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Corona v. United Harbor PIlots Association
G.R. No. 111953 | 1997-12-12
Subject: Due Process, Right to Exercise Profession, License
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) issued an Administrative Order which provided that that all appointments
for harbor pilots made by the PPA will have to be renewed every year, and that the existing appointments made
will only be valid until December 1991. Thus, respondents sought to have the implementation of this order
suspended. In the meantime, the PPA issued the guidelines for the issuance of new appointments. These
issuances were thus brought before the courts by the respondents on the question of their constitutionality
based on violation of their right to exercise their profession and on due process grounds.
Upon learning of PPA-AO (Administrative Order) 04-92 only after publication in the newspaper, the United
Harbor Pilots Association of the Philippines:

 questioned said PPA-AO twice before the DOTC, which Secretary Garcia said twice that only the PPA
Board of Directors [as governing body] has exclusive jurisdiction to review, recall or annul PPA-AOs,
 appealed to the Office of the President, which first issued a restraining order to the PPA on the
implementation of the PPA-AO, and after PPA’s answer, then dismissed the appeal/petition and lifted said
order, stating, through Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Renato C. Corona, that the PPA-AO
(i) merely implements PPA Charter, (ii) issuance is an act of PPA, not of its General Manager, (iii) merely
regulates, not forbids practice of the profession, recognizing that such exercise is property right, and (iv)
sufficiently complied with the requirement in the PD to consult only with ‘relevant Government Agencies’,
 finally finding affirmative relief with Manila RTC Br. 6. Court, which ruled that (i) said PPA-AO is null and
void (ii) PPA acted in excess of jurisdiction with grave abuse of discretion, and (iii) imposed a permanent
restraining order on PPA on its implementation.
 Assistant Executive Secretary Corona thus filed petition for review [of the Manila RTC Decision] to the
Supreme Court.
1. WON PPA-AO 04-92 is violative of the procedural due process of UHPAP members.
2. WON PPA-AO 04-92 is violative of the substantive due process of UHPAP members.

To constitute deprivation of due process of law, there must be (a) a deprivation, and (b) such deprivation is done
without proper observance of due process.
1. NO. Notice and hearing is not required in the performance of an administrative body’s function of executive or
legislative functions, such as issuing rules and regulations, but only in the performance of quasi-judicial functions.
Also PPA sufficiently complied with the PPA Charter requirement that “only ‘relevant government agencies’” are
consulted with, which does not include the UHPAP.
Procedural due process refers to the method or manner by which the law is enforced. The opportunity to be heard
is the very essence of due process. Due process is also satisfied when an opportunity to seek reconsideration of
the action or ruling complained of is granted, which was availed by UHPAP four times.

2. YES. Substantive due process is when the law itself, not merely the procedures by which the law would be
enforced, is fair, reasonable, and just. Said PPA-AO unduly restricts their right to enjoy their profession before
compulsory retirement by facing an annual cancellation [both veteran and neophyte Harbor Pilots] of their license
dependent on a “rigid evaluation of performance.”
Pilotage as a profession has taken on the nature of a property right. Any ‘alteration’ of property right must be strictly
made in accordance with the constitutional mandate of due process of law. Pilotage may only be practiced by duly
licensed individuals. A license is a right or permission granted by some competent authority to carry on a business
or do an act which, without such license, would be illegal. Pilotage license requires passing 5 examinations, each
followed by actual training. License is granted in the form of an appontment
Said PPA- AO does not add anything new or substantial a mere surplusage, thus unecessary, since PPA-AO 03-
85 already provides for a comprehensive order on regulating harbor pilots, matters merely duplicated in PPA-AO
UHPAP also insinuated that the General Manager issued PPA-AO 04-92 with animosity to the UHPAP, however,
the General Manager is presumed to have acted in accordance with law and the best of professional services.
Such animosity, as evidenced by the number of cases filed, cannot be considered the primordial reason for the
issuance of said PPA-AO.
Petition denied. PPA-AO struck down as violative of substantive due process.

Additional Notes:
Due Process

 As a general rule, notice and hearing, as the fundamental requirements ofprocedural due process, are
essential only when an administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial function. In the performance of
itsexecutive or legislative functions, such as issuing rules and regulations, anadministrative body need not
comply with the requirements of notice andhearing.
Right to Exercise Profession

 Pilotage, just like other professions, may be practiced only by duly licensed individuals. Licensure is the
granting of license especially to practice a profession. It is also the system of granting licenses (as for
professional practice) in accordance with established standards.
 Before harbor pilots can earn a license to practice their profession, they literally have to pass through the
proverbial eye of a needle by taking, not one but five examinations, each followed by actual training and
 However, pre-evaluation cancellation is constitutionally infirm and unreasonable, and constitutes as
deprivation of property without due process of law.

 A license is a right or permission granted by some competent authority to carryon a business or do an act
which, without such license, would be illegal.