Equal Protection of the Laws

Romarico J Mendoza vs. PP (GR 183891)

On the matter of equal protection, we stated in Tolentino v. Board of Accountancy, et al. that the guarantee simply means that no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of the laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the same place and in like circumstances. In People v. Cayat, we further summarized the jurisprudence on equal protection in this wise:

It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the 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.

Ang Ladlad LGBT vs. Comelec (GR 190582)

Despite the absolutism of Article III, Section 1 of our Constitution, which provides nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws, courts have never interpreted the provision as an absolute prohibition on classification. Equality, said Aristotle, consists in the same treatment of similar persons. The equal protection clause guarantees that no person or class of persons shall be deprived of the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the same place and in like circumstances.

From the standpoint of the political process, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender have the same interest in participating in the party-list system on the same basis as other political parties similarly situated. State intrusion in this case is equally burdensome. Hence, laws of general application should apply with equal force to LGBTs, and they deserve to participate in the party-list system on the same basis as other marginalized and under-represented sectors.

International School Alliance of Educators vs. Hon. Quisumbing (GR 128845)

That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution and laws reflect the policy against these evils. The Constitution in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts Congress to “give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities.” The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, “in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.”

International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination. General principles of law include principles of equity i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,the Convention against Discrimination in Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation – all embody the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.

Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code. Article 135, for example, prohibits and penalizes the payment of lesser compensation to a female employee as against a male employee for work of equal value. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor practice for an employer to discriminate in regard to wages in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.

British american Tobacco vs. DOF (GR 163583)

Petitioner argues that the classification freeze provision violates the equal protection and uniformity of taxation clauses because Annex D brands are taxed based on their 1996 net retail prices while new brands are taxed based on their present day net retail prices. Citing Ormoc Sugar Co. v. Treasurer of Ormoc City, petitioner asserts that the assailed provisions accord a special or privileged status to Annex D brands while at the same time discriminate against other brands.

These contentions are without merit and a rehash of petitioners previous arguments before this Court. As held in the assailed Decision, the instant case neither involves a suspect classification nor impinges on a fundamental right. Consequently, the rational basis test was properly applied to gauge the constitutionality of the assailed law in the face of an equal protection challenge. It has been held that in the areas of social and economic policy, a statutory classification that neither proceeds along suspect lines nor infringes constitutional rights must be upheld against equal protection challenge if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification. Under the rational basis test, it is sufficient that the legislative classification is rationally related to achieving some legitimate State interest.

NAPOCOR vs Pinatubo Commercial (GR 176006)

The equal protection clause means that no person or class of persons shall be deprived of the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the same place and in like circumstances. The guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on a reasonable classification. The equal protection clause, therefore, does not preclude classification of individuals who may be accorded different treatment under the law as long as the classification is reasonable and not arbitrary.

Armando G. Yrasuegui vs. PAL (GR 168081)

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 guarantee.

 

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Author: Born2drinkStuff

SEO/Content/Article/BMR Writer

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