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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 1

101 PHIL 1015


ICHONG VS. HERNANDEZ et al G.R. No. L-7995 May 31, 1957 Ponente: Labrador, J. FACTS: Republic Act No. 1180 known as, An Act to Regulate Retail Business was passed by the Congress. The said RA nationalizes the retail trade business by prohibiting against persons not citizens of the Philippines, as well as associations, partnerships or corporations the capital of which are not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail trade with the exception of U.S. citizens and juridical entities. Aliens are required to present registration to the proper authorities a verified statement concerning their businesses. Now, petitioner Lao Ichong, was a Chinese businessman in the markets of Pasay City who seeks to declare the nullification of RA 1180 for it violates the international and treaty obligations of the Republic of the Philippines. The said Act is unconstitutional, and to enjoin the Secretary of Finance and all other persons acting under him, particularly city and municipal treasurers, from enforcing its provisions. He contends that RA 1180 denies to alien residents the equal protection of the laws and deprives of their liberty and property without due process of law.

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ISSUES: Whether or not Republic Act No. 1180 is a valid exercise of police power. HELD/RULING: YES. There is no question that the Act was approved in the exercise of the police power, but petitioner claims that its exercise in this instance is attended by a violation of the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws. Police Power - It has been said the police power is so far reaching in scope, and it is almost impossible to limit its sweep. It derives its existence from the very existence of the State itself, and does not need to be expressed or defined in its scope. It is said to be coextensive with self-protection and survival, and as such it is the most positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential, insistent and illimitable. Especially is it so under a modern democratic framework where the demands of society and of nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions; the field and scope of police power has become almost boundless, just as the fields of public interest and public welfare have become almost all-embracing and have transcended human foresight. -x x x x x x x-

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 1

101 PHIL 1015


Otherwise stated, as we cannot foresee the needs and demands of public interest and welfare in this constantly changing and progressive world, so we cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope of police power by which and through which the State seeks to attain or achieve interest or welfare. The Constitution do not define the scope or extent of the police power of the State. The State sets forth the limitations. The most important limitations are the due process clause and the equal protection clause. Due process clause Art. III, 1987 Constitution. Section 1(1). No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. Equal protection clause The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It does not demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. -x x x x x x xThe Court resumed holding that the disputed law was enacted to remedy a real actual threat and danger to national economy posed by alien dominance and control of the retail business and free citizens and country from dominance and control. The enactment clearly falls within the scope of the police power of the State, thru which and by which it protects its own personality and insures its security and future. The law does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution because sufficient grounds exist for the distinction between alien and citizen in the exercise of the occupation regulated, nor the due process of law clause, because the law is prospective in operation and recognizes the privilege of aliens already engaged in the occupation and reasonably protects their privilege. -x x x x x x x-

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