Police Power Cases

MMDA v. Trackworks Rail Transit Advertising, Vending and Promotions, Inc. 

It is futile for MMDA to simply invoke its legal mandate to justify the dismantling of Trackworks’ billboards, signages and other advertising media. MMDA simply had no power on its own to dismantle, remove, or destroy the billboards, signages and other advertising media installed on the MRT3 structure by Trackworks. In Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Viron Transportation Co., Inc., and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Garin, the Court had the occasion to rule that MMDA’s powers were limited to the formulation, coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation, management, monitoring, setting of policies, installing a system, and administration. Nothing in Republic Act No. 7924 granted MMDA police power, let alone legislative power.

MMDA VS. Hon. Alberto Romulo (GR 170656)

The authority of the President to order the implementation of the Project notwithstanding, the designation of the MMDA as the implementing agency for the Project may not be sustained. It is ultra vires, there being no legal basis therefor.

It bears stressing that under the provisions of E.O. No. 125, as amended, it is the DOTC, and not the MMDA, which is authorized to establish and implement a project such as the one subject of the cases at bar.Thus, the President, although authorized to establish or cause the implementation of the Project, must exercise the authority through the instrumentality of the DOTC which, by law, is the primary implementing and administrative entity in the promotion, development and regulation of networks of transportation, and the one so authorized to establish and implement a project such as the Project in question.

By designating the MMDA as the implementing agency of the Project, the President clearly overstepped the limits of the authority conferred by law, rendering E.O. No. 179 ultra vires.

In light of the administrative nature of its powers and functions, the MMDA is devoid of authority to implement the Project as envisioned by the E.O; hence, it could not have been validly designated by the President to undertake the Project. It follows that the MMDA cannot validly order the elimination of respondents terminals.

Even the MMDAs claimed authority under the police power must necessarily fail in consonance with the above-quoted ruling in MMDA v. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. and this Courts subsequent ruling in Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Garin that the MMDA is not vested with police power.

Even assuming arguendo that police power was delegated to the MMDA, its exercise of such power does not satisfy the two tests of a valid police power measure, viz: (1) the interest of the public generally, as distinguished from that of a particular class, requires its exercise; and (2) the means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. Stated differently, the police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare and a reasonable relation must exist between the purposes and the means.

City of Manila vs. Hon Judge Laguio, JR., Manila and Malate Tourust Deve’t Corp. (GR 118127)

To successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rationale for the enactment of the Ordinance, and to free it from the imputation of constitutional infirmity, not only must it appear that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require an interference with private rights, but the means adopted must be reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. It must be evident that no other alternative for the accomplishment of the purpose less intrusive of private rights can work. A reasonable relation must exist between the purposes of the police 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.

Lacking a concurrence of these two requisites, the police measure shall be struck down as an arbitrary intrusion into private rights a violation of the due process clause.

The Ordinance disallows the operation of sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars, beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns in the Ermita-Malate area. In Section 3 thereof, owners and/or operators of the enumerated establishments are given three (3) months from the date of approval of the Ordinance within which to wind up business operations or to transfer to any place outside the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of business allowable within the area. Further, it states in Section 4 that in cases of subsequent violations of the provisions of the Ordinance, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked permanently.

It is readily apparent that the means employed by the Ordinance for the achievement of its purposes, the governmental interference itself, infringes on the constitutional guarantees of a persons fundamental right to liberty and property.

Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include the right to exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject only to such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare. In accordance with this case, the rights of the citizen to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; and to pursue any avocation are all deemed embraced in the concept of liberty.

Petitioners contend that the Ordinance enjoys the presumption of validity. While this may be the rule, it has already been held that although the presumption is always in favor of the validity or reasonableness of the ordinance, such presumption must nevertheless be set aside when the invalidity or unreasonableness appears on the face of the ordinance itself or is established by proper evidence. The exercise of police power by the local government is valid unless it contravenes the fundamental law of the land, or an act of the legislature, or unless it is against public policy or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial, discriminating or in derogation of a common right.

Conclusion

All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and impairs personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to be forgotten, the City Council under the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is therefore ultra vires, null and void.

Concededly, the challenged Ordinance was enacted with the best of motives and shares the concern of the public for the cleansing of the Ermita-Malate area of its social sins. Police power legislation of such character deserves the full endorsement of the judiciary we reiterate our support for it. But inspite of its virtuous aims, the enactment of the Ordinance has no statutory or constitutional authority to stand on. Local legislative bodies, in this case, the City Council, cannot prohibit the operation of the enumerated establishments under Section 1 thereof or order their transfer or conversion without infringing the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection of laws not even under the guise of police power.

 

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Author: Born2drinkStuff

SEO/Content/Article/BMR Writer

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