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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-45987 May 5, 1939

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CAYAT, defendant-appellant.

Sinai Hamada y Cario for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for appellee.

MORAN, J.:

Prosecuted for violation of Act No. 1639 (secs. 2 and 3), the accused, Cayat, a native of
Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province, was sentenced by the justice of the peace court of
Baguio to pay a fine of five pesos (P5) or suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. On appeal of the Court of First Instance, the following information was filed
against him:

That on or about the 25th day of January, 1937, in the City of Baguio,
Commonwealth of the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this court, the above-
named accused, Cayat, being a member of the non-Christian tribes, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully, and illegally receive, acquire, and have in his possession
and under his control or custody, one bottle of A-1-1 gin, an intoxicating liquor, other
than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have
been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of Act No. 1639.

Accused interposed a demurrer which was overruled. At the trial, he admitted all the facts
alleged in the information, but pleaded not guilty to the charge for the reasons adduced in
his demurrer and submitted the case on the pleadings. The trial court found him guilty of the
crime charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of fifty pesos (P50) or supper subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. The case is now before this court on appeal. Sections 2
and 3 of Act No. 1639 read:

SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member
of a non-Christian tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred
and ninety-seven, to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits,
ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native
wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed
themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act, except as provided in section
one hereof; and it shall be the duty of any police officer or other duly authorized
agent of the Insular or any provincial, municipal or township government to seize and
forthwith destroy any such liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member
of a non-Christian tribe.
SEC. 3. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act
shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable for each offense by a fine of not
exceeding two hundred pesos or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six
months, in the discretion of the court.

The accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the following grounds:

(1) That it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws;

(2) That it is violative of the due process clause of the Constitution: and.

(3) That it is improper exercise of the police power of the state.

Counsel for the appellant holds out his brief as the "brief for the non-Christian tribes." It is
said that as these less civilized elements of the Filipino population are "jealous of their
rights in a democracy," any attempt to treat them with discrimination or "mark them as
inferior or less capable rate or less entitled" will meet with their instant challenge. As the
constitutionality of the Act here involved is questioned for purposes thus mentioned, it
becomes imperative to examine and resolve the issues raised in the light of the policy of the
government towards the non-Christian tribes adopted and consistently followed from the
Spanish times to the present, more often with sacrifice and tribulation but always with
conscience and humanity.

As early as 1551, the Spanish Government had assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude
toward these inhabitants, and in the different laws of the Indies, their concentration in so-
called "reducciones" (communities) have been persistently attempted with the end in view of
according them the "spiritual and temporal benefits" of civilized life. Throughout the Spanish
regime, it had been regarded by the Spanish Government as a sacred "duty to conscience
and humanity" to civilize these less fortunate people living "in the obscurity of ignorance"
and to accord them the "the moral and material advantages" of community life and the
"protection and vigilance afforded them by the same laws." (Decree of the Governor-
General of the Philippines, Jan. 14, 1887.) This policy had not been deflected from during
the American period. President McKinley in his instructions to the Philippine Commission of
April 7, 1900, said:

In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands, the Commission should adopt the
same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American
Indians to maintain their tribal organization and government, and under which many
of those tribes are now living in peace and contentment, surrounded by civilization to
which they are unable or unwilling to conform. Such tribal government should,
however, be subjected to wise and firm regulation; and, without undue or petty
interference, constant and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous
practices and introduce civilized customs.

Since then and up to the present, the government has been constantly vexed with the
problem of determining "those practicable means of bringing about their advancement in
civilization and material prosperity." (See, Act No. 253.) "Placed in an alternative of either
letting them alone or guiding them in the path of civilization," the present government "has
chosen to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity and with the
national conscience." (Memorandum of Secretary of the Interior, quoted in
Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., 660, 714.) To this end, their homes and
firesides have been brought in contact with civilized communities through a network of
highways and communications; the benefits of public education have to them been
extended; and more lately, even the right of suffrage. And to complement this policy of
attraction and assimilation, the Legislature has passed Act No. 1639 undoubtedly to secure
for them the blessings of peace and harmony; to facilitate, and not to mar, their rapid and
steady march to civilization and culture. It is, therefore, in this light that the Act must be
understood and applied.

It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of
the laws is not equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on
reasonable classification. And the classification, to be reasonable, (1) must rest on
substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) must not be
limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same
class. (Borgnis vs. Falk Co., 133 N.W., 209; Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 220
U.S. 61; 55 Law. ed., Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., 660; People and
Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation vs. Vera and Cu Unjieng, 37 Off. Gaz ., 187.)

Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on real and substantial,
not merely imaginary or whimsical, distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or
parentage," as counsel to the appellant asserts, but upon the degree of civilization and
culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to religious belief, but, in a way, to the
geographical area, and, more directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of
civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities."
(Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, supra.) This distinction is unquestionably reasonable,
for the Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes.
The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who at present have reached a position
of cultural equality with their Christian brothers, cannot affect the reasonableness of the
classification thus established.

That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The prohibition "to buy,
receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating
liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of
such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act.," is
unquestionably designed to insure peace and order in and among the non-Christian tribes.
It has been the sad experience of the past, as the observations of the lower court disclose,
that the free use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian tribes have often resulted
in lawlessness and crimes, thereby hampering the efforts of the government to raise their
standard of life and civilization.

The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. It is
intended to apply for all times as long as those conditions exist. The Act was not predicated,
as counsel for appellant asserts, upon the assumption that the non-Christians are
"impermeable to any civilizing influence." On the contrary, the Legislature understood that
the civilization of a people is a slow process and that hand in hand with it must go measures
of protection and security.
Finally, that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is evident from a perusal
thereof. That it may be unfair in its operation against a certain number non-Christians by
reason of their degree of culture, is not an argument against the equality of its application.

Appellants contends that that provision of the law empowering any police officer or other
duly authorized agent of the government to seize and forthwith destroy any prohibited
liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member of the non-Christian tribes is
violative of the due process of law provided in the Constitution. But this provision is not
involved in the case at bar. Besides, to constitute due process of law, notice and hearing
are not always necessary. This rule is especially true where much must be left to the
discretion of the administrative officials in applying a law to particular cases. (McGehee,
Due Process of Law p. 371, cited with approval in Rubi vs.Provincial Board of
Mindoro, supra.) Due process of law means simply: (1) that there shall be a law prescribed
in harmony with the general powers of the legislative department of the government; (2) that
it shall be reasonable in its operation; (3) that it shall be enforced according to the regular
methods of procedure prescribed; and (4) that it shall be applicable alike to all citizens of
the state or to all of the class. (U.S. vs. Ling Su Fan, 10 Phil., 104, affirmed on appeal by
the United States Supreme Court, 218 U.S., 302: 54 Law. ed., 1049.) Thus, a person's
property may be seized by the government in payment of taxes without judicial hearing; or
property used in violation of law may be confiscated (U.S. vs. Surla, 20 Phil., 163, 167), or
when the property constitutes corpus delicti, as in the instant case (Moreno vs. Ago Chi, 12
Phil., 439, 442).

Neither is the Act an improper exercise of the police power of the state. It has been said that
the police power is the most insistent and least limitable of all powers of the government. It
has been aptly described as a power co-extensive with self-protection and constitutes the
law of overruling necessity. Any measure intended to promote the health, peace, morals,
education and good order of the people or to increase the industries of the state, develop its
resources and add to its wealth and prosperity (Barbier vs. Connolly, 113 U.S., 27), is a
legitimate exercise of the police power, unless shown to be whimsical or capricious as to
unduly interfere with the rights of an individual, the same must be upheld.

Act No. 1639, as above stated, is designed to promote peace and order in the non-Christian
tribes so as to remove all obstacles to their moral and intellectual growth and, eventually, to
hasten their equalization and unification with the rest of their Christian brothers. Its ultimate
purpose can be no other than to unify the Filipino people with a view to a greater
Philippines.

The law, then, does not seek to mark the non-Christian tribes as "an inferior or less capable
race." On the contrary, all measures thus far adopted in the promotion of the public policy
towards them rest upon a recognition of their inherent right to equality in tht enjoyment of
those privileges now enjoyed by their Christian brothers. But as there can be no true
equality before the law, if there is, in fact, no equality in education, the government has
endeavored, by appropriate measures, to raise their culture and civilization and secure for
them the benefits of their progress, with the ultimate end in view of placing them with their
Christian brothers on the basis of true equality. It is indeed gratifying that the non-Christian
tribes "far from retrograding, are definitely asserting themselves in a competitive world," as
appellant's attorney impressively avers, and that they are "a virile, up-and -coming people
eager to take their place in the world's social scheme." As a matter of fact, there are now
lawyers, doctors and other professionals educated in the best institutions here and in
America. Their active participation in the multifarious welfare activities of community life or
in the delicate duties of government is certainly a source of pride and gratification to people
of the Philippines. But whether conditions have so changed as to warrant a partial or
complete abrogation of the law, is a matter which rests exclusively within the prerogative of
the National Assembly to determine. In the constitutional scheme of our government, this
court can go no farther than to inquire whether the Legislature had the power to enact the
law. If the power exists, and we hold it does exist, the wisdom of the policy adopted, and the
adequacy under existing conditions of the measures enacted to forward it, are matters
which this court has no authority to pass upon. And, if in the application of the law, the
educated non-Christians shall incidentally suffer, the justification still exists in the all-
comprehending principle of salus populi suprema est lex. When the public safety or the
public morals require the discontinuance of a certain practice by certain class of persons,
the hand of the Legislature cannot be stayed from providing for its discontinuance by any
incidental inconvenience which some members of the class may suffer. The private
interests of such members must yield to the paramount interests of the nation (Cf. Boston
Beer Co. vs. Mass., 97 U.S., 25; 24 law. ed., 989).

Judgment is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, Laurel, and Conception, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT

EN BANC

G.R. No. 133640 November 25, 2005

RODOLFO S. BELTRAN, doing business under the name and style, OUR LADY OF
FATIMA BLOOD BANK, FELY G. MOSALE, doing business under the name and style,
MOTHER SEATON BLOOD BANK; PEOPLES BLOOD BANK, INC.; MARIA VICTORIA
T. VITO, M.D., doing business under the name and style, AVENUE BLOOD BANK;
JESUS M. GARCIA, M.D., doing business under the name and style, HOLY
REDEEMER BLOOD BANK, ALBERT L. LAPITAN, doing business under the name
and style, BLUE CROSS BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICES; EDGARDO R. RODAS,
M.D., doing business under the name and style, RECORD BLOOD BANK, in their
individual capacities and for and in behalf of PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF BLOOD
BANKS, Petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, Respondent.

x ------------------------------------------------ x

G.R. No. 133661

DOCTORS BLOOD CENTER, Petitioner,


vs.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, Respondent.

x --------------------------------------------- x

G.R. No. 139147

RODOLFO S. BELTRAN, doing business under the name and style, OUR LADY OF
FATIMA BLOOD BANK, FELY G. MOSALE, doing business under the name and style,
MOTHER SEATON BLOOD BANK; PEOPLES BLOOD BANK, INC.; MARIA VICTORIA
T. VITO, M.D., doing business under the name and style, AVENUE BLOOD BANK;
JESUS M. GARCIA, M.D., doing business under the name and style, HOLY
REDEEMER BLOOD BANK, ALBERT L. LAPITAN, doing business under the name
and style, BLUE CROSS BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICES; EDGARDO R. RODAS,
M.D., doing business under the name and style, RECORD BLOOD BANK, in their
Individual capacities and for and in behalf of PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF BLOOD
BANKS, Petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, Respondent.

DECISION

AZCUNA, J.:
Before this Court are petitions assailing primarily the constitutionality of Section 7 of
Republic Act No. 7719, otherwise known as the "National Blood Services Act of 1994," and
the validity of Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 9, series of 1995 or the Rules and
Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 7719.

G.R. No. 133640,1 entitled "Rodolfo S. Beltran, doing business under the name and style,
Our Lady of Fatima Blood Bank, et al., vs. The Secretary of Health" and G.R. No.
133661,2 entitled "Doctors Blood Bank Center vs. Department of Health" are petitions for
certiorari and mandamus, respectively, seeking the annulment of the following: (1) Section 7
of Republic Act No. 7719; and, (2) Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 9, series of 1995. Both
petitions likewise pray for the issuance of a writ of prohibitory injunction enjoining the
Secretary of Health from implementing and enforcing the aforementioned law and its
Implementing Rules and Regulations; and, for a mandatory injunction ordering and
commanding the Secretary of Health to grant, issue or renew petitioners license to operate
free standing blood banks (FSBB).

The above cases were consolidated in a resolution of the Court En Banc dated June 2,
1998.3

G.R. No. 139147,4 entitled "Rodolfo S. Beltran, doing business under the name and style,
Our Lady of Fatima Blood Bank, et al., vs. The Secretary of Health," on the other hand, is a
petition to show cause why respondent Secretary of Health should not be held in contempt
of court.

This case was originally assigned to the Third Division of this Court and later consolidated
with G.R. Nos. 133640 and 133661 in a resolution dated August 4, 1999. 5

Petitioners comprise the majority of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Association of
Blood Banks, a duly registered non-stock and non-profit association composed of free
standing blood banks.

Public respondent Secretary of Health is being sued in his capacity as the public official
directly involved and charged with the enforcement and implementation of the law in
question.

The facts of the case are as follows:

Republic Act No. 7719 or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 was enacted into law on
April 2, 1994. The Act seeks to provide

an adequate supply of safe blood by promoting voluntary blood donation and by regulating
blood banks in the country. It was approved by then President Fidel V. Ramos on May 15,
1994 and was subsequently published in the Official Gazette on August 18, 1994. The law
took effect on August 23, 1994.

On April 28, 1995, Administrative Order No. 9, Series of 1995, constituting the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of said law was promulgated by respondent Secretary of the
Department of Health (DOH).6
Section 7 of R.A. 7719 7 provides:

"Section 7. Phase-out of Commercial Blood Banks - All commercial blood banks shall
be phased-out over a period of two (2) years after the effectivity of this Act, extendable to a
maximum period of two (2) years by the Secretary."

Section 23 of Administrative Order No. 9 provides:

"Section 23. Process of Phasing Out. -- The Department shall effect the phasing-out of all
commercial blood banks over a period of two (2) years, extendible for a maximum period of
two (2) years after the effectivity of R.A. 7719. The decision to extend shall be based on the
result of a careful study and review of the blood supply and demand and public safety." 8

Blood banking and blood transfusion services in the country have been arranged in four (4)
categories: blood centers run by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), government-
run blood services, private hospital blood banks, and commercial blood services.

Years prior to the passage of the National Blood Services Act of 1994, petitioners have
already been operating commercial blood banks under Republic Act No. 1517, entitled "An
Act Regulating the Collection, Processing and Sale of Human Blood, and the Establishment
and Operation of Blood Banks and Blood Processing Laboratories." The law, which was
enacted on June 16, 1956, allowed the establishment and operation by licensed physicians
of blood banks and blood processing laboratories. The Bureau of Research and
Laboratories (BRL) was created in 1958 and was given the power to regulate clinical
laboratories in 1966 under Republic Act No. 4688. In 1971, the Licensure Section was
created within the BRL. It was given the duty to enforce the licensure requirements for blood
banks as well as clinical laboratories. Due to this development, Administrative Order No.
156, Series of 1971, was issued. The new rules and regulations triggered a stricter
enforcement of the Blood Banking Law, which was characterized by frequent spot checks,
immediate suspension and communication of such suspensions to hospitals, a more
systematic record-keeping and frequent communication with blood banks through monthly
information bulletins. Unfortunately, by the 1980s, financial difficulties constrained the BRL
to reduce the frequency of its supervisory visits to the blood banks.9

Meanwhile, in the international scene, concern for the safety of blood and blood products
intensified when the dreaded disease Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first
described in 1979. In 1980, the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) formulated
the Code of Ethics for Blood Donation and Transfusion. In 1982, the first case of
transfusion-associated AIDS was described in an infant. Hence, the ISBT drafted in 1984, a
model for a national blood policy outlining certain principles that should be taken into
consideration. By 1985, the ISBT had disseminated guidelines requiring AIDS testing of
blood and blood products for transfusion.10

In 1989, another revision of the Blood Banking Guidelines was made. The DOH issued
Administrative Order No. 57, Series of 1989, which classified banks into primary, secondary
and tertiary depending on the services they provided. The standards were adjusted
according to this classification. For instance, floor area requirements varied according to
classification level. The new guidelines likewise required Hepatitis B and HIV testing, and
that the blood bank be headed by a pathologist or a hematologist. 11

In 1992, the DOH issued Administrative Order No. 118-A institutionalizing the National
Blood Services Program (NBSP). The BRL was designated as the central office primarily
responsible for the NBSP. The program paved the way for the creation of a committee that
will implement the policies of the program and the formation of the Regional Blood Councils.

In August 1992, Senate Bill No. 1011, entitled "An Act Promoting Voluntary Blood Donation,
Providing for an Adequate Supply of Safe Blood, Regulating Blood Banks and Providing
Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for other Purposes" was introduced in the Senate.12

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, House Bills No. 384, 546, 780 and 1978 were
being deliberated to address the issue of safety of the Philippine blood bank system.
Subsequently, the Senate and House Bills were referred to the appropriate committees and
subsequently consolidated.13

In January of 1994, the New Tropical Medicine Foundation, with the assistance of the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) released its final report of a study on the
Philippine blood banking system entitled "Project to Evaluate the Safety of the Philippine
Blood Banking System." It was revealed that of the blood units collected in 1992, 64.4 %
were supplied by commercial blood banks, 14.5% by the PNRC, 13.7% by government
hospital-based blood banks, and 7.4% by private hospital-based blood banks. During the
time the study was made, there were only twenty-four (24) registered or licensed free-
standing or commercial blood banks in the country. Hence, with these numbers in mind, the
study deduced that each commercial blood bank produces five times more blood than the
Red Cross and fifteen times more than the government-run blood banks. The study,
therefore, showed that the Philippines heavily relied on commercial sources of blood. The
study likewise revealed that 99.6% of the donors of commercial blood banks and 77.0% of
the donors of private-hospital based blood banks are paid donors. Paid donors are those
who receive remuneration for donating their blood. Blood donors of the PNRC and
government-run hospitals, on the other hand, are mostly voluntary.14

It was further found, among other things, that blood sold by persons to blood commercial
banks are three times more likely to have any of the four (4) tested infections or blood
transfusion transmissible diseases, namely, malaria, syphilis, Hepatitis B and Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) than those donated to PNRC.15

Commercial blood banks give paid donors varying rates around 50 to 150, and because
of this arrangement, many of these donors are poor, and often they are students, who need
cash immediately. Since they need the money, these donors are not usually honest about
their medical or social history. Thus, blood from healthy, voluntary donors who give their
true medical and social history are about three times much safer than blood from paid
donors.16

What the study also found alarming is that many Filipino doctors are not yet fully trained on
the specific indications for blood component transfusion. They are not aware of the lack of
blood supply and do not feel the need to adjust their practices and use of blood and blood
products. It also does not matter to them where the blood comes from. 17

On August 23, 1994, the National Blood Services Act providing for the phase out of
commercial blood banks took effect. On April 28, 1995, Administrative Order No. 9, Series
of 1995, constituting the Implementing Rules and Regulations of said law was promulgated
by DOH.

The phase-out period was extended for two years by the DOH pursuant to Section 7 of
Republic Act No. 7719 and Section 23 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Pursuant
to said Act, all commercial blood banks should have been phased out by May 28, 1998.
Hence, petitioners were granted by the Secretary of Health their licenses to open and
operate a blood bank only until May 27, 1998.

On May 20, 1998, prior to the expiration of the licenses granted to petitioners, they filed a
petition for certiorari with application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction or
temporary restraining order under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing the
constitutionality and validity of the aforementioned Act and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations. The case was entitled "Rodolfo S. Beltran, doing business under the name
and style, Our Lady of Fatima Blood Bank," docketed as G.R. No. 133640.

On June 1, 1998, petitioners filed an Amended Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order, writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
and/or status quo ante order.18

In the aforementioned petition, petitioners assail the constitutionality of the questioned legal
provisions, namely, Section 7 of Republic Act No. 7719 and Section 23 of Administrative
Order No. 9, Series of 1995, on the following grounds: 19

1. The questioned legal provisions of the National Blood Services Act and its Implementing
Rules violate the equal protection clause for irrationally discriminating against free standing
blood banks in a manner which is not germane to the purpose of the law;

2. The questioned provisions of the National Blood Services Act and its Implementing
Rules represent undue delegation if not outright abdication of the police power of the state;
and,

3. The questioned provisions of the National Blood Services Act and its Implementing
Rules are unwarranted deprivation of personal liberty.

On May 22, 1998, the Doctors Blood Center filed a similar petition for mandamus with a
prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, preliminary prohibitory and
mandatory injunction before this Court entitled "Doctors Blood Center vs. Department of
Health," docketed as G.R. No. 133661. 20 This was consolidated with G.R. No. 133640.21

Similarly, the petition attacked the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7719 and its
implementing rules and regulations, thus, praying for the issuance of a license to operate
commercial blood banks beyond May 27, 1998. Specifically, with regard to Republic Act No.
7719, the petition submitted the following questions22 for resolution:

1. Was it passed in the exercise of police power, and was it a valid exercise of such power?

2. Does it not amount to deprivation of property without due process?

3. Does it not unlawfully impair the obligation of contracts?

4. With the commercial blood banks being abolished and with no ready machinery to deliver
the same supply and services, does R.A. 7719 truly serve the public welfare?

On June 2, 1998, this Court issued a Resolution directing respondent DOH to file a
consolidated comment. In the same Resolution, the Court issued a temporary restraining
order (TRO) for respondent to cease and desist from implementing and enforcing Section 7
of Republic Act No. 7719 and its implementing rules and regulations until further orders
from the Court.23

On August 26, 1998, respondent Secretary of Health filed a Consolidated Comment on the
petitions for certiorari and mandamus in G.R. Nos. 133640 and 133661, with opposition to
the issuance of a temporary restraining order.24

In the Consolidated Comment, respondent Secretary of Health submitted that blood from
commercial blood banks is unsafe and therefore the State, in the exercise of its police
power, can close down commercial blood banks to protect the public. He cited the record of
deliberations on Senate Bill No. 1101 which later became Republic Act No. 7719, and the
sponsorship speech of Senator Orlando Mercado.

The rationale for the closure of these commercial blood banks can be found in the
deliberations of Senate Bill No. 1011, excerpts of which are quoted below:

Senator Mercado: I am providing over a period of two years to phase out all commercial
blood banks. So that in the end, the new section would have a provision that states:

"ALL COMMERCIAL BLOOD BANKS SHALL BE PHASED OUT OVER A PERIOD OF


TWO YEARS AFTER THE EFFECTIVITY OF THIS ACT. BLOOD SHALL BE COLLECTED
FROM VOLUNTARY DONORS ONLY AND THE SERVICE FEE TO BE CHARGED FOR
EVERY BLOOD PRODUCT ISSUED SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE NECESSARY
EXPENSES ENTAILED IN COLLECTING AND PROCESSING OF BLOOD. THE SERVICE
FEE SHALL BE MADE UNIFORM THROUGH GUIDELINES TO BE SET BY THE
DEPARTMENTOF HEALTH."

I am supporting Mr. President, the finding of a study called "Project to Evaluate the Safety
of the Philippine Blood Banking System." This has been taken note of. This is a study done
with the assistance of the USAID by doctors under the New Tropical Medicine Foundation in
Alabang.
Part of the long-term measures proposed by this particular study is to improve laws, outlaw
buying and selling of blood and legally define good manufacturing processes for blood. This
goes to the very heart of my amendment which seeks to put into law the principle that blood
should not be subject of commerce of man.

The Presiding Officer [Senator Aquino]: What does the sponsor say?

Senator Webb: Mr. President, just for clarity, I would like to find out how the Gentleman
defines a commercial blood bank. I am at a loss at times what a commercial blood bank
really is.

Senator Mercado: We have a definition, I believe, in the measure, Mr. President.

The Presiding Officer [Senator Aquino]: It is a business where profit is considered.

Senator Mercado: If the Chairman of the Committee would accept it, we can put a
provision on Section 3, a definition of a commercial blood bank, which, as defined in this
law, exists for profit and engages in the buying and selling of blood or its components.

Senator Webb: That is a good description, Mr. President.

Senator Mercado: I refer, Mr. President, to a letter written by Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, the
Chief of Staff, Undersecretary of Health, to the good Chairperson of the Committee on
Health.

In recommendation No. 4, he says:

"The need to phase out all commercial blood banks within a two-year period will give the
Department of Health enough time to build up governments capability to provide an
adequate supply of blood for the needs of the nation...the use of blood for transfusion is a
medical service and not a sale of commodity."

Taking into consideration the experience of the National Kidney Institute, which has
succeeded in making the hospital 100 percent dependent on voluntary blood donation, here
is a success story of a hospital that does not buy blood. All those who are operated on and
need blood have to convince their relatives or have to get volunteers who would donate
blood

If we give the responsibility of the testing of blood to those commercial blood banks, they
will cut corners because it will protect their profit.

In the first place, the people who sell their blood are the people who are normally in the
high-risk category. So we should stop the system of selling and buying blood so that we can
go into a national voluntary blood program.
It has been said here in this report, and I quote:

"Why is buying and selling of blood not safe? This is not safe because a donor who expects
payment for his blood will not tell the truth about his illnesses and will deny any risky social
behavior such as sexual promiscuity which increases the risk of having syphilis or AIDS or
abuse of intravenous addictive drugs. Laboratory tests are of limited value and will not
detect early infections. Laboratory tests are required only for four diseases in the
Philippines. There are other blood transmissible diseases we do not yet screen for and
there could be others where there are no tests available yet.

A blood bank owner expecting to gain profit from selling blood will also try his best to limit
his expenses. Usually he tries to increase his profit by buying cheaper reagents or test kits,
hiring cheaper manpower or skipping some tests altogether. He may also try to sell blood
even though these have infections in them. Because there is no existing system of
counterchecking these, the blood bank owner can usually get away with many unethical
practices.

The experience of Germany, Mr. President is illustrative of this issue. The reason why
contaminated blood was sold was that there were corners cut by commercial blood banks in
the testing process. They were protecting their profits.25

The sponsorship speech of Senator Mercado further elucidated his stand on the issue:

Senator Mercado: Today, across the country, hundreds of poverty-stricken, sickly and
weak Filipinos, who, unemployed, without hope and without money to buy the next meal,
will walk into a commercial blood bank, extend their arms and plead that their blood be
bought. They will lie about their age, their medical history. They will lie about when they last
sold their blood. For doing this, they will receive close to a hundred pesos. This may tide
them over for the next few days. Of course, until the next bloodletting.

This same blood will travel to the posh city hospitals and urbane medical centers. This
same blood will now be bought by the rich at a price over 500% of the value for which it was
sold. Between this buying and selling, obviously, someone has made a very fast buck.

Every doctor has handled at least one transfusion-related disease in an otherwise normal
patient. Patients come in for minor surgery of the hand or whatever and they leave with
hepatitis B. A patient comes in for an appendectomy and he leaves with malaria. The worst
nightmare: A patient comes in for a Caesarian section and leaves with AIDS.

We do not expect good blood from donors who sell their blood because of poverty. The
humane dimension of blood transfusion is not in the act of receiving blood, but in the act of
giving it

For years, our people have been at the mercy of commercial blood banks that lobby their
interests among medical technologists, hospital administrators and sometimes even
physicians so that a proactive system for collection of blood from healthy donors becomes
difficult, tedious and unrewarding.

The Department of Health has never institutionalized a comprehensive national program for
safe blood and for voluntary blood donation even if this is a serious public health concern
and has fallen for the linen of commercial blood bankers, hook, line and sinker because it is
more convenient to tell the patient to buy blood.

Commercial blood banks hold us hostage to their threat that if we are to close them down,
there will be no blood supply. This is true if the Government does not step in to ensure that
safe supply of blood. We cannot allow commercial interest groups to dictate policy on what
is and what should be a humanitarian effort. This cannot and will never work because their
interest in blood donation is merely monetary. We cannot expect commercial blood banks to
take the lead in voluntary blood donation. Only the Government can do it, and the
Government must do it."26

On May 5, 1999, petitioners filed a Motion for Issuance of Expanded Temporary Restraining
Order for the Court to order respondent Secretary of Health to cease and desist from
announcing the closure of commercial blood banks, compelling the public to source the
needed blood from voluntary donors only, and committing similar acts "that will ultimately
cause the shutdown of petitioners blood banks."27

On July 8, 1999, respondent Secretary filed his Comment and/or Opposition to the above
motion stating that he has not ordered the closure of commercial blood banks on account of
the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued on June 2, 1998 by the Court. In
compliance with the TRO, DOH had likewise ceased to distribute the health advisory
leaflets, posters and flyers to the public which state that "blood banks are closed or will be
closed." According to respondent Secretary, the same were printed and circulated in
anticipation of the closure of the commercial blood banks in accordance with R.A. No. 7719,
and were printed and circulated prior to the issuance of the TRO. 28

On July 15, 1999, petitioners in G.R. No. 133640 filed a Petition to Show Cause Why Public
Respondent Should Not be Held in Contempt of Court, docketed as G.R. No. 139147, citing
public respondents willful disobedience of or resistance to the restraining order issued by
the Court in the said case. Petitioners alleged that respondents act constitutes
circumvention of the temporary restraining order and a mockery of the authority of the Court
and the orderly administration of justice.29 Petitioners added that despite the issuance of the
temporary restraining order in G.R. No. 133640, respondent, in his effort to strike down the
existence of commercial blood banks, disseminated misleading information under the guise
of health advisories, press releases, leaflets, brochures and flyers stating, among others,
that "this year [1998] all commercial blood banks will be closed by 27 May. Those who need
blood will have to rely on government blood banks."30 Petitioners further claimed that
respondent Secretary of Health announced in a press conference during the Blood Donors
Week that commercial blood banks are "illegal and dangerous" and that they "are at the
moment protected by a restraining order on the basis that their commercial interest is more
important than the lives of the people." These were all posted in bulletin boards and other
conspicuous places in all government hospitals as well as other medical and health
centers.31
In respondent Secretarys Comment to the Petition to Show Cause Why Public Respondent
Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court, dated January 3, 2000, it was explained that
nothing was issued by the department ordering the closure of commercial blood banks. The
subject health advisory leaflets pertaining to said closure pursuant to Republic Act No. 7719
were printed and circulated prior to the Courts issuance of a temporary restraining order on
June 21, 1998.32

Public respondent further claimed that the primary purpose of the information campaign was
"to promote the importance and safety of voluntary blood donation and to educate the public
about the hazards of patronizing blood supplies from commercial blood banks." 33 In doing
so, he was merely performing his regular functions and duties as the Secretary of Health to
protect the health and welfare of the public. Moreover, the DOH is the main proponent of
the voluntary blood donation program espoused by Republic Act No. 7719, particularly
Section 4 thereof which provides that, in order to ensure the adequate supply of human
blood, voluntary blood donation shall be promoted through public education, promotion in
schools, professional education, establishment of blood services network, and walking
blood donors.

Hence, by authority of the law, respondent Secretary contends that he has the duty to
promote the program of voluntary blood donation. Certainly, his act of encouraging the
public to donate blood voluntarily and educating the people on the risks associated with
blood coming from a paid donor promotes general health and welfare and which should be
given more importance than the commercial businesses of petitioners.34

On July 29, 1999, interposing personal and substantial interest in the case as taxpayers and
citizens, a Petition-in-Intervention was filed interjecting the same arguments and issues as
laid down by petitioners in G.R. No. 133640and 133661, namely, the unconstitutionality of
the Acts, and, the issuance of a writ of prohibitory injunction. The intervenors are the
immediate relatives of individuals who had died allegedly because of shortage of blood
supply at a critical time.35

The intervenors contended that Republic Act No. 7719 constitutes undue delegation of
legislative powers and unwarranted deprivation of personal liberty.36

In a resolution, dated September 7, 1999, and without giving due course to the
aforementioned petition, the Court granted the Motion for Intervention that was filed by the
above intervenors on August 9, 1999.

In his Comment to the petition-in-intervention, respondent Secretary of Health stated that


the sale of blood is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Act that "blood donation is a
humanitarian act" and "blood transfusion is a professional medical service and not a sale of
commodity (Section 2[a] and [b] of Republic Act No. 7719). The act of selling blood or
charging fees other than those allowed by law is even penalized under Section 12." 37

Thus, in view of these, the Court is now tasked to pass upon the constitutionality of Section
7 of Republic Act No. 7719 or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 and its Implementing
Rules and Regulations.
In resolving the controversy, this Court deems it necessary to address the issues and/or
questions raised by petitioners concerning the constitutionality of the aforesaid Act in G.R.
No. 133640 and 133661 as summarized hereunder:

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 7 OF R.A. 7719 CONSTITUTES UNDUE DELEGATION


OF LEGISLATIVE POWER;

II

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 7 OF R.A. 7719 AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS VIOLATE THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE;

III

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 7 OF R.A. 7719 AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS VIOLATE THE NON-IMPAIRMENT CLAUSE;

IV

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 7 OF R.A. 7719 AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS CONSTITUTE DEPRIVATION OF PERSONAL LIBERTY AND
PROPERTY;

WHETHER OR NOT R.A. 7719 IS A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER; and,

VI

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 7 OF R.A. 7719 AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS TRULY SERVE PUBLIC WELFARE.

As to the first ground upon which the constitutionality of the Act is being challenged, it is the
contention of petitioners that the phase out of commercial or free standing blood banks is
unconstitutional because it is an improper and unwarranted delegation of legislative power.
According to petitioners, the Act was incomplete when it was passed by the Legislature, and
the latter failed to fix a standard to which the Secretary of Health must conform in the
performance of his functions. Petitioners also contend that the two-year extension period
that may be granted by the Secretary of Health for the phasing out of commercial blood
banks pursuant to Section 7 of the Act constrained the Secretary to legislate, thus
constituting undue delegation of legislative power.

In testing whether a statute constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power or not, it is


usual to inquire whether the statute was complete in all its terms and provisions when it left
the hands of the Legislature so that nothing was left to the judgment of the administrative
body or any other appointee or delegate of the Legislature.38 Except as to matters of detail
that may be left to be filled in by rules and regulations to be adopted or promulgated by
executive officers and administrative boards, an act of the Legislature, as a general rule, is
incomplete and hence invalid if it does not lay down any rule or definite standard by which
the administrative board may be guided in the exercise of the discretionary powers
delegated to it.39

Republic Act No. 7719 or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 is complete in itself. It is
clear from the provisions of the Act that the Legislature intended primarily to safeguard the
health of the people and has mandated several measures to attain this objective. One of
these is the phase out of commercial blood banks in the country. The law has sufficiently
provided a definite standard for the guidance of the Secretary of Health in carrying out its
provisions, that is, the promotion of public health by providing a safe and adequate supply
of blood through voluntary blood donation. By its provisions, it has conferred the power and
authority to the Secretary of Health as to its execution, to be exercised under and in
pursuance of the law.

Congress may validly delegate to administrative agencies the authority to promulgate rules
and regulations to implement a given legislation and effectuate its policies.40 The Secretary
of Health has been given, under Republic Act No. 7719, broad powers to execute the
provisions of said Act. Section 11 of the Act states:

"SEC. 11. Rules and Regulations. The implementation of the provisions of the Act shall be
in accordance with the rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary, within
sixty (60) days from the approval hereof"

This is what respondent Secretary exactly did when DOH, by virtue of the administrative
bodys authority and expertise in the matter, came out with Administrative Order No.9,
series of 1995 or the Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 7719.
Administrative Order. No. 9 effectively filled in the details of the law for its proper
implementation.

Specifically, Section 23 of Administrative Order No. 9 provides that the phase-out period for
commercial blood banks shall be extended for another two years until May 28, 1998 "based
on the result of a careful study and review of the blood supply and demand and public
safety." This power to ascertain the existence of facts and conditions upon which the
Secretary may effect a period of extension for said phase-out can be delegated by
Congress. The true distinction between the power to make laws and discretion as to its
execution is illustrated by the fact that the delegation of power to make the law, which
necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or
discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first
cannot be done; to the latter no valid objection can be made. 41

In this regard, the Secretary did not go beyond the powers granted to him by the Act when
said phase-out period was extended in accordance with the Act as laid out in Section 2
thereof:

"SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy In order to promote public health, it is hereby declared


the policy of the state:
a) to promote and encourage voluntary blood donation by the citizenry and to instill public
consciousness of the principle that blood donation is a humanitarian act;

b) to lay down the legal principle that the provision of blood for transfusion is a medical
service and not a sale of commodity;

c) to provide for adequate, safe, affordable and equitable distribution of blood supply and
blood products;

d) to inform the public of the need for voluntary blood donation to curb the hazards caused
by the commercial sale of blood;

e) to teach the benefits and rationale of voluntary blood donation in the existing health
subjects of the formal education system in all public and private schools as well as the non-
formal system;

f) to mobilize all sectors of the community to participate in mechanisms for voluntary and
non-profit collection of blood;

g) to mandate the Department of Health to establish and organize a National Blood


Transfusion Service Network in order to rationalize and improve the provision of adequate
and safe supply of blood;

h) to provide for adequate assistance to institutions promoting voluntary blood donation and
providing non-profit blood services, either through a system of reimbursement for costs from
patients who can afford to pay, or donations from governmental and non-governmental
entities;

i) to require all blood collection units and blood banks/centers to operate on a non-profit
basis;

j) to establish scientific and professional standards for the operation of blood collection units
and blood banks/centers in the Philippines;

k) to regulate and ensure the safety of all activities related to the collection, storage and
banking of blood; and,

l) to require upgrading of blood banks/centers to include preventive services and education


to control spread of blood transfusion transmissible diseases."

Petitioners also assert that the law and its implementing rules and regulations violate the
equal protection clause enshrined in the Constitution because it unduly discriminates
against commercial or free standing blood banks in a manner that is not germane to the
purpose of the law.42

What may be regarded as a denial of the equal protection of the laws is a question not
always easily determined. No rule that will cover every case can be formulated. Class
legislation, discriminating against some and favoring others is prohibited but classification
on a reasonable basis and not made arbitrarily or capriciously is permitted. The
classification, however, to be reasonable: (a) must be based on substantial distinctions
which make real differences; (b) must be germane to the purpose of the law; (c) must not be
limited to existing conditions only; and, (d) must apply equally to each member of the
class.43

Republic Act No. 7719 or The National Blood Services Act of 1994, was enacted for the
promotion of public health and welfare. In the aforementioned study conducted by the New
Tropical Medicine Foundation, it was revealed that the Philippine blood banking system is
disturbingly primitive and unsafe, and with its current condition, the spread of infectious
diseases such as malaria, AIDS, Hepatitis B and syphilis chiefly from blood transfusion is
unavoidable. The situation becomes more distressing as the study showed that almost 70%
of the blood supply in the country is sourced from paid blood donors who are three times
riskier than voluntary blood donors because they are unlikely to disclose their medical or
social history during the blood screening.44

The above study led to the passage of Republic Act No. 7719, to instill public
consciousness of the importance and benefits of voluntary blood donation, safe blood
supply and proper blood collection from healthy donors. To do this, the Legislature decided
to order the phase out of commercial blood banks to improve the Philippine blood banking
system, to regulate the supply and proper collection of safe blood, and so as not to derail
the implementation of the voluntary blood donation program of the government. In lieu of
commercial blood banks, non-profit blood banks or blood centers, in strict adherence to
professional and scientific standards to be established by the DOH, shall be set in place. 45

Based on the foregoing, the Legislature never intended for the law to create a situation in
which unjustifiable discrimination and inequality shall be allowed. To effectuate its policy, a
classification was made between nonprofit blood banks/centers and commercial blood
banks.

We deem the classification to be valid and reasonable for the following reasons:

One, it was based on substantial distinctions. The former operates for purely humanitarian
reasons and as a medical service while the latter is motivated by profit. Also, while the
former wholly encourages voluntary blood donation, the latter treats blood as a sale of
commodity.

Two, the classification, and the consequent phase out of commercial blood banks is
germane to the purpose of the law, that is, to provide the nation with an adequate supply of
safe blood by promoting voluntary blood donation and treating blood transfusion as a
humanitarian or medical service rather than a commodity. This necessarily involves the
phase out of commercial blood banks based on the fact that they operate as a business
enterprise, and they source their blood supply from paid blood donors who are considered
unsafe compared to voluntary blood donors as shown by the USAID-sponsored study on
the Philippine blood banking system.
Three, the Legislature intended for the general application of the law. Its enactment was not
solely to address the peculiar circumstances of the situation nor was it intended to apply
only to the existing conditions.

Lastly, the law applies equally to all commercial blood banks without exception.

Having said that, this Court comes to the inquiry as to whether or not Republic Act No. 7719
constitutes a valid exercise of police power.

The promotion of public health is a fundamental obligation of the State. The health of the
people is a primordial governmental concern. Basically, the National Blood Services Act
was enacted in the exercise of the States police power in order to promote and preserve
public health and safety.

Police power of the state is validly exercised if (a) the interest of the public generally, as
distinguished from those of a particular class, requires the interference of the State; and, (b)
the means employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment of the objective sought to
be accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.46

In the earlier discussion, the Court has mentioned of the avowed policy of the law for the
protection of public health by ensuring an adequate supply of safe blood in the country
through voluntary blood donation. Attaining this objective requires the interference of the
State given the disturbing condition of the Philippine blood banking system.

In serving the interest of the public, and to give meaning to the purpose of the law, the
Legislature deemed it necessary to phase out commercial blood banks. This action may
seriously affect the owners and operators, as well as the employees, of commercial blood
banks but their interests must give way to serve a higher end for the interest of the public.

The Court finds that the National Blood Services Act is a valid exercise of the States police
power. Therefore, the Legislature, under the circumstances, adopted a course of action that
is both necessary and reasonable for the common good. Police power is the State authority
to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote
the general welfare.47

It is in this regard that the Court finds the related grounds and/or issues raised by
petitioners, namely, deprivation of personal liberty and property, and violation of the non-
impairment clause, to be unmeritorious.

Petitioners are of the opinion that the Act is unconstitutional and void because it infringes on
the freedom of choice of an individual in connection to what he wants to do with his blood
which should be outside the domain of State intervention. Additionally, and in relation to the
issue of classification, petitioners asseverate that, indeed, under the Civil Code, the human
body and its organs like the heart, the kidney and the liver are outside the commerce of
man but this cannot be made to apply to human blood because the latter can be
replenished by the body. To treat human blood equally as the human organs would
constitute invalid classification. 48
Petitioners likewise claim that the phase out of the commercial blood banks will be
disadvantageous to them as it will affect their businesses and existing contracts with
hospitals and other health institutions, hence Section 7 of the Act should be struck down
because it violates the non-impairment clause provided by the Constitution.

As stated above, the State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with
personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Thus, persons may be
subjected to certain kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general welfare of
the State and to this fundamental aim of government, the rights of the individual may be
subordinated.49

Moreover, in the case of Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. v. Drilon,50 settled
is the rule that the non-impairment clause of the Constitution must yield to the loftier
purposes targeted by the government. The right granted by this provision must submit to the
demands and necessities of the States power of regulation. While the Court understands
the grave implications of Section 7 of the law in question, the concern of the Government in
this case, however, is not necessarily to maintain profits of business firms. In the ordinary
sequence of events, it is profits that suffer as a result of government regulation.

Furthermore, the freedom to contract is not absolute; all contracts and all rights are subject
to the police power of the State and not only may regulations which affect them be
established by the State, but all such regulations must be subject to change from time to
time, as the general well-being of the community may require, or as the circumstances may
change, or as experience may demonstrate the necessity.51 This doctrine was reiterated in
the case of Vda. de Genuino v. Court of Agrarian Relations52 where the Court held that
individual rights to contract and to property have to give way to police power exercised for
public welfare.

As for determining whether or not the shutdown of commercial blood banks will truly serve
the general public considering the shortage of blood supply in the country as proffered by
petitioners, we maintain that the wisdom of the Legislature in the lawful exercise of its power
to enact laws cannot be inquired into by the Court. Doing so would be in derogation of the
principle of separation of powers.53

That, under the circumstances, proper regulation of all blood banks without distinction in
order to achieve the objective of the law as contended by petitioners is, of course, possible;
but, this would be arguing on what the law may be or should be and not what the law is.
Between is and ought there is a far cry. The wisdom and propriety of legislation is not for
this Court to pass upon.54

Finally, with regard to the petition for contempt in G.R. No. 139147, on the other hand, the
Court finds respondent Secretary of Healths explanation satisfactory. The statements in the
flyers and posters were not aimed at influencing or threatening the Court in deciding in favor
of the constitutionality of the law.

Contempt of court presupposes a contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence


in defiance of the court.55 There is nothing contemptuous about the statements and
information contained in the health advisory that were distributed by DOH before the TRO
was issued by this Court ordering the former to cease and desist from distributing the same.

In sum, the Court has been unable to find any constitutional infirmity in the questioned
provisions of the National Blood Services Act of 1994 and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations.

The fundamental criterion is that all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the
constitutionality of a statute. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality.
For a law to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of
the Constitution. The ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt.56 Those
who petition this Court to declare a law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional must clearly
establish the basis therefor. Otherwise, the petition must fail.

Based on the grounds raised by petitioners to challenge the constitutionality of the National
Blood Services Act of 1994 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Court finds
that petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the law. As to
whether the Act constitutes a wise legislation, considering the issues being raised by
petitioners, is for Congress to determine.57

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court renders judgment as follows:

1. In G.R. Nos. 133640 and 133661, the Court UPHOLDS THE VALIDITY of Section 7 of
Republic Act No. 7719, otherwise known as the National Blood Services Act of 1994, and
Administrative Order No. 9, Series of 1995 or the Rules and Regulations Implementing
Republic Act No. 7719. The petitions are DISMISSED. Consequently, the Temporary
Restraining Order issued by this Court on June 2, 1998, is LIFTED.

2. In G.R. No. 139147, the petition seeking to cite the Secretary of Health in contempt of
court is DENIED for lack of merit.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA

Associate Justice
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 88211 October 27, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS. JR., IRENE


M. ARANETA, IMEE M. MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA,
PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION
ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F.
ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ,
MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity
as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice,
Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff,
respectively, respondents.

RESOLUTION

EN BANC:

In its decision dated September 15,1989, the Court, by a vote of eight (8) to seven (7),
dismissed the petition, after finding that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave
abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family
at the present time and under present circumstances pose a threat to national interest and
welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines. On September 28, 1989, former
President Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii. In a statement, President Aquino said:

In the interest of the safety of those who will take the death of Mr. Marcos in
widely and passionately conflicting ways, and for the tranquility of the state
and order of society, the remains of Ferdinand E. Marcos will not be allowed
to be brought to our country until such time as the government, be it under
this administration or the succeeding one, shall otherwise decide. [Motion for
Reconsideration, p. 1; Rollo, p, 443.]

On October 2, 1989, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioners, raising the
following major arguments:

1. to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines is to deny
them not only the inherent right of citizens to return to their country of birth but also the
protection of the Constitution and all of the rights guaranteed to Filipinos under the
Constitution;
2. the President has no power to bar a Filipino from his own country; if she has, she had
exercised it arbitrarily; and

3. there is no basis for barring the return of the family of former President Marcos. Thus,
petitioners prayed that the Court reconsider its decision, order respondents to issue the
necessary travel documents to enable Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.,
Irene M. Araneta, Imee M. Manotoc, Tommy Manotoc and Gregorio Araneta to return to the
Philippines, and enjoin respondents from implementing President Aquino's decision to bar
the return of the remains of Mr. Marcos, and the other petitioners, to the Philippines.

Commenting on the motion for reconsideration, the Solicitor General argued that the motion
for reconsideration is moot and academic as to the deceased Mr. Marcos. Moreover, he
asserts that "the 'formal' rights being invoked by the Marcoses under the label 'right to
return', including the label 'return of Marcos' remains, is in reality or substance a 'right' to
destabilize the country, a 'right' to hide the Marcoses' incessant shadowy orchestrated
efforts at destabilization." [Comment, p. 29.] Thus, he prays that the Motion for
Reconsideration be denied for lack of merit.

We deny the motion for reconsideration.

1. It must be emphasized that as in all motions for reconsideration, the burden is upon the
movants, petitioner herein, to show that there are compelling reasons to reconsider the
decision of the Court.

2. After a thorough consideration of the matters raised in the motion for reconsideration, the
Court is of the view that no compelling reasons have been established by petitioners to
warrant a reconsideration of the Court's decision.

The death of Mr. Marcos, although it may be viewed as a supervening event, has not
changed the factual scenario under which the Court's decision was rendered. The threats to
the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic
effect, have not been shown to have ceased. On the contrary, instead of erasing fears as to
the destabilization that will be caused by the return of the Marcoses, Mrs. Marcos reinforced
the basis for the decision to bar their return when she called President Aquino "illegal,"
claiming that it is Mr. Marcos, not Mrs. Aquino, who is the "legal" President of the
Philippines, and declared that the matter "should be brought to all the courts of the world."
[Comment, p. 1; Philippine Star, October 4, 1989.]

3. Contrary to petitioners' view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom
executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of
executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the
Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated
in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution.
This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional
Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under
the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific power of the President,
particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the
general grant of executive power.
That the President has powers other than those expressly stated in the Constitution is
nothing new. This is recognized under the U.S. Constitution from which we have patterned
the distribution of governmental powers among three (3) separate branches.

Article II, [section] 1, provides that "The Executive Power shall be vested in a
President of the United States of America." In Alexander Hamilton's widely
accepted view, this statement cannot be read as mere shorthand for the
specific executive authorizations that follow it in [sections] 2 and 3. Hamilton
stressed the difference between the sweeping language of article II, section
1, and the conditional language of article I, [section] 1: "All legislative
Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States . .
." Hamilton submitted that "[t]he [article III enumeration [in sections 2 and 31
ought therefore to be considered, as intended merely to specify the principal
articles implied in the definition of execution power; leaving the rest to flow
from the general grant of that power, interpreted in confomity with other parts
of the Constitution...

In Myers v. United States, the Supreme Court accepted Hamilton's


proposition, concluding that the federal executive, unlike the Congress, could
exercise power from sources not enumerated, so long as not forbidden by the
constitutional text: the executive power was given in general terms,
strengthened by specific terms where emphasis was regarded as appropriate,
and was limited by direct expressions where limitation was needed. . ." The
language of Chief Justice Taft in Myers makes clear that the constitutional
concept of inherent power is not a synonym for power without limit; rather, the
concept suggests only that not all powers granted in the Constitution are
themselves exhausted by internal enumeration, so that, within a sphere
properly regarded as one of "executive' power, authority is implied unless
there or elsewhere expressly limited. [TRIBE, AMERICAN
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 158-159 (1978).]

And neither can we subscribe to the view that a recognition of the President's implied or
residual powers is tantamount to setting the stage for another dictatorship. Despite
petitioners' strained analogy, the residual powers of the President under the Constitution
should not be confused with the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution to
legislate pursuant to Amendment No. 6 which provides:

Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a


grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever
the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is
unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment
requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the
necessary decrees, orders, or letters of instruction, which shall form part of
the law of the land,

There is no similarity between the residual powers of the President under the 1987
Constitution and the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution pursuant to
Amendment No. 6. First of all, Amendment No. 6 refers to an express grant of power. It is
not implied. Then, Amendment No. 6 refers to a grant to the President of the specific power
of legislation.

4. Among the duties of the President under the Constitution, in compliance with his (or her)
oath of office, is to protect and promote the interest and welfare of the people. Her decision
to bar the return of the Marcoses and subsequently, the remains of Mr. Marcos at the
present time and under present circumstances is in compliance with this bounden duty. In
the absence of a clear showing that she had acted with arbitrariness or with grave abuse of
discretion in arriving at this decision, the Court will not enjoin the implementation of this
decision.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of
merit."

Separate Opinions

CRUZ, J., dissenting:

Nothing important has happened to change my vote for granting the petition. The death of
Marcos has not plunged the nation into paroxysms of grief as the so-called "loyalists" had
hoped. By and large, it has been met with only passing interest if not outright indifference
from the people. Clearly, the discredited dictator is in death no El Cid. Marcos dead is only
an unpleasant memory, not a bolt of lightning to whip the blood.

This only shows that if he was at all a threat to the national security when he was already
moribund that feeble threat has died with him. As the government stresses, he has been
reduced to a non-person (which makes me wonder why it is still afraid of him). His cadaver
is not even regarded as a symbol of this or that or whatever except by his fanatical
followers. It is only a dead body waiting to be interred in this country.

This is a tempest in a teapot. We have more important things to do than debating over a
corpse that deserves no kinder fate than dissolution and oblivion. I say let it be brought
home and buried deep and let us be done with it forever.

PARAS, J., dissenting on the Motion for Reconsideration:

I find no reason to deviate from the dissenting opinion I have already expressed.

Firstly, the former President, although already dead, is still entitled to certain rights. It is not
correct to say that a dead man, since he is no longer a human being, has ceased to have
rights. For instance, our Revised Penal Code prohibits the commission of libel against a
deceased individual. And even if we were to assume the non- existence anymore of his
human rights what about the human rights of his widow and the other members of his
family?

Secondly, up to now, the alleged threats to national security have remained unproved and
consequently, unpersuasive. Our Armed Forces can easily control any possible uprising or
political and military destabilization. In fact, the converse appears to be nearer the truth, that
is, if we do not allow the remains to come, more trouble may be expected.

Thirdly, reconciliation can proceed at a much faster pace if the petition for the return is
granted. To refuse the request can mean a hardening of resistance against the well-
intentioned aim of the administration. Upon the other hand, to grant the petition may well
soften the hearts of the oppositionists; paving the way for a united citizenry.

Finally, the entire world will surely applaud our government's act of mercy. As Shakespeare
once wrote "the quality of mercy is not strained." Surely, compassion is the better part of
government. Remove mercy, and you remove the best reason against civil strife, which if
not abated can turn our country into a mainstream of fiery dissent and in the end, as one
great man has put it, the question will no longer be what is right, but what is left.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

The death of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which supervened after decision in this
case had been rendered, was pre-empted and foreseen in my original dissenting opinion.
There I said that the first cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that "Mr. Marcos is
a Filipino and, as such, entitled to return to, die and be buriedin this country." I have only to
add a few statements to that dissenting opinion.

Respondents have succeeded in denying Mr. Marcos the first two (2) rights, i.e. to return to
and die in this country, The remaining right of this Filipino that cries out for vindication at this
late hour is the right to be buried in this country. Will the respondents be allowed to
complete the circle of denying the constitutional and human right of Mr. Marcos to travel
which, as stated in my dissenting opinion, includes the right to return to, die and be buried in
this country? The answer should be in the negative if the Constitution is to still prevail; the
answer should be in the negative if we are to avoid the completely indefensible act of
denying a Filipino the last right to blend his mortal remains with a few square feet of earth in
the treasured land of his birth.

Those who would deny this Filipino the only constitutional and human right that can be
accorded him now say that the constitutional and human right to be buried in this country
would apply to any Filipino, except Mr. Marcos, because he was a dictator and he
plundered the country. This is the most irrelevant argument that can be raised at this time.
For, our democracy is built on the fundamental assumption (so we believe) that the
Constitution and all its guarantees apply to all Filipinos, whether dictator or pauper, learned
or ignorant, religious or agnostic as long as he is a Filipino.

It is said that to accord this Filipino the right to be buried in this country would pose a
serious threat to national security and public safety. What threat? As pointed out in my
dissenting opinion, the second cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that
respondents have not presented any "hard evidence" (factual bases) or convincing proof of
such threat. "All we have are general conclusions of national security and public safety' in
avoidance of a specific, demandable and enforceable constitutional and basic human right
to return." Recent events have, to my mind, served to confirm the validity of such dissenting
statement.

If a live Marcos returning to this country did not pose a serious threat to national security,
the situation cannot be any worse with a dead Marcos returning. For, a dead Marcos will
return to be buried into mother earth, where there are no protests, "demos", or even
dissents, where the rule that reigns, in the language of Mr. Justice Jackson in Barnette is
the "unanimity of the graveyard."

It is said that, while a dead Marcos has been rendered impotent to threaten national
security, his supporters would pose that threat to national security. This argument is
untenable as it is without merit. As I see it, Marcos' supporters pose a greater threat to
peace and order, with Marcos deprived of his right to burial in this country. On the other
hand, if the remains of Mr. Marcos are brought to the country and allowed the burial to
which he is constitutionally and humanly entitled, Marcos' supporters would be deprived of
an otherwise potent argumentso conducive to mass protests and even violencethat
their Idol has been cruelly denied the right to be buried in his homeland.

It is also said that Mr. Marcos, in cadaver form, has no constitutional or human rights, to
speak of. This contention entirely begs the issue. In the first place, one cannot overlook that
the right of Mr. Marcos, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country, is asserted not for the first
time after his death. It was vigorously asserted long before his death. But, more importantly,
the right of every Filipino to be buried in his country, is part of a continuing right that starts
from birth and ends only on the day he is finally laid to rest in his country.

This dissenting opinion does not pretend to deny the Philippine government the right to lay
down conditions for the burial of Mr. Marcos in this country, but I submit that these
conditions must, as a fundamental postulate, recognize the right of the man, as a Filipino, to
be buried in this country NOW.

The majority resolution, in effect, bans Mr. Marcos' burial in this country now. Without in any
way affecting my respect and regard for my brethren and sisters in the majority, I am deeply
concerned and greatly disturbed that, with their decision banning a dead Marcos from burial
in this country, they have passed an opportunity to defuse a constitutional crisis that, in my
humble assessment, threatens to ignite an already divided nation, Regrettably, they have
ignored the constitutional dimension of the problem rooted in the ageless and finest tradition
of our people for respect and deference to the dead. What predictably follows will be a
continuing strife, among our people, of unending hatred, recriminations and retaliations.
God save this country!

My vote is for this Court to ORDER the respondents to allow the immediate return and
burial in the Republic of the Philippines of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, subject to
such conditions as the Philippine government may impose in the interest of peace and
order.
SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting:

The case has curious trappings of a deja vu, the shoe being on the other foot, yet, as I
stated before, I can not allow personal emotions to soften my "hardened impartiality" and
deny, as a consequence, the rights of the ex-President's bereaved to bury his remains in his
homeland, and for them to return from exile. As I had, then, voted to grant the petition, so
do I vote to grant reconsideration.

I have gone to lengths to locate in the four comers of the Constitution, by direct grant or by
implication, the President's supposed "residual" power to forbid citizens from entering the
motherland reiterated in the resolution of the majority. I have found none. I am not agreed,
that:

3. Contrary to petitioners view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon


whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers which are
implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to
comply with her duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President
are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the
Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This,
notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional
Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the
abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of
specific powers of the President, particularly those relating to the
commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of
executive power.

It is a nice word game, but it is nothing else. For, if the Constitution has imposed limitations
on specific powers of the President, it has, a fortiori, prescribed a diminution of executive
power. The Charter says that the right may only be restricted by: (1) a court order; or (2) by
fiat of law. Had the fundamental law intended a presidential imprimatur, it would have said
so. It would have also completed the symmetry: judicial, congressional, and executive
restraints on the right. No amount of presumed residual executive power can amend the
Charter.

It is well to note that the Bill of Rights stands primarily, a limitation not only against
legislative encroachments on individual liberties, but more so, against presidential
intrusions. And especially so, because the President is the caretaker of the military
establishment that has, several times over, been unkind to part of the population it has also
sworn to protect.

That "[t]he threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed
to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased" (Res., 3) is the realm of
conjecture, speculation, and imagination. The military has shown no hard evidence that "the
return of the Marcoses" would indeed interpose a threat to national security. And
apparently, the majority itself is not convinced ("has been viewed...").

That Mrs. Marcos has referred to President Corazon Aquino as an illegitimate President,
does not, so I submit, reinforce alleged fears of a massive destabilization awaiting the
nation. The military has said over and over that Marcos followers are not capable of
successful destabilization effort. And only this morning (October 27, 1989), media reported
the assurances given to foreign investors by no less than the President, of the political and
economic stability of the nation, as well as the Government's capability to quell forces that
menace the gains of EDSA.

I have no eulogies to say on the passing of Mr. Marcos. My personal impressions, however,
are beside the point. I reiterate that the President has no power to deny requests of Marcos
relatives to bury Marcos in his homeland. As for the former, let them get their just deserts
here too. And let the matter rest.

Separate Opinions

CRUZ, J., dissenting:

Nothing important has happened to change my vote for granting the petition. The death of
Marcos has not plunged the nation into paroxysms of grief as the so-called "loyalists" had
hoped. By and large, it has been met with only passing interest if not outright indifference
from the people. Clearly, the discredited dictator is in death no El Cid. Marcos dead is only
an unpleasant memory, not a bolt of lightning to whip the blood.

This only shows that if he was at all a threat to the national security when he was already
moribund that feeble threat has died with him. As the government stresses, he has been
reduced to a non-person (which makes me wonder why it is still afraid of him). His cadaver
is not even regarded as a symbol of this or that or whatever except by his fanatical
followers. It is only a dead body waiting to be interred in this country.

This is a tempest in a teapot. We have more important things to do than debating over a
corpse that deserves no kinder fate than dissolution and oblivion. I say let it be brought
home and buried deep and let us be done with it forever.

PARAS, J., dissenting on the Motion for Reconsideration:

I find no reason to deviate from the dissenting opinion I have already expressed.

Firstly, the former President, although already dead, is still entitled to certain rights. It is not
correct to say that a dead man, since he is no longer a human being, has ceased to have
rights. For instance, our Revised Penal Code prohibits the commission of libel against a
deceased individual. And even if we were to assume the non- existence anymore of his
human rights what about the human rights of his widow and the other members of his
family?

Secondly, up to now, the alleged threats to national security have remained unproved and
consequently, unpersuasive. Our Armed Forces can easily control any possible uprising or
political and military destabilization. In fact, the converse appears to be nearer the truth, that
is, if we do not allow the remains to come, more trouble may be expected.
Thirdly, reconciliation can proceed at a much faster pace if the petition for the return is
granted. To refuse the request can mean a hardening of resistance against the well-
intentioned aim of the administration. Upon the other hand, to grant the petition may well
soften the hearts of the oppositionists; paving the way for a united citizenry.

Finally, the entire world will surely applaud our government's act of mercy. As Shakespeare
once wrote "the quality of mercy is not strained." Surely, compassion is the better part of
government. Remove mercy, and you remove the best reason against civil strife, which if
not abated can turn our country into a mainstream of fiery dissent and in the end, as one
great man has put it, the question will no longer be what is right, but what is left.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

The death of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which supervened after decision in this
case had been rendered, was pre-empted and foreseen in my original dissenting opinion.
There I said that the first cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that "Mr. Marcos is
a Filipino and, as such, entitled to return to, die and be buriedin this country." I have only to
add a few statements to that dissenting opinion.

Respondents have succeeded in denying Mr. Marcos the first two (2) rights, i.e. to return to
and die in this country, The remaining right of this Filipino that cries out for vindication at this
late hour is the right to be buried in this country. Will the respondents be allowed to
complete the circle of denying the constitutional and human right of Mr. Marcos to travel
which, as stated in my dissenting opinion, includes the right to return to, die and be buried in
this country? The answer should be in the negative if the Constitution is to still prevail; the
answer should be in the negative if we are to avoid the completely indefensible act of
denying a Filipino the last right to blend his mortal remains with a few square feet of earth in
the treasured land of his birth.

Those who would deny this Filipino the only constitutional and human right that can be
accorded him now say that the constitutional and human right to be buried in this country
would apply to any Filipino, except Mr. Marcos, because he was a dictator and he
plundered the country. This is the most irrelevant argument that can be raised at this time.
For, our democracy is built on the fundamental assumption (so we believe) that the
Constitution and all its guarantees apply to all Filipinos, whether dictator or pauper, learned
or ignorant, religious or agnostic as long as he is a Filipino.

It is said that to accord this Filipino the right to be buried in this country would pose a
serious threat to national security and public safety. What threat? As pointed out in my
dissenting opinion, the second cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that
respondents have not presented any "hard evidence" (factual bases) or convincing proof of
such threat. "All we have are general conclusions of national security and public safety' in
avoidance of a specific, demandable and enforceable constitutional and basic human right
to return." Recent events have, to my mind, served to confirm the validity of such dissenting
statement.

If a live Marcos returning to this country did not pose a serious threat to national security,
the situation cannot be any worse with a dead Marcos returning. For, a dead Marcos will
return to be buried into mother earth, where there are no protests, "demos", or even
dissents, where the rule that reigns, in the language of Mr. Justice Jackson in Barnette is
the "unanimity of the graveyard."

It is said that, while a dead Marcos has been rendered impotent to threaten national
security, his supporters would pose that threat to national security. This argument is
untenable as it is without merit. As I see it, Marcos' supporters pose a greater threat to
peace and order, with Marcos deprived of his right to burial in this country. On the other
hand, if the remains of Mr. Marcos are brought to the country and allowed the burial to
which he is constitutionally and humanly entitled, Marcos' supporters would be deprived of
an otherwise potent argumentso conducive to mass protests and even violencethat
their Idol has been cruelly denied the right to be buried in his homeland.

It is also said that Mr. Marcos, in cadaver form, has no constitutional or human rights, to
speak of. This contention entirely begs the issue. In the first place, one cannot overlook that
the right of Mr. Marcos, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country, is asserted not for the first
time after his death. It was vigorously asserted long before his death. But, more importantly,
the right of every Filipino to be buried in his country, is part of a continuing right that starts
from birth and ends only on the day he is finally laid to rest in his country.

This dissenting opinion does not pretend to deny the Philippine government the right to lay
down conditions for the burial of Mr. Marcos in this country, but I submit that these
conditions must, as a fundamental postulate, recognize the right of the man, as a Filipino, to
be buried in this country NOW.

The majority resolution, in effect, bans Mr. Marcos' burial in this country now. Without in any
way affecting my respect and regard for my brethren and sisters in the majority, I am deeply
concerned and greatly disturbed that, with their decision banning a dead Marcos from burial
in this country, they have passed an opportunity to defuse a constitutional crisis that, in my
humble assessment, threatens to ignite an already divided nation, Regrettably, they have
ignored the constitutional dimension of the problem rooted in the ageless and finest tradition
of our people for respect and deference to the dead. What predictably follows will be a
continuing strife, among our people, of unending hatred, recriminations and retaliations.
God save this country!

My vote is for this Court to ORDER the respondents to allow the immediate return and
burial in the Republic of the Philippines of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, subject to
such conditions as the Philippine government may impose in the interest of peace and
order.

SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting:

The case has curious trappings of a deja vu, the shoe being on the other foot, yet, as I
stated before, I can not allow personal emotions to soften my "hardened impartiality" and
deny, as a consequence, the rights of the ex-President's bereaved to bury his remains in his
homeland, and for them to return from exile. As I had, then, voted to grant the petition, so
do I vote to grant reconsideration.
I have gone to lengths to locate in the four comers of the Constitution, by direct grant or by
implication, the President's supposed "residual" power to forbid citizens from entering the
motherland reiterated in the resolution of the majority. I have found none. I am not agreed,
that:

3. Contrary to petitioners view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon


whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers which are
implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to
comply with her duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President
are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the
Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This,
notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional
Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the
abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of
specific powers of the President, particularly those relating to the
commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of
executive power.

It is a nice word game, but it is nothing else. For, if the Constitution has imposed limitations
on specific powers of the President, it has, a fortiori, prescribed a diminution of executive
power. The Charter says that the right may only be restricted by: (1) a court order; or (2) by
fiat of law. Had the fundamental law intended a presidential imprimatur, it would have said
so. It would have also completed the symmetry: judicial, congressional, and executive
restraints on the right. No amount of presumed residual executive power can amend the
Charter.

It is well to note that the Bill of Rights stands primarily, a limitation not only against
legislative encroachments on individual liberties, but more so, against presidential
intrusions. And especially so, because the President is the caretaker of the military
establishment that has, several times over, been unkind to part of the population it has also
sworn to protect.

That "[t]he threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed
to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased" (Res., 3) is the realm of
conjecture, speculation, and imagination. The military has shown no hard evidence that "the
return of the Marcoses" would indeed interpose a threat to national security. And
apparently, the majority itself is not convinced ("has been viewed...").

That Mrs. Marcos has referred to President Corazon Aquino as an illegitimate President,
does not, so I submit, reinforce alleged fears of a massive destabilization awaiting the
nation. The military has said over and over that Marcos followers are not capable of
successful destabilization effort. And only this morning (October 27, 1989), media reported
the assurances given to foreign investors by no less than the President, of the political and
economic stability of the nation, as well as the Government's capability to quell forces that
menace the gains of EDSA.

I have no eulogies to say on the passing of Mr. Marcos. My personal impressions, however,
are beside the point. I reiterate that the President has no power to deny requests of Marcos
relatives to bury Marcos in his homeland. As for the former, let them get their just deserts
here too. And let the matter rest.
[G.R. No. 137590. March 26, 2001]

FLORENCE MALCAMPO-SIN, petitioner, vs. PHILIPP T. SIN, respondent.

DECISION
PARDO, J.:

The Family Code emphasizes the permanent nature of marriage, hailing it as the
foundation of the family.[1] It is this inviolability which is central to our traditional and
religious concepts of morality and provides the very bedrock on which our society
finds stability.[2] Marriage is immutable and when both spouses give their consent to
enter it, their consent becomes irrevocable, unchanged even by their independent
wills.
However, this inviolability depends on whether the marriage exists and is valid. If
it is void ab initio, the permanence of the union becomes irrelevant, and the Court can
step in to declare it so. Article 36 of the Family Code is the justification.[3] Where it
applies and is duly proven, a judicial declaration can free the parties from the rights,
obligations, burdens and consequences stemming from their marriage.
A declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code requires
the application of procedural and substantive guidelines. While compliance with these
requirements mostly devolves upon petitioner, the State is likewise mandated to
actively intervene in the procedure. Should there be non-compliance by the State with
its statutory duty, there is a need to remand the case to the lower court for proper trial.

The Case

What is before the Court[4] is an appeal from a decision of the Court of


Appeals[5] which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 158, Pasig
City[6] dismissing petitioner Florence Malcampo-Sins (hereafter Florence) petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage due to psychological incapacity for insufficiency of
evidence.

The Facts
On January 4, 1987, after a two-year courtship and engagement, Florence and
respondent Philipp T. Sin (hereafter Philipp), a Portugese citizen, were married at St.
Jude Catholic Parish in San Miguel, Manila.[7]
On September 20, 1994, Florence filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 158,
Pasig City, a complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage against Philipp.[8] Trial
ensued and the parties presented their respective documentary and testimonial
evidence.
On June 16, 1995, the trial court dismissed Florences petition.[9]
On December 19, 1995, Florence filed with the trial court a notice of appeal to the
Court of Appeals.[10]
After due proceedings, on April 30, 1998, the Court of Appeals promulgated its
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Appeal is DISMISSED. The


Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Cost against the Appellant.[11]

On June 23, 1998, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
reconsideration of the aforequoted decision.[12]
On January 19, 1999, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration.[13]
Hence, this appeal.[14]

The Courts Ruling

We note that throughout the trial in the lower court, the State did not participate in
the proceedings. While Fiscal Jose Danilo C. Jabson[15] filed with the trial court a
manifestation dated November 16, 1994, stating that he found no collusion between
the parties,[16] he did not actively participate therein. Other than entering his
appearance at certain hearings of the case, nothing more was heard from him. Neither
did the presiding Judge take any step to encourage the fiscal to contribute to the
proceedings.
The Family Code mandates:

Article 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the
Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf
of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that
evidence is not fabricated or suppressed(underscoring ours).
In the cases referred to in the preceeding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon
a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment.

It can be argued that since the lower court dismissed the petition, the evil sought
to be prevented (i.e., dissolution of the marriage) did not come about, hence, the lack
of participation of the State was cured. Not so. The task of protecting marriage as an
inviolable social institution requires vigilant and zealous participation and not
mere pro-forma compliance. The protection of marriage as a sacred institution
requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid
one as well. This is made clear by the following pronouncement:

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless
the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the
decision,[17] briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition as the
case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor-General shall discharge the equivalent
function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095 (underscoring
ours).[18]

The records are bereft of any evidence that the State participated in the
prosecution of the case not just at the trial level but on appeal with the Court of
Appeals as well. Other than the manifestation filed with the trial court on November
16, 1994, the State did not file any pleading, motion or position paper, at any stage of
the proceedings.
In Republic of the Philippines v. Erlinda Matias Dagdag,[19] while we upheld the
validity of the marriage, we nevertheless characterized the decision of the trial court
as prematurely rendered since the investigating prosecutor was not given an
opportunity to present controverting evidence before the judgment was rendered. This
stresses the importance of the participation of the State.
Having so ruled, we decline to rule on the factual disputes of the case, this being
within the province of the trial court upon proper re-trial.

Obiter Dictum

For purposes of re-trial, we guide the parties thus: In Republic vs. Court of
Appeals,[20] the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the
Family Code are as follows (omitting guideline (8) in the enumeration as it was
already earlier quoted):
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to
the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation
of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that
both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the
family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it
as the foundation of the nation. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable, thereby
protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage
are to be protected by the state. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on
marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: a) medically or clinically
identified, b) alleged in the complaint, c) sufficiently proven by experts and d) clearly
explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity
must be psychological-not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may
be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them,
was mentally or psychically (sic) ill to such an extent that the person could not have
known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as
not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and
its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified
psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the
marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties
exchanged their I dos. The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such
time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or


incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the
other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage
obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a
profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in
diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be
psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an
essential obligation of marriage.

(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to
assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, mildcharacteriological
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as
root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not
refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or
supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the
personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting
and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.

(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71


of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and
225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied
marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and
included in the text of the decision.

(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the


Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given
great respect by our courts.

The Fallo

WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the appealed decision
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. CV No. 51304, promulgated on April 30, 1998
and the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 158, Pasig City in Civil Case No.
3190, dated June 16, 1995.
Let the case be REMANDED to the trial court for proper trial.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-9637 April 30, 1957

AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
CITY OF MANILA, defendant-appellee.

City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Juan Nabong for appellant.


Assistant City Fiscal Arsenio Naawa for appellee.

FELIX, J.:

Plaintiff-appellant is a foreign, non-stock, non-profit, religious, missionary corporation duly


registered and doing business in the Philippines through its Philippine agency established in
Manila in November, 1898, with its principal office at 636 Isaac Peral in said City. The
defendant appellee is a municipal corporation with powers that are to be exercised in
conformity with the provisions of Republic Act No. 409, known as the Revised Charter of the
City of Manila.

In the course of its ministry, plaintiff's Philippine agency has been distributing and selling
bibles and/or gospel portions thereof (except during the Japanese occupation) throughout
the Philippines and translating the same into several Philippine dialects. On May 29 1953,
the acting City Treasurer of the City of Manila informed plaintiff that it was conducting the
business of general merchandise since November, 1945, without providing itself with the
necessary Mayor's permit and municipal license, in violation of Ordinance No. 3000, as
amended, and Ordinances Nos. 2529, 3028 and 3364, and required plaintiff to secure,
within three days, the corresponding permit and license fees, together with compromise
covering the period from the 4th quarter of 1945 to the 2nd quarter of 1953, in the total sum
of P5,821.45 (Annex A).

Plaintiff protested against this requirement, but the City Treasurer demanded that plaintiff
deposit and pay under protest the sum of P5,891.45, if suit was to be taken in court
regarding the same (Annex B). To avoid the closing of its business as well as further fines
and penalties in the premises on October 24, 1953, plaintiff paid to the defendant under
protest the said permit and license fees in the aforementioned amount, giving at the same
time notice to the City Treasurer that suit would be taken in court to question the legality of
the ordinances under which, the said fees were being collected (Annex C), which was done
on the same date by filing the complaint that gave rise to this action. In its complaint plaintiff
prays that judgment be rendered declaring the said Municipal Ordinance No. 3000, as
amended, and Ordinances Nos. 2529, 3028 and 3364 illegal and unconstitutional, and that
the defendant be ordered to refund to the plaintiff the sum of P5,891.45 paid under protest,
together with legal interest thereon, and the costs, plaintiff further praying for such other
relief and remedy as the court may deem just equitable.
Defendant answered the complaint, maintaining in turn that said ordinances were enacted
by the Municipal Board of the City of Manila by virtue of the power granted to it by section
2444, subsection (m-2) of the Revised Administrative Code, superseded on June 18, 1949,
by section 18, subsection (1) of Republic Act No. 409, known as the Revised Charter of the
City of Manila, and praying that the complaint be dismissed, with costs against plaintiff. This
answer was replied by the plaintiff reiterating the unconstitutionality of the often-repeated
ordinances.

Before trial the parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:

COME NOW the parties in the above-entitled case, thru their undersigned attorneys
and respectfully submit the following stipulation of facts:

1. That the plaintiff sold for the use of the purchasers at its principal office at 636
Isaac Peral, Manila, Bibles, New Testaments, bible portions and bible concordance
in English and other foreign languages imported by it from the United States as well
as Bibles, New Testaments and bible portions in the local dialects imported and/or
purchased locally; that from the fourth quarter of 1945 to the first quarter of 1953
inclusive the sales made by the plaintiff were as follows:

Quarter Amount of
Sales

4th quarter 1945 P1,244.21

1st quarter 1946 2,206.85

2nd quarter 1946 1,950.38

3rd quarter 1946 2,235.99

4th quarter 1946 3,256.04

1st quarter 1947 13,241.07

2nd quarter 1947 15,774.55

3rd quarter 1947 14,654.13

4th quarter 1947 12,590.94

1st quarter 1948 11,143.90

2nd quarter 1948 14,715.26

3rd quarter 1948 38,333.83

4th quarter 1948 16,179.90

1st quarter 1949 23,975.10


2nd quarter 1949 17,802.08

3rd quarter 1949 16,640.79

4th quarter 1949 15,961.38

1st quarter 1950 18,562.46

2nd quarter 1950 21,816.32

3rd quarter 1950 25,004.55

4th quarter 1950 45,287.92

1st quarter 1951 37,841.21

2nd quarter 1951 29,103.98

3rd quarter 1951 20,181.10

4th quarter 1951 22,968.91

1st quarter 1952 23,002.65

2nd quarter 1952 17,626.96

3rd quarter 1952 17,921.01

4th quarter 1952 24,180.72

1st quarter 1953 29,516.21

2. That the parties hereby reserve the right to present evidence of other facts not
herein stipulated.

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this case be set for hearing so that the
parties may present further evidence on their behalf. (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-16).

When the case was set for hearing, plaintiff proved, among other things, that it has been in
existence in the Philippines since 1899, and that its parent society is in New York, United
States of America; that its, contiguous real properties located at Isaac Peral are exempt
from real estate taxes; and that it was never required to pay any municipal license fee or tax
before the war, nor does the American Bible Society in the United States pay any license
fee or sales tax for the sale of bible therein. Plaintiff further tried to establish that it never
made any profit from the sale of its bibles, which are disposed of for as low as one third of
the cost, and that in order to maintain its operating cost it obtains substantial remittances
from its New York office and voluntary contributions and gifts from certain churches, both in
the United States and in the Philippines, which are interested in its missionary work.
Regarding plaintiff's contention of lack of profit in the sale of bibles, defendant retorts that
the admissions of plaintiff-appellant's lone witness who testified on cross-examination that
bibles bearing the price of 70 cents each from plaintiff-appellant's New York office are sold
here by plaintiff-appellant at P1.30 each; those bearing the price of $4.50 each are sold
here at P10 each; those bearing the price of $7 each are sold here at P15 each; and those
bearing the price of $11 each are sold here at P22 each, clearly show that plaintiff's
contention that it never makes any profit from the sale of its bible, is evidently untenable.

After hearing the Court rendered judgment, the last part of which is as follows:

As may be seen from the repealed section (m-2) of the Revised Administrative Code
and the repealing portions (o) of section 18 of Republic Act No. 409, although they
seemingly differ in the way the legislative intent is expressed, yet their meaning is
practically the same for the purpose of taxing the merchandise mentioned in said
legal provisions, and that the taxes to be levied by said ordinances is in the nature of
percentage graduated taxes (Sec. 3 of Ordinance No. 3000, as amended, and Sec.
1, Group 2, of Ordinance No. 2529, as amended by Ordinance No. 3364).

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, this Court is of the opinion and


so holds that this case should be dismissed, as it is hereby dismissed, for lack of
merits, with costs against the plaintiff.

Not satisfied with this verdict plaintiff took up the matter to the Court of Appeals which
certified the case to Us for the reason that the errors assigned to the lower Court involved
only questions of law.

Appellant contends that the lower Court erred:

1. In holding that Ordinances Nos. 2529 and 3000, as respectively amended, are not
unconstitutional;

2. In holding that subsection m-2 of Section 2444 of the Revised Administrative


Code under which Ordinances Nos. 2592 and 3000 were promulgated, was not
repealed by Section 18 of Republic Act No. 409;

3. In not holding that an ordinance providing for taxes based on gross sales or
receipts, in order to be valid under the new Charter of the City of Manila, must first
be approved by the President of the Philippines; and

4. In holding that, as the sales made by the plaintiff-appellant have assumed


commercial proportions, it cannot escape from the operation of said municipal
ordinances under the cloak of religious privilege.

The issues. As may be seen from the proceeding statement of the case, the issues
involved in the present controversy may be reduced to the following: (1) whether or not the
ordinances of the City of Manila, Nos. 3000, as amended, and 2529, 3028 and 3364, are
constitutional and valid; and (2) whether the provisions of said ordinances are applicable or
not to the case at bar.

Section 1, subsection (7) of Article III of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,
provides that:
(7) No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof, and the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession
and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No
religion test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

Predicated on this constitutional mandate, plaintiff-appellant contends that Ordinances Nos.


2529 and 3000, as respectively amended, are unconstitutional and illegal in so far as its
society is concerned, because they provide for religious censorship and restrain the free
exercise and enjoyment of its religious profession, to wit: the distribution and sale of bibles
and other religious literature to the people of the Philippines.

Before entering into a discussion of the constitutional aspect of the case, We shall first
consider the provisions of the questioned ordinances in relation to their application to the
sale of bibles, etc. by appellant. The records, show that by letter of May 29, 1953 (Annex A),
the City Treasurer required plaintiff to secure a Mayor's permit in connection with the
society's alleged business of distributing and selling bibles, etc. and to pay permit dues in
the sum of P35 for the period covered in this litigation, plus the sum of P35 for compromise
on account of plaintiff's failure to secure the permit required by Ordinance No. 3000 of the
City of Manila, as amended. This Ordinance is of general application and not particularly
directed against institutions like the plaintiff, and it does not contain any provisions whatever
prescribing religious censorship nor restraining the free exercise and enjoyment of any
religious profession. Section 1 of Ordinance No. 3000 reads as follows:

SEC. 1. PERMITS NECESSARY. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to


conduct or engage in any of the businesses, trades, or occupations enumerated in
Section 3 of this Ordinance or other businesses, trades, or occupations for which a
permit is required for the proper supervision and enforcement of existing laws and
ordinances governing the sanitation, security, and welfare of the public and the
health of the employees engaged in the business specified in said section 3
hereof, WITHOUT FIRST HAVING OBTAINED A PERMIT THEREFOR FROM THE
MAYOR AND THE NECESSARY LICENSE FROM THE CITY TREASURER.

The business, trade or occupation of the plaintiff involved in this case is not particularly
mentioned in Section 3 of the Ordinance, and the record does not show that a permit is
required therefor under existing laws and ordinances for the proper supervision and
enforcement of their provisions governing the sanitation, security and welfare of the public
and the health of the employees engaged in the business of the plaintiff. However, sections
3 of Ordinance 3000 contains item No. 79, which reads as follows:

79. All other businesses, trades or occupations not


mentioned in this Ordinance, except those upon which the
City is not empowered to license or to tax P5.00

Therefore, the necessity of the permit is made to depend upon the power of the City to
license or tax said business, trade or occupation.

As to the license fees that the Treasurer of the City of Manila required the society to pay
from the 4th quarter of 1945 to the 1st quarter of 1953 in the sum of P5,821.45, including
the sum of P50 as compromise, Ordinance No. 2529, as amended by Ordinances Nos.
2779, 2821 and 3028 prescribes the following:

SEC. 1. FEES. Subject to the provisions of section 578 of the Revised


Ordinances of the City of Manila, as amended, there shall be paid to the City
Treasurer for engaging in any of the businesses or occupations below enumerated,
quarterly, license fees based on gross sales or receipts realized during the
preceding quarter in accordance with the rates herein prescribed: PROVIDED,
HOWEVER, That a person engaged in any businesses or occupation for the first
time shall pay the initial license fee based on the probable gross sales or receipts for
the first quarter beginning from the date of the opening of the business as indicated
herein for the corresponding business or occupation.

xxx xxx xxx

GROUP 2. Retail dealers in new (not yet used) merchandise, which dealers are
not yet subject to the payment of any municipal tax, such as (1) retail dealers in
general merchandise; (2) retail dealers exclusively engaged in the sale of . . . books,
including stationery.

xxx xxx xxx

As may be seen, the license fees required to be paid quarterly in Section 1 of said
Ordinance No. 2529, as amended, are not imposed directly upon any religious institution
but upon those engaged in any of the business or occupations therein enumerated, such as
retail "dealers in general merchandise" which, it is alleged, cover the business or occupation
of selling bibles, books, etc.

Chapter 60 of the Revised Administrative Code which includes section 2444, subsection (m-
2) of said legal body, as amended by Act No. 3659, approved on December 8, 1929,
empowers the Municipal Board of the City of Manila:

(M-2) To tax and fix the license fee on (a) dealers in new automobiles or accessories
or both, and (b) retail dealers in new (not yet used) merchandise, which dealers are
not yet subject to the payment of any municipal tax.

For the purpose of taxation, these retail dealers shall be classified as (1) retail
dealers in general merchandise, and (2) retail dealers exclusively engaged in the
sale of (a) textiles . . . (e) books, including stationery, paper and office supplies, . . .:
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That the combined total tax of any debtor or manufacturer,
or both, enumerated under these subsections (m-1) and (m-2), whether dealing in
one or all of the articles mentioned herein, SHALL NOT BE IN EXCESS OF FIVE
HUNDRED PESOS PER ANNUM.

and appellee's counsel maintains that City Ordinances Nos. 2529 and 3000, as amended,
were enacted in virtue of the power that said Act No. 3669 conferred upon the City of
Manila. Appellant, however, contends that said ordinances are longer in force and effect as
the law under which they were promulgated has been expressly repealed by Section 102 of
Republic Act No. 409 passed on June 18, 1949, known as the Revised Manila Charter.

Passing upon this point the lower Court categorically stated that Republic Act No. 409
expressly repealed the provisions of Chapter 60 of the Revised Administrative Code but in
the opinion of the trial Judge, although Section 2444 (m-2) of the former Manila Charter and
section 18 (o) of the new seemingly differ in the way the legislative intent was expressed,
yet their meaning is practically the same for the purpose of taxing the merchandise
mentioned in both legal provisions and, consequently, Ordinances Nos. 2529 and 3000, as
amended, are to be considered as still in full force and effect uninterruptedly up to the
present.

Often the legislature, instead of simply amending the pre-existing statute, will repeal
the old statute in its entirety and by the same enactment re-enact all or certain
portions of the preexisting law. Of course, the problem created by this sort of
legislative action involves mainly the effect of the repeal upon rights and liabilities
which accrued under the original statute. Are those rights and liabilities destroyed or
preserved? The authorities are divided as to the effect of simultaneous repeals and
re-enactments. Some adhere to the view that the rights and liabilities accrued under
the repealed act are destroyed, since the statutes from which they sprang are
actually terminated, even though for only a very short period of time. Others, and
they seem to be in the majority, refuse to accept this view of the situation, and
consequently maintain that all rights an liabilities which have accrued under the
original statute are preserved and may be enforced, since the re-enactment
neutralizes the repeal, therefore, continuing the law in force without interruption.
(Crawford-Statutory Construction, Sec. 322).

Appellant's counsel states that section 18 (o) of Republic Act No, 409 introduces a new and
wider concept of taxation and is different from the provisions of Section 2444(m-2) that the
former cannot be considered as a substantial re-enactment of the provisions of the latter.
We have quoted above the provisions of section 2444(m-2) of the Revised Administrative
Code and We shall now copy hereunder the provisions of Section 18, subdivision (o) of
Republic Act No. 409, which reads as follows:

(o) To tax and fix the license fee on dealers in general merchandise, including
importers and indentors, except those dealers who may be expressly subject to the
payment of some other municipal tax under the provisions of this section.

Dealers in general merchandise shall be classified as (a) wholesale dealers and (b)
retail dealers. For purposes of the tax on retail dealers, general merchandise shall
be classified into four main classes: namely (1) luxury articles, (2) semi-luxury
articles, (3) essential commodities, and (4) miscellaneous articles. A separate
license shall be prescribed for each class but where commodities of different classes
are sold in the same establishment, it shall not be compulsory for the owner to
secure more than one license if he pays the higher or highest rate of tax prescribed
by ordinance. Wholesale dealers shall pay the license tax as such, as may be
provided by ordinance.
For purposes of this section, the term "General merchandise" shall include poultry
and livestock, agricultural products, fish and other allied products.

The only essential difference that We find between these two provisions that may have any
bearing on the case at bar, is that, while subsection (m-2) prescribes that the combined total
tax of any dealer or manufacturer, or both, enumerated under subsections (m-1) and (m-2),
whether dealing in one or all of the articles mentioned therein, shall not be in excess of
P500 per annum, the corresponding section 18, subsection (o) of Republic Act No. 409,
does not contain any limitation as to the amount of tax or license fee that the retail dealer
has to pay per annum. Hence, and in accordance with the weight of the authorities above
referred to that maintain that "all rights and liabilities which have accrued under the original
statute are preserved and may be enforced, since the reenactment neutralizes the repeal,
therefore continuing the law in force without interruption", We hold that the questioned
ordinances of the City of Manila are still in force and effect.

Plaintiff, however, argues that the questioned ordinances, to be valid, must first be
approved by the President of the Philippines as per section 18, subsection (ii) of Republic
Act No. 409, which reads as follows:

(ii) To tax, license and regulate any business, trade or occupation being conducted
within the City of Manila, not otherwise enumerated in the preceding subsections,
including percentage taxes based on gross sales or receipts, subject to the approval
of the PRESIDENT, except amusement taxes.

but this requirement of the President's approval was not contained in section 2444 of the
former Charter of the City of Manila under which Ordinance No. 2529 was promulgated.
Anyway, as stated by appellee's counsel, the business of "retail dealers in general
merchandise" is expressly enumerated in subsection (o), section 18 of Republic Act No.
409; hence, an ordinance prescribing a municipal tax on said business does not have to be
approved by the President to be effective, as it is not among those referred to in said
subsection (ii). Moreover, the questioned ordinances are still in force, having been
promulgated by the Municipal Board of the City of Manila under the authority granted to it by
law.

The question that now remains to be determined is whether said ordinances are
inapplicable, invalid or unconstitutional if applied to the alleged business of distribution and
sale of bibles to the people of the Philippines by a religious corporation like the American
Bible Society, plaintiff herein.

With regard to Ordinance No. 2529, as amended by Ordinances Nos. 2779, 2821 and 3028,
appellant contends that it is unconstitutional and illegal because it restrains the free
exercise and enjoyment of the religious profession and worship of appellant.

Article III, section 1, clause (7) of the Constitution of the Philippines aforequoted,
guarantees the freedom of religious profession and worship. "Religion has been spoken of
as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to its Creator"
(Aglipay vs. Ruiz, 64 Phil., 201).It has reference to one's views of his relations to His
Creator and to the obligations they impose of reverence to His being and character, and
obedience to His Will (Davis vs. Beason, 133 U.S., 342). The constitutional guaranty of the
free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries with it the right to
disseminate religious information. Any restraints of such right can only be justified like other
restraints of freedom of expression on the grounds that there is a clear and present danger
of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent". (Taada and Fernando on
the Constitution of the Philippines, Vol. 1, 4th ed., p. 297). In the case at bar the license fee
herein involved is imposed upon appellant for its distribution and sale of bibles and other
religious literature:

In the case of Murdock vs. Pennsylvania, it was held that an ordinance requiring that
a license be obtained before a person could canvass or solicit orders for goods,
paintings, pictures, wares or merchandise cannot be made to apply to members of
Jehovah's Witnesses who went about from door to door distributing literature and
soliciting people to "purchase" certain religious books and pamphlets, all published
by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. The "price" of the books was twenty-five
cents each, the "price" of the pamphlets five cents each. It was shown that in making
the solicitations there was a request for additional "contribution" of twenty-five cents
each for the books and five cents each for the pamphlets. Lesser sum were
accepted, however, and books were even donated in case interested persons were
without funds.

On the above facts the Supreme Court held that it could not be said that petitioners
were engaged in commercial rather than a religious venture. Their activities could
not be described as embraced in the occupation of selling books and pamphlets.
Then the Court continued:

"We do not mean to say that religious groups and the press are free from all financial
burdens of government. See Grosjean vs. American Press Co., 297 U.S., 233, 250,
80 L. ed. 660, 668, 56 S. Ct. 444. We have here something quite different, for
example, from a tax on the income of one who engages in religious activities or a tax
on property used or employed in connection with activities. It is one thing to impose
a tax on the income or property of a preacher. It is quite another to exact a tax from
him for the privilege of delivering a sermon. The tax imposed by the City of
Jeannette is a flat license tax, payment of which is a condition of the exercise of
these constitutional privileges. The power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the
power to control or suppress its enjoyment. . . . Those who can tax the exercise of
this religious practice can make its exercise so costly as to deprive it of the
resources necessary for its maintenance. Those who can tax the privilege of
engaging in this form of missionary evangelism can close all its doors to all those
who do not have a full purse. Spreading religious beliefs in this ancient and
honorable manner would thus be denied the needy. . . .

It is contended however that the fact that the license tax can suppress or control this
activity is unimportant if it does not do so. But that is to disregard the nature of this
tax. It is a license tax a flat tax imposed on the exercise of a privilege granted by
the Bill of Rights . . . The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these
freedom is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has
repeatedly struck down. . . . It is not a nominal fee imposed as a regulatory measure
to defray the expenses of policing the activities in question. It is in no way
apportioned. It is flat license tax levied and collected as a condition to the pursuit of
activities whose enjoyment is guaranteed by the constitutional liberties of press and
religion and inevitably tends to suppress their exercise. That is almost uniformly
recognized as the inherent vice and evil of this flat license tax."

Nor could dissemination of religious information be conditioned upon the approval of


an official or manager even if the town were owned by a corporation as held in the
case of Marsh vs. State of Alabama (326 U.S. 501), or by the United States itself as
held in the case of Tucker vs. Texas (326 U.S. 517). In the former case the Supreme
Court expressed the opinion that the right to enjoy freedom of the press and religion
occupies a preferred position as against the constitutional right of property owners.

"When we balance the constitutional rights of owners of property against those of the
people to enjoy freedom of press and religion, as we must here, we remain mindful
of the fact that the latter occupy a preferred position. . . . In our view the
circumstance that the property rights to the premises where the deprivation of
property here involved, took place, were held by others than the public, is not
sufficient to justify the State's permitting a corporation to govern a community of
citizens so as to restrict their fundamental liberties and the enforcement of such
restraint by the application of a State statute." (Taada and Fernando on the
Constitution of the Philippines, Vol. 1, 4th ed., p. 304-306).

Section 27 of Commonwealth Act No. 466, otherwise known as the National Internal
Revenue Code, provides:

SEC. 27. EXEMPTIONS FROM TAX ON CORPORATIONS. The following


organizations shall not be taxed under this Title in respect to income received by
them as such

(e) Corporations or associations organized and operated exclusively for religious,


charitable, . . . or educational purposes, . . .: Provided, however, That the income of
whatever kind and character from any of its properties, real or personal, or from any
activity conducted for profit, regardless of the disposition made of such income, shall
be liable to the tax imposed under this Code;

Appellant's counsel claims that the Collector of Internal Revenue has exempted the plaintiff
from this tax and says that such exemption clearly indicates that the act of distributing and
selling bibles, etc. is purely religious and does not fall under the above legal provisions.

It may be true that in the case at bar the price asked for the bibles and other religious
pamphlets was in some instances a little bit higher than the actual cost of the same but this
cannot mean that appellant was engaged in the business or occupation of selling said
"merchandise" for profit. For this reason We believe that the provisions of City of Manila
Ordinance No. 2529, as amended, cannot be applied to appellant, for in doing so it would
impair its free exercise and enjoyment of its religious profession and worship as well as its
rights of dissemination of religious beliefs.
With respect to Ordinance No. 3000, as amended, which requires the obtention the Mayor's
permit before any person can engage in any of the businesses, trades or occupations
enumerated therein, We do not find that it imposes any charge upon the enjoyment of a
right granted by the Constitution, nor tax the exercise of religious practices. In the case
of Coleman vs. City of Griffin, 189 S.E. 427, this point was elucidated as follows:

An ordinance by the City of Griffin, declaring that the practice of distributing either by
hand or otherwise, circulars, handbooks, advertising, or literature of any kind,
whether said articles are being delivered free, or whether same are being sold within
the city limits of the City of Griffin, without first obtaining written permission from the
city manager of the City of Griffin, shall be deemed a nuisance and punishable as an
offense against the City of Griffin, does not deprive defendant of his constitutional
right of the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, even
though it prohibits him from introducing and carrying out a scheme or purpose which
he sees fit to claim as a part of his religious system.

It seems clear, therefore, that Ordinance No. 3000 cannot be considered unconstitutional,
even if applied to plaintiff Society. But as Ordinance No. 2529 of the City of Manila, as
amended, is not applicable to plaintiff-appellant and defendant-appellee is powerless to
license or tax the business of plaintiff Society involved herein for, as stated before, it would
impair plaintiff's right to the free exercise and enjoyment of its religious profession and
worship, as well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs, We find that Ordinance
No. 3000, as amended is also inapplicable to said business, trade or occupation of the
plaintiff.

Wherefore, and on the strength of the foregoing considerations, We hereby reverse the
decision appealed from, sentencing defendant return to plaintiff the sum of P5,891.45
unduly collected from it. Without pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion and Endencia,


JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 115455 August 25, 1994

ARTURO M. TOLENTINO, petitioner,


vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, respondents.

G.R. No. 115525 August 25, 1994

JUAN T. DAVID, petitioner,


vs.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., as Executive Secretary; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, as
Secretary of Finance; LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO, as Commissioner of Internal
Revenue; and their AUTHORIZED AGENTS OR REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.

G.R. No. 115543 August 25, 1994

RAUL S. ROCO and the INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,


vs.
THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE; THE COMMISSIONERS OF
THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE AND BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, respondents.

G.R. No. 115544 August 25, 1994

PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC.; EGP PUBLISHING CO., INC.; PUBLISHING


CORPORATION; PHILIPPINE JOURNALISTS, INC.; JOSE L. PAVIA; and OFELIA L.
DIMALANTA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue;
HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary; and HON.
ROBERTO B. DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, respondents.

G.R. No. 115754 August 25, 1994

CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE AND BUILDERS ASSOCIATIONS, INC.,


(CREBA), petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.

G.R. No. 115781 August 25, 1994


KILOSBAYAN, INC., JOVITO R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME CAMBA, EMILIO
C. CAPULONG, JR., JOSE T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, FERNANDO SANTIAGO,
JOSE ABCEDE, CHRISTINE TAN, FELIPE L. GOZON, RAFAEL G. FERNANDO, RAOUL
V. VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, MOVEMENT OF
ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. ("MABINI"),
FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION, INC., PHILIPPINE BIBLE SOCIETY, INC., and
WIGBERTO TAADA, petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE COMMISSIONER
OF INTERNAL REVENUE and THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, respondents.

G.R. No. 115852 August 25, 1994

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, and COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, respondents.

G.R. No. 115873 August 25, 1994

COOPERATIVE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,


vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary,
and HON. ROBERTO B. DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of
Finance, respondents.

G.R. No. 115931 August 25, 1994

PHILIPPINE EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, INC., and ASSOCIATION


OF PHILIPPINE BOOK-SELLERS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ROBERTO B. DE OCAMPO, as the Secretary of Finance; HON. LIWAYWAY V.
CHATO, as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and HON. GUILLERMO PARAYNO,
JR., in his capacity as the Commissioner of Customs, respondents.

Arturo M. Tolentino for and in his behalf.

Donna Celeste D. Feliciano and Juan T. David for petitioners in G.R. No. 115525.

Roco, Bunag, Kapunan, Migallos and Jardeleza for petitioner R.S. Roco.

Villaranza and Cruz for petitioners in G.R. No. 115544.

Carlos A. Raneses and Manuel M. Serrano for petitioner in G.R. No. 115754.

Salonga, Hernandez & Allado for Freedon From Debts Coalition, Inc. & Phil. Bible Society.
Estelito P. Mendoza for petitioner in G.R. No. 115852.

Panganiban, Benitez, Parlade, Africa & Barinaga Law Offices for petitioners in G.R. No.
115873.

R.B. Rodriguez & Associates for petitioners in G.R. No. 115931.

Reve A.V. Saguisag for MABINI.

MENDOZA, J.:

The value-added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale, barter or exchange of goods and
properties as well as on the sale or exchange of services. It is equivalent to 10% of the
gross selling price or gross value in money of goods or properties sold, bartered or
exchanged or of the gross receipts from the sale or exchange of services. Republic Act No.
7716 seeks to widen the tax base of the existing VAT system and enhance its
administration by amending the National Internal Revenue Code.

These are various suits for certiorari and prohibition, challenging the constitutionality of
Republic Act No. 7716 on various grounds summarized in the resolution of July 6, 1994 of
this Court, as follows:

I. Procedural Issues:

A. Does Republic Act No. 7716 violate Art. VI, 24 of the Constitution?

B. Does it violate Art. VI, 26(2) of the Constitution?

C. What is the extent of the power of the Bicameral Conference Committee?

II. Substantive Issues:

A. Does the law violate the following provisions in the Bill of Rights (Art. III)?

1. 1

2. 4

3. 5

4. 10

B. Does the law violate the following other provisions of the Constitution?

1. Art. VI, 28(1)


2. Art. VI, 28(3)

These questions will be dealt in the order they are stated above. As will presently be
explained not all of these questions are judicially cognizable, because not all provisions of
the Constitution are self executing and, therefore, judicially enforceable. The other
departments of the government are equally charged with the enforcement of the
Constitution, especially the provisions relating to them.

I. PROCEDURAL ISSUES

The contention of petitioners is that in enacting Republic Act No. 7716, or the Expanded
Value-Added Tax Law, Congress violated the Constitution because, although H. No. 11197
had originated in the House of Representatives, it was not passed by the Senate but was
simply consolidated with the Senate version (S. No. 1630) in the Conference Committee to
produce the bill which the President signed into law. The following provisions of the
Constitution are cited in support of the proposition that because Republic Act No. 7716 was
passed in this manner, it did not originate in the House of Representatives and it has not
thereby become a law:

Art. VI, 24: All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase
of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate
exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or
concur with amendments.

Id., 26(2): No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has
passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final
form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage,
except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate
enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a
bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be
taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.

It appears that on various dates between July 22, 1992 and August 31, 1993, several
bills 1 were introduced in the House of Representatives seeking to amend certain provisions
of the National Internal Revenue Code relative to the value-added tax or VAT. These bills
were referred to the House Ways and Means Committee which recommended for approval
a substitute measure, H. No. 11197, entitled

AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM TO


WIDEN ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCE ITS ADMINISTRATION,
AMENDING FOR THESE PURPOSES SECTIONS 99, 100, 102, 103, 104,
105, 106, 107, 108 AND 110 OF TITLE IV, 112, 115 AND 116 OF TITLE V,
AND 236, 237 AND 238 OF TITLE IX, AND REPEALING SECTIONS 113
AND 114 OF TITLE V, ALL OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE
CODE, AS AMENDED
The bill (H. No. 11197) was considered on second reading starting November 6, 1993 and,
on November 17, 1993, it was approved by the House of Representatives after third and
final reading.

It was sent to the Senate on November 23, 1993 and later referred by that body to its
Committee on Ways and Means.

On February 7, 1994, the Senate Committee submitted its report recommending approval of
S. No. 1630, entitled

AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM TO


WIDEN ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCE ITS ADMINISTRATION,
AMENDING FOR THESE PURPOSES SECTIONS 99, 100, 102, 103, 104,
105, 107, 108, AND 110 OF TITLE IV, 112 OF TITLE V, AND 236, 237, AND
238 OF TITLE IX, AND REPEALING SECTIONS 113, 114 and 116 OF TITLE
V, ALL OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

It was stated that the bill was being submitted "in substitution of Senate Bill No. 1129, taking
into consideration P.S. Res. No. 734 and H.B. No. 11197."

On February 8, 1994, the Senate began consideration of the bill (S. No. 1630). It finished
debates on the bill and approved it on second reading on March 24, 1994. On the same
day, it approved the bill on third reading by the affirmative votes of 13 of its members, with
one abstention.

H. No. 11197 and its Senate version (S. No. 1630) were then referred to a conference
committee which, after meeting four times (April 13, 19, 21 and 25, 1994), recommended
that "House Bill No. 11197, in consolidation with Senate Bill No. 1630, be approved in
accordance with the attached copy of the bill as reconciled and approved by the conferees."

The Conference Committee bill, entitled "AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE-ADDED
TAX (VAT) SYSTEM, WIDENING ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS
ADMINISTRATION AND FOR THESE PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE
RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS
AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," was thereafter approved by the House of
Representatives on April 27, 1994 and by the Senate on May 2, 1994. The enrolled bill was
then presented to the President of the Philippines who, on May 5, 1994, signed it. It became
Republic Act No. 7716. On May 12, 1994, Republic Act No. 7716 was published in two
newspapers of general circulation and, on May 28, 1994, it took effect, although its
implementation was suspended until June 30, 1994 to allow time for the registration of
business entities. It would have been enforced on July 1, 1994 but its enforcement was
stopped because the Court, by the vote of 11 to 4 of its members, granted a temporary
restraining order on June 30, 1994.

First. Petitioners' contention is that Republic Act No. 7716 did not "originate exclusively" in
the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, 24 of the Constitution, because it is in
fact the result of the consolidation of two distinct bills, H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. In this
connection, petitioners point out that although Art. VI, SS 24 was adopted from the
American Federal Constitution, 2 it is notable in two respects: the verb "shall originate" is
qualified in the Philippine Constitution by the word "exclusively" and the phrase "as on other
bills" in the American version is omitted. This means, according to them, that to be
considered as having originated in the House, Republic Act No. 7716 must retain the
essence of H. No. 11197.

This argument will not bear analysis. To begin with, it is not the law but the revenue bill
which is required by the Constitution to "originate exclusively" in the House of
Representatives. It is important to emphasize this, because a bill originating in the House
may undergo such extensive changes in the Senate that the result may be a rewriting of the
whole. The possibility of a third version by the conference committee will be discussed later.
At this point, what is important to note is that, as a result of the Senate action, a distinct bill
may be produced. To insist that a revenue statute and not only the bill which initiated the
legislative process culminating in the enactment of the law must substantially be the
same as the House bill would be to deny the Senate's power not only to "concur with
amendments" but also to "propose amendments." It would be to violate the coequality of
legislative power of the two houses of Congress and in fact make the House superior to the
Senate.

The contention that the constitutional design is to limit the Senate's power in respect of
revenue bills in order to compensate for the grant to the Senate of the treaty-ratifying
power 3 and thereby equalize its powers and those of the House overlooks the fact that the
powers being compared are different. We are dealing here with the legislative power which
under the Constitution is vested not in any particular chamber but in the Congress of the
Philippines, consisting of "a Senate and a House of Representatives." 4 The exercise of the
treaty-ratifying power is not the exercise of legislative power. It is the exercise of a check on
the executive power. There is, therefore, no justification for comparing the legislative
powers of the House and of the Senate on the basis of the possession of such
nonlegislative power by the Senate. The possession of a similar power by the U.S.
Senate 5 has never been thought of as giving it more legislative powers than the House of
Representatives.

In the United States, the validity of a provision ( 37) imposing an ad valorem tax based on
the weight of vessels, which the U.S. Senate had inserted in the Tariff Act of 1909, was
upheld against the claim that the provision was a revenue bill which originated in the Senate
in contravention of Art. I, 7 of the U.S. Constitution. 6 Nor is the power to amend limited to
adding a provision or two in a revenue bill emanating from the House. The U.S. Senate has
gone so far as changing the whole of bills following the enacting clause and substituting its
own versions. In 1883, for example, it struck out everything after the enacting clause of a
tariff bill and wrote in its place its own measure, and the House subsequently accepted the
amendment. The U.S. Senate likewise added 847 amendments to what later became the
Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909; it dictated the schedules of the Tariff Act of 1921; it
rewrote an extensive tax revision bill in the same year and recast most of the tariff bill of
1922. 7 Given, then, the power of the Senate to propose amendments, the Senate can
propose its own version even with respect to bills which are required by the Constitution to
originate in the House.
It is insisted, however, that S. No. 1630 was passed not in substitution of H. No. 11197 but
of another Senate bill (S. No. 1129) earlier filed and that what the Senate did was merely to
"take [H. No. 11197] into consideration" in enacting S. No. 1630. There is really no
difference between the Senate preserving H. No. 11197 up to the enacting clause and then
writing its own version following the enacting clause (which, it would seem, petitioners admit
is an amendment by substitution), and, on the other hand, separately presenting a bill of its
own on the same subject matter. In either case the result are two bills on the same subject.

Indeed, what the Constitution simply means is that the initiative for filing revenue, tariff, or
tax bills, bills authorizing an increase of the public debt, private bills and bills of local
application must come from the House of Representatives on the theory that, elected as
they are from the districts, the members of the House can be expected to be more sensitive
to the local needs and problems. On the other hand, the senators, who are elected at large,
are expected to approach the same problems from the national perspective. Both views are
thereby made to bear on the enactment of such laws.

Nor does the Constitution prohibit the filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of
its receipt of the bill from the House, so long as action by the Senate as a body is withheld
pending receipt of the House bill. The Court cannot, therefore, understand the alarm
expressed over the fact that on March 1, 1993, eight months before the House passed H.
No. 11197, S. No. 1129 had been filed in the Senate. After all it does not appear that the
Senate ever considered it. It was only after the Senate had received H. No. 11197 on
November 23, 1993 that the process of legislation in respect of it began with the referral to
the Senate Committee on Ways and Means of H. No. 11197 and the submission by the
Committee on February 7, 1994 of S. No. 1630. For that matter, if the question were simply
the priority in the time of filing of bills, the fact is that it was in the House that a bill (H. No.
253) to amend the VAT law was first filed on July 22, 1992. Several other bills had been
filed in the House before S. No. 1129 was filed in the Senate, and H. No. 11197 was only a
substitute of those earlier bills.

Second. Enough has been said to show that it was within the power of the Senate to
propose S. No. 1630. We now pass to the next argument of petitioners that S. No. 1630 did
not pass three readings on separate days as required by the Constitution 8 because the
second and third readings were done on the same day, March 24, 1994. But this was
because on February 24, 1994 9 and again on March 22, 1994, 10 the President had certified
S. No. 1630 as urgent. The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only
of printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days. The phrase "except when the
President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, 26(2)
qualifies the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: (i) the bill has passed
three readings on separate days and (ii) it has been printed in its final form and distributed
three days before it is finally approved.

In other words, the "unless" clause must be read in relation to the "except" clause, because
the two are really coordinate clauses of the same sentence. To construe the "except" clause
as simply dispensing with the second requirement in the "unless" clause (i.e., printing and
distribution three days before final approval) would not only violate the rules of grammar. It
would also negate the very premise of the "except" clause: the necessity of securing the
immediate enactment of a bill which is certified in order to meet a public calamity or
emergency. For if it is only the printing that is dispensed with by presidential certification,
the time saved would be so negligible as to be of any use in insuring immediate enactment.
It may well be doubted whether doing away with the necessity of printing and distributing
copies of the bill three days before the third reading would insure speedy enactment of a
law in the face of an emergency requiring the calling of a special election for President and
Vice-President. Under the Constitution such a law is required to be made within seven days
of the convening of Congress in emergency session. 11

That upon the certification of a bill by the President the requirement of three readings on
separate days and of printing and distribution can be dispensed with is supported by the
weight of legislative practice. For example, the bill defining the certiorari jurisdiction of this
Court which, in consolidation with the Senate version, became Republic Act No. 5440, was
passed on second and third readings in the House of Representatives on the same day
(May 14, 1968) after the bill had been certified by the President as urgent. 12

There is, therefore, no merit in the contention that presidential certification dispenses only
with the requirement for the printing of the bill and its distribution three days before its
passage but not with the requirement of three readings on separate days, also.

It is nonetheless urged that the certification of the bill in this case was invalid because there
was no emergency, the condition stated in the certification of a "growing budget deficit" not
being an unusual condition in this country.

It is noteworthy that no member of the Senate saw fit to controvert the reality of the factual
basis of the certification. To the contrary, by passing S. No. 1630 on second and third
readings on March 24, 1994, the Senate accepted the President's certification. Should such
certification be now reviewed by this Court, especially when no evidence has been shown
that, because S. No. 1630 was taken up on second and third readings on the same day, the
members of the Senate were deprived of the time needed for the study of a vital piece of
legislation?

The sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or
declaration of martial law under Art. VII, 18, or the existence of a national emergency
justifying the delegation of extraordinary powers to the President under Art. VI, 23(2), is
subject to judicial review because basic rights of individuals may be at hazard. But the
factual basis of presidential certification of bills, which involves doing away with procedural
requirements designed to insure that bills are duly considered by members of Congress,
certainly should elicit a different standard of review.

Petitioners also invite attention to the fact that the President certified S. No. 1630 and not H.
No. 11197. That is because S. No. 1630 was what the Senate was considering. When the
matter was before the House, the President likewise certified H. No. 9210 the pending in the
House.

Third. Finally it is contended that the bill which became Republic Act No. 7716 is the bill
which the Conference Committee prepared by consolidating H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630.
It is claimed that the Conference Committee report included provisions not found in either
the House bill or the Senate bill and that these provisions were "surreptitiously" inserted by
the Conference Committee. Much is made of the fact that in the last two days of its session
on April 21 and 25, 1994 the Committee met behind closed doors. We are not told,
however, whether the provisions were not the result of the give and take that often mark the
proceedings of conference committees.

Nor is there anything unusual or extraordinary about the fact that the Conference
Committee met in executive sessions. Often the only way to reach agreement on conflicting
provisions is to meet behind closed doors, with only the conferees present. Otherwise, no
compromise is likely to be made. The Court is not about to take the suggestion of a cabal or
sinister motive attributed to the conferees on the basis solely of their "secret meetings" on
April 21 and 25, 1994, nor read anything into the incomplete remarks of the members,
marked in the transcript of stenographic notes by ellipses. The incomplete sentences are
probably due to the stenographer's own limitations or to the incoherence that sometimes
characterize conversations. William Safire noted some such lapses in recorded talks even
by recent past Presidents of the United States.

In any event, in the United States conference committees had been customarily held in
executive sessions with only the conferees and their staffs in attendance. 13 Only in
November 1975 was a new rule adopted requiring open sessions. Even then a majority of
either chamber's conferees may vote in public to close the meetings. 14

As to the possibility of an entirely new bill emerging out of a Conference Committee, it has
been explained:

Under congressional rules of procedure, conference committees are not


expected to make any material change in the measure at issue, either by
deleting provisions to which both houses have already agreed or by inserting
new provisions. But this is a difficult provision to enforce. Note the problem
when one house amends a proposal originating in either house by striking out
everything following the enacting clause and substituting provisions which
make it an entirely new bill. The versions are now altogether different,
permitting a conference committee to draft essentially a new bill. . . . 15

The result is a third version, which is considered an "amendment in the nature of a


substitute," the only requirement for which being that the third version be germane to the
subject of the House and Senate bills. 16

Indeed, this Court recently held that it is within the power of a conference committee to
include in its report an entirely new provision that is not found either in the House bill or in
the Senate bill. 17 If the committee can propose an amendment consisting of one or two
provisions, there is no reason why it cannot propose several provisions, collectively
considered as an "amendment in the nature of a substitute," so long as such amendment is
germane to the subject of the bills before the committee. After all, its report was not final but
needed the approval of both houses of Congress to become valid as an act of the legislative
department. The charge that in this case the Conference Committee acted as a third
legislative chamber is thus without any basis. 18
Nonetheless, it is argued that under the respective Rules of the Senate and the House of
Representatives a conference committee can only act on the differing provisions of a
Senate bill and a House bill, and that contrary to these Rules the Conference Committee
inserted provisions not found in the bills submitted to it. The following provisions are cited in
support of this contention:

Rules of the Senate

Rule XII:

26. In the event that the Senate does not agree with the House of
Representatives on the provision of any bill or joint resolution, the differences
shall be settled by a conference committee of both Houses which shall meet
within ten days after their composition.

The President shall designate the members of the conference committee in


accordance with subparagraph (c), Section 3 of Rule III.

Each Conference Committee Report shall contain a detailed and sufficiently


explicit statement of the changes in or amendments to the subject
measure, and shall be signed by the conferees.

The consideration of such report shall not be in order unless the report has
been filed with the Secretary of the Senate and copies thereof have been
distributed to the Members.

(Emphasis added)

Rules of the House of Representatives

Rule XIV:

85. Conference Committee Reports. In the event that the House does
not agree with the Senate on the amendments to any bill or joint
resolution, the differences may be settled by conference committees of both
Chambers.

The consideration of conference committee reports shall always be in order,


except when the journal is being read, while the roll is being called or the
House is dividing on any question. Each of the pages of such reports shall be
signed by the conferees. Each report shall contain a detailed, sufficiently
explicit statement of the changes in or amendments to the subject measure.

The consideration of such report shall not be in order unless copies thereof
are distributed to the Members: Provided, That in the last fifteen days of each
session period it shall be deemed sufficient that three copies of the report,
signed as above provided, are deposited in the office of the Secretary
General.
(Emphasis added)

To be sure, nothing in the Rules limits a conference committee to a consideration of


conflicting provisions. But Rule XLIV, 112 of the Rules of the Senate is cited to the effect
that "If there is no Rule applicable to a specific case the precedents of the Legislative
Department of the Philippines shall be resorted to, and as a supplement of these, the Rules
contained in Jefferson's Manual." The following is then quoted from the Jefferson's Manual:

The managers of a conference must confine themselves to the differences


committed to them. . . and may not include subjects not within disagreements,
even though germane to a question in issue.

Note that, according to Rule XLIX, 112, in case there is no specific rule applicable, resort
must be to the legislative practice. The Jefferson's Manual is resorted to only as
supplement. It is common place in Congress that conference committee reports include new
matters which, though germane, have not been committed to the committee. This practice
was admitted by Senator Raul S. Roco, petitioner in G.R. No. 115543, during the oral
argument in these cases. Whatever, then, may be provided in the Jefferson's Manual must
be considered to have been modified by the legislative practice. If a change is desired in the
practice it must be sought in Congress since this question is not covered by any
constitutional provision but is only an internal rule of each house. Thus, Art. VI, 16(3) of
the Constitution provides that "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings. . . ."

This observation applies to the other contention that the Rules of the two chambers were
likewise disregarded in the preparation of the Conference Committee Report because the
Report did not contain a "detailed and sufficiently explicit statement of changes in, or
amendments to, the subject measure." The Report used brackets and capital letters to
indicate the changes. This is a standard practice in bill-drafting. We cannot say that in using
these marks and symbols the Committee violated the Rules of the Senate and the House.
Moreover, this Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of these internal Rules. To
the contrary, as we have already ruled, "parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with
their observance the courts have no concern." 19 Our concern is with the procedural
requirements of the Constitution for the enactment of laws. As far as these requirements are
concerned, we are satisfied that they have been faithfully observed in these cases.

Nor is there any reason for requiring that the Committee's Report in these cases must have
undergone three readings in each of the two houses. If that be the case, there would be no
end to negotiation since each house may seek modifications of the compromise bill. The
nature of the bill, therefore, requires that it be acted upon by each house on a "take it or
leave it" basis, with the only alternative that if it is not approved by both houses, another
conference committee must be appointed. But then again the result would still be a
compromise measure that may not be wholly satisfying to both houses.

Art. VI, 26(2) must, therefore, be construed as referring only to bills introduced for the first
time in either house of Congress, not to the conference committee report. For if the purpose
of requiring three readings is to give members of Congress time to study bills, it cannot be
gainsaid that H. No. 11197 was passed in the House after three readings; that in the Senate
it was considered on first reading and then referred to a committee of that body; that
although the Senate committee did not report out the House bill, it submitted a version (S.
No. 1630) which it had prepared by "taking into consideration" the House bill; that for its part
the Conference Committee consolidated the two bills and prepared a compromise version;
that the Conference Committee Report was thereafter approved by the House and the
Senate, presumably after appropriate study by their members. We cannot say that, as a
matter of fact, the members of Congress were not fully informed of the provisions of the bill.
The allegation that the Conference Committee usurped the legislative power of Congress is,
in our view, without warrant in fact and in law.

Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716
must be resolved in its favor. Our cases 20 manifest firm adherence to the rule that an
enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also of its due enactment.
Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was invalid because the
requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained 21 or that certain provisions of a statute
had been "smuggled" in the printing of the bill 22 have moved or persuaded us to look behind
the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government. There is no reason now to depart
from this rule.

No claim is here made that the "enrolled bill" rule is absolute. In fact in one case 23 we "went
behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain provisions of
a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fact that the President of the
Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake and withdrew his
signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to consider.

But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not
been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference Committee
"surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we should decline the
invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in
such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two departments of our
government.

Fifth. An additional attack on the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716 is made by the
Philippine Airlines, Inc., petitioner in G.R. No. 11582, namely, that it violates Art. VI, 26(1)
which provides that "Every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one subject which
shall be expressed in the title thereof." It is contended that neither H. No. 11197 nor S. No.
1630 provided for removal of exemption of PAL transactions from the payment of the VAT
and that this was made only in the Conference Committee bill which became Republic Act
No. 7716 without reflecting this fact in its title.

The title of Republic Act No. 7716 is:

AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE- ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM,


WIDENING ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS ADMINISTRATION, AND
FOR THESE PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE RELEVANT
PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS
AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Among the provisions of the NIRC amended is 103, which originally read:
103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-
added tax:

....

(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws or international


agreements to which the Philippines is a signatory. Among the transactions
exempted from the VAT were those of PAL because it was exempted under
its franchise (P.D. No. 1590) from the payment of all "other taxes . . . now or
in the near future," in consideration of the payment by it either of the
corporate income tax or a franchise tax of 2%.

As a result of its amendment by Republic Act No. 7716, 103 of the NIRC now provides:

103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-
added tax:

....

(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws, except those granted
under Presidential Decree Nos. 66, 529, 972, 1491, 1590. . . .

The effect of the amendment is to remove the exemption granted to PAL, as far as the VAT
is concerned.

The question is whether this amendment of 103 of the NIRC is fairly embraced in the title
of Republic Act No. 7716, although no mention is made therein of P.D. No. 1590 as among
those which the statute amends. We think it is, since the title states that the purpose of the
statute is to expand the VAT system, and one way of doing this is to widen its base by
withdrawing some of the exemptions granted before. To insist that P.D. No. 1590 be
mentioned in the title of the law, in addition to 103 of the NIRC, in which it is specifically
referred to, would be to insist that the title of a bill should be a complete index of its content.

The constitutional requirement that every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one
subject which shall be expressed in its title is intended to prevent surprise upon the
members of Congress and to inform the people of pending legislation so that, if they wish
to, they can be heard regarding it. If, in the case at bar, petitioner did not know before that
its exemption had been withdrawn, it is not because of any defect in the title but perhaps for
the same reason other statutes, although published, pass unnoticed until some event
somehow calls attention to their existence. Indeed, the title of Republic Act No. 7716 is not
any more general than the title of PAL's own franchise under P.D. No. 1590, and yet no
mention is made of its tax exemption. The title of P.D. No. 1590 is:

AN ACT GRANTING A NEW FRANCHISE TO PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC.


TO ESTABLISH, OPERATE, AND MAINTAIN AIR-TRANSPORT SERVICES
IN THE PHILIPPINES AND BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND OTHER
COUNTRIES.
The trend in our cases is to construe the constitutional requirement in such a manner that
courts do not unduly interfere with the enactment of necessary legislation and to consider it
sufficient if the title expresses the general subject of the statute and all its provisions are
germane to the general subject thus expressed. 24

It is further contended that amendment of petitioner's franchise may only be made by


special law, in view of 24 of P.D. No. 1590 which provides:

This franchise, as amended, or any section or provision hereof may only be


modified, amended, or repealed expressly by a special law or decree that
shall specifically modify, amend, or repeal this franchise or any section or
provision thereof.

This provision is evidently intended to prevent the amendment of the franchise by mere
implication resulting from the enactment of a later inconsistent statute, in consideration of
the fact that a franchise is a contract which can be altered only by consent of the parties.
Thus in Manila Railroad Co. v.
Rafferty, 25 it was held that an Act of the U.S. Congress, which provided for the payment of
tax on certain goods and articles imported into the Philippines, did not amend the franchise
of plaintiff, which exempted it from all taxes except those mentioned in its franchise. It was
held that a special law cannot be amended by a general law.

In contrast, in the case at bar, Republic Act No. 7716 expressly amends PAL's franchise
(P.D. No. 1590) by specifically excepting from the grant of exemptions from the VAT PAL's
exemption under P.D. No. 1590. This is within the power of Congress to do under Art. XII,
11 of the Constitution, which provides that the grant of a franchise for the operation of a
public utility is subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by Congress when the common
good so requires.

II. SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES

A. Claims of Press Freedom, Freedom of


Thought and Religious Freedom

The Philippine Press Institute (PPI), petitioner in G.R. No. 115544, is a nonprofit
organization of newspaper publishers established for the improvement of journalism in the
Philippines. On the other hand, petitioner in G.R. No. 115781, the Philippine Bible Society
(PBS), is a nonprofit organization engaged in the printing and distribution of bibles and other
religious articles. Both petitioners claim violations of their rights under 4 and 5 of the Bill
of Rights as a result of the enactment of the VAT Law.

The PPI questions the law insofar as it has withdrawn the exemption previously granted to
the press under 103 (f) of the NIRC. Although the exemption was subsequently restored
by administrative regulation with respect to the circulation income of newspapers, the PPI
presses its claim because of the possibility that the exemption may still be removed by mere
revocation of the regulation of the Secretary of Finance. On the other hand, the PBS goes
so far as to question the Secretary's power to grant exemption for two reasons: (1) The
Secretary of Finance has no power to grant tax exemption because this is vested in
Congress and requires for its exercise the vote of a majority of all its members 26 and (2) the
Secretary's duty is to execute the law.

103 of the NIRC contains a list of transactions exempted from VAT. Among the
transactions previously granted exemption were:

(f) Printing, publication, importation or sale of books and any newspaper,


magazine, review, or bulletin which appears at regular intervals with fixed
prices for subscription and sale and which is devoted principally to the
publication of advertisements.

Republic Act No. 7716 amended 103 by deleting (f) with the result that print media
became subject to the VAT with respect to all aspects of their operations. Later, however,
based on a memorandum of the Secretary of Justice, respondent Secretary of Finance
issued Revenue Regulations No. 11-94, dated June 27, 1994, exempting the "circulation
income of print media pursuant to 4 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
guaranteeing against abridgment of freedom of the press, among others." The exemption of
"circulation income" has left income from advertisements still subject to the VAT.

It is unnecessary to pass upon the contention that the exemption granted is beyond the
authority of the Secretary of Finance to give, in view of PPI's contention that even with the
exemption of the circulation revenue of print media there is still an unconstitutional
abridgment of press freedom because of the imposition of the VAT on the gross receipts of
newspapers from advertisements and on their acquisition of paper, ink and services for
publication. Even on the assumption that no exemption has effectively been granted to print
media transactions, we find no violation of press freedom in these cases.

To be sure, we are not dealing here with a statute that on its face operates in the area of
press freedom. The PPI's claim is simply that, as applied to newspapers, the law abridges
press freedom. Even with due recognition of its high estate and its importance in a
democratic society, however, the press is not immune from general regulation by the State.
It has been held:

The publisher of a newspaper has no immunity from the application of


general laws. He has no special privilege to invade the rights and liberties of
others. He must answer for libel. He may be punished for contempt of court. .
. . Like others, he must pay equitable and nondiscriminatory taxes on his
business. . . . 27

The PPI does not dispute this point, either.

What it contends is that by withdrawing the exemption previously granted to print media
transactions involving printing, publication, importation or sale of newspapers, Republic Act
No. 7716 has singled out the press for discriminatory treatment and that within the class of
mass media the law discriminates against print media by giving broadcast media favored
treatment. We have carefully examined this argument, but we are unable to find a
differential treatment of the press by the law, much less any censorial motivation for its
enactment. If the press is now required to pay a value-added tax on its transactions, it is not
because it is being singled out, much less targeted, for special treatment but only because
of the removal of the exemption previously granted to it by law. The withdrawal of
exemption is all that is involved in these cases. Other transactions, likewise previously
granted exemption, have been delisted as part of the scheme to expand the base and the
scope of the VAT system. The law would perhaps be open to the charge of discriminatory
treatment if the only privilege withdrawn had been that granted to the press. But that is not
the case.

The situation in the case at bar is indeed a far cry from those cited by the PPI in support of
its claim that Republic Act No. 7716 subjects the press to discriminatory taxation. In the
cases cited, the discriminatory purpose was clear either from the background of the law or
from its operation. For example, in Grosjean v. American Press Co., 28 the law imposed a
license tax equivalent to 2% of the gross receipts derived from advertisements only on
newspapers which had a circulation of more than 20,000 copies per week. Because the tax
was not based on the volume of advertisement alone but was measured by the extent of its
circulation as well, the law applied only to the thirteen large newspapers in Louisiana,
leaving untaxed four papers with circulation of only slightly less than 20,000 copies a week
and 120 weekly newspapers which were in serious competition with the thirteen
newspapers in question. It was well known that the thirteen newspapers had been critical of
Senator Huey Long, and the Long-dominated legislature of Louisiana respondent by taxing
what Long described as the "lying newspapers" by imposing on them "a tax on lying." The
effect of the tax was to curtail both their revenue and their circulation. As the U.S. Supreme
Court noted, the tax was "a deliberate and calculated device in the guise of a tax to limit the
circulation of information to which the public is entitled in virtue of the constitutional
guaranties." 29 The case is a classic illustration of the warning that the power to tax is the
power to destroy.

In the other case 30 invoked by the PPI, the press was also found to have been singled out
because everything was exempt from the "use tax" on ink and paper, except the press.
Minnesota imposed a tax on the sales of goods in that state. To protect the sales tax, it
enacted a complementary tax on the privilege of "using, storing or consuming in that state
tangible personal property" by eliminating the residents' incentive to get goods from outside
states where the sales tax might be lower. The Minnesota Star Tribune was exempted from
both taxes from 1967 to 1971. In 1971, however, the state legislature amended the tax
scheme by imposing the "use tax" on the cost of paper and ink used for publication. The law
was held to have singled out the press because (1) there was no reason for imposing the
"use tax" since the press was exempt from the sales tax and (2) the "use tax" was laid on
an "intermediate transaction rather than the ultimate retail sale." Minnesota had a heavy
burden of justifying the differential treatment and it failed to do so. In addition, the U.S.
Supreme Court found the law to be discriminatory because the legislature, by again
amending the law so as to exempt the first $100,000 of paper and ink used, further
narrowed the coverage of the tax so that "only a handful of publishers pay any tax at all and
even fewer pay any significant amount of tax." 31 The discriminatory purpose was thus very
clear.

More recently, in Arkansas Writers' Project, Inc. v. Ragland, 32 it was held that a law which
taxed general interest magazines but not newspapers and religious, professional, trade and
sports journals was discriminatory because while the tax did not single out the press as a
whole, it targeted a small group within the press. What is more, by differentiating on the
basis of contents (i.e., between general interest and special interests such as religion or
sports) the law became "entirely incompatible with the First Amendment's guarantee of
freedom of the press."

These cases come down to this: that unless justified, the differential treatment of the press
creates risks of suppression of expression. In contrast, in the cases at bar, the statute
applies to a wide range of goods and services. The argument that, by imposing the VAT
only on print media whose gross sales exceeds P480,000 but not more than P750,000, the
law discriminates 33 is without merit since it has not been shown that as a result the class
subject to tax has been unreasonably narrowed. The fact is that this limitation does not
apply to the press along but to all sales. Nor is impermissible motive shown by the fact that
print media and broadcast media are treated differently. The press is taxed on its
transactions involving printing and publication, which are different from the transactions of
broadcast media. There is thus a reasonable basis for the classification.

The cases canvassed, it must be stressed, eschew any suggestion that "owners of
newspapers are immune from any forms of ordinary taxation." The license tax in
the Grosjean case was declared invalid because it was "one single in kind, with a long
history of hostile misuse against the freedom of the
press." 34 On the other hand, Minneapolis Star acknowledged that "The First Amendment
does not prohibit all regulation of the press [and that] the States and the Federal
Government can subject newspapers to generally applicable economic regulations without
creating constitutional problems." 35

What has been said above also disposes of the allegations of the PBS that the removal of
the exemption of printing, publication or importation of books and religious articles, as well
as their printing and publication, likewise violates freedom of thought and of conscience. For
as the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Jimmy Swaggart Ministries v. Board of
Equalization, 36 the Free Exercise of Religion Clause does not prohibit imposing a generally
applicable sales and use tax on the sale of religious materials by a religious organization.

This brings us to the question whether the registration provision of the law, 37 although of
general applicability, nonetheless is invalid when applied to the press because it lays a prior
restraint on its essential freedom. The case of American Bible Society v. City of Manila 38 is
cited by both the PBS and the PPI in support of their contention that the law imposes
censorship. There, this Court held that an ordinance of the City of Manila, which imposed a
license fee on those engaged in the business of general merchandise, could not be applied
to the appellant's sale of bibles and other religious literature. This Court relied on Murdock
v. Pennsylvania, 39 in which it was held that, as a license fee is fixed in amount and
unrelated to the receipts of the taxpayer, the license fee, when applied to a religious sect,
was actually being imposed as a condition for the exercise of the sect's right under the
Constitution. For that reason, it was held, the license fee "restrains in advance those
constitutional liberties of press and religion and inevitably tends to suppress their
exercise." 40

But, in this case, the fee in 107, although a fixed amount (P1,000), is not imposed for the
exercise of a privilege but only for the purpose of defraying part of the cost of registration.
The registration requirement is a central feature of the VAT system. It is designed to provide
a record of tax credits because any person who is subject to the payment of the VAT pays
an input tax, even as he collects an output tax on sales made or services rendered. The
registration fee is thus a mere administrative fee, one not imposed on the exercise of a
privilege, much less a constitutional right.

For the foregoing reasons, we find the attack on Republic Act No. 7716 on the ground that it
offends the free speech, press and freedom of religion guarantees of the Constitution to be
without merit. For the same reasons, we find the claim of the Philippine Educational
Publishers Association (PEPA) in G.R. No. 115931 that the increase in the price of books
and other educational materials as a result of the VAT would violate the constitutional
mandate to the government to give priority to education, science and technology (Art. II,
17) to be untenable.

B. Claims of Regressivity, Denial of Due Process,


Equal Protection, and Impairment
of Contracts

There is basis for passing upon claims that on its face the statute violates the guarantees of
freedom of speech, press and religion. The possible "chilling effect" which it may have on
the essential freedom of the mind and conscience and the need to assure that the channels
of communication are open and operating importunately demand the exercise of this Court's
power of review.

There is, however, no justification for passing upon the claims that the law also violates the
rule that taxation must be progressive and that it denies petitioners' right to due process and
that equal protection of the laws. The reason for this different treatment has been cogently
stated by an eminent authority on constitutional law thus: "[W]hen freedom of the mind is
imperiled by law, it is freedom that commands a momentum of respect; when property is
imperiled it is the lawmakers' judgment that commands respect. This dual standard may not
precisely reverse the presumption of constitutionality in civil liberties cases, but obviously it
does set up a hierarchy of values within the due process clause." 41

Indeed, the absence of threat of immediate harm makes the need for judicial intervention
less evident and underscores the essential nature of petitioners' attack on the law on the
grounds of regressivity, denial of due process and equal protection and impairment of
contracts as a mere academic discussion of the merits of the law. For the fact is that there
have even been no notices of assessments issued to petitioners and no determinations at
the administrative levels of their claims so as to illuminate the actual operation of the law
and enable us to reach sound judgment regarding so fundamental questions as those
raised in these suits.

Thus, the broad argument against the VAT is that it is regressive and that it violates the
requirement that "The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable [and] Congress shall
evolve a progressive system of taxation." 42 Petitioners in G.R. No. 115781 quote from a
paper, entitled "VAT Policy Issues: Structure, Regressivity, Inflation and Exports" by Alan A.
Tait of the International Monetary Fund, that "VAT payment by low-income households will
be a higher proportion of their incomes (and expenditures) than payments by higher-income
households. That is, the VAT will be regressive." Petitioners contend that as a result of the
uniform 10% VAT, the tax on consumption goods of those who are in the higher-income
bracket, which before were taxed at a rate higher than 10%, has been reduced, while basic
commodities, which before were taxed at rates ranging from 3% to 5%, are now taxed at a
higher rate.

Just as vigorously as it is asserted that the law is regressive, the opposite claim is pressed
by respondents that in fact it distributes the tax burden to as many goods and services as
possible particularly to those which are within the reach of higher-income groups, even as
the law exempts basic goods and services. It is thus equitable. The goods and properties
subject to the VAT are those used or consumed by higher-income groups. These include
real properties held primarily for sale to customers or held for lease in the ordinary course of
business, the right or privilege to use industrial, commercial or scientific equipment, hotels,
restaurants and similar places, tourist buses, and the like. On the other hand, small
business establishments, with annual gross sales of less than P500,000, are exempted.
This, according to respondents, removes from the coverage of the law some 30,000
business establishments. On the other hand, an occasional paper 43 of the Center for
Research and Communication cities a NEDA study that the VAT has minimal impact on
inflation and income distribution and that while additional expenditure for the lowest income
class is only P301 or 1.49% a year, that for a family earning P500,000 a year or more is
P8,340 or 2.2%.

Lacking empirical data on which to base any conclusion regarding these arguments, any
discussion whether the VAT is regressive in the sense that it will hit the "poor" and middle-
income group in society harder than it will the "rich," as the Cooperative Union of the
Philippines (CUP) claims in G.R. No. 115873, is largely an academic exercise. On the other
hand, the CUP's contention that Congress' withdrawal of exemption of producers
cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, and service cooperatives, while maintaining that
granted to electric cooperatives, not only goes against the constitutional policy to promote
cooperatives as instruments of social justice (Art. XII, 15) but also denies such
cooperatives the equal protection of the law is actually a policy argument. The legislature is
not required to adhere to a policy of "all or none" in choosing the subject of taxation. 44

Nor is the contention of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA),
petitioner in G.R. 115754, that the VAT will reduce the mark up of its members by as much
as 85% to 90% any more concrete. It is a mere allegation. On the other hand, the claim of
the Philippine Press Institute, petitioner in G.R. No. 115544, that the VAT will drive some of
its members out of circulation because their profits from advertisements will not be enough
to pay for their tax liability, while purporting to be based on the financial statements of the
newspapers in question, still falls short of the establishment of facts by evidence so
necessary for adjudicating the question whether the tax is oppressive and confiscatory.

Indeed, regressivity is not a negative standard for courts to enforce. What Congress is
required by the Constitution to do is to "evolve a progressive system of taxation." This is a
directive to Congress, just like the directive to it to give priority to the enactment of laws for
the enhancement of human dignity and the reduction of social, economic and political
inequalities (Art. XIII, 1), or for the promotion of the right to "quality education" (Art. XIV,
1). These provisions are put in the Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as
judicially enforceable rights.

At all events, our 1988 decision in Kapatiran 45 should have laid to rest the questions now
raised against the VAT. There similar arguments made against the original VAT Law
(Executive Order No. 273) were held to be hypothetical, with no more basis than newspaper
articles which this Court found to be "hearsay and [without] evidentiary value." As Republic
Act No. 7716 merely expands the base of the VAT system and its coverage as provided in
the original VAT Law, further debate on the desirability and wisdom of the law should have
shifted to Congress.

Only slightly less abstract but nonetheless hypothetical is the contention of CREBA that the
imposition of the VAT on the sales and leases of real estate by virtue of contracts entered
into prior to the effectivity of the law would violate the constitutional provision that "No law
impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed." It is enough to say that the parties to
a contract cannot, through the exercise of prophetic discernment, fetter the exercise of the
taxing power of the State. For not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix
obligations as between parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign
power is also read into contracts as a basic postulate of the legal order. The policy of
protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government
which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. 46

In truth, the Contract Clause has never been thought as a limitation on the exercise of the
State's power of taxation save only where a tax exemption has been granted for a valid
consideration. 47 Such is not the case of PAL in G.R. No. 115852, and we do not understand
it to make this claim. Rather, its position, as discussed above, is that the removal of its tax
exemption cannot be made by a general, but only by a specific, law.

The substantive issues raised in some of the cases are presented in abstract, hypothetical
form because of the lack of a concrete record. We accept that this Court does not only
adjudicate private cases; that public actions by "non-Hohfeldian" 48 or ideological plaintiffs
are now cognizable provided they meet the standing requirement of the Constitution; that
under Art. VIII, 1, 2 the Court has a "special function" of vindicating constitutional rights.
Nonetheless the feeling cannot be escaped that we do not have before us in these cases a
fully developed factual record that alone can impart to our adjudication the impact of
actuality 49 to insure that decision-making is informed and well grounded. Needless to say,
we do not have power to render advisory opinions or even jurisdiction over petitions for
declaratory judgment. In effect we are being asked to do what the Conference Committee is
precisely accused of having done in these cases to sit as a third legislative chamber to
review legislation.

We are told, however, that the power of judicial review is not so much power as it is duty
imposed on this Court by the Constitution and that we would be remiss in the performance
of that duty if we decline to look behind the barriers set by the principle of separation of
powers. Art. VIII, 1, 2 is cited in support of this view:
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government.

To view the judicial power of review as a duty is nothing new. Chief Justice Marshall said so
in 1803, to justify the assertion of this power in Marbury v. Madison:

It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what
the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must of necessity
expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts
must decide on the operation of each. 50

Justice Laurel echoed this justification in 1936 in Angara v. Electoral Commission:

And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does


not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality
nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and
sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting
claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an
actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to
them. 51

This conception of the judicial power has been affirmed in several


cases 52 of this Court following Angara.

It does not add anything, therefore, to invoke this "duty" to justify this Court's intervention in
what is essentially a case that at best is not ripe for adjudication. That duty must still be
performed in the context of a concrete case or controversy, as Art. VIII, 5(2) clearly
defines our jurisdiction in terms of "cases," and nothing but "cases." That the other
departments of the government may have committed a grave abuse of discretion is not an
independent ground for exercising our power. Disregard of the essential limits imposed by
the case and controversy requirement can in the long run only result in undermining our
authority as a court of law. For, as judges, what we are called upon to render is judgment
according to law, not according to what may appear to be the opinion of the day.

_______________________________

In the preceeding pages we have endeavored to discuss, within limits, the validity of
Republic Act No. 7716 in its formal and substantive aspects as this has been raised in the
various cases before us. To sum up, we hold:

(1) That the procedural requirements of the Constitution have been complied with by
Congress in the enactment of the statute;
(2) That judicial inquiry whether the formal requirements for the enactment of statutes
beyond those prescribed by the Constitution have been observed is precluded by the
principle of separation of powers;

(3) That the law does not abridge freedom of speech, expression or the press, nor interfere
with the free exercise of religion, nor deny to any of the parties the right to an education;
and

(4) That, in view of the absence of a factual foundation of record, claims that the law is
regressive, oppressive and confiscatory and that it violates vested rights protected under
the Contract Clause are prematurely raised and do not justify the grant of prospective relief
by writ of prohibition.

WHEREFORE, the petitions in these cases are DISMISSED.