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3Republic of tbe ~bilippines

~ttpreme

QCourt

j'jaguio QI:itp
EN BANC

NOTICE
Sirs/Mesdames:
Please take notice that the Court en bane issued a Resolution
dated APRIL 14, 2015, which reads as follows:

"G.R. No. 207132 (ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL CLINICS


FOR OVERSEAS WORKERS, INC. (AMCOW), represented herein by
its President, DR. . ROLANDO VILLOTE, petitioner -versus- GCC
APPROVED MEDICAL CENTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. and
CHRISTIANE. CANGCO, respondents.); and

G:R. .No. 207205 (HON. ENRIQlJE T. ONA, in his capacity as


Secretary of the Department of Health, petitioner -versus- GCC
. APPROVED MEDICAL CENTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. and
CHRISTIANE. CANGCO, respondents.) - For the Court's resolution are
the motions for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/writ of
preliminary injunction/status quo ante order 1 against the implementation of
the Depariment of Health's (DOH's) February 20, 2015 order.
Prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. I 0022 (RA. 10022) on
2
March 8, 2010, the DOH allowed the decking of overseas Filipino workers
(OFWs) in the conduct of their pre-employment medical examinatiop.s.
Decking is a practice whereby an OFW is required to register for preemployment medical examination with a group of medical clinics, which
subsequently farms out the OFW to a medieal clinic located elsewhere.
.

The Gulf Cooperation C~uncil (GCC) States - whose member States


are Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and.Bahrain
~ strictly adhered tO the decking practice prior to the effectivity of RA
10022. The embassies of the GCC States would not process the OFW's
work visa application if the medical certificate attac~ed to the application
did not bear the seal of a GCC-accredited group of medical clinics. The

The respondents filed: (I) Most Urgent Motion for Issuance o f Temporary Restraining Order/Writ
of Preliminary Injunction/Status Quo Ante Order (wit~ Request for Immediate Inclusion in the Honorable
Court's Agenda for Tomorrow, 3 March 2015) dated March 2, 2015; and (2) Most Urgent Reiterating
Motion for Issuance of Temporary Restrai ni ng Order/Writ of Preliminary Injunction/Status Quo Ante
Order dated March 11, 2015.
i
RA 10022 became effective on May 9, 20 10.
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G.R. No. 207132,.et al.


April 14, 2015

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Notice of Resolution

decking practice was believed to be mi' effective mechanism qf preventing


alien workers who were suffering from communicable diseases from
entering the receiving country.
The problem with the decking practice, however, is that the GCC
Approved J\t1edicaf Centers Association, Inc. ( GAA1CA) was the sole .
medical group accredited by the GCC to conduct pre-employment medical
examinations on the OFWs bound to the GCC States:3 This means that
GAA1CA 's member clinics had the monopoly of conducting n1edical
examinations on OFWs bound to the GCC States. Most of GAMCA's
member clinics were located in Metro Manila. Thus, the OFWs were forced
to travel to Metro Manila and to incur travel, lodging and food expenses for
the conduct of their pre-employment medical examination alone.
.

Congress addressed these problems by enacting RA 10022, which


an~endcd RA 8042 or the Migrant Workers' Act.

Under the amendatory law, Congress expressly empowers the DOH to


regulate the activities and operations of all clinics that conduct preemployment medical examinations on OFWs. RA 10022 likewise prohibits
the decking practice and grants the OFWs the statutory right to choose any
of the DOH-accredited or DOH-operated clinics that will conduct their pre
employment health examinations. 4
On August 23, 2010, the DOH issued an order commanding
GAMCA to cease and desist from implementing the d~cking practice,
and to "wrap up" its operations within three day~ from the receipt
therco5

. On August 25, 2010, GAMCA ru1d Christian Cangco, as a GAMCAmember Clinic owner, (respondent,\) immediately filed against the DOH. a
petition for certiorari .and. prohibition with prayers for a temporary
restr(lining order and a writ of preliminary injunction before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 110.
The respondents assailed the constih1tionality of Section 23 (c.3) and
(c.4) of the Migrant Workers' Act, as amended, as well as Section 1 (c) and
(d), Rule 11 of the IRR6 for being violative of the GCC States' right .to
sovereignty. They posited that the GCC States have the right to iri1plement
the decking practice here in the .Philippines.

RTC rollo, Volume I, pp._135 and 141.


" '
The Migrant Workers' Act, as amended, Section i i f!t..

'.?ollo,.pp. 39-1~0.

rhe lmplemen!mg Rules and Regulations of the Migrant Workers' Act, as amended.

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G.R. No. 207132, et al


April 14, 2015

On November 2, 2010~ the DOH issued another cease and desist


order against GAMCA and warned GAMCA that its non-compliance
with the Jaw would result.in the revocation of its accreditation.
On August 1, 2011, RTC Judge Maria Ragasa issued a writ of
preliminary injunction in favor of the respondents. 7
In a decision dated August 10, 2012, the RTC nullified the August 23,
2010 and November 2, 2010 orders and permanently enjoined the DOH
. from implementing these orders. The RTC ruled that the prohibition
against the decking practice only applies to cases where the receiving States
do not require this practice as a prerequisite for the processing of work visa
applications. It opined that the GCC States' right to sovereign equality and
independence would be violated if GAMCA would be prohibited from
conti!luing the decking practice.
Significantly, the RTC .did not touch the issue of the
constitutionality
of Section 23 (c.3)
and (c.4) of the lVIigrant Workers'
.

8
.
Act, as amended, as well as Section 1 (c) and (d), Rule 11 of the IRR.
The petlt10ners assailed the RTC decision through a pet1t10n for
Court.' The Association of Medical
review on certiorari before the
.
. Clinics
for Overseas Workers, Inc.'s (AMCOW's) petition was docketed as G.R. No.
207132 while the Republic of the Philippines' petition was docketed as G.R.
No~ 207205. On September .17, 2013, the Court consolidated G.R. Nos.
207132 and 207205 upon AMCOW~s motion for consolidation.9
In the present motions, the respondents informed the Court that the
DOH issued an order dated February 20, .2015 which: (1) commanclls
GAMCA to cease and desist from continuing the decking practice; and
(2) warns GAMCA that its continued violation of the law \voulcl result
in the revocation of its DOH-accreditation as well as the closure of its
member clinics.
The respoD:dents pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order/writ of prel.i minary injunction/status quo ante order against the
implementation of the February 20, 2015 order. They assert that the DOH
violated the permanent injunction issued by the RTC _in its August 10, 2012
decision. They further opine that the issuance the February 20, 2015 order
is contrary to the su.b Judice rule. They ins_ist that the implementation of the
decking practice is the GCC .S tates' sov_ereign prerogative.

of

\Ve deny the respondents' motions.


RTC rof'lo, Volume III, pp. 247-250. On June I, 2011, Judge Petroni lo Sulla, Jr. voluntarily
Inhibited himself from participating in the case. Subsequently, the case was raffled to Judge Maria Ragasa
the RTC of Pasay City, Branch I08:
8
Dated August 10, 2012; rollo, pp. 38-48.
Rollo, pp. 312-319.

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Notice of Resolution

G.R. No. 207132, et al.


April 14, 201.5

Under Sectio_n 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, judgments in _actions


for injunction shall be enforceable after their rendition and shall not be
stayed by an appeal taken therefrom.
As an exception to this rule, the appellate .c ourt in its discretion
may make an order suspending, modifying, restoring or granting the
considered proper for the security or protection of
injunction as may
the rights of the adverse party. 10

be

The circumstances of this case - particularly the constitutional issue


raised - compel us to temporarily suspend the permanent injunction
issued by the trial court in favor ofthe respondents.11
Without rnling on.the merits of the case, we observe that the RTC did.
not rnle on the constitutionality 'of the assailed provisions of the Migrant
Wor~(ers' Act, as amended, and its implementing rules Since the assailed
provisions remain valid and subsisting, the DOH, as an executive
department, has the solemn dutv to {aith{ull11 implement the prohibition
against the decking practice on all DOH-accredited medical clinics.
A plain reading of the Migrant Workers' Act, as amended, and its
implementing rules shows that the decking practice is absolutely prohibited
in the Philippine jurisdiction, ta wit:
The Migrant Workers' Act, as.a mended
Section 23. Role of Government Agencies. - The fo llowing government
-agencies shall perfonn the following to promote the welfare and protect
the rights of migrant workers and, as far as applicable, all overseas
Filipinos:
xx xx

(c) Department of Health. - The Department of Health (DOH) shall


regulate the activities and operations of all clinics which conduct
medical, physical, optical, dental, psychological and other similar
examinations, hereinafter referred to as health examinations, on

Filipino migrant workei:s as .requirement . .for their overseas


e~ploym ent. Pursuant to this, the DOH shall ensure that: .

10

The respondents filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a
writ. of preliminary injunction and asked the trial com1 to issue a permanent injunction in the body of
the petition. The RTC partly granted the petition and issued a writ of preliminary injunction and a
permanent injunction in this case.
A permanent injmiction is a main action that is covered by Section 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of
C o11t.. ln Urbanes v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. I l7964, March 28, 200 1), the Court explained that the
111ai11 action of injunction or a permanent injunction seeks a judgment embodying a final injunction which
.is distinct from the provisional remedy ofpr.eliminary injunction.
11
The RTC permanently enjoined the implementation of the August ~3, 201 0 and November 2, 2010
orders, and not the February 20, 2015 order. However, the February 20, 20 15 essentially reiterates the
August 23, 2010 and Novcmber2, 2010 orders.

Notice of Resolution

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q .R. No. 207132, et al.


April 14, 2015

xx xx
(c.3) No group or groups of medical clinics shall have a
monopoly of exclusively conducting health examinations
on migrant workers for certai~ receiving countries;
(c.4) Every Filipino migrant worker shall have the freedom
to choose any of the DOH-accredited or DO~-I-01:ierated
clinics that will conduct his/her health examinations and
that his or her. rights as a patient are respected. The
decking practice, which requires an overseas Filipino
worker to go first to an office for registration and tben
farmed out to a medical clinic located elsewhere, shall
not be allowed; [Emphasis and underlining outs.]

The IRR of the Migrant Workers' Act

RULE XI
ROLE Of DOH
Section 1. Regulation o(Medical Clinics.
The Department of Health (DOH) shall regulate the activities
and operations of ~ll clinics which conduct medical, physical, optical,
dental, psychological and other similar examinations, hereinafter
referred to as health examinations, on Filipino migrant workers as
requirement for their overseas employment. Pre-Employment
Medical Examinations (PEME) for overseas work.applicants shall be
performed only in :DOH-accredited me.dical clinics and health
facilities utilizing the standards set forth by DOH. Pursuant to this, the
DOH shall ensure that:
(a) The fees for the health ex.amillations are regulated, regularly monitored .
and duly published to enstire that the said fees are reasonable and not
exorpitant. The DOH shall set a minimum and maximum range of fees
for the different examinations to be conducted, based on a thorough
an.d periodic review of the cost of health examinations and after
consultation with concerned stakeholders. The applicant-worker shall
pay d1rectly to the DOH-accredited medical clinics or health facilities
where the PEME is to be conducted;
(b) The Filipino migrant workers shall only be required to tmdergo health
examinations when there is reasonable certainty as certified by the
hiring recruitment/manning agency pursuant. to POEA Rules and
Regulations that he/she will be hired and deployed to. the jobsite and
only those health examinations which are absolutely necessary for the
type of job applied for or those specifically required by the foreign
employer shall be conducted;
(c) No gr~up or gr.oups of medical clinics sl1all have a monopoly of
exclusively conducting health examinations on migrant workers
for certain receiving com~tries;

Notice of Resolution

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G.R. No. 207 132, et al.

April 14, 2015

(cl) Every Filipino migrant \Yorker sbaU h ave t he freedom to choose

any of t h e DOH-accredited or DOH-operated clinics that will


conduct his/her health examinations and that his/h er rights as a
patient a r e r espected. The decking practice, which regufres
overseas Filipino workers to go first to an office for registration
and then farmed out to a medical 'clinic located elsewhere, shall
not he a llowed;
(e) Within a period of three (3) years from t he cffectivity of the Act,
all DOH regional and/or provil~cial hospitals . under local
government units shall establish and operate clinics that can serve
the health examination requirements of F ilipino migrant workers
to provide them easy access to such clinics all over the country and
lessen their transportation an_d lodging expenses; and
(f) All DOH-accredited medical clinks, including t he DOH-operated
clinics, conducting health examinations for Filipino migrant
workers shall observe the same standard operating procedures
and shall comply with internationally-accepted standards in their
operations to conform with the requirem ents of receiving
countries or of foreign employers/principals. .
Sec. 2. Temporary Disqualification of Foreign Employers.
Any foreign employer who docs not honor th e results of valid
health examinations conducted by a DOH-accredited or DOHoperated clinic shall be temporarily disqualified from par ticipating in
th e overseas employment program, purs uant to POEA Rules and
Regulations. The temporai:y disqualification of the employer may be
lifted only upon the latter's unqualified acceptance of the result of the
exami'nation. [Emphasis ours.]

It is a basic rule that the.administrative agency has to ensure the law's


faithfol implementation unless the law is declared unconstitutional with
:finality. Thus, the DOH is duty-bound to implement Section 23 of the
Migrant W?rkers' Act, as amended, pending the Court's determination of:
(1) whether the decking practice is allowed in the pre-employment medical
examination of . OFWs bound to the GCC States; and (2) whether the
prohibition against the decking practice is unconstitutional for alleged
violation of the GCC. States' right to sovereign. equality and independence.

Section 23 of the Migrant Workers.' Act, ?S amended, unequivocally


provides that the decking practice shall not be allowed and no group of
medical clinics shall exclusively conduct health cx.aminations on migrant
workers. It further allows any DOH-accredited medical clinics and health
faci lities to conduct pre-employment medical examinations on OFW
applicants.
Moreover, the respondents failed to convince this Court that GAMCA
possesses a clear and .unmistakable right or. a r~ght in esse that is sought to be

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G.R. No. 207132, et al.


April 14, 2015

protected by a provisional -injunctive writ. 12 GAMCA and its member


clinics' DOH-accreditation is only a privilege that is conditioned upon their
faithful compliance of the existing laws and rules, including Section 23 (c.3)
and (c.4) of the Migrant Workers' Act,. as amended, as well as Section I (c)
and (d), Rule 11 of the IRR. 13

'VHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY respondents


GCC Approved Medical Centers Association, Inc. and Christian E.
Cangco's: (1) Most Urgent Motion for Issuance of Temporary Restraining
Order/Writ of Preliminary Injunction/Status Quo Ante Order (with_Request
for Immediate Inclusion in the Honorable Court's Agenda for Tom01Tow, 3
March 2015) dated March 2, 2015; and (2) Most Urgent Reiterating Motion
for . Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order/Writ of Preliminary
Injunction/Status Quo Ante Order dated ~arch 11, 2015 .
We further SUSPEND the implementation of the pennanent
injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 108, in
its decision dated August 10, 2012.
vVe ORDER the Comi en bane's Clerk of Court to notify the
1Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration, and the Department of foreign Affairs of this .
Re:?olution as they are the government agencies most concerned with the
implementation of our OFW-related laws> rules and with relations with
labor--receiving countries.'.' Leonardo-De Castro> J., on official business.
Villarama> Jr., J., on official leave. (61)
Very truly yours,

ENRIQUETA E. VIDAL
Clerk of Court

By:

o/t~~~~

FELIPA B. ANAMA
Deputy Clerk of Court

En tnc.

12
Ermita v. A.ldecoa-Delorino, G.R. No. 177 130, June 7, 201 1, 651 SCRA 141-142, citing St. James
College of Paranaque v. Equitable PC! Bank, G.R. No. 17944 1, Augst 9, 2010, 627 SCRA 328.

JJ

Accreditation is akin to a license which is defi ned in Section 2 (I 0), Chapter I, Book 7 of the
Administrative Codes as the whole or any part of any agency permit, certificate, passport, clearance,
approval, registration, charter, membership, statutory exernptio'n or other form of permission, or regulation
of the exercise of a rioht or privilege. Administrative Order No. 181, series of2004, defines accreditation as
a formal authorizati~1 issued by the DOH to an individual, partnership, corporation or association to
operate a medical facility for overseas workers and seafarers.

.Notice of Resolution

G.R. Nos. 207132 &207205


April 14, 2015

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THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (x)


134 Amorsolo St. , Legaspi Village
1229 Makati City

NAVARRO JUMAMIL ESCOLIN AND MARTINEZ (x}


20-C Burgundy Corporate Tower

252 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, 1200 Makati City

ATTY. RONALD DEVEYRA (x}


Legal Service, Department of Health
Bldg. 12, San.Lazaro Compound
Rizal Averiue, Sta. Cruz, Manila

ATTY. JOEL D. ESTRELLA (x)


Counsel for Intervenor
Unit 7F, Westgate Tower
Investment Drive, Madrigal Business Park.
Ayala Alabang, 1780 Muntinlupa City

THE SECRETARY (x)


Department 'of Health
Bldg. 1, San Lazaro Compound
Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, 1014 Manila
*THE SECRETARY (x}
Department of Labor and Employment
DOLE Building, Muralla Wing
Cor. Gen. Luna Street
lntramuros, Manila
~H ON. ALBERT F. DEL ROSARIO (x}
Secretary
Department of Foreign Affairs
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City

*HON. HANS LEO J. CACDAC (x)


POEA Administrator
POEA Building EDSA cor. Ortigas Avenue
'Manc;Jaluyong City

ATTY. BIENVENIDO 8.M. AMORA, JR. (x}


Counsel for Intervenor AMCOW
AMORA DEL VALLE & ASSOCIATES Law Offices
Unit 808, ALPAP II Building
Trade Street corner Investment Drive
Madrigal Business Park, Ayala fl.labang
Mt,mtinlupa City 1799, Metro Mania

ATTYS. RODOLFO M. BAUSA AND


FRANCIS JOSEPH H. AMPIL (x)
Bausa Ampil Suarez Paredes and Associates
Counsel forPetitioner-lnter:venor Dr. Ruben C.
Bartolome
37/F GT fower International
6815 Ayala Avenue, IVlakati City
THE PRESIDING JUDGE (x).
Regional Trial Court, Branch 108, Pasay City
MARIEJOY P. LAGMAN (x)
Officer-in-Charge
Regional Trial Court, Branch 108, Pasay City

G.R. Nos. 207132 & 207205 . .


wmd 41415 (URes61) 57 15
*Attention

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