows:
(a) violation of subparagraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and one day to six
months
(b) violations of subparagraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and item 4, subparagraph (g) shall be punished by
imprisonmentofsixmonthsandonedaytosixyears
(c)violationofitem1,subparagraph(g)shallbepunishedbyimprisonmentofsixmonthsandonedayto
sixyearswithoutprejudicetoprosecutionunderPresidentialDecreeNo.1866
(d)violationsofitem2,item3,oritem5ofsubparagraph(g)shallbepunishedbyimprisonmentofoneday
tothirtydays.
Sec.15.Freedomparks.Everycityandmunicipalityinthecountryshallwithinsixmonthsaftertheeffectivityof
thisActestablishordesignateatleastonesuitable"freedompark"ormallintheirrespectivejurisdictionswhich,
asfaraspracticable,shallbecentrallylocatedwithinthepoblacionwheredemonstrationsandmeetingsmaybe
heldatanytimewithouttheneedofanypriorpermit.
In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks
withintheperiodofsixmonthsfromtheeffectivitythisAct.
Sec.16.Constitutionality.ShouldanyprovisionofthisActbedeclaredinvalidorunconstitutional,thevalidityor
constitutionalityoftheotherprovisionsshallnotbeaffectedthereby.
Sec. 17. Repealing clause. All laws, decrees, letters of instructions, resolutions, orders, ordinances or parts
thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified
accordingly.
Sec.18.Effectivity.ThisActshalltakeeffectuponitsapproval.
Approved,October22,1985.
CPR,ontheotherhand,isapolicysetforthinapressreleasebyMalacaangdatedSeptember21,2005,shown
inAnnex"A"tothePetitioninG.R.No.169848,thus:
MalacaangOfficial
Manila,PhilippinesNEWS
ReleaseNo.2September21,2005
STATEMENTOFEXECUTIVESECRETARYEDUARDOERMITA
OnUnlawfulMassActions
In view of intelligence reports pointing to credible plans of antigovernment groups to inflame the
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political situation, sow disorder and incite people against the duly constituted authorities, we have
instructed the PNP as well as the local government units to strictly enforce a "no permit, no rally"
policy,dispersegroupsthatrunafoulofthisstandardandarrestallpersonsviolatingthelawsofthe
landaswellasordinancesontheproperconductofmassactionsanddemonstrations.
The rule of calibrated preemptive response is now in force, in lieu of maximum tolerance. The
authorities will not stand aside while those with ill intent are herding a witting or unwitting mass of
peopleandincitingthemintoactionsthatareinimicaltopublicorder,andthepeaceofmindofthe
nationalcommunity.
Unlawful mass actions will be dispersed. The majority of lawabiding citizens have the right to be
protectedbyavigilantandproactivegovernment.
Weappealtothedetractorsofthegovernmenttoengageinlawfulandpeacefulconductbefittingof
ademocraticsociety.
ThePresidentscallforunityandreconciliationstands,basedontheruleoflaw.
PetitionersBayan,etal.,contendthatBatasPambansaNo.880isclearlyaviolationoftheConstitutionandthe
InternationalCovenantonCivilandPoliticalRightsandotherhumanrightstreatiesofwhichthePhilippinesisa
signatory.5
They argue that B.P. No. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the
presenceorabsenceofaclearandpresentdanger.Italsocurtailsthechoiceofvenueandisthusrepugnantto
thefreedomofexpressionclauseasthetimeandplaceofapublicassemblyformpartofthemessageforwhich
theexpressionissought.Furthermore,itisnotcontentneutralasitdoesnotapplytomassactionsinsupportof
thegovernment.Thewords"lawfulcause,""opinion,""protestingorinfluencing"suggesttheexpositionofsome
cause not espoused by the government. Also, the phrase "maximum tolerance" shows that the law applies to
assemblies against the government because they are being tolerated. As a contentbased legislation, it cannot
passthestrictscrutinytest.
PetitionersJessdelPrado,etal.,inturn,arguethatB.P.No.880isunconstitutionalasitisacurtailmentofthe
right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances because it puts a condition for the valid
exerciseofthatright.Italsocharacterizespublicassemblieswithoutapermitasillegalandpenalizesthemand
allowstheirdispersal.Thus,itsprovisionsarenotmereregulationsbutareactuallyprohibitions.
Furthermore,thelawdelegatespowerstotheMayorwithoutprovidingclearstandards.Thetwostandardsstated
inthelaws(clearandpresentdangerandimminentandgravedanger)areinconsistent.
RegardingtheCPRpolicy,itisvoidforbeinganultraviresactthataltersthestandardofmaximumtoleranceset
forthinB.P.No.880,asidefrombeingvoidforbeingvagueandforlackofpublication.
Finally,petitionersKMU,etal.,arguethattheConstitutionsetsnolimitsontherighttoassemblyandtherefore
B.P.No.880cannotputthepriorrequirementofsecuringapermit.Andevenassumingthatthelegislaturecan
setlimitstothisright,thelimitsprovidedareunreasonable:First,allowingtheMayortodenythepermitonclear
andconvincingevidenceofaclearandpresentdangeristoocomprehensive.Second,thefivedayrequirement
toapplyforapermitistoolongascertaineventsrequireinstantpublicassembly,otherwiseinterestontheissue
wouldpossiblywane.
AstotheCPRpolicy,theyarguethatitispreemptive,thatthegovernmenttakesactionevenbeforetherallyists
can perform their act, and that no law, ordinance or executive order supports the policy. Furthermore, it
contravenes the maximum tolerance policy of B.P. No. 880 and violates the Constitution as it causes a chilling
effectontheexercisebythepeopleoftherighttopeaceablyassemble.
RespondentsinG.R.No.169838areEduardoErmita,asExecutiveSecretary,ManilaCityMayorLitoAtienza,
Chief, of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Gen. Arturo Lomibao, National Capital Region Police Office
(NCRPO)Chief,PNPMaj.Gen.VidalQuerol,andManilaPoliceDistrict(MPD)ChiefGen.PedroBulaong.
Respondents in G.R. No. 169848 are Eduardo Ermita as Executive Secretary and in his personal capacity
AngeloReyes,asSecretaryoftheInteriorandLocalGovernmentsArturoLomibao,asChiefVidalQuerol,as
Chief,NCRPOPedroBulaong,asChief,MPD,andallotherpublicofficersandprivateindividualsactingunder
theircontrol,supervisionandinstruction.
Respondents in G.R. No. 169881 are the Honorable Executive Secretary, PNP Director General Arturo
Lomibao,theHonorableMayorJoselitoAtienza,andPNPMPDChiefPedroBulaong.
Respondentsarguethat:
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1. Petitioners have no standing because they have not presented evidence that they had been "injured,
arrested or detained because of the CPR," and that "those arrested stand to be charged with violating
BatasPambansa[No.]880andotheroffenses."
2.NeitherB.P.No.880norCPRisvoidonitsface.Petitionerscannothonestlyclaimthatthetime,place
andmannerregulationembodiedinB.P.No.880violatesthethreeprongedtestforsuchameasure,towit:
(a)B.P.No.880iscontentneutral,i.e.,ithasnoreferencetocontentofregulatedspeech(b)B.P.No.880
is narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, i.e., the interest cannot be equally well
served by a means that is less intrusive of free speech interests and (c) B.P. No. 880 leaves open
alternativechannelsforcommunicationoftheinformation.6
3.B.P.No.880iscontentneutralasseenfromthetextofthelaw.Section5requiresthestatementofthe
public assemblys time, place and manner of conduct. It entails traffic rerouting to prevent grave public
inconvenience and serious or undue interference in the free flow of commerce and trade. Furthermore,
nothing in B.P. No. 880 authorizes the denial of a permit on the basis of a rallys program content or the
statements of the speakers therein, except under the constitutional precept of the "clear and present
dangertest."ThestatusofB.P.No.880asacontentneutralregulationhasbeenrecognizedinOsmeav.
Comelec.7
4.Adiongv.Comelec8heldthatB.P.No.880isacontentneutralregulationofthetime,placeandmanner
of holding public assemblies and the law passes the test for such regulation, namely, these regulations
needonlyasubstantialgovernmentalinteresttosupportthem.
5.Sangalangv.IntermediateAppellateCourt9heldthatalocalchiefexecutivehastheauthoritytoexercise
police power to meet "the demands of the common good in terms of traffic decongestion and public
convenience."Furthermore,thediscretiongiventothemayorisnarrowlycircumscribedbySections5(d),
and6(a),(b),(c),(d),(e),13and15ofthelaw.
6. The standards set forth in the law are not inconsistent. "Clear and convincing evidence that the public
assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public
moralsorpublichealth"and"imminentandgravedangerofasubstantiveevil"bothexpressthemeaningof
the"clearandpresentdangertest."10
7. CPR is simply the responsible and judicious use of means allowed by existing laws and ordinances to
protectpublicinterestandrestorepublicorder.Thus,itisnotaccuratetocallitanewrulebutratheritisa
moreproactiveanddynamicenforcementofexistinglaws,regulationsandordinancestopreventchaosin
thestreets.ItdoesnotreplacetheruleofmaximumtoleranceinB.P.No.880.
RespondentMayorJoselitoAtienza,forhispart,submittedinhisCommentthatthepetitioninG.R.No.169838
should be dismissed on the ground that Republic Act No. 7160 gives the Mayor power to deny a permit
independentlyofB.P.No.880thathisdenialsofpermitswereunderthe"clearandpresentdanger"ruleasthere
wasaclamortostopralliesthatdisrupttheeconomyandtoprotectthelivesofotherpeoplethatJ.B.L.Reyesv.
Bagatsing,11Primiciasv.Fugoso,12andJacintov.CA,13haveaffirmedtheconstitutionalityofrequiringapermit
thatthepermitisfortheuseofapublicplaceandnotfortheexercise of rights and that B.P. No. 880 is not a
contentbasedregulationbecauseitcoversallrallies.
The petitions were ordered consolidated on February 14, 2006. After the submission of all the Comments, the
CourtsetthecasesfororalargumentsonApril4,2006,14statingtheprincipalissues,asfollows:
1. On the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 12 13(a) and 14(a)
thereof,andRepublicActNo.7160:
(a)Arethesecontentneutralorcontentbasedregulations?
(b)Aretheyvoidongroundsofoverbreadthorvagueness?
(c)Dotheyconstitutepriorrestraint?
(d)AretheyunduedelegationsofpowerstoMayors?
(e) Do they violate international human rights treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights?
2.OntheconstitutionalityandlegalityofthepolicyofCalibratedPreemptiveResponse(CPR):
(a)Isthepolicyvoidonitsfaceorduetovagueness?
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(b)Isitvoidforlackofpublication?
(c)IsthepolicyofCPRvoidasappliedtotheralliesofSeptember26andOctober4,5and6,2005?
Duringthecourseoftheoralarguments,thefollowingdevelopmentstookplaceandwereapprovedand/ornoted
bytheCourt:
1.Petitioners,intheinterestofaspeedyresolutionofthepetitions,withdrewtheportionsoftheirpetitions
raising factual issues, particularly those raising the issue of whether B.P. No. 880 and/or CPR is void as
appliedtotheralliesofSeptember20,October4,5and6,2005.
2. The Solicitor General agreed with the observation of the Chief Justice that CPR should no longer be
usedasalegalterminasmuchas,accordingtorespondents,itwasmerelya"catchword"intendedtoclarify
whatwasthoughttobeamisunderstandingofthemaximumtolerancepolicysetforthinB.P.No.880and
that, as stated in the affidavit executed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and submitted to the
Ombudsman,itdoesnotreplaceB.P.No.880andthemaximumtolerancepolicyembodiedinthatlaw.
TheCourtwillnowproceedtoaddresstheprincipalissues,takingintoaccounttheforegoingdevelopments.
Petitionersstandingcannotbeseriouslychallenged.Theirrightascitizenstoengageinpeacefulassemblyand
exercisetherightofpetition,asguaranteedbytheConstitution,isdirectlyaffectedbyB.P.No.880whichrequires
a permit for all who would publicly assemble in the nations streets and parks. They have, in fact, purposely
engagedinpublicassemblieswithouttherequiredpermitstopresstheirclaimthatnosuchpermitcanbevalidly
required without violating the Constitutional guarantee. Respondents, on the other hand, have challenged such
actionascontrarytolawanddispersedthepublicassembliesheldwithoutthepermit.
Section4ofArticleIIIoftheConstitutionprovides:
Sec.4.Nolawshallbepassedabridgingthefreedomofspeech,ofexpression,orofthepress,ortherightofthe
peoplepeaceablytoassembleandpetitionthegovernmentforredressofgrievances.
Thefirstpointtomarkisthattherighttopeaceablyassembleandpetitionforredressofgrievancesis,together
withfreedomofspeech,ofexpression,andofthepress,arightthatenjoysprimacyintherealmofconstitutional
protection.Fortheserightsconstitutetheverybasisofafunctionaldemocraticpolity,withoutwhichalltheother
rightswouldbemeaninglessandunprotected.AsstatedinJacintov.CA,15theCourt,asearlyastheonsetofthis
century,inU.S.v.Apurado,16alreadyupheldtherighttoassemblyandpetition,asfollows:
Thereisnoquestionastothepetitionersrightstopeacefulassemblytopetitionthegovernmentforaredressof
grievancesand,forthatmatter,toorganizeorformassociationsforpurposesnotcontrarytolaw,aswellasto
engageinpeacefulconcertedactivities.TheserightsareguaranteedbynolessthantheConstitution,particularly
Sections 4 and 8 of the Bill of Rights, Section 2(5) of Article IX, and Section 3 of Article XIII. Jurisprudence
aboundswithhallowedpronouncementsdefendingandpromotingthepeoplesexerciseoftheserights.Asearly
astheonsetofthiscentury,thisCourtinU.S.vs.Apurado,alreadyupheldtherighttoassemblyandpetitionand
evenwentasfarastoacknowledge:
"It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the public assembly of the people to protest
against grievances whether real or imaginary, because on such occasions feeling is always wrought to a high
pitchofexcitement,andthegreater,thegrievanceandthemoreintensethefeeling,thelessperfect,asarulewill
bethedisciplinarycontroloftheleadersovertheirirresponsiblefollowers.Butiftheprosecutionbepermittedto
seize upon every instance of such disorderly conduct by individual members of a crowd as an excuse to
characterizetheassemblyasaseditiousandtumultuousrisingagainsttheauthorities,thentherighttoassemble
andtopetitionforredressofgrievanceswouldbecomeadelusionandasnareandtheattempttoexerciseiton
themostrighteousoccasionandinthemostpeaceablemannerwouldexposeallthosewhotookpartthereinto
theseverestandmostunmeritedpunishment,ifthepurposeswhichtheysoughttoattaindidnothappentobe
pleasing to the prosecuting authorities. If instances of disorderly conduct occur on such occasions, the guilty
individualsshouldbesoughtoutandpunishedtherefor,buttheutmostdiscretionmustbeexercisedindrawing
the line between disorderly and seditious conduct and between an essentially peaceable assembly and a
tumultuousuprising."
Again,inPrimiciasv.Fugoso,17theCourtlikewisesustainedtheprimacyoffreedomofspeechandtoassembly
andpetitionovercomfortandconvenienceintheuseofstreetsandparks.
Next, however, it must be remembered that the right, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. In Primicias, this Court
said:
The right to freedom of speech, and to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of
grievances, are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of
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democraticcountries.Butitisasettledprinciplegrowingoutofthenatureofwellorderedcivilsocietiesthatthe
exercise of those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal
enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The power to
regulatetheexerciseofsuchandotherconstitutionalrightsistermedthesovereign"policepower,"whichisthe
power to prescribe regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and
generalwelfareofthepeople.Thissovereignpolicepowerisexercisedbythegovernmentthroughitslegislative
branchbytheenactmentoflawsregulatingthoseandotherconstitutionalandcivilrights,anditmaybedelegated
to political subdivisions, such as towns, municipalities and cities by authorizing their legislative bodies called
municipalandcitycouncilstoenactordinancesforthepurpose.18
Reyesv.Bagatsing19furtherexpoundedontherightanditslimits,asfollows:
1.ItisthusclearthattheCourtiscalledupontoprotecttheexerciseofthecognaterightstofreespeech
andpeacefulassembly,arisingfromthedenialofapermit.TheConstitutionisquiteexplicit:"Nolawshall
be passed abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances." Free speech, like free press, may be
identifiedwiththelibertytodiscusspubliclyandtruthfullyanymatterofpublicconcernwithoutcensorshipor
punishment.Thereistobethennopreviousrestraintonthecommunicationofviewsorsubsequentliability
whetherinlibelsuits,prosecutionforsedition,oractionfordamages,orcontemptproceedingsunlessthere
be a "clear and present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent." Freedom of
assemblyconnotestherightofthepeopletomeetpeaceablyforconsultationanddiscussionofmattersof
publicconcern.Itisentitledtobeaccordedtheutmostdeferenceandrespect.Itisnottobelimited,much
lessdenied,exceptonashowing,asisthecasewithfreedomofexpression,ofaclearandpresentdanger
of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. Even prior to the 1935 Constitution, Justice
Malcolm had occasion to stress that it is a necessary consequence of our republican institutions and
complements the right of free speech. To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge, speaking for the
majorityoftheAmericanSupremeCourtinThomasv.Collins,itwasnotbyaccidentorcoincidencethatthe
rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guarantee with the rights of the
people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. All these rights,
while not identical, are inseparable. In every case, therefore, where there is a limitation placed on the
exercise of this right, the judiciary is called upon to examine the effects of the challenged governmental
actuation. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right, so fundamental to the
maintenanceofdemocraticinstitutions,isthedanger,ofacharacterbothgraveandimminent,ofaserious
eviltopublicsafety,publicmorals,publichealth,oranyotherlegitimatepublicinterest.
2. Nowhere is the rationale that underlies the freedom of expression and peaceable assembly better
expressedthaninthisexcerptfromanopinionofJusticeFrankfurter:"Itmustneverbeforgotten,however,
thattheBillofRightswasthechildoftheEnlightenment.Backoftheguarantyoffreespeechlayfaithinthe
powerofanappealtoreasonbyallthepeacefulmeansforgainingaccesstothemind.Itwasinorderto
avertforceandexplosionsduetorestrictionsuponrationalmodesofcommunicationthattheguarantyof
freespeechwasgivenagenerousscope.Bututteranceinacontextofviolencecanloseitssignificanceas
an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. Such utterance was not meant to be
sheltered by the Constitution." What was rightfully stressed is the abandonment of reason, the utterance,
whether verbal or printed, being in a context of violence. It must always be remembered that this right
likewise provides for a safety valve, allowing parties the opportunity to give vent to their views, even if
contrarytotheprevailingclimateofopinion.Forifthepeacefulmeansofcommunicationcannotbeavailed
of,resorttononpeacefulmeansmaybetheonlyalternative.Noristhisthesolereasonfortheexpression
of dissent. It means more than just the right to be heard of the person who feels aggrieved or who is
dissatisfiedwiththingsastheyare.Itsvaluemaylieinthefactthattheremaybesomethingworthhearing
fromthedissenter.Thatistoensureatruefermentofideas.Thereare,ofcourse,welldefinedlimits.What
is guaranteed is peaceable assembly. One may not advocate disorder in the name of protest, much less
preachrebellionunderthecloakofdissent.TheConstitutionfrownsondisorderortumultattendingarally
orassembly.Resorttoforceisruledoutandoutbreaksofviolencetobeavoided.Theutmostcalmthough
isnotrequired.AspointedoutinanearlyPhilippinecase,pennedin1907tobeprecise,UnitedStatesv.
Apurado:"Itisrathertobeexpectedthatmoreorlessdisorderwillmarkthepublicassemblyofthepeople
to protest against grievances whether real or imaginary, because on such occasions feeling is always
wroughttoahighpitchofexcitement,andthegreaterthegrievanceandthemoreintensethefeeling,the
less perfect, as a rule, will be the disciplinary control of the leaders over their irresponsible followers." It
bearsrepeatingthatfortheconstitutionalrighttobeinvoked,riotousconduct,injurytoproperty,andactsof
vandalismmustbeavoided.Togivefreereintoonesdestructiveurgesistocallforcondemnation.Itisto
makeamockeryofthehighestateoccupiedbyintellectuallibertyinourschemeofvalues.
Therecanbenolegalobjection,absenttheexistenceofaclearandpresentdangerofasubstantiveevil,
onthechoiceofLunetaastheplacewherethepeacerallywouldstart.ThePhilippinesiscommittedtothe
viewexpressedinthepluralityopinion,of1939vintage,ofJusticeRobertsinHaguev.CIO:"Wheneverthe
titleofstreetsandparksmayrest,theyhaveimmemoriallybeenheldintrustfortheuseofthepublicand,
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timeoutofmind,havebeenusedforpurposesofassembly,communicatingthoughtsbetweencitizens,and
discussingpublicquestions.Suchuseofthestreetsandpublicplaceshas,fromancienttimes,beenapart
oftheprivileges,immunities,rightsandlibertiesofcitizens.TheprivilegeofacitizenoftheUnitedStatesto
use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the
interestofallitisnotabsolute,butrelative,andmustbeexercisedinsubordinationtothegeneralcomfort
andconvenience,andinconsonancewithpeaceandgoodorderbutmustnot,intheguiseofregulation,
be abridged or denied." The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Primicias v. Fugoso. Primicias
made explicit what was implicit in Municipality of Cavite v. Rojas, a 1915 decision, where this Court
categoricallyaffirmedthatplazasorparksandstreetsareoutsidethecommerceofmanandthusnullifieda
contract that leased Plaza Soledad of plaintiffmunicipality. Reference was made to such plaza "being a
promenadeforpublicuse,"whichcertainlyisnottheonlypurposethatitcouldserve.Torepeat,therecan
be no valid reason why a permit should not be granted for the proposed march and rally starting from a
publicparkthatistheLuneta.
4.NeithercantherebeanyvalidobjectiontotheuseofthestreetstothegatesoftheUSembassy,hardly
twoblocksawayattheRoxasBoulevard.Primiciasv.Fugosohasresolvedanylurkingdoubtonthematter.
InholdingthatthethenMayorFugosooftheCityofManilashouldgrantapermitforapublicmeetingat
PlazaMirandainQuiapo,thisCourtcategoricallydeclared:"Ourconclusionfindssupportinthedecisionin
the case of Willis Cox v. State of New Hampshire, 312 U.S., 569. In that case, the statute of New
Hampshire P.L. chap. 145, section 2, providing that no parade or procession upon any ground abutting
thereon, shall be permitted unless a special license therefor shall first be obtained from the selectmen of
the town or from licensing committee, was construed by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire as not
conferringuponthelicensingboardunfettereddiscretiontorefusetograntthelicense,andheldvalid.And
the Supreme Court of the United States, in its decision (1941) penned by Chief Justice Hughes affirming
thejudgmentoftheStateSupremeCourt,heldthatastatuterequiringpersonsusingthepublicstreetsfor
a parade or procession to procure a special license therefor from the local authorities is not an
unconstitutional abridgment of the rights of assembly or of freedom of speech and press, where, as the
statute is construed by the state courts, the licensing authorities are strictly limited, in the issuance of
licenses, to a consideration of the time, place, and manner of the parade or procession, with a view to
conservingthepublicconvenienceandofaffordinganopportunitytoprovideproperpolicing,andarenot
invested with arbitrary discretion to issue or refuse license, * * *. "Nor should the point made by Chief
Justice Hughes in a subsequent portion of the opinion be ignored: "Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the
Constitution,implytheexistenceofanorganizedsocietymaintainingpublicorderwithoutwhichlibertyitself
wouldbelostintheexcessesofunrestrictedabuses.Theauthorityofamunicipalitytoimposeregulations
inordertoassurethesafetyandconvenienceofthepeopleintheuseofpublichighwayshasneverbeen
regardedasinconsistentwithcivillibertiesbutratherasoneofthemeansofsafeguardingthegoodorder
upon which they ultimately depend. The control of travel on the streets of cities is the most familiar
illustration of this recognition of social need. Where a restriction of the use of highways in that relation is
designedtopromotethepublicconvenienceintheinterestofall,itcannotbedisregardedbytheattempted
exerciseofsomecivilrightwhichinothercircumstanceswouldbeentitledtoprotection."
xxx
6. x x x The principle under American doctrines was given utterance by Chief Justice Hughes in these
words:"Thequestion,iftherightsoffreespeechandpeaceableassemblyaretobepreserved,isnotasto
theauspicesunderwhichthemeetingisheldbutastoitspurposenotastotherelationsofthespeakers,
but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of the freedom of speech which the Constitution
protects." There could be danger to public peace and safety if such a gathering were marked by
turbulence.Thatwoulddepriveitofitspeacefulcharacter.Eventhen,onlytheguiltypartiesshouldbeheld
accountable. It is true that the licensing official, here respondent Mayor, is not devoid of discretion in
determining whether or not a permit would be granted. It is not, however, unfettered discretion. While
prudence requires that there be a realistic appraisal not of what may possibly occur but of what may
probably occur, given all the relevant circumstances, still the assumption especially so where the
assemblyisscheduledforaspecificpublicplaceisthatthepermitmustbefortheassemblybeingheld
there.Theexerciseofsucharight,inthelanguageofJusticeRoberts,speakingfortheAmericanSupreme
Court,isnottobe"abridgedonthepleathatitmaybeexercisedinsomeotherplace."
xxx
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing
authorityofthedate,thepublicplacewhereandthetimewhenitwilltakeplace.Ifitwereaprivateplace,
onlytheconsentoftheownerortheoneentitledtoitslegalpossessionisrequired.Suchapplicationshould
befiledwellaheadintimetoenablethepublicofficialconcernedtoappraisewhethertheremaybevalid
objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable
condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger test be the standard for the
decisionreached.Ifheisoftheviewthatthereissuchanimminentandgravedangerofasubstantiveevil,
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theapplicantsmustbeheardonthematter.Thereafter,hisdecision,whetherfavorableoradverse,must
betransmittedtothemattheearliestopportunity.Thusifsominded,theycanhaverecoursetotheproper
judicial authority. Free speech and peaceable assembly, along with the other intellectual freedoms, are
highlyrankedinourschemeofconstitutionalvalues.Itcannotbetoostronglystressedthatonthejudiciary,
even more so than on the other departments rests the grave and delicate responsibility of assuring
respectforanddeferencetosuchpreferredrights.Noverbalformula,nosanctifyingphrasecan,ofcourse,
dispense with what has been so felicitiously termed by Justice Holmes "as the sovereign prerogative of
judgment."Nonetheless,thepresumptionmustbetoinclinetheweightofthescalesofjusticeonthesideof
suchrights,enjoyingastheydoprecedenceandprimacy.xxx.
B.P.No.880wasenactedafterthisCourtrendereditsdecisioninReyes.
TheprovisionsofB.P.No.880practicallycodifytherulinginReyes:
Reyesv.Bagatsing

B.P.No.880

(G.R.No.L65366,November9,1983,

Sec. 4. Permit when required and when not


required. A written permit shall be required for
any person or persons to organize and hold a
public assembly in a public place. However, no
permit shall be required if the public assembly
shall be done or made in a freedom park duly
established by law or ordinance or in private
property, in which case only the consent of the
ownerortheoneentitledtoitslegalpossessionis
required, or in the campus of a government
owned and operated educational institution which
shall be subject to the rules and regulations of
said educational institution. Political meetings or
rallies held during any election campaign period
asprovidedforbylawarenotcoveredbythisAct.

125SCRA553,569)
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a
permit to hold an assembly should inform the
licensing authority of the date, the public place
where and the time when it will take place. If it
were a private place, only the consent of the
ownerortheoneentitledtoitslegalpossessionis
required. Such application should be filed well
ahead in time to enable the public official
concernedtoappraisewhethertheremaybevalid
objectionstothegrantofthepermitortoitsgrant
but at another public place. It is an indispensable
condition to such refusal or modification that the
clearandpresentdangertestbethestandardfor
thedecisionreached.Ifheisoftheviewthatthere
is such an imminent and grave danger of a
substantive evil, the applicants must be heard on
the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether
favorableoradverse,mustbetransmittedtothem
attheearliestopportunity.Thusifsominded,they
canhaverecoursetotheproperjudicialauthority.

Sec.5.Applicationrequirements.Allapplications
for a permit shall comply with the following
guidelines:
(a) The applications shall be in writing and
shall include the names of the leaders or
organizers the purpose of such public
assembly the date, time and duration
thereof,andplaceorstreetstobeusedfor
the intended activity and the probable
number of persons participating, the
transportandthepublicaddresssystemsto
beused.
(b) The application shall incorporate the
duty and responsibility of applicant under
Section8hereof.
(c) The application shall be filed with the
officeofthemayorofthecityormunicipality
in whose jurisdiction the intended activity is
to be held, at least five (5) working days
beforethescheduledpublicassembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, which
must be duly acknowledged in writing, the
office of the city or municipal mayor shall
causethesametoimmediatelybepostedat
aconspicuousplaceinthecityormunicipal
building.
Sec.6.Actiontobetakenontheapplication.
(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any

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official acting in his behalf to issue or grant


a permit unless there is clear and
convincing evidence that the public
assembly will create a clear and present
danger to public order, public safety, public
convenience,publicmoralsorpublichealth.
(b) The mayor or any official acting in his
behalfshallactontheapplicationwithintwo
(2) working days from the date the
application was filed, failing which, the
permitshallbedeemedgranted.Shouldfor
any reason the mayor or any official acting
inhisbehalfrefusetoaccepttheapplication
forapermit,saidapplicationshallbeposted
by the applicant on the premises of the
officeofthemayorandshallbedeemedto
havebeenfiled.
(c) If the mayor is of the view that there is
imminentandgravedangerofasubstantive
evil warranting the denial or modification of
the permit, he shall immediately inform the
applicantwhomustbeheardonthematter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in
writing and served on the applica[nt] within
twentyfourhours.
(e) If the mayor or any official acting in his
behalfdeniestheapplicationormodifiesthe
terms thereof in his permit, the applicant
may contest the decision in an appropriate
courtoflaw.
(f) In case suit is brought before the
MetropolitanTrialCourt,theMunicipalTrial
Court, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the
Regional Trial Court, or the Intermediate
Appellate Court, its decisions may be
appealed to the appropriate court within
fortyeight (48) hours after receipt of the
same. No appeal bond and record on
appeal shall be required. A decision
grantingsuchpermitormodifyingitinterms
satisfactory to the applicant shall be
immediatelyexecutory.
(g)Allcasesfiledincourtunderthissection
shall be decided within twentyfour (24)
hours from date of filing. Cases filed
hereundershallbeimmediatelyendorsedto
theexecutivejudgefordispositionor,inhis
absence,tothenextinrank.
(h) In all cases, any decision may be
appealedtotheSupremeCourt.
(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by
formalappealsareherebyallowed.

Itisveryclear,therefore,thatB.P.No.880isnotanabsolutebanofpublicassembliesbutarestrictionthatsimply
regulatesthetime,placeandmanneroftheassemblies.ThiswasadvertedtoinOsmeav.Comelec,20 where
the Court referred to it as a "contentneutral" regulation of the time, place, and manner of holding public
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assemblies.21
AfairandimpartialreadingofB.P.No.880thusreadilyshowsthatitreferstoallkindsofpublicassemblies22that
would use public places. The reference to "lawful cause" does not make it contentbased because assemblies
reallyhavetobeforlawfulcauses,otherwisetheywouldnotbe"peaceable"andentitledtoprotection.Neitherare
the words "opinion," "protesting" and "influencing" in the definition of public assembly content based, since they
canrefertoanysubject.Thewords"petitioningthegovernmentforredressofgrievances"comefromthewording
oftheConstitution,soitsusecannotbeavoided.Finally,maximumtoleranceisfortheprotectionandbenefitof
allrallyistsandisindependentofthecontentoftheexpressionsintherally.
Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present danger to public order, public
safety, public convenience, public morals or public health. This is a recognized exception to the exercise of the
rightevenundertheUniversalDeclarationofHumanRightsandtheInternationalCovenantonCivilandPolitical
Rights,thus:
UniversalDeclarationofHumanRights
Article20
1.Everyonehastherighttofreedomofpeacefulassemblyandassociation.
xxx
Article29
1.Everyonehasdutiestothecommunityinwhichalonethefreeandfulldevelopmentofhispersonalityis
possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are
determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and
freedomsofothersandofmeetingthejustrequirementsofmorality,publicorderandthegeneralwelfarein
ademocraticsociety.
3.Theserightsandfreedomsmayinnocasebeexercisedcontrarytothepurposesandprinciplesofthe
UnitedNations.
TheInternationalCovenantonCivilandPoliticalRights
Article19.
1.Everyoneshallhavetherighttoholdopinionswithoutinterference.
2.Everyoneshallhavetherighttofreedomofexpressionthisrightshallincludefreedomtoseek,receive
andimpartinformationandideasofallkinds,regardlessoffrontiers,eitherorally,inwritingorinprint,inthe
formofart,orthroughanyothermediaofhischoice.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and
responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are
providedbylawandarenecessary:
(a)Forrespectoftherightsorreputationsofothers
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or
morals.
Contrarytopetitionersclaim,thelawisveryclearandisnowherevagueinitsprovisions."Public"doesnothave
tobedefined.Itsordinarymeaningiswellknown.WebstersDictionarydefinesit,thus:23
public,n,xxx2a:anorganizedbodyofpeoplexxx3:agroupofpeopledistinguishedbycommoninterestsor
characteristicsxxx.
Not every expression of opinion is a public assembly. The law refers to "rally, demonstration, march, parade,
processionoranyotherformofmassorconcertedactionheldinapublicplace."Soitdoesnotcoveranyandall
kindsofgatherings.
Neitheristhelawoverbroad.Itregulatestheexerciseoftherighttopeacefulassemblyandpetitiononlytothe
extentneededtoavoidaclearandpresentdangerofthesubstantiveevilsCongresshastherighttoprevent.
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Thereis,likewise,nopriorrestraint,sincethecontentofthespeechisnotrelevanttotheregulation.
Astothedelegationofpowerstothemayor,thelawprovidesapreciseandsufficientstandardtheclearand
present danger test stated in Sec. 6(a). The reference to "imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil" in
Sec. 6(c) substantially means the same thing and is not an inconsistent standard. As to whether respondent
Mayor has the same power independently under Republic Act No. 716024 is thus not necessary to resolve in
theseproceedings,andwasnotpursuedbythepartiesintheirarguments.
Finally,forthosewhocannotwait,Section15ofthelawprovidesforanalternativeforumthroughthecreationof
freedomparkswherenopriorpermitisneededforpeacefulassemblyandpetitionatanytime:
Sec.15.Freedomparks.Everycityandmunicipalityinthecountryshallwithinsixmonthsaftertheeffectivityof
thisActestablishordesignateatleastonesuitable"freedompark"ormallintheirrespectivejurisdictionswhich,
asfaraspracticable,shallbecentrallylocatedwithinthepoblacionwheredemonstrationsandmeetingsmaybe
heldatanytimewithouttheneedofanypriorpermit.
In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks
withintheperiodofsixmonthsfromtheeffectivitythisAct.
Thisbringsupthepoint,however,ofcompliancewiththisprovision.
The Solicitor General stated during the oral arguments that, to his knowledge, only Cebu City has declared a
freedomparkFuenteOsmea.
ThatofManila,theSunkenGardens,hassincebeenconvertedintoagolfcourse,headded.
If this is so, the degree of observance of B.P. No. 880s mandate that every city and municipality set aside a
freedom park within six months from its effectivity in 1985, or 20 years ago, would be pathetic and regrettable.
The matter appears to have been taken for granted amidst the swell of freedom that rose from the peaceful
revolutionof1986.
Consideringthattheexistenceofsuchfreedomparksisanessentialpartofthelawssystemofregulationofthe
peoplesexerciseoftheirrighttopeacefullyassembleandpetition,theCourtisconstrainedtorulethatafterthirty
(30)daysfromthefinalityofthisDecision,nopriorpermitmayberequiredfortheexerciseofsuchrightinany
publicparkorplazaofacityormunicipalityuntilthatcityormunicipalityshallhavecompliedwithSection15ofthe
law.Forwithoutsuchalternativeforum,todenythepermitwouldineffectbetodenytheright.Advancenotices
should,however,begiventotheauthoritiestoensurepropercoordinationandorderlyproceedings.
TheCourtnowcomestothematteroftheCPR.Asstatedearlier,theSolicitorGeneralhasconcededthattheuse
ofthetermshouldnowbediscontinued,sinceitdoesnotmeananythingotherthanthemaximumtolerancepolicy
set forth in B.P. No. 880. This is stated in the Affidavit of respondent Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,
submittedbytheSolicitorGeneral,thus:
14. The truth of the matter is the policy of "calibrated preemptive response" is in consonance with the legal
definitionof"maximumtolerance"underSection3(c)ofB.P.Blg.880,whichisthe"highestdegreeofrestraint
that the military, police and other peacekeeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the
dispersal of the same." Unfortunately, however, the phrase "maximum tolerance" has acquired a different
meaning over the years. Many have taken it to mean inaction on the part of law enforcers even in the face of
mayhemandseriousthreatstopublicorder.Moreso,otherfeltthattheyneednotbothersecureapermitwhen
holding rallies thinking this would be "tolerated." Clearly, the popular connotation of "maximum tolerance" has
departedfromitsrealessenceunderB.P.Blg.880.
15.Itshouldbeemphasizedthatthepolicyofmaximumtoleranceisprovidedunderthesamelawwhichrequires
allpubicassembliestohaveapermit,whichallowsthedispersalofrallieswithoutapermit,andwhichrecognizes
certain instances when water cannons may be used. This could only mean that "maximum tolerance" is not in
conflict with a "no permit, no rally policy" or with the dispersal and use of water cannons under certain
circumstancesforindeed,themaximumamountoftolerancerequiredisdependentonhowpeacefulorunrulya
massactionis.Ourlawenforcersshouldcalibratetheirresponsebasedonthecircumstancesonthegroundwith
theviewtopreemptingtheoutbreakofviolence.
16. Thus, when I stated that calibrated preemptive response is being enforced in lieu of maximum tolerance I
clearly was not referring to its legal definition but to the distorted and much abused definition that it has now
acquired. I only wanted to disabuse the minds of the public from the notion that law enforcers would shirk their
responsibility of keeping the peace even when confronted with dangerously threatening behavior. I wanted to
sendamessagethatwewouldnolongerbelaxinenforcingthelawbutwouldhenceforthfollowittotheletter.
ThusIsaid,"wehaveinstructedthePNPaswellasthelocalgovernmentunitstostrictlyenforceanopermit,no
rallypolicy...arrestallpersonsviolatingthelawsoftheland...unlawfulmassactionswillbedispersed."None
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oftheseisatloggerheadswiththeletterandspiritofBatasPambansaBlg.880.Itisthusabsurdforcomplainants
toevenclaimthatIorderedmycorespondentstoviolateanylaw.25
At any rate, the Court rules that in view of the maximum tolerance mandated by B.P. No. 880, CPR serves no
valid purpose if it means the same thing as maximum tolerance and is illegal if it means something else.
Accordingly,whatistobefollowedisandshouldbethatmandatedbythelawitself,namely,maximumtolerance,
whichspecificallymeansthefollowing:
Sec.3.Definitionofterms.ForpurposesofthisAct:
xxx
(c)"Maximumtolerance"meansthehighestdegreeofrestraintthatthemilitary,policeandotherpeacekeeping
authoritiesshallobserveduringapublicassemblyorinthedispersalofthesame.
xxx
Sec.9.Noninterferencebylawenforcementauthorities.Lawenforcementagenciesshallnotinterferewiththe
holdingofapublicassembly.However,toadequatelyensurepublicsafety,alawenforcementcontingentunder
thecommandofaresponsiblepoliceofficermaybedetailedandstationedinaplaceatleastonehundred(100)
metersawayfromtheareaofactivityreadytomaintainpeaceandorderatalltimes.
Sec. 10. Police assistance when requested. It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies, when their
assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their
responsibilitytoprovideproperprotectiontothoseexercisingtheirrightpeaceablytoassembleandthefreedom
ofexpressionisprimordial. Towardsthisend,lawenforcementagenciesshallobservethefollowingguidelines:
1 a v v p h il.n e t

(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete
uniformwiththeirnameplatesandunitstowhichtheybelongdisplayedprominentlyonthefrontanddorsal
partsoftheiruniformandmustobservethepolicyof"maximumtolerance"ashereindefined
(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be
equippedwithbatonorriotsticks,shields,crashhelmetswithvisor,gasmasks,bootsoranklehighshoes
withshinguards
(c)Teargas,smokegrenades,watercannons,oranysimilarantiriotdeviceshallnotbeusedunlessthe
public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of
property.
Sec. 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit. No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed.
However,whenanassemblybecomesviolent,thepolicemaydispersesuchpublicassemblyasfollows:
(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call
theattentionoftheleadersofthepublicassemblyandaskthelattertopreventanypossibledisturbance
(b)Ifactualviolencestartstoapointwhererocksorotherharmfulobjectsfromtheparticipantsarethrown
at the police or at the nonparticipants, or at any property causing damage to such property, the ranking
officerofthelawenforcementcontingentshallaudiblywarntheparticipantsthatifthedisturbancepersists,
thepublicassemblywillbedispersed
(c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or
abate,therankingofficerofthelawenforcementcontingentshallaudiblyissueawarningtotheparticipants
ofthepublicassembly,andafterallowingareasonableperiodoftimetolapse,shallimmediatelyorderitto
forthwithdisperse
(d)Noarrestofanyleader,organizerorparticipantshallalsobemadeduringthepublicassemblyunless
heviolatesduringtheassemblyalaw,statute,ordinanceoranyprovisionofthisAct.Sucharrestshallbe
governedbyArticle125oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamended
(d) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the public assembly shall not
constituteagroundfordispersal.
xxx
Sec.12.Dispersalofpublicassemblywithoutpermit.Whenthepublicassemblyisheldwithoutapermitwherea
permitisrequired,thesaidpublicassemblymaybepeacefullydispersed.
Sec.13.Prohibitedacts.ThefollowingshallconstituteviolationsoftheAct:
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(e)Obstructing,impeding,disruptingorotherwisedenyingtheexerciseoftherighttopeacefulassembly
(f)Theunnecessaryfiringoffirearmsbyamemberofanylawenforcementagencyoranypersontodispersethe
publicassembly
(g)Actsdescribedhereunderifcommittedwithinonehundred(100)metersfromtheareaofactivityofthepublic
assemblyorontheoccasionthereof:
xxx
4.thecarryingoffirearmsbymembersofthelawenforcementunit
5.theinterferingwithorintentionallydisturbingtheholdingofapublicassemblybytheuseofamotorvehicle,its
hornsandloudsoundsystems.
Furthermore, there is need to address the situation adverted to by petitioners where mayors do not act on
applicationsforapermitandwhenthepolicedemandapermitandtherallyistscouldnotproduceone,therallyis
immediatelydispersed.Insuchasituation,asanecessaryconsequenceandpartofmaximumtolerance,rallyists
who can show the police an application duly filed on a given date can, after two days from said date, rally in
accordancewiththeirapplicationwithouttheneedtoshowapermit,thegrantofthepermitbeingthenpresumed
underthelaw,anditwillbetheburdenoftheauthoritiestoshowthattherehasbeenadenialoftheapplication,
inwhichcasetherallymaybepeacefullydispersedfollowingtheprocedureofmaximumtoleranceprescribedby
thelaw.
Insum,thisCourtreiteratesitsbasicpolicyofupholdingthefundamentalrightsofourpeople,especiallyfreedom
of expression and freedom of assembly. In several policy addresses, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban has
repeatedly vowed to uphold the liberty of our people and to nurture their prosperity. He said that "in cases
involvingliberty,thescalesofjusticeshouldweighheavilyagainstthegovernmentandinfavorofthepoor,the
oppressed,themarginalized,thedispossessedandtheweak.Indeed,lawsandactionsthatrestrictfundamental
rightscometothecourtswithaheavypresumptionagainsttheirvalidity.Theselawsandactionsaresubjectedto
heightenedscrutiny."26
Forthisreason,thesocalledcalibratedpreemptiveresponsepolicyhasnoplaceinourlegalfirmamentandmust
bestruckdownasadarknessthatshroudsfreedom.Itmerelyconfusesourpeopleandisusedbysomepolice
agentstojustifyabuses.Ontheotherhand,B.P.No.880cannotbecondemnedasunconstitutionalitdoesnot
curtailorundulyrestrictfreedomsitmerelyregulatestheuseofpublicplacesastothetime,placeandmannerof
assemblies.Farfrombeinginsidious,"maximumtolerance"isforthebenefitofrallyists,notthegovernment.The
delegationtothemayorsofthepowertoissuerally"permits"isvalidbecauseitissubjecttotheconstitutionally
sound"clearandpresentdanger"standard.
In this Decision, the Court goes even one step further in safeguarding liberty by giving local governments a
deadlineof30dayswithinwhichtodesignatespecificfreedomparksasprovidedunderB.P.No.880.If,afterthat
period,nosuchparksaresoidentifiedinaccordancewithSection15ofthelaw,allpublicparksandplazasofthe
municipalityorcityconcernedshallineffectbedeemedfreedomparksnopriorpermitofwhateverkindshallbe
requiredtoholdanassemblytherein.Theonlyrequirementwillbewrittennoticestothepoliceandthemayors
officetoallowpropercoordinationandorderlyactivities.
WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more particularly the Secretary of the
Interior and Local Governments, are DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the immediate compliance with
Section15ofBatasPambansaNo.880throughtheestablishmentordesignationofatleastonesuitablefreedom
parkorplazaineverycityandmunicipalityofthecountry.Afterthirty(30)daysfromthefinalityofthisDecision,
subject to the giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be required to exercise the right to peaceably
assembleandpetitioninthepublicparksorplazasofacityormunicipalitythathasnotyetcompliedwithSection
15ofthelaw.Furthermore,CalibratedPreemptiveResponse(CPR),insofarasitwouldpurporttodifferfromor
beinlieuofmaximumtolerance,isNULLandVOIDandrespondentsareENJOINEDtoREFRAINfromusingit
andtoSTRICTLYOBSERVEtherequirementsofmaximumtolerance.ThepetitionsareDISMISSEDinallother
respects,andtheconstitutionalityofBatasPambansaNo.880isSUSTAINED.
Nocosts.
SOORDERED.
ADOLFOS.AZCUNA
AssociateJustice
WECONCUR:

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ARTEMIOV.PANGANIBAN
ChiefJustice
(OnLeave)
REYNATOS.PUNO
AssociateJustice

LEONARDOA.QUISUMBING
AsscociateJustice

CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice

ANGELINASANDOVALGUTIERREZ
AsscociateJustice

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice

MA.ALICIAAUSTRIAMARTINEZ
AsscociateJustice

RENATOC.CORONA
AssociateJustice

CONCHITACARPIOMORALES
AsscociateJustice

ROMEOJ.CALLEJO,SR.
AssociateJustice

DANTEO.TINGA
AsscociateJustice

MINITAV.CHICONAZARIO
AssociateJustice

CANCIOC.GARCIA
AsscociateJustice

PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
DecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecaseswereassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt.
ARTEMIOV.PANGANIBAN
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1 Petition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order filed by

Bayan, Karapatan, Kilusang Magbubukid Ng Pilipinas (KMP), COURAGE, GABRIELA, Fr. Jose A. Dizon,
RenatoConstantino,Jr.,FroyelYaneza,andFahimaTajar.
2PetitionforProhibition,Injunction,RestrainingOrderandotherJustandEquitableReliefsfiledbyJessDel

Prado,WilsonFortaleza,LeodydeGuzman,PedroPinlac,CarmelitaMorante,RastiDelizo,PaulBangay,
Marie Jo Ocampo, Lilia dela Cruz, Cristeta Ramos, Adelaida Ramos, Mary Grace Gonzales, Michael
Torres, Rendo Sabusap, Precious Balute, Roxanne Magboo, Ernie Bautista, Joseph de Jesus, Margarita
Escober,DjoannalynJanier,MagdalenaSellote,MannyQuiazon,EricsonDizon,NenitaCruzat,Leonardo
DelosReyes,PedritoFadrigon.
3 Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for Issuance of Restraining Order filed by

Kilusang Mayo Uno, represented by its Chairperson Elmer C. Labog and Secretary General Joel
Maglunsod,NationalFederationofLaborUnionsKilusangMayoUno(NAFLUKMU),representedbyits
National President, Joselito V. Ustarez, Antonio C. Pascual, Salvador T. Carranza, Gilda Sumilang,
FranciscoLastrella,andRoqueM.Tan.
4PetitionerGildaSumilang.
5Petition,G.R.No.169838,p.29.
6CitingAdiongv.CommissiononElections,207SCRA712(1992)UnitedStatesv.OBrien,391U.S.367,
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20L.Ed.2d672(1968)seeR.D.Rotunda,etal.,TREATISEONCONSTITUTIONALLAW:SUBSTANCE
AND PROCEDURE (1986) citing Clark v. Community for Creative NonViolence, 468 U.S. 288, 104 S.Ct.
3065,82L.Ed.2d221(1984).
7G.R.No.132231,March31,1998,288SCRA447.
8G.R.No.103956,March31,1992,207SCRA712.
9G.R.No.71169,August25,1989,176SCRA719.
10CitingIglesianiCristov.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.119673,July26,1996,259SCRA529.
11G.R.No.L65366,November9,1983,125SCRA553.
1280Phil.71(1948).
13G.R.No.124540,November14,1997.
14ResolutiondatedMarch28,2006.
15346Phil.665666(1997).
167Phil.422(1907).
1780Phil.71(1948).
18Ibidat7576(Emphasissupplied).
19G.R.No.L65366,November9,1983,125SCRA553.
20G.R.No.132231,March31,1998,288SCRA447.
21Ibid,p.478.
22Exceptpicketingandotherconcertedactioninstrikeareasbyworkersandemployeesresultingfroma

labordispute,whicharegovernedbytheLaborCodeandotherlaborlawspoliticalmeetingorralliesheld
duringanyelectioncampaignperiod,whicharegovernedbytheElectionCodeandotherelectionrelated
laws and public assemblies in the campus of a governmentowned and operated educational institution,
whichshallbesubjecttotherulesandregulationsofsaideducationalinstitution.(Sec.3[a]andSec.4of
B.P.No.880).
23 WEBSTERS THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

UNABRIDGED(1993Ed).,p.1836.
24TheLocalGovernmentCode.Specifically,Section16statingthegeneralwelfareclause,thus:

Sec. 16. General Welfare. Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly
granted,thosenecessarilyimpliedtherefrom,aswellaspowersnecessary,appropriate,orincidental
for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the
general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure
and support among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and
safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the
development of appropriate and selfreliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public
morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their
residents,maintainpeaceandorder,andpreservethecomfortandconvenienceoftheirinhabitants.
25RespondentsConsolidatedMemorandum,pp.3031(Emphasissuppliedbyrespondents).
26ChiefJusticeArtemioV.Panganiban,LibertyandProsperity,February15,2006.
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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