5-31.docx - [No L-7995 LAO H ICHONG in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien residents corporations and partnerships adversely affected by

5-31.docx - [No L-7995 LAO H ICHONG in his own behalf and...

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Unformatted text preview: [No. L-7995. May 31, 1957] LAO H. ICHONG, in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien residents, corporations and partnerships adversely affected by Republic Act No. 1180, petitioner, vs. JAIME HERNANDEZ, Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila, respondents. 1156 1156 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento 1. 1.CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; POLICE POWER; NATURE AND SCOPE.—Police power is far-reaching in scope, and it is almost impossible to limit its sweep. It derives its existence from the very existence of the State itself, and does not need to be expressed or defined in its scope. It is said to be co-extensive with self-protection and survival, and as such it is the most positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential, insistent and illimitable. Especially is it so under a modern democratic framework where the demands of society and of nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions; the field and scope of police power has become almost boundless, just as the fields of public interest and public welfare have become almost all-embracing and have transcended human foresight. 1. 2.ID.; GUARANTEES IN SECTION I, ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION; UNIVERSALITY OF APPLICATION.—The constitutional guarantees in Section I, Article III, of the Constitution, which embody the essence of individual liberty and freedom in democracies, are not limited to citizens alone but are admittedly universal in their application, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality (Yiek Wo vs. Hopkins, 30 L. ed., 220, 226). 1. 3.ID.; LAW DEPRIVATION OF LIFE, LIBERTY OR PROPERTY; TEST OR STANDARD. —The conflict between police power and the guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws is more apparent than real. Properly related, the power and the guarantees are supposed to coexist. The balancing is the essence, or the indispensable means for the" attainment of legitimate aspirations of any democratic society. There can be no absolute power, whoever exercises it, for that would be tyranny. Yet there can neither be absolute liberty, for that would mean license and anarchy. So the State can deprive persons of life, liberty or property, provided there is due process of law; and persons may be classified into classes and groups, provided everyone is given the equal protection of the law. The test or standard, as always, is reason. The police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare, and a reasonable relation must exist between purposes and means. And if disctinction or classification has been made, there must be a reasonable basis for said distinction. 1. 4.ID.; EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW CLAUSE; WHEN NOT DEEMED INFRINGED BY LEGISLATION.—The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. 1157 VOL. 101, MAY 81, 1957 1157 Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento 1. It is not intended to prohibit legislation, which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. It does not demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not (2 Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 824-825). 1. 5.ID. ; ID. ; LEGISLATIVE POWER TO MAKE DISTINCTION AND CLASSIFICATION AMONG PERSONS; CITIZENSHIP AS GROUND FOR CLASSIFICATION.—The power of the legislature to make distinctions and classifications among persons is not curtailed or denied by the equal protection of the laws clause. The legislative power admits of a wide scope of discretion, and a law can be violative of the constitutional limitation only when the classification is without reasonable basis. Citizenship is a legal and valid ground for classification. 1. 6.ID.; ID.; NATIONALIZATION OF RETAIL TRADE; CLASSIFICATION IN REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180 ACTUAL, REAL AND REASONABLE.—The classification in the law of retail traders into nationals and aliens is actual, real and reasonable. All persons of one class are treated alike, and it cannot be said that the classification is patently unreasonable and unfounded. Hence, it is the duty of this Court to declare that the legislature acted within its legitimate prerogative and it cannot declare that the act transcends the limits of equal protection established by the Constitution. 1. 7.ID. ; ID. ; ID. ; ID. ; TEST OF REASONABLENESS.—The law in question is deemed absolutely necessary to bring about the desired legislative objective, i.e., to free the national economy from alien control and dominance. It is not necessarily unreasonable because it affects private rights and privileges (II Am. Jur., pp. 1080-1081). The test of reasonableness of a law is the appropriateness or adequacy under all circumstances of the means adopted to carry out its purpose into effect. Judged by this test, the disputed legislation, which is not merely reasonable but actually necessary, must be considered not to have infringed the constitutional limitation of reasonableness. 1. 8.ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180 TOLERANT AND REASONABLE. —A cursory study of the provisions of the law 1158 1158 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento 1. immediately reveals how tolerant and reasonable the Legislature has been. The law is made prospective and recognizes the right and privilege of those already engaged in the occupation to continue therein during the rest of their lives; and similar recognition of the right to continue is accorded associations of aliens. The right or privilege is denied only to persons upon conviction of certain offenses. 1. 9.ID.; ID.; ID.; ATTAINMENT OF LEGISLATIVE ASPIRATIONS OF A PEOPLE NOT BEYOND THE LIMITS OF LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY.—If political independence is a legitimate aspiration of a people, then economic independence is none of less legitimate. Freedom and liberty are not real and positive, if the people are subject to the economic control and domination of others, especially if not of their own race or country. The removal and eradication of the shackles of foreign economic control and domination is one of the noblest motives that a national legislature may pursue. It is impossible to conceive that legislation that seeks to bring it about can infringe the constitutional limitation of due process. The attainment of a legitimate aspiration of a people can never be beyond the limits of legislative authority. 1. 10.ID.; ID.; ID.; NATIONALISTIC TENDENCY MANIFESTED IN THE CONSTITUTION.—Nationalistic tendency is manifested in various provisions of the Constitution. The nationalization of the retail trade is only a continuance of the nationalistic protective policy laid down as a primary objective of the Constitution, It cannot therefore be said that a law imbued with the same purpose and spirit underlying many of the provisions of the Constitution is unreasonable, invalid or unconstitutional. 1. 11.ID.; LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE DISCRETION NOT SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW.—The exercise of legislative discretion is not subject to judicial review. The Court will not inquire into the motives of the Legislature, nor pass upon general matters of legislative judgment. The Legislature is primarily the judge of the necessity of an enactment or of any of its provisions, and every presumption is in favor of its validity, and though the Court may hold views inconsistent with the wisdom of the law, it may not annul the legislation if not palpably in excess of the legislative power. 1. 12.ID.; TITLES OF BILLS; PROHIBITION AGAINST DUPLICITY; PRESENCE OF DUPLICITY NOT SHOWN IN TlTLE OR PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180.—What Section 21(1) of Article VI of the Constitution prohibits is duplicity, that is, if its title completely fails to apprise the legislators or the public of the nature. 1159 VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1159 Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento 1. scope and consequences of the law or its operation (I Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Sec. 1707, p. 297). A cursory consideration of the title and the provisions of the bill fails to show the presence of duplicity. It is true that the term "regulate" does not and may not readily and at first glance convey the idea of "nationalization" and "prohibition", which terms express the two main purposes and objectives of the law. But "regulate" is a broader term than either prohibition or nationalization. Both of these have always been included within the term "regulation". 1. 13.ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; USE OF GENERAL TERMS IN TITLE OF BILL.—The general rule is for the use of general terms in the title of a bill; the title need not be an index to the entire contents of the law (I Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Sec. 4803, p. 345). The above rule was followed when the title of the Act in question adopted the more general term "regulate" instead of "nationalize" or "prohibit". 1. 14.ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PURPOSE OF CONSTITUTIONAL DIRECTIVE REGARDING SUBJECT OF A BILL.—One purpose of the constitutional directive that the subject of a bill should be embraced in its title is to apprise the legislators of the purposes, the nature and scope of its provisions, and prevent the enactment into law of matters which have not received the notice, action and study of the legislators or of the public. In case at bar it cannot be claimed that the legislators have not been apprised of the nature of the law, especially the nationalization and prohibition provisions. The legislators took active interest in the discussion of the law, and a great many of the persons affected by the prohibition in the law conducted a campaign against its approval. It cannot be claimed, therefore, that the reasons for declaring the law invalid ever existed. 1. 15.ID.; INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND OBLIGATIONS NOT VIOLATED BY REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180; TREATIES SUBJECT TO QUALIFICATION OR AMENDMENT BY SUBSEQUENT LAW.—The law does not violate international treaties and obligations. The United Nations Charter imposes no strict or legal obligations regarding the rights and freedom of their subjects (Jans Kelsen, The Law of the United Nations, 1951 ed., pp. 29-32), and the Declaration of Human Rights contains nothing more than a mere recommendation, or a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. The Treaty of Amity between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of China of April 18, 1947 guarantees equality of treatment to the Chinese nationals "upon the same terms as the nationals of any other 1160 1160 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED Ichong, etc. et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento 1. country". But the nationals of China are not discriminated against because nationals of all other countries, except those of the United States, who are granted special rights by the Constitution, are all prohibited from engaging in the retail trade. But even supposing that the law infringes upon the said treaty, the treaty is always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law (U.S. vs. Thompson, 258, Fed. 257, 260), and the same may never curtail or restrict the scope of the police power of the State (Palston vs. Pennsylvania 58 L. ed., 539). ORIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Injunction and Mandamus. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Ozaeta, Lichauco & Picazo and Sycip, Quisumbing, Salazar & Associates for petitioner. Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for respondent Secretary of Finance. City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Assistant City Fiscal Eulogio S. Serrano for respondent City Treasurer. Dionisio Reyes as Amicus Curiae. Marcial G. Mendiola as Amicus Curiae. Emiliano R. Navarro as Amicus Curiae. LABRADOR, J.: I. The case and the issue, in general This Court has before it the delicate task of passing upon the validity and constitutionality of a legislative enactment, fundamental and far-reaching in significance. The enactment poses questions of due process, police power and equal protection of the laws. It also poses an important issue of fact, that is whether the conditions which the disputed law purports to remedy really or actually exist. Admittedly springing from a deep, militant, and positive nationalistic impulse, the law purports to protect citizen and country from the alien retailer. Through it, and within the field of economy it regulates, Congress attempts 1161 VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1161 Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento to translate national aspirations for economic independence and national security, rooted in the drive and urge for national survival and welfare, into a concrete and tangible measures designed to free the national retailer from the competing dominance of the alien, so that the country and the nation may be free from a supposed economic dependence and bondage. Do the facts and circumstances justify the enactment? II. Pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 1180 Republic Act No. 1180 is entitled "An Act to Regulate the Retail Business." In effect it nationalizes the retail trade business. The main provisions of the Act are: (1) a prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines, and against associations, partnerships, or corporations the capital of which are not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail trade; (2) an exception from the above prohibition in favor of aliens actually engaged in said business on May 15, 1954, who are allowed to continue to engage therein, unless their licenses are forfeited in accordance with the law, until their death or voluntary retirement in case of natural persons, and for ten years after the approval of the Act or until the expiration of term in case of juridical persons; (3) an exception therefrom in favor of citizens and juridical entities of the United States; (4) a provision for the forfeiture of licenses (to engage in the retail business) for violation of the laws on nationalization, economic control weights and measures and labor and other laws relating to trade, commerce and industry; (5) a prohibition against the establishment or opening by aliens actually engaged in the retail business of additional stores or branches of retail business, (6) a provision requiring aliens actually engaged in the retail business to present for registration with the proper authorities a verified statement concerning their businesses, giving, among other matters, the nature of the business, their assets 1162 1162 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento and liabilities and their offices and principal offices of juridical entities; and (7) a provision allowing the heirs of aliens now engaged in the retail business who die, to continue such business for a period of six months for purposes of liquidation. III. Grounds upon which petition is based—Answer thereto Petitioner, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of other alien residents, corporations and partnerships adversely affected by the provisions of Republic Act No. 1180, brought this action to obtain a judicial declaration that said Act is unconstitutional, and to enjoin the Secretary of Finance and all other persons acting under him, particularly city and municipal treasurers, from enforcing its provisions. Petitioner attacks the constitutionality of the Act, contending that: (1) it denies to alien residents the equal protection of the laws and deprives them of their liberty and property without due process of law; (2) the subject of the Act is not expressed or comprehended in the title thereof; (3) the Act violates international and treaty obligations of the Republic of the Philippines; (4) the provisions of the Act against the transmission by aliens of their retail business thru hereditary succession, and those requiring 100% Filipino capitalization for a corporation or entity to entitle it to engage in the retail business, violate the spirit of Sections 1 and 5, Article XIII and Section 8 of Article XIV of the Constitution. In answer, the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila contend that: (1) the Act was passed in the valid exercise of the police power of the State, which exercise is authorized in the Constitution in the interest of national economic survival; (2) the Act has only one subject embraced in the title; (3) no treaty or international obligations are infringed; (4) as regards hereditary succession, only the form is affected but the value of the property is not impaired, and the institution of inheritance is only of statutory origin. 1163 VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1163 Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento IV. Preliminary consideration of legal principles involved a. The police power.— There is no question that the Act was approved in the exercise of the police power, but petitioner claims that its exercise in this instance is attended by a violation of the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws. But before proceeding to the consideration and resolution of the ultimate issue involved, it would be well to bear in mind certain basic and f undamental, albeit preliminary, considerations in the determination of the ever recurrent conflict between police power and the guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. What is the .scope of police power, and how are the due process and equal protection clauses related to it? What is the province and power of the legislature, and what is the function and duty of the courts? These consideration must be clearly and correctly understood that their application to the f acts of the case may be brought forth with clarity and the issue accordingly resolved. It has been said that police power is so far-reaching in scope, that it has become almost impossible to limit its sweep. As it derives its existence from the very existence of the State itself, it does not need to be expressed or defined in its scope; it is said to be co-extensive with selfprotection and survival, and as such it is the most positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential, insistent and illimitable. Especially is it so under a modern democratic framework where the demands of society and of nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions; the field and scope of police power has become almost boundless, just as the fields of public interest and public welfare have become almost all-embracing and have transcended human foresight. Otherwise stated, as we cannot foresee the needs and demands of public interest and welfare in this constantly changing and progressive world, so we cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope 1164 1164 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED Ichong, etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento of police power by which and through which the State seeks to attain or achieve public interest or welfare. So it is that Constitutions do not define the scope or extent of the police power of the State; what they do is to set f orth the limitations thereof. The most important of these are the due process clause and the equal protection clause. b. Limitations on police power.— The basic limitations of due process and equal protection are found in the following provisions of our Constitution: "SECTION 1.(1) No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property withou...
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