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No. L-32096. October 24, 1970.

- Romeo Edu - Land Transportation Commissioner
Teddy C. Galo
Ponente: Fernando, J
Action: Certiorari and prohibition of a CFI
Petitioner Edu asks the court to rule on the
constitutionality of the Reflector Law, as
well as set aside the respondent CFI
judges 2 preliminary injunctions against
the Administrative Order that Edu issued
in relation to the Reflector Law.
A petition for certiorari and prohibition was
brought to the CFI be herein respondent
Teddy Galo in May 1970, who is assailing
the validity of the law and the AO on the
basis of a violation of due process and
nondelegation, and that it is an invalid
exercise of police power. He also posited
that AO 2 was an undue exercise of
legislative power.
"(g) Lights and reflector when parked or
disabled.Appropriate parking lights or flares
visible one hundred meters away shall be
displayed at a corner of the vehicle whenever
such vehicle is parked on highways or in places
that are not well-lighted or is placed in such
manner as to endanger passing traffic.
Furthermore, every motor vehicle shall be
provided at all times with built-in reflectors or
other similar warning devices either pasted,
painted or attached at its front and back which
shall likewise be visible at night at least one
hundred meters away. No vehicle not provided
with any of the requirements mentioned in this
subsection shall be registered.
1. Whether it would be proper for this Court
to resolve the issue of the constitutionality
of the Reflector Law yes
2. Whether the Reflector Law and its
implementing AO are constitutional - yes
1. Since the special civil action for certiorari
and prohibition filed by him before
respondent Judge would seek a
declaration of nullity of such enactment by
the attribution of the violation on the face
thereof of the due process guarantee in
the deprivation of property rights, it would
follow that there is sufficient basis for us
to determine which view should prevail.

- the question of validity is ripe for

determination, There is a great public
interest, as was mentioned, to be served
by the final disposition of such crucial
2. It is thus obvious that the challenged
statute is a legislation enacted under the
police power to promote public safety.
Calalang v. Williams - identified police power with
state authority to enact legislation that may
interfere with personal liberty or property in order
to promote the general welfare. Persons and
property could thus be subjected to all kinds of
restraints and burdens in order to secure the
general comfort, health and prosperity of the
Primicias v. Fugoso - the power to prescribe
regulations to promote the health, morals, peace,
education, good order or safety, and general
welfare of the people.
Justice Malcolm - that inherent and plenary
power in the State which enables it to prohibit all
things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare
of society
- the most essential, insistent, and at least
illimitable of powers; extends to all the great
public needs
- ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the
times, even to anticipate the future where it could
be done, provides enough room for an efficient
and flexible response to conditions and
circumstances thus assuring the greatest
Justice Cardozo - Needs that were narrow or
parochial in the past may be interwoven in the
present with the well-being of the nation. What is
critical or urgent changes with the time.
- a dynamic agency, suitably vague and far from
precisely defined
- It would be to close ones eyes to the hazards of
traffic in the evening to condemn a statute of this
- The statute assailed is not infected with
arbitrariness. It is not the product of whim or
caprice. It is far from oppressive. It is a legitimate
response to a felt public need.
- Galo relies on Laissez-faire
- For a long time, legislation tending to reduce
economic inequality foundered on the rock that
was the due process clause, enshrining as it did
the liberty of contract, based on such a basic

Justice Malcolm - The doctrines of laissez-faire

and of unrestricted freedom of the individual, as
axioms of economic and political theory, are of
the past. The modern period has shown a
widespread belief in the amplest possible
demonstration of government activity. The Courts
unfortunately have sometimes seemed to trail
after the other two branches of the Government
in this progressive march Rubi v. Provincial
Board of Mindoro
PEOPLE V. POMAR - a 1924 decision, which held
invalid under the due process clause a provision
providing for maternity leave with pay thirty days
before and thirty days after confinement could be
cited to show that such a principle (laissez faire)
did have its day.
the 1935 Constitutional Convention saw to it
that the concept of laissez-faire was rejected. It
entrusted to our government the responsibility of
coping with social and economic problems with
the commensurate power of control over
economic affairs. Thereby it could live up to its
commitment to promote the general welfare
through state action.
during the Commonwealth era, no
constitutional infirmity was found to have
attached to legislation covering such subjects as
collective bargaining, security of tenure,23
minimum wages,24 compulsory arbitration,25 the
regulation of tenancy26 as well as the issuance of
securities,27 and control of public services
provisions from AO 2: No motor vehicles of
whatever style, kind, make, class or denomination
shall be registered if not equipped with reflectors.
Such reflectors shall either be factory built-inreflector, commercial glass reflectors,
reflectionized tape or luminous paint. The
luminosity shall have an intensity to be
maintained visible and clean at all times such
that if struck by a beam of light shall be visible
100 meters away at night.
Glass reflectorsNot less than 3 inches in
diameter or not less than 3 inches square;
Reflectorized TapeAt least 3 inches wide and 12
inches long. The painted or taped area may be
bigger at the discretion of the vehicle owner."
there shall be installed, pasted or painted four
reflectors on each side of the motor vehicle
parallel to those installed, pasted or painted in
front and those in the rear end of the body
thereof.38 The color required of each reflectors,
whether built-in, commercial glass, reflectorized
tape or reflectorized paint placed in the front part
of any motor vehicle shall be amber or yellow and
those placed on the sides and in the rear shall all
be red
- refuse or suspend registration for violation
Reflector law is an amendment of RA 4136

separation of powers - Congress may not

delegate its legislative power to the two other
branches of the government, subject to the
exception that local governments may over local
affairs participate in its exercise
What cannot be delegated is the authority
under the Constitution to make laws and to alter
and repeal them; the test is the completeness of
the statute in all its term and provisions when it
leaves the hands of the legislature.
To determine whether or not there is an undue
delegation of legislative power, the inquiry must
be directed to the scope and definiteness of the
measure enacted = what job must be done, who
is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority
To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there
must be a standard, which implies at the very
least that the legislature itself determines
matters of principle and lays down fundamental
- standard may be express or implied
In the Reflector Law, clearly the legislative
objective is public safety; safe transit upon the
Justice J.B.L. Reyes in People vs. Exconde: - It is
well established in this jurisdiction that, while the
making of laws is a non-delegable activity that
corresponds exclusively to Congress,
nevertheless the latter may constitutionally
delegate authority to promulgate rules and
regulations to implement a given legislation and
effectuate its policies, for the reason that the
legislature often finds it impracticable (if not
impossible) to anticipate and provide for the
multifarious and complex situations that may be
met in carrying the law into effect. All that is
required is that the regulation should be germane
to the objects and purposes of the law; that the
regulation be not in contradiction with it; but
conform to the standards that the law prescribes
It is one thing to delegate the power to
determine what the law shall be, and another
thing to delegate the authority to fix the details in
the execution of enforcement of a policy set out
in the law itself.
the Reflector Law is construed together with the
Land Transportation Code
WHEREFORE, the writs of certiorari and
prohibition prayed for are granted, the orders of
May 28, 1970 of respondent Judge for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, the
writ of preliminary injunction of June 1, 1970 and
his order of June 9, 1970 denying reconsideration
are annulled and set aside. Respondent Judge is
likewise directed to dismiss the petition for
certiorari and prohibition filed by respondent
Teddy C. Galo, there being no cause of action as
the Reflector Law and Administrative Order No. 2

of petitioner have not been shown to be tainted

by invalidity. Without pronouncement as to costs.
Edu v Ericta reiterates the settled rule of the
preference of the principle of police power due
process clause over the doctrine of Laissez faire
in matters where the promotion of general
welfare is concerned.
Police power
the power to prescribe regulations to promote
the health, morals, education, good order or
safety, and general welfare of the people
born out of the early conflict between the
Federal government and the several states of the
United States in the exercise of their respective
powers under the United States Constitution
The term became understood to be the right of
the State to provide regulations to promote the
morals, safety, and convenience of the
Power of the government inherent in every
sovereign body or power to govern men and
the power vested in the legislature by the
constitution to make, ordain, and establish all
manner of wholesome and reasonable laws,
statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or
without, not repugnant to the constitution as they
shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the
State and subject the same
2 maxims as basis
Sic utere tuo, ut alienum non laedas
(Use your own property in such a manner as not
to injure that of another
Salus populi suprema est lex (The
welfare of the people is the supreme law.
Laissez-faire - doctrine that government should
not interfere with commerce. The principle arose
during the Industrial Revolution.
the American Bar Association was responsible
for the writing of the doctrine in the American
Constitution slaughter house cases
- the word liberty, as used in the 14th
Amendment intended to protect the freedom of
contract of adults in the ordinary employment,
especially when viewed from would be employers
the State cannot be deprived of its right to
exercise this power
to be deprived of the right to enact laws to
promote the general prosperity and welfare of its
inhabitants, and to promote public health, public
safety, or the public morals would be to destroy
the very purpose and objects of the State
U.S. vs. Ling Su Fan, 10 Phil. 104 (1910) was the
first case held by the Philippine Supreme Court. It
was held that the State not only has the authority

under its police power to make such rules for the

protection of its citizens but it may also regulate
private business in such a way that the business
of one man shall not be a nuisance
Laws passed in exercise of police power may
often affect commerce incidentally, but if the
resultant burden is found by the court to be on
the whole justified by the local interest involved,
such laws shall be sustained. In other words the
courts function in handling this type of case is
that of an arbitral body rather than of a strictly
judicial body
Several provisions of the Philippine Constitution
have in effect rejected the doctrine of the laissez
faire See Art. II, Section 5 on the promotion of
social justice; Art. XIV, Section 6 on the regulation
of the relations between landowner and tenant,
labor and capital in industry and agriculture; Art.
VIII, Section 26 on the emergency powers of the
President in times of war and national
emergency; and Art. VII, Section 2 on the power
of the State to operate industrial and means of
transportation and communication in the interest
of national welfare and defense.
President Manuel L. Quezon - laissez faire in the
Philippines has been dead. It has been
substituted by the philosophy of government
intervention whenever the needs of the country
require it
Laissez Faire as Bar to Regulatory Measures
may not be Invoked
The State may in order to promote general
welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with
property and with business and occupations.
Persons and property may be subjected to all
kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure
the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the
police power may be put forth in aid of what is
sanctioned by usage, or held by prevailing
morality or strong and preponderant opinion to be
greatly and immediately necessary to the public
Police power is broad enough to be exercised on
the basis of the economic need for the public
Individual rights to contract and to property
have to give way to police power for the public
welfare. Police power may also be invoked by the
State to promote morality in public service.
Delegation of legislative power.As a general
rule, the functions of legislation may not be
delegated by the legislative to the executive
department or to any executive or administrative
officer, board or commission
But while the legislative cannot delegate power
to make the law, in the sense of exercising
discretion as to what it shall be, it can confer
authority or discretion as to its execution

There is no undue delegation of powers of

legislative powers as long as the legislature lays
down a policy and a standard is established by
the statute in question to be followed in its

Constitutional Law; Police Power; State has

inherent power enabling it to prohibit all things
hurtful to comfort, safety and welfare of society.
The police power is thus a dynamic agency,
suitably vague and far from precisely defined,
rooted in the conception that men in organizing
the State and imposing upon its government
limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did
not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen

or a group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably

the enactment of such salutary measures
calculated to insure communal peace, safety,
good order and welfare.
Same; Same; Valid Delegation of Legislative
Power; Standard must be set to avoid the taint of
unlawful delegation.What cannot be delegated
is the authority under the Constitution to make
laws and to alter and repeal them. The test is the
completeness of the statute in all its terms and
provisions when it leaves the hands of the
legislature. To avoid the taint of unlawful
delegation, there must be a standard which
implies at the very least that the legislature itself
determines matters of principle and lays down
fundamental policy.