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28 JAN 1955]

Facts: Case was filed by Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), represented

by its supreme bishop Gerardo Bayaca, against Bishop Fonacier seeking
to render an accounting of his administration of all the
temporal properties and to recover the same on the ground that he
ceased to be the supreme bishop of IFI. Isabelo De los Reyes Jr. had
been elected as the Supreme Bishop.
Petitioner claims that he was not properly removed as Supreme Bishop
and his legal successor was Juan Jamias. He claims that the there was
an accounting of his administration and was turned over to bishop
Jamias. Also, that Isabelo De los Reyes and Bayaca have abandonedtheir
faith and formally joined the Prostestant Episcopal Church of America.
CFI rendered judgment declaring Isabelo De Los Reyes, Jr. as the sole
and legitimate Supreme Bishop of IFI and ordered Fonacier to render an
accounting of his admistration
CA affirmed the decision of the CFI
Issue: Whether or not the petitioner should still be regarded as the
legitimate supreme bishop of IFI.
Held: Supreme Court affirmed CAs decision. The legitimate Supreme
Bishop of IFI is Isabelo De los Reyes, Jr. The Supreme Court affirms the
validity of the election of Bishop Delos Reyes as the Supreme Bishop
based on their internal laws
To finally dispose of the property issue, the Court, citing Watson v.
Jones,368 declared that the rule in property controversies within
religious congregations strictly independent of any other superior
ecclesiastical association (such as the Philippine Independent Church) is
that the rules for resolving such controversies should be those of any
voluntary association. If the congregation adopts the majority rule then
the majority should prevail; if it adopts adherence to duly constituted
authorities within the congregation, then that should be followed.


Brief Fact Summary. A Jehovahs Witnesses was convicted on a charge of

breach of the peace for playing a phonograph record sharply critical of
the Catholic religion to persons he encountered on the street.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A State may proscribe speech if it amounts to a
breach of the peace, which encompasses not only violent acts, but also
acts and words likely to produce violence in others.
Facts. Jesse Cantwell (Cantwell), a Jehovahs Witnesses, was convicted
on the charge of breach of the peace for playing a phonograph record
sharply critical of the Catholic religion to persons he encountered on the
street. His intent was to proselytize his listeners. Prior to his arrest, there
was no evidence that Cantwells deportment was noisy or offensive.
Moreover, although the message on the record was offensive, it was
only played to persons who voluntarily agreed to listen.
Issue. Did the arrest and conviction of Cantwell for violating the
common law offense of breach of the peace violate his constitutional
rights of free speech under the First Amendment of the United States
Constitution (Constitution)?

1 2 ) M A R S H v. A L A B A M A
Facts of the Case
Grace Marsh, a Jehovah's Witness, attempted to distribute religious
literature on the sidewalk near a post office in Chickasaw, Alabama. The
town of Chickasaw is owned and run by the Gulf Shipbuilding
Corporation and is not a public municipality. Despite this, the town
exhibits most of the same characteristics as any other town. After being
informed that she was on private property and told to stop distribution
of her religious material, Marsh refused. She was arrested, tried, and
convicted of trepass.
Did Alabama violate Marsh's rights under the First and Fourteenth
amendments by refusing to allow her to distribute religious material in
the privately owned town of Chickasaw?
Yes. In an opinion by Justice Hugo L. Black, the Court found, 5 to 3, that
there was no significant difference between the relationship between
Chickasaw and private citizens and the relationship between any other
town and its citizens. As such, it employed a balancing test, weighing

private property rights against an individual's right to free speech.

Favoring the latter, the Court ruled in Marsh's favor.


[101PHIL 386; G.R. NO. 9637; 30 APR 1957]

Facts: New Yorks Education Law requires local public schoolauthorities

to lend textbooks free of charge to all students in grade 7to 12,
including those in private schools. The Board of Educationcontended
that said statute was invalid and violative of the State and
Federal Constitutions. An order barring the Commissioner of Education
(Allen) from removing appellants members from office for failure to
comply with the requirement and an order preventing the use of state
funds for the purchase of textbooks to be lent to parochial schools were
sought for. The trial court held the statute unconstitutional. The
Appellate Division reversed the decision and dismissed
the complaintsince the appellant have no standing. The New York Court
of Appeals, ruled that the appellants have standing but the law is not
Issue: Whether or Not the said ordinances are constitutional and valid
(contention: it restrains the free exercise and enjoyment of the religious
profession and worship of appellant).
Held: Section 1, subsection (7) of Article III of the Constitution, provides
(7) No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and the free exercise and
enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or
preference, shall forever be allowed. No religion test shall be required
for the exercise of civil or political rights.
The provision aforequoted is a constitutional guaranty of the free
exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, which
carries with it the right to disseminate religious information.
It may be true that in the case at bar the price asked for the bibles and
other religious pamphlets was in some instances a little bit higher than
the actual cost of the same but this cannot mean that appellant was
engaged in the business or occupation of selling said "merchandise" for
profit. For this reason. The Court believe that the provisions of City of
Manila Ordinance No. 2529, as amended, cannot be applied to
appellant, for in doing so it would impair its free exercise and enjoyment
of its religious profession and worship as well as its rights of
dissemination of religious beliefs.

With respect to Ordinance No. 3000, as amended, the Court do not find
that it imposes any charge upon the enjoyment of a right granted by the
Constitution, nor tax the exercise of religious practices.
It seems clear, therefore, that Ordinance No. 3000 cannot be considered
unconstitutional, however inapplicable to said business, trade or
occupation of the plaintiff. As to Ordinance No. 2529 of the City of
Manila, as amended, is also not applicable, so defendant is powerless to
license or tax the business of plaintiff Society.
WHEREFORE, defendant shall return to plaintiff the sum of P5,891.45
unduly collected from it.



Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Barnette (Respondent), is a

Jehovahs Witness who refused to pledge allegiance the United States
flag while in public school. According to the Petitioner, the West Virginia
State Board of Educations (Petitioner), rule, the Respondent was
expelled from school and charged with juvenile delinquency.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The right to not speak is as equally protected
under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution
(Constitution) as the right to free speech.
Facts. In 1942, the Petitioner adopted a rule that forced all teachers and
pupils to pledge allegiance the nations flag each day. If the student
refused he would be found insubordinate and expelled from school. He
would not be readmitted to school until he conformed. Meanwhile, he
was considered to be unlawfully absent and subject to delinquency
hearings. The parents could be fined $50 per day with a jail term not to
exceed 30 days. The Respondent asked for an exception for all
Jehovahs Witnesses because this pledge goes against their religious
belief. But he was denied an exception.
Issue. Does this rule compelling a pledge violate the First Amendment of
the Constitution?


106 Phil 2 Aug. 12, 1959

1. Petitioners belong to the Jehovas Witness whose children were
expelled from their schools when they refused to salute, sing the
anthem, recite the pledge during the conduct of flag ceremony. DO No. 8
issued by DECS pursuant to RA 1265 which called for the manner of
conduct during a flag ceremony. The petitioners wrote the Secretary of
Education on their plight and requested to reinstate their children. This
was denied.

2. As a result, the petitioners filed for a writ of preliminary injunction

against the Secretary and Director of Public Schools to restrain them
from implementing said DO No. 8.

3. The lower court (RTC) declared DO 8 invalid and contrary to the Bill of

ISSUE: Whether or not DO 8 is valid or constitutional

DO 8 is valid. Saluting the flag is not a religious ritual and it is for the
courts to determine, not a religious group, whether or not a certain
practice is one.
1. The court held that the flag is not an image but a symbol of the
Republic of the Philippines, an emblem of national sovereignty, of
national unity and cohesion and of freedom and liberty which it and the
Constitution guarantee and protect. Considering the complete
separation of church and state in our system of government, the flag is
utterly devoid of any religious significance. Saluting the flag
consequently does not involve any religious ceremony.
After all, the determination of whether a certain ritual is or is not a
religious ceremony must rest with the courts. It cannot be left to a
religious group or sect, much less to a follower of said group or sect;
otherwise, there would be confusion and misunderstanding for there
might be as many interpretations and meanings to be given to a certain
ritual or ceremony as there are religious groups or sects or followers.
2. The freedom of religious belief guaranteed by the Constitution does
not and cannot mean exemption form or non-compliance with
reasonable and non-discriminatory laws, rules and regulations
promulgated by competent authority. In enforcing the flag salute on the
petitioners, there was absolutely no compulsion involved, and for their
failure or refusal to obey school regulations about the flag salute they
were not being persecuted. Neither were they being criminally
prosecuted under threat of penal sacntion. If they chose not to obey the
flag salute regulation, they merely lost the benefits of public education
being maintained at the expense of their fellow citizens, nothing more.
According to a popular expression, they could take it or leave it. Having
elected not to comply with the regulations about the flag salute, they
forfeited their right to attend public schools.

3. The Filipino flag is not an image that requires religious veneration;

rather it is symbol of the Republic of the Philippines, of sovereignty, an
emblem of freedom, liberty and national unity; that the flag salute is not

a religious ceremony but an act and profession of love and allegiance

and pledge of loyalty to the fatherland which the flag stands for; that by
authority of the legislature, the Secretary of Education was duly
authorized to promulgate Department Order No. 8, series of 1955; that
the requirement of observance of the flag ceremony or salute provided
for in said Department Order No. 8, does not violate the Constitutional
provision about freedom of religion and exercise of religion; that
compliance with the non-discriminatory and reasonable rules and
regulations and school discipline, including observance of the flag
ceremony is a prerequisite to attendance in public schools; and that for
failure and refusal to participate in the flag ceremony, petitioners were
properly excluded and dismissed from the public school they were


1. In G.R. No. 95770 "Roel Ebralinag, et al. vs. Division Superintendent of
Schools of Cebu and Manuel F. Biongcog, Cebu District Supervisor," the
petitioners are 43 high school and elementary school students in several
towns of in Cebu province. All minors, they are assisted by their parents
who belong to the religious group known as Jehovah's Witness. This is a
consolidated petition.

2. All the petitioners in these two cases were expelled from their classes
by the public school authorities in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag,
sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge as required by
RA 1265 of July 11, 1955, and by DO No. 8 of the DECS making the flag
ceremony compulsory in all educational institutions

3. In G.R. No. 95887, "May Amolo, et al. vs. Division Superintendent of

Schools of Cebu and Antonio A. Sangutan," the petitioners are 25 high
school and grade school students enrolled in public schools in Asturias,
Cebu, whose parents are Jehovah's Witnesses. Both petitions were
prepared by the same counsel, Attorney Felino M. Ganal.

4. The Jehovah's Witnesses admittedly teach their children not to salute

the flag, sing the national anthem, and recite the patriotic pledge for
they believe that those are "acts of worship" or "religious devotion only
given to God.They consider the flag as an image or idol representing the
State . They think the action of the local authorities in compelling the
flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on the
State's power and invades the sphere of the intellect and spirit which
the Constitution protect against official control

5. In 1989, the DECS Regional Office in Cebu received complaints about

teachers and pupils belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses, and enrolled
in various public and private schools, who refused to sing the Philippine
national anthem, salute the Philippine flag and recite the patriotic

6. The students and their parents filed these special civil actions
for Mandamus,Certiorari and Prohibition alleging that the public
respondents acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction and with
grave abuse of discretion (1) in ordering their expulsion without prior
notice and hearing, hence, in violation of their right to due process, their
right to free public education, and their right to freedom of speech,
religion and worship

7. The Court issued a TRO and a writ of preliminary mandatory

injunction and ordered to immediately re-admit the petitioners to their
respective classes until further orders.

ISSUE: Whether or not the expulsion is valid

NO. The court upheld the petitioners' right under the Constitution to
refuse to salute the Philippine flag on account of their religious beliefs.
Religious freedom as a fundamental right deserving the "highest priority
and amplest protection among human rights. It reversed the expulsion
orders made by the public respondents therein as violative of both the
free exercise of religion clause and the right of citizens to education
under the 1987 Constitution.

Although the Court upholds in this decision nevertheless, that another

foreign invasion of our country will not be necessary in order for our
countrymen to appreciate and cherish the Philippine flag.


Political Law Religious Freedom vs Clear and Present Danger

German et al went to JP Laurel St to pray and worship in St Luke Chapel.
But they were barred by General Barangan and his underlings from

entering the church because the same is within the vicinity of the
Malacanang. And considering that Germans group is expressively
known as the August Twenty One Movement who were wearing yellow
shirts with clench fists, Barangan deemed that they were not really
there to worship but rather they are there to disrupt the ongoings within
the Malacanang.

ISSUE: Whether or not the bar disallowing petitioners to worship and

pray at St. Luke is a violation of their freedom to worship and

HELD: In the case at bar, German et al are not denied or restrained of

their freedom of belief or choice of their religion, but only in the manner
by which they had attempted to translate the same into action. There
has been a clear manifestation by Barangan et al that they allow the
German et al to practice their religious belief but not in the manner that
German et al impress. Such manner impresses clear and present
danger to the executive of the state hence the need to curtail it even
at the expense of curtailing ones freedom to worship.
Dissenting Opinions
J. Fernando - It would be an unwarranted departure then from what
has been unanimously held in the J.B.L. Reyes decision if on such a basic
right as religious freedom -clearly the most fundamental and thus
entitled to the highest priority among human rights, involving as it does
the relationship of man to his Creator -this Court will be less vigilant in
upholding any rightful claim. More than ever, in times of stress -and
much more so in times of crisis -it is that deeply-held faith that affords
solace and comfort if not for everyone at least for the majority of
mankind. Without that faith, mans very existence is devoid of meaning,
bereft of significance.
J. Teehankee - The right to freely exercise ones religion is guaranteed
in Section 8 of our Bill of Rights. 7 Freedom of worship, alongside with
freedom of expression and speech and peaceable assembly along with
the other intellectual freedoms, are highly ranked in our scheme of
constitutional values. It cannot be too strongly stressed that on the
judiciary -even more so than on the other departments -rests the grave

and delicate responsibility of assuring respect for and deference to such

preferred rights. No verbal formula, no sanctifying phrase can, of course,
dispense with what has been so felicitously termed by Justice Holmes
as the sovereign prerogative of judgment. Nonetheless, the
presumption must be to incline the weight of the scales of justice on the
side of such rights, enjoying as they do precedence and primacy.
J. Makasiar With the assurances aforestated given by both petitioners
and respondents, there is no clear and present danger to public peace
and order or to the security of persons within the premises of
Malacaang and the adjacent areas, as the respondents has adopted
measures and are prepared to insure against any public disturbance or

Political Law Inviolability of the Separation of Church and State
In 1971, Fr. Margarito Gonzaga, a priest, won the election for mayoralty
in Albuquerque, Bohol. He was also proclaimed as a mayor therein.
Pamil, a rival candidate file a quo warranto case against Gonzaga
questioning the eligibility of Gonzaga. He argued that as provided for in
the Revised Administrative Code; in no case shall there be elected or
appointed to a municipal office ecclesiastics, soldiers in active service,
persons receiving salaries or compensation from provincial or national
funds, or contractors for public works of the municipality. In this case,
the elected mayor is a priest. However, Judge Teleron ruled that the
Administrative Code is repealed by the Election Code of 1971 which
allowed the prohibitions of the revised administrative code.

HELD: Decision is indecisive, the said law, in the deliberations of the

court, failed to obtain the majority vote of eight (8) which is needed in
order for this law to be binding upon the parties in this case. For this,
the petition must be granted and the decision of the lower court
reversed and set aside. Fr. Gonzaga is hereby ordered to vacate the
mayoralty position. It is also pointed out that how can one who swore to
serve the Churchs interest above all be in duty to enforce state policies
which at times may conflict with church tenets. This is in violation of the
separation of the church and state. The Revised Administrative Code still
stands because there is no implied repeal.
Dissenting Opinion
J. Teehankee The Comelec ruled that soldiers in active service and
persons receiving salaries or compensation from provincial or national
funds are obviously now allowed to run for a public elective office
because under Sec. 23 of the Election Code of 1971 every person
holding a public appointive office or position, including active members
of the Armed Forces shall ipso facto cease in their office or position on
the date they file their certificates of candidacy. This implies that they
are no longer disqualified from running for an elective office. The
Comelec further ruled that as to the two remaining categories formerly
banned under the Revised Administrative Code, ecclesiastics and
contractors for public works of the municipality are allowed to run for
municipal elective offices under the maxim, Inclusio unius est exclusio
alterius, they being not included in the enumeration of persons
ineligible under the New Election Code. The rule is that all persons
possessing the necessary qualifications, except those expressly
disqualified by the election code, are eligible to run for public office.


Political Law Primacy of the Constitution over Contractual Rights

ISSUE: Whether or not the Revised Administrative Code is no longer

Victoriano, an Iglesia ni Cristo member, has been an employee of the

Elizalde Rope Factory since 1958. He was also a member of the EPWU.
Under the CBA between ERF and EPWU, a close shop agreement is being
enforced which means that employment in the factory relies on the
membership in the EPWU; that in order to retain employment in the said
factory one must be a member of the said Union. In 1962, Victoriano

tendered his resignation from EPWU claiming that as per RA 3350 he is

an exemption to the close shop agreement by virtue of his being a
member of the INC because apparently in the INC, one is forbidden from
being a member of any labor union. It was only in 1974 that his
resignation from the Union was acted upon by EPWU which notified ERF
about it. ERF then moved to terminate Victoriano due to his nonmembership from the EPWU. EPWU and ERF reiterated that he is not
exempt from the close shop agreement because RA 3350 is
unconstitutional and that said law violates the EPWUs and ERFs
legal/contractual rights.

HELD: The right to religion prevails over contractual or legal rights. As

such, an INC member may refuse to join a labor union and despite the
fact that there is a close shop agreement in the factory where he was
employed, his employment could not be validly terminated for his nonmembership in the majority therein. Further, the right to join a union
includes the right not to join a union. The law is not unconstitutional. It
recognizes both the rights of unions and employers to enforce terms of
contracts and at the same time it recognizes the workers right to join or
not to join union. But the RA recognizes as well the primacy of a
constitutional right over a contractual right.

ISSUE: Whether or not RA 3350 is unconstitutional.