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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 1

SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF LAW - MANILA


CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES

ARTICLE III Bill of Rights person similarly situated in another province would be denied those
SECTION 1 same benefits. This is obnoxious discrimination.
EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS May a law appear to be fair on its face and impartial in appearance?
YES
PEOPLE vs. VERA A law may appear to be fair on its face and impartial in appearance,
Is probation and pardon the same? NO yet, if it permits of unjust and illegal discrimination, it is within the
The probation described in the act is not pardon. It is not complete constitutional prohibitions. In other words, statutes may be adjudged
liberty, and may be far from it. It is really a new mode of punishment, unconstitutional because of their effect in operation. If the law has the
to be applied by the judge in a proper case, in substitution of the effect of denying the equal protection of the law it is unconstitutional.
imprisonment and find prescribed by the criminal laws. For this reason
its application is as purely a judicial act as any other sentence carrying Section 11 of the Probation Act unconstitutional and void
out the law deemed applicable to the offense. The executive act of We are of the opinion that section 11 of the Probation Act is
pardon, on the contrary, is against the criminal law, which binds and unconstitutional and void because it is also repugnant to equal-
directs the judges, or rather is outside of and above it. There is thus no protection clause of our Constitution.
conflict with the pardoning power, and no possible unconstitutionality
of the Probation Act for this cause. ICHONG vs. HERNANDEZ
Equal Protection Clause
Distinguish probation from reprieve and commutation of sentence The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and
That the power to suspend the sentence does not conflict with the individual or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the
power of the Governor to grant reprieves is settled by the decisions of oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit legislation,
the various courts; it being held that the distinction between a which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by
"reprieve" and a suspension of sentence is that a reprieve postpones territory within which is to operate. It does not demand absolute
the execution of the sentence to a day certain, whereas a suspension is equality among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be
for an indefinite time. treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to
privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection
The undue delegation of power to provincial boards clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those
The various provincial boards are, in practical effect, endowed with the persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons
power of suspending the operation of the Probation Law in their within such class, and reasonable grounds exists for making a
respective provinces. In some jurisdiction, constitutions provided that distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do

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laws may be suspended only by the legislature or by its authority. not. (2 Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 824-825.)

What is Equal Protection of the Laws? Alienage as the root cause of distinction
The equal protection of laws, sententiously observes the Supreme The alien resident owes allegiance to the country of his birth or his
Court of the United States, "is a pledge of the protection of equal laws." adopted country; his stay here is for personal convenience; he is
Of course, what may be regarded as a denial of the equal protection of attracted by the lure of gain and profit. His aim or purpose of stay, we
the laws in a question not always easily determined. No rule that will admit, is neither illegitimate nor immoral, but he is naturally lacking
cover every case can be formulated. in that spirit of loyalty and enthusiasm for this country where he
temporarily stays and makes his living, or of that spirit of regard,
Classification on a reasonable basis sympathy and consideration for his Filipino customers as would
Class legislation discriminating against some and favoring others in prevent him from taking advantage of their weakness and exploiting
prohibited. But classification on a reasonable basis, and nor made them. The faster he makes his pile, the earlier can the alien go back to
arbitrarily or capriciously, is permitted. his beloved country and his beloved kin and countrymen. The
experience of the country is that the alien retailer has shown such utter
The classification, however, to be reasonable must be based on disregard for his customers and the people on whom he makes his
substantial distinctions which make real differences profit, that it has been found necessary to adopt the legislation, radical
(1) it must be germane to the purposes of the law; as it may seem.
(2) it must not be limited to existing conditions only, and
(3) must apply equally to each member of the class. The power of the legislature to make distinctions and classifications
and the application of equal protection clause to a law
Obnoxious discrimination in the case at bat 1. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
In the case at bar, however, the resultant inequality may be said to flow does not take from the state the power to classify in the
from the unwarranted delegation of legislative power, although adoption of police laws, but admits of the exercise of the
perhaps this is not necessarily the result in every case. Adopting the wide scope of discretion in that regard, and avoids what is
example given by one of the counsel for the petitioners in the course done only when it is without any reasonable basis, and
of his oral argument, one province may appropriate the necessary fund therefore is purely arbitrary.
to defray the salary of a probation officer, while another province may 2. A classification having some reasonable basis does not
refuse or fail to do so. In such a case, the Probation Act would be in offend against that clause merely because it is not made with
operation in the former province but not in the latter. This means that mathematical nicety, or because in practice it results in some
a person otherwise coming within the purview of the law would be inequality.
liable to enjoy the benefits of probation in one province while another 3. When the classification in such a law is called in question, if
any state of facts reasonably can be conceived that would
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 2

sustain it, the existence of that state of facts at the time the PEOPLE vs. CAYAT
law was enacted must be assumed. Requisites of Reasonable Classification
4. One who assails the classification in such a law must carry (1) must rest on substantial distinctions;
the burden of showing that it does not rest upon any (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law;
reasonable basis but is essentially arbitrary. (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) must apply equally to all members of the same class.
Citizenship as a valid classification
Aliens are under no special constitutional protection which forbids a Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements
classification otherwise justified simply because the limitation of the Under the first requisite
class falls along the lines of nationality. That would be requiring a The classification rests on real and substantial, not merely imaginary
higher degree of protection for aliens as a class than for similar classes or whimsical, distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or
than for similar classes of American citizens. Broadly speaking, the parentage," as counsel to the appellant asserts, but upon the degree of
difference in status between citizens and aliens constitutes a basis for civilization and culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to
reasonable classification in the exercise of police power. religious belief, but, in a way, to the geographical area, and, more
directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of
It held that plainly irrational discrimination against aliens is prohibited, civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled
but it does not follow that alien race and allegiance may not bear in communities." This distinction is unquestionably reasonable, for the
some instances such a relation to a legitimate object of legislation as to Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-
be made the basis of permitted classification, and that it could not state Christian tribes. The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who
that the legislation is clearly wrong; and that latitude must be allowed at present have reached a position of cultural equality with their
for the legislative appraisement of local conditions and for the Christian brothers, cannot affect the reasonableness of the
legislative choice of methods for controlling an apprehended evil. classification thus established.

Citing Anton vs. Van Winkle: I have said enough so that obviously it Under the second requisite
cannot be affirmed with absolute confidence that the Legislature was That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The
without plausible reason for making the classification, and therefore prohibition is unquestionably designed to insure peace and order in
appropriate discriminations against aliens as it relates to the subject of and among the non-Christian tribes. It has been the sad experience of
legislation. . . . the past, as the observations of the lower court disclose, that the free
use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian tribes have
VILLEGAS vs. HIU CHIONG TSAI PAO HO often resulted in lawlessness and crimes, thereby hampering the efforts
P50.00 fee is unreasonable and invalid classification of the government to raise their standard of life and civilization.
The P50.00 fee is unreasonable not only because it is excessive but
because it fails to consider valid substantial differences in situation Under the third requisite

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG 2017 (09265563619/jbsdeang.jbd@gmail.com)


among individual aliens who are required to pay it. Although the equal The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the
protection clause of the Constitution does not forbid classification, it is time of its enactment. It is intended to apply for all times as long as
imperative that the classification should be based on real and those conditions exist. The Act was not predicated, as counsel for
substantial differences having a reasonable relation to the subject of appellant asserts, upon the assumption that the non-Christians are
the particular legislation. The same amount of P50.00 is being "impermeable to any civilizing influence." On the contrary, the
collected from every employed alien whether he is casual or Legislature understood that the civilization of a people is a slow
permanent, part time or full time or whether he is a lowly employee or process and that hand in hand with it must go measures of protection
a highly paid executive and security.

Ordinance 6537 has no standard and criterion Under the fourth requisite
Ordinance No. 6537 does not lay down any criterion or standard to Finally, that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is
guide the Mayor in the exercise of his discretion. It has been held that evident from a perusal thereof. That it may be unfair in its operation
where an ordinance of a municipality fails to state any policy or to set against a certain number non-Christians by reason of their degree of
up any standard to guide or limit the mayor's action, expresses no culture, is not an argument against the equality of its application.
purpose to be attained by requiring a permit, enumerates no conditions
for its grant or refusal, and entirely lacks standard, thus conferring In Connection with Due Process
upon the Mayor arbitrary and unrestricted power to grant or deny the Due process of law means simply:
issuance of building permits, such ordinance is invalid, being an (1) that there shall be a law prescribed in harmony with the
undefined and unlimited delegation of power to allow or prevent an general powers of the legislative department of the
activity per se lawful. government;
(2) that it shall be reasonable in its operation;
Justice Teehankees Concurring Opinion RE: Employment of Aliens (3) that it shall be enforced according to the regular methods of
I concur in the decision penned by Mr. Justice Fernandez which affirms procedure prescribed; and
the lower court's judgment declaring Ordinance No. 6537 of the City (4) that it shall be applicable alike to all citizens of the state or
of Manila null and void for the reason that the employment of aliens to all of the class.
within the country is a matter of national policy and regulation, which NOTE: the property sought to be prohibited in this case constitutes
properly pertain to the national government officials and agencies corpus delicti
concerned and not to local governments, such as the City of Manila,
which after all are mere creations of the national government.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 3

DUMLAO vs. COMELEC that can be said is that he falls within the-proscribed class. The point
Equal protection guarantee in the case at bar was likewise raised as to why should national officials be excluded in
The assertion that Section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is contrary to the safer guard the above provision. The answer is simple. There is nothing to prevent
of equal protection is neither well taken. The constitutional guarantee the legislative body from following a system of priorities. This it did
of equal protection of the laws is subject to rational classification. If under the challenged legislative provision. In its opinion, what called
the groupings are based on reasonable and real differentiations, one for such a measure is the propensity of the local officials having
class can be treated and regulated differently from another class. For reached the retirement age and having received retirement benefits
purposes of public service, employees 65 years of age, have been once again running for public office.
validly classified differently from younger employees. Employees
attaining that age are subject to compulsory retirement, while those of Justice Teehankees Dissenting Opinion RE Violative of the Equal
younger ages are not so compulsorily retirable. Protection Clause
To specially and peculiarly ban a 65-year old previously retired
In respect of election to provincial, city, or municipal positions, to elective local official from running for the same elective office (of
require that candidates should not be more than 65 years of age at the governor, in this case) previously held by him and from which he has
time they assume office, if applicable to everyone, might or might not retired is arbitrary, oppressive and unreasonable. Persons similarly
be a reasonable classification although, as the Solicitor General has situated are not similarly treated, e.g. a retired vice-governor, mayor or
intimated, a good policy of the law would be to promote the emergence councilor of 65 is entitled to run for governor (because the
of younger blood in our political elective echelons. On the other hand, disqualification is for the retiree of 65 to run for the
it might be that persons more than 65 years old may also be good same elective office from which he retired) but petitioner is barred
elective local officials. from doing so (although he may run for any other lesser office). Both
are 65 and are retirees, yet one is barred from running for the office of
Retirement as disqualification governor. What is the valid distinction? Is this not an arbitrary
Retirement from government service may or may not be a reasonable discrimination against petitioner who has cause to that "the aforesaid
disqualification for elective local officials. For one thing, there can also provision was concocted and designed precisely to frustrate any bid of
be retirees from government service at ages, say below 65. It may petition to make a political comeback as governor of Nueva
neither be reasonable to disqualify retirees, aged 65, for a 65 year old Vizcaya 1 (since no other case by a former governor similarly barred
retiree could be a good local official just like one, aged 65, who is not by virtue of said provision can never be cited 2 ). Is there not here,
a retiree. therefore a gross denial of the cardinal constitutional guarantee that
equal protection and security shall be given under the law to every
But, in the case of a 65-year old elective local official, who has retired person, under analogous if not Identical circumstances?
from a provincial, city or municipal office, there is reason to disqualify
him from running for the same office from which he had retired, as PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS vs.
provided for in the challenged provision. The need for new blood DRILON

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG 2017 (09265563619/jbsdeang.jbd@gmail.com)


assumes relevance. The tiredness of the retiree for government work is Distinction between Sexes
present, and what is emphatically significant is that the retired There is no question that Department Order No. 1 applies only to
employee has already declared himself tired and unavailable for the "female contract workers," but it does not thereby make an undue
same government work, but, which, by virtue of a change of mind, he discrimination between the sexes. It is well-settled that "equality
would like to assume again. It is for this very reason that inequality before the law" under the Constitution does not import a perfect
will neither result from the application of the challenged provision. Just Identity of rights among all men and women. It admits of
as that provision does not deny equal protection neither does it permit classifications, provided that
of such denial (see People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1933]). Persons (1) such classifications rest on substantial distinctions;
similarly situated are sinlilarly treated. (2) they are germane to the purposes of the law;
(3) they are not confined to existing conditions; and
Another consideration (4) they apply equally to all members of the same class.
Absent herein is a showing of the clear invalidity of the questioned
provision. Well accepted is the rule that to justify the nullification of a Under the first requisite
law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the As a matter of judicial notice, the Court is well aware of the unhappy
Constitution, not a doubtful and equivocal breach. Courts are plight that has befallen our female labor force abroad, especially
practically unanimous in the pronouncement that laws shall not be domestic servants, amid exploitative working conditions marked by, in
declared invalid unless the conflict with the Constitution is clear not a few cases, physical and personal abuse. The sordid tales of
beyond reasonable doubt maltreatment suffered by migrant Filipina workers, even rape and
various forms of torture, confirmed by testimonies of returning
Chief Justice Fernandos Concurring Opinion RE: Equal Protection workers, are compelling motives for urgent Government action. As
Citing J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. Land Tenure Administration: "It precisely the caretaker of Constitutional rights, the Court is called upon
suffices then that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons to protect victims of exploitation. In fulfilling that duty, the Court
under similar circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the sustains the Government's efforts.
same manner, the conditions not being different, both in the privileges
conferred and the liabilities imposed. Favoritism and undue preference Under the second requisite
cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and There is likewise no doubt that such a classification is germane to the
security shall be given to every person under circumstances, which if purpose behind the measure. Unquestionably, it is the avowed
not Identical, are analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden objective of Department Order No. 1 to "enhance the protection for
or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in the same Filipino female overseas workers"
fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally
binding on the rest. 10 It cannot be denied that others similarly fall
under the same ban. It was not directed at petitioner solely. The most
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 4

Under the third requisite Substantial distinction between elective and appointed officials
The Order does not narrowly apply to existing conditions. Rather, it Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and
is intended to apply indefinitely so long as those conditions exist. This appointive officials. The former occupy their office by virtue of the
is clear from the Order itself ("Pending review of the administrative mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a definite
and legal measures, in the Philippines and in the host countries . . ."), term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions.
meaning to say that should the authorities arrive at a means impressed On the other hand, appointive officials hold their office by virtue of
with a greater degree of permanency, the ban shall be lifted. As a stop- their designation thereto by an appointing authority. Some appointive
gap measure, it is possessed of a necessary malleability, depending on officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to
the circumstances of each case. security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing
authority.
Under the fourth requisite
The Court finds, finally, the impugned guidelines to be applicable to Distinction under Section 55, Chapter 8, Title I, Subsection A. Civil
all female domestic overseas workers. That it does not apply to "all Service Commission, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987
Filipina workers" is not an argument for unconstitutionality. Had the (Executive Order No. 292)
ban been given universal applicability, then it would have been appointive officials, as officers and employees in the civil service, are
unreasonable and arbitrary. For obvious reasons, not all of them are strictly prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity or
similarly circumstanced. What the Constitution prohibits is the take (sic) part in any election except to vote. Under the same provision,
singling out of a select person or group of persons within an existing elective officials, or officers or employees holding political offices, are
class, to the prejudice of such a person or group or resulting in an unfair obviously expressly allowed to take part in political and electoral
advantage to another person or group of persons. activities.

QUINTO vs. COMELEC Applying Stare decisis in the case at bar


Not violative of the equal protection clause The case at bar is a crass attempt to resurrect a dead issue. The miracle
We now hold that Section 4(a) of Resolution 8678, Section 66 of the is that our assailed Decision gave it new life. We ought to be guided
Omnibus Election Code, and the second proviso in the third paragraph by the doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere. This doctrine,
of Section 13 of RA 9369 are not violative of the equal protection which is really adherence to precedents, mandates that once a case has
clause of the Constitution. been decided one way, then another case involving exactly the same
point at issue should be decided in the same manner.
Citing FARINAS vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
In Farinas, the constitutionality of Section 14 of the Fair Election Act, Farinas Ruling is not a mere obiter dictum
in relation to Sections 66 and 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, was This rule applies to all pertinent questions that are presented and
assailed on the ground, among others, that it unduly discriminates resolved in the regular course of the consideration of the case and lead
against appointive officials. As Section 14 repealed Section 67 up to the final conclusion, and to any statement as to the matter on

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG 2017 (09265563619/jbsdeang.jbd@gmail.com)


(i.e., the deemed-resigned provision in respect of elected officials) of which the decision is predicated. For that reason, a point expressly
the Omnibus Election Code, elected officials are no longer decided does not lose its value as a precedent because the disposition
considered ipso facto resigned from their respective offices upon their of the case is, or might have been, made on some other ground; or even
filing of certificates of candidacy. In contrast, since Section 66 was not though, by reason of other points in the case, the result reached might
repealed, the limitation on appointive officials continues to be have been the same if the court had held, on the particular point,
operative they are deemed resigned when they file their certificates of otherwise than it did.
candidacy.
In posing an equal protection challenge
The petitioners in Farinas thus brought an equal protection challenge Thus, any person who poses an equal protection challenge must
against Section 14, with the end in view of having the deemed-resigned convincingly show that the law creates a classification that is palpably
provisions apply equally to both elected and appointive officials. We arbitrary or capricious. He must refute all possible rational bases for
held, however, that the legal dichotomy created by the Legislature is a the differing treatment, whether or not the Legislature cited those bases
reasonable classification, as there are material and significant as reasons for the enactment, such that the constitutionality of the law
distinctions between the two classes of officials. must be sustained even if the reasonableness of the classification is
fairly debatable.
Does equal protection clause demand absolute equality? NO
The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and Citing the Overruled MANCUSO vs. TAFT
individual or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the Pathetically, our assailed Decision, relying on Mancuso, claimed:
oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which
is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory (1) The right to run for public office is inextricably linked with two
within which it is to operate. It does not demand absolute equality fundamental freedoms freedom of expression and association;
among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated (2) Any legislative classification that significantly burdens this
alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges fundamental right must be subjected to strict equal protection review;
conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection clause is not and
infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling (3) While the state has a compelling interest in maintaining the honesty
within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons within such and impartiality of its public work force, the deemed-resigned
class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between provisions pursue their objective in a far too heavy-handed manner as
those who fall within such class and those who do not. to render them unconstitutional.

It then concluded with the exhortation that since the Americans, from
whom we copied the provision in question, had already stricken down
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 5

a similar measure for being unconstitutional, it is high-time that we, Interests protected by the Deemed-Resigned Provision
too, should follow suit. (i) efficient civil service faithful to the government and the
people rather than to party;
Citing LETTER CARRIERS (ii) avoidance of the appearance of political justice as to
A related concern, and this remains as important as any other, was to policy;
further serve the goal that employment and advancement in the (iii) avoidance of the danger of a powerful political
Government service not depend on political performance, and at the machine; and
same time to make sure that Government employees would be free from (iv) ensuring that employees achieve advancement on their
pressure and from express or tacit invitation to vote in a certain way merits and that they be free from both coercion and the
or perform political chores in order to curry favor with their superiors prospect of favor from political activity).
rather than to act out their own beliefs. It may be urged that
prohibitions against coercion are sufficient protection; but for many Determining Restrictions on Partisan Political Activities
years the joint judgment of the Executive and Congress has been that Indeed, the Morial court even quoted Broadrick and stated that:
to protect the rights of federal employees with respect to their jobs and
their political acts and beliefs it is not enough merely to forbid one In any event, the legislature must have some leeway in determining
employee to attempt to influence or coerce another. For example, at which of its employment positions require restrictions on partisan
the hearings in 1972 on proposed legislation for liberalizing the political activities and which may be left unregulated. And a State can
prohibition against political activity, the Chairman of the Civil Service hardly be faulted for attempting to limit the positions upon which such
Commission stated that the prohibitions against active participation in restrictions are placed. (citations omitted)
partisan political management and partisan political campaigns
constitute the most significant safeguards against coercion . . .. Perhaps Application on Barangay Elections
Congress at some time will come to a different view of the realities of Since barangay elections are governed by a separate deemed
political life and Government service; but that is its current view of the resignation rule, under the present state of law, there would be no
matter, and we are not now in any position to dispute it. Nor, in our occasion to apply the restriction on candidacy found in Section 66 of
view, does the Constitution forbid it. the Omnibus Election Code, and later reiterated in the proviso of
Section 13 of RA 9369, to any election other than a partisan one. For
Neither the right to associate nor the right to participate in political this reason, the overbreadth challenge raised against Section 66 of the
activities is absolute in any event. Omnibus Election Code and the pertinent proviso in Section 13 of RA
9369 must also fail.
Citing BROADRICK
Whatever other problems there are with s 818, it is all but frivolous to BIRAOGO vs. PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION
suggest that the section fails to give adequate warning of what Violative of the Equal Protection Clause
activities it proscribes or fails to set out explicit standards' for those The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG 2017 (09265563619/jbsdeang.jbd@gmail.com)


who must apply it. In the plainest language, it prohibits any state this constitutional safeguard. They contend that it does not apply
classified employee from being an officer or member of a partisan equally to all members of the same class such that the intent of singling
political club or a candidate for any paid public office. It forbids out the previous administration as its sole object makes the PTC an
solicitation of contributions for any political organization, candidacy adventure in partisan hostility. Thus, in order to be accorded with
or other political purpose and taking part in the management or affairs validity, the commission must also cover reports of graft and
of any political party or in any political campaign. Words inevitably corruption in virtually all administrations previous to that of former
contain germs of uncertainty and, as with the Hatch Act, there may be President Arroyo.
disputes over the meaning of such terms in s 818 as partisan, or take
part in, or affairs of political parties. But what was said in Letter Concept of the Equal Protection Clause
Carriers, is applicable here: there are limitations in the English According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires
language with respect to being both specific and manageably brief, and that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both
it seems to us that although the prohibitions may not satisfy those intent as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires public
on finding fault at any cost, they are set out in terms that the ordinary bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a
person exercising ordinary common sense can sufficiently understand similar manner.
and comply with, without sacrifice to the public interest.'
Purpose of the Equal Protection Clause
Constitutionality of Resign-to-Run Laws The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person
We hold, however, that his position is belied by a plain reading of these within a states jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary
cases. Contrary to his claim, Letter Carriers, discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or
Broadrick and Mancuso all concerned the constitutionality of by its improper execution through the states duly constituted
resign-to-run laws authorities.

Doctrine of Substantial Overbreadth Scope of the Equal Protection Clause


Under Broadrick, when one who challenges a law has engaged in The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just
constitutionally unprotected conduct (rather than unprotected speech) those of the legislature. Its inhibitions cover all the departments of the
and when the challenged law is aimed at unprotected conduct, "the government including the political and executive departments, and
overbreadth of a statute must not only be real, but substantial as well, extend to all actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws,
judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep." through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II NOTES & DOCTRINES 6

For classification to meet constitutionality ALMONTE vs. VAZQUEZ


For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it Not violative of the Equal Protection Clause
must include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class. Petitioners complain that "in all forum and tribunals . . . the aggrieved
The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the parties . . . can only hale respondents via their verified complaints or
class are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and sworn statements with their identities fully disclosed," while in
obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the classification be made proceedings before the Office of the Ombudsman anonymous letters
with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the members of the class suffice to start an investigation.
should possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial
similarity will suffice; and as long as this is achieved, all those covered In the first place, there can be no objection to this procedure because
by the classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an it is provided in the Constitution itself.
individual belonging to a class differs from the other members, as long
as that class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not In the second place, it is apparent that in permitting the filing of
justify the non-application of the law to him. complaints "in any form and in a manner," the framers of the
Constitution took into account the well-known reticence of the people
The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, which keep them from complaining against official wrongdoings.
or so constituted as to preclude addition to the number included in the
class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may As this Court had occasion to point out, the Office of the Ombudsman
thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave is different from the other investigatory and prosecutory agencies of
out or underinclude those that should otherwise fall into a certain the government because those subject to its jurisdiction are public
classification. officials who, through official pressure and influence, can quash, delay
or dismiss investigations held against them.
The clear intent of the PTC being violative
The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate On the other hand complainants are more often than not poor and
and find out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and simple folk who cannot afford to hire lawyers.
corruption during the previous administration only. The intent to
single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest. ORMOC SUGAR CO., INC vs. TREASURER OR ORMOC CITY
Classification is unreasonable
Arroyo administration is just a member of class A perusal of the requisites instantly shows that the questioned
In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration ordinance does not meet them (requisites of classification), for it taxes
is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past administrations. only centrifugal sugar produced and exported by the Ormoc Sugar
It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly Company, Inc. and none other. At the time of the taxing ordinance's
situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause enactment, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., it is true, was the only sugar
cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly central in the city of Ormoc. Still, the classification, to be reasonable,

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG 2017 (09265563619/jbsdeang.jbd@gmail.com)


reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness should be in terms applicable to future conditions as well. The taxing
and selective retribution. ordinance should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any
subsequently established sugar central, of the same class as plaintiff,
Physical and Legal Impossibility & Reasonable Prioritization for the coverage of the tax. As it is now, even if later a similar company
The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence is set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the ordinance expressly
or that the earlier reports involving the earlier administrations were points only to Ormoc City Sugar Company, Inc. as the entity to be
already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously, deceased levied upon.
presidents and cases which have already prescribed can no longer be
the subjects of inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to
conduct simultaneous investigations of previous administrations,
given the bodys limited time and resources. The law does not require
the impossible (Lex non cogit ad impossibilia).

Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court


logically recognizes the unfeasibility of investigating almost a centurys
worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains that Executive Order
No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its
mandate of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past
administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to
investigate all past administrations. While reasonable
prioritization is permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it be struck
down for being unconstitutional.

Discretion of the President


Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the
scope of investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and
corruption committed in other past administrations, it does not
guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such expanded
mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice
of the President. If he would decide not to include them, the section
would then be meaningless.