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Unformatted text preview: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
ATTY. EDGAR B. PASCUA II
ATENEO DE DAVAO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW
―The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If people are stripped
naked of their rights as human beings, democracy cannot survive and government
becomes meaningless. This explains why the Bill of Rights, occupies a position of
primacy in the fundamental law way above the articles on governmental power.‖1
I. DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION AS LIMITATIONS ON
POLICE POWER, EMINENT DOMAIN, AND TAXATION
A. Fundamental Principles on Constitutional Law and the Bill of
a. THE BILL OF RIGHTS
INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM BALANCES GOVERNMENTAL POWER AND State power is so vast that the protection of individual freedoms must be
guaranteed. Taxation, Eminent Domain and Police Power interfere with civil
liberties. Without the Bill of Rights, the exercise of these powers will be
unbridled. It guarantees that there are certain areas of a person’s life,
liberty and property which governmental power may not touch. Any
governmental action in violation of the rights declared in the Bill of Rights is
void, so that the provisions of a Bill of Rights are self – executing to this
extent. However, the legislature may enact laws to protect and enforce the
provisions of the Bill of Rights2. The Bill of Rights is a list of restrictions on
state power. It places boundaries on the controls of government and
creates an area of sufficient liberty for individual actions. It provides rights
to individuals to protect themselves from the encroaching power of
b. IN THE ABSENCE OF GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE, THE LIBERTIES
GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION CANNOT BE INVOKED
The Court in the landmark case of People v. Marti (G.R. No. 81561 January
18, 1991) clarified the proper dimensions of the Bill of Rights.
―That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Constitution is not meant to be
invoked against acts of private individuals finds support in the deliberations
of the Constitutional Commission. True, the liberties guaranteed by the
fundamental law of the land must always be subject to protection. But
protection against whom? Commissioner Bernas in his sponsorship speech
in the Bill of Rights answers the query which he himself posed, as follows:
"First, the general reflections. The protection of fundamental liberties in
the essence of constitutional democracy. Protection against whom?
Protection against the state. The Bill of Rights governs the relationship Constitutional Law 2016 Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II Page A.M. No. P-08-2519 November 19, 2008 (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2155-P) ANONYMOUS
LETTER-COMPLAINT AGAINST ATTY. MIGUEL MORALES, CLERK OF COURT, ETROPOLITAN
TRIAL COURT OF MANILA
Courts as a rule consider the provisions of the Constitution as self executing, rather than as
requiring future legislation for their enforcement. The reason is not difficult to discern. For if they are
not treated as self-executing, the mandate of the fundamental law ratified by the sovereign people
can be easily ignored and nullified by Congress. Suffused with wisdom of the ages is the unyielding
rule that legislative actions may give breath to constitutional rights but congressional inaction should
not suffocate them.
However, some believe that the Bill of Rights provided the resources by which government could
spread and increase its power. 1 1 between the individual and the state. Its concern is not the relation
between individuals, between a private individual and other individuals.
What the Bill of Rights does is to declare some forbidden zones in the
private sphere inaccessible to any power holder." (Sponsorship Speech
of Commissioner Bernas; Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol.
1, p. 674; July 17,1986)‖
*Case: The petitioner, an international flight steward, was formally informed by PAL that
due to his inability to attain his ideal weight, "and considering the utmost leniency"
extended to him "which spanned a period covering a total of almost five (5) years," his
services were considered terminated "effective immediately
The Labor Arbiter ruled that petitioner was illegally dismissed and held that the weight
standards of PAL are reasonable in view of the nature of the job of petitioner. However,
the weight standards need not be complied with under pain of dismissal since his weight
did not hamper the performance of his duties. Assuming that it did, petitioner could be
transferred to other positions where his weight would not be a negative factor. Notably,
other overweight employees, i.e., Mr. Palacios, Mr. Cui, and Mr. Barrios, were promoted
instead of being disciplined.
The NLRC rendered judgment affirming the Labor Arbiter. By Decision the CA reversed
As such, review was sought with the Court.
Rule: Petitioner claims that PAL is using passenger safety as a convenient excuse to
discriminate against him. To make his claim more believable, petitioner invokes the equal
protection clause guaranty of the Constitution. However, in the absence of governmental
interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked. Put
differently, the Bill of Rights is not meant to be invoked against acts of private individuals.
Indeed, the United States Supreme Court, in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment,
which is the source of our equal protection guarantee, is consistent in saying that the
equal protection erects no shield against private conduct, however discriminatory or
wrongful. Private actions, no matter how egregious, cannot violate the equal protection
After a meticulous consideration of all arguments pro and con, We uphold the legality of
dismissal. Separation pay, however, should be awarded in favor of the employee as an act
of social justice or based on equity. This is so because his dismissal is not for serious
misconduct. Neither is it reflective of his moral character. G.R. No. 168081 October 17,
2008 ARMANDO G. YRASUEGUI vs. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES However, Article 32 of the Civil Code affords the guarantee of protection to
individuals for such violations by any public officer or employee, or any
private individual, by directly or indirectly obstructing, defeating, violating
or in any manner impeding or impairing any of the rights and liberties of
Whether or not the defendant's act or omission
constitutes a criminal offense, the aggrieved party has a right to commence
an entirely separate and distinct civil action for damages, and for other
relief. Such civil action shall proceed independently of any criminal
prosecution (if the latter be instituted), and may be proved by a
preponderance of evidence. The indemnity shall include moral damages.
Exemplary damages may also be adjudicated. 4 The Revised Penal Code, Book Two, Title Two - CRIMES AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTAL
LAWS OF THE STATE Constitutional Law 2016 Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II Page 2 Futher, any such violations of the Fundamental right of a citizen, by
another, may constitute a crime, which may be punishable by the Revised
Penal Code4, or other penal laws. Please read however the earlier case of ZULUETA vs COURT OF APPEALS;
Case: Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent Alfredo Martin. On March
26, 1982, petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the
presence of her mother, a driver and private respondent's secretary, forcibly opened the
drawers and cabinet in her husband's clinic and took 157 documents consisting of private
correspondence between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled
checks, diaries, Dr. Martin's passport, and photographs. The documents and papers were
seized for use in evidence in a case for legal separation and for disqualification from the
practice of medicine which petitioner had filed against her husband.
Rule: Indeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The
constitutional injunction declaring "the privacy of communication and correspondence [to
be] inviolable" is no less applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself
aggrieved by her husband's infidelity) who is the party against whom the constitutional
provision is to be enforced.
The only exception to the prohibition in the Constitution is if there is a "lawful order [from a]
court or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law." Any
violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in
The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking the
drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of
marital infidelity. A person, by contracting marriage, does not shed his/her integrity or his
right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or
to her. G.R. No. 107383 February 20, 1996 CECILIA ZULUETA vs COURT OF
APPEALS and ALFREDO MARTIN c. HUMAN RIGHTS ENJOY A HIGHER PREFERENCE IN THE HIERARCHY OF
RIGHTS THAN PROPERTY RIGHTS, DEMANDING THAT DUE PROCESS IN
THE DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY MUST COME BEFORE ITS TAKING AND
Hence, the order of rights, as enumerated in the law, it is expressed that
―No person shall be deprived of (1) life, (2) liberty, or (3) property …….‖
While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human
rights over property rights is recognized.5 Because these freedoms are
"delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society" and
the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the
actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to survive,"
permitting government regulation only "with narrow specificity."6
Rule: Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are
imprescriptible. If human rights are extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of
Rights is a useless attempt to limit the power of government and ceases to be an
efficacious shield against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and
powerful, and of oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise. G.R. No. L-31195 June 5,
1973 PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS vs. PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO. d. THE BILL OF RIGHTS ARE SELF EXECUTORY 5
6 March vs. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501, 509; Tucker vs. Texas, 326 U.S. 517, 519-520.
NACCP vs. Button (Jan. 14, 1963), 371 U.S. 415, 433, 9 L. Ed. 2nd 405, 418. Constitutional Law 2016 Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II Page 3 *Thus, we have treated as self-executing the provisions in the Bill of Rights on arrests,
searches and seizures, the rights of a person under custodial investigation, the rights of an
accused, and the privilege against self-incrimination, It is recognized that legislation is
unnecessary to enable courts to effectuate constitutional provisions guaranteeing the
fundamental rights of life, liberty and the protection of property. The same treatment is
accorded to constitutional provisions forbidding the taking or damaging of property for public use without just compensation. G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 MANILA
PRINCE HOTEL vs. GSIS B. Basic Principles on the Fundamental Powers of the State, their
and Distinctions, and their
There are three inherent powers of government which the state imposes
with civl rights and liberties; (1) police power, (2) eminent domain, (3)
taxation. These are said to exist independently of the Constitution as
necessary attributes of sovereignty.
The provisions found in the law relating to the three inherent state powers,
taxation, eminent domain and police power, do not grant the authority to
the government, but limit a power which would otherwise be without limit.
Being inherent, state legislation need not even be made for their existence.
Police power is the power of the state to promote public welfare by
restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property. It is the most
pervasive, the least limitable, and the most demanding of the three
fundamental powers of the State.
The justification is found in the Latin maxims salus populi est suprema
lex (the welfare of the people is the supreme law) and sic utere tuo ut
alienum non laedas (so use your property as not to injure the property of
others). As an inherent attribute of sovereignty which virtually extends to
all public needs, police power grants a wide panoply of instruments through
which the State, as parens patriae, gives effect to a host of its regulatory
The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has
been defined as the "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere
with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare."
As defined, it consists of
(1) an imposition of restraint upon liberty or property,
(2) in order to foster the common good.
It is not capable of an exact definition but has been, purposely, veiled in
general terms to underscore its all-comprehensive embrace.
Police power, while incapable of an exact definition, has been purposely
veiled in general terms to underscore its comprehensiveness to meet all
exigencies and provide enough room for an efficient and flexible response
as the conditions warrant.8 Police power is based upon the concept of
necessity of the State and its corresponding right to protect itself and its
people.9 Police power has been used as justification for numerous and
varied actions by the State. These range from the regulation of dance Constitutional Law 2016 Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II Page G.R. No. 159796 July 17, 2007 ROMEO P. GEROCHI, KATULONG NG BAYAN (KB) and
ENVIRONMENTALIST CONSUMERS NETWORK, INC. (ECN), Petitioners, vs. DEPARTMENT OF
Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila, 127 Phil. 306
JMM Promotion and Management Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 329 Phil. 87, 94 (1996) citing Rubi v.
Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil. 660 (1919). 4 7 halls,10 movie theaters,11 gas stations12 and cockpits.13 The awesome scope
of police power is best demonstrated by the fact that in its hundred or so
years of presence in our nation’s legal system, its use has rarely been
"Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to
anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for an
efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus
assuring the greatest benefits."
Rule: ―It must not be forgotten that police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It
has been defined as the power vested by the Constitution in the legislature to make,
ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and
ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the Constitution, as they shall
judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and for the subjects of the
same. The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive, reaching and justifying
measures for public health, public safety, public morals, and the general welfare. As an
obvious police power measure, Article 202 (2) must therefore be viewed in a constitutional
light.‖ G.R. No. 169364 September 18, 2009 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs.
EVANGELINE SITON y SACIL It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not
owe its origin to the Charter. Along with the taxing power and eminent
domain, it is inborn in the very fact of statehood and sovereignty. It is a
fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to perform the
most vital functions of governance. Marshall, to whom the expression has
been credited, refers to it succinctly as the plenary power of the State "to
govern its citizens."
"The police power of the State ... is a power coextensive with selfprotection, and it is not inaptly termed the "law of overwhelming necessity."
It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the State which
enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety, and welfare of
It constitutes an implied limitation on the Bill of Rights. According to
Fernando, it is "rooted in the conception that men in organizing the state
and imposing upon its government limitations to safeguard constitutional
rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group of
citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures
calculated to ensure communal peace, safety, good order, and welfare."
Significantly, the Bill of Rights itself does not purport to be an absolute
guaranty of individual rights and liberties "Even liberty itself, the greatest of
all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one's will." It is
subject to the far more overriding demands and requirements of the greater
Notwithstanding its extensive sweep, police power is not without its own
limitations. For all its awesome consequences, it may not be exercised
arbitrarily or unreasonably. Otherwise, and in that event, it defeats the
purpose for which it is exercised, that is, to advance the public good. Thus,
when the power is used to further private interests at the expense of the 10 U.S. v. Rodriguez, 38 Phil. 759.
People v. Chan, 65 Phil. 611 (1938).
Javier v. Earnshaw, 64 Phil. 626 (1937).
Pedro v. Provincial Board of Rizal, 56 Phil. 123 (1931).
G.R. No. 122846 January 20, 2009 WHITE LIGHT CORPORATION, TITANIUM CORPORATION
vs. CITY OF MANILA, CASTRO, MAYOR ALFREDO S. LIM Constitutional Law 2016 Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II Page 5 11 citizenry, there is a clear misuse of the power.15 The power is used to justify
public health measures public morals, and public safety.
For an ordinance, to be a police power measure, it must appear that the
interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular
class, require an interference with private rights and the means must be
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not
unduly oppressive of private rights. It must also be evident that no other
alternative for the accomplishment of the purpose less intrusive of private
rights can work. More importantly, a reasonable relation must exist
between the purposes of the measure and the means employed for its
accomplishment, for even under the guise of protecting the public interest,
personal rights and those pertaining to private property will not be
permitted to be arbitrarily invaded.
The National Government, via Congress, exercises Police Power.
limited sense, the same is also exercised by the local government. In a TAXATION
A tax is a pecuniary contribution shall made by the persons liable, for the
support of government.
The power to tax is an incident of sovereignty and is unlimited in its range,
acknowledging in its very nature no limits, so that security against its abuse
is to be found only in the responsibility of the legislature which imposes the
tax on the constituency that is to pay it. It is based on the principle that
taxes are the lifeblood of the government, and their prompt and certain
availability is an imperious need. Thus, the theory behind the exercise of
the power to tax emanates from necessity; without taxes, government
cannot fulfill its mandate of promoting the general welfare and well-being of
Limitations on the Taxing Power;
1. The rule of taxation should be uniform
Uniformity of taxation, like the kindred concept of equal protection, merely requires that all
subjects or objects of taxation, similarly situated, are to be treated alike both in privileges
and liabilities (Juan Luna Subdivision vs. Sarmiento, 91 Phil. 371) 2. It should be equitable
Taxation is said to be equitable when its burden falls on those better able to pay. G.R.
Nos. L-49839-46 April 26, 1991 JOSE B. L. REYES vs.PEDRO ALMANZOR 3. Congress should evolve a progressive system of taxation
Taxation is progressive when its rate goes up depending on the resources of the person...
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- Constitutional Law, The Bible, Test, Bill of Rights, Ordinary People, New York Times v. Sullivan, United States Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human RIghts, Miranda v. Arizona, Texas v. Johnson, Dennis v. United States, Gitlow v New York, Brandenburg v Ohio, Atty. Edgar B. Pascua II