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EN BANC the Bangko Sentrals human resource development program: Provided, That the

Monetary Board shall make its own system conform as closely as possible with the
[G.R. No. 148208. December 15, 2004] principles provided for under Republic Act No. 6758 [Salary Standardization
Act]. Provided, however, That compensation and wage structure of employees
whose positions fall under salary grade 19 and below shall be in accordance with
the rates prescribed under Republic Act No. 6758. [emphasis supplied]
CENTRAL BANK (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION,
INC., petitioner, vs. BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS and the EXECUTIVE The thrust of petitioners challenge is that the above proviso makes
SECRETARY, respondents. an unconstitutional cut between two classes of employees in the BSP, viz: (1) the
DECISION BSP officers or those exempted from the coverage of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL)
(exempt class); and (2) the rank-and-file (Salary Grade [SG] 19 and below), or those not
PUNO, J.: exempted from the coverage of the SSL (non-exempt class). It is contended that this
classification is a classic case of class legislation, allegedly not based on substantial distinctions
Can a provision of law, initially valid, become subsequently unconstitutional, on the which make real differences, but solely on the SG of the BSP personnels position. Petitioner
ground that its continued operation would violate the equal protection of the law? We hold also claims that it is not germane to the purposes of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653,
that with the passage of the subsequent laws amending the charter of seven (7) other the most important of which is to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels in the
governmental financial institutions (GFIs), the continued operation of the last proviso of BSP.[1]Petitioner offers the following sub-set of arguments:
Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7653, constitutes invidious discrimination on a. the legislative history of R.A. No. 7653 shows that the questioned proviso does
the 2,994 rank-and-file employees of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). not appear in the original and amended versions of House Bill No. 7037, nor in
I. the original version of Senate Bill No. 1235; [2]

The Case b. subjecting the compensation of the BSP rank-and-file employees to the rate
prescribed by the SSL actually defeats the purpose of the law[3] of establishing
professionalism and excellence at all levels in the BSP; [4] (emphasis supplied)
First the facts.
c. the assailed proviso was the product of amendments introduced during the
On July 3, 1993, R.A. No. 7653 (the New Central Bank Act) took effect. It abolished the deliberation of Senate Bill No. 1235, without showing its relevance to the
old Central Bank of the Philippines, and created a new BSP. objectives of the law, and even admitted by one senator as discriminatory
against low-salaried employees of the BSP;[5]
On June 8, 2001, almost eight years after the effectivity of R.A. No. 7653, petitioner
Central Bank (now BSP) Employees Association, Inc., filed a petition for prohibition against BSP d. GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS personnel are all exempted from the coverage of the SSL;
and the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President, to restrain respondents from further thus within the class of rank-and-file personnel of government financial
implementing the last proviso in Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, on the ground that it institutions (GFIs), the BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon;[6] and
is unconstitutional.
e. the assailed proviso has caused the demoralization among the BSP rank-and-file
Article II, Section 15(c) of R.A. No. 7653 provides: and resulted in the gross disparity between their compensation and that of the
BSP officers.[7]
Section 15. Exercise of Authority - In the exercise of its authority, the Monetary Board shall:
In sum, petitioner posits that the classification is not reasonable but arbitrary and
capricious, and violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. [8] Petitioner also
xxx xxx xxx
stresses: (a) that R.A. No. 7653 has a separability clause, which will allow the declaration of the
unconstitutionality of the proviso in question without affecting the other provisions; and (b)
(c) establish a human resource management system which shall govern the the urgency and propriety of the petition, as some 2,994 BSP rank-and-file employees have
selection, hiring, appointment, transfer, promotion, or dismissal of all personnel. been prejudiced since 1994 when the proviso was implemented. Petitioner concludes that: (1)
Such system shall aim to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels of since the inequitable proviso has no force and effect of law, respondents implementation of
the Bangko Sentral in accordance with sound principles of management. such amounts to lack of jurisdiction; and (2) it has no appeal nor any other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course except through this petition for prohibition, which
A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and this Court should take cognizance of, considering the transcendental importance of the legal
subject to the Boards approval, shall be instituted as an integral component of issue involved.[9]
Respondent BSP, in its comment,[10] contends that the provision does not violate the The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification
equal protection clause and can stand the constitutional test, provided it is construed in in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in
harmony with other provisions of the same law, such as fiscal and administrative autonomy of speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not
BSP, and the mandate of the Monetary Board to establish professionalism and excellence at invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that
all levels in accordance with sound principles of management. it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which
The Solicitor General, on behalf of respondent Executive Secretary, also defends the means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real
validity of the provision. Quite simplistically, he argues that the classification is based on actual differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to
and real differentiation, even as it adheres to the enunciated policy of R.A. No. 7653 to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court
establish professionalism and excellence within the BSP subject to prevailing laws and policies has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable
of the national government.[11] foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.
II.
In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over
Issue matters within its jurisdiction, the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. It
is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked differences of things
or in their relation. Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical
Thus, the sole - albeit significant - issue to be resolved in this case is whether the last nicety. Hence, legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions,
paragraph of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, runs afoul of the constitutional mandate for the equal protection guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees
that "No person shall be. . . denied the equal protection of the laws."[12] of evil or harm, and legislation is addressed to evils as they may appear. (citations omitted)
III.
Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification.[15] The equal
Ruling protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling
within a specified class.[16] If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that
make real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from another.[17] The
A. UNDER THE PRESENT STANDARDS OF EQUAL classification must also be germane to the purpose of the law and must apply to all those
PROTECTION, SECTION 15(c), ARTICLE II OF R.A. NO. 7653 belonging to the same class.[18]
IS VALID.
In the case at bar, it is clear in the legislative deliberations that the exemption of officers
(SG 20 and above) from the SSL was intended to address the BSPs lack of competitiveness in
Jurisprudential standards for equal protection challenges indubitably show that the terms of attracting competent officers and executives. It was not intended to discriminate
classification created by the questioned proviso, on its face and in its operation, bears no against the rank-and-file. If the end-result did in fact lead to a disparity of treatment between
constitutional infirmities. the officers and the rank-and-file in terms of salaries and benefits, the discrimination or
distinction has a rational basis and is not palpably, purely, and entirely arbitrary in the
It is settled in constitutional law that the "equal protection" clause does not prevent the legislative sense. [19]
Legislature from establishing classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules shall
operate - so long as the classification is not unreasonable. As held in Victoriano v. Elizalde That the provision was a product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of
Rope Workers Union,[13] and reiterated in a long line of cases:[14] the Senate Bill does not detract from its validity. As early as 1947 and reiterated in subsequent
cases,[20] this Court has subscribed to the conclusiveness of an enrolled bill to refuse
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of invalidating a provision of law, on the ground that the bill from which it originated contained
the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the no such provision and was merely inserted by the bicameral conference committee of both
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be Houses.
affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate
operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances Moreover, it is a fundamental and familiar teaching that all reasonable doubts should be
surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute. [21] An act of the legislature, approved by
require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. the executive, is presumed to be within constitutional limitations.[22] To justify the nullification
The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and
does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by equivocal breach.[23]
the territory within which it is to operate.
B. THE ENACTMENT, HOWEVER, OF SUBSEQUENT LAWS -
EXEMPTING ALL OTHER RANK-AND-FILE EMPLOYEES The question now to be determined is, is the period of eight (8) years which Republic Act No.
OF GFIs FROM THE SSL - RENDERS THE CONTINUED 342 grants to debtors of a monetary obligation contracted before the last global war and who
APPLICATION OF THE CHALLENGED PROVISION is a war sufferer with a claim duly approved by the Philippine War Damage Commission
A VIOLATION OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE. reasonable under the present circumstances?

It should be noted that Republic Act No. 342 only extends relief to debtors of prewar
While R.A. No. 7653 started as a valid measure well within the legislatures power, we obligations who suffered from the ravages of the last war and who filed a claim for their losses
hold that the enactment of subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of other with the Philippine War Damage Commission. It is therein provided that said obligation shall
GFIs leeched all validity out of the challenged proviso. not be due and demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after settlement of the
1. The concept of relative constitutionality. claim filed by the debtor with said Commission. The purpose of the law is to afford to prewar
debtors an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves by giving them a reasonable time within
The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be determined by a mere which to pay their prewar debts so as to prevent them from being victimized by their creditors.
comparison of its provisions with applicable provisions of the Constitution, since the statute While it is admitted in said law that since liberation conditions have gradually returned to
may be constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and invalid in its application to normal, this is not so with regard to those who have suffered the ravages of war and so it was
another.[24] therein declared as a policy that as to them the debt moratorium should be continued in force
(Section 1).
A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered
circumstances.[25] Thus, if a statute in its practical operation becomes arbitrary or confiscatory,
its validity, even though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to inquiry and investigation But we should not lose sight of the fact that these obligations had been pending since 1945 as
in the light of changed conditions.[26] a result of the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 and at present their enforcement
is still inhibited because of the enactment of Republic Act No. 342 and would continue to be
Demonstrative of this doctrine is Vernon Park Realty v. City of Mount Vernon,[27] where unenforceable during the eight-year period granted to prewar debtors to afford them an
the Court of Appeals of New York declared as unreasonable and arbitrary a zoning ordinance opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, which in plain language means that the creditors
which placed the plaintiff's property in a residential district, although it was located in the would have to observe a vigil of at least twelve (12) years before they could effect a liquidation
center of a business area. Later amendments to the ordinance then prohibited the use of the of their investment dating as far back as 1941. his period seems to us unreasonable, if not
property except for parking and storage of automobiles, and service station within a parking oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is plausible, and should be commended, the relief
area. The Court found the ordinance to constitute an invasion of property rights which was accorded works injustice to creditors who are practically left at the mercy of the debtors. Their
contrary to constitutional due process. It ruled: hope to effect collection becomes extremely remote, more so if the credits are unsecured. And
the injustice is more patent when, under the law, the debtor is not even required to pay
While the common council has the unquestioned right to enact zoning laws respecting the use interest during the operation of the relief, unlike similar statutes in the United States.
of property in accordance with a well-considered and comprehensive plan designed to
promote public health, safety and general welfare, such power is subject to the constitutional
xxx xxx xxx
limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably and this is so whenever the
zoning ordinance precludes the use of the property for any purpose for which it is reasonably
adapted. By the same token, an ordinance valid when adopted will nevertheless be stricken In the face of the foregoing observations, and consistent with what we believe to be as the
down as invalid when, at a later time, its operation under changed conditions proves only course dictated by justice, fairness and righteousness, we feel that the only way open to
confiscatory such, for instance, as when the greater part of its value is destroyed, for which us under the present circumstances is to declare that the continued operation and
the courts will afford relief in an appropriate case.[28] (citations omitted, emphasis supplied) enforcement of Republic Act No. 342 at the present time is unreasonable and oppressive,
and should not be prolonged a minute longer, and, therefore, the same should be declared
null and void and without effect. (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
In the Philippine setting, this Court declared the continued enforcement of a valid law
as unconstitutional as a consequence of significant changes in circumstances. Rutter v.
Esteban[29] upheld the constitutionality of the moratorium law - its enactment and operation 2. Applicability of the equal protection clause.
being a valid exercise by the State of its police power[30] - but also ruled that the continued
In the realm of equal protection, the U.S. case of Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ivey[32] is
enforcement of the otherwise valid law would be unreasonable and oppressive. It noted
illuminating. The Supreme Court of Florida ruled against the continued application of statutes
the subsequent changes in the countrys business, industry and agriculture. Thus, the law was
authorizing the recovery of double damages plus attorney's fees against railroad companies,
set aside because its continued operation would be grossly discriminatory and lead to the
for animals killed on unfenced railroad right of way without proof of negligence. Competitive
oppression of the creditors. The landmark ruling states:[31]
motor carriers, though creating greater hazards, were not subjected to similar liability because
they were not yet in existence when the statutes were enacted. The Court ruled that the
statutes became invalid as denying equal protection of the law, in view of changed conditions If a law has the effect of denying the equal protection of the law it is unconstitutional.
since their enactment. .[36] (emphasis supplied, citations omitted

In another U.S. case, Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Faulkner,[33] the Court of Appeals of
Kentucky declared unconstitutional a provision of a statute which imposed a duty upon a 3. Enactment of R.A. Nos. 7907 + 8282 + 8289 + 8291 + 8523 + 8763
railroad company of proving that it was free from negligence in the killing or injury of cattle by + 9302 = consequential unconstitutionality of challenged proviso.
its engine or cars. This, notwithstanding that the constitutionality of the statute, enacted in According to petitioner, the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653 is also
1893, had been previously sustained. Ruled the Court: violative of the equal protection clause because after it was enacted, the charters of the GSIS,
The constitutionality of such legislation was sustained because it applied to all similar LBP, DBP and SSS were also amended, but the personnel of the latter GFIs were all exempted
corporations and had for its object the safety of persons on a train and the protection of from the coverage of the SSL.[37] Thus, within the class of rank-and-file personnel of GFIs, the
property. Of course, there were no automobiles in those days. The subsequent inauguration BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon.
and development of transportation by motor vehicles on the public highways by common Indeed, we take judicial notice that after the new BSP charter was enacted in 1993,
carriers of freight and passengers created even greater risks to the safety of occupants of the Congress also undertook the amendment of the charters of the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS, and
vehicles and of danger of injury and death of domestic animals. Yet, under the law the three other GFIs, from 1995 to 2004, viz:
operators of that mode of competitive transportation are not subject to the same
extraordinary legal responsibility for killing such animals on the public roads as are railroad 1. R.A. No. 7907 (1995) for Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP);
companies for killing them on their private rights of way.
2. R.A. No. 8282 (1997) for Social Security System (SSS);

The Supreme Court, speaking through Justice Brandeis in Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. Co. v. 3. R.A. No. 8289 (1997) for Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation,
Walters, 294 U.S. 405, 55 S.Ct. 486, 488, 79 L.Ed. 949, stated, A statute valid when enacted (SBGFC);
may become invalid by change in the conditions to which it is applied. The police power is
subject to the constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably. 4. R.A. No. 8291 (1997) for Government Service Insurance System (GSIS);
A number of prior opinions of that court are cited in support of the statement. The State of 5. R.A. No. 8523 (1998) for Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP);
Florida for many years had a statute, F.S.A. 356.01 et seq. imposing extraordinary and special
duties upon railroad companies, among which was that a railroad company was liable for 6. R.A. No. 8763 (2000) for Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC);[38] and
double damages and an attorney's fee for killing livestock by a train without the owner having
7. R.A. No. 9302 (2004) for Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).
to prove any act of negligence on the part of the carrier in the operation of its train. In Atlantic
Coast Line Railroad Co. v. Ivey, it was held that the changed conditions brought about by motor It is noteworthy, as petitioner points out, that the subsequent charters of the seven
vehicle transportation rendered the statute unconstitutional since if a common carrier by other GFIs share this common proviso: a blanket exemption of all their employees from the
motor vehicle had killed the same animal, the owner would have been required to prove coverage of the SSL, expressly or impliedly, as illustrated below:
negligence in the operation of its equipment. Said the court, This certainly is not equal
protection of the law.[34](emphasis supplied) 1. LBP (R.A. No. 7907)

Section 10. Section 90 of [R.A. No. 3844] is hereby amended to read as follows:
Echoes of these rulings resonate in our case law, viz:

[C]ourts are not confined to the language of the statute under challenge in determining Section 90. Personnel. -
whether that statute has any discriminatory effect. A statute nondiscriminatory on its face
may be grossly discriminatory in its operation. Though the law itself be fair on its face and xxx xxx xxx
impartial in appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil
eye and unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between
All positions in the Bank shall be governed by a compensation, position classification system
persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still
and qualification standards approved by the Banks Board of Directors based on a
within the prohibition of the Constitution.[35] (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities. The compensation
plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector and shall
[W]e see no difference between a law which denies equal protection and a law which be subject to periodic review by the Board no more than once every two (2) years without
permits of such denial. A law may appear to be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, prejudice to yearly merit reviews or increases based on productivity and profitability. The Bank
yet, if it permits of unjust and illegal discrimination, it is within the constitutional prohibition.. shall therefore be exempt from existing laws, rules and regulations on compensation,
In other words, statutes may be adjudged unconstitutional because of their effect in operation. position classification and qualification standards. It shall however endeavor to make its
system conform as closely as possible with the principles under Republic Act No. 6758. Sec. 43. Powers and Functions of the Board of Trustees. - The Board of Trustees shall have the
(emphasis supplied) following powers and functions:

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

2. SSS (R.A. No. 8282) (d) upon the recommendation of the President and General Manager, to approve the GSIS
organizational and administrative structures and staffing pattern, and to establish, fix, review,
Section 1. [Amending R.A. No. 1161, Section 3(c)]: revise and adjust the appropriate compensation package for the officers and employees of the
GSIS with reasonable allowances, incentives, bonuses, privileges and other benefits as may be
xxx xxx xxx necessary or proper for the effective management, operation and administration of the GSIS,
which shall be exempt from Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the Salary
(c)The Commission, upon the recommendation of the SSS President, shall appoint an actuary Standardization Law and Republic Act No. 7430, otherwise known as the Attrition
and such other personnel as may [be] deemed necessary; fix their reasonable compensation, Law. (emphasis supplied)
allowances and other benefits; prescribe their duties and establish such methods and
procedures as may be necessary to insure the efficient, honest and economical administration xxx xxx xxx
of the provisions and purposes of this Act: Provided, however, That the personnel of the SSS
below the rank of Vice President shall be appointed by the SSS President: Provided, further, 5. DBP (R.A. No. 8523)
That the personnel appointed by the SSS President, except those below the rank of assistant
manager, shall be subject to the confirmation by the Commission; Provided further, That the Section 6. [Amending E.O. No. 81, Section 13]:
personnel of the SSS shall be selected only from civil service eligibles and be subject to civil
service rules and regulations: Provided, finally, That the SSS shall be exempt from the Section 13. Other Officers and Employees. - The Board of Directors shall provide for an
provisions of Republic Act No. 6758 and Republic Act No. 7430. (emphasis supplied) organization and staff of officers and employees of the Bank and upon recommendation of the
President of the Bank, fix their remunerations and other emoluments. All positions in the Bank
3. SBGFC (R.A. No. 8289) shall be governed by the compensation, position classification system and qualification
standards approved by the Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job analysis of actual
Section 8. [Amending R.A. No. 6977, Section 11]: duties and responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing
compensation plans in the private sector and shall be subject to periodic review by the Board
xxx xxx xxx of Directors once every two (2) years, without prejudice to yearly merit or increases based on
the Banks productivity and profitability. The Bank shall, therefore, be exempt from existing
The Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation shall: laws, rules, and regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification
standards. The Bank shall however, endeavor to make its system conform as closely as
possible with the principles under Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989
xxx xxx xxx
(Republic Act No. 6758, as amended). (emphasis supplied)

(e) notwithstanding the provisions of Republic Act No. 6758, and Compensation Circular No.
6. HGC (R.A. No. 8763)
10, series of 1989 issued by the Department of Budget and Management, the Board of
Directors of SBGFC shall have the authority to extend to the employees and personnel Section 9. Powers, Functions and Duties of the Board of Directors. - The Board shall have the
thereof the allowance and fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently enjoyed following powers, functions and duties:
by the employees and personnel of other government financial institutions. (emphases
supplied)
xxx xxx xxx

4. GSIS (R.A. No. 8291)


(e) To create offices or positions necessary for the efficient management, operation and
Section 1. [Amending Section 43(d)]. administration of the Corporation: Provided, That all positions in the Home Guaranty
Corporation (HGC) shall be governed by a compensation and position classification system and
qualifications standards approved by the Corporations Board of Directors based on a
xxx xxx xxx
comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities: Provided,
further, That the compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation
plans in the private sector and which shall be exempt from Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise operation, so as practically to make unjust distinctions between persons who are without
known as the Salary Standardization Law, and from other laws, rules and regulations on differences.[40]
salaries and compensations; and to establish a Provident Fund and determine the
Corporations and the employees contributions to the Fund; (emphasis supplied) Stated differently, the second level of inquiry deals with the following questions: Given
that Congress chose to exempt other GFIs (aside the BSP) from the coverage of the SSL, can
the exclusion of the rank-and-file employees of the BSP stand constitutional scrutiny in the
xxx xxx xxx light of the fact that Congress did not exclude the rank-and-file employees of the other GFIs? Is
Congress power to classify so unbridled as to sanction unequal and discriminatory treatment,
7. PDIC (R.A. No. 9302) simply because the inequity manifested itself, not instantly through a single overt act, but
gradually and progressively, through seven separate acts of Congress? Is the right to equal
Section 2. Section 2 of [Republic Act No. 3591, as amended] is hereby further amended to read:
protection of the law bounded in time and space that: (a) the right can only be invoked against
a classification made directly and deliberately, as opposed to a discrimination that arises
xxx xxx xxx indirectly, or as a consequence of several other acts; and (b) is the legal analysis confined to
determining the validity within the parameters of the statute or ordinance (where the inclusion
3. or exclusion is articulated), thereby proscribing any evaluation vis--vis the grouping, or the lack
thereof, among several similar enactments made over a period of time?
xxx xxx xxx
In this second level of scrutiny, the inequality of treatment cannot be justified on the
A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject to mere assertion that each exemption (granted to the seven other GFIs) rests on a policy
the Boards approval, shall be instituted as an integral component of the Corporations human determination by the legislature. All legislative enactments necessarily rest on a policy
resource development program: Provided, That all positions in the Corporation shall be determination - even those that have been declared to contravene the Constitution. Verily, if
governed by a compensation, position classification system and qualification standards this could serve as a magic wand to sustain the validity of a statute, then no due process and
approved by the Board based on a comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and equal protection challenges would ever prosper. There is nothing inherently sacrosanct in a
responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing policy determination made by Congress or by the Executive; it cannot run riot and overrun the
compensation plans of other government financial institutions and shall be subject to review ramparts of protection of the Constitution.
by the Board no more than once every two (2) years without prejudice to yearly merit reviews In fine, the policy determination argument may support the inequality of treatment
or increases based on productivity and profitability. The Corporation shall therefore be between the rank-and-file and the officers of the BSP, but it cannot justify the inequality of
exempt from existing laws, rules and regulations on compensation, position classification treatment between BSP rank-and-file and other GFIs who are similarly situated. It fails to
and qualification standards. It shall however endeavor to make its system conform as closely appreciate that what is at issue in the second level of scrutiny is not the declared policy of
as possible with the principles under Republic Act No. 6758, as amended. (emphases supplied) each law per se, but the oppressive results of Congress inconsistent and unequal
policy towards the BSP rank-and-file and those of the seven other GFIs. At bottom, the second
Thus, eleven years after the amendment of the BSP charter, the rank-and-file of seven challenge to the constitutionality of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653 is
other GFIs were granted the exemption that was specifically denied to the rank-and-file of premised precisely on the irrational discriminatory policy adopted by Congress in its
the BSP. And as if to add insult to petitioners injury, even the Securities and Exchange treatment of persons similarly situated. In the field of equal protection, the guarantee that
Commission (SEC) was granted the same blanket exemption from the SSL in 2000![39] "no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws includes the prohibition against
enacting laws that allow invidious discrimination, directly or indirectly. If a law has the effect
The prior view on the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7653 was confined to an evaluation of denying the equal protection of the law, or permits such denial, it is unconstitutional.[41]
of its classification between the rank-and-file and the officers of the BSP, found reasonable
because there were substantial distinctions that made real differences between the two It is against this standard that the disparate treatment of the BSP rank-and-file from the
classes. other GFIs cannot stand judicial scrutiny. For as regards the exemption from the coverage of
the SSL, there exist no substantial distinctions so as to differentiate, the BSP rank-and-file from
The above-mentioned subsequent enactments, however, constitute significant the other rank-and-file of the seven GFIs. On the contrary, our legal history shows that GFIs
changes in circumstance that considerably alter the reasonability of the continued operation have long been recognized as comprising one distinct class, separate from other
of the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653, thereby exposing governmental entities.
the proviso to more serious scrutiny. This time, the scrutiny relates to the constitutionality of
the classification - albeit made indirectly as a consequence of the passage of eight other laws Before the SSL, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 985 (1976) declared it as a State policy (1)
- between the rank-and-file of the BSP and the seven other GFIs. The classification must not to provide equal pay for substantially equal work, and (2) to base differences in pay upon
only be reasonable, but must also apply equally to all members of the class. The proviso may substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the
be fair on its face and impartial in appearance but it cannot be grossly discriminatory in its positions. P.D. No. 985 was passed to address disparities in pay among similar or comparable
positions which had given rise to dissension among government employees. But even then, Then came the enactment of the amended charter of the BSP, implicitly exempting the
GFIs and government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs) were already Monetary Board from the SSL by giving it express authority to determine and institute its own
identified as a distinct class among government employees. Thus, Section 2 also provided, compensation and wage structure. However, employees whose positions fall under SG 19 and
[t]hat notwithstanding a standardized salary system established for all employees, additional below were specifically limited to the rates prescribed under the SSL.
financial incentives may be established by government corporation and financial institutions
for their employees to be supported fully from their corporate funds and for such technical Subsequent amendments to the charters of other GFIs followed. Significantly, each
positions as may be approved by the President in critical government agencies.[42] government financial institution (GFI) was not only expressly authorized to determine and
institute its own compensation and wage structure, but also explicitly exempted - without
The same favored treatment is made for the GFIs and the GOCCs under the SSL. Section distinction as to salary grade or position - all employees of the GFI from the SSL.
3(b) provides that one of the principles governing the Compensation and Position Classification
System of the Government is that: [b]asic compensation for all personnel in the government It has been proffered that legislative deliberations justify the grant or withdrawal of
and government-owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions shall generally be exemption from the SSL, based on the perceived need to fulfill the mandate of the institution
comparable with those in the private sector doing comparable work, and must be in concerned considering, among others, that: (1) the GOCC or GFI is essentially proprietary in
accordance with prevailing laws on minimum wages. character; (2) the GOCC or GFI is in direct competition with their [sic] counterparts in the private
sector, not only in terms of the provisions of goods or services, but also in terms of hiring and
Thus, the BSP and all other GFIs and GOCCs were under the unified Compensation and retaining competent personnel; and (3) the GOCC or GFI are or were [sic] experiencing
Position Classification System of the SSL,[43] but rates of pay under the SSL were determined difficulties filling up plantilla positions with competent personnel and/or retaining these
on the basis of, among others, prevailing rates in the private sector for comparable work. personnel. The need for the scope of exemption necessarily varies with the particular
Notably, the Compensation and Position Classification System was to be governed by the circumstances of each institution, and the corresponding variance in the benefits received by
following principles: (a) just and equitable wages, with the ratio of compensation between pay the employees is merely incidental.
distinctions maintained at equitable levels;[44] and (b) basic compensation generally
comparable with the private sector, in accordance with prevailing laws on minimum The fragility of this argument is manifest. First, the BSP is the central monetary
wages.[45] Also, the Department of Budget and Management was directed to use, as guide for authority,[48] and the banker of the government and all its political subdivisions. [49] It has the
preparing the Index of Occupational Services, the Benchmark Position Schedule, and the sole power and authority to issue currency;[50] provide policy directions in the areas of money,
following factors:[46] banking, and credit; and supervise banks and regulate finance companies and non-bank
financial institutions performing quasi-banking functions, including the exempted
(1) the education and experience required to perform the duties and GFIs.[51] Hence, the argument that the rank-and-file employees of the seven GFIs were
responsibilities of the positions; exempted because of the importance of their institutions mandate cannot stand any more
than an empty sack can stand.
(2) the nature and complexity of the work to be performed;
Second, it is certainly misleading to say that the need for the scope of exemption
(3) the kind of supervision received; necessarily varies with the particular circumstances of each institution. Nowhere in the
(4) mental and/or physical strain required in the completion of the work; deliberations is there a cogent basis for the exclusion of the BSP rank-and-file from the
exemption which was granted to the rank-and-file of the other GFIs and the SEC. As point in
(5) nature and extent of internal and external relationships; fact, the BSP and the seven GFIs are similarly situated in so far as Congress deemed it necessary
for these institutions to be exempted from the SSL. True, the SSL-exemption of the BSP and
(6) kind of supervision exercised; the seven GFIs was granted in the amended charters of each GFI, enacted separately and over
(7) decision-making responsibility; a period of time. But it bears emphasis that, while each GFI has a mandate different and
distinct from that of another, the deliberations show that the raison dtre of the SSL-exemption
(8) responsibility for accuracy of records and reports; was inextricably linked to and for the most part based on factors common to the eight
GFIs, i.e., (1) the pivotal role they play in the economy; (2) the necessity of hiring and retaining
(9) accountability for funds, properties and equipment; and qualified and effective personnel to carry out the GFIs mandate; and (3) the recognition that
(10) hardship, hazard and personal risk involved in the job. the compensation package of these GFIs is not competitive, and fall substantially below
industry standards. Considering further that (a) the BSP was the first GFI granted SSL
The Benchmark Position Schedule enumerates the position titles that fall within Salary exemption; and (b) the subsequent exemptions of other GFIs did not distinguish between the
Grades 1 to 20. officers and the rank-and-file; it is patent that the classification made between the BSP rank-
and-file and those of the other seven GFIs was inadvertent, and NOT intended, i.e., it was not
Clearly, under R.A. No. 6758, the rank-and-file of all GFIs were similarly situated in all
based on any substantial distinction vis--vis the particular circumstances of each GFI.
aspects pertaining to compensation and position classification, in consonance with Section 5,
Moreover, the exemption granted to two GFIs makes express reference to allowance and
Article IX-B of the 1997 Constitution.[47]
fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently enjoyed by the employees and
personnel of other GFIs,[52] underscoring that GFIs are a particular class within the realm of In the case at bar, it is precisely the fact that as regards the exemption from the SSL,
government entities. there are no characteristics peculiar only to the seven GFIs or their rank-and-file so as to
justify the exemption which BSP rank-and-file employees were denied (not to mention the
It is precisely this unpremeditated discrepancy in treatment of the rank-and-file of the anomaly of the SEC getting one). The distinction made by the law is not only superficial,[56] but
BSP - made manifest and glaring with each and every consequential grant of blanket exemption also arbitrary. It is not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between
from the SSL to the other GFIs - that cannot be rationalized or justified. Even more so, when the BSP rank-and-file and the seven other GFIs.
the SEC - which is not a GFI - was given leave to have a compensation plan that shall be
comparable with the prevailing compensation plan in the [BSP] and other [GFIs], [53] then Moreover, the issue in this case is not - as the dissenting opinion of Mme. Justice Carpio-
granted a blanket exemption from the SSL, and its rank-and-file endowed a more preferred Morales would put it - whether being an employee of a GOCC or GFI is reasonable and
treatment than the rank-and-file of the BSP. sufficient basis for exemption from R.A. No. 6758. It is Congress itself that distinguished the
GFIs from other government agencies, not once but eight times, through the enactment of
The violation to the equal protection clause becomes even more pronounced when we R.A. Nos. 7653, 7907, 8282, 8289, 8291, 8523, 8763, and 9302. These laws may have created
are faced with this undeniable truth: that if Congress had enacted a law for the sole purpose a preferred sub-class within government employees, but the present challenge is not directed
of exempting the eight GFIs from the coverage of the SSL, the exclusion of the BSP rank-and- at the wisdom of these laws. Rather, it is a legal conundrum involving the exercise of legislative
file employees would have been devoid of any substantial or material basis. It bears no power, the validity of which must be measured not only by looking at the specific exercise in
moment, therefore, that the unlawful discrimination was not a direct result arising from one and by itself (R.A. No. 7653), but also as to the legal effects brought about by seven separate
law. Nemo potest facere per alium quod non potest facere per directum. No one is allowed to exercises - albeit indirectly and without intent.
do indirectly what he is prohibited to do directly.
Thus, even if petitioner had not alleged a comparable change in the factual milieu as
It has also been proffered that similarities alone are not sufficient to support the regards the compensation, position classification and qualification standards of the employees
conclusion that rank-and-file employees of the BSP may be lumped together with similar of the BSP (whether of the executive level or of the rank-and-file) since the enactment of the
employees of the other GOCCs for purposes of compensation, position classification and new Central Bank Act is of no moment. In GSIS v. Montesclaros,[57] this Court resolved the issue
qualification standards. The fact that certain persons have some attributes in common does of constitutionality notwithstanding that claimant had manifested that she was no longer
not automatically make them members of the same class with respect to a legislative interested in pursuing the case, and even when the constitutionality of the said provision was
classification. Cited is the ruling in Johnson v. Robinson:[54] this finding of similarity ignores not squarely raised as an issue, because the issue involved not only the claimant but also others
that a common characteristic shared by beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries alike, is not similarly situated and whose claims GSIS would also deny based on the challenged proviso. The
sufficient to invalidate a statute when other characteristics peculiar to only one group Court held that social justice and public interest demanded the resolution of the
rationally explain the statutes different treatment of the two groups. constitutionality of the proviso. And so it is with the challenged proviso in the case at bar.
The reference to Johnson is inapropos. In Johnson, the US Court sustained the validity of It bears stressing that the exemption from the SSL is a privilege fully within the legislative
the classification as there were quantitative and qualitative distinctions, expressly prerogative to give or deny. However, its subsequent grant to the rank-and-file of the seven
recognized by Congress, which formed a rational basis for the classification limiting other GFIs and continued denial to the BSP rank-and-file employees breached the latters right
educational benefits to military service veterans as a means of helping them readjust to civilian to equal protection. In other words, while the granting of a privilege per se is a matter of policy
life. The Court listed the peculiar characteristics as follows: exclusively within the domain and prerogative of Congress, the validity or legality of the
First, the disruption caused by military service is quantitatively greater than that caused by exercise of this prerogative is subject to judicial review.[58] So when the distinction made is
alternative civilian service. A conscientious objector performing alternative service is obligated superficial, and not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between those
to work for two years. Service in the Armed Forces, on the other hand, involves a six-year included and excluded, it becomes a matter of arbitrariness that this Court has the duty and
commitment the power to correct.[59] As held in the United Kingdom case of Hooper v. Secretary of State
for Work and Pensions,[60] once the State has chosen to confer benefits, discrimination
contrary to law may occur where favorable treatment already afforded to one group is refused
xxx xxx xxx
to another, even though the State is under no obligation to provide that favorable
treatment. [61]
Second, the disruptions suffered by military veterans and alternative service performers are
qualitatively different. Military veterans suffer a far greater loss of personal freedom during The disparity of treatment between BSP rank-and-file and the rank-and-file of the other
their service careers. Uprooted from civilian life, the military veteran becomes part of the seven GFIs definitely bears the unmistakable badge of invidious discrimination - no one can,
military establishment, subject to its discipline and potentially hazardous duty. Congress was with candor and fairness, deny the discriminatory character of the subsequent blanket and
acutely aware of the peculiar disabilities caused by military service, in consequence of which total exemption of the seven other GFIs from the SSL when such was withheld from the
military servicemen have a special need for readjustment benefits[55] (citations omitted) BSP. Alikes are being treated as unalikes without any rational basis.
Again, it must be emphasized that the equal protection clause does not demand absolute deferential ingredients of the old equal protection: in most areas of economic and social
equality but it requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and legislation, the demands imposed by equal protection remained as minimal as everBut the
conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. Favoritism and undue Court launched an equal protection revolution by finding large new areas for strict rather than
preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be deferential scrutiny. A sharply differentiated two-tier approach evolved by the late 1960s: in
given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are analogous. If law be addition to the deferential old equal protection, a new equal protection, connoting strict
looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in scrutiny, arose. The intensive review associated with the new equal protection imposed two
the same fashion; whatever restrictions cast on some in the group is equally binding on the demands - a demand not only as to means but also one as to ends. Legislation qualifying for
rest.[62] strict scrutiny required a far closer fit between classification and statutory purpose than the
rough and ready flexibility traditionally tolerated by the old equal protection: means had to
In light of the lack of real and substantial distinctions that would justify the unequal be shown necessary to achieve statutory ends, not merely reasonably related
treatment between the rank-and-file of BSP from the seven other GFIs, it is clear that the ones. Moreover, equal protection became a source of ends scrutiny as well: legislation in the
enactment of the seven subsequent charters has rendered the continued application of the areas of the new equal protection had to be justified by compelling state interests, not merely
challenged proviso anathema to the equal protection of the law, and the same should be the wide spectrum of legitimate state ends.
declared as an outlaw.

IV. The Warren Court identified the areas appropriate for strict scrutiny by searching for two
characteristics: the presence of a suspect classification; or an impact on fundamental rights or
Equal Protection Under interests. In the category of suspect classifications, the Warren Courts major contribution was
International Lens to intensify the strict scrutiny in the traditionally interventionist area of racial classifications.
But other cases also suggested that there might be more other suspect categories as well:
In our jurisdiction, the standard and analysis of equal protection challenges in the main illegitimacy and wealth for example. But it was the fundamental interests ingredient of the
have followed the rational basis test, coupled with a deferential attitude to legislative new equal protection that proved particularly dynamic, open-ended, and amorphous.. [Other
classifications[63] and a reluctance to invalidate a law unless there is a showing of a clear and fundamental interests included voting, criminal appeals, and the right of interstate travel .]
unequivocal breach of the Constitution. [64]

A. Equal Protection xxx xxx xxx


in the United States
In contrast, jurisprudence in the U.S. has gone beyond the static rational basis The Burger Court and Equal Protection.
test. Professor Gunther highlights the development in equal protection jurisprudential
analysis, to wit: [65] The Burger Court was reluctant to expand the scope of the new equal protection, although
Traditionally, equal protection supported only minimal judicial intervention in most contexts. its best established ingredient retains vitality. There was also mounting discontent with the
Ordinarily, the command of equal protection was only that government must not impose rigid two-tier formulations of the Warren Courts equal protection doctrine. It was prepared to
differences in treatment except upon some reasonable differentiation fairly related to the use the clause as an interventionist tool without resorting to the strict language of the new
object of regulation. The old variety of equal protection scrutiny focused solely on equal protection. [Among the fundamental interests identified during this time were voting
the means used by the legislature: it insisted merely that the classification in the and access to the ballot, while suspect classifications included sex, alienage and illegitimacy.]
statute reasonably relates to the legislative purpose. Unlike substantive due process, equal
protection scrutiny was not typically concerned with identifying fundamental values and xxx xxx xxx
restraining legislative ends. And usually the rational classificationrequirement was readily
satisfied: the courts did not demand a tight fit between classification and purpose; perfect Even while the two-tier scheme has often been adhered to in form, there has also been an
congruence between means and ends was not required. increasingly noticeable resistance to the sharp difference between deferential old and
interventionist new equal protection. A number of justices sought formulations that would
xxx xxx xxx blur the sharp distinctions of the two-tiered approach or that would narrow the gap between
strict scrutiny and deferential review. The most elaborate attack came from Justice Marshall,
[From marginal intervention to major cutting edge: The Warren Courts new equal protection whose frequently stated position was developed most elaborately in his dissent in
and the two-tier approach.] the Rodriguez case: [66]

From its traditional modest role, equal protection burgeoned into a major intervention tool The Court apparently seeks to establish [that] equal protection cases fall into one of two neat
during the Warren era, especially in the 1960s. The Warren Court did not abandon the categories which dictate the appropriate standard of review - strict scrutiny or mere
rationality. But this (sic) Courts [decisions] defy such easy categorization. A principled reading
of what this Court has done reveals that it has applied a spectrum of standards in reviewing the ECHR, a much higher level of justification being required in respect of those regarded as
discrimination allegedly violative of the equal protection clause. This spectrum clearly suspect (sex, race, nationality, illegitimacy, or sexual orientation) than of others. Thus,
comprehends variations in the degree of care with which Court will scrutinize particular in Abdulaziz, [70] the European Court declared that:
classification, depending, I believe, on the constitutional and societal importance of the
interests adversely affected and the recognized invidiousness of the basis upon which the . . . [t]he advancement of the equality of the sexes is today a major goal in the member States
particular classification is drawn. of the Council of Europe. This means that very weighty reasons would have to be advanced
before a difference of treatment on the ground of sex could be regarded as compatible with
the Convention.
Justice Marshalls sliding scale approach describes many of the modern decisions, although it
is a formulation that the majority refused to embrace. But the Burger Courts results indicate
at least two significant changes in equal protection law: First, invocation of the old equal And in Gaygusuz v. Austria,[71] the European Court held that very weighty
protection formula no longer signals, as it did with the Warren Court, an extreme deference to reasons would have to be put forward before the Court could regard a difference of treatment
legislative classifications and a virtually automatic validation of challenged statutes. Instead, based exclusively on the ground of nationality as compatible with the
several cases, even while voicing the minimal rationality hands-off standards of the old equal Convention.[72] The European Court will then permit States a very much narrower margin of
protection, proceed to find the statute unconstitutional. Second, in some areas the modern appreciation in relation to discrimination on grounds of sex, race, etc., in the application of
Court has put forth standards for equal protection review that, while clearly more intensive the Convention rights than it will in relation to distinctions drawn by states between, for
than the deference of the old equal protection, are less demanding than the strictness of the example, large and small land-owners. [73]
new equal protection. Sex discrimination is the best established example of an intermediate C. Equality under
level of review. Thus, in one case, the Court said that classifications by gender must International Law
serve important governmental objectives and must be substantially related to achievement
of those objectives. That standard is intermediate with respect to both ends and means: where The principle of equality has long been recognized under international law. Article 1 of
ends must be compelling to survive strict scrutiny and merely legitimate under the old mode, the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsproclaims that all human beings are born free and
important objectives are required here; and where means must be necessary under the new equal in dignity and rights. Non-discrimination, together with equality before the law and
equal protection, and merely rationally related under the old equal protection, they must be equal protection of the law without any discrimination, constitutes basic principles in the
substantially related to survive the intermediate level of review. (emphasis supplied, citations protection of human rights. [74]
omitted)
Most, if not all, international human rights instruments include some prohibition on
B. Equal Protection discrimination and/or provisions about equality.[75] The general international provisions
in Europe pertinent to discrimination and/or equality are the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR);[76] the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
The United Kingdom and other members of the European Community have also gone the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
forward in discriminatory legislation and jurisprudence. Within the United Kingdom domestic (CERD);[77] the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
law, the most extensive list of protected grounds can be found in Article 14 of the European (CEDAW); and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex, race, In the broader international context, equality is also enshrined in regional
colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with instruments such as the American Convention on Human Rights;[78] the African Charter on
a national minority, property, birth or other status. This list is illustrative and not Human and People's Rights;[79] the European Convention on Human Rights;[80] the European
exhaustive. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex and religion is regarded as grounds that Social Charter of 1961 and revised Social Charter of 1996; and the European Union Charter of
require strict scrutiny. A further indication that certain forms of discrimination are regarded Rights (of particular importance to European states). Even the Council of the League of Arab
as particularly suspect under the Covenant can be gleaned from Article 4, which, while States has adopted the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 1994, although it has yet to be ratified
allowing states to derogate from certain Covenant articles in times of national emergency, by the Member States of the League.[81]
prohibits derogation by measures that discriminate solely on the grounds of race, colour,
language, religion or social origin.[67] The equality provisions in these instruments do not merely function as traditional "first
generation" rights, commonly viewed as concerned only with constraining rather than
Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights has developed a test of justification requiring State action. Article 26 of the ICCPR requires guarantee[s] of equal and effective
which varies with the ground of discrimination. In the Belgian Linguistics case[68] the European protection against discrimination while Articles 1 and 14 of the American and European
Court set the standard of justification at a low level: discrimination would contravene the Conventions oblige States Parties to ensure ... the full and free exercise of [the rights
Convention only if it had no legitimate aim, or there was no reasonable relationship of guaranteed] ... without any discrimination and to secure without discrimination the enjoyment
proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised. [69] But over of the rights guaranteed.[82] These provisions impose a measure of positive obligation on
the years, the European Court has developed a hierarchy of grounds covered by Article 14 of States Parties to take steps to eradicate discrimination.
In the employment field, basic detailed minimum standards ensuring equality and That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution
prevention of discrimination, are laid down in the ICESCR[83] and in a very large number of and laws reflect the policy against these evils. The Constitution in the Article on Social Justice
Conventions administered by the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures
body. [84]Additionally, many of the other international and regional human rights instruments that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic,
have specific provisions relating to employment.[85] and political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person,
"in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has also gone beyond the earlier everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."
tendency to view the prohibition against discrimination (Article 26) as confined to the ICCPR
rights.[86] In Broeks[87] and Zwaan-de Vries,[88] the issue before the Committee was whether
discriminatory provisions in the Dutch Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV) fell within the International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes
scope of Article 26. The Dutch government submitted that discrimination in social security discrimination. General principles of law include principles of equity, i.e., the general principles
benefit provision was not within the scope of Article 26, as the right was contained in the of fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable. The Universal Declaration of
ICESCR and not the ICCPR. They accepted that Article 26 could go beyond the rights contained Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the
in the Covenant to other civil and political rights, such as discrimination in the field of taxation, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the
but contended that Article 26 did not extend to the social, economic, and cultural rights Convention against Discrimination in Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning
contained in ICESCR. The Committee rejected this argument. In its view, Article 26 applied to Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation - all embody the general principle
rights beyond the Covenant including the rights in other international treaties such as the right against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its
to social security found in ICESCR: Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.

Although Article 26 requires that legislation should prohibit discrimination, it does not of itself In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of
contain any obligation with respect to the matters that may be provided for by legislation. Thus capital, inequality and discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.
it does not, for example, require any state to enact legislation to provide for social security.
However, when such legislation is adopted in the exercise of a State's sovereign power,
The Constitution specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work."
then such legislation must comply with Article 26 of the Covenant.[89]
These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace - the factory, the office or the
field - but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees.
Breaches of the right to equal protection occur directly or indirectly. A classification may
be struck down if it has the purpose or effectof violating the right to equal protection.
The Constitution also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for
International law recognizes that discrimination may occur indirectly, as the Human Rights
all." Similarly, the Labor Code provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities
Committee[90] took into account the definitions of discrimination adopted by CERD and CEDAW
regardless of sex, race or creed." It would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these
in declaring that:
provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to promote and ensure equal
. . . discrimination as used in the [ICCPR] should be understood to imply any distinction, employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions
exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on any ground such as race, colour, sex, of employment.
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, xxx xxx xxx
enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and
freedoms. [91] (emphasis supplied) Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 7
thereof, provides:
Thus, the two-tier analysis made in the case at bar of the challenged provision, and its
conclusion of unconstitutionality by subsequent operation, are in cadence and in The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment
consonance with the progressive trend of other jurisdictions and in international law. There of just and [favorable] conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:
should be no hesitation in using the equal protection clause as a major cutting edge to
eliminate every conceivable irrational discrimination in our society. Indeed, the social justice
imperatives in the Constitution, coupled with the special status and protection afforded to a. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
labor, compel this approach.[92]
i. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without
Apropos the special protection afforded to labor under our Constitution and distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed
international law, we held in International School Alliance of Educators v. Quisumbing: [93] conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with
equal pay for equal work;
xxx xxx xxx Our present Constitution has gone further in guaranteeing vital social and economic
rights to marginalized groups of society, including labor.[101] Under the policy of social justice,
The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal the law bends over backward to accommodate the interests of the working class on the
truism of "equal pay for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications, humane justification that those with less privilege in life should have more in law.[102] And the
skill, effort and responsibility, under similar conditions, should be paid similar salaries. obligation to afford protection to labor is incumbent not only on the legislative and executive
(citations omitted) branches but also on the judiciary to translate this pledge into a living reality.[103]Social justice
calls for the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the
State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be
Congress retains its wide discretion in providing for a valid classification, and its policies
approximated.[104]
should be accorded recognition and respect by the courts of justice except when they run afoul
of the Constitution.[94] The deference stops where the classification violates a fundamental V.
right, or prejudices persons accorded special protection by the Constitution. When these
violations arise, this Court must discharge its primary role as the vanguard of constitutional A Final Word
guaranties, and require a stricter and more exacting adherence to constitutional
limitations. Rational basis should not suffice.
Finally, concerns have been raised as to the propriety of a ruling voiding the challenged
Admittedly, the view that prejudice to persons accorded special protection by the provision. It has been proffered that the remedy of petitioner is not with this Court, but with
Constitution requires a stricter judicial scrutiny finds no support in American or English Congress, which alone has the power to erase any inequity perpetrated by R.A. No. 7653.
jurisprudence. Nevertheless, these foreign decisions and authorities are not per se controlling Indeed, a bill proposing the exemption of the BSP rank-and-file from the SSL has supposedly
in this jurisdiction. At best, they are persuasive and have been used to support many of our been filed.
decisions.[95] We should not place undue and fawning reliance upon them and regard them as
indispensable mental crutches without which we cannot come to our own decisions through Under most circumstances, the Court will exercise judicial restraint in deciding questions
the employment of our own endowments. We live in a different ambience and must decide of constitutionality, recognizing the broad discretion given to Congress in exercising its
our own problems in the light of our own interests and needs, and of our qualities and even legislative power. Judicial scrutiny would be based on the rational basis test, and the legislative
idiosyncrasies as a people, and always with our own concept of law and justice. [96] Our laws discretion would be given deferential treatment. [105]
must be construed in accordance with the intention of our own lawmakers and such intent But if the challenge to the statute is premised on the denial of a fundamental right, or
may be deduced from the language of each law and the context of other local legislation the perpetuation of prejudice against persons favored by the Constitution with special
related thereto. More importantly, they must be construed to serve our own public interest protection, judicial scrutiny ought to be more strict. A weak and watered down view would
which is the be-all and the end-all of all our laws. And it need not be stressed that our public call for the abdication of this Courts solemn duty to strike down any law repugnant to the
interest is distinct and different from others.[97] Constitution and the rights it enshrines. This is true whether the actor committing the
In the 2003 case of Francisco v. House of Representatives, this Court has stated that: unconstitutional act is a private person or the government itself or one of its instrumentalities.
[A]merican jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious Oppressive acts will be struck down regardless of the character or nature of the actor. [106]
application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the
persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned....[I]n resolving issue on whether or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met, or the
constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of limitations respected, is justiciable or non-political, the crux of the problem being one of
which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different constitutional legality or validity of the contested act, not its wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications,
settings and needs.[98] Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that conditions or limitations - particularly those prescribed or imposed by the Constitution - would
of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. [99] be set at naught. What is more, the judicial inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof
Further, the quest for a better and more equal world calls for the use of equal protection are the main functions of courts of justice under the Presidential form of government adopted
as a tool of effective judicial intervention. in our 1935 Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic predicates.
As a consequence, We have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing upon
Equality is one ideal which cries out for bold attention and action in the Constitution. The said issue, but are under the ineluctable obligation - made particularly more exacting and
Preamble proclaims equality as an ideal precisely in protest against crushing inequities in peremptory by our oath, as members of the highest Court of the land, to support and defend
Philippine society. The command to promote social justice in Article II, Section 10, in all phases the Constitution - to settle it. This explains why, in Miller v. Johnson, it was held that courts
of national development, further explicitated in Article XIII, are clear commands to the State have a "duty, rather than a power", to determine whether another branch of the government
to take affirmative action in the direction of greater equality. [T]here is thus in the Philippine has "kept within constitutional limits." Not satisfied with this postulate, the court went farther
Constitution no lack of doctrinal support for a more vigorous state effort towards achieving a and stressed that, if the Constitution provides how it may be amended - as it is in our 1935
reasonable measure of equality.[100] Constitution - "then, unless the manner is followed, the judiciary as the interpreter of that
constitution, will declare the amendment invalid." In fact, this very Court - speaking through G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973
Justice Laurel, an outstanding authority on Philippine Constitutional Law, as well as one of the
highly respected and foremost leaders of the Convention that drafted the 1935 Constitution - PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT ORGANIZATION, NICANOR TOLENTINO,
declared, as early as July 15, 1936, that "(i)n times of social disquietude or political excitement, FLORENCIO, PADRIGANO RUFINO, ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, ASENCION PACIENTE,
the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely BONIFACIO VACUNA, BENJAMIN PAGCU and RODULFO MUNSOD, petitioners,
obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which vs.
can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL
departments" of the government.[107] (citations omitted; emphasis supplied) RELATIONS, respondents.

In the case at bar, the challenged proviso operates on the basis of the salary grade or L.S. Osorio & P.B. Castillo and J.C. Espinas & Associates for petitioners.
officer-employee status. It is akin to a distinction based on economic class and status, with
the higher grades as recipients of a benefit specifically withheld from the lower grades. Officers
Demetrio B. Salem & Associates for private respondent.
of the BSP now receive higher compensation packages that are competitive with the industry,
while the poorer, low-salaried employees are limited to the rates prescribed by the SSL. The
implications are quite disturbing: BSP rank-and-file employees are paid the strictly regimented
rates of the SSL while employees higher in rank - possessing higher and better education and MAKASIAR, J.:
opportunities for career advancement - are given higher compensation packages to entice
them to stay. Considering that majority, if not all, the rank-and-file employees consist of The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (hereinafter referred to as
people whose status and rank in life are less and limited, especially in terms of job PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine
marketability, it is they - and not the officers - who have the real economic and Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners Nicanor Tolentino, Florencio Padrigano, Rufino
financial need for the adjustment This is in accord with the policy of the Constitution "to free Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo
the people from poverty, provide adequate social services, extend to them a decent standard Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union.
of living, and improve the quality of life for all.[108] Any act of Congress that runs counter to
this constitutional desideratum deserves strict scrutiny by this Court before it can pass Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at
muster. Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be
To be sure, the BSP rank-and-file employees merit greater concern from this participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the
Court. They represent the more impotent rank-and-file government employees who, unlike regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.,
employees in the private sector, have no specific right to organize as a collective bargaining respectively); and that they informed the respondent Company of their proposed
unit and negotiate for better terms and conditions of employment, nor the power to hold a demonstration.
strike to protest unfair labor practices. Not only are they impotent as a labor unit, but their
efficacy to lobby in Congress is almost nil as R.A. No. 7653 effectively isolated them from the The questioned order dated September 15, 1969, of Associate Judge Joaquin M. Salvador of
other GFI rank-and-file in compensation. These BSP rank-and-file employees represent the the respondent Court reproduced the following stipulation of facts of the parties — parties
politically powerless and they should not be compelled to seek a political solution to their —
unequal and iniquitous treatment. Indeed, they have waited for many years for the legislature
to act. They cannot be asked to wait some more for discrimination cannot be given any waiting 3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected
time. Unless the equal protection clause of the Constitution is a mere platitude, it is the Courts mass demonstration at Malacañang in protest against alleged abuses of
duty to save them from reasonless discrimination. the Pasig Police Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM-
IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hold that the continued operation and implementation of the 2:00 PM) workers as well as those working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M.
last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653 is unconstitutional. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in the morning of March 4, 1969;

Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, 4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about
Azcuna, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur. 11:00 A.M. at the Company's canteen, and those present were: for the
Panganiban, Carpio, Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., see dissenting. Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang (2) Atty. S. de Leon, Jr., (3) and all
Corona, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., on leave. department and section heads. For the PBMEO (1) Florencio Padrigano,
(2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion Paciente, (5)
Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu.
5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said second and third shifts should be utilized for the demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on
projected mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969. PBMEO March 4, 1969, respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on March 4,
thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted as spokesman of the union panel, 1969, with the respondent Court, a charge against petitioners and other employees who
confirmed the planned demonstration and stated that the demonstration composed the first shift, charging them with a "violation of Section 4(a)-6 in relation to
or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed upon in Sections 13 and 14, as well as Section 15, all of Republic Act No. 875, and of the CBA
the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' " (Annex "A", pp. 19-20, rec.). The charge was
to do with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute accompanied by the joint affidavit of Arthur L. Ang and Cesareo de Leon, Jr. (Annex "B", pp.
with Management; 21-24, rec.). Thereafter, a corresponding complaint was filed, dated April 18, 1969, by Acting
Chief Prosecutor Antonio T. Tirona and Acting Prosecutor Linda P. Ilagan (Annex "C", pp. 25-
6. That Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel 30, rec.)
manager, informed PBMEO that the demonstration is an inalienable right
of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized, however, In their answer, dated May 9, 1969, herein petitioners claim that they did not violate the
that any demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the existing CBA because they gave the respondent Company prior notice of the mass
normal operation of the Company. For which reason, the Company, thru demonstration on March 4, 1969; that the said mass demonstration was a valid exercise of
Atty. C.S. de Leon warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who their constitutional freedom of speech against the alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen;
belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of and that their mass demonstration was not a declaration of strike because it was not
absence approved by the Company, particularly , the officers present directed against the respondent firm (Annex "D", pp. 31-34, rec.)
who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for
work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because After considering the aforementioned stipulation of facts submitted by the parties, Judge
such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be Joaquin M. Salvador, in an order dated September 15, 1969, found herein petitioner PBMEO
amounting to an illegal strike; guilty of bargaining in bad faith and herein petitioners Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas,
Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino
7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was and Rodulfo Munsod as directly responsible for perpetrating the said unfair labor practice
convoked Company represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The Union and were, as a consequence, considered to have lost their status as employees of the
panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino, Rodolfo Munsod, Benjamin respondent Company (Annex "F", pp. 42-56, rec.)
Pagcu and Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of March 3,
1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO representatives Herein petitioners claim that they received on September 23, 1969, the aforesaid order (p.
that while all workers may join the Malacañang demonstration, the 11, rec.); and that they filed on September 29, 1969, because September 28, 1969 fell on
workers for the first and regular shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused Sunday (p. 59, rec.), a motion for reconsideration of said order dated September 15, 1969, on
from joining the demonstration and should report for work; and thus the ground that it is contrary to law and the evidence, as well as asked for ten (10) days
utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to violate the within which to file their arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of the
provisions of the CBA, particularly Article XXIV: NO LOCKOUT — NO CIR, as amended (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec. )
STRIKE'. All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall
be dismiss; De Leon reiterated the Company's warning that the officers
In its opposition dated October 7, 1969, filed on October 11, 1969 (p. 63, rec.), respondent
shall be primarily liable being the organizers of the mass demonstration.
Company averred that herein petitioners received on September 22, 1969, the order dated
The union panel countered that it was rather too late to change their
September 17 (should be September 15), 1969; that under Section 15 of the amended Rules
plans inasmuch as the Malacañang demonstration will be held the
of the Court of Industrial Relations, herein petitioners had five (5) days from September 22,
following morning; and
1969 or until September 27, 1969, within which to file their motion for reconsideration; and
that because their motion for reconsideration was two (2) days late, it should be accordingly
8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a dismissed, invoking Bien vs. Castillo,1 which held among others, that a motion for extension
cablegram to the Company which was received 9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, of the five-day period for the filing of a motion for reconsideration should be filed before the
the contents of which are as follows: 'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE said five-day period elapses (Annex "M", pp. 61-64, rec.).
DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES JOINING DEMONSTRATION MARCH 4, 1969.'
(Pars. 3-8, Annex "F", pp. 42-43, rec.)
Subsequently, herein petitioners filed on October 14, 1969 their written arguments dated
October 11, 1969, in support of their motion for reconsideration (Annex "I", pp. 65-73, rec.).
Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the
demonstration despite the pleas of the respondent Company that the first shift workers
should not be required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers in the
In a resolution dated October 9, 1969, the respondent en banc dismissed the motion for (3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included
reconsideration of herein petitioners for being pro forma as it was filed beyond the among the immunities reserved by the sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of Justice
reglementary period prescribed by its Rules (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.), which herein Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor or hate more than the ideas we cherish; or as
petitioners received on October 28, 196 (pp. 12 & 76, rec.). Socrates insinuated, not only to protect the minority who want to talk, but also to benefit the
majority who refuse to listen.6 And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the liberties of one
At the bottom of the notice of the order dated October 9, 1969, which was released on are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless the liberties of all are
October 24, 1969 and addressed to the counsels of the parties (pp. 75-76, rec.), appear the protected.7
requirements of Sections 15, 16 and 17, as amended, of the Rules of the Court of Industrial
Relations, that a motion for reconsideration shall be filed within five (5) days from receipt of (4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also
its decision or order and that an appeal from the decision, resolution or order of the C.I.R., political rights essential to man's enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and
sitting en banc, shall be perfected within ten (10) days from receipt thereof (p. 76, rec.). complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can participate not merely in the
periodic establishment of the government through their suffrage but also in the
On October 31, 1969, herein petitioners filed with the respondent court a petition for relief administration of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public officers. The
from the order dated October 9, 1969, on the ground that their failure to file their motion for citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental
reconsideration on time was due to excusable negligence and honest mistake committed by officers or agencies for redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful
the president of the petitioner Union and of the office clerk of their counsel, attaching sanctions on erring public officers and employees.
thereto the affidavits of the said president and clerk (Annexes "K", "K-1" and "K-2", rec.).
(5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over
Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief from the order dated October property rights is recognized.8 Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well
9, 1969, herein petitioners filed on November 3, 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of as supremely precious in our society" and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise
appeal (Annex "L", pp. 88-89, rec.). almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to
survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow specificity."9
I
Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are
imprescriptible. If human rights are extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of
There is need of briefly restating basic concepts and principles which underlie the issues
Rights is a useless attempt to limit the power of government and ceases to be an efficacious
posed by the case at bar.
shield against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of
oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise.
(1) In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the dignity and worth of the
human personality is the central core as well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization.
In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a
The inviolable character of man as an individual must be "protected to the largest possible
preferred position as they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and
extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person."2
political institutions; 10 and such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity and the sanction
not permitting dubious intrusions." 11
(2) The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security
"against the assaults of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of
The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a mere
small encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have no patience with general
reasonable or rational relation between the means employed by the law and its object or
principles."3
purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive — would
suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property rights. 12 On the other hand, a
In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion,
withdraw "certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has
beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be the right to prevent. So it has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando
applied by the courts. One's rights to life, liberty and property, to free speech, or free press, in Gonzales vs. Comelec and reiterated by the writer of the opinion in Imbong vs. Ferrer. 13 It
freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a should be added that Mr. Justice Barredo in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, like Justices
vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."4 Laski proclaimed that "the happiness of Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs. Sullivan, 14 believes that the freedoms of
the individual, not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by which its behaviour was speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of
to be judged. His interests, not its power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or "when exercised in relation
exercise."5 to our right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed," 15 even as Mr.
Justice Castro relies on the balancing-of-interests test. 16 Chief Justice Vinson is partial to the As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights — freedom of expression, of peaceful
improbable danger rule formulated by Chief Judge Learned Hand, viz. — whether the gravity assembly and of petition for redress of grievances — over property rights has been
of the evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free expression as is sustained. 18 Emphatic reiteration of this basic tenet as a coveted boon — at once the shield
necessary to avoid the danger. 17 and armor of the dignity and worth of the human personality, the all-consuming ideal of our
enlightened civilization — becomes Our duty, if freedom and social justice have any meaning
II at all for him who toils so that capital can produce economic goods that can generate
happiness for all. To regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the
employer, as evidence of bad faith in collective bargaining and hence a violation of the
The respondent Court of Industrial Relations, after opining that the mass demonstration was
collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the
not a declaration of strike, concluded that by their "concerted act and the occurrence
demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining
temporary stoppage of work," herein petitioners are guilty bargaining in bad faith and hence
agreement, is "a potent means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well as
violated the collective bargaining agreement with private respondent Philippine Blooming
mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly and
Mills Co., inc.. Set against and tested by foregoing principles governing a democratic society,
of petition. 19
such conclusion cannot be sustained. The demonstration held petitioners on March 4, 1969
before Malacañang was against alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen, not against their
employer, herein private respondent firm, said demonstrate was purely and completely an The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working shifts of the employees,
exercise of their freedom expression in general and of their right of assembly and petition for according to the respondent Court Industrial Relations, in effect imposes on the workers the
redress of grievances in particular before appropriate governmental agency, the Chief "duty ... to observe regular working hours." The strain construction of the Court of Industrial
Executive, again the police officers of the municipality of Pasig. They exercise their civil and Relations that a stipulated working shifts deny the workers the right to stage mass
political rights for their mutual aid protection from what they believe were police excesses. demonstration against police abuses during working hours, constitutes a virtual tyranny over
As matter of fact, it was the duty of herein private respondent firm to protect herein the mind and life the workers and deserves severe condemnation. Renunciation of the
petitioner Union and its members fro the harassment of local police officers. It was to the freedom should not be predicated on such a slender ground.
interest herein private respondent firm to rally to the defense of, and take up the cudgels for,
its employees, so that they can report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as The mass demonstration staged by the employees on March 4, 1969 could not have been
consequence perform more efficiently their respective tasks enhance its productivity as well legally enjoined by any court, such an injunction would be trenching upon the freedom
as profits. Herein respondent employer did not even offer to intercede for its employees with expression of the workers, even if it legally appears to be illegal picketing or strike. 20 The
the local police. Was it securing peace for itself at the expenses of its workers? Was it also respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the case at bar concedes that the mass
intimidated by the local police or did it encourage the local police to terrorize or vex its demonstration was not a declaration of a strike "as the same not rooted in any industrial
workers? Its failure to defend its own employees all the more weakened the position of its dispute although there is concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage work."
laborers the alleged oppressive police who might have been all the more emboldened (Annex "F", p. 45, rec.).
thereby subject its lowly employees to further indignities.
The respondent firm claims that there was no need for all its employees to participate in the
In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as their right of assembly and demonstration and that they suggested to the Union that only the first and regular shift from
of petition against alleged persecution of local officialdom, the employees and laborers of 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. should report for work in order that loss or damage to the firm will be
herein private respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the averted. This stand failed appreciate the sine qua non of an effective demonstration
weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic especially by a labor union, namely the complete unity of the Union members as well as their
human rights. The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by reason total presence at the demonstration site in order to generate the maximum sympathy for the
of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is validity of their cause but also immediately action on the part of the corresponding
a plea for the preservation merely of their property rights. Such apprehended loss or damage government agencies with jurisdiction over the issues they raised against the local police.
would not spell the difference between the life and death of the firm or its owners or its Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression. 21 If demonstrators are reduced by
management. The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused, harassment one-third, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the demonstration is
and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the municipality. As diminished. The more the participants, the more persons can be apprised of the purpose of
above intimated, the condition in which the employees found themselves vis-a-vis the local the rally. Moreover, the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a
police of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right to individual existence as well as substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate their position and abet
that of their families. Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The continued alleged police persecution. At any rate, the Union notified the company two days
debasement of the human being broken in morale and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully in advance of their projected demonstration and the company could have made
evaluated in monetary terms. The wounds fester and the scars remain to humiliate him to his arrangements to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might sustain by reason of the
dying day, even as he cries in anguish for retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on absence of its workers for one day, especially in this case when the Union requested it to
bruised tissues. excuse only the day-shift employees who will join the demonstration on March 4, 1969 which
request the Union reiterated in their telegram received by the company at 9:50 in the shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore,
morning of March 4, 1969, the day of the mass demonstration (pp. 42-43, rec.). There was a would be amounting to an illegal strike (;)" (p. III, petitioner's brief). Such threat of dismissal
lack of human understanding or compassion on the part of the firm in rejecting the request tended to coerce the employees from joining the mass demonstration. However, the issues
of the Union for excuse from work for the day shifts in order to carry out its mass that the employees raised against the local police, were more important to them because
demonstration. And to regard as a ground for dismissal the mass demonstration held against they had the courage to proceed with the demonstration, despite such threat of dismissal.
the Pasig police, not against the company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of the The most that could happen to them was to lose a day's wage by reason of their absence
employer, which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional. from work on the day of the demonstration. One day's pay means much to a laborer, more
especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their one-day salary
III hoping that their demonstration would bring about the desired relief from police abuses. But
management was adamant in refusing to recognize the superior legitimacy of their right of
free speech, free assembly and the right to petition for redress.
The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on the
part of the respondent firm to permit all its employees and workers to join the mass
demonstration against alleged police abuses and the subsequent separation of the eight (8) Because the respondent company ostensibly did not find it necessary to demand from the
petitioners from the service constituted an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of workers proof of the truth of the alleged abuses inflicted on them by the local police, it
expression, freedom of assembly and freedom petition for redress of grievances, the thereby concedes that the evidence of such abuses should properly be submitted to the
respondent firm committed an unfair labor practice defined in Section 4(a-1) in relation to corresponding authorities having jurisdiction over their complaint and to whom such
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 875, otherwise known as the Industrial Peace Act. Section 3 of complaint may be referred by the President of the Philippines for proper investigation and
Republic Act No. 8 guarantees to the employees the right "to engage in concert activities for action with a view to disciplining the local police officers involved.
... mutual aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards as an unfair labor practice for an
employer interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise their rights guaranteed On the other hand, while the respondent Court of Industrial Relations found that the
in Section Three." demonstration "paralyzed to a large extent the operations of the complainant company," the
respondent Court of Industrial Relations did not make any finding as to the fact of loss
We repeat that the obvious purpose of the mass demonstration staged by the workers of the actually sustained by the firm. This significant circumstance can only mean that the firm did
respondent firm on March 4, 1969, was for their mutual aid and protection against alleged not sustain any loss or damage. It did not present evidence as to whether it lost expected
police abuses, denial of which was interference with or restraint on the right of the profits for failure to comply with purchase orders on that day; or that penalties were exacted
employees to engage in such common action to better shield themselves against such from it by customers whose orders could not be filled that day of the demonstration; or that
alleged police indignities. The insistence on the part of the respondent firm that the workers purchase orders were cancelled by the customers by reason of its failure to deliver the
for the morning and regular shift should not participate in the mass demonstration, under materials ordered; or that its own equipment or materials or products were damaged due to
pain of dismissal, was as heretofore stated, "a potent means of inhibiting speech." 22 absence of its workers on March 4, 1969. On the contrary, the company saved a sizable
amount in the form of wages for its hundreds of workers, cost of fuel, water and electric
consumption that day. Such savings could have amply compensated for unrealized profits or
Such a concerted action for their mutual help and protection deserves at least equal
damages it might have sustained by reason of the absence of its workers for only one day.
protection as the concerted action of employees in giving publicity to a letter complaint
charging bank president with immorality, nepotism, favoritism an discrimination in the
appointment and promotion of ban employees. 23 We further ruled in the Republic Savings IV
Bank case, supra, that for the employees to come within the protective mantle of Section 3 in
relation to Section 4(a-1) on Republic Act No. 875, "it is not necessary that union activity be Apart from violating the constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly as well as the
involved or that collective bargaining be contemplated," as long as the concerted activity is right to petition for redress of grievances of the employees, the dismissal of the eight (8)
for the furtherance of their interests. 24 leaders of the workers for proceeding with the demonstration and consequently being
absent from work, constitutes a denial of social justice likewise assured by the fundamental
As stated clearly in the stipulation of facts embodied in the questioned order of respondent law to these lowly employees. Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution imposes upon the
Court dated September 15, 1969, the company, "while expressly acknowledging, that the State "the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all of
demonstration is an inalienable right of the Union guaranteed by the Constitution," the people," which guarantee is emphasized by the other directive in Section 6 of Article XIV
nonetheless emphasized that "any demonstration for that matter should not unduly of the Constitution that "the State shall afford protection to labor ...". Respondent Court of
prejudice the normal operation of the company" and "warned the PBMEO representatives Industrial Relations as an agency of the State is under obligation at all times to give meaning
that workers who belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of and substance to these constitutional guarantees in favor of the working man; for otherwise
absence approved by the Company, particularly the officers present who are the organizers these constitutional safeguards would be merely a lot of "meaningless constitutional patter."
of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following morning (March 4, 1969) Under the Industrial Peace Act, the Court of Industrial Relations is enjoined to effect the
policy of the law "to eliminate the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting
the exercise by employees of their right to self-organization for the purpose of collective The motion for reconsideration was filed on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days from
bargaining and for the promotion of their moral, social and economic well-being." It is most notice on September 22, 1969 of the order dated September 15, 1969 or two (2) days late.
unfortunate in the case at bar that respondent Court of Industrial Relations, the very Petitioners claim that they could have filed it on September 28, 1969, but it was a Sunday.
governmental agency designed therefor, failed to implement this policy and failed to keep
faith with its avowed mission — its raison d'etre — as ordained and directed by the Does the mere fact that the motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days late defeat the
Constitution. rights of the petitioning employees? Or more directly and concretely, does the inadvertent
omission to comply with a mere Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule governing the
V period for filing a motion for reconsideration or appeal in labor cases, promulgated pursuant
to a legislative delegation, prevail over constitutional rights? The answer should be obvious
It has been likewise established that a violation of a constitutional right divests the court of in the light of the aforecited cases. To accord supremacy to the foregoing rules of the Court
jurisdiction; and as a consequence its judgment is null and void and confers no rights. Relief of Industrial Relations over basic human rights sheltered by the Constitution, is not only
from a criminal conviction secured at the sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may be obtained incompatible with the basic tenet of constitutional government that the Constitution is
through habeas corpus proceedings even long after the finality of the judgment. Thus, superior to any statute or subordinate rules and regulations, but also does violence to
habeas corpus is the remedy to obtain the release of an individual, who is convicted by final natural reason and logic. The dominance and superiority of the constitutional right over the
judgment through a forced confession, which violated his constitutional right against self- aforesaid Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule of necessity should be affirmed. Such a
incrimination; 25 or who is denied the right to present evidence in his defense as a Court of Industrial Relations rule as applied in this case does not implement or reinforce or
deprivation of his liberty without due process of law, 26 even after the accused has already strengthen the constitutional rights affected,' but instead constrict the same to the point of
served sentence for twenty-two years. 27 nullifying the enjoyment thereof by the petitioning employees. Said Court of Industrial
Relations rule, promulgated as it was pursuant to a mere legislative delegation, is
unreasonable and therefore is beyond the authority granted by the Constitution and the law.
Both the respondents Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon these
A period of five (5) days within which to file a motion for reconsideration is too short,
constitutional immunities of petitioners. Both failed to accord preference to such rights and
especially for the aggrieved workers, who usually do not have the ready funds to meet the
aggravated the inhumanity to which the aggrieved workers claimed they had been subjected
necessary expenses therefor. In case of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, a
by the municipal police. Having violated these basic human rights of the laborers, the Court
period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for the filing of the motion for re hearing or
of Industrial Relations ousted itself of jurisdiction and the questioned orders it issued in the
reconsideration (See. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec. 1, Rule 56, Revised Rules of Court).
instant case are a nullity. Recognition and protection of such freedoms are imperative on all
The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration could have been only one day if
public offices including the courts 28 as well as private citizens and corporations, the exercise
September 28, 1969 was not a Sunday. This fact accentuates the unreasonableness of the
and enjoyment of which must not be nullified by mere procedural rule promulgated by the
Court of Industrial are concerned.
Court Industrial Relations exercising a purely delegate legislative power, when even a law
enacted by Congress must yield to the untrammelled enjoyment of these human rights.
There is no time limit to the exercise of the freedoms. The right to enjoy them is not It should be stressed here that the motion for reconsideration dated September 27, 1969, is
exhausted by the delivery of one speech, the printing of one article or the staging of one based on the ground that the order sought to be reconsidered "is not in accordance with law,
demonstration. It is a continuing immunity to be invoked and exercised when exigent and evidence and facts adduced during the hearing," and likewise prays for an extension of ten
expedient whenever there are errors to be rectified, abuses to be denounced, inhumanities (10) days within which to file arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of
to be condemned. Otherwise these guarantees in the Bill of Rights would be vitiated by rule the Court of Industrial Relations (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec.); although the arguments were
on procedure prescribing the period for appeal. The battle then would be reduced to a race actually filed by the herein petitioners on October 14, 1969 (Annex "I", pp. 70-73, rec.), long
for time. And in such a contest between an employer and its laborer, the latter eventually after the 10-day period required for the filing of such supporting arguments counted from
loses because he cannot employ the best an dedicated counsel who can defend his interest the filing of the motion for reconsideration. Herein petitioners received only on October 28,
with the required diligence and zeal, bereft as he is of the financial resources with which to 1969 the resolution dated October 9, 1969 dismissing the motion for reconsideration for
pay for competent legal services. 28-a being pro forma since it was filed beyond the reglementary period (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.)

VI It is true that We ruled in several cases that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time,
or where the arguments in suppf such motion are filed beyond the 10 day reglementary
period provided for by the Court of Industrial Relations rules, the order or decision subject
The Court of Industrial Relations rule prescribes that motion for reconsideration of its order
of29-a reconsideration becomes final and unappealable. But in all these cases, the
or writ should filed within five (5) days from notice thereof and that the arguments in
constitutional rights of free expression, free assembly and petition were not involved.
support of said motion shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of filing of such
motion for reconsideration (Sec. 16). As above intimated, these rules of procedure were
promulgated by the Court of Industrial Relations pursuant to a legislative delegation. 29 It is a procedural rule that generally all causes of action and defenses presently available
must be specifically raised in the complaint or answer; so that any cause of action or defense
not raised in such pleadings, is deemed waived. However, a constitutional issue can be raised given a full hearing on this case, especially when, as in the case at bar, no actual material
any time, even for the first time on appeal, if it appears that the determination of the damage has be demonstrated as having been inflicted on its property rights.
constitutional issue is necessary to a decision of the case, the very lis mota of the case
without the resolution of which no final and complete determination of the dispute can be If We can disregard our own rules when justice requires it, obedience to the Constitution
made. 30 It is thus seen that a procedural rule of Congress or of the Supreme Court gives way renders more imperative the suspension of a Court of Industrial Relations rule that clash with
to a constitutional right. In the instant case, the procedural rule of the Court of Industrial the human rights sanctioned and shielded with resolution concern by the specific guarantees
Relations, a creature of Congress, must likewise yield to the constitutional rights invoked by outlined in the organic law. It should be stressed that the application in the instant case
herein petitioners even before the institution of the unfair labor practice charged against Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules relied upon by herein respondent firm is
them and in their defense to the said charge. unreasonable and therefore such application becomes unconstitutional as it subverts the
human rights of petitioning labor union and workers in the light of the peculiar facts and
In the case at bar, enforcement of the basic human freedoms sheltered no less by the organic circumstances revealed by the record.
law, is a most compelling reason to deny application of a Court of Industrial Relations rule
which impinges on such human rights. 30-a The suspension of the application of Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with
reference to the case at is also authorized by Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, the
It is an accepted principle that the Supreme Court has the inherent power to "suspend its C.I.R. charter, which enjoins the Court of Industrial Relations to "act according to justice and
own rules or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms ..."
require." 30-b Mr. Justice Barredo in his concurring opinion in Estrada vs. Sto. Domingo. 30-
c reiterated this principle and added that On several occasions, We emphasized this doctrine which was re-stated by Mr. Justice
Barredo, speaking for the Court, in the 1970 case of Kapisanan, etc. vs. Hamilton, etc., et.
Under this authority, this Court is enabled to cove with all situations al., 30-e thus:
without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square
with the need to do justice, in any case, without further loss of time, As to the point that the evidence being offered by the petitioners in the
provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not motion for new trial is not "newly discovered," as such term is
substantially impaired. Thus, this Court may treat an appeal as a understood in the rules of procedure for the ordinary courts, We hold
certiorari and vice-versa. In other words, when all the material facts are that such criterion is not binding upon the Court of Industrial Relations.
spread in the records before Us, and all the parties have been duly heard, Under Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, 'The Court of Industrial
it matters little that the error of the court a quo is of judgment or of Relations shall adopt its, rules or procedure and shall have such other
jurisdiction. We can then and there render the appropriate judgment. Is powers as generally pertain to a court of justice: Provided, however, That
within the contemplation of this doctrine that as it is perfectly legal and in the hearing, investigation and determination of any question or
within the power of this Court to strike down in an appeal acts without or controversy and in exercising any duties and power under this Act, the
in excess of jurisdiction or committed with grave abuse of discretion, it Court shall act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of
cannot be beyond the admit of its authority, in appropriate cases, to the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be
reverse in a certain proceed in any error of judgment of a court a quo bound by any technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in
which cannot be exactly categorized as a flaw of jurisdiction. If there can such manner as it may deem just and equitable.' By this provision the
be any doubt, which I do not entertain, on whether or not the errors this industrial court is disengaged from the rigidity of the technicalities
Court has found in the decision of the Court of Appeals are short of being applicable to ordinary courts. Said court is not even restricted to the
jurisdiction nullities or excesses, this Court would still be on firm legal specific relief demanded by the parties but may issue such orders as may
grounds should it choose to reverse said decision here and now even if be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute
such errors can be considered as mere mistakes of judgment or only as or dispelling any doubts that may give rise to future disputes. (Ang Tibay
faults in the exercise of jurisdiction, so as to avoid the unnecessary return v. C.I.R., G.R. No. 46496, Feb. 17, 1940; Manila Trading & Supply Co. v.
of this case to the lower court for the sole purpose of pursuing the Phil. Labor, 71 Phil. 124.) For these reasons, We believe that this
ordinary course of an appeal. (Emphasis supplied). 30-d provision is ample enough to have enabled the respondent court to
consider whether or not its previous ruling that petitioners constitute a
Insistence on the application of the questioned Court industrial Relations rule in this minority was founded on fact, without regard to the technical meaning of
particular case at bar would an unreasoning adherence to "Procedural niceties" which denies newly discovered evidence. ... (Alonso v. Villamor, 16 Phil. 315; Chua
justice to the herein laborers, whose basic human freedoms, including the right to survive, Kiong v. Whitaker, 46 Phil. 578). (emphasis supplied.)
must be according supremacy over the property rights of their employer firm which has been
To apply Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with "pedantic rigor" in the against them by the firm (pp. 16-20, respondent's Brief; Annexes "A", "B" and "C", pp. 20-30,
instant case is to rule in effect that the poor workers, who can ill-afford an alert competent rec.). Counsel for respondent firm insinuates that not all the 400 or so employee participated
lawyer, can no longer seek the sanctuary of human freedoms secured to them by the in the demonstration, for which reason only the Union and its thirteen (13) officers were
fundamental law, simply because their counsel — erroneously believing that he received a specifically named in the unfair labor practice charge (p. 20, respondent's brief). If that were
copy of the decision on September 23, 1969, instead of September 22, 1969 - filed his motion so, then many, if not all, of the morning and regular shifts reported for work on March 4,
for reconsideration September 29, 1969, which practically is only one day late considering 1969 and that, as a consequence, the firm continued in operation that day and did not
that September 28, 1969 was a Sunday. sustain any damage.

Many a time, this Court deviated from procedure technicalities when they ceased to be The appropriate penalty — if it deserves any penalty at all — should have been simply to
instruments of justice, for the attainment of which such rules have been devised. charge said one-day absence against their vacation or sick leave. But to dismiss the eight (8)
Summarizing the jurisprudence on this score, Mr. Justice Fernando, speaking for a unanimous leaders of the petitioner Union is a most cruel penalty, since as aforestated the Union leaders
Court in Palma vs. Oreta, 30-f Stated: depend on their wages for their daily sustenance as well as that of their respective families
aside from the fact that it is a lethal blow to unionism, while at the same time strengthening
As was so aptly expressed by Justice Moreland in Alonso v. Villamor (16 the oppressive hand of the petty tyrants in the localities.
Phil. 315 [1910]. The Villamor decision was cited with approval in Register
of Deeds v. Phil. Nat. Bank, 84 Phil. 600 [1949]; Potenciano v. Court of Mr. Justice Douglas articulated this pointed reminder:
Appeals, 104 Phil. 156 [1958] and Uy v. Uy, 14243, June 30, 1961, 2 SCRA
675.), decided as far back as 1910, "technicality. when it deserts its The challenge to our liberties comes frequently not from those who
proper-office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and consciously seek to destroy our system of Government, but from men of
chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from courts." (Ibid., p, 322.) To goodwill — good men who allow their proper concerns to blind them to
that norm, this Court has remained committed. The late Justice Recto in the fact that what they propose to accomplish involves an impairment of
Blanco v. Bernabe, (63 Phil. 124 [1936]) was of a similar mind. For him the liberty.
interpretation of procedural rule should never "sacrifice the ends justice."
While "procedural laws are no other than technicalities" view them in
... The Motives of these men are often commendable. What we must
their entirety, 'they were adopted not as ends themselves for the
remember, however, is thatpreservation of liberties does not depend on
compliance with which courts have organized and function, but as means
motives. A suppression of liberty has the same effect whether the
conducive to the realization the administration of the law and of justice
suppress or be a reformer or an outlaw. The only protection against
(Ibid., p.,128). We have remained steadfastly opposed, in the highly
misguided zeal is a constant alertness of the infractions of the guarantees
rhetorical language Justice Felix, to "a sacrifice of substantial rights of a
of liberty contained in our Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to the
litigant in altar of sophisticated technicalities with impairment of the
demands of the moment makes easier another, larger surrender. The
sacred principles of justice." (Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil.
battle over the Bill of Rights is a never ending one.
156, 161 [1958]). As succinctly put by Justice Makalintal, they "should
give way to the realities of the situation." (Urbayan v. Caltex, L-15379,
Aug. 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 1016, 1019). In the latest decision in point ... The liberties of any person are the liberties of all of us.
promulgated in 1968, (Udan v. Amon, (1968, 23 SCRA citing McEntee v.
Manotok, L-14968, Oct. 27, 1961, 3 SCRA 272.) Justice Zaldivar was ... In short, the Liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are
partial to an earlier formulation of Justice Labrador that rules of protected.
procedure "are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense"; but are
intended "to help secure substantial justice." (Ibid., p. 843) ... 30-g ... But even if we should sense no danger to our own liberties, even if we
feel secure because we belong to a group that is important and respected,
Even if the questioned Court of Industrial Relations orders and rule were to be given effect, we must recognize that our Bill of Rights is a code of fair play for the less
the dismissal or termination of the employment of the petitioning eight (8) leaders of the fortunate that we in all honor and good conscience must be observe. 31
Union is harsh for a one-day absence from work. The respondent Court itself recognized the
severity of such a sanction when it did not include the dismissal of the other 393 employees The case at bar is worse.
who are members of the same Union and who participated in the demonstration against the
Pasig police. As a matter of fact, upon the intercession of the Secretary of Labor, the Union
members who are not officers, were not dismissed and only the Union itself and its thirteen Management has shown not only lack of good-will or good intention, but a complete lack of
(13) officers were specifically named as respondents in the unfair labor practice charge filed sympathetic understanding of the plight of its laborers who claim that they are being
subjected to indignities by the local police, It was more expedient for the firm to conserve its In the final sum and substance, this Court is in unanimity that the Bank's
income or profits than to assist its employees in their fight for their freedoms and security conduct, identified as an interference with the employees' right of self-
against alleged petty tyrannies of local police officers. This is sheer opportunism. Such organization or as a retaliatory action, and/or as a refusal to bargain
opportunism and expediency resorted to by the respondent company assaulted the collectively, constituted an unfair labor practice within the meaning and
immunities and welfare of its employees. It was pure and implement selfishness, if not greed. intendment of section 4(a) of the Industrial Peace Act. (Emphasis
supplied.) 33
Of happy relevance is the 1967 case of Republic Savings Bank vs. C.I.R., 32 where the
petitioner Bank dismissed eight (8) employees for having written and published "a patently If free expression was accorded recognition and protection to fortify labor unionism in the
libelous letter ... to the Bank president demanding his resignation on the grounds of Republic Savings case, supra, where the complaint assailed the morality and integrity of the
immorality, nepotism in the appointment and favoritism as well as discrimination in the bank president no less, such recognition and protection for free speech, free assembly and
promotion of bank employees." Therein, thru Mr. Justice Castro, We ruled: right to petition are rendered all the more justifiable and more imperative in the case at bar,
where the mass demonstration was not against the company nor any of its officers.
It will avail the Bank none to gloat over this admission of the
respondents. Assuming that the latter acted in their individual capacities WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered:
when they wrote the letter-charge they were nonetheless protected for
they were engaged in concerted activity, in the exercise of their right of (1) setting aside as null and void the orders of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations
self organization that includes concerted activity for mutual aid and dated September 15 and October 9, 1969; and
protection, (Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act ...) This is the view of
some members of this Court. For, as has been aptly stated, the joining in
(2) directing the re instatement of the herein eight (8) petitioners, with full back pay from the
protests or demands, even by a small group of employees, if in
date of their separation from the service until re instated, minus one day's pay and whatever
furtherance of their interests as such, is a concerted activity protected by
earnings they might have realized from other sources during their separation from the
the Industrial Peace Act. It is not necessary that union activity be involved
service.
or that collective bargaining be contemplated. (Annot., 6 A.L.R. 2d 416
[1949]).
With costs against private respondent Philippine Blooming Company, Inc.
xxx xxx xxx
Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
Instead of stifling criticism, the Bank should have allowed the
respondents to air their grievances. Makalintal, C.J, took no part.

xxx xxx xxx

The Bank defends its action by invoking its right to discipline for what it
calls the respondents' libel in giving undue publicity to their letter-charge. EN BANC
To be sure, the right of self-organization of employees is not unlimited
(Republic Aviation Corp. vs. NLRB 324 U.S. 793 [1945]), as the right of the [G.R. No. 157036. June 9, 2004]
employer to discharge for cause (Philippine Education Co. v. Union of
Phil. Educ. Employees, L-13773, April 29, 1960) is undenied. The Industrial
Peace Act does not touch the normal exercise of the right of the
employer to select his employees or to discharge them. It is directed FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. HON. ALBERTO G. ROMULO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
solely against the abuse of that right by interfering with the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; DIRECTOR GENERAL HERMOGENES E. EBDANE, JR., IN HIS
countervailing right of self organization (Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB 313 CAPACITY AS THE CHIEF OF THE PNP, et al., respondents.
U.S. 177 [1941])...
DECISION

xxx xxx xxx SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:


The right of individuals to bear arms is not absolute, but is subject to regulation. The DATE : January 31, 2003
maintenance of peace and order[1] and the protection of the people against violence are
constitutional duties of the State, and the right to bear arms is to be construed in connection 1. Reference: PD 1866 dated June 29, 1983 and its Implementing Rules and
and in harmony with these constitutional duties. Regulations.
Before us is a petition for prohibition and injunction seeking to enjoin the
implementation of the Guidelines in the Implementation of the Ban on the Carrying of Firearms 2. General:
Outside of Residence[2] (Guidelines) issued on January 31, 2003, by respondent Hermogenes E.
Ebdane, Jr., Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The possession and carrying of firearms outside of residence is a privilege
granted by the State to its citizens for their individual protection against
The facts are undisputed:
all threats of lawlessness and security.
In January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered a speech before the
members of the PNP stressing the need for a nationwide gun ban in all public places to avert As a rule, persons who are lawful holders of firearms (regular license,
the rising crime incidents. She directed the then PNP Chief, respondent Ebdane, to suspend special permit, certificate of registration or MR) are prohibited from
the issuance of Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR), thus: carrying their firearms outside of residence. However, the Chief,
Philippine National Police may, in meritorious cases as determined by
THERE IS ALSO NEED TO FOCUS ON THE HIGH PROFILE CRIMES THAT TEND TO DISTURB THE
him and under conditions as he may impose, authorize such person or
PSYCHOLOGICAL PERIMETERS OF THE COMMUNITY THE LATEST BEING THE KILLING OF
persons to carry firearms outside of residence.
FORMER NPA LEADER ROLLY KINTANAR. I UNDERSTAND WE ALREADY HAVE THE IDENTITY OF
THE CULPRIT. LET US BRING THEM TO THE BAR OF JUSTICE.
3. Purposes:
THE NPA WILL FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT TO CARRY OUT THEIR PLOTS IF OUR LAW
ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES CAN RID THEMSELVES OF RASCALS IN UNIFORM, AND ALSO IF WE This Memorandum prescribes the guidelines in the implementation of
ENFORCE A GUN BAN IN PUBLIC PLACES. the ban on the carrying of firearms outside of residence as provided for
in the Implementing Rules and Regulations, Presidential Decree No.
1866, dated June 29, 1983 and as directed by PGMA. It also prescribes
THUS, I AM DIRECTING THE PNP CHIEF TO SUSPEND INDEFINITELY THE ISSUANCE OF
the conditions, requirements and procedures under which exemption
PERMIT TO CARRY FIREARMS IN PUBLIC PLACES. THE ISSUANCE OF PERMITS WILL NOW BE
from the ban may be granted.
LIMITED ONLY TO OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF GUNS AND NOT TO CARRYING THEM
IN PUBLIC PLACES. FROM NOW ON, ONLY THE UNIFORMED MEN IN THE MILITARY AND
AUTHORIZED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS CAN CARRY FIREARMS IN PUBLIC PLACES, AND 4. Specific Instructions on the Ban on the Carrying of Firearms:
ONLY PURSUANT TO EXISTING LAW. CIVILIAN OWNERS MAY NO LONGER BRING THEIR
FIREARMS OUTSIDE THEIR RESIDENCES. THOSE WHO WANT TO USE THEIR GUNS FOR a. All PTCFOR are hereby revoked. Authorized holders of licensed
TARGET PRACTICE WILL BE GIVEN SPECIAL AND TEMPORARY PERMITS FROM TIME TO TIME firearms covered with valid PTCFOR may re-apply for a new
ONLY FOR THAT PURPOSE. AND THEY MAY NOT LOAD THEIR GUNS WITH BULLETS UNTIL PTCFOR in accordance with the conditions hereinafter prescribed.
THEY ARE IN THE PREMISES OF THE FIRING RANGE.
b. All holders of licensed or government firearms are hereby prohibited
WE CANNOT DISREGARD THE PARAMOUNT NEED FOR LAW AND ORDER. JUST AS WE from carrying their firearms outside their residence except those
CANNOT BE HEEDLESS OF OUR PEOPLES ASPIRATIONS FOR PEACE. covered with mission/letter orders and duty detail orders issued by
competent authority pursuant to Section 5, IRR, PD 1866, provided,
Acting on President Arroyos directive, respondent Ebdane issued the assailed Guidelines that the said exception shall pertain only to organic and regular
quoted as follows: employees.

TO : All Concerned 5. The following persons may be authorized to carry firearms outside of
residence.
FROM : Chief, PNP
a. All persons whose application for a new PTCFOR has been approved,
SUBJECT : Guidelines in the Implementation of the Ban on the Carrying of provided, that the persons and security of those so authorized are
Firearms Outside of Residence.
under actual threat, or by the nature of their position, occupation h. NBI Clearance;
and profession are under imminent danger.
i. Two (2) ID pictures (2 x 2) taken not earlier than one (1) year from date
b. All organic and regular employees with Mission/Letter Orders granted of filing of application; and
by their respective agencies so authorized pursuant to Section 5,
IRR, PD 1866, provided, that such Mission/Letter Orders is valid only j. Proof of Payment
for the duration of the official mission which in no case shall be
more than ten (10) days.
7. Procedures:

c. All guards covered with Duty Detail Orders granted by their respective
a. Applications may be filed directly to the Office of the PTCFOR
security agencies so authorized pursuant to Section 4, IRR, PD 1866,
Secretariat in Camp Crame. In the provinces, the applications may
provided, that such DDO shall in no case exceed 24-hour duration.
also be submitted to the Police Regional Offices (PROs) and
Provincial/City Police Offices (P/CPOs) for initial processing before
d. Members of duly recognized Gun Clubs issued Permit to Transport they are forwarded to the office of the PTCFOR Secretariat. The
(PTT) by the PNP for purposes of practice and competition, provided, processors, after ascertaining that the documentary requirements
that such firearms while in transit must not be loaded with are in order, shall issue the Order of Payment (OP) indicating the
ammunition and secured in an appropriate box or case detached amount of fees payable by the applicant, who in turn shall pay the
from the person. fees to the Land Bank.

e. Authorized members of the Diplomatic Corps. b. Applications, which are duly processed and prepared in accordance
with existing rules and regulations, shall be forwarded to the OCPNP
6. Requirements for issuance of new PTCFOR: for approval.

a. Written request by the applicant addressed to Chief, PNP stating his c. Upon approval of the application, OCPNP will issue PTCFOR valid for
qualification to possess firearm and the reasons why he needs to one (1) year from date of issue.
carry firearm outside of residence.
d. Applications for renewal of PTCFOR shall be processed in accordance
b. Xerox copy of current firearm license duly authenticated by Records with the provisions of par. 6 above.
Branch, FED;
e. Application for possession and carrying of firearms by diplomats in the
c. Proof of actual threat, the details of which should be issued by the Philippines shall be processed in accordance with NHQ PNP Memo
Chief of Police/Provincial or City Directors and duly validated by C, dated September 25, 2000, with Subj: Possession and Carrying of
RIID; Firearms by Diplomats in the Philippines.

d. Copy of Drug Test Clearance, duly authenticated by the Drug Testing 8. Restrictions in the Carrying of Firearms:
Center, if photocopied;
a. The firearm must not be displayed or exposed to public view, except
e. Copy of DI/ RIID clearance, duly authenticated by ODI/RIID, if those authorized in uniform and in the performance of their official
photocopied; duties.

f. Copy of Neuro-Psychiatric Clearance duly authenticated by NP Testing b. The firearm shall not be brought inside public drinking and amusement
Center, if photocopied; places, and all other commercial or public establishments.

g. Copy of Certificate of Attendance to a Gun Safety Seminar, duly Petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, a licensed gun owner to whom a PTCFOR has been issued,
validated by Chief, Operations Branch, FED; requested the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to reconsider the
implementation of the assailed Guidelines. However, his request was denied. Thus, he filed THE PNP GUIDELINES VIOLATE THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION BECAUSE:
the present petition impleading public respondents Ebdane, as Chief of PNP; Alberto G.
Romulo, as Executive Secretary; and Gerry L. Barias, as Chief of the PNP-Firearms and 1) THE RIGHT TO OWN AND CARRY A FIREARM IS NECESSARILY INTERTWINED WITH THE
Explosives Division. He anchored his petition on the following grounds: PEOPLES INHERENT RIGHT TO LIFE AND TO PROTECT LIFE. THUS, THE PNP GUIDELINES
I DEPRIVE PETITIONER OF THIS RIGHT WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW FOR:

THE PRESIDENT HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY MUCH LESS BY A MERE SPEECH TO ALTER, A) THE PNP GUIDELINES DEPRIVE PETITIONER OF HIS MOST POTENT, IF NOT HIS ONLY,
MODIFY OR AMEND THE LAW ON FIREARMS BY IMPOSING A GUN BAN AND CANCELING MEANS TO DEFEND HIMSELF.
EXISTING PERMITS FOR GUNS TO BE CARRIED OUTSIDE RESIDENCES.
B) THE QUESTIONED GUIDELINES STRIPPED PETITIONER OF HIS MEANS OF PROTECTION
II AGAINST CRIME DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE STATE COULD NOT POSSIBLY PROTECT ITS
CITIZENS DUE TO THE INADEQUACY AND INEFFICIENCY OF THE POLICE FORCE.
OFFICIALLY, THERE IS NO PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCE ON THE GUN BAN; THE PRESIDENTIAL
SPEECH NEVER INVOKED POLICE POWER TO JUSTIFY THE GUN BAN; THE PRESIDENTS VERBAL
DECLARATION ON GUN BAN VIOLATED THE PEOPLES RIGHT TO PROTECT LIFE AND THEIR 2) THE OWNESHIP AND CARRYING OF FIREARMS ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED
PROPERTY RIGHT TO CARRY FIREARMS. PROPERTY RIGHTS WHICH CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND
WITHOUT JUST CAUSE.
III
VI
THE PNP CHIEF HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY TO ISSUE THE QUESTIONED GUIDELINES
BECAUSE: ASSUMING ARGUENDO, THAT THE PNP GUIDELINES WERE ISSUED IN THE EXERCISE
OF POLICE POWER, THE SAME IS ANINVALID EXERCISE THEREOF SINCE THE MEANS USED
THEREFOR ARE UNREASONABLE AND UNNCESSARY FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS
1) THERE IS NO LAW, STATUTE OR EXECUTIVE ORDER WHICH GRANTS THE PNP CHIEF THE
PURPOSE TO DETER AND PREVENT CRIME THEREBY BECOMING UNDULY OPPRESSIVE TO
AUTHORITY TO PROMULGATE THE PNP GUIDELINES.
LAW-ABIDING GUN-OWNERS.

VII

2) THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF PD 1866 CANNOT BE THE SUBJECT OF THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE UNJUST, OPPRESSIVE AND CONFISCATORY SINCE IT REVOKED ALL
ANOTHER SET OF IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES. EXISTING PERMITS TO CARRY WITHOUT, HOWEVER, REFUNDING THE PAYMENT THE PNP
RECEIVED FROM THOSE WHO ALREADY PAID THEREFOR.
3) THE PRESIDENTS SPEECH CANNOT BE A BASIS FOR THE PROMULGATION OF
IMPLEMENTNG GUIDELINES ON THE GUN BAN. VIII

THE PNP GUIDELINES VIOLATE THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION
IV BECAUSE THEY ARE DIRECTED AT AND OPPRESSIVE ONLY TO LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS
ASSUMING ARGUENDO, THAT THE PNP GUIDELINES IMPLEMENT PD 1866, AND THE WHILE LEAVING OTHER GUN-OWNERS THE LAWBREAKERS (KIDNAPPERS, ROBBERS, HOLD-
AMENDMENTS THERETO, THE PNP CHIEF STILL HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY TO ISSUE THE UPPERS, MNLF, MILF, ABU SAYYAF COLLECTIVELY, AND NPA) UNTOUCHED.
SAME BECAUSE
IX
1) PER SEC 6, RA 8294, WHICH AMENDS PD 1866, THE IRR SHALL BE THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE UNJUST, OPPRESSIVE AND UNFAIR BECAUSE THEY WERE
PROMULGATED JOINTLY BY THE DOJ AND THE DILG. IMPLEMENTED LONG BEFORE THEY WERE PUBLISHED.

2) SEC. 8, PD 1866 STATES THAT THE IRR SHALL BE PROMULGATED BY THE CHIEF OF THE X
PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY.
THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE EFFECTIVELY AN EX POST FACTO LAW SINCE THEY APPLY
V RETROACTIVELY AND PUNISH ALL THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY GRANTED PERMITS TO CARRY
OUTSIDE OF RESIDENCE LONG BEFORE THEIR PROMULGATION.
Petitioners submissions may be synthesized into five (5) major issues: void, on the principle that delegata potestas non potest delegari delegated power may not be
delegated.[6]
First, whether respondent Ebdane is authorized to issue the assailed Guidelines;
The rule which forbids the delegation of legislative power, however, is not absolute
Second, whether the citizens right to bear arms is a constitutional right?; and inflexible. It admits of exceptions. An exception sanctioned by immemorial practice
permits the legislative body to delegate its licensing power to certain persons, municipal
corporations, towns, boards, councils, commissions, commissioners, auditors, bureaus and
Third, whether the revocation of petitioners PTCFOR pursuant to the assailed Guidelines is a
directors.[7] Such licensing power includes the power to promulgate necessary rules and
violation of his right to property?;
regulations.[8]

Fourth, whether the issuance of the assailed Guidelines is a valid exercise of police power?; The evolution of our laws on firearms shows that since the early days of our Republic,
and the legislatures tendency was always towards the delegation of power. Act No.
1780,[9] delegated upon the Governor-General (now the President) the authority (1) to
approve or disapprove applications of any person for a license to deal in firearms or to possess
Fifth, whether the assailed Guidelines constitute an ex post facto law?
the same for personal protection, hunting and other lawful purposes; and (2) to revoke such
license any time.[10] Further, it authorized him to issue regulations which he may deem
The Solicitor General seeks the dismissal of the petition pursuant to the doctrine of necessary for the proper enforcement of the Act. [11] With the enactment of Act No. 2711, the
hierarchy of courts. Nonetheless, in refutation of petitioners arguments, he contends Revised Administrative Code of 1917, the laws on firearms were integrated.[12] The Act
that: (1) the PNP Chief is authorized to issue the assailed Guidelines; (2) petitioner does not retained the authority of the Governor General provided in Act No. 1780. Subsequently, the
have a constitutional right to own and carry firearms; (3) the assailed Guidelines do not violate growing complexity in the Office of the Governor-General resulted in the delegation of his
the due process clause of the Constitution; and (4)the assailed Guidelines do not constitute authority to the Chief of the Constabulary. On January 21, 1919, Acting Governor-General
an ex post facto law. Charles E. Yeater issued Executive Order No. 8[13] authorizing and directing the Chief of
Initially, we must resolve the procedural barrier. Constabulary to act on his behalf in approving and disapproving applications for personal,
special and hunting licenses. This was followed by Executive Order No. 61 [14] designating the
On the alleged breach of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, suffice it to say that the Philippine Constabulary (PC) as the government custodian of all firearms, ammunitions and
doctrine is not an iron-clad dictum. In several instances where this Court was confronted with explosives. Executive Order No. 215,[15] issued by President Diosdado Macapagal on December
cases of national interest and of serious implications, it never hesitated to set aside the rule 3, 1965, granted the Chief of the Constabulary, not only the authority to approve or disapprove
and proceed with the judicial determination of the cases.[3] The case at bar is of similar import applications for personal, special and hunting license, but also the authority to revoke the
as it involves the citizens right to bear arms. same. With the foregoing developments, it is accurate to say that the Chief of the Constabulary
had exercised the authority for a long time. In fact, subsequent issuances such as Sections 2
I and 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Presidential Decree No.
Authority of the PNP Chief 1866[16] perpetuate such authority of the Chief of the Constabulary. Section 2 specifically
provides that any person or entity desiring to possess any firearm shall first secure the
necessary permit/license/authority from the Chief of the Constabulary. With regard to the
Relying on the principle of separation of powers, petitioner argues that only Congress issuance of PTCFOR, Section 3 imparts: The Chief of Constabulary may, in meritorious cases
can withhold his right to bear arms. In revoking all existing PTCFOR, President Arroyo and as determined by him and under such conditions as he may impose, authorize lawful holders
respondent Ebdane transgressed the settled principle and arrogated upon themselves a power of firearms to carry them outside of residence. These provisions are issued pursuant to the
they do not possess the legislative power. general power granted by P.D. No. 1866 empowering him to promulgate rules and
regulations for the effective implementation of the decree.[17] At this juncture, it bears
We are not persuaded. emphasis that P.D. No. 1866 is the chief law governing possession of firearms in the Philippines
and that it was issued by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in the exercise of his legislative
It is true that under our constitutional system, the powers of government are distributed power.[18]
among three coordinate and substantially independent departments: the legislative, the
executive and the judiciary. Each has exclusive cognizance of the matters within its jurisdiction In an attempt to evade the application of the above-mentioned laws and regulations,
and is supreme within its own sphere.[4] petitioner argues that the Chief of the PNP is not the same as the Chief of the Constabulary,
the PC being a mere unit or component of the newly established PNP. He contends further
Pertinently, the power to make laws the legislative power is vested in that Republic Act No. 8294[19] amended P.D. No. 1866 such that the authority to issue rules
Congress.[5] Congress may not escape its duties and responsibilities by delegating that power and regulations regarding firearms is now jointly vested in the Department of Justice and the
to any other body or authority. Any attempt to abdicate the power is unconstitutional and DILG, not the Chief of the Constabulary.[20]
Petitioners submission is bereft of merit. Petitioner earnestly contends that his right to bear arms is a constitutionally-protected
right. This, he mainly anchors on various American authorities. We therefore find it imperative
By virtue of Republic Act No. 6975,[21] the Philippine National Police (PNP) absorbed the to determine the nature of the right in light of American jurisprudence.
Philippine Constabulary (PC). Consequently, the PNP Chief succeeded the Chief of the
Constabulary and, therefore, assumed the latters licensing authority. Section 24 thereof The bearing of arms is a tradition deeply rooted in the English and American society. It
specifies, as one of PNPs powers, the issuance of licenses for the possession of firearms and antedates not only the American Constitution but also the discovery of firearms.[25]
explosives in accordance with law.[22] This is in conjunction with the PNP Chiefs power to issue
detailed implementing policies and instructions on such matters as may be necessary to A provision commonly invoked by the American people to justify their possession of
effectively carry out the functions, powers and duties of the PNP.[23] firearms is the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, which
reads:
Contrary to petitioners contention, R.A. No. 8294 does not divest the Chief of the
Constabulary (now the PNP Chief) of his authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of free state, the right of the people
effective implementation of P.D. No. 1866. For one, R.A. No. 8294 did not repeal entirely P.D. to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No. 1866. It merely provides for the reduction of penalties for illegal possession of
firearms. Thus, the provision of P.D. No. 1866 granting to the Chief of the Constabulary the An examination of the historical background of the foregoing provision shows that it
authority to issue rules and regulations regarding firearms remains effective. Correspondingly, pertains to the citizens collective right to take arms in defense of the State, not to the citizens
the Implementing Rules and Regulations dated September 15, 1997 jointly issued by the individual right to own and possess arms. The setting under which the right was contemplated
Department of Justice and the DILG pursuant to Section 6 of R.A. No. 8294 deal only with the has a profound connection with the keeping and maintenance of a militia or an armed
automatic review, by the Director of the Bureau of Corrections or the Warden of a provincial citizenry. That this is how the right was construed is evident in early American cases.
or city jail, of the records of convicts for violations of P.D. No. 1866. The Rules seek to give
The first case involving the interpretation of the Second Amendment that reached the
effect to the beneficent provisions of R.A. No. 8294, thereby ensuring the early release and
United States Supreme Court is United States vs. Miller.[26] Here, the indictment charged the
reintegration of the convicts into the community.
defendants with transporting an unregistered Stevens shotgun without the required stamped
Clearly, both P.D. No. 1866 and R.A. No. 6975 authorize the PNP Chief to issue the written order, contrary to the National Firearms Act. The defendants filed a demurrer
assailed guidelines. challenging the facial validity of the indictment on the ground that the National Firearms
Act offends the inhibition of the Second Amendment. The District Court sustained the
Corollarily, petitioner disputes President Arroyos declaration of a nationwide gun ban, demurrer and quashed the indictment. On appeal, the Supreme Court interpreted the right
arguing that she has no authority to alter, modify, or amend the law on firearms through a to bear arms under the Second Amendment as referring to the collective right of those
mere speech. comprising the Militia a body of citizens enrolled for military discipline. It does not pertain
First, it must be emphasized that President Arroyos speech was just an expression of her to the individual right of citizen to bear arm. Miller expresses its holding as follows:
policy and a directive to her subordinate. It cannot, therefore, be argued that President Arroyo In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a shotgun having a
enacted a law through a mere speech. barrel of less than eighteen inches in length at this time has some reasonable relationship to
Second, at the apex of the entire executive officialdom is the President. Section 17, the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second
Article VII of the Constitution specifies his power as Chief Executive, thus: The President shall Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not
have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that
laws be faithfully executed. As Chief Executive, President Arroyo holds the steering wheel that its use could contribute to the common defense.
controls the course of her government. She lays down policies in the execution of her plans
and programs. Whatever policy she chooses, she has her subordinates to implement them. In The same doctrine was re-echoed in Cases vs. United States.[27] Here, the Circuit Court
short, she has the power of control. Whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or of Appeals held that the Federal Firearms Act, as applied to appellant, does not conflict with
regulation to her subordinate, she may act directly or merely direct the performance of a the Second Amendment. It ruled that:
duty.[24] Thus, when President Arroyo directed respondent Ebdane to suspend the issuance of
While [appellants] weapon may be capable of military use, or while at least familiarity with it
PTCFOR, she was just directing a subordinate to perform an assigned duty. Such act is well
might be regarded as of value in training a person to use a comparable weapon of military
within the prerogative of her office.
type and caliber, still there is no evidence that the appellant was or ever had been a
II member of any military organization or that his use of the weapon under the
circumstances disclosed was in preparation for a military career. In fact, the only inference
Right to bear arms: Constitutional or Statutory? possible is that the appellant at the time charged in the indictment was in possession of,
transporting, and using the firearm and ammunition purely and simply on a frolic of his
own and without any thought or intention of contributing to the efficiency of the well
regulated militia which the Second amendment was designed to foster as necessary to the executed by such person in accordance with existing law shall continue to be security for the
security of a free state. safekeeping of such arms.

With the foregoing jurisprudence, it is erroneous to assume that the US Constitution The foregoing provision was restated in Section 887[31] of Act No. 2711 that integrated
grants upon the American people the right to bear arms. In a more explicit language, the firearm laws. Thereafter, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued P.D. No. 1866. It codified
the United States vs. Cruikshank[28] decreed: The right of the people to keep and bear arms is the laws on illegal possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition of firearms, ammunitions
not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any way dependent upon that or explosives and imposed stiffer penalties for their violation. R.A. No. 8294 amended some of
instrument. Likewise, in People vs. Persce,[29] the Court of Appeals said: Neither is there any the provisions of P.D. No. 1866 by reducing the imposable penalties. Being a mere statutory
constitutional provision securing the right to bear arms which prohibits legislation with creation, the right to bear arms cannot be considered an inalienable or absolute right.
reference to such weapons as are specifically before us for consideration. The provision in the
Constitution of the United States that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not III
be infringed is not designed to control legislation by the state. Vested Property Right
With more reason, the right to bear arms cannot be classified as fundamental under the
1987 Philippine Constitution. Our Constitution contains no provision similar to the Second
Amendment, as we aptly observed in the early case of United States vs. Villareal:[30] Section 1, Article III of the Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life,
liberty or property without due process of law. Petitioner invokes this provision, asserting that
The only contention of counsel which would appear to necessitate comment is the claim that the revocation of his PTCFOR pursuant to the assailed Guidelines deprived him of his vested
the statute penalizing the carrying of concealed weapons and prohibiting the keeping and property right without due process of law and in violation of the equal protection of law.
the use of firearms without a license, is in violation of the provisions of section 5 of the
Philippine Bill of Rights. Petitioner cannot find solace to the above-quoted Constitutional provision.

In evaluating a due process claim, the first and foremost consideration must be whether
Counsel does not expressly rely upon the prohibition in the United States Constitution life, liberty or property interest exists.[32] The bulk of jurisprudence is that a license authorizing
against the infringement of the right of the people of the United States to keep and bear a person to enjoy a certain privilege is neither a property nor property right. In Tan vs. The
arms (U. S. Constitution, amendment 2), which is not included in the Philippine Bill. But it Director of Forestry,[33] we ruled that a license is merely a permit or privilege to do what
may be well, in passing, to point out that in no event could this constitutional guaranty otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority granting it and the
have any bearing on the case at bar, not only because it has not been expressly extended person to whom it is granted; neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a
to the Philippine Islands, but also because it has been uniformly held that both this and vested right. In a more emphatic pronouncement, we held in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr.[34] that:
similar provisions in State constitutions apply only to arms used in civilized warfare (see
cases cited in 40 Cyc., 853, note 18); x x x. Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not
a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause of the
Constitution.
Evidently, possession of firearms by the citizens in the Philippines is the exception, not
the rule. The right to bear arms is a mere statutory privilege, not a constitutional right. It is a
mere statutory creation. What then are the laws that grant such right to the Filipinos? The Petitioner, in arguing that his PTCFOR is a constitutionally protected property right,
first real firearm law is Act No. 1780 enacted by the Philippine Commission on October 12, relied heavily on Bell vs. Burson[35] wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that once a license is
1907. It was passed to regulate the importation, acquisition, possession, use and transfer of issued, continued possession may become essential in the pursuit of livelihood. Suspension of
firearms. Section 9 thereof provides: issued licenses thus involves state action that adjudicates important interest of the licensees.

SECTION 9. Any person desiring to possess one or more firearms for personal protection, or Petitioners reliance on Bell is misplaced. This case involves a drivers license, not a license
for use in hunting or other lawful purposes only, and ammunition therefor, shall make to bear arms. The catena of American jurisprudence involving license to bear arms is perfectly
application for a license to possess such firearm or firearms or ammunition as hereinafter in accord with our ruling that a PTCFOR is neither a property nor a property right.In Erdelyi vs.
provided. Upon making such application, and before receiving the license, the applicant shall OBrien,[36] the plaintiff who was denied a license to carry a firearm brought suit against the
make a cash deposit in the postal savings bank in the sum of one hundred pesos for each defendant who was the Chief of Police of the City of Manhattan Beach, on the ground that the
firearm for which the license is to be issued, or in lieu thereof he may give a bond in such denial violated her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection of the laws. The
form as the Governor-General may prescribe, payable to the Government of the Philippine United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit ruled that Erdelyi did not have a property interest
Islands, in the sum of two hundred pesos for each such firearm: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That in obtaining a license to carry a firearm, ratiocinating as follows:
persons who are actually members of gun clubs, duly formed and organized at the time of Property interests protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment do
the passage of this Act, who at such time have a license to possess firearms, shall not be not arise whenever a person has only an abstract need or desire for, or unilateral
required to make the deposit or give the bond prescribed by this section, and the bond duly expectation of a benefit. x x x Rather, they arise from legitimate claims of entitlement
defined by existing rules or understanding that stem from an independent source, such as At any rate, assuming that petitioners PTCFOR constitutes a property right protected by
state law. x x x the Constitution, the same cannot be considered as absolute as to be placed beyond the reach
of the States police power. All property in the state is held subject to its general regulations,
Concealed weapons are closely regulated by the State of California. x x x Whether the necessary to the common good and general welfare.
statute creates a property interest in concealed weapons licenses depends largely upon the In a number of cases, we laid down the test to determine the validity of a police measure,
extent to which the statute contains mandatory language that restricts the discretion of thus:
the [issuing authority] to deny licenses to applicants who claim to meet the minimum
eligibility requirements. x x x Where state law gives the issuing authority broad discretion (1) The interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class,
to grant or deny license application in a closely regulated field, initial applicants do not require the exercise of the police power; and
have a property right in such licenses protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. See
Jacobson, supra, 627 F.2d at 180 (gaming license under Nevada law); (2) The means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose
and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.
Similar doctrine was announced in Potts vs. City of Philadelphia,[37] Conway vs.
King,[38]
Nichols vs. County of Sta. Clara,[39] and Gross vs. Norton.[40] These cases enunciated Deeper reflection will reveal that the test merely reiterates the essence of the
that the test whether the statute creates a property right or interest depends largely on the constitutional guarantees of substantive due process, equal protection, and non-impairment
extent of discretion granted to the issuing authority. of property rights.
In our jurisdiction, the PNP Chief is granted broad discretion in the issuance of It is apparent from the assailed Guidelines that the basis for its issuance was the need
PTCFOR. This is evident from the tenor of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.D. No. for peace and order in the society. Owing to the proliferation of crimes, particularly those
1866 which state that the Chief of Constabulary may, in meritorious cases as determined by committed by the New Peoples Army (NPA), which tends to disturb the peace of the
him and under such conditions as he may impose, authorize lawful holders of firearms to community, President Arroyo deemed it best to impose a nationwide gun ban. Undeniably, the
carry them outside of residence. Following the American doctrine, it is indeed logical to say motivating factor in the issuance of the assailed Guidelines is the interest of the public in
that a PTCFOR does not constitute a property right protected under our Constitution. general.
Consequently, a PTCFOR, just like ordinary licenses in other regulated fields, may be The only question that can then arise is whether the means employed are appropriate
revoked any time. It does not confer an absolute right, but only a personal privilege to be and reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and are not unduly
exercised under existing restrictions, and such as may thereafter be reasonably imposed.[41] A oppressive. In the instant case, the assailed Guidelines do not entirely prohibit possession of
licensee takes his license subject to such conditions as the Legislature sees fit to impose, and firearms. What they proscribe is merely the carrying of firearms outside of
one of the statutory conditions of this license is that it might be revoked by the selectmen at residence. However, those who wish to carry their firearms outside of their residences may re-
their pleasure. Such a license is not a contract, and a revocation of it does not deprive the apply for a new PTCFOR. This we believe is a reasonable regulation. If the carrying of firearms
defendant of any property, immunity, or privilege within the meaning of these words in the is regulated, necessarily, crime incidents will be curtailed. Criminals carry their weapon to hunt
Declaration of Rights.[42]The US Supreme Court, in Doyle vs. Continental Ins. Co,[43] held: The for their victims; they do not wait in the comfort of their homes. With the revocation of all
correlative power to revoke or recall a permission is a necessary consequence of the main PTCFOR, it would be difficult for criminals to roam around with their guns. On the other hand,
power. A mere license by the State is always revocable. it would be easier for the PNP to apprehend them.
The foregoing jurisprudence has been resonating in the Philippines as early as Notably, laws regulating the acquisition or possession of guns have frequently been
1908. Thus, in The Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Amechazurra[44] we ruled: upheld as reasonable exercise of the police power.[45] In State vs. Reams,[46] it was held that
x x x no private person is bound to keep arms. Whether he does or not is entirely optional the legislature may regulate the right to bear arms in a manner conducive to the public
with himself, but if, for his own convenience or pleasure, he desires to possess arms, he must peace. With the promotion of public peace as its objective and the revocation of all PTCFOR as
do so upon such terms as the Government sees fit to impose, for the right to keep and bear the means, we are convinced that the issuance of the assailed Guidelines constitutes a
arms is not secured to him by law. The Government can impose upon him such terms as it reasonable exercise of police power. The ruling in United States vs. Villareal,[47] is relevant,
pleases. If he is not satisfied with the terms imposed, he should decline to accept them, but, thus:
if for the purpose of securing possession of the arms he does agree to such conditions, he We think there can be no question as to the reasonableness of a statutory regulation
must fulfill them. prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons as a police measure well calculated to restrict
the too frequent resort to such weapons in moments of anger and excitement. We do not
IV doubt that the strict enforcement of such a regulation would tend to increase the security of
life and limb, and to suppress crime and lawlessness, in any community wherein the practice
Police Power of carrying concealed weapons prevails, and this without being unduly oppressive upon the
individual owners of these weapons. It follows that its enactment by the legislature is a - versus - Carpio,
proper and legitimate exercise of the police power of the state. Austria-Martinez,
Corona,
V Carpio-Morales,
Callejo, Sr.,
Ex post facto law Azcuna,
Tinga,
Chico-Nazario, and
In Mekin vs. Wolfe,[48] an ex post facto law has been defined as one (a) which makes an Garcia, JJ.
action done before the passing of the law and which was innocent when done criminal, and NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
punishes such action; or (b) which aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was when COMMISSION (NLRC), RIVIERA
committed; or (c) which changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the HOME IMPROVEMENTS, INC. Promulgated:
law annexed to the crime when it was committed; or (d) which alters the legal rules of and VICENTE ANGELES,
evidence and receives less or different testimony than the law required at the time of the Respondents. November 17, 2004
commission of the offense in order to convict the defendant. x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
We see no reason to devote much discussion on the matter. Ex post facto law prohibits
DECISION
retrospectivity of penal laws.[49] The assailed Guidelines cannot be considered as an ex post
facto law because it is prospective in its application. Contrary to petitioners argument, it would
not result in the punishment of acts previously committed.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
This petition for review seeks to reverse the decision [1] of the Court of Appeals dated January
SO ORDERED. 23, 2003, in CA-G.R. SP No. 63017, modifying the decision of National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) in NLRC-NCR Case No. 023442-00.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-
Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Private respondent Riviera Home Improvements, Inc. is engaged in the business of selling and
installing ornamental and construction materials. It employed petitioners Virgilio Agabon and
Jenny Agabon as gypsum board and cornice installers on January 2, 1992[2] until February 23,
1999 when they were dismissed for abandonment of work.

Petitioners then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and payment of money
claims[3] and on December 28, 1999, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision declaring the
dismissals illegal and ordered private respondent to pay the monetary claims. The dispositive
portion of the decision states:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, We find the termination of the


EN BANC
complainants illegal. Accordingly, respondent is hereby ordered to pay
them their backwages up to November 29, 1999 in the sum of:
JENNY M. AGABON and G.R. No. 158693
1. Jenny M. Agabon - P56, 231.93
VIRGILIO C. AGABON,
2. Virgilio C. Agabon - 56, 231.93
Petitioners, Present:
and, in lieu of reinstatement to pay them their separation pay of one (1)
Davide, Jr., C.J.,
month for every year of service from date of hiring up to November 29,
Puno,
1999.
Panganiban,
Quisumbing,
Respondent is further ordered to pay the complainants their holiday pay
Ynares-Santiago,
and service incentive leave pay for the years 1996, 1997 and 1998 as well
Sandoval-Gutierrez,
as their premium pay for holidays and rest days and Virgilio Agabons
13th month pay differential amounting to TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED especially so when such findings were affirmed by the Court of Appeals.[11] However, if the
FIFTY (P2,150.00) Pesos, or the aggregate amount of ONE HUNDRED factual findings of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter are conflicting, as in this case, the reviewing
TWENTY ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT & 93/100 court may delve into the records and examine for itself the questioned findings.[12]
(P121,678.93) Pesos for Jenny Agabon, and ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE
THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT & 93/100 (P123,828.93) Accordingly, the Court of Appeals, after a careful review of the facts, ruled that
Pesos for Virgilio Agabon, as per attached computation of Julieta C. petitioners dismissal was for a just cause. They had abandoned their employment and were
Nicolas, OIC, Research and Computation Unit, NCR. already working for another employer.
To dismiss an employee, the law requires not only the existence of a just and valid cause but
SO ORDERED.[4] also enjoins the employer to give the employee the opportunity to be heard and to defend
himself.[13] Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes for termination by the
employer: (a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders
On appeal, the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter because it found that the petitioners had of his employer or the latters representative in connection with the employees work; (b) gross
abandoned their work, and were not entitled to backwages and separation pay. The other and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties; (c) fraud or willful breach by the employee
money claims awarded by the Labor Arbiter were also denied for lack of evidence.[5] of the trust reposed in him by his employer or his duly authorized representative; (d)
Upon denial of their motion for reconsideration, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any
the Court of Appeals. immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative; and (e) other causes
analogous to the foregoing.
The Court of Appeals in turn ruled that the dismissal of the petitioners was not illegal because Abandonment is the deliberate and unjustified refusal of an employee to resume his
they had abandoned their employment but ordered the payment of money claims. The employment.[14] It is a form of neglect of duty, hence, a just cause for termination of
dispositive portion of the decision reads: employment by the employer.[15] For a valid finding of abandonment, these two factors should
WHEREFORE, the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission is be present: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason; and
REVERSED only insofar as it dismissed petitioners money claims. Private (2) a clear intention to sever employer-employee relationship, with the second as the more
respondents are ordered to pay petitioners holiday pay for four (4) regular determinative factor which is manifested by overt acts from which it may be deduced that the
holidays in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as their service incentive leave employees has no more intention to work. The intent to discontinue the employment must be
pay for said years, and to pay the balance of petitioner Virgilio Agabons shown by clear proof that it was deliberate and unjustified.[16]
13th month pay for 1998 in the amount of P2,150.00. In February 1999, petitioners were frequently absent having subcontracted for an installation
work for another company. Subcontracting for another company clearly showed the intention
SO ORDERED.[6] to sever the employer-employee relationship with private respondent. This was not the first
time they did this. In January 1996, they did not report for work because they were working
Hence, this petition for review on the sole issue of whether petitioners were illegally for another company. Private respondent at that time warned petitioners that they would be
dismissed.[7] dismissed if this happened again. Petitioners disregarded the warning and exhibited a clear
intention to sever their employer-employee relationship. The record of an employee is a
Petitioners assert that they were dismissed because the private respondent refused relevant consideration in determining the penalty that should be meted out to him. [17]
to give them assignments unless they agreed to work on a pakyaw basis when they reported
for duty on February 23, 1999. They did not agree on this arrangement because it would mean In Sandoval Shipyard v. Clave,[18] we held that an employee who deliberately absented from
losing benefits as Social Security System (SSS) members. Petitioners also claim that private work without leave or permission from his employer, for the purpose of looking for a job
respondent did not comply with the twin requirements of notice and hearing.[8] elsewhere, is considered to have abandoned his job. We should apply that rule with more
reason here where petitioners were absent because they were already working in another
Private respondent, on the other hand, maintained that petitioners were not dismissed but company.
had abandoned their work.[9] In fact, private respondent sent two letters to the last known The law imposes many obligations on the employer such as providing just compensation to
addresses of the petitioners advising them to report for work. Private respondents manager workers, observance of the procedural requirements of notice and hearing in the termination
even talked to petitioner Virgilio Agabon by telephone sometime in June 1999 to tell him about of employment. On the other hand, the law also recognizes the right of the employer to expect
the new assignment at Pacific Plaza Towers involving 40,000 square meters of cornice from its workers not only good performance, adequate work and diligence, but also good
installation work. However, petitioners did not report for work because they had conduct[19] and loyalty. The employer may not be compelled to continue to employ such
subcontracted to perform installation work for another company. Petitioners also demanded persons whose continuance in the service will patently be inimical to his interests.[20]
for an increase in their wage to P280.00 per day. When this was not granted, petitioners
stopped reporting for work and filed the illegal dismissal case.[10] After establishing that the terminations were for a just and valid cause, we now determine if
It is well-settled that findings of fact of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC are accorded not the procedures for dismissal were observed.
only respect but even finality if the findings are supported by substantial evidence. This is
The procedure for terminating an employee is found in Book VI, Rule I, Section 2(d) In the first situation, the dismissal is undoubtedly valid and the employer will not suffer any
of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code: liability.

Standards of due process: requirements of notice. In all cases of In the second and third situations where the dismissals are illegal, Article 279
termination of employment, the following standards of due process shall mandates that the employee is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and
be substantially observed: other privileges and full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits or their
monetary equivalent computed from the time the compensation was not paid up to the time
I. For termination of employment based on just causes as of actual reinstatement.
defined in Article 282 of the Code:
In the fourth situation, the dismissal should be upheld. While the procedural infirmity cannot
(a) A written notice served on the employee specifying the be cured, it should not invalidate the dismissal. However, the employer should be held liable
ground or grounds for termination, and giving to said employee reasonable for non-compliance with the procedural requirements of due process.
opportunity within which to explain his side;
The present case squarely falls under the fourth situation. The dismissal should be upheld
(b) A hearing or conference during which the employee because it was established that the petitioners abandoned their jobs to work for another
concerned, with the assistance of counsel if the employee so desires, is company. Private respondent, however, did not follow the notice requirements and instead
given opportunity to respond to the charge, present his evidence or rebut argued that sending notices to the last known addresses would have been useless because
the evidence presented against him; and they did not reside there anymore. Unfortunately for the private respondent, this is not a valid
excuse because the law mandates the twin notice requirements to the employees last known
(c) A written notice of termination served on the employee address.[21] Thus, it should be held liable for non-compliance with the procedural requirements
indicating that upon due consideration of all the circumstances, grounds of due process.
have been established to justify his termination.
A review and re-examination of the relevant legal principles is appropriate and timely to clarify
In case of termination, the foregoing notices shall be served on the the various rulings on employment termination in the light of Serrano v. National Labor
employees last known address. Relations Commission.[22]

Dismissals based on just causes contemplate acts or omissions attributable to the Prior to 1989, the rule was that a dismissal or termination is illegal if the employee was not
employee while dismissals based on authorized causes involve grounds under the Labor Code given any notice. In the 1989 case of Wenphil Corp. v. National Labor Relations
which allow the employer to terminate employees. A termination for an authorized cause Commission,[23] we reversed this long-standing rule and held that the dismissed employee,
requires payment of separation pay. When the termination of employment is declared illegal, although not given any notice and hearing, was not entitled to reinstatement and backwages
reinstatement and full backwages are mandated under Article 279. If reinstatement is no because the dismissal was for grave misconduct and insubordination, a just ground for
longer possible where the dismissal was unjust, separation pay may be granted. termination under Article 282. The employee had a violent temper and caused trouble during
office hours, defying superiors who tried to pacify him. We concluded that reinstating the
Procedurally, (1) if the dismissal is based on a just cause under Article 282, the employee and awarding backwages may encourage him to do even worse and will render a
employer must give the employee two written notices and a hearing or opportunity to be mockery of the rules of discipline that employees are required to observe.[24] We further held
heard if requested by the employee before terminating the employment: a notice specifying that:
the grounds for which dismissal is sought a hearing or an opportunity to be heard and after
hearing or opportunity to be heard, a notice of the decision to dismiss; and (2) if the dismissal Under the circumstances, the dismissal of the private respondent for just
is based on authorized causes under Articles 283 and 284, the employer must give the cause should be maintained. He has no right to return to his former
employee and the Department of Labor and Employment written notices 30 days prior to the employment.
effectivity of his separation.
However, the petitioner must nevertheless be held to account
From the foregoing rules four possible situations may be derived: (1) the dismissal is for a just for failure to extend to private respondent his right to an investigation
cause under Article 282 of the Labor Code, for an authorized cause under Article 283, or for before causing his dismissal. The rule is explicit as above discussed. The
health reasons under Article 284, and due process was observed; (2) the dismissal is without dismissal of an employee must be for just or authorized cause and after
just or authorized cause but due process was observed; (3) the dismissal is without just or due process. Petitioner committed an infraction of the second
authorized cause and there was no due process; and (4) the dismissal is for just or authorized requirement. Thus, it must be imposed a sanction for its failure to give a
cause but due process was not observed. formal notice and conduct an investigation as required by law before
dismissing petitioner from employment. Considering the circumstances of
this case petitioner must indemnify the private respondent the amount of and just.[26]It is a constitutional restraint on the legislative as well as on the executive and
P1,000.00. The measure of this award depends on the facts of each case judicial powers of the government provided by the Bill of Rights.
and the gravity of the omission committed by the employer.[25]
Due process under the Labor Code, like Constitutional due process, has two aspects:
The rule thus evolved: where the employer had a valid reason to dismiss an substantive, i.e., the valid and authorized causes of employment termination under the Labor
employee but did not follow the due process requirement, the dismissal may be upheld but Code; and procedural, i.e., the manner of dismissal. Procedural due process requirements for
the employer will be penalized to pay an indemnity to the employee. This became known as dismissal are found in the Implementing Rules of P.D. 442, as amended, otherwise known as
the Wenphil or Belated Due Process Rule. the Labor Code of the Philippines in Book VI, Rule I, Sec. 2, as amended by Department Order
Nos. 9 and 10.[27] Breaches of these due process requirements violate the Labor Code.
On January 27, 2000, in Serrano, the rule on the extent of the sanction was changed. Therefore statutory due process should be differentiated from failure to comply
We held that the violation by the employer of the notice requirement in termination for just with constitutional due process.
or authorized causes was not a denial of due process that will nullify the termination. However,
the dismissal is ineffectual and the employer must pay full backwages from the time of Constitutional due process protects the individual from the government and assures
termination until it is judicially declared that the dismissal was for a just or authorized cause. him of his rights in criminal, civil or administrative proceedings; while statutory due
process found in the Labor Code and Implementing Rules protects employees from being
The rationale for the re-examination of the Wenphil doctrine in Serrano was the unjustly terminated without just cause after notice and hearing.
significant number of cases involving dismissals without requisite notices. We concluded that
the imposition of penalty by way of damages for violation of the notice requirement was not In Sebuguero v. National Labor Relations Commission,[28] the dismissal was for a just
serving as a deterrent. Hence, we now required payment of full backwages from the time of and valid cause but the employee was not accorded due process. The dismissal was upheld by
dismissal until the time the Court finds the dismissal was for a just or authorized cause. the Court but the employer was sanctioned. The sanction should be in the nature of
indemnification or penalty, and depends on the facts of each case and the gravity of the
Serrano was confronting the practice of employers to dismiss now and pay later by omission committed by the employer.
imposing full backwages.
In Nath v. National Labor Relations Commission,[29] it was ruled that even if the
We believe, however, that the ruling in Serrano did not consider the full meaning of employee was not given due process, the failure did not operate to eradicate the just causes
Article 279 of the Labor Code which states: for dismissal. The dismissal being for just cause, albeit without due process, did not entitle the
employee to reinstatement, backwages, damages and attorneys fees.
ART. 279. Security of Tenure. In cases of regular employment, the
employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, in his separate opinion in MGG Marine Services, Inc. v.
cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly National Labor Relations Commission,[30] which opinion he reiterated in Serrano, stated:
dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of
seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of C. Where there is just cause for dismissal but due process has not
allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent been properly observed by an employer, it would not be right to order
computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to either the reinstatement of the dismissed employee or the payment of
the time of his actual reinstatement. backwages to him. In failing, however, to comply with the procedure
prescribed by law in terminating the services of the employee, the
employer must be deemed to have opted or, in any case, should be made
This means that the termination is illegal only if it is not for any of the justified or liable, for the payment of separation pay. It might be pointed out that the
authorized causes provided by law. Payment of backwages and other benefits, including notice to be given and the hearing to be conducted generally constitute
reinstatement, is justified only if the employee was unjustly dismissed. the two-part due process requirement of law to be accorded to the
employee by the employer. Nevertheless, peculiar circumstances might
The fact that the Serrano ruling can cause unfairness and injustice which elicited obtain in certain situations where to undertake the above steps would be
strong dissent has prompted us to revisit the doctrine. no more than a useless formality and where, accordingly, it would not be
imprudent to apply the res ipsa loquitur rule and award, in lieu of
To be sure, the Due Process Clause in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution embodies a separation pay, nominal damages to the employee. x x x.[31]
system of rights based on moral principles so deeply imbedded in the traditions and feelings
of our people as to be deemed fundamental to a civilized society as conceived by our entire After carefully analyzing the consequences of the divergent doctrines in the law on
history. Due process is that which comports with the deepest notions of what is fair and right employment termination, we believe that in cases involving dismissals for cause but without
observance of the twin requirements of notice and hearing, the better rule is to abandon
the Serrano doctrine and to follow Wenphil by holding that the dismissal was for just cause but We have repeatedly stressed that social justice or any justice for that
imposing sanctions on the employer. Such sanctions, however, must be stiffer than that matter is for the deserving, whether he be a millionaire in his mansion or
imposed in Wenphil. By doing so, this Court would be able to achieve a fair result by dispensing a pauper in his hovel. It is true that, in case of reasonable doubt, we are to
justice not just to employees, but to employers as well. tilt the balance in favor of the poor to whom the Constitution fittingly
extends its sympathy and compassion. But never is it justified to give
The unfairness of declaring illegal or ineffectual dismissals for valid or authorized causes but preference to the poor simply because they are poor, or reject the rich
not complying with statutory due process may have far-reaching consequences. simply because they are rich, for justice must always be served for the poor
and the rich alike, according to the mandate of the law.[35]
This would encourage frivolous suits, where even the most notorious violators of company
policy are rewarded by invoking due process. This also creates absurd situations where there Justice in every case should only be for the deserving party. It should not be presumed that
is a just or authorized cause for dismissal but a procedural infirmity invalidates the termination. every case of illegal dismissal would automatically be decided in favor of labor, as management
Let us take for example a case where the employee is caught stealing or threatens the lives of has rights that should be fully respected and enforced by this Court. As interdependent and
his co-employees or has become a criminal, who has fled and cannot be found, or where indispensable partners in nation-building, labor and management need each other to foster
serious business losses demand that operations be ceased in less than a month. Invalidating productivity and economic growth; hence, the need to weigh and balance the rights and
the dismissal would not serve public interest. It could also discourage investments that can welfare of both the employee and employer.
generate employment in the local economy.
Where the dismissal is for a just cause, as in the instant case, the lack of statutory
The constitutional policy to provide full protection to labor is not meant to be a due process should not nullify the dismissal, or render it illegal, or ineffectual. However, the
sword to oppress employers. The commitment of this Court to the cause of labor does not employer should indemnify the employee for the violation of his statutory rights, as ruled
prevent us from sustaining the employer when it is in the right, as in this case.[32] Certainly, an in Reta v. National Labor Relations Commission.[36] The indemnity to be imposed should be
employer should not be compelled to pay employees for work not actually performed and in stiffer to discourage the abhorrent practice of dismiss now, pay later, which we sought to deter
fact abandoned. in the Serrano ruling. The sanction should be in the nature of indemnification or penalty and
should depend on the facts of each case, taking into special consideration the gravity of the
The employer should not be compelled to continue employing a person who is admittedly due process violation of the employer.
guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance and whose continued employment is patently inimical to
the employer. The law protecting the rights of the laborer authorizes neither oppression nor Under the Civil Code, nominal damages is adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff,
self-destruction of the employer.[33] which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and
not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him.[37]
It must be stressed that in the present case, the petitioners committed a grave offense, i.e.,
abandonment, which, if the requirements of due process were complied with, would As enunciated by this Court in Viernes v. National Labor Relations Commissions,[38] an
undoubtedly result in a valid dismissal. employer is liable to pay indemnity in the form of nominal damages to an employee who has
been dismissed if, in effecting such dismissal, the employer fails to comply with the
An employee who is clearly guilty of conduct violative of Article 282 should not be protected requirements of due process. The Court, after considering the circumstances therein, fixed the
by the Social Justice Clause of the Constitution. Social justice, as the term suggests, should be indemnity at P2,590.50, which was equivalent to the employees one month salary. This
used only to correct an injustice. As the eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel observed, social justice indemnity is intended not to penalize the employer but to vindicate or recognize the
must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among diverse units employees right to statutory due process which was violated by the employer.[39]
of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups
as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and The violation of the petitioners right to statutory due process by the private respondent
paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, warrants the payment of indemnity in the form of nominal damages. The amount of such
and of bringing about the greatest good to the greatest number. [34] damages is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, taking into account the relevant
circumstances.[40] Considering the prevailing circumstances in the case at bar, we deem it
This is not to say that the Court was wrong when it ruled the way it did in Wenphil, proper to fix it at P30,000.00. We believe this form of damages would serve to deter
Serrano and related cases. Social justice is not based on rigid formulas set in stone. It has to employers from future violations of the statutory due process rights of employees. At the very
allow for changing times and circumstances. least, it provides a vindication or recognition of this fundamental right granted to the latter
under the Labor Code and its Implementing Rules.
Justice Isagani Cruz strongly asserts the need to apply a balanced approach to labor-
management relations and dispense justice with an even hand in every case: Private respondent claims that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that it failed to pay
petitioners holiday pay, service incentive leave pay and 13th month pay.
We are not persuaded. for the same period in the amount of P3,255.00 and the balance of Virgilio Agabons thirteenth
month pay for 1998 in the amount of P2,150.00.
We affirm the ruling of the appellate court on petitioners money claims. Private
respondent is liable for petitioners holiday pay, service incentive leave pay and 13th month pay WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of
without deductions. Appeals dated January 23, 2003, in CA-G.R. SP No. 63017, finding that petitioners Jenny and
Virgilio Agabon abandoned their work, and ordering private respondent to pay each of the
As a general rule, one who pleads payment has the burden of proving it. Even where the petitioners holiday pay for four regular holidays from 1996 to 1998, in the amount of
employee must allege non-payment, the general rule is that the burden rests on the employer P6,520.00, service incentive leave pay for the same period in the amount of P3,255.00 and the
to prove payment, rather than on the employee to prove non-payment. The reason for the balance of Virgilio Agabons thirteenth month pay for 1998 in the amount of P2,150.00
rule is that the pertinent personnel files, payrolls, records, remittances and other similar is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that private respondent Riviera Home Improvements,
documents which will show that overtime, differentials, service incentive leave and other Inc. is further ORDERED to pay each of the petitioners the amount of P30,000.00 as nominal
claims of workers have been paid are not in the possession of the worker but in the custody damages for non-compliance with statutory due process.
and absolute control of the employer.[41]
No costs.
In the case at bar, if private respondent indeed paid petitioners holiday pay and service
incentive leave pay, it could have easily presented documentary proofs of such monetary SO ORDERED.
benefits to disprove the claims of the petitioners. But it did not, except with respect to the
13th month pay wherein it presented cash vouchers showing payments of the benefit in the
years disputed.[42]Allegations by private respondent that it does not operate during holidays
and that it allows its employees 10 days leave with pay, other than being self-serving, do not
constitute proof of payment. Consequently, it failed to discharge the onus probandi thereby
making it liable for such claims to the petitioners.
EN BANC
Anent the deduction of SSS loan and the value of the shoes from petitioner Virgilio Agabons
13th month pay, we find the same to be unauthorized. The evident intention of Presidential [G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]
Decree No. 851 is to grant an additional income in the form of the 13thmonth pay to employees
not already receiving the same[43] so as to further protect the level of real wages from the
ravages of world-wide inflation.[44] Clearly, as additional income, the 13th month pay is
included in the definition of wage under Article 97(f) of the Labor Code, to wit: JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
(f) Wage paid to any employee shall mean the remuneration or earnings,
however designated, capable of being expressed in terms of money DECISION
whether fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece , or commission basis,
or other method of calculating the same, which is payable by an employer BELLOSILLO, J.:
to an employee under a written or unwritten contract of employment for
work done or to be done, or for services rendered or to be rendered and JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his pen in defense
includes the fair and reasonable value, as determined by the Secretary of of the rights of the individual from the vast powers of the State and the inroads of societal
Labor, of board, lodging, or other facilities customarily furnished by the pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on individuality beyond
employer to the employee which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to
flourish with very little regard to social interference - he veritably acknowledges that the
from which an employer is prohibited under Article 113[45] of the same Code from making any exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is justified in
deductions without the employees knowledge and consent. In the instant case, private enforcing at all cost, against those who would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says -
respondent failed to show that the deduction of the SSS loan and the value of the shoes from
petitioner Virgilio Agabons 13th month pay was authorized by the latter. The lack of authority The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with
to deduct is further bolstered by the fact that petitioner Virgilio Agabon included the same as the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which
one of his money claims against private respondent. power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will,
is to prevent harm to others.
The Court of Appeals properly reinstated the monetary claims awarded by the Labor
Arbiter ordering the private respondent to pay each of the petitioners holiday pay for four Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to self-
regular holidays from 1996 to 1998, in the amount of P6,520.00, service incentive leave pay preservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic,
it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel obeisance to its (5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations
collective wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance. and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special
interests; or
The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought
changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights and duties
more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the process, (6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to
the web of rights and State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the
of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and broken.Antagonism, often outright Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.
collision, between the law as the expression of the will of the State, and the zealous attempts
by its members to preserve their individuality and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or
individual rights are pitted against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business
test. associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth
through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof,
Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under in the aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be
RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),[1] as amended by RA guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any
7659,[2] wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the
therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and
constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of vagueness; extenuating circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the
(b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other
abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or
Code, all of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State (underscoring supplied).
due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have transgressed Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be
constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder: necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient
Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business, enterprise or to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
material possession of any person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring supplied).
him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business
associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight (8)
separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as
(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of Secs. 3,
the public treasury; par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713
(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case
any other form of pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in connection with any No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for
government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public office Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA No. 142, as amended by RA 6085).
concerned;
On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to the
Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges in
(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of the
Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, or government owned or offenses under specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to file
controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; counter-affidavits and other documents necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably,
the grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation, reconsideration/reinvestigation
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any of offenses, and opportunity to prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the
other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any charges and the vagueness of the law under which they are charged were never raised in
business enterprise or undertaking; that Omnibus Motionthus indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder
Law.
On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain."[5] And petitioner has miserably failed in the
No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the instant case to discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the
issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's motion for Plunder Law.
reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan.
As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined
On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558 on parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section
the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the law 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions required or
on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the Amended Information forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and
for Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed particularity. Thus -
its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner
submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied 1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with members of
petitioner's Motion to Quash. his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other
persons;
As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September 2001,
the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is 2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or
unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence for proving the series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation,
predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by
and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other
within the power of Congress to so classify it. form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government
Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal
is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or
with the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule whenever any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled
a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly
adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise
is forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing
another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or
branch accords to its coordinate branch - the legislature. implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special
interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or
If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and
must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and,
powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of
promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence in determining 3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or
whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should acquired is at least P50,000,000.00.
proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of the
law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those
of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain
who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be
whether an interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that as charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the
long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the assailed
challenged law will not be touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of
the force of the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d),
the safe environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably of the Plunder Law.
transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the
In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, indicating
positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded.
with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged to
Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party have committed:
challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that
"The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the
there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a showing, there can be
Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY
Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, REASON OF SAID PURCHASES OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED
JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, EIGHTY NINE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P189,700,000.00) MORE OR
and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE
7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows: EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME'JOSE VELARDE;'

That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within the (d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES,
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY
his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS
CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME UNDER HIS
TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK."
CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass,
accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously
aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these factual
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide
CENTAVOS(P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal
THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable him
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR A series of to prepare for an intelligent defense.
overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows:
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition
(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE of the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or
AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec.
MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, 4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being
KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and
co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Edward cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process.
Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in consideration OF TOLERATION OR The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain
PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING; and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of
terms without defining them;[6] much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides,
(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define
INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONALgain and benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of
HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a portion of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result
the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can
for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself and/or in connivance with co- be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy,
Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied). Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will
be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification,[7] unless it is
evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words.[8] The
(c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the
intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE 351,878,000 SHARES OF
use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed. Thus, Webster's New
STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF
Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly accepted definition of the words
STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS
"combination" and "series:"
ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX
HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE OR LESS Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of
SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR combining. To combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual
HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS characters.
ONE BILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT
THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); ANDBY
COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN
Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....
and temporal succession.
SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series?
That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.
popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative deliberations on the bill which
eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law: REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations....

DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991 REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series.

REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?


REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH A
COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN SECTION ONE REP. GARCIA: Yes.
HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say, if there are two or more REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?
means, we mean to say that number one and two or number one and something else are
included, how about a series of the same act? For example, through misappropriation, REP. GARCIA: Yes.
conversion, misuse, will these be included also?
SEN. TANADA: Two different.
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series. REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
REP. ISIDRO: Series. REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series. REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination. DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989
REP. GARCIA: Yes. SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes one or maybe even
two acts may already result in such
REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -
a big amount, on line 25, would theSponsor consider deleting the words a series of
REP. GARCIA: Two. overt or, to read, therefore: or conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as.
Remove the idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the criminal acts are in the
REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means not plural.
twice of one enumeration.
SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts
REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice. mentioned in this.
REP. ISIDRO: Not twice? THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be....
REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts. SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or many; two or more.
REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say combination, we mean, two SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x
different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act.
THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular
REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah. crime. But when we say acts of plunder there should be, at least, two or more.
REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two. SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr.
President.
REP. GARCIA: A series.
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2)
REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination or
acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids on
series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?
the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of assets
REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said, that belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).
is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary
crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been
acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the
misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under Sec. 1, nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all other
par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for statutes.
"combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in
the law. Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente V.
Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is
As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan[9] that this term vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity -
is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 -
The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the
x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or series of doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at
overt or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of
Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a common purpose law."[13] The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose
or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the
wealth. And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to area of protected freedoms."[14]
achieve said common goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme'
indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the principal accused and public officer A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
and others conniving with him follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech.The theory is that "[w]hen
alternative, if there is no such overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself as
multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all
common goal. society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on
overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate
Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow
sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on specificity."[15] The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go
the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be
in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary overly broad statutes.
intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked
against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
clarified either by a saving clause or by construction. terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free
such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due speech.
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what
conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech
and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.[10] But the doctrine does not cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes.As the U.S. Supreme Court put
apply as against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth'
nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment."[16] In Broadrick v.
ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper Oklahoma,[17] the Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in
construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and,
against such activities.[11] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked
assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case. against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this
reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid."[18] As for the vagueness doctrine, it
by common understanding and practice.[12] It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness" is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible
doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot
absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest.Flexibility, complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others."[19]
rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is susceptible of no reasonable
developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in construction that will support and give it effect. In that case,
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e),
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others,
to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common law meaning or
the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other settled definition by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3,
situations in which its application might be unconstitutional."[20] As has been pointed out, par. (e), violates due process in that it does not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it
"vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically seeks to penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information charged them with three (3)
produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b)
are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."[21] Consequently, there is no giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c) giving of
basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable negligence while in the discharge of their
entirety. official function and that their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against them was violated because they were left to guess which of the three (3) offenses, if
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the not all, they were being charged and prosecuted.
ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities are In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and
constitutionally protected.[22] It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases
requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete factual "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable negligence" merely
settings and in sterile abstract contexts.[23] But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out describe the different modes by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute
in Younger v. Harris[24] may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same Information does not mean
that the indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses.
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring
correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official support;
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without
controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D.
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978,
. . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).
questions, whichever way they might be decided.
The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt practice
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly and make unlawful the act of the public officer in:
strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort,"[25] and is generally
disfavored.[26] In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions which x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
are alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct with discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality,
which the defendant is charged.[27] evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as
amended).
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the
Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined than It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions penalize is
real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the the act of a public officer, in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions,
statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every in giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference which is unjustified,
provision of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason, through manifest partiality,
be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law.A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance
of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the use
petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which
appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full was understood in its primary and general acceptation. Consequently, in that case, petitioners'
knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage. objection thereto was held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional.
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be mentioned if only to illustrate On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of the
and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty unless Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond
reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when it requires only able to accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of extortion, he was only able to
proof of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy - accumulate P1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required
under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be act, so how can we now convict him?
necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential element
establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For
unlawful scheme or conspiracy. example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is P100
million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the
The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal enumeration the total amount would be P110 or P120 million, but there are certain
prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accusedalways has in his favor the acts that could not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those
presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State transactions which were proved. Now, if the amount involved in these transactions,
succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused proved beyond reasonable doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of
is entitled to an acquittal.[29] The use of the "reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable to plunder (underscoring supplied).
command the respect and confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. It is It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion
critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves the standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the
people in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our free prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary to constitute
society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his the crime.
government cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper
factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the crime
such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the prosecution
Clause which protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a
doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. [30] The combination or series which would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at
following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and every other act alleged in the
the deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are elucidating - Information to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate,
DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 supposing that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder with having committed
fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. Theprosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids,
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt
alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will provided only that they amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]
prove only one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the
information, does that not work against the right of the accused especially so if the A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion
amount committed, say, by falsification is less than P100 million, but the totality of that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy"
the crime committed is P100 million since there is malversation, bribery, inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated
falsification of public document, coercion, theft? otherwise, such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable
doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of the
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is consistent with reason and common
beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt sense. There would be no other explanation for a combination orseries of
is every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is
an enumeration of the things taken by the robber in the information three pairs of overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy to amass,
pants, pieces of jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to make a
these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the
because, say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings the prosecution proved establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts.
two. Now, what is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of
Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission
the offense.
that "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime," such that
plunder the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a series of without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder -
overt criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of bribery, he was
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the Plunder Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application thereof to
Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainingprovisions of this Act and the
reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of? application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected
thereby.
ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in the
Revised Penal Code, but not plunder.
Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared invalid
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved beyond as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is
reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction under not really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated independently of each
the Plunder Law? other, especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved.

ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor. As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a malum
in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion -
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting an
accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law? x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must
be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information
ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully and criminally." It thus
element of the law x x x x alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is proof
beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged constituting plunder? In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that
is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator
ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule of Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733:
evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is
no way by which we can avoid Section 4.
SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would not be
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the predicate evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish
crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go that far by applying the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder. [33]
Section 4?
However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the succeeding portion of the
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important
transcript quoted by petitioner:
element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.[32]

We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in Section 4,
can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster
"pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and process of attending to this kind of cases?
unequivocal:

SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34]

It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the
criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or
establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of a conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal
remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even without acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting
invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the prosecution is the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved and the
to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the fundamental requisite mens rea must be shown.
law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.Thus, even granting for the
sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it
may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily resulting in the Indeed, 2 provides that -
demise of the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than
enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause - Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the
imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and
extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is
the court. a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they
are mala in se[37] and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law,
The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code to especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it
prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere prosecutions for
of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking,
intent. It is true that 2 refers to "any person who participates with the said public officer in without regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts.
the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder." There is no reason to
believe, however, that it does not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of RA
crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late in the day for
laws with what they omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in construing him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by People v.
laws as saying what they obviously mean."[35] Echegaray[38] to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court therein
that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a declaration of the State, and becomes, by
Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.
have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of officials
the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes are in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and corruption has
punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive
heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:[36] more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical
measures are imperative to fight the increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and
The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very nature, economically catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially
despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left
utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as a unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and
human being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the will of
detention for ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society against the avarice
subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and drug offenses and other venalities in public office.
involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the case of other crimes; as well as
murder, rape, parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation, few issues
victim is detained for more than three days or serious physical injuries were inflicted on the of national importance can equal the amount of interest and passion generated by petitioner's
victim or threats to kill him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual prosecution and trial under a virginal
or intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that may
occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above
perpetua to death, are clearly heinous by their very nature. factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the Plunder
There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and implications Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare the
of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
in which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its poor and
underprivileged masses.Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the SO ORDERED.
government and impoverished the population, the Philippine Government must muster the
Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
political will to dismantle the culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated
Davide, Jr. C.J., Melo, Quisumbing, JJ., join concurring opinion of J. Mendoza.
criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of society and the psyche of the
Puno, Vitug, JJ., concurred and joins J. Mendoza's concurring opinion.
populace. [With the government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic
Kapunan, Pardo, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ynares-Santiago, JJ., see dissenting opinion.
services to its people, any form of misappropriation or misapplication of government funds
Mendoza, J., please see concurring opinion.
translates to an actual threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the very
Panganiban J., please see separate concurring opinion.
survival of the people it governs over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects
Carpio, J., no part. Was one of the complainants before Ombudsman.
and repercussions of crimes like qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and
drug offenses involving government officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators
must not be allowed to cause further destruction and damage to society.
SECOND DIVISION in exchange; that she had initially offered P50,000.00 but SPO1 Sistemio rejected it outright;
and that, eventually, they agreed on P200,000.00.
January 25, 2016
After the agreed monetary consideration was produced, the PDEA agents allegedly instructed
G.R. No. 198140 Jaen’s son, Delfin, to wait at the ATM machine outside PDEA. Jaen still remained in detention
after a lapse of several hours.
IA1 ERWIN L. MAGCAMIT, Petitioner,
vs. The narration was reinforced by the sworn statements dated April 15, 2008 and April 17,
INTERNAL AFFAIRS SERVICE - PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, as represented by 2008, of Compliance Investigator I Dolorsindo M. Paner (CI Paner) who recalled that IO2
SI V ROMEO M. ENRIQUEZ AND DIRECTOR GENERAL DIONISIO R. SANTIAGO, Respondents. Renato Infante (IO2 Infante) told him to meet him at the office for an important matter
about their operation; and that when IO2 Infante arrived, he handed the money to CI Paner
who then counted it on the spot. This incident was allegedly captured by a surveillance
DECISION
camera.

BRION, J.:
On July 10, 2008, Magcamit filed his motion for reconsideration arguing that the IAS-PDEA
committed errors of law and/or irregularities prejudicial to his interest; its decision, too, was
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court1 filed by not supported by the evidence on record.
IA1 Erwin L. Magcamit (Magcamit) from the March 17, 2011 decision2 and the August 9, 2011
Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 108281. The CA upheld the March
Aside from the procedural lapses Magcamit claimed the IAS-PDEA had committed, he raised
17, 2009 decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) denying Magcamit's appeal from the
the fact that his name never came up in the sworn statements submitted to SI V Enriquez.
May 20, 2008 memorandum of the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine Drug
Moreover, he argued that the application of the "doctrine of implied conspiracy" was
Enforcement Agency (JAS-PDEA), which found Magcamit guilty of grave misconduct and,
misplaced because the evidence on record did not show any act showing that he participated
consequently, recommending his dismissal from the service.
in the alleged extortion.

THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS


On July 23, 2008, SI V Enriquez denied the motion for reconsideration of Magcamit and his
co-agents as they had been duly afforded administrative due process and had been given a
In a letter dated April 13, 2008, addressed to Director General Dionisio R. Santiago, a person fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side. He added that the absence of a
named Delfin gave information about an alleged extortion done to his mother by Magcamit preliminary investigation was not fatal to their case. Lastly, he maintained that direct proof is
and other PDEA agents. The PDEA agents denied the irregularities imputed to them and not necessary to establish conspiracy as long as it is shown that the parties demonstrate they
maintained that the letter-complaint was made only to destroy their reputation. concur with the criminal design and its objective.

On May 5, 2008, Magcamit and his co-agents, namely, IO3 Carlo Aldeon, IO2 Renato Infante, Magcamit responded by filing a notice of appeal and elevating his case to the CSC.
IO2 Ryan Alfaro, and IO2 Apolinario Mationg, Jr., were formally charged with Grave
Misconduct for demanding and/or obtaining P200,000.00 from Luciana M. Jaen (Jaen) in
In its March 17, 2009 decision, the CSC denied Magcamit’s appeal and affirmed his dismissal
exchange for her release after she was apprehended in a buy-bust operation in Lipa City.
from the civil service. It ruled that administrative tribunals exercising quasi-judicial powers –
After they had submitted their Answer, their case was submitted for recommendation and
such as the IAS-PDEA – are unfettered by the rigidity of certain procedural requirements
action.
especially when due process has been fundamentally and essentially observed. It found that
Magcamit was positively identified by CI Paner in his sworn statement as the person who
In a memorandum dated May 20, 2008, Special Investigator V Romeo M. Enriquez (SI V identified the members of the group who received their respective shares from the
Enriquez) found Magcamit and his co-agents liable for grave misconduct and recommended P200,000.00, thus, establishing his participation in the extortion. The CSC noted that
that they be dismissed from the civil service. Accordingly, they were dismissed on June 5, Magcamit failed to controvert this allegation against him.
2008.
Reiterating the grounds he relied upon in his appeal to the CSC, Magcamit filed a petition for
SI V Enriquez gave credence to Jaen’s narration of events that when she sought help from the review under Rule 43 with the CA, imputing error on the part of the CSC in affirming his
team leader of the buy-bust team, she was referred to SPO1 Peter Sistemio (SPO1 Sistemio) dismissal from the service.
as the person who would facilitate her release; that SPO1 Sistemio bluntly demanded money
THE CA DECISION could not have refuted the allegation against him since he was not even aware of CI
Paner’s sworn statement until the case was brought up before the CSC.
In its March 17, 2011 decision, the CA denied the petition for review and upheld the March
17, 2009 CSC decision. Magcamit claims support for his case after the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed
against him and his co-agents. In its June 18, 2010 resolution, the Quezon City Prosecutor’s
The CA held that the CSC, in investigating complaints against civil servants, is not bound by Office found the evidence against them insufficient to prove that they requested or received
technical rules of procedure and evidence applicable in judicial proceedings; that rules of any money from Jaen.
procedure are to be construed liberally to promote their objective and to assist the parties in
obtaining a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of their respective claims and Finally, Magcamit maintains that the purported surveillance video is inadmissible as evidence
defenses. because it was not authenticated nor shown to him.

The CA found that the CSC correctly appreciated CI Paner’s sworn statement which described OUR RULING
Magcamit’s link to the extortion. The CA said that apart from his bare and self-serving claim,
Magcamit failed to show that CI Paner was actuated by ill motive or hate in imputing a We GRANT the present petition because Magcamit’s dismissal was unsupported by
serious offense to him. substantial evidence.

On August 9, 2011, the CA denied Magcamit’s motion for reconsideration; hence, the Although Magcamit assails that the letter-complaint should not have been entertained to
present petition for review on certiorari before this Court. begin with as it was not in accord with the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service (RACCS),4 we do not find any need to dwell on this point. The administrative
THE PETITION complaint was initiated when Jaen and Delfin executed sworn statements and filed them
with the IAS-PDEA. As the CA correctly pointed out, the letter-complaint did not, by itself,
Magcamit filed the present petition on the following grounds: commence the administrative proceedings against Magcamit; it merely triggered a fact-
finding investigation by the IAS-PDEA. Accordingly, these sworn statements – together with
the letter-complaint – were used as pieces of evidence to build a prima facie case for
1. his right to due process was denied because gross irregularities attended the
extortion warranting a formal charge for grave misconduct.
administrative investigation conducted by the IAS-PDEA; and

Administrative determinations of contested cases are by their nature quasi-judicial; there is


2. the evidence on record does not support his dismissal.
no requirement for strict adherence to technical rules that are observed in truly judicial
proceedings.5 As a rule, technical rules of procedure and evidence are relaxed in
Magcamit contends that the anonymous letter-complaint of a certain Delfin should not have administrative proceedings in order "to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and
been given due course as it was not corroborated by any documentary or direct evidence and inexpensive determination of their respective claims and defenses."6 By relaxing technical
there was no obvious truth to it. Worse, the letter-complaint had no narration of relevant rules, administrative agencies are, thus, given leeway in coming up with a decision.
and material facts showing the acts or omission allegedly committed by Magcamit and his co-
agents. Further, the letter-complaint only referred to him as "Erwin" and did not specifically
Nonetheless, in deciding disciplinary cases pursuant to their quasi-judicial powers,
identify him.
administrative agencies must still comply with the fundamental principle of due process.
Administrative tribunals exercising quasi-judicial powers are unfettered by the rigidity of
Magcamit claims that he was deprived of his right to seek a formal investigation because the certain procedural requirements, subject to the observance of fundamental and essential
IAS-PDEA deliberately failed to inform him of this right. requirements of due process in justiciable cases presented before them.7

Magcamit questions how the IAS-PDEA never presented him with pieces of evidence – Due process in administrative cases, in essence, is simply an opportunity to explain one’s side
specifically CI Paner’s sworn statement – that were considered against him. He emphasizes or to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling. For as long as the parties were given fair
that the CSC and the CA affirmed his dismissal based on an affidavit of complaint executed by and reasonable opportunity to be heard before judgment was rendered, the demands of due
CI Paner on May 7, 2008, that was only attached to the IAS-PDEA’s comment before the CSC. process were sufficiently met.8

As to his alleged participation in the extortion, Magcamit alleges that he never had any
discussion with CI Paner about each agent’s share in the P200,000.00. He argues that he
The cardinal primary rights and principles in administrative proceedings that must be similar in substance to the constitutional requirement that a decision of a court must state
respected are those outlined in the landmark case of Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial distinctly the facts and the law upon which it is based.13
Relations,9 quoted below:
At the hearing stage, while Magcamit was never afforded a formal investigation, we have
(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the consistently ruled that there is no violation of procedural due process even if no formal or
party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in trial-type hearing was conducted, where the party was given a chance to explain his side of
support thereof. the controversy.

(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to Before the IAS-PDEA, Magcamit had the opportunity to deny and controvert the complaint
adduce evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal against him when he filed his reply to the letter-complaint and his answer to the formal
must consider the evidence presented. charge. Dissatisfied with the IAS-PDEA’s decision, he elevated his case to the CSC which
likewise found him guilty of conspiring with his co-agents, rendering him liable for gross
(3) While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it misconduct. From these developments, it can hardly be said that the IAS-PDEA and the CSC
does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having denied Magcamit his opportunity to be heard.
something to support its decision. A decision with absolutely nothing to support it
is a nullity, a place when directly attached. In addition, Magcamit was duly represented by counsel who could properly apprise him of
what he is entitled to under law and jurisprudence.1âwphi1 Thus, he cannot claim that he
(4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion, but was deprived of his right to a formal hearing because the IAS-PDEA failed to inform him of
the evidence must be substantial. "Substantial evidence is more than a mere such right.
scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." With the issue on due process at the hearing stage resolved, we now move on to discuss the
merits of the petition before us.
(5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at
least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. Claiming that he was not involved in the extortion, Magcamit argues that the CSC and the CA
misappreciated the facts when they considered the affidavit of complaint CI Paner executed
(6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its on May 7, 2008, as substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that he conspired with his
or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and co-agents. This issue involves a question of fact as there is need for a calibration of the
not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. evidence, considering mainly the credibility of witnesses and the existence and the relevancy
of specific surrounding circumstances, their relation to one another and to the whole, and
the probabilities of the situation.14
(7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its
decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various
issues involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered. The performance of In cases brought before us via a petition for review on certiorari, we are limited to the review
this duty is inseparable from the authority conferred upon it. of errors of law.15 We, however, may review the findings of fact when they fail to consider
relevant facts that, if properly taken into account, would justify a different conclusion or
when there is serious ground to believe that a possible miscarriage of justice would result. 16
The first of the enumerated rights pertains to the substantive rights of a party at the hearing
stage of the proceedings.10
We recall that only the April 17, 2008 affidavit of Jaen and the April 17, 2008 affidavit of
Delfin were attached to the formal charge for grave misconduct against Magcamit and four
The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth aspects of the Ang Tibay requirements are
(4)17 other members of the PDEA‒Special Enforcement Service (SES). This formal charge
reinforcements of the right to a hearing and are the inviolable rights applicable at
required them to submit their respective position papers on the administrative charge.
the deliberative stage, as the decision maker decides on the evidence presented during the
Notably, both affidavits never mentioned the name of Magcamit.
hearing.11 These standards set forth the guiding considerations in deliberating on the case
and are the material and substantial components of decision making.12
SI V Enriquez’s memorandum/decision dated May 20, 2008 – which found Magcamit and his
four co-accused guilty of grave misconduct, and recommended their dismissal from the
Finally, the last requirement, relating to the form and substance of the decision of a quasi-
service – relied on the affidavits of CI Paner dated April 15, 2008 and April 17, 2008,
judicial body, further complements the hearing and decision-making due process rights and is
respectively, which it considered to have "reinforced the allegations" of Jaen and her son,
Delfin. CI Paner’s two affidavits were never shown to Magcamit. At any rate, CI Paner’s two Although, in the past, we have held that the right to due process of a respondent in an
affidavits, like the affidavits of Jaen and Delfin, did not mention Magcamit. administrative case is not violated if he filed a motion for reconsideration to refute the
evidence against him, the present case should be carefully examined for purposes of the
Probably realizing that the April 17, 2008 affidavit of Jaen, the April 17, 2008 affidavit of application of this rule. Here, the evidence of Magcamit’s participation was made available to
Delfin, and the April 15, 2008 and April 17, 2008 affidavits of CI Paner did not mention the him only after he had elevated the case to the CSC. Prior to that, or when the IAS-PDEA came
involvement of Magcamit in the extortion, the CSC’s Resolution No. 090431 dated March 17, up with the decision finding him guilty of gross misconduct, there was no substantial
2009, used as basis another affidavit of CI Paner (dated May 7, 2008) in affirming the May 20, evidence proving Magcamit was even involved.
2008 decision of the IAS-PDEA. Curiously, the CSC termed this affidavit as CI Paner’s ‘original
affidavit’ although it was the third affidavit that CI Paner had executed. We consider, too, that even if we take into account CI Paner’s May 7, 2008 affidavit, we find
this document to be inadequate to hold – even by standards of substantial evidence – that
The evidence on record shows that CI Paner executed three (3) affidavits with different Magcamit participated in the PDEA’s extortion activities.
dates,18 relating to the manner the members of the PDEA-SES tried to give him a share of the
P200,000.00 they extorted from Jaen. It must be noted, however, that it was only the We note that the CSC and the CA linked Magcamit to the alleged extortion in paragraph 13 of
Affidavit of Complaint dated May 7, 2008, that linked Magcamit to the scheme. Curiously, CI Paner' s May 7, 2008 affidavit of complaint, which reads:
this affidavit was never mentioned, despite being a more complete narration of what
transpired, in SI V Enriquez’ recommendation dated May 20, 2008. In fact, the investigating 13. That pretending nothing had happened and yet projecting to the group that I am a bit
officer referred only to the affidavits dated April 15, 2008 and April 17, 2008.19 apprehensive as to the evident inequality in the sharing of the extorted money from subject
Jaen, I was able to talk with Agent Erwin Magcamit, one of the members of the arresting
Surprisingly, the CSC ruled that the statements of CI Paner in his May 7, 2008 affidavit "was team, and asked the latter as to how the group came up with the Php21,500.00 sharing for
never controverted by Magcamit" although the latter had not been furnished this document. each member out of the Php200,000.00; from which Agent Magcamit simply said to me that
It was only when Magcamit requested for certified true copies of the Comment and the other such was the sharing and everybody except me seemed to have consented; in addition
documents submitted by the IAS-PDEA to the CSC that he discovered the existence of Paner’s thereto, Agent Magcamit vividly mentioned all other members who got their share of the
May 7, 2008 affidavit. Php21,500.00, namely, [1] Carlo S. Aldeon, [2] P03 Emerson Adaviles, [3], P02 Reywin
Bariuad, [4] 102 Renato Infante, [S] 102 Apolinario Mationg, [6] 102 Ryan Alfaro, and [7]
As the CSC did, the CA ruled that Magcamit participated in the extortion on the basis of P03 Peter Sistemio.20
Paner’s May 7, 2008 alone. Accordingly, it affirmed the CSC’s resolution.1âwphi1
We discern no showing from this allegation that Magcamit extorted money from Jaen, or
Under these circumstances, the CA erred in affirming the CSC’s dismissal of the respondent that he was among those who took part in the division of the money allegedly extorted from
on the basis of Paner’s May 7, 2008 affidavit – a document that was not part of the Jaen. For conspiracy to exist, it must be proven or at least inferred from the acts of the
proceedings before the IAS-PDEA. alleged perpetrator before, during, and after the commission of the crime. It cannot simply
be surmised that conspiracy existed because Magcamit was part of the team that took part in
the buy-bust operation which resulted in Jaen's arrest. In other words, respondents failed to
Given how the evidence against him came out, we find that Magcamit could not have
pinpoint Magcamit's participation in the extortion that would make him administratively
adequately and fully disputed the allegations against him since during the administrative
liable.
investigation he was not properly apprised of all the evidence against him. We point out that
Magcamit could not have refuted the May 7, 2008 affidavit of Paner, which was the sole
basis of the CSC’s and the CA’s finding of Magcamit’s liability; notably, the formal charge After evaluating the totality of evidence on record, we find that the records are bereft of
requiring him and his co-accused to file their position papers was dated May 5, 2008. substantial evidence to support the conclusion that Magcamit should be held
Corollarily, Magcamit and his co-agents were not even furnished a copy of the affidavits of CI administratively liable for grave misconduct; Magcamit was dismissed from the service based
Paner dated April 15, 2008 and April 17, 2008 before the recommendation for dismissal came on evidence that had not been disclosed to him. By affirming this dismissal, the CA
out. Magcamit was thus blindsided and forced to deal with pieces of evidence he did not committed a grave reversible error.
even know existed.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we GRANT the present petition.1avvphi1 The March 17,
Thus, the requirement that "[t]he decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at 2011 decision and the August 9, 2011 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
the hearing, or at least contained in the record AND disclosed to the parties affected," was 108281 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
not complied with. Magcamit was not properly apprised of the evidence presented against is ORDERED to reinstate IA1 Erwin L. Magcamit to his previous position without loss of
him, which evidence were eventually made the bases of the decision finding him guilty of seniority rights and with full payment of his salaries, backwages, and benefits from the time
grave misconduct and recommending his dismissal. of his dismissal from the service up to his reinstatement.
SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE, the case docketed as G.R No. 217872 is hereby REMANDED to the Food and
Drugs Administration which is hereby ordered to observe the basic requirements of due
ARTURO D. BRION process by conducting a hearing, and allowing the petitioners to be heard, on the re-
Associate Justice certified, procured and administered contraceptive drugs and devices, including Implanon
and lmplanon NXT, and to determine whether they are abortifacients or non-abortifacients.

Pursuant to the expanded jurisdiction of this Court and its power to issue rules for the
April 26, 2017 protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, the Court hereby:

G.R. No. 217872 1. DIRECTS the Food and Drug Administration to formulate the rules of procedure
in the screening, evaluation and approval of all contraceptive drugs and devices
ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY FOUNDATION, PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALFI) and ATTY. MARIA that will be used under Republic Act No. 10354. The rules of procedure shall
CONCEPCION S. NOCHE, in her own behalf and as President of ALFI, JOSE S. SANDEJAS, contain the following minimum requirements of due process: (a) publication,
ROSIE B. LUISTRO, ELENITA S.A. SANDEJAS, EMILY R. LAWS, EILEEN Z. ARANETA, SALV notice and hearing, (b) interested parties shall be allowed to intervene, (c) the
ACION C. MONTEIRO, MARIETTA C. GORREZ, ROLANDO M. BAUTISTA, RUBEN T. UMALI, standard laid down in the Constitution, as adopted under Republic Act No. 10354,
and MILDRED C. CASTOR , Petitioners as to what constitutes allowable contraceptives shall be strictly followed, that is,
vs. those which do not harm or destroy the life of the unborn from
HON. JANETTE L. GARIN, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Health; NICOLAS conception/fertilization, (d) in weighing the evidence, all reasonable doubts shall
B.LUTERO III, Assistant Secretary of Health, Officer-in-Charge, Food and Drug be resolved in favor of the protection and preservation of the right to life of the
Administration; and MARIA LOURDES C. SANTIAGO, Officer in-Charge, Center for Drug unborn from conception/fertilization, and (e) the other requirements of
Regulation and Research, Respondents administrative due process, as summarized in Ang Tibay v. CIR, shall be complied
with.
x-----------------------x
2. DIRECTS the Department of Health in coordination with other concerned
agencies to formulate the rules and regulations or guidelines which will govern the
G.R. No. 221866
purchase and distribution/ dispensation of the products or supplies under Section 9
of Republic Act No. 10354 covered by the certification from the Food and Drug
MARIA CONCEPCION S. NOCHE, in her own behalf and as counsel of Petitioners, JOSE S. Administration that said product and supply is made available on the condition that
SANDEJAS, ROSIE B. LUISTRO, ELENITA S.A. SANDEJAS, EMILY R. LAWS EILEEN Z. ARANETA, it will not be used as an abortifacient subject to the following minimum due
SALVACION C. MONTEIRO MARIETTA C. GORREZ, ROLANDO M. BAUTISTA, RUBEN T. process requirements: (a) publication, notice and hearing, and (b) interested
UMALI, and MILDRED C. CASTOR,Petitioners parties shall be allowed to intervene. The rules and regulations or guidelines shall
vs. provide sufficient detail as to the manner by which said product and supply shall be
HON. JANETTE L. GARIN, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Health; NICOLAS B. strictly regulated in order that they will not be used as an abortifacient and in order
LUTERO III, Assistant Secretary of Health; NICOLAS B. LUTERO III, Assistant Secretary of to sufficiently safeguard the right to life of the unborn.
Health, Officer-in-Charge, Food and Drug Administration; and MARIA LOURDES C.
SANTIAGO, Officer-in-Charge, Center for Drug Regulation and Research, Respondents.
3. DIRECTS the Department of Health to generate the complete and correct list of
the government's reproductive health programs and services under Republic Act
RESOLUTION No. 10354 which will serve as the template for the complete and correct
information standard and, hence, the duty to inform under Section 23(a)(l) of
MENDOZA, J.: Republic Act No. 10354. The Department of Health is DIRECTED to distribute copies
of this template to all health care service providers covered by Republic Act No.
Subject of this resolution is the Omnibus Motion1 filed by the respondents, thru the Office of 10354.
the Solicitor General (OSG), seeking partial reconsideration of the August 24, 2016 Decision
(Decision),2 where the Court resolved the: [1] Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, Mandamus The respondents are hereby also ordered to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations
with Prayer for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary to conform to the rulings and guidelines in G.R. No. 204819 and related cases.
Prohibitory and Mandatory Injunction (G.R. No. 217872); and the [2] Petition for Contempt of
Court (G.R. No. 221866), in the following manner:
The above foregoing directives notwithstanding, within 30 days from receipt of this FDA, whose myriad of functions had been carefully delineated in the IRR of R.A. No.
disposition, the Food and Drugs Administration should commence to conduct the necessary 9711. 11 The respondents, thus, prayed for the lifting of the Temporary Restraining
hearing guided by the cardinal rights of the parties laid down in CIR v. Ang Tibay. Order (TR0). 12

Pending the resolution of the controversy, the motion to lift the Temporary Restraining Part 2: The requirements of due
Order is DENIED. process need not be complied with as
the elements of procedural due
With respect to the contempt petition, docketed as G.R No. 221866, it is hereby DENIED for process laid down in Ang Tibay v.
lack of concrete basis. CIR are not applicable

SO ORDERED.3 The respondents further claimed in their omnibus motion that the requirements of due
process need not be complied with because the standards of procedural due process laid
down in Ang Tibay v. CIR 13 were inapplicable considering that: a) substantial evidence could
Arguments of the Respondents
not be used as a measure in determining whether a contraceptive drug or device was
abortifacient; 14 b) the courts had neither jurisdiction nor competence to review the findings
Part 1: Due Process need not be of the FDA on the non-abortifacient character of contraceptive drugs or devices; 15 c) the FDA
complied with as the questioned was not bound by the rules of admissibility and presentation of evidence under the Rules of
acts of the Food and Drug Court; 16 and d) the findings of the FDA could not be subject of the rule on res
Administration (FDA) were in judicata and stare-decisis. 17
the exercise of its Regulatory Powers
The respondents then insisted that Implanon and Implanon NXT were not abortifacients and
In the subject Omnibus Motion, the respondents argued that their actions should be lamented that the continued injunction of the Court had hampered the efforts of the FDA to
sustained, even if the petitioners were not afforded notice and hearing, because the provide for the reproductive health needs of Filipino women. For the respondents, to require
contested acts of registering, re-certifying, procuring, and administering contraceptive drugs them to afford the parties like the petitioners an opportunity to question their findings would
and devices were all done in the exercise of its regulatory power.4 They contended that cause inordinate delay in the distribution of the subject contraceptive drugs and devices
considering that the issuance of the certificate of product registration (CPR) by the FDA which would have a dire impact on the effective implementation of the RH Law.
under Section 7.04, Rule5 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 10354 (RH-IRR) did not involve the adjudication of the parties' opposing rights and
The Court's Ruling
liabilities through an adversarial proceeding, the due process requirements of notice and
hearing need not be complied with.6
After an assiduous assessment of the arguments of the parties, the Court denies the
Omnibus Motion, but deems that a clarification on some points is in order.
Stated differently, the respondents assert that as long as the act of the FDA is exercised
pursuant to its regulatory power, it need not comply with the due process requirements of
notice and hearing. Judicial Review

Corollary to this, the respondents wanted the Court to consider that the FDA had delineated The powers of an administrative body are classified into two fundamental powers: quasi-
its functions among different persons and bodies in its organization. Thus, they asked the legislative and quasi-judicial. Quasi-legislative power, otherwise known as the power of
Court to make a distinction between the "quasi-judicial powers" exercised by the Director- subordinate legislation, has been defined as the authority delegated by the lawmaking body
General of the FDA under Section 2(b)7 of Article 3, Book I of the Implementing Rules and to the administrative body to adopt rules and regulations intended to carry out the
Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9711,8 and the "regulatory/administrative powers"exercised provisions of law and implement legislative policy. 18 "[A] legislative rule is in the nature of
by the FDA under Section 2(c )(1) 9 of the same. For the respondents, the distinction given in subordinate legislation, designed to implement a primary legislation by providing the details
the above-cited provisions was all but proof that the issuance of CPR did not require notice thereof." 19 The exercise by the administrative body of its quasi-legislative power through the
and hearing. promulgation of regulations of general application does not, as a rule, require notice and
hearing. The only exception being where the Legislature itself requires it and mandates that
the regulation shall be based on certain facts as determined at an appropriate
After detailing the process by which the FDA's Center for Drug Regulation and
investigation.20
Research (CDRR) examined and tested the contraceptives for non-abortifacience, 10 the
respondents stressed that the Decision wreaked havoc on the organizational structure of the
Quasi-judicial power, on the other hand, is known as the power of the administrative agency judicial power which, as explained in the Decision, requires the compliance with the twin
to determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply, in accordance with requirements of notice and hearing. Nowhere from the above-quoted texts can it be inferred
the standards laid down by the law itself.21 As it involves the exercise of discretion in that the exercise of "regulatory power" places an administrative agency beyond the reach of
determining the rights and liabilities of the parties, the proper exercise of quasi-judicial judicial review. When there is grave abuse of discretion, such as denying a party of his
power requires the concurrence of two elements: one, jurisdiction which must be acquired constitutional right to due process, the Court can come in and exercise its power of judicial
by the administrative body and two, the observance of the requirements of due review. It can review the challenged acts, whether exercised by the FDA in its ministerial,
process, that is, the right to notice and hearing.22 quasi-judicial or regulatory power. In the past, the Court exercised its power of judicial
review over acts and decisions of agencies exercising their regulatory powers, such as
On the argument that the certification proceedings were conducted by the FDA in the DPWH, 24 TRB, 25 NEA, 26and the SEC,27 among others. In Diocese of Bacolod v. Commission on
exercise of its "regulatory powers" and, therefore, beyond judicial review, the Court holds Elections,28 the Court properly exercised its power of judicial review over a Comelec
that it has the power to review all acts and decisions where there is a commission of grave resolution issued in the exercise of its regulatory power.
abuse of discretion. No less than the Constitution decrees that the Court must exercise its
duty to ensure that no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction is Clearly, the argument of the FDA is flawed.
committed by any branch or instrumentality of the Government. Such is committed when
there is a violation of the constitutional mandate that "no person is deprived of life, liberty, Petitioners were Denied their
and property without due process of law." The Court's power cannot be curtailed by the Right to Due Process
FDA's invocation of its regulatory power.
Due process of law has two aspects: substantive and procedural. In order that a particular act
In so arguing, the respondents cited Atty. Carlo L. Cruz in his book, Philippine Administrative may not be impugned as violative of the due process clause, there must be compliance with
Law. both the substantive and the procedural requirements thereof. 29 Substantive due process
refers to the intrinsic validity of a law that interferes with the rights of a person to his
Lest there be any inaccuracy, the relevant portions of the book cited by the respondents are property.30 Procedural due process, on the other hand, means compliance with the
hereby quoted as follows: procedures or steps, even periods, prescribed by the statute, in conformity with the standard
of fair play and without arbitrariness on the part of those who are called upon to administer
xxx. it.31

B. The Quasi-Judicial Power The undisputed fact is that the petitioners were deprived of their constitutional right to due
process of law.
xxx
As expounded by the Court, what it found to be primarily deplorable is the failure of the
respondents to act upon, much less address, the various oppositions filed by the petitioners
2. Determinative Powers
against the product registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution of the
questioned contraceptive drugs and devices. Instead of addressing the petitioners' assertion
To better enable the administrative body to exercise its quasi judicial authority, it is also that the questioned contraceptive drugs and devices fell within the definition of an
vested with what is known as determinative powers and functions. "abortifacient" under Section 4(a) of the RH Law because of their "secondary mechanism of
action which induces abortion or destruction of the fetus inside the mother's womb or the
Professor Freund classifies them generally into the enabling powers and prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb,"32 the
the directing powers. The latter includes the dispensing, the examining, and respondents chose to ignore them and proceeded with the registration, recertification,
the summary powers. procurement, and distribution of several contraceptive drugs and devices.

The enabling vowers are those that permit the doing of an act which the law undertakes A cursory reading of the subject Omnibus Motion shows that the respondents proffer no
to regulate and which would be unlawful with government approval. The most common cogent explanation as to why they did not act on the petitioners' opposition. As stated by the
example is the issuance of licenses to engage in a particular business or occupation, like the Court in the Decision, rather than provide concrete action to meet the petitioners'
operation of a liquor store or restaurant. x x x. 23 [Emphases and underscoring supplied] opposition, the respondents simply relied on their challenge questioning the propriety of the
subject petition on technical and procedural grounds. 33 The Court, thus, finds the subject
From the above, two things are apparent: one, the "enabling powers" cover "regulatory motion to be simply a rehash of the earlier arguments presented before, with the
powers" as defined by the respondents; and two, they refer to a subcategory of a quasi- respondents still harping on the peculiarity of the FDA's functions to exempt it from
compliance with the constitutional mandate that "no person shall be deprived oflife, liberty Step 6. Post a list of contraceptive products which were applied for re-certification for
and property without due process of law." public comments in the FDA website.

The law and the rules demand Step 7. Evaluate contraceptive products for re-certification.
compliance with due process
requirements A. Part I (Review of Chemistry, Manufacture and Controls)

A reading of the various provisions, cited by the respondents in support of their assertion 1. Unit Dose and Finished Product Formulation
that due process need not be complied with in the approval of contraceptive drugs or
devices, all the more reinforces the Court's conclusion that the FDA did fail to afford the
2. Technical Finished Product Specifications
petitioners a genuine opportunity to be heard.

3. Certificate of Analysis
As outlined by the respondents themselves, the steps by which the FDA approves
contraceptive drugs or devices, demand compliance with the requirements of due
process viz: B. Part II (Evaluation of Whether the Contraceptive Product is Abortifacient)

Step 1. Identify contraceptive products in the database. Create another database containing 1. Evaluation of the scientific evidence submitted by the applicant and the public.
the following details of contraceptive products: generic name, dosage strength and form,
brand name (if any), registration number, manufacturer, MAH, and the period of validity of 2. Review and evaluation of extraneous evidence, e.g., scientific journals, meta-
the CPR. analyses, etc.

Step 2. Identify contraceptive products which are classified as essential medicines in the Step 8. Assess and review the documentary requirements submitted by the applicant.
Philippine Drug Formulary. Technical reviewers considered scientific evidence such as meta-analyses, systemic reviews,
national and clinical practice guidelines and recommendations of international medical
Step 3. Retrieve the contraceptive product's file and the CPR duplicate of all registered organizations submitted by the companies, organizations and individuals, to be part of the
contraceptive products. Create a database of the contraceptive product's history, including review.34 [Emphases and Underlining supplied]
its initial, renewal, amendment, and/or variation applications.
The Court notes that the above-outlined procedure is deficient insofar as it only allows public
Step 4. Conduct a preliminary review of the following: comments to cases of re-certification. It fails to allow the public to comment in cases where a
reproductive drug or device is being subject to the certification process for the first time. This
is clearly in contravention of the mandate of the Court in lmbong that the IRR should be
a. general physiology of female reproductive system, including hormones involved,
amended to conform to it.
female reproductive cycle, and conditions of the female reproductive system
during pregnancy.
More importantly, the Court notes that Step 5 requires the FDA to issue a notice to all
concerned MAHs and require them to submit scientific evidence that their product is non-
b. classification of hormonal contraceptives;
abortifacient; and that Step 6 requires the posting of the list of contraceptive products which
were applied for re-certification for public comments in the FDA website.
c. regulatory status of the products in benchmark countries; and
If an opposition or adverse comment is filed on the ground that the drug or devise has
d. mechanism of action of hormonal contraceptives based on reputable journals, abortifacient features or violative of the RH Law, based on the pronouncements of the Court
meta-analyses, systemic reviews, evaluation of regulatory authorities in other in Im bong or any other law or rule, the FDA is duty-bound to take into account and consider
countries, textbooks, among others. the basis of the opposition.

Step 5. Issue a notice to all concerned MAHs, requiring them to submit scientific evidence To conclude that product registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution of the
that their product is non-abortifacient, as defined in the RH Law and Imbong. questioned contraceptive drugs and devices by the FDA in the exercise of its regulatory
power need not comply with the requirements of due process would render the issuance of
notices to concerned MAHs and the posting of a list of contraceptives for public comment a "(c) To analyze and inspect health products in connection with the implementation of this
meaningless exercise. Concerned MAHs and the public in general will be deprived of any Act;
significant participation if what they will submit will not be considered.
"(d) To establish analytical data to serve as basis for the preparation of health products
Section 7.04, Rule 7 of the IRR of the RH Law (RH-IRR),35 relied upon by the respondents in standards, and to recommend standards of identity, purity, safety, efficacy, quality and fill of
support of their claims, expressly allows the consideration of conflicting evidence, such as container;
that supplied by the petitioners in support of their opposition to the approval of certain
contraceptive drugs and devices. In fact, the said provision mandates that the FDA utilize the "(e) To issue certificates of compliance with technical requirements to serve as basis for the
"best evidence available" to ensure that no bortifacient is approved as a family planning drug issuance of appropriate authorization and spot-check for compliance with regulations
or device. It bears mentioning that the same provision even allows an independent evidence regarding operation of manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, wholesalers, drug
review group (ERG) to ensure that evidence for or against the certification of a contraceptive outlets, and other establishments and facilities of health products, as determined by the
drug or device is duly considered. FDA;

Structure of the FDA "xxx

As earlier mentioned, the respondents argue that the Decision "wreaked havoc on the "(h) To conduct appropriate tests on all applicable health products prior to the issuance of
organizational structure of the FDA, whose myriad of functions have been carefully appropriate authorizations to ensure safety, efficacy, purity, and quality;
delineated under R.A. No. 9711 IRR."36 Citing Section 7.04, Rule 7 of the RH-IRR, the FDA
insists that the function it exercises in certifying family planning supplies is in the exercise of
"(i) To require all manufacturers, traders, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers,
its regulatory power, which cannot be the subject of judicial review, and that it is
retailers, consumers, and non-consumer users of health products to report to the FDA any
the Director-General of the FDA who exercises quasi-judicial powers, citing Section 2(b) of
incident that reasonably indicates that said product has caused or contributed to the death,
Article 3, Book I of the RH-IRR.37
serious illness or serious injury to a consumer, a patient, or any person;

The FDA wants the Court to consider that, as a body, it has a distinct and separate
"G) To issue cease and desist orders motu propio or upon verified com plaint for health
personality from the Director-General, who exercises quasi-judicial power. The Court cannot
products, whether or not registered with the FDA Provided, That for registered health
accommodate the position of the respondents. Section 6(a) of R.A. No. 3720, as amended by
products, the cease and desist order is valid for thirty (30) days and may be extended for
Section 7 of R.A. No. 9711,38 provides that "(a) The FDA shall be headed by a director-
sixty (60) days only after due process has been observed;
general with the rank of undersecretary, xxx." How can the head be separated from the
body?
"(k) After due process, to order the ban, recall, and/or withdrawal of any health product
found to have caused the death, serious illness or serious injury to a consumer or patient, or
For the record, Section 4 of R.A. No. 3720, as amended by Section 5 of R.A. No. 9711, also
is found to be imminently injurious, unsafe, dangerous, or grossly deceptive, and to require
recognizes compliance with the requirements of due process, although the proceedings are
all concerned to implement the risk management plan which is a requirement for the
not adversarial. Thus:
issuance of the appropriate authorization;

Section 5. Section 4 of Republic Act No. 3720, as amended, is hereby further amended to
"(l) To strengthen the post market surveillance system in monitoring health products as
read as follows:
defined in this Act and incidents of adverse events involving such products;

"SEC. 4. To carry out the provisions of this Act, there is hereby created an office to be called
"(m) To develop and issue standards and appropriate authorizations that would cover
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Department of Health (DOH). Said
establishments, facilities and health products;
Administration shall be under the Office of the Secretary and shall have the following
functions, powers and duties:
"(n) To conduct, supervise, monitor and audit research studies on health and safety issues of
health products undertaken by entities duly approved by the FDA;
"(a) To administer the effective implementation of this Act and of the rules and regulations
issued pursuant to the same;
"(o) To prescribe standards, guidelines, and regulations with respect to information,
advertisements and other marketing instruments and promotion, sponsorship, and other
"(b) To assume primary jurisdiction in the collection of samples of health products;
marketing activities about the health products as covered in this Act;
"(p) To maintain bonded warehouses and/or establish the same, whenever necessary or their opposition were left unanswered as if they did not exist at all. The mere fact that the RH
appropriate, as determined by the director-general for confiscated goods in strategic areas of Law was declared as not unconstitutional does not permit the respondents to run roughshod
the country especially at major ports of entry; and over the constitutional rights, substantive and procedural, of the petitioners.

"(q) To exercise such other powers and perform such other functions as may be necessary to Indeed, although the law tasks the FDA as the primary agency to determine whether a
carry out its duties and responsibilities under this Act. [Emphases supplied] contraceptive drug or certain device has no abortifacient effects, its findings and conclusion
should be allowed to be questioned and those who oppose the same must be given a
The Cardinal Rights of Parties in genuine opportunity to be heard in their stance. After all, under Section 4(k) of R.A. No.
Administrative Proceedings as 3720, as amended by R.A. No. 9711, the FDA is mandated to order the ban, recall and/ or
laid down in Ang Tibay v. CIR withdrawal of any health product found to have caused death, serious illness or serious
injury to a consumer or patient, or found to be imminently injurious, unsafe, dangerous, or
grossly deceptive, after due process.
In Ang Tibay v. CJR,39 the Court laid down the cardinal rights of parties in administrative
proceedings, as follows:
Due to the failure of the respondents to observe and comply with the basic requirements of
due process, the Court is of the view that the certifications/re-certifications and the
1) The right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one's case and submit evidence
distribution of the questioned contraceptive drugs by the respondents should be struck
in support thereof;
down as violative of the constitutional right to due process.

2) The tribunal must consider the evidence presented;


Verily, it is a cardinal precept that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, the
courts are ousted from their jurisdiction. The violation of a party's right to due process raises
3) The decision must have something to support itself; a serious jurisdictional issue which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the
denial of the fundamental right to due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard
4) The evidence must be substantial; of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction. This rule is equally true in quasi-judicial and
administrative proceedings, for the constitutional guarantee that no man shall be deprived of
5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least life, liberty, or property without due process is unqualified by the type of proceedings
contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected; (whether judicial or administrative) where he stands to lose the same.41

6) The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent The Court stands by that finding and, accordingly, reiterates its order of remand of the case
consideration of the law and facts of the controversy and not simply accept the views of a to the FDA.
subordinate in arriving at a decision; and
Procedure in the FDA; No Trial-Type Hearing
7) The board or body should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a
manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the The Court is of the view that the FDA need not conduct a trial-type hearing. Indeed, due
reason for the decision rendered. 40 process does not require the conduct of a trial-type hearing to satisfy its requirements. All
that the Constitution requires is that the FDA afford the people their right to due process of
In the Decision, the Court found that the FDA certified, procured and administered law and decide on the applications submitted by MAHs after affording the oppositors like the
contraceptive drugs and devices, without the observance of the basic tenets of due process, petitioners a genuine opportunity to present their science-based evidence. As earlier pointed
that is, without notice and without public hearing. It appeared that, other than the notice out, this the FDA failed to do. It simply ignored the opposition of the petitioners. In the case
inviting stakeholders to apply for certification/recertification of their reproductive health of Perez, et al. v. Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company, et al., 42 it was stated that:
products, there was no showing that the respondents considered the opposition of the
petitioners. Thus, the Court wrote: A formal trial-type hearing is not even essential to due process. It is enough that the parties
are given a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the
Rather than provide concrete evidence to meet the petitioners' opposition, the respondents controversy and to present supporting evidence on which a fair decision can be based.
simply relied on their challenge questioning the propriety of the subject petition on technical
and procedural grounds. The Court notes that even the letters submitted by the petitioners In the fairly recent case of Vivo v. Pagcor,43 the Court explained:
to the FDA and the DOH seeking information on the actions taken by the agencies regarding
The observance of fairness in the conduct of any investigation is at the very heart of A court is not considered incompetent either in reviewing the findings of the FDA simply
procedural due process. The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to because it will be weighing the scientific evidence presented by both the FDA and its
administrative proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's oppositors in determining whether the contraceptive drug or device has complied with the
side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained requirements of the law.
of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial
sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical Although the FDA is not strictly bound by the technical rules on evidence, as stated in the
rules of procedure are not strictly applied. Ledesma v. Court of Appeals elaborates on the Rules of Court, or it cannot be bound by the principle of stare decisis or res judicata, it is not
well-established meaning of due process in administrative proceedings in this wise: excused from complying with the requirements of due process. To reiterate for emphasis,
due process does not require that the FDA conduct trial-type hearing to satisfy its
x x x Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a requirements. All that the Constitution requires is that the FDA afford the people their right
trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against to due process of law and decide on the applications submitted by the MAHs after affording
him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the oppositors, like the petitioners, a genuine opportunity to present their sciencebased
the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer evidence.
the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The
essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an The Appellate Procedure;
opportunity to explain one's side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or Appeal to the Office of the President
ruling complained of. [Emphasis supplied; citations omitted]
Incidentally, Section 32 of R.A. No. 3720 and Section 9 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 247
Best Evidence Available provide that any decision by the FDA would then be appealable to the Secretary of Health,
whose decision, in tum, may be appealed to the Office of the President (OP). Thus:
Section 5, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 32. The orders, rulings or decisions of the FDA shall be appealable to the Secretary of
Section 5. In all cases filed before administrative or quasi-judicialbodies, a fact may be Health. - An appeal shall be deemed perfected upon filing of the notice of appeal and posting
deemed established if it is supported by substantialevidence, or the amount of relevant of the corresponding appeal bond.
evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.
An appeal shall not stay the decision appealed from unless an order from the Secretary of
As applied to certification proceedings at the FDA, "substantial evidence" refers to the best Health is issued to stay the execution thereof.
scientific evidence available,44 "including but not limited to: meta analyses, systematic
reviews, national clinical practice guidelines where available, and recommendations of Sec. 9. Appeals. - Decisions of the Secretary (DENR, DA, DOH or DOST) may be appealed to
international medical organizations," needed to support a conclusion whether a the Office of the President. Recourse to the courts shall be allowed after exhaustion of all
contraceptive drug or device is an abortifacient or not. The FDA need not be bound or limited administrative remedies.
by the evidence adduced by the parties, but it can conduct its own search for related
scientific data. It can also consult other technical scientific experts known in their fields. It is
In view thereof, the Court should modify that part of the Decision which allows direct appeal
also not bound by the principle of stare decisis or res judicata, but may update itself and
of the FDA decision to the Court of Appeals.1âwphi1 As stated in the said decision, the FDA
cancel certifications motu proprio when new contrary scientific findings become available or
decision need not be appealed to the Secretary of Health because she herself is a party
there arise manifest risks which have not been earlier predicted.
herein. Considering that the Executive

On the Competence of the Court


Secretary is not a party herein, the appeal should be to the OP as provided in Section 9.
to review the Findings of the FDA

On the Prayer to Lift the TRO


The fact that any appeal to the courts will involve scientific matters will neither place the
actions of the respondents beyond the need to comply with the requirements of Ang
Tibay nor place the actions of the FDA in certification proceedings beyond judicial review. The respondents lament that the assailed decision undermines the functions of the FDA as
the specialized agency tasked to determine whether a contraceptive drug or device is safe,
effective and non-abortifacient. They also claim that the assailed decision requiring notice
It should be pointed out that nowhere in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, are the
and hearing would unduly delay the issuance of CPR thereby affecting public access to State-
courts ousted of their jurisdiction whenever the issues involve questions of scientific nature.
funded contraceptives. Finally, in a veritable attempt to sow panic, the respondents claim
that the TRO issued by the Court would result in "a nationwide stockout of family planning finding by the FDA, which was its basis in registering, certifying and recertifying the
supplies in accredited public health facilities and the commercial market. "45 questioned drugs and devices. The pharmaceutical companies or the MAHs need not present
the same evidence it earlier adduced to convince the FDA unless they want to present
On this score, it should be clarified that the Decision simply enjoined the respondents from additional evidence to fortify their positions. The only entities that would present evidence
registering, recertifying, procuring, and administering only those contraceptive drugs and would be the petitioners to make their point by proving with relevant scientific evidence that
devices which were the subjects of the petitioners' opposition, specifically Implanon and the contraceptives have abortifacient effects. Thereafter, the FDA can resolve the
Implanon NXT. It never meant to enjoin the processing of the entire gamut of family planning controversy.
supplies that have been declared as unquestionably non-abortifacient. Moreover, the
injunction issued by the Court was only subject to the condition that the respondents afford Indeed, in addition to guaranteeing that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty and
the petitioners a genuine opportunity to their right to due process. property without due process of law,48 the Constitution commands that "all persons shall
have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial and
As the Decision explained, the Court cannot lift the TRO prior to the summary hearing to be administrative bodies."49
conducted by the FDA. To do so would render the summary hearing an exercise in futility.
Specifically, the respondents would want the Court to consider their argument that Implanon WHEREFORE, the August 24, 2016 Decision is MODIFIED. Accordingly, the Food and Drug
and Implanon NXT have no abortifacient effects. According to them, "the FDA tested these Administration is ordered to consider the oppositions filed by the petitioners with respect to
devices for safety, efficacy, purity, quality, and non-abortiveness prior to the issuance of the listed drugs, including Implanon and Implanon NXT, based on the standards of the
certificates of registration and recertification, and after the promulgation of Imbong." 46 The Reproductive Health Law, as construed in lmbong v. Ochoa, and to decide the case within
Court, however, cannot make such determination or pronouncement at this time. To grant sixty (60) days from the date it will be deemed submitted for resolution.
its prayer to lift the TRO would be premature and presumptuous. Any declaration by the
Court at this time would have no basis because the FDA, which has the mandate and After compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the Food and
expertise on the matter, has to first resolve the controversy pending before its office. Drug Administration, the Temporary Restraining Order would be deemed lifted if the
questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacients.
This Court also explained in the Decision that the issuance of the TRO did not mean that the
FDA should stop fulfilling its mandate to test, analyze, scrutinize, and inspect other drugs and After the final resolution by the Food and Drug Administration, any appeal should be to the
devices. Thus: Office of the President pursuant to Section 9 of E.O. No. 247.

Nothing in this resolution, however, should be construed as restraining or stopping the FDA As ordered in the August 24, 2016 Decision, the Food and Drug Administration is directed to
from carrying on its mandate and duty to test, analyze, scrutinize, and inspect drugs and amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 10354 so that it would be strictly
devices. What are being enjoined are the grant of certifications/re-certifications of compliant with the mandates of the Court in lmbong v. Ochoa.
contraceptive drugs without affording the petitioners due process, and the distribution and
administration of the questioned contraceptive drugs and devices including Implanon and
SO ORDERED.
Implanon NXT until they are determined to be safe and non-abortifacient.47

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA,


On Delay
Associate Justice

The respondents claim that this judicial review of the administrative decision of the FDA in
certifying and recertifying drugs has caused much delay in the distribution of the subject
drugs with a dire impact on the effective implementation of the RH Law.

In this regard, the respondents have only themselves to blame. Instead of complying with the
orders of the Court as stated in the Decision to conduct a summary hearing, the respondents
have returned to this Court, asking the Court to reconsider the said decision claiming that it
has wreaked havoc on the organizational structure of the FDA.

Had the FDA immediately conducted a summary hearing, by this time it would have finished
it and resolved the opposition of the petitioners.1âwphi1 Note that there was already a