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[G.R. No. 120095. August 5, 1996.] under the due process clause.

under the due process clause. So long as professionals and other workers meet reasonable regulatory
standards no such deprivation exists.
JMM PROMOTION AND MANAGEMENT, INC., and KARY INTERNATIONAL, INC., petitioners, vs. HON.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. MA. NIEVES CONFESSOR, then Secretary of the Department of Labor and 5.CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; STATE POLICIES; THE STATE SHALL AFFORD FULL PROTECTION TO LABOR;
Employment, HON. JOSE BRILLANTES, in his capacity as acting Secretary of the Department of Labor ELUCIDATED. — Protection to labor does not indicate promotion of employment alone. Under the
and Employment and HON. FELICISIMO JOSON, in his capacity as Administrator of the Philippine welfare and social justice provisions of the Constitution, the promotion of full employment, while
Overseas Employment Administration, respondents. desirable, cannot take a backseat to the government's constitutional duty to provide mechanisms for the
protection of our work-force, local or overseas. As this Court explained in Philippine Association of
Service Exporters (PASEI) v. Drilon, in reference to the recurring problems faced by our overseas workers:
SYLLABUS
what concerns the Constitution more paramountly is that such an employment be above all, decent, just,
and humane. It is bad enough that the country has to send its sons and daughters to strange lands
1.POLITICAL LAW; INHERENT POWERS OF THE STATE; POLICE POWER; NATURE AND SCOPE. — The latin because it cannot satisfy their employment needs at home. Under these circumstances, the Government
maxim salus populi est suprema lex embodies the character of the entire spectrum of public laws aimed is duty-bound to insure that our toiling expatriates have adequate protection, personally and
at promoting the general welfare of the people under the State's police power. As an inherent attribute economically, while away from home. A profession, trade or calling is a property right within the
of sovereignty which virtually "extends to all public needs," this "least limitable" of governmental powers meaning of our constitutional guarantees. One cannot be deprived of the right to work and the right to
grants a wide panoply of instruments through which the state, as parens patriae gives effect to a host of make a living because these rights are property rights, the arbitrary and unwarranted deprivation of
its regulatory powers. Describing the nature and scope of the police power, Justice Malcolm, in the early which normally constitutes an actionable wrong.
case of Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro (89 Phil. 660, 708, [1919]) wrote: "The police power of the
State," one court has said . . . 'is a power coexistensive with self-protection, and is not inaptly termed
6.ID.; BILL OF RIGHTS; NON-IMPAIRMENT OF OBLIGATIONS OF CONTRACTS; MUST YIELD TO THE STATE'S
'the law of overruling necessity.' It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the state which
POLICE POWER. — It is a futile gesture on the part of petitioners to invoke the non-impairment clause of
enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society." Carried onward by
the Constitution to support their argument that the government cannot enact the assailed regulatory
the current of legislature. the judiciary rarely attempts to dam the onrushing power of legislative
measures because they abridge the freedom to contract. In Philippine Association of Service Exporters,
discretion, provided the purposes of the law do not go beyond the great principles that mean security for
Inc. vs. Drilon, we held that "(t)he non-impairment clause of the Constitution . . . must yield to the loftier
the public welfare or do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the individual."
purposes targeted by the government." Equally important, into every contract is read provisions of
existing law, and always, a reservation of the police power for so long as the agreement deals with a
2.ID.; ID.; ID.; EXERCISE THEREOF ENJOYS A PRESUMED VALIDITY UNLESS IT IS SHOWN THAT IT DOES NOT subject impressed with the public welfare.
ENHANCE THE PUBLIC WELFARE OR WAS EXERCISED ARBITRARILY OR UNREASONABLY. — Thus, police
power concerns government enactments which precisely interfere with personal liberty or property in
7.ID.; ID.; EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE; MERELY REQUIRES THAT ALL PERSONS BE TREATED ALIKE UNDER
order to promote the general welfare or the common good. As the assailed Department Order enjoys a
LIKE CONDITIONS. — The equal protection clause is directed principally against undue favor and
presumed validity, it follows that the burden rests upon petitioners to demonstrate that the said order,
individual or class privilege. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited to the object to
particularly its ARB requirement, does not enhance the public welfare or was exercised arbitrarily or
which it is directed or by the territory in which it is to operate. It does not require absolute equality, but
unreasonably.
merely that all persons be treated alike under like conditions both as to privileges conferred and
liabilities imposed. We have held, time and again, that the equal protection clause of the Constitution
3.ID.; ID.; ID.; THE PROPER REGULATION OF A PROFESSION, CALLING, BUSINESS OR TRADE IS A VALID does not forbid classification for so long as such classification is based on real and substantial differences
EXERCISE THEREOF. — Nevertheless, no right is absolute, and the proper regulation of a profession, having a reasonable relation to the subject of the particular legislation. If classification is germane to the
calling business or trade has always been upheld as a legitimate subject of a valid exercise of the police purpose of the law, concerns all members of the class, and applies equally to present and future
power by the state particularly when their conduct affects either the execution of legitimate conditions, the classification does not violate the equal protection guarantee.
governmental functions, the preservation of the State, the public health and welfare and public morals.
According to the maxim, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, it must of course be within the legitimate
DECISION
range of legislative action to define the mode and manner in which every one may so use his own
property so as not to pose injury to himself or others.
KAPUNAN, J p:
4.ID.; ID.; ID.; WHERE THE LIBERTY CURTAILED AFFECTS AT MOST THE RIGHT TO PROPERTY, THE
PERMISSIBLE SCOPE OF REGULATORY MEASURES IS MUCH WIDER. — In any case, where the liberty This limits of government regulation under the State's police power are once again at the vortex of the
curtailed affects at most the rights of property, the permissible scope of regulatory measures is certainly instant controversy. Assailed is the government's power to control deployment of female entertainers to
much wider. To pretend that licensing or accreditation requirements violates the due process clause is to Japan by requiring an Artist Record Book (ARB) as a precondition to the processing by the POEA of any
ignore the settled practice, under the mantle of the police power, of regulating entry to the practice of contract for overseas employment. By contending that the right to overseas employment is a property
various trades or professions. Professionals leaving for abroad are required to pass rigid written and right within the meaning of the Constitution, petitioners vigorously aver that deprivation thereof
practical exams before they are deemed fit to practice their trade. Seamen are required to take tests allegedly through the onerous requirement of an ARB violates the due process clause and constitutes an
determining their seamanship. Locally, the Professional Regulation Commission has began to require invalid exercise of the police power.
previously licensed doctors and other professionals to furnish documentary proof that they had either
re-trained or had undertaken continuing education courses as a requirement for renewal of their
The factual antecedents are undisputed.
licenses. It is not claimed that these requirements pose an unwarranted deprivation of a property right
Following the much-publicized death of Maricris Sioson in 1991, former President Corazon C. Aquino We agree.
ordered a total ban against the deployment of performing artists to Japan and other foreign
destinations. The ban was, however, rescinded after leaders of the overseas employment industry
The latin maxim salus populi est suprema lex embodies the character of the entire spectrum of public
promised to extend full support for a program aimed at removing kinks in the system of deployment. In
laws aimed at promoting the general welfare of the people under the State's police power. As an
its place, the government, through the Secretary of Labor and Employment, subsequently issued
inherent attribute of sovereignty which virtually "extends to all public needs," 2 this "least limitable" 3 of
Department Order No. 28 creating the Entertainment Industry Advisory Council (EIAC). which was tasked
governmental powers grants a wide panoply of instruments through which the state, as parens
with issuing guidelines on the training, testing certification and deployment of performing artists abroad.
patriae gives effect to a host of its regulatory powers.

Pursuant to the EIAC's recommendations, 1 the Secretary of Labor, on January 6, 1994, issued
Describing the nature and scope of the police power, Justice Malcolm, in the early case of Rubi v.
Department Order No. 3 establishing various procedures and requirements for screening performing
Provincial Board of Mindoro 4 wrote:
artists under a new system of training, testing, certification and deployment of the former. Performing
artists successfully hurdling the test, training and certification requirement were to be issued an Artist's
Record Book (ARB), a necessary prerequisite to processing of any contract of employment by the POEA. "The police power of the State," one court has said . . . 'is a power coextensive with self-
Upon request of the industry, implementation of the process, originally scheduled for April 1, 1994, was protection, and is not inaptly termed 'the law of overruling necessity.' It may be said to be
moved to October 1, 1994. that inherent and plenary power in the state which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful
to the comfort, safety and welfare of society." Carried onward by the current of
legislature, the judiciary rarely attempts to dam the onrushing power of legislative
Thereafter, the Department of Labor, following the EIAC's recommendation, issued a series of orders
discretion, provided the purposes of the law do not go beyond the great principles that
fine-tuning and implementing the new system. Prominent among these orders were the following
mean security for the public welfare or do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the
issuances:
individual." 5

1. 1.Department Order No. 3-A, providing for additional guidelines on the training,
Thus, police power concerns government enactments which precisely interfere with personal liberty or
testing, certification and deployment of performing artists.
property in order to promote the general welfare or the common good. As the assailed Department
2. 2.Department Order No. 3-B, pertaining to the Artist Record Book (ARB)
Order enjoys a presumed validity, it follows that the burden rests upon petitioners to demonstrate that
requirement, which could be processed only after the artist could show proof of
the said order, particularly, its ARB requirement, does not enhance the public welfare or was exercised
academic and skills training and has passed the required tests.
arbitrarily or unreasonably.
3. 3.Department Order No. 3-E, providing the minimum salary a performing artist
ought to receive (not less than US$600.00 for those bound for Japan) and the
authorized deductions therefrom. A through review of the facts and circumstances leading to the issuance of the assailed orders compels
4. 4.Department Order No. 3-F, providing for the guidelines on the issuance and use us to rule that the Artist Record Book requirement and the questioned Department Order related to its
of the ARB by returning performing artists who, unlike new artists, shall only issuance were issued by the Secretary of Labor pursuant to a valid exercise of the police power.
undergo a Special Orientation Program (shorter than the basic program) although
they must pass the academic test. In 1984, the Philippines emerged as the largest labor sending country in Asia dwarfing the labor export of
countries with mammoth populations such as India and China. According to the National Statistics Office,
In Civil No. 95-72750, the Federation of Entertainment Talent Managers of the Philippines (FETMOP), on this diaspora was augmented annually by over 450,000 documented and clandestine or illegal
January 27, 1995 filed a class suit assailing these department orders, principally contending that said (undocumented) workers who left the country for various destinations abroad, lured by higher salaries,
orders 1) violated the constitutional right to travel; 2) abridged existing contracts for employment; and better work opportunities and sometimes better living conditions.
3) deprived individual artists of their licenses without due process of law. FETMOP, likewise, averred that
the issuance of the Artist Record Book (ARB) was discriminatory and illegal and "in gross violation of the Of the hundreds of thousands of workers who left the country for greener pastures in the last few years,
constitutional right . . . to life liberty and property." Said Federation consequently prayed for the women composed slightly close to half of those deployed, constituting 47% between 1987-1991,
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the aforestated orders. exceeding this proportion (58%) by the end of 1991, 6 the year former President Aquino instituted the
ban on deployment of performing artists to Japan and other countries as a result of the gruesome death
On February 2, 1992, JMM Promotion and Management, Inc. and Kary International, Inc., herein of Filipino entertainer Maricris Sioson.
petitioners, filed a Motion for Intervention in said civil case, which was granted by the trial court in an
Order dated 15 February, 1995. It was during the same period that this Court took judicial notice not only of the trend, but also of the
fact that most of our women, a large number employed as domestic helpers and entertainers, worked
However, on February 21, 1995, the trial court issued an Order denying petitioners' prayer for a writ of under exploitative conditions "marked by physical and personal abuse." 7 Even then, we noted that
preliminary injunction and dismissed the complaint. "[t]he sordid tales of maltreatment suffered by migrant Filipina workers, even rape and various forms of
torture, confirmed by testimonies of returning workers" compelled "urgent government action." 8
On appeal from the trial court's Order, respondent court, in CA G.R. SP No. 36713 dismissed the same.
Tracing the circumstances which led to the issuance of the ARB requirement and the assailed Pursuant to the alarming number of reports that a significant number of Filipina performing artists
Department Order, respondent court concluded that the issuances constituted a valid exercise by the ended up as prostitutes abroad (many of whom were beaten, drugged and forced into prostitution), and
state of the police power. following the deaths of a number of these women, the government began instituting measures aimed at
deploying only those individuals who met set standards which would qualify them as legitimate More emphatically, the social justice provision on labor of the 1987 Constitution in its first paragraph
performing artists. In spite of these measures, however, a number of our countrymen have nonetheless states:
fallen victim to unscrupulous recruiters, ending up as virtual slaves controlled by foreign crime syndicates
and forced into jobs other than those indicated in their employment contracts. Worse, some of our
The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and
women have been forced into prostitution.
unorganized and promote full employment and equality of employment
opportunities for all.
Thus, after a number of inadequate and failed accreditation schemes, the Secretary of Labor issued on
August 16, 1993, D.O. No. 28, establishing the Entertainment Industry Advisory Council (EIAC), the policy
Obviously, protection to labor does not indicate promotion of employment alone. Under the welfare and
advisory body of DOLE on entertainment industry matters. 9 Acting on the recommendations of the said
social justice provisions of the Constitution, the promotion of full employment, while desirable, cannot
body, the Secretary of Labor, on January 6, 1994, issued the assailed orders. These orders embodied
take a backseat to the government's constitutional duty to provide mechanisms for the protection of our
EIAC's Resolution No. 1, which called for guidelines on screening, testing and accrediting performing
workforce, local or overseas. At this Court explained in Philippine Association of Service Exporters (PASEI)
overseas Filipino artists. Significantly, as the respondent court noted, petitioners were duly represented
v. Drilon, 11 in reference to the recurring problems faced by our overseas workers:
in the EIAC, 10 which gave the recommendations on which the ARB and other requirements were based.

What concerns the Constitution more paramountly is that such an employment be


Clearly, the welfare of Filipino performing artists, particularly the women was paramount in the issuance
above all, decent, just, and humane. It is bad enough that the country has to send its
of Department Order No. 3. Short of a total and absolute ban against the deployment of performing
sons and daughters to strange lands because it cannot satisfy their employment
artists to "high-risk" destinations, a measure which would only drive recruitment further underground,
needs at home. Under these circumstances, the Government is duty-bound to insure
the new scheme at the very least rationalizes the method of screening performing artists by requiring
that our toiling expatriates have adequate protection, personally and economically,
reasonable educational and artistic skills from them and limits deployment to only those individuals
while away from home.
adequately prepared for the unpredictable demands of employment as artists abroad. It cannot be
gainsaid that this scheme at least lessens the room for exploitation by unscrupulous individuals and
agencies. We now go to petitioners' assertion that the police power cannot, nevertheless, abridge the right of our
performing workers to return to work abroad after having earlier qualified under the old process,
because, having previously been accredited, their accreditation became a "property right," protected by
Moreover, here or abroad, selection of performing artists is usually accomplished by auditions, where
the due process clause. We find this contention untenable.
those deemed unfit are usually weeded out through a process which is inherently subjective and
vulnerable to bias and differences in taste. The ARB requirement goes one step further, however,
attempting to minimize the subjectivity of the process by defining minimum skills required from A profession, trade or calling is a property right within the meaning of our constitutional guarantees. One
entertainers and performing artists. As the Solicitor General observed, this should be easily met by cannot be deprived of the right to work and the right to make a living because these rights are property
experienced artists possessing merely basic skills. The tests are aimed at segregating real artists or rights, the arbitrary and unwarranted deprivation of which normally constitutes an actionable wrong. 12
performers from those passing themselves off as such, eager to accept any available job and therefore
exposing themselves to possible exploitation. Nevertheless, no right is absolute, and the proper regulation of a profession, calling, business or trade
has always been upheld as a legitimate subject of a valid exercise of the police power by the state
As to the other provisions of Department Order No. 3 questioned by petitioners, we see nothing wrong particularly when their conduct affects either the execution of legitimate governmental functions, the
with the requirement for document and booking confirmation (D.O. 3-C), a minimum salary scale (D.O. 3- preservation of the State, the public health and welfare and public morals. According to the maxim, sic
E), or the requirement for registration of returning performers. The requirement for a venue certificate utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, it must of course be within the legitimate range of legislative action to
or other documents evidencing the place and nature of work allows the government closer monitoring of define the mode and manner in which every one may so use his own property so as not to pose injury to
foreign employers and helps keep our entertainers away from prostitution fronts and other worksites himself or others. 13
associated with unsavory, immoral, illegal or exploitative practices. Parenthetically, none of these
issuances appear to us, by any stretch of the imagination, even remotely unreasonable or arbitrary. They In any case, where the liberty curtailed affects at most the rights of property, the permissible scope of
address a felt need of according greater protection for an oft-exploited segment of our OCW's. They regulatory measures is certainly much wider. 14 To pretend that licensing or accreditation requirements
respond to the industry's demand for clearer and more practicable rules and guidelines. Many of these violates the due process clause is to ignore the settled practice, under the mantle of the police power, of
provisions were fleshed out following recommendations by, and after consultations with, the affected regulating entry to the practice of various trades or professions. Professionals leaving for abroad are
sectors and non-government organizations. On the whole, they are aimed at enhancing the safety and required to pass rigid written and practical exams before they are deemed fit to practice their trade.
security of entertainers and artists bound for Japan and other destinations, without stifling the industry's Seamen are required to take tests determining their seamanship. Locally, the Professional Regulation
concerns for expansion and growth. Commission has began to require previously licensed doctors and other professionals to furnish
documentary proof that they had either re-trained or had undertaken continuing education courses as a
In any event, apart from the State's police power, the Constitution itself mandates government to requirement for renewal of their licenses. It is not claimed that these requirements pose an unwarranted
extend the fullest protection to our overseas workers. The basic constitutional statement on labor, deprivation of a property right under the due process clause. So long as professionals and other workers
embodied in Section 18 of Article II of the Constitution provides: meet reasonable regulatory standards no such deprivation exists.

Sec. 18.The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall Finally, it is a futile gesture on the part of petitioners to invoke the non-impairment clause of the
protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. Constitution to support their argument that the government cannot enact the assailed regulatory
measures because they abridge the freedom to contract. In Philippine Association of Service Exporters,
Inc. vs. Drilon, we held that "[t]he non-impairment clause of the Constitution . . . must yield to the loftier
purposes targeted by the government." 15 Equally important, into every contract is read provisions of
existing law, and always, a reservation of the police power for so long as the agreement deals with a
subject impressed with the public welfare.

A last point. Petitioners suggest that the singling out of entertainers and performing artists under the
assailed department orders constitutes class legislation which violates the equal protection clause of the
Constitution. We do not agree.

The equal protection clause is directed principally against undue favor and individual or class privilege. It
is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited to the object to which it is directed or by the
territory in which it is to operate. It does not require absolute equality, but merely that all persons be
treated alike under like conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities imposed. 16 We have
held, time and again, that the equal protection clause of the Constitution does not forbid classification
for so long as such classification is based on real and substantial differences having a reasonable relation
to the subject of the particular legislation. 17 If classification is germane to the purpose of the law,
concerns all members of the class, and applies equally to present and future conditions, the classification
does not violate the equal protection guarantee.

In the case at bar, the challenged Department Order clearly applies to all performing artists and
entertainers destined for jobs abroad. These orders, we stressed hereinbefore, further the Constitutional
mandate requiring government to protect our workforce, particularly those who may be prone to abuse
and exploitation as they are beyond the physical reach of government regulatory agencies. The tragic
incidents must somehow stop, but short of absolutely curtailing the right of these performers and
entertainers to work abroad, the assailed measures enable our government to assume a measure of
control.

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision sought to be reviewed, petition is hereby
DENIED.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 122917. July 12, 1999.] Magna Carta accords them the rights of qualified able-bodied persons, they are thus covered by Article
280 of the Labor Code.

MARITES BERNARDO, ELVIRA GO DIAMANTE, REBECCA E. DAVID, DAVID P. PASCUAL,


3.ID.; ID.; EMPLOYMENT; TEST WHETHER EMPLOYEE IS REGULAR. — The test of whether an employee is
RAQUEL ESTILLER, ALBERT HALLARE, EDMUND M. CORTEZ, JOSELITO O. AGDON, GEORGE P.
LIGUTAN JR., CELSO M. YAZAR, ALEX G. CORPUZ, RONALD M. DELFIN, ROWENA M. regular was laid down in De Leon v. NLRC, in which this Court held: "The primary standard, therefore, of
determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the particular activity
TABAQUERO, CORAZON C. DELOS REYES, ROBERT G. NOORA, MILAGROS O. LEQUIGAN,
ADRIANA F. TATLONGHARI, IKE CABANDUCOS, COCOY NOBELLO, DORENDA performed by the employee in relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. The test is
CANTIMBUHAN, ROBERT MARCELO, LILIBETH Q. MARMOLEJO, JOSE E. SALES, ISABEL whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The
connection can be determined by considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the
MAMAUAG, VIOLETA G. MONTES, ALBINO TECSON, MELODY V. GRUELA, BERNADETH D.
AGERO, CYNTHIA DE VERA, LANI R. CORTEZ, MA. ISABEL B. CONCEPCION, DINDO VALERIO, scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also if the employee has been performing the
ZENAIDA MATA, ARIEL DEL PILAR, MARGARET CECILIA CANOZA, THELMA SEBASTIAN, MA. job for at least one year, even if the performance is not continuous and merely intermittent, the law
deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not
JEANETTE CERVANTES, JEANNIE RAMIL, ROZAIDA PASCUAL, PINKY BALOLOA, ELIZABETH
VENTURA, GRACE S. PARDO and RICO TIMOSA, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is considered regular, but only
with respect to such activity, and while such activity exists."
COMMISSION & FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY,respondents.

4.ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — Without a doubt, the task of counting and sorting bills is necessary
SYNOPSIS and desirable to the business of respondent bank. With the exception of sixteen of them, petitioners
performed these tasks for more than six months. Thus, the twenty-seven petitioners should be deemed
regular employees. As held by the Court, "Articles 280 and 281 of the Labor Code put an end to the
This petition sought the reversal of the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission affirming pernicious practice of making permanent casuals of our lowly employees by the simple expedient of
the ruling of the labor arbiter that they could not be deemed regular employees under Article 280 of the extending to them probationary appointments, ad infinitum." The contract signed by petitioners is akin
Labor Code. to a probationary employment, during which the bank determined the employees' fitness for the job.
When the bank renewed the contract after the lapse of the six-month probationary period, the
employees thereby became regular employees. No employer is allowed to determine indefinitely the
The Court granted the petition. Respondent bank entered into employment contracts with handicapped fitness of its employees.
workers and renewed the contracts of 37 of them. This showed that these workers were qualified to
perform the responsibilities of their positions. The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mandates that a
qualified disabled employee should be given the same terms of employment as a qualified able-bodied 5.ID.; ID.; ID.; REGULAR EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO SECURITY OF TENURE; ILLEGALLY DISMISSED
person. This being so, petitioners are thus covered by Art. 280 of the Labor Code which defines regular EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO SEPARATION PAY IN LIEU OF REINSTATEMENT. — As regular employees, the
employment to be that the employee has been engaged to perform activities usually necessary or twenty-seven petitioners are entitled to security of tenure; that is, their services may be terminated only
desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The task of counting and sorting bills is for a just or authorized cause. Because respondent failed to show such cause, these twenty-seven
necessary to the business of respondent bank. With the exception of sixteen of them, petitioners petitioners are deemed illegally dismissed and therefore entitled to back wages and reinstatement
performed these tasks for more than six months. Therefore, the 27 petitioners should be deemed without loss of seniority rights and other privileges. Considering the allegation of respondent that the job
regular employees entitled to security of tenure. Their services may only be terminated for a just and of money sorting is no longer available because it has been assigned back to the tellers to whom it
authorized cause. Because respondents failed to show such cause, these 27 petitioners are deemed originally belonged, petitioners are hereby awarded separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. Because the
illegally dismissed and hence entitled to backwages and separation pay. other sixteen worked only for six months, they are not deemed regular employees and hence not
entitled to the same benefits.

SYLLABUS 6.ID.; ID.; ID.; EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT WITH FIXED TERM; RULING IN BRENT CASE NOT APPLICABLE IN
CASE AT BAR. — Respondent bank, citing Brent School v. Zamora in which the Court upheld the validity
of an employment contract with a fixed term, argues that the parties entered into the contract on equal
1.REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; FACTUAL FINDINGS, NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW. footing. It adds that the petitioners had in fact an advantage, because they were backed by then DSWD
— True, the Court, as a rule, does not review the factual findings of public respondents in Secretary Mita Pardo de Tavera and Representative Arturo Borjal. We are not persuaded. The term limit
a certiorari proceeding. In resolving whether the petitioners have become regular employees, we shall in the contract was premised on the fact that the petitioners were disabled, and that the bank had to
not change the facts found by the public respondent. Our task is merely to determine whether the NLRC determine their fitness for the position. Indeed, its validity is based on Article 80 of the Labor Code. But
committed grave abuse of discretion in applying the law to the established facts, as above-quoted from as noted earlier, petitioners proved themselves to be qualified disabled persons who, under the Magna
the assailed Decision. Carta for Disabled Persons, are entitled to terms and conditions of employment enjoyed
by qualified able-bodied individuals; hence, Article 80 does not apply because petitioners are qualified
2.LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; LABOR CODE; EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS; QUALIFIED DISABLED for their positions. The validation of the limit imposed on their contracts, imposed by reason of their
PERSONS REMOVE CONTRACT FROM AMBIT OF ARTICLE 80 OF LABOR CODE. — The Magna Carta for disability, was a glaring instance of the very mischief sought to be addressed by the new law.
Disabled Persons mandates that a qualified disabled employee should be given the same terms and
conditions of employment as aqualified able-bodied person. The fact that the employees were qualified 7.ID.; ID.; EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT; IMPRESSED WITH PUBLIC INTEREST; PARTIES ARE NOT AT LIBERTY
disabled persons necessarily removes the employment contracts from the ambit of Article 80. Since the TO INSULATE THEMSELVES. — It must be emphasized that a contract of employment is impressed with
public interest. Provisions of applicable statutes are deemed written into the contract, and the "parties
are not at liberty to insulate themselves and their relationships from the impact of labor laws and The facts were summarized by the NLRC in this wise: 6
regulations by simply contracting with each other." Clearly, the agreement of the parties regarding the
period of employment cannot prevail over the provisions of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, which
"Complainants numbering 43 (p. 176, Records) are deaf-mutes who were hired on
mandate that petitioners must be treated as qualified able-bodied employees. DTEIaC
various periods from 1988 to 1993 by respondent Far East Bank and Trust Co. as
Money Sorters and Counters through a uniformly worded agreement called
8.ID.; ID.; EMPLOYMENT; CHARACTER OF EMPLOYMENT; HOW DETERMINED. — As earlier noted, an 'Employment Contract for Handicapped Workers'. (pp. 68 & 69, Records) The full text
employee is regular because of the nature of work and the length of service, not because of the mode or of said agreement is quoted below:
even the reason for hiring them. In L.T. Datu v. NLRC, the Court held that "the determination of whether
employment is casual or regular does not depend on the will or word of the employer, and the
'EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT FOR HANDICAPPED WORKERS
procedure of hiring . . . but on the nature of the activities performed by the employee, and to some
extent, the length of performance and its continued existence." The character of employment is
determined not by stipulations in the contract, but by the nature of the work performed. Otherwise, no This Contract, entered into by and between:
employee can become regular by the simple expedient of incorporating this condition in the contract of
employment. FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, a universal banking corporation duly organized
and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines, with business address at
9.ID.; MAGNA CARTA FOR DISABLED PERSONS; OBJECTIVES BASED NOT MERELY ON CHARITY BUT ON FEBTC Building, Muralla, Intramuros, Manila, represented herein by its Assistant Vice
JUSTICE AND EQUAL TREATMENT OF QUALIFIED PERSONS. — In rendering this Decision, the Court President, MR. FLORENDO G. MARANAN, (hereinafter referred to as the 'BANK');
emphasizes not only the constitutional bias in favor of the working class, but also the concern of the
State for the plight of the disabled. The noble objectives of Magna Carta for Disabled Persons are not - and -
based merely on charity or accommodation, but on justice and the equal treatment of qualified persons,
disabled or not. In the present case, the handicap of petitioners (deaf-mutes) is not a hindrance to their
work. The eloquent proof of this statement is the repeated renewal of their employment contracts. Why __________________________, _______ years old, of legal age, _____________, and
then should they be dismissed, simply because they are physically impaired? The Court believes, that, residing at ______________________ (hereinafter referred to as the ('EMPLOYEE').
after showing their fitness for the work assigned to them, they should be treated and granted the same
rights like any other regular employees. WITNESSETH: That

DECISION WHEREAS, the BANK, cognizant of its social responsibility, realizes that there is a need to
provide disabled and handicapped persons gainful employment and opportunities to
PANGANIBAN, J p: realize their potentials, uplift their socio-economic well being and welfare and make
them productive, self-reliant and useful citizens to enable them to fully integrate in the
mainstream of society; cdtai
The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mandates that qualified disabled persons be granted the same
terms and conditions of employment as qualified able-bodied employees. Once they have attained the
status of regular workers, they should be accorded all the benefits granted by law, notwithstanding WHEREAS, there are certain positions in the BANK which may be filled-up by disabled
written or verbal contracts to the contrary. This treatment is rooted not merely on charity or and handicapped persons, particularly deaf-mutes, and the BANK ha[s] been
accommodation, but on justice for all. LLjur approached by some civic-minded citizens and authorized government agencies
[regarding] the possibility of hiring handicapped workers for these positions;

The Case
WHEREAS, the EMPLOYEE is one of those handicapped workers who [were]
recommended for possible employment with the BANK;
Challenged in the Petition for Certiorari 1 before us is the June 20, 1995 Decision 2 of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC), 3 which affirmed the August, 22 1994 ruling of Labor Arbiter Cornelio L.
Linsangan. The labor arbiter's Decision disposed as follows: 4 NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing premises and in compliance
with Article 80 of the Labor Code of the Philippines as amended, the BANK and the
EMPLOYEE have entered into this Employment Contract as follows:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the above-mentioned
complaint for lack of merit."
1.The BANK agrees to employ and train the EMPLOYEE, and the EMPLOYEE agrees to
diligently and faithfully work with the BANK, as Money Sorter andCounter.
Also assailed is the August 4, 1995 Resolution 5 of the NLRC, which denied the Motion for
Reconsideration.
2.The EMPLOYEE shall perform among others, the following duties and responsibilities:

The Facts
i.Sort out bills according to color;
ii.Count each denomination per hundred, either manually or with the aid of a 9.The Employment Contract shall be for a period of six (6) months or from ____ to ____
counting machine; unless earlier terminated by the BANK for any just or reasonable cause. Any continuation
or extension of this Contract shall be in writing and therefore this Contract will
automatically expire at the end of its terms unless renewed in writing by the BANK.
iii.Wrap and label bills per hundred;

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties, have hereunto affixed their signature[s] this ____ day
iv.Put the wrapped bills into bundles; and
of _________________, ____________ at Intramuros, Manila, Philippines.'

v.Submit bundled bills to the bank teller for verification.


"In 1988, two (2) deaf-mutes were hired under this Agreement; in 1989 another two (2); in 1990,
nineteen (19); in 1991 six (6); in 1992, six (6) and in 1993, twenty-one (21). Their employment[s]
3.The EMPLOYEE shall undergo a training period of one (1) month, after which the BANK were renewed every six months such that by the time this case arose, there were fifty-six (56) deaf-
shall determine whether or not he/she should be allowed to finish the remaining term of mutes who were employed by respondent under the said employment agreement. The last one
this Contract. was Thelma Malindoy who was employed in 1992 and whose contract expired on July 1993.

4.The EMPLOYEE shall be entitled to an initial compensation of P118.00 per day, subject xxx xxx xxx
to adjustment in the sole judgment of the BANK, payable every 15thand end of the
month.
"Disclaiming that complainants were regular employees, respondent Far East Bank and Trust
Company maintained that complainants who are a special class of workers — the hearing impaired
5.The regular work schedule of the EMPLOYEE shall be five (5) days per week, from employees were hired temporarily under [a] special employment arrangement which was a result of
Mondays thru Fridays, at eight (8) hours a day. The EMPLOYEE may be required to overtures made by some civic and political personalities to the respondent Bank; that complainant[s]
perform overtime work as circumstance may warrant, for which overtime work he/she were hired due to 'pakiusap' which must be considered in the light of the context of the respondent
[shall] be paid an additional compensation of 125% of his daily rate if performed during Bank's corporate philosophy as well as its career and working environment which is to maintain and
ordinary days and 130% if performed during Saturday or [a] rest day. strengthen a corps of professionals trained and qualified officers and regular employees who are
baccalaureate degree holders from excellent schools which is an unbending policy in the hiring of
6.The EMPLOYEE shall likewise be entitled to the following benefits: regular employees; that in addition to this, training continues so that the regular employee grows in
the corporate ladder; that the idea of hiring handicapped workers was acceptable to them only on a
special arrangement basis; that it adopted the special program to help tide over a group of
i.Proportionate 13th month pay based on his basic daily wage. handicapped workers such as deaf-mutes like the complainants who could do manual work for the
respondent Bank; that the task of counting and sorting of bills which was being performed by tellers
ii.Five (5) days incentive leave. could be assigned to deaf-mutes; that the counting and sorting of money are tellering works which
were always logically and naturally part and parcel of the tellers' normal functions; that from the
beginning there have been no separate items in the respondent Bank plantilla for sorters or
iii.SSS premium payment. counters; that the tellers themselves already did the sorting and counting chore as a regular feature
and integral part of their duties (p. 97, Records); that through the 'pakiusap' of Arturo Borjal, the
7.The EMPLOYEE binds himself/herself to abide [by] and comply with all the BANK Rules tellers were relieved of this task of counting and sorting bills in favor of deaf-mutes without creating
and Regulations and Policies, and to conduct himself/herself in a manner expected of all new positions as there is no position either in the respondent or in any other bank in the Philippines
employees of the BANK. which deals with purely counting and sorting of bills in banking operations." cda

8.The EMPLOYEE acknowledges the fact that he/she had been employed under a special Petitioners specified when each of them was hired and dismissed, viz: 7
employment program of the BANK, for which reason the standard hiring requirements of
the BANK were not applied in his/her case. Consequently, the EMPLOYEE acknowledges "NAME OF PETITIONERWORKPLACEDate HiredDate Dismissed
and accepts the fact that the terms and conditions of the employment generally observed
by the BANK with respect to the BANK's regular employee are not applicable to the 1. MARITES BERNARDOIntramuros12 NOV 9017 NOV 93
EMPLOYEE, and that therefore, the terms and conditions of the EMPLOYEE's employment 2. ELVIRA GO DIAMANTEIntramuros24 JAN 9011 JAN 94
with the BANK shall be governed solely and exclusively by this Contract and by the 3. REBECCA E. DAVIDIntramuros16 APR 9023 OCT 93
applicable rules and regulations that the Department of Labor and Employment may issue 4. DAVID P. PASCUALBel-Air15 OCT 8821 NOV 94
in connection with the employment of disabled and handicapped workers. More 5. RAQUEL ESTILLERIntramuros2 JUL 924 JAN 94
specifically, the EMPLOYEE hereby acknowledges that the provisions of Book Six of the 6. ALBERT HALLAREWest4 JAN 919 JAN 94
Labor Code of the Philippines as amended, particularly on regulation of employment and 7. EDMUND M. CORTEZBel-Air15 JAN 913 DEC 93
separation pay are not applicable to him/her. dctai 8. JOSELITO O. AGDONIntramuros5 NOV 9017 NOV 93
9. GEORGE P. LIGUTAN, JR.Intramuros6 SEPT 8919 JAN 94
10. CELSO M. YAZARIntramuros8 FEB 938 AUG 93
11. ALEX G. CORPUZIntramuros15 FEB 9315 AUG 93
12. RONALD M. DELFINIntramuros22 FEB 9322 AUG 93 Issues
13. ROWENA M. TABAQUEROIntramuros22 FEB 9322 AUG 93
14. CORAZON C. DELOS REYESIntramuros8 FEB 938 AUG 93
In their Memorandum, petitioners cite the following grounds in support of their cause:
15. ROBERT G. NOORAIntramuros15 FEB 9315 AUG 93
16. MILAGROS O. LEQUIGANIntramuros1 FEB 931 AUG 93
17. ADRIANA F. TATLONGHARIIntramuros22 JAN 9322 JUL 93 "I.The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in holding
18. IKE CABANDUCOSIntramuros24 FEB 9324 AUG 93 that the petitioners — money sorters and counters working in a bank — were
19. COCOY NOBELLOIntramuros22 FEB 9322 AUG 93 not regular employees.
20. DORENDA CATIMBUHANIntramuros15 FEB 9315 AUG 93
21. ROBERT MARCELOWest31 JUL 93 81 AUG 93 "II.The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in holding
22. LILIBETH Q. MARMOLEJOWest15 JUN 9021 NOV 93 that the employment contracts signed and renewed by the petitioners — which
23. JOSE E. SALESWest6 AUG 9212 OCT 93 provide for a period of six (6) months — were valid.
24. ISABEL MAMAUAGWest8 MAY 9210 NOV 93
25. VIOLETA G. MONTESIntramuros2 FEB 9015 JAN 94
26. ALBINO TECSONIntramuros7 NOV 9110 NOV 93 "III.The Honorable Commission committed grave abuse of discretion in not
27. MELODY V. GRUELAWest28 OCT 913 NOV 93 applying the provisions of the Magna Carta for the Disabled (Republic Act No.
28. BERNADETH D. AGEROWest19 DEC 9027 DEC 93 7277), on proscription against discrimination against disabled persons." 11
29. CYNTHIA DE VERABel-Air26 JUN 903 DEC 93
30. LANI R. CORTEZBel-Air15 OCT 8810 DEC 93 In the main, the Court will resolve whether petitioners have become regular employees.
31. MA. ISABEL B. CONCEPCIONWest6 SEPT 906 FEB 94
32. DINDO VALERIOIntramuros30 MAY 9330 NOV 93
33. ZENAIDA MATAIntramuros10 FEB 9310 AUG 93 This Court's Ruling
34. ARIEL DEL PILARIntramuros24 FEB 9324 AUG 93
35. MARGARET CECILIA CANOZA Intramuros27 JUL 904 FEB 94 The petition is meritorious. However, only the employees, who worked for more than six months and
36. THELMA SEBASTIANIntramuros12 NOV 9017 NOV 93 whose contracts were renewed are deemed regular. Hence, their dismissal from employment was illegal.
37. MA. JEANETTE CERVANTESWest6 JUN 927 DEC 93
38. JEANNIE RAMILIntramuros23 APR 9012 OCT 93
Preliminary Matter:
39. ROZAIDA PASCUALBel-Air20 APR 8929 OCT 93
Propriety of Certiorari
40. PINKY BALOLOAWest3 JUN 912 DEC 93
41. ELIZABETH VENTURAWest12 MAR 90FEB 94 [sic]
42. GRACE S. PARDOWest4 APR 9013 MAR 94 Respondent Far East Bank and Trust Company argues that a review of the findings of facts of the NLRC is
43. RICO TIMOSAIntramuros28 APR 9328 OCT 93" not allowed in a petition for certiorari. Specifically, it maintains that the Court cannot pass upon the
findings of public respondents that petitioners were not regular employees. prcd
As earlier noted, the labor arbiter and, on appeal, the NLRC ruled against herein petitioners. Hence, this
recourse to this Court. 9 True, the Court, as a rule, does not review the factual findings of public respondents in
a certiorari proceeding. In resolving whether the petitioners have become regular employees, we shall
not change the facts found by the public respondent. Our task is merely to determine whether the NLRC
The Ruling of the NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion in applying the law to the established facts, as above-quoted from
the assailed Decision.
In affirming the ruling of the labor arbiter that herein petitioners could not be deemed regular
employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code, as amended, Respondent Commission ratiocinated as
Main Issue:
follows:
Are Petitioners Regular Employees?

"We agree that Art. 280 is not controlling herein. We give due credence to the
Petitioners maintain that they should be considered regular employees, because their task as money
conclusion that complainants were hired as an accommodation to [the]
sorters and counters was necessary and desirable to the business of respondent bank. They further
recommendation of civic oriented personalities whose employment[s] were
allege that their contracts served merely to preclude the application of Article 280 and to bar them from
covered by . . . Employment Contract[s] with special provisions on duration of
becoming regular employees.
contract as specified under Art. 80. Hence, as correctly held by the Labor
Arbiter a quo, the terms of the contract shall be the law between the
parties." 10 Private respondent, on the other hand, submits that petitioners were hired only as "special workers and
should not in any way be considered as part of the regular complement of the Bank." 12 Rather, they
were "special" workers under Article 80 of the Labor Code. Private respondent contends that it never
The NLRC also declared that the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was not applicable, "considering the
solicited the services of petitioners, whose employment was merely an "accommodation" in response to
prevailing circumstances/milieu of the case."
the requests of government officials and civic-minded citizens. They were told from the start, "with the
assistance of government representatives," that they could not become regular employees because In this light, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mandates that a qualified disabled employee should
there were no plantilla positions for "money sorters," whose task used to be performed by tellers. Their be given the same terms and conditions of employment as a qualifiedable-bodied person. Section 5 of
contracts were renewed several times, not because of need "but merely for humanitarian reasons." the Magna Carta provides: cdll
Respondent submits that "as of the present, the 'special position' that was created for the petitioners no
longer exist[s] in private respondent [bank], after the latter had decided not to renew anymore their
"SECTION 5.Equal Opportunity for Employment. — No disabled person shall be
special employment contracts." cdphil
denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified disabled
employee shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment
At the outset, let it be known that this Court appreciates the nobility of private respondent's effort to and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or
provide employment to physically impaired individuals and to make them more productive members of allowances as a qualified able bodied person."
society. However, we cannot allow it to elude the legal consequences of that effort, simply because it
now deems their employment irrelevant. The facts, viewed in light of the Labor Code and the Magna
The fact that the employees were qualified disabled persons necessarily removes the employment
Carta for Disabled Persons, indubitably show that the petitioners, except sixteen of them, should be
contracts from the ambit of Article 80. Since the Magna Carta accords them the rights of qualified able-
deemed regular employees. As such, they have acquired legal rights that this Court is duty-bound to
bodied persons, they are thus covered by Article 280 of the Labor Code, which provides:
protect and uphold, not as a matter of compassion but as a consequence of law and justice.

"ARTICLE 280.Regular and Casual Employment. — The provisions of written


The uniform employment contracts of the petitioners stipulated that they shall be trained for a period of
agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral
one month, after which the employer shall determine whether or not they should be allowed to finish
agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where
the 6-month term of the contract. Furthermore, the employer may terminate the contract at any time
the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually
for a just and reasonable cause. Unless renewed in writing by the employer, the contract shall
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except
automatically expire at the end of the term.
where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the
completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the
According to private respondent, the employment contracts were prepared in accordance with Article 80 engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is
of the Labor Code, which provides: seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.

"ARTICLE 80.Employment agreement. — Any employer who employs "An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the
handicapped workers shall enter into an employment agreement with them, preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any employee who has rendered at least
which agreement shall include: one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be
considered as regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is
employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists."
a) (a)The names and addresses of the handicapped workers to be
employed;
b) (b)The rate to be paid the handicapped workers which shall be The test of whether an employee is regular was laid down in De Leon v. NLRC , 14 in which this Court
not less than seventy five (75%) per cent of the applicable legal held:
minimum wage;
c) (c)The duration of employment period; and
"The primary standard, therefore, of determining regular employment is the
d) (d)The work to be performed by handicapped workers.
reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the
employee in relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. The test is
The employment agreement shall be subject to inspection by the Secretary of whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or
Labor or his duly authorized representatives." trade of the employer. The connection can be determined by considering the
nature of the work performed and its relation to the scheme of the particular
business or trade in its entirety. Also if the employee has been performing the
The stipulations in the employment contracts indubitably conform with the aforecited provision.
job for at least one year, even if the performance is not continuous and merely
Succeeding events and the enactment of RA No. 7277 (the Magna Carta for Disabled
intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance
Persons), 13 however, justify the application of Article 280 of the Labor Code.
as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to
the business. Hence, the employment is considered regular, but only with
Respondent bank entered into the aforesaid contract with a total of 56 handicapped workers and respect to such activity, and while such activity exists."
renewed the contracts of 37 of them. In fact, two of them worked from 1988 to 1993. Verily, the renewal
of the contracts of the handicapped workers and the hiring of others lead to the conclusion that their
Without a doubt, the task of counting and sorting bills is necessary and desirable to the business of
tasks were beneficial and necessary to the bank. More important, these facts show that they
respondent bank. With the exception of sixteen of them, petitioners performed these tasks for more
were qualified to perform the responsibilities of their positions. In other words, their disability did not
than six months. Thus, the following twenty-seven petitioners should be deemed regular employees:
render them unqualified or unfit for the tasks assigned to them.
Marites Bernardo, Elvira Go Diamante, Rebecca E. David, David P. Pascual, Raquel Estiller, Albert Hallare,
Edmund M. Cortez, Joselito O. Agdon, George P. Ligutan Jr., Lilibeth Q. Marmolejo, Jose E. Sales, Isabel
Mamauag, Violeta G. Montes, Albino Tecson, Melody V. Gruela, Bernadeth D. Agero, Cynthia de Vera,
Lani R. Cortez, Ma. Isabel B. Concepcion, Margaret Cecilia Canoza, Thelma Sebastian, Ma. Jeanette to handicapped and able-bodied persons alike. This excuse cannot justify the termination of their
Cervantes, Jeannie Ramil, Rozaida Pascual, Pinky Baloloa, Elizabeth Ventura and Grace S. Pardo. Cdpr employment.

As held by the Court, "Articles 280 and 281 of the Labor Code put an end to the pernicious practice of Other Grounds Cited by Respondent
making permanent casuals of our lowly employees by the simple expedient of extending to them
probationary appointments, ad infinitum." 15 The contract signed by petitioners is akin to a probationary
Respondent argues that petitioners were merely "accommodated" employees. This fact does not change
employment, during which the bank determined the employees' fitness for the job. When the bank
the nature of their employment. As earlier noted, an employee is regular because of the nature of work
renewed the contract after the lapse of the six-month probationary period, the employees thereby
and the length of service, not because of the mode or even the reason for hiring them.
became regular employees. 16 No employer is allowed to determine indefinitely the fitness of its
employees.
Equally unavailing are private respondent's arguments that it did not go out of its way to recruit
petitioners, and that its plantilla did not contain their positions. In L. T . Datu v.NLRC, 25 the Court held
As regular employees, the twenty-seven petitioners are entitled to security of tenure; that is, their
that "the determination of whether employment is casual or regular does not depend on the will or word
services may be terminated only for a just or authorized cause. Because respondent failed to show such
of the employer, and the procedure of hiring . . . but on the nature of the activities performed by the
cause, 17 these twenty-seven petitioners are deemed illegally dismissed and therefore entitled to back
employee, and to some extent, the length of performance and its continued existence."
wages and reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges. 18 Considering the
allegation of respondent that the job of money sorting is no longer available because it has been
assigned back to the tellers to whom it originally belonged, 19 petitioners are hereby awarded Private respondent argues that the petitioners were informed from the start that they could not become
separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. 20 regular employees. In fact, the bank adds, they agreed with the stipulation in the contract regarding this
point. Still, we are not persuaded. The well-settled rule is that the character of employment is
determined not by stipulations in the contract, but by the nature of the work performed. 26 Otherwise,
Because the other sixteen worked only for six months, they are not deemed regular employees and
no employee can become regular by the simple expedient of incorporating this condition in the contract
hence not entitled to the same benefits.
of employment.

Applicability of the Brent Ruling


In this light, we iterate our ruling in Romares v. NLRC : 27

Respondent bank, citing Brent School v. Zamora, 21 in which the Court upheld the validity of an
"Article 280 was emplaced in our statute books to prevent the circumvention of
employment contract with a fixed term, argues that the parties entered into the contract on equal
the employee's right to be secure in his tenure by indiscriminately and
footing. It adds that the petitioners had in fact an advantage, because they were backed by then DSWD
completely ruling out all written and oral agreements inconsistent with the
Secretary Mita Pardo de Tavera and Representative Arturo Borjal.
concept of regular employment defined therein. Where an employee has been
engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the
We are not persuaded. The term limit in the contract was premised on the fact that the petitioners were usual business of the employer, such employee is deemed a regular employee
disabled, and that the bank had to determine their fitness for the position. Indeed, its validity is based on and is entitled to security of tenure notwithstanding the contrary provisions of
Article 80 of the Labor Code. But as noted earlier, petitioners proved themselves to be qualified disabled his contract of employment. cda
persons who, under the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, are entitled to terms and conditions of
employment enjoyed by qualified able-bodied individuals; hence, Article 80 does not apply because
"xxx xxx xxx
petitioners are qualified for their positions. The validation of the limit imposed on their contracts,
imposed by reason of their disability, was a glaring instance of the very mischief sought to be addressed
by the new law. "At this juncture, the leading case of Brent School, Inc. v. Zamora proves
instructive. As reaffirmed in subsequent cases, this Court has upheld the legality
of fixed-term employment. It ruled that the decisive determinant in 'term
Moreover, it must be emphasized that a contract of employment is impressed with public
employment' should not be the activities that the employee is called upon to
interest. 22 Provisions of applicable statutes are deemed written into the contract, and the "parties are
perform but the day certain agreed upon the parties for the commencement
not at liberty to insulate themselves and their relationships from the impact of labor laws and
and termination of their employment relationship. But this Court went on to say
regulations by simply contracting with each other." 23 Clearly, the agreement of the parties regarding
that where from the circumstances it is apparent that the periods have been
the period of employment cannot prevail over the provisions of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons,
imposed to preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the employee, they
which mandate that petitioners must be treated as qualified able-bodied employees. Cdpr
should be struck down or disregarded as contrary to public policy and morals."

Respondent's reason for terminating the employment of petitioners is instructive. Because the Bangko
In rendering this Decision, the Court emphasizes not only the constitutional bias in favor of the working
Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) required that cash in the bank be turned over to the BSP during business hours
class, but also the concern of the State for the plight of the disabled. The noble objectives of Magna
from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., respondent resorted to nighttime sorting and counting of money. Thus, it
Carta for Disabled Persons are not based merely on charity or accommodation, but on justice and the
reasons that this task "could not be done by deaf mutes because of their physical limitations as it is very
equal treatment of qualified persons, disabled or not. In the present case, the handicap of petitioners
risky for them to travel at night." 24 We find no basis for this argument. Travelling at night involves risks
(deaf-mutes) is not a hindrance to their work. The eloquent proof of this statement is the repeated
renewal of their employment contracts. Why then should they be dismissed, simply because they are
physically impaired? The Court believes, that, after showing their fitness for the work assigned to them,
they should be treated and granted the same rights like any other regular employees.

In this light, we note the Office of the Solicitor General's prayer joining the petitioners' cause. 28

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. The June 20, 1995 Decision and the
August 4, 1995 Resolution of the NLRC are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Far East Bank and Trust
Company is hereby ORDERED to pay back wages and separation pay to each of the following twenty-
seven (27) petitioners, namely, Marites Bernardo, Elvira Go Diamante, Rebecca E. David, David P.
Pascual, Raquel Estiller, Albert Hallare, Edmund M. Cortez, Joselito O. Agdon, George P. Ligutan Jr.,
Lilibeth Q. Marmolejo, Jose E. Sales, Isabel Mamauag, Violeta G. Montes, Albino Tecson, Melody V.
Gruela, Bernadeth D. Agero, Cynthia de Vera, Lani R. Cortez, Ma. Isabel B. Concepcion, Margaret Cecilia
Canoza, Thelma Sebastian, Ma. Jeanette Cervantes, Jeannie Ramil, Rozaida Pascual, Pinky Baloloa,
Elizabeth Ventura and Grace S. Pardo. The NLRC is hereby directed to compute the exact amount due
each of said employees, pursuant to existing laws and regulations, within fifteen days from the finality of
this Decision. No costs. LibLex

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 47800. December 2, 1940.] by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent
elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in
the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of
MAXIMO CALALANG, petitioner, vs. A. D. WILLIAMS, ET AL., respondents. measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying
the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex.
Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of
SYLLABUS interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should
be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life,
1. 1.CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF COMMONWEALTH ACT No. 648; DELEGATION consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health,
OF LEGISLATIVE POWER; AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS AND SECRETARY OF comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest
PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS. — The number."
provisions of section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 648 do not confer legislative power upon the
Director of Public Works and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The authority DECISION
therein conferred upon them and under which they promulgated the rules and regulations now
complained of is not to determine what public policy demands but merely to carry out the LAUREL, J p:
legislative policy laid down by the National Assembly in said Act, to wit, "to promote safe transit
upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as national roads by acts of the
Maximo Calalang, in his capacity as a private citizen and as a taxpayer of Manila, brought before
National Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines" and to close them
this court this petition for a writ of prohibition against the respondents, A. D. Williams, as Chairman
temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the condition of the road or the traffic
of the National Traffic Commission; Vicente Fragante, as Director of Public Works; Sergio Bayan, as
thereon makes such action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest." The
Acting Secretary of Public Works and Communications; Eulogio Rodriguez, as Mayor of the City of
delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the determination of what the law shall be, but
Manila; and Juan Dominguez, as Acting Chief of Police of Manila.
merely the ascertainment of the facts and circumstances upon which the application of said law
is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national roads and to It is alleged in the petition that the National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of July 17, 1940,
determine when and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the resolved to recommend to the Director of Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and
condition of the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public convenience and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited from passing along Rosario Street
interest, is an administrative function which cannot be directly discharged by the National extending from Plaza Calderon de la Barca to Dasmariñas Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and
Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other government official to whom is from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at
confided the duty of determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But Antipolo Street to Echague Street, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., from a period of one year from the date
it cannot be said that the exercise of such discretion is the making of the law. of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Chairman of the National Traffic
Commission, on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works the adoption of the
2. 2.ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER; PERSONAL LIBERTY; GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY. — Commonwealth
measure proposed in the resolution aforementioned, in pursuance of the provisions of
Act No. 548 was passed by the National Assembly in the exercise of the paramount police power
Commonwealth Act No. 548 which authorizes said Director of Public Works, with the approval of
of the state. Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were
the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to promulgate rules and regulations to
promulgated, aims to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads, in the
regulate and control the use of and traffic on national roads; that on August 2, 1940, the Director of
interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore, the National Assembly
Public Works, in his first indorsement to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications,
was prompted by considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by a desire
recommended to the latter the approval of the recommendation made by the Chairman of the
to relieve congestion of traffic, which is, to say the least, a menace to public safety. Public
National Traffic Commission as aforesaid, with the modification that the closing of Rizal Avenue to
welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the enactment of said law, and the state in order to promote
traffic to animal-drawn vehicles be limited to the portion thereof extending from the railroad
the general welfare may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and
crossing at Antipolo Street to Azcarraga Street; that on August 10, 1940, the Secretary of Public
occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in
Works and Communications, in his second indorsement addressed to the Director of Public Works,
order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state (U.S. vs. Gomer Jesus, 31
approved the recommendation of the latter that Rosario Street and Rizal Avenue be closed to
Phil., 218). To this fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are
traffic of animal-drawn vehicles, between the points and during the hours as above indicated, for a
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made
period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Mayor of
to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be
Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules
made to prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should
and regulations thus adopted; that as a consequence of such enforcement, all animal-drawn
achieve the required balance of liberty and authority in his mind through education and,
vehicles are not allowed to pass and pick up passengers in the places above-mentioned to the
personal discipline, so that there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which means
detriment not only of their owners but of the riding public as well.
peace and order and happiness for all. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the
government, logically so much is withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the It is contended by the petitioner that Commonwealth Act No. 548 by which the Director of Public
people. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is authorized to
means of insuring its preservation. promulgate rules and regulations for the regulation and control of the use of and traffic on national
roads and streets is unconstitutional because it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative
3. 3.ID.; ID.; SOCIAL JUSTICE. — Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism,
power. This contention is untenable. As was observed by this court in Rubi vs. Provincial Board of
nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces
Mindoro (39 Phil, 660, 700), "The rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case
by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be
decided by Judge Ranney, and since followed in a multitude of cases, namely: 'The true distinction
approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption
therefore is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily involves a
discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its execution, to be giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the principle of "subordinate legislation," not
exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to the latter no valid only in the United States and England but in practically all modern governments. Accordingly, with
objection can be made.' (Cincinnati, W. & Z. R. Co. vs. Comm'rs. Clinton County, 1 Ohio St., 88.) the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental
Discretion, as held by Chief Justice Marshall in Wayman vs. Southard (10 Wheat., 1) may be regulations, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, the rigidity of the theory of
committed by the Legislature to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make separation of governmental powers has, to a large extent, been relaxed by permitting the
decisions of executive departments or subordinate officials thereof, to whom it has committed the delegation of greater powers by the legislative and vesting a larger amount of discretion in
execution of certain acts, final on questions of fact. (U.S. vs. Kinkead, 248 Fed., 141.) The growing administrative and executive officials, not only in the execution of the laws, but also in the
tendency in the decisions is to give prominence to the 'necessity' of the case." promulgation of certain rules and regulations calculated to promote public interest.
Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 548 reads as follows: The petitioner further contends that the rules and regulations promulgated by the respondents
pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 548 constitute an unlawful interference with
"SECTION 1.To promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets
legitimate business or trade and abridge the right to personal liberty and freedom of locomotion.
designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of the
Commonwealth Act No. 548 was passed by the National Assembly in the exercise of the paramount
President of the Philippines, the Director of Public Works, with the approval of the
police power of the state.
Secretary of Public Works and Communications, shall promulgate the necessary rules and
regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on such roads and streets. Such Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were promulgated, aims to
rules and regulations, with the approval of the President, may contain provisions promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads, in the interest and
controlling or regulating the construction of buildings or other structures within a convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore, the National Assembly was prompted by
reasonable distance from along the national roads. Such roads may be temporarily closed considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by a desire to relieve congestion
to any or all classes of traffic by the Director of Public Works and his duly authorized of traffic. which is, to say the least, a menace to public safety. Public welfare, then, lies at the
representatives whenever the condition of the road or the traffic thereon makes such bottom of the enactment of said law, and the state in order to promote the general welfare may
action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest, or for a specified interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Persons and
period, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications." property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general
comfort, health, and prosperity of the state (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). To this
fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are subordinated. Liberty is a
The above provisions of law do not confer legislative power upon the Director of Public Works and the blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority
Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The authority therein conferred upon them and because then society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty
under which they promulgated the rules and regulations now complained of is not to determine what because then the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance of
public policy demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the National liberty and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline, so that there may be
Assembly in said Act, to wit, "to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on, roads and established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and happiness for all. The
streets designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of the moment greater authority is conferred upon the government, logically so much is withdrawn from
President of the Philippines" and to close them temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent
the condition of the road or the traffic makes such action necessary or advisable in the public curtailment of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its preservation.
convenience and interest." The delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the determination of what
The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances. As was said in the case of
the law shall be, but merely the ascertainment of the facts and circumstances upon which the
Dobbins vs. Los Angeles (195 U.S. 223, 238; 49 L. ed. 169), "the right to exercise the police power is
application of said law is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national
a continuing one, and a business lawful today may in the future, because of the changed situation,
roads and to determine when and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the
the growth of population or other causes, become a menace to the public health and welfare, and
condition of the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public convenience and interest,
be required to yield to the public good." And in People vs. Pomar (46 Phil., 440), it was observed
is an administrative function which cannot be directly discharged by the National Assembly. It must
that "advancing civilization is bringing within the police power of the state today things which were
depend on the discretion of some other government official to whom is confided the duty of
not thought of as being within such power yesterday. The development of civilization, the rapidly
determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that the
increasing population, the growth of public opinion, with an increasing desire on the part of the
exercise of such discretion is the making of the law. As was said in Locke's Appeal (72 Pa. 491): "To
masses and of the government to look after and care for the interests of the individuals of the
assert that a law is less than a law, because it is made to depend on a future event or act, is to rob the
state, have brought within the police power many questions for regulation which formerly were
Legislature of the power to act wisely for the public welfare whenever a law is passed relating to a
not so considered."
state of affairs not yet developed, or to things future and impossible to fully know." The proper
distinction the court said was this: "The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make the law; but it The petitioner finally avers that the rules and regulations complained of infringe upon
can make a law to delegate a power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law the constitutional precept regarding the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and
makes, or intends to make, its own action depend. To deny this would be to stop the wheels of economic security of all the people. The promotion of social justice, however, is to be achieved not
government. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation must depend which through a mistaken sympathy towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor
cannot be known to the law-making power, and, must, therefore, be a subject of inquiry and despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social
determination outside of the halls of legislation." (Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649, 694; 36 L. Ed. 294.) and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception
may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people,
In the case of People vs. Rosenthal and Osmeña, G.R. Nos. 46076 and 46077,
the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the
promulgated June 12, 1939, and in Pangasinan Transportation vs. The Public Service Commission,
competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social
G.R. No. 47065, promulgated June 26, 1940, this Court had occasion to observe that the principle of
equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the
separation of powers has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of modern governments,
adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers
underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est
suprema lex.
Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence
among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly
extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the
fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of
all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."
In view of the foregoing, the writ of prohibition prayed for is hereby denied, with costs against the
petitioner. So ordered.
[G.R. No. 112844. June 2, 1995.] 4. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES ON MATTERS
FALLING UNDER ITS JURISDICTION; ACCORDED RESPECT AND FINALITY BY COURT; EXCEPTIONS.
— By reason of the special knowledge and expertise of administrative departments over matters
PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE SCHOOL, INC., represented by JUAN O. NOLASCO falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass judgment thereon and their
III, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, THE OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts. In the
EDELMIRO AMANTE, RENATO CORONA, and the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE case at bench, it is not the function of this Court nor any other court for that matter — . . . to
AND SPORTS, respondents. review the decisions and orders of the Secretary on the issue of whether or not an educational
institution meets the norms and standards required for permission to operate and to continue
operating as such. On this question, no Court has the power or prerogative to substitute its
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; EDUCATION; OPERATION OF SCHOOL, SUBJECT TO PRIOR AUTHORIZATION opinion for that of the Secretary. Indeed, it is obviously not expected that any Court would have
OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IS EFFECTED BY RECOGNITION. — The educational operation of schools the competence to do so. The only authority reposed in the Courts on the matter is the
is subject to prior authorization of the government and is effected by recognition. In the case of determination of whether or not the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports has acted within
government-operated schools, whether local, regional or national, recognition of educational the scope of powers granted him by law and the Constitution. As long as it appears that he has
programs and/or operations is deemed granted simultaneously with establishment. In all other done so, any decision rendered by him should not and will not be subject to review and reversal
cases the rules and regulations governing recognition are prescribed and enforced by the DECS, by any court. Of course, if it should be made to appear to the Court that those powers were in a
defining therein who are qualified to apply, providing for a permit system, stating the conditions case exercised so whimsically, capriciously, oppressively, despotically or arbitrarily as to call for
for the grant of recognition and for its cancellation and withdrawal, and providing for related peremptory correction — or stated otherwise, that the Secretary had acted with grave abuse of
matters. The requirement on prior government authorization is pursuant to the State policy that discretion, or had unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law specifically
educational programs and/or operations shall be of good quality and therefore shall at least satisfy enjoins as a duty, or excluded another from the use or enjoyment of a right or office, to which
minimum standards with respect to curricula, teaching staff, physical plant and facilities and of such other is entitled — it becomes the Court's duty to rectify such action through the
administrative or management viability. extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus, whichever may properly apply.
Yet even in these extreme instances, where a Court finds that there has been abuse of powers
2. ID.; BILL OF RIGHTS; DUE PROCESS; SUFFICIENTLY MET WHEN PARTIES WERE GIVEN by the Secretary and consequently nullifies and/or forbids such an abuse of power, or
OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD BEFORE JUDGMENT WAS RENDERED; CASE AT BAR. — The commands whatever is needful to keep its exercise within bounds, the Court, absent any
assertion of petitioner that it was deprived of its right to a hearing and any opportunity compelling reason to do otherwise, should still leave to the Secretary the ultimate
whatsoever to correct the alleged deficiencies readily collapses. The earlier narration of facts determination of the issue of the satisfaction of fulfillment by an educational institution of the
clearly demonstrates that before the DECS issued the phase-out and closure orders, petitioner standards set down for its legitimate operation, as to which it should not ordinarily substitute its
was duly notified , warned and given several opportunities to correct its deficiencies and to own judgment for that of said office.
comply with pertinent orders and regulations. Petitioner has gone all the way up to the Office of
the President to seek a reversal of the phase-out and closure orders. There is thus no reason to DECISION
complain of lack of opportunity to explain its side as well as to comply with the alleged
deficiencies. We agree with the observation of the Office of the Solicitor General that — As long BELLOSILLO, J p:
as the parties were given opportunity to be heard before judgment was rendered, the demands
of due process were sufficiently met (Lindo v. COMELEC, 194 SCRA 25). It should also be noted
PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE SCHOOL, INC. (PMMSI), was established in Manila in
that petitioner herein repeatedly sought reconsideration of the various orders of respondent
1950 to train and produce competent marine officers. It offers a two-year course in Marine
DECS and its motions were duly considered by respondent DECS to the extent of allowing and
Engineering (A. M. E.) and a four-year course in Marine Transportation ( B. S. M. T. ). In 1978 it
granting its request for re-inspection of its premises. In connection therewith, it has been ruled
established a branch in Talon, Las Piñas, Metro Manila . But we are here concerned only with the
that the opportunity to be heard any defect is cured by the filing of a motion for reconsideration
main school in Manila.
(Medenilla v. Civil Service Commission, 194 SCRA 278). Furthermore, the Office of the President
properly ignored (in the sense that it did not find worthy of consideration) the alleged For several times prior to 1985 respondent Department of Education, Culture and Sports
supervening events, i.e., substantial improvements on school equipment and facilities during the (DECS) disapprove petitioner's requests for renewal permit/recognition. However, on 11 March
pendency of the case before said Office because the improvements should have been 1986 the DECS issued petitioner a renewal permit for SY 1985-1986. Later, petitioner applied for a
undertaken starting 1986. Moreover, the phase-out and closure orders were based not only on summer permit for 1986 which the DECS favorably indorsed to the Minister of Education in
petitioner's deficiencies as a maritime institute but also on its continued operation without the consideration of the graduating students for summer. Thereafter the application was returned to
requisite authorization from the DECS and acceptance of freshman students in blatant violation Director Modesta Boquiren of the DECS for evaluation and decision pursuant to the authority
of the latter's orders and/or persistent warnings not to do so. Verily, there are sufficient grounds delegated to the Regions under Department Order No. 22, series of 1975. Director Boquiren issued
to uphold the phase-out and closure orders of the DECS which were issued conformably with petitioner the summer permit for 1986 based on the on the previously stated humanitarian reason
Sec. 28 of the Education Act of 1982. but subject to the condition that petitioner should not enroll students for the first semester of SY
1986-1987 until a permit therefor was granted and that the enrollment list for the summer term be
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE; DEFINED. — Substantial evidence has been defined to be
submitted immediately.
such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
A perusal of the questioned resolutions of the Office of the President reveals that they are based Sometime in 1986 the DECS received a compliant from Felixberto B. Galvez, president of
on the records of the case which constitutes substantial evidence, proving distinctly not only petitioner's Faculty Association, NAFLU-KMU, concerning the issuance of summer permit to
petitioner's consistent failure to meet the DECS' minimum standards for maritime institutes and petitioner and of its holding of classes for courses not recognized by the Government. Galvez
correct its deficiencies but also its continued operation and offering of maritime courses despite requested that the matter be looked into as well as the possible revocation of petitioner's authority
the lack of permit. due to persistent violation of the orders of the DECS.
In response, the DECS through Director Boquiren recommended that petitioner's 4. 4.Therefore, issuance of a school permit for 1987-1988 to 1988-89 shall be
summer permit be revoked and that the school be closed effective SY 1986-1987 on the ground held in abeyance pending compliance of at least 60% of the requirements.
that: (a) petitioner did not have a renewal permit/recognition for SY 1986-1987; (b) several 5. 5.DECS higher authorities shall decide whether the graduating students for
communications were sent to petitioner's head telling him not to operate without permit and to the second semester 1988-89 will be allowed to graduate and a retroactive
explain within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt of Director Boquiren's letter dated 9 July 1986 school permit for the school years 1987-88, 1988-89 can be granted. 3
why no drastic action should be taken against it but said communication was never answered; and,
(c) petitioner did not correct the deficiencies indicated in the renewal permit for 1985-1986.
As recommended, the TPME Secretariat conducted a re-inspection of petitioner's
Accordingly, in a 3rd Indorsement dated 23 September 1986 the DECS through then premises, then submitted a report dated 18 April 1989 with the following new recommendations
Minister Lourdes R. Quisumbing approved the following courses of action for petitioner: (a) the —
students in the two courses who were graduating for SY 1986-1987 would be allowed to graduate
even without permit for said courses as a special case provided that they completed the 1. Gradual phasing out of the BSMT Nautical Studies and Associate in Marine
requirements for graduation and subject to prior issuance of Special Order; and, (b) the remaining Engineering programs. Under this scheme, no new enrollees should be
students should be allowed to transfer to other authorized school. accepted anymore for the 1st year BSMT Nautical Studies and AME starting
In a letter dated 30 September 1986 Director Boquiren informed petitioner of the 1st semester of school year 1989-90.
aforementioned courses of action and directed immediate implementation thereof. 2. If the school can come up with the DECS minimum standard within the
phasing out period, suspension order may be lifted.
3. If the school fails to meet the DECS minimum standard at the end of the
On 9 April 1987 the DECS Inter-Agency Technical Committee (IATCOM) recommended phasing out period, closure order will be issued.
renewal of permits for the maritime courses offered by petitioner provided that a development 4. No special permit for the BSMT Nautical Studies and AME courses should be
plan for the improvement of its buildings, classrooms, laboratory rooms, library offices and other granted as special case. However, during the phasing out period students
rooms be formulated and implemented before the start of school year 1987-1988. may be allowed to graduate under PMMS, Talon, Las Piñas,

Despite lack of permit, petitioner continued to enroll students and offer courses in
Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation for SY 1987-1988. This prompted the DECS through based on these considerations —
Director Hernando Dizon to write petitioner on 4 August 1988 directing it not to operate without
permit and inviting its attention to the provisions of the Private School Law1 as reiterated in the 1. PMMS, Manila, has inadequate training facilities and equipment for BSMT
Education Act of 1982 2 which prohibits operation of unauthorized schools/courses. Nautical Studies and AME programs.
On 28 October 1988 petitioner sent a letter to Director Dizon applying for 2. The school has not acquired its own school site and building. The present
permit/recognition to conduct classes for the two (2) maritime courses retroactive from summer of school campus is not conducive for training and is found to be very limited in
1987 up to SY 1988-1989 and informing him of its transfer to the 5th Floor of the Republic space so that there is difficulty for school development and expansion.
Supermarket Building, corner Rizal Avenue and Soler St., Sta. Cruz, Manila. 3. On 23 September 1986, the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports
already issued a cease to operate order to the school head of PMMS. The
On the basis of the favorable report of a supervisor of the Bureau of Higher Education said indorsement letter also provided humanitarian decision (reason?) which
who visited the premises of petitioner on 14 November 1988, a director of said Bureau permit to PMMS as a special case, just to allow BSMT and AME students to
recommended renewal of petitioner's permit. However, in a DECS-PAMI survey conducted by the graduate and the remaining students were advised to transfer to
DECS technical staff in 1988, petitioner scored only 32 points out of a possible 1,026 points for authorized/recognized schools.
requirements in Nautical Engineering, and only 207 points out of 905 points in Marine Engineering, 4. Labor dispute occurred in 1987. The conflict between the employees and
way below the DECS requirements. employer is a manifestation of mismanagement of school. 4
Subsequently inspection of petitioner's premises by the Bureau of Higher Education-
DECS Technical Panel for Maritime Education (TPME) affirmed the findings of the DECS-PAMI In a letter dated 27 April 1989 Director Rosas informed petitioner of the TPME report
survey. It found petitioner deficient in terms of the minimum requirements as provided in DECS and recommendations and invited it for a conference on 2 May 1989 before any major decision and
Order No. III, series of 1987, which refers to the policies and standards for Maritime Education action would be made.
Plan. In a memorandum dated 19 January 1989 addressed to DECS Director Nilo Rosas, it set forth
On 2 May 1989, the TPME Secretariat submitted another memorandum on its
the following recommendations:
reinspection of petitioner's premises made on 28 April 1989. Based on its findings that no
substantial improvement in terms of minimum requirements, equipment and training facilities
1. 1.The PMMS administration may be given a last chance to put up at least since the January 1989 inspection was made, it reiterated the recommendations it submitted to the
60% of the minimum standard equipment for a period of about two months DECS Bureau of Higher Education . For this reason, in the letter dated 25 May 1989 Director Rosas
(January-March 1989). notified petitioner about the aforementioned report and the DECS' decision that:
2. 2.The DECS with TPME will conduct a re-inspection sometime the first week
of April to monitor the progress of the requirements.
3. 3.No new and old students will be allowed to enroll during summer of 1989 1. 1The BSMT Nautical Studies and Associate in Marine Engineering courses be
gradually phased out. Such being the case, the school shall no longer be
and the subsequent semesters pending issuance of a permit.
allowed to accept 1st year students and new enrollees starting 1st semester
of school year 1989-90.
2. The second year and third year students may be allowed to remain until they With reference to your request to rescind an order to phase-out the maritime
graduate. However, the school may opt to transfer these students to PMMS, courses at PMMS, Manila, please be informed that this Department sees no reason
Talon, Las Piñas, for such action as the conditions obtaining in the school when the phase-out order
was issued haven't shown any significant improvement inspite of the fact that the
PMMS had been given reasonable period to comply with the minimum standard
due to the following considerations:
requirements prescribed by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports.

1. The school's training equipment and instructional facilities are very far below
Maritime Education courses are highly specialized and require adequate training
the standards set by DECS.
facilities and equipment in order to ensure quality. However, the series of visits made
2. The school site and building are not owned by the school but only leased
by the staff of the BHE, NCR, and members of the Technical Panel on Maritime
with contract of renewal to be made annually.
Education revealed the following findings:
3. The present location of the school does not warrant for expansion,
development and improvement.
4. The present location of the school is not conducive for learning, it being a) On April 9, 1987 the Inter-Agency Technical Committee (IATCOM)
located on the 5th floor of a supermarket in the downtown section of the recommended the renewal of permits of the maritime courses, provided,
city. that a development plan for the improvement of the buildings, classrooms,
5. A cease to operate order was issued by Secretary Lourdes R. Quisumbing laboratory rooms, library offices and other rooms shall be formulated and
sometime in 1986, which order was violated by the school. 5 implemented before the start of SY 1987-1988.
b) In 1988, the DECS-PAMI survey conducted by technical persons, revealed
that PMMS, then located at the 5th floor of the Republic Supermarket,
In a letter dated 11 July 1989 the DECS through Secretary Quisumbing informed petitioner that it
obtained a general score of 32 out of 1,026 points for requirements in the
had received reports that petitioner enrolled freshmen for its maritime programs which were
Nautical course and 207 out of 905 points for the Marine Engineering course.
ordered phased out effective SY 1989-1990 per letter of Director Rosas dated 25 May 1989; called
It is needless to say that these findings are way below the DECS'
petitioner's attention to the provision of Sec. 1, Rule 1, Part V, of the Implementing Rules of the
requirements. Above all, the school site was described as not conducive for
Education Act of 1982 which makes it punishable and subject to penalties the operation of a school
offering maritime program due to its limited area. Furthermore, the lease on
through the conduct or offering of Educational Programs or Courses of Studies/Training, without
the premises is not a long term lease (2 years), a condition which would
prior government authorization and/or in violation of any of the terms and conditions of said
deter the school from fully developing the school site.
permit or recognition; directed that in accordance with the phase-out order, petitioner's Manila
c) In January of 1989, the findings of the Secretariat for the Technical Panel for
campus is allowed to operate only the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of the authorized maritime programs
Maritime Education (TPME) re-affirmed the findings of the DECS-PAMI
which shall be gradually phased out; and required petitioner to comment on the reported
Survey. Very few equipment were found for the Maritime courses. You
unauthorized enrollment.
concurred with these findings in a dialogue with the Director of the Bureau of
In its letter to the DECS dated 26 July 1989, petitioner moved for reconsideration stating that the Higher Education Secretariat. You appealed for another chance and
finding that it had not complied with the minimum requirements was due to the following: that as requested for re-inspection before the opening of SY 1989-1990.
early as 21 June 1989 it filed a letter requesting reconsideration of the letter dated 25 May 1989 of d) As per agreement, on April 28, 1989 another re-inspection was made and it
Director Rosas; that since there was no reply it believed that the 25 May 1989 order was showed that the school did not show any substantial improvement.
reconsidered sub-silencio and that petitioner was allowed to enroll 1st year students for SY 1989- Then on May 25, 1989, Secretary Lourdes Quisumbing issued the phase-out
1990; and, that it had undertaken improvements in all of is facilities in compliance with DECS order of your maritime programs in Manila campus.
requirements. In this regard, it requested another inspection of its premises. However, the Department again allowed PMMS, Manila, to operate the
maritime courses for SY 1989-1990 despite the above phase-out order.
Pursuant to petitioner's request, another inspection of the Manila premises was conducted by the
e) Another evaluation of your school was conducted by technical people on
TPME-Secretariat on 8 August 1989. However, petitioner only obtained a general rating of 31.17%
August 8, 1989, as requested. The findings revealed that your school
for Nautical Studies and 28.53% for Marine Engineering. Consequently, the inspection team
obtained a general rating of 31.17% for Nautical Studies and 28.53 for
reiterated its previous recommendation to gradually phase out the maritime programs of
Marine Engineering.
petitioner's Manila campus effective SY 1990-1991 and that no new freshman students be
accepted beginning Sy 1990-1991.
The PMMS has been provided with the Policies and Standards for Maritime
Accordingly, in a letter dated 25 September 1989 the DECS through Secretary Quisumbing ordered
Education and, as revealed by the foregoing facts, the series of inspection and
petitioner to discontinue its Maritime Program in the Manila campus effective school-year 1990-
evaluation were (sic) done by technical persons who have expertise in the field
1991 and suggested that efforts be made towards the development of PMMS, Las Piñas, which has
of maritime education. Therefore, the requests relative to these are not valid.
a great potential of being a good Maritime School.6 The phase-out order was reiterated in
subsequent letters dated 19 February 1990 and 9 May 1990 of Director Rosas and then DECS
Secretary Isidro D. Cariño, respectively. It is therefore with regrets that this Department cannot rescind its order to
phase-out the Maritime courses at PMMS, Manila and the school is admonished
Subsequently, petitioner moved to reconsider the phase-out order in its letter of 21 May 1990, not to accept incoming first year students starting school year 1990-1991. So
which request was denied by the DECS through Undersecretary Benjamin Tayabas in his letter of 1 that by school year 1992-1993, the maritime courses at the Manila campus
June 1990. The letter reads — would be fully phased-out. . . . 7
It is suggested that PMMS concentrate its development plans in the Las Piñas but has been invariably denied for failure to comply with the minimum requirements
Campus which has a great potential of being a good maritime school. prescribed by DECS. Notwithstanding these denials, PMMSI continues to offer
maritime courses and to admit freshmen students in clear violation of Section 1, Rule
1, of the Education Act of 1982. . . .
Not satisfied therewith, petitioner appealed the matter to respondent Office of the
President. xxx xxx xxx
During the pendency of the appeal the DECS thru Secretary Cariño issued a Closure Order dated 27 PMMSI's refusal to comply with the phase-out order on the ground that the same is
August 1991 — not yet final and executory is untenable. While said phase-out may not be final and
executory, there was no reason for PMMSI to offer maritime courses without the
In view of the report which was committed by the evaluation team from the National requisite prior authority of the DECS. PMMSI possessed no valid permit prior to the
Capital Region DECS Regional Office, that Philippine Merchant Marine School (PMMS), issuance of the phase-out. There was no authority to speak of. 10
Manila, has been accepting freshman students of the maritime programs despite the Thus the motion was denied in the Resolution dated 12 January 1993 through respondent Assistant
phase-out order which was issued last September 28, (sic) 1989 by former Secretary Executive Secretary Renato Corona. 11
Lourdes R. Quisumbing and further reiterated by the undersigned, dated May 9,
1990, the Department, hereby orders Closure of your maritime programs of your school Petitioner assailed both resolutions of the Office of the President before respondent
effective second semester school year 1991-1992, otherwise this Department shall be Court of Appeals by way of certiorari. It alleged that the resolutions failed to meet the
constrained to institute the appropriate administrative, civil and criminal proceedings constitutional requirement of due process because the basis for affirming the DECS phase-out and
against you and the other responsible officers of your school pursuant to Section 68, closure orders was not sufficiently disclosed. Furthermore, its letters dated 2 and 3 October 1992
Batas Pambansa Blg. 232. . . . which presented incontrovertible proof that it had introduced substantial improvements on its
facilities for the past two and a half years while its appeal was pending were not taken into
account, thereby gravely abusing its discretion.
The transfer of the affected students shall be facilitated by the National Capital Region
in accordance with our Memorandum dated August 16, 1991, xerox copy of which is Respondents Court of Appeals brushed aside the allegations of petitioner since —
hereto attached for your information.
[T]he Office of the President, in the resolution dated November 10, 1992, appears to have
For your guidance and strict compliance. 8 restated the report of the respondent DECS, meaning, that it adopted as its own the DECS'
report, but that is not a violation of the Constitution and the Rules of Court, in line
with Alba Patio De Makati vs. Alba Patio De Makati Employees Association, 128 SCRA 253,
In a letter dated 24 August 1992 petitioner sought reconsideration of the 27 August 1991 Closure 264-265 . . . Petitioner's latest attempt at improving its facilities does not warrant a
Order and at the same time requested that special orders be issued to its graduates for SY 1991- reversal of the phase-out order. For, in spite of the claim that it spent on improvements,
1992. In letters filed with the office of the President dated 2 and 3 October 1992 petitioner alleged the basic problem remained as it still occupies the fifth floor of the William Liao building,
compliance with DECS requirements. The letters were referred to the DECS for consideration. which is not conducive to learning, and has a limited area for expansion and
On 10 November 1992 the Office of the President through respondent Executive Secretary development. 12
Edelmiro Amante rendered a Resolution dismissing petitioner's appeal.9 It found no plausible
reason to disturb the action of the DECS Secretary in the light of the conspicuous fact that On 22 July 1993 the petition was dismissed. 13 On 26 November 1993 the motion for
petitioner had repeatedly failed to comply with the phase-out order since 1986. Moreover, the reconsideration was denied. 14
grounds advanced by petitioner have already been passed upon by the DECS.
Petitioner imputes error on respondent court: (1) in not setting aside the questioned resolutions
Petitioner moved for reconsideration praying that the case be remanded to the DECS for another and orders of public respondents which were rendered without due process of law since (a)
ocular inspection and evaluation of its alleged improved facilities. Petitioner anchored its motion petitioner was not afforded the right to fully present its case and submit evidence in support
on the proposition that since it had made substantial improvements on school equipment and thereof; (b) public respondents did not consider the evidence presented by petitioner; (c) public
facilities there existed no valid ground to deny them a permit to offer maritime courses. After respondents' decision have no substantial evidence to support them; (d) public respondents'
another circumspect review of the case, the Office of the President found no cogent reason to set decisions did not disclose the bases therefor; and, (2) in implementing the closure orders which
aside its previous resolution. I opined that — had not become final executory.
Mere alleged efforts to improve the facilities and equipments (sic) which were long Petitioner asseverates that the DECS denied its right to a hearing on the supposed deficiencies which
due since 1986, do not warrant the reversal of our previous resolution. It bears allegedly justified denial of its request for issuance of a renewal permit. Likewise, the DECS denied
stressing as the records may show, that the phase-out order to DECS was based not petitioner the opportunity to correct such deficiencies. The Office of the President totally ignored
only on PMMSI's failure to provide adequate equipment and facilities but also on supervening events properly brought to its attention in the letters of petitioner dated 2 and 3 October
PMMSI's failure to comply with the standard requirements prescribed for a school 1992. It issued resolutions strictly on the basis of the DECS' representation which do not amount to
site. substantial evidence. The 10 November 1992 Resolution failed to sufficiently disclose the basis for
xxx xxx xxx affirmation of the DECS' phase-out and closure orders. The 12 January 1993 Resolution still refused to
take into consideration petitioner's compliance with the DECS requirements. Petitioner did not violate
Apart from these, PMMSI's adamant refusal to comply with the orders of the DECS to the Education Act of 1992 because it was authorized to operate by virtue of the provisional authorities
phase out its unauthorized courses is sufficient ground to uphold the order appealed
from. Since 1986, PMMSI has been applying for a permit to offer maritime courses
issued by the DECS. The DECS orders were not final and executory because petitioner challenged them (P2,000.00) nor more than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) or imprisonment for a maximum
and appropriately availed itself of the remedies available to it under the law. period of two (2) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Before proceeding to resolve the merits of this case, we shall state briefly the concept regarding
establishment of schools. The educational operation of schools is subject to prior authorization of the If the act is committed by a school corporation, the school head together with the person or
government and is effected by recognition. In the case of government-operated schools, whether persons responsible for the offense or violation shall be equally liable.
local, regional or national, recognition of educational programs and/or operations is deemed granted
simultaneously with establishment. In all other cases the rules and regulations governing recognition Sec. 69.Administrative Sanction. — The Minister (Secretary) of Education, Culture and Sports
are prescribed and enforced by the DECS, defining therein who are qualified to apply, providing for a may prescribe and impose such administrative sanction as he may deem reasonable and
permit system, stating the conditions for the grant of recognition and for its cancellation and appropriate in the implementing rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act for
withdrawal, and providing for related matters. 15 The requirement on prior government authorization any of the following causes . . . 5. Unauthorized operation of a school, or course, or any
is pursuant to the State policy that educational programs and/or operations shall be of good quality component thereof . . .
and therefore shall at least satisfy minimum standards with respect to curricula, teaching staff,
physical plant and facilities and of administrative or management viability. 16
The corresponding rules implementing Secs. 68 and 69 read —
Set against the records of the case, the assertion of petitioner that it was deprived of its right to a
hearing and any opportunity whatsoever to correct the alleged deficiencies readily collapses. The
earlier narration of facts clearly demonstrates that before the DECS issued the phase-out and closure Sec. 1.Punishable Acts and Penalties. — The operation of a school, through the conduct or
orders, petitioner was duly notified , warned and given several opportunities to correct its deficiencies offering of educational programs or courses of studies/training without prior government
and to comply with pertinent orders and regulations. authorization in the form of permit or recognition as provided for in Rule III, PART III of these
Rules, and/or in violation of any to the terms and conditions of the said permit or
Petitioner has gone all the way up to the Office of the President to seek a reversal of the phase-out recognition, have been declared punishable violations of the Act, subject to the penalties
and closure orders. There is thus no reason to complain of lack of opportunity to explain its side as provided therein.
well as to comply with the alleged deficiencies. 17 We agree with the observation of the Office of the
Solicitor General that —
Any person, therefore, upon conviction for an act constituting any of the foregoing
punishable violations, shall be punished with a fine of not less than Two Thousand Pesos
As long as the parties were given opportunity to be heard before judgment was rendered, the (P2,000.00) not more than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00), or imprisonment for a
demands of due process were sufficiently met (Lindo v. COMELEC, 194 SCRA 25). It should maximum period of two (2) years, or both, in the discretion of the Court: Provided, however,
also be noted that petitioner herein repeatedly sought reconsideration of the various orders that when the act is committed by a school corporation, the school head together with the
of respondent DECS and its motion were duly considered by respondent DECS to the extent of person or persons responsible for the violation or offense shall be deemed equally liable.
allowing and granting its request for re-inspection of its premises. In connection therewith, it
has been ruled that the opportunity to be heard is the essence of procedural due process and
that any defect is cured by the filing of a motion for reconsideration (Medenilla v. Civil Service Sec. 2.Administrative Sanction. — Without prejudice to the interest of students, teachers
Commission, 194 SCRA 278). 18 and employees, and independently of the penalty imposed in Sec. 1 under this Rule, the
Minister may withdraw, suspend, revoke or cancel a school's authority to operate as an
educational institutions or to conduct educational programs or courses of studies/training,
Furthermore, the Office of the President properly ignored (in the sense that it did not find worthy of for any of the following causes, viz: . . . e. Unauthorized operation of a school, or program or
consideration) the alleged supervening events, i.e., substantial improvements on school equipment course of studies or component thereof, or any violation of the prescribed rules governing
and facilities during the pendency of the case before said Office because the improvements should advertisements or announcements of educational institutions.
have been undertaken starting 1986. Moreover, the phase-out and closure orders were based not
only on petitioner's deficiencies as a maritime institute but also on its continued operation without
the requisite authorization from the DECS and acceptance of freshman students in blatant violation of Substantial evidence has been defined to be such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
the latter's orders and/or persistent warnings not to do so. Verily, there are sufficient grounds to accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 19A perusal of the questioned resolutions of the Office
uphold the phase-out and closure orders of the DECS which were issued conformably with Sec. 28 of of the President reveals that they are based on the records of the case which constitutes
the Education Act of 1982 which provides: substantial evidence, proving distinctly not only petitioner's consistent failure to meet the DECS'
minimum standards for maritime institutes and correct its deficiencies but also its continued
operation and offering of maritime courses despite the lack of permit.
Sec. 28.. . . Punishable Violations. — . . . Operations of schools and educational programs
without authorization, and/or operation thereof in violation of the terms of recognition, are Contrary to the claim of petitioner, the 10 November 1992 Resolution of the Office of the President
hereby declared punishable violations subject to the penalties provided in this Act. sufficiently disclosed the basis for its affirmance of the DECS' phase-out and closure orders:

Secs. 68 and 69 of the same Act provide the penalties: After a careful study, we are constrained to resolve that there exists no sufficient
justification to modify, alter or reverse the appealed order. We find no plausible reason to
disturb the action of the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, more so in light of the
Sec. 68.Penalty Clause. — Any person upon conviction for an act in violation of Section 28, conspicuous fact that PMMS has repeatedly failed to comply with the phase out order since
Chapter 3, Title III, shall be punished with a fine of not less than two thousand pesos 1986. What is more the grounds advanced by PMMS have already been passed upon, and
separately resolved by the office a quo. 20
Petitioner's persistent refusal to comply with the phase-out on the ground that the same were not
yet final and executory is untenable. As correctly held by the Office of the President —

. . . While said phase-out (orders) may not be final and executory, there was no reason for
PMMSI to offer maritime courses without the requisite prior authority of the DECS. PMMSI
possessed no valid permit prior to the issuance of the phase-out. There was no authority to
speak of. 21

By reason of the special knowledge and expertise of administrative departments over matters
falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass judgment thereon and their
findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts. In the
case at bench, it is not the function of this Court nor any other court for that matter —

. . . to review the decisions and orders of the Secretary on the issue of whether or not an
educational institution meets the norms and standards required for permission to operate
and to continue operating as such. On this question, no Court has the power or prerogative
to substitute its opinion for that of the Secretary. Indeed, it is obviously not expected that
any Court would have the competence to do so.

The only authority reposed in the Courts on the matter is the determination of whether or
not the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports has acted within the scope of powers
granted him by law and the Constitution. As long as it appears that he has done so, any
decision rendered by him should not and will not be subject to review and reversal by any
court.

Of course, if it should be made to appear to the Court that those powers were in a case
exercised so whimsically, capriciously, oppressively, despotically or arbitrarily as to call for
peremptory correction — or stated otherwise, that the Secretary had acted with grave
abuse of discretion, or had unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty, or excluded another from the use or enjoyment of a right or
office, to which such other is entitled — it becomes the Court's duty to rectify such action
through the extraordinary remedies ofcertiorari, prohibition, or mandamus, whichever
may properly apply. Yet even in these extreme instances, where a Court finds that there
has been abuse of powers by the Secretary and consequently nullifies and/or forbids such
an abuse of power, or commands whatever is needful to keep its exercise within bounds,
the Court, absent any compelling reason to do otherwise, should still leave to the Secretary
the ultimate determination of the issue of the satisfaction of fulfillment by an educational
institution of the standards set down for its legitimate operation, as to which it should not
ordinarily substitute its own judgment for that of said office. 22

There being no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondents representing the


Office of the President in issuing the Resolutions of 10 November 1992 and 12 January 1993,
respondent Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the resolutions in question.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The questioned Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated 22 July 1993, as well as its Resolution of 26 November, is AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. Nos. 171947-48. December 18, 2008.] . . . [The] reckless, wholesale, accumulated and ongoing acts of omission or
commission [of the defendants] resulting in the clear and present danger to
public health and in the depletion and contamination of the marine life of
METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF Manila Bay, [for which reason] ALL defendants must be held jointly and/or
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, solidarily liable and be collectively ordered to clean up Manila Bay and to
CULTURE AND SPORTS, 1 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF restore its water quality to class B waters fit for swimming, skin-diving, and
AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, other forms of contact recreation. 3
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD,
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE MARITIME GROUP, and DEPARTMENT OF THE
In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the continued neglect of petitioners in
INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, petitioners, vs. CONCERNED RESIDENTS
OF MANILA BAY, represented and joined by DIVINA V. ILAS, SABINIANO abating the pollution of the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of, among others: EHSADa
ALBARRACIN, MANUEL SANTOS, JR., DINAH DELA PEÑA, PAUL DENNIS
QUINTERO, MA. VICTORIA LLENOS, DONNA CALOZA, FATIMA QUITAIN, 1. Respondents' constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced ecology;
VENICE SEGARRA, FRITZIE TANGKIA, SARAH JOELLE LINTAG, HANNIBAL 2. The Environment Code (PD 1152);
AUGUSTUS BOBIS, FELIMON SANTIAGUEL, and JAIME AGUSTIN R. 3. The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);
OPOSA, respondents. 4. The Water Code (PD 1067);
5. The Sanitation Code (PD 856);
6. The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);
7. The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);
DECISION 8. Executive Order No. 192;
9. The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);
10. Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;
11. The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and
12. International Law
VELASCO, JR., J p:

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered to clean the Manila Bay
The need to address environmental pollution, as a cause of climate change, has of late gained the
and submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the purpose.
attention of the international community. Media have finally trained their sights on the ill effects of
pollution, the destruction of forests and other critical habitats, oil spills, and the unabated improper
disposal of garbage. And rightly so, for the magnitude of environmental destruction is now on a scale few The trial of the case started off with a hearing at the Manila Yacht Club followed by an ocular inspection
ever foresaw and the wound no longer simply heals by itself. 2 But amidst hard evidence and clear signs of the Manila Bay. Renato T. Cruz, the Chief of the Water Quality Management Section, Environmental
of a climate crisis that need bold action, the voice of cynicism, naysayers, and procrastinators can still be Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), testifying for
heard. dctai petitioners, stated that water samples collected from different beaches around the Manila Bay showed
that the amount of fecal coliform content ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable number
(MPN)/ml when what DENR Administrative Order No. 34-90 prescribed as a safe level for bathing and
This case turns on government agencies and their officers who, by the nature of their respective offices
other forms of contact recreational activities, or the "SB" level, is one not exceeding 200 MPN/100
or by direct statutory command, are tasked to protect and preserve, at the first instance, our internal
ml. 4 IaHCAD
waters, rivers, shores, and seas polluted by human activities. To most of these agencies and their official
complement, the pollution menace does not seem to carry the high national priority it deserves, if their
track records are to be the norm. Their cavalier attitude towards solving, if not mitigating, the Rebecca de Vera, for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and in behalf of other
environmental pollution problem, is a sad commentary on bureaucratic efficiency and commitment. petitioners, testified about the MWSS' efforts to reduce pollution along the Manila Bay through the
Manila Second Sewerage Project. For its part, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) presented, as part of
its evidence, its memorandum circulars on the study being conducted on ship-generated waste
At the core of the case is the Manila Bay, a place with a proud historic past, once brimming with marine
treatment and disposal, and its Linis Dagat (Clean the Ocean) project for the cleaning of wastes
life and, for so many decades in the past, a spot for different contact recreation activities, but now a
accumulated or washed to shore.
dirty and slowly dying expanse mainly because of the abject official indifference of people and
institutions that could have otherwise made a difference.
The RTC Ordered Petitioners to Clean Up and Rehabilitate Manila Bay
This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of Manila Bay filed a
complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, On September 13, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision 5 in favor of respondents. The dispositive portion
among them the petitioners, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. Raffled to reads:
Branch 20 and docketed as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of the RTC, the complaint alleged that the water
quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way below the allowable standards set by law, specifically WHEREFORE, finding merit in the complaint, judgment is hereby rendered
Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code. This environmental aberration, ordering the abovenamed defendant-government agencies, jointly and
the complaint stated, stemmed from: solidarily, to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters to SB
classification to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact Defendant Philippine Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Group, to protect at all
recreation. To attain this, defendant-agencies, with defendant DENR as the lead costs the Manila Bay from all forms of illegal fishing.
agency, are directed, within six (6) months from receipt hereof, to act and
perform their respective duties by devising a consolidated, coordinated and
No pronouncement as to damages and costs.
concerted scheme of action for the rehabilitation and restoration of the bay.

SO ORDERED.
In particular:

The MWSS, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and PPA filed before the Court of Appeals (CA)
Defendant MWSS is directed to install, operate and maintain adequate
individual Notices of Appeal which were eventually consolidated and docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 76528.
[sewerage] treatment facilities in strategic places under its jurisdiction and
increase their capacities.
On the other hand, the DENR, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metropolitan Manila
Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP)
Defendant LWUA, to see to it that the water districts under its wings, provide,
Maritime Group, and five other executive departments and agencies filed directly with this Court a
construct and operate sewage facilities for the proper disposal of waste.
petition for review under Rule 45. The Court, in a Resolution of December 9, 2002, sent the said petition
to the CA for consolidation with the consolidated appeals of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, docketed as CA-
Defendant DENR, which is the lead agency in cleaning up Manila Bay, to install, G.R. SP No. 74944.
operate and maintain waste facilities to rid the bay of toxic and hazardous
substances.
Petitioners, before the CA, were one in arguing in the main that the pertinent provisions of the
Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific pollution incidents and do not cover
Defendant PPA, to prevent and also to treat the discharge not only of ship- cleaning in general. And apart from raising concerns about the lack of funds appropriated for cleaning
generated wastes but also of other solid and liquid wastes from docking vessels purposes, petitioners also asserted that the cleaning of the Manila Bay is not a ministerial act which can
that contribute to the pollution of the bay. be compelled by mandamus.

Defendant MMDA, to establish, operate and maintain an adequate and The CA Sustained the RTC
appropriate sanitary landfill and/or adequate solid waste and liquid disposal as
well as other alternative garbage disposal system such as re-use or recycling of
By a Decision 6 of September 28, 2005, the CA denied petitioners' appeal and affirmed the Decision of
wastes. TACEDI
the RTC in toto, stressing that the trial court's decision did not require petitioners to do tasks outside of
their usual basic functions under existing laws. 7
Defendant DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to
revitalize the marine life in Manila Bay and restock its waters with indigenous
fish and other aquatic animals.

Petitioners are now before this Court praying for the allowance of their Rule 45 petition on the following
Defendant DBM, to provide and set aside an adequate budget solely for the
ground and supporting arguments:
purpose of cleaning up and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

THE [CA] DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE NOT HERETOFORE PASSED


Defendant DPWH, to remove and demolish structures and other nuisances that
UPON BY THE HONORABLE COURT, I.E., IT AFFIRMED THE TRIAL COURT'S
obstruct the free flow of waters to the bay. These nuisances discharge solid and
DECISION DECLARING THAT SECTION 20 OF [PD] 1152 REQUIRES CONCERNED
liquid wastes which eventually end up in Manila Bay. As the construction and
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO REMOVE ALL POLLUTANTS SPILLED AND
engineering arm of the government, DPWH is ordered to actively participate in
DISCHARGED IN THE WATER SUCH AS FECAL COLIFORMS.
removing debris, such as carcass of sunken vessels, and other non-
biodegradable garbage in the bay.
ARGUMENTS
Defendant DOH, to closely supervise and monitor the operations of septic and
sludge companies and require them to have proper facilities for the treatment I
and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks.
[SECTIONS] 17 AND 20 OF [PD] 1152 RELATE ONLY TO THE CLEANING OF
Defendant DECS, to inculcate in the minds and hearts of the people through SPECIFIC POLLUTION INCIDENTS AND [DO] NOT COVER CLEANING IN
education the importance of preserving and protecting the environment. GENERAL SECATH

II
THE CLEANING OR REHABILITATION OF THE MANILA BAY IS NOT A MINISTERIAL 7924 creating the MMDA. This section defines and delineates the scope of the MMDA's waste disposal
ACT OF PETITIONERS THAT CAN BE COMPELLED BY MANDAMUS. services to include: AHCaES

The issues before us are two-fold. First, do Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 under the headings, Upgrading Solid waste disposal and management which include formulation and
of Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup in general or are they limited only to the implementation of policies, standards, programs and projects for proper and
cleanup of specific pollution incidents? And second, can petitioners be compelled by mandamus to clean sanitary waste disposal. It shall likewise include the establishment and
up and rehabilitate the Manila Bay? operation of sanitary land fill and related facilities and the implementation of
other alternative programs intended to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste.
(Emphasis added.)
On August 12, 2008, the Court conducted and heard the parties on oral arguments.

The MMDA is duty-bound to comply with Sec. 41 of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA
Our Ruling
9003) which prescribes the minimum criteria for the establishment of sanitary landfills and Sec. 42 which
provides the minimum operating requirements that each site operator shall maintain in the operation of
We shall first dwell on the propriety of the issuance of mandamus under the premises. a sanitary landfill. Complementing Sec. 41 are Secs. 36 and 37 of RA 9003, 12 enjoining the MMDA and
local government units, among others, after the effectivity of the law on February 15, 2001, from using
The Cleaning or Rehabilitation of Manila Bay Can be Compelled by Mandamus and operating open dumps for solid waste and disallowing, five years after such effectivity, the use of
controlled dumps. SHIETa

Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial duty. 8 A ministerial duty is
one that "requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor judgment." 9 It connotes an act in which The MMDA's duty in the area of solid waste disposal, as may be noted, is set forth not only in the
nothing is left to the discretion of the person executing it. It is a "simple, definite duty arising under Environment Code (PD 1152) and RA 9003, but in its charter as well. This duty of putting up a proper
conditions admitted or proved to exist and imposed by law." 10 Mandamus is available to compel action, waste disposal system cannot be characterized as discretionary, for, as earlier stated, discretion
when refused, on matters involving discretion, but not to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion presupposes the power or right given by law to public functionaries to act officially according to their
one way or the other. judgment or conscience. 13 A discretionary duty is one that "allows a person to exercise judgment and
choose to perform or not to perform." 14 Any suggestion that the MMDA has the option whether or not
to perform its solid waste disposal-related duties ought to be dismissed for want of legal basis.
Petitioners maintain that the MMDA's duty to take measures and maintain adequate solid waste and
liquid disposal systems necessarily involves policy evaluation and the exercise of judgment on the part of
the agency concerned. They argue that the MMDA, in carrying out its mandate, has to make decisions, A perusal of other petitioners' respective charters or like enabling statutes and pertinent laws would
including choosing where a landfill should be located by undertaking feasibility studies and cost yield this conclusion: these government agencies are enjoined, as a matter of statutory obligation, to
estimates, all of which entail the exercise of discretion. perform certain functions relating directly or indirectly to the cleanup, rehabilitation, protection, and
preservation of the Manila Bay. They are precluded from choosing not to perform these duties. Consider:

Respondents, on the other hand, counter that the statutory command is clear and that petitioners' duty
to comply with and act according to the clear mandate of the law does not require the exercise of (1)The DENR, under Executive Order No. (EO) 192, 15 is the primary agency responsible for the
discretion. According to respondents, petitioners, the MMDA in particular, are without discretion, for conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country's environment and natural
example, to choose which bodies of water they are to clean up, or which discharge or spill they are to resources. Sec. 19 of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 9275), on the other hand, designates
contain. By the same token, respondents maintain that petitioners are bereft of discretion on whether or the DENR as the primary government agency responsible for its enforcement and implementation, more
not to alleviate the problem of solid and liquid waste disposal; in other words, it is the MMDA's particularly over all aspects of water quality management. On water pollution, the DENR, under the Act's
ministerial duty to attend to such services. Sec. 19 (k), exercises jurisdiction "over all aspects of water pollution, determine[s] its location,
magnitude, extent, severity, causes and effects and other pertinent information on pollution, and [takes]
measures, using available methods and technologies, to prevent and abate such pollution".
We agree with respondents.

The DENR, under RA 9275, is also tasked to prepare a National Water Quality Status Report, an
First off, we wish to state that petitioners' obligation to perform their duties as defined by law, on one Integrated Water Quality Management Framework, and a 10-year Water Quality Management Area
hand, and how they are to carry out such duties, on the other, are two different concepts. While the Action Plan which is nationwide in scope covering the Manila Bay and adjoining areas. Sec. 19 of RA 9275
implementation of the MMDA's mandated tasks may entail a decision-making process, the enforcement provides: DEcSaI
of the law or the very act of doing what the law exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and may be
compelled by mandamus. We said so in Social Justice Society v. Atienza 11 wherein the Court directed
the City of Manila to enforce, as a matter of ministerial duty, its Ordinance No. 8027 directing the three Sec. 19.Lead Agency. — The [DENR] shall be the primary government agency
big local oil players to cease and desist from operating their business in the so-called "Pandacan responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this Act . . . unless
Terminals" within six months from the effectivity of the ordinance. But to illustrate with respect to the otherwise provided herein. As such, it shall have the following functions,
instant case, the MMDA's duty to put up an adequate and appropriate sanitary landfill and solid waste powers and responsibilities:
and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage disposal systems is ministerial, its duty being a
statutory imposition. The MMDA's duty in this regard is spelled out in Sec. 3 (c) of Republic Act No. (RA)
a)Prepare a National Water Quality Status report within twenty-four (4)The Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987 (EO 292), 20 is
(24) months from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, designated as the agency tasked to promulgate and enforce all laws and issuances respecting the
That the Department shall thereafter review or revise and conservation and proper utilization of agricultural and fishery resources. Furthermore, the DA, under the
publish annually, or as the need arises, said report; Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550), is, in coordination with local government units (LGUs) and
other concerned sectors, in charge of establishing a monitoring, control, and surveillance system to
ensure that fisheries and aquatic resources in Philippine waters are judiciously utilized and managed on a
b)Prepare an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework
sustainable basis. 21 Likewise under RA 9275, the DA is charged with coordinating with the PCG and
within twelve (12) months following the completion of
DENR for the enforcement of water quality standards in marine waters. 22 More specifically, its Bureau
the status report;
of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under Sec. 22 (c) of RA 9275 shall primarily be responsible for
the prevention and control of water pollution for the development, management, and conservation of
c)Prepare a ten (10) year Water Quality Management Area Action the fisheries and aquatic resources.
Plan within 12 months following the completion of the
framework for each designated water management area.
(5)The DPWH, as the engineering and construction arm of the national government, is tasked under EO
Such action plan shall be reviewed by the water quality
292 23 to provide integrated planning, design, and construction services for, among others, flood control
management area governing board every five (5) years or
and water resource development systems in accordance with national development objectives and
as need arises.
approved government plans and specifications.

The DENR has prepared the status report for the period 2001 to 2005 and is in the process of completing
In Metro Manila, however, the MMDA is authorized by Sec. 3 (d), RA 7924 to perform metro-wide
the preparation of the Integrated Water Quality Management Framework. 16 Within twelve (12) months
services relating to "flood control and sewerage management which include the formulation and
thereafter, it has to submit a final Water Quality Management Area Action Plan. 17 Again, like the
implementation of policies, standards, programs and projects for an integrated flood control, drainage
MMDA, the DENR should be made to accomplish the tasks assigned to it under RA 9275.
and sewerage system."

Parenthetically, during the oral arguments, the DENR Secretary manifested that the DENR, with the
On July 9, 2002, a Memorandum of Agreement was entered into between the DPWH and MMDA,
assistance of and in partnership with various government agencies and non-government organizations,
whereby MMDA was made the agency primarily responsible for flood control in Metro Manila. For the
has completed, as of December 2005, the final draft of a comprehensive action plan with estimated
rest of the country, DPWH shall remain as the implementing agency for flood control services. The
budget and time frame, denominated asOperation Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, for the
mandate of the MMDA and DPWH on flood control and drainage services shall include the removal of
rehabilitation, restoration, and rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.
structures, constructions, and encroachments built along rivers, waterways, and esteros (drainages) in
violation of RA 7279, PD 1067, and other pertinent laws. ACTESI
The completion of the said action plan and even the implementation of some of its phases should more
than ever prod the concerned agencies to fast track what are assigned them under existing laws.
(6)The PCG, in accordance with Sec. 5 (p) of PD 601, or the Revised Coast Guard Law of 1974, and Sec. 6
of PD 979, 24 or the Marine Pollution Decree of 1976, shall have the primary responsibility of enforcing
(2)The MWSS, under Sec. 3 of RA 6234, 18 is vested with jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all laws, rules, and regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. It
waterworks and sewerage systems in the territory comprising what is now the cities of Metro Manila and shall promulgate its own rules and regulations in accordance with the national rules and policies set by
several towns of the provinces of Rizal and Cavite, and charged with the duty: the National Pollution Control Commission upon consultation with the latter for the effective
implementation and enforcement of PD 979. It shall, under Sec. 4 of the law, apprehend violators who:
(g)To construct, maintain, and operate such sanitary sewerages as may be
necessary for the proper sanitation and other uses of the cities and a.discharge, dump . . . harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge,
towns comprising the System; . . . or any other floating craft, or other man-made structures at sea, by any
method, means or manner, into or upon the territorial and inland navigable
waters of the Philippines;

(3)The LWUA under PD 198 has the power of supervision and control over local water districts. It can b.throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause, suffer or procure to be thrown,
prescribe the minimum standards and regulations for the operations of these districts and shall monitor discharged, or deposited either from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating
and evaluate local water standards. The LWUA can direct these districts to construct, operate, and craft or vessel of any kind, or from the shore, wharf, manufacturing
furnish facilities and services for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewerage, waste, and storm establishment, or mill of any kind, any refuse matter of any kind or description
water. Additionally, under RA 9275, the LWUA, as attached agency of the DPWH, is tasked with providing whatever other than that flowing from streets and sewers and passing
sewerage and sanitation facilities, inclusive of the setting up of efficient and safe collection, treatment, therefrom in a liquid state into tributary of any navigable water from which the
and sewage disposal system in the different parts of the country. 19 In relation to the instant petition, same shall float or be washed into such navigable water; and
the LWUA is mandated to provide sewerage and sanitation facilities in Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan,
Pampanga, and Bataan to prevent pollution in the Manila Bay. ATICcS c.deposit . . . material of any kind in any place on the bank of any navigable
water or on the bank of any tributary of any navigable water, where the same
shall be liable to be washed into such navigable water, either by ordinary or
high tides, or by storms or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or playgrounds". The MMDA, as lead agency, in coordination with the DPWH, LGUs, and concerned
may be impeded or obstructed or increase the level of pollution of such water. agencies, can dismantle and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in
breach of RA 7279 and other pertinent laws along the rivers, waterways, and esteros in Metro Manila.
With respect to rivers, waterways, and esteros in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna that
(7)When RA 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Act of 1990 was signed
discharge wastewater directly or eventually into the Manila Bay, the DILG shall direct the concerned
into law on December 13, 1990, the PNP Maritime Group was tasked to "perform all police functions
LGUs to implement the demolition and removal of such structures, constructions, and other
over the Philippine territorial waters and rivers." Under Sec. 86, RA 6975, the police functions of the PCG
encroachments built in violation of RA 7279 and other applicable laws in coordination with the DPWH
shall be taken over by the PNP when the latter acquires the capability to perform such functions. Since
and concerned agencies.
the PNP Maritime Group has not yet attained the capability to assume and perform the police functions
of PCG over marine pollution, the PCG and PNP Maritime Group shall coordinate with regard to the
enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of (10)The Department of Health (DOH), under Article 76 of PD 1067 (the Water Code), is tasked to
the Philippines. This was made clear in Sec. 124, RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, in promulgate rules and regulations for the establishment of waste disposal areas that affect the source of
which both the PCG and PNP Maritime Group were authorized to enforce said law and other fishery a water supply or a reservoir for domestic or municipal use. And under Sec. 8 of RA 9275, the DOH, in
laws, rules, and regulations. 25 ISDHcT coordination with the DENR, DPWH, and other concerned agencies, shall formulate guidelines and
standards for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage and the establishment and operation of a
centralized sewage treatment system. In areas not considered as highly urbanized cities, septage or a
(8)In accordance with Sec. 2 of EO 513, the PPA is mandated "to establish, develop, regulate, manage
mix sewerage-septage management system shall be employed.
and operate a rationalized national port system in support of trade and national
development." 26 Moreover, Sec. 6-c of EO 513 states that the PPA has police authority within the

ports administered by it as may be necessary to carry out its powers and


functions and attain its purposes and objectives, without prejudice to the In accordance with Sec. 72 30 of PD 856, the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, and Sec. 5.1.1 31 of
exercise of the functions of the Bureau of Customs and other law enforcement Chapter XVII of its implementing rules, the DOH is also ordered to ensure the regulation and monitoring
bodies within the area. Such police authority shall include the following: of the proper disposal of wastes by private sludge companies through the strict enforcement of the
requirement to obtain an environmental sanitation clearance of sludge collection treatment and disposal
before these companies are issued their environmental sanitation permit. IDScTE
xxx xxx xxx

(11)The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152), is
b)To regulate the entry to, exit from, and movement within the port, of persons
mandated to integrate subjects on environmental education in its school curricula at all levels. 32 Under
and vehicles, as well as movement within the port of watercraft. 27
Sec. 118 of RA 8550, the DepEd, in collaboration with the DA, Commission on Higher Education, and
Philippine Information Agency, shall launch and pursue a nationwide educational campaign to promote
Lastly, as a member of the International Marine Organization and a signatory to the International the development, management, conservation, and proper use of the environment. Under the Ecological
Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as amended by MARPOL 73/78, 28 the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), on the other hand, it is directed to strengthen the integration of
Philippines, through the PPA, must ensure the provision of adequate reception facilities at ports and environmental concerns in school curricula at all levels, with an emphasis on waste management
terminals for the reception of sewage from the ships docking in Philippine ports. Thus, the PPA is tasked principles. 33
to adopt such measures as are necessary to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid
wastes and other ship-generated wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and
(12)The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is tasked under Sec. 2, Title XVII of the
apprehend the violators. When the vessels are not docked at ports but within Philippine territorial
Administrative Code of 1987 to ensure the efficient and sound utilization of government funds and
waters, it is the PCG and PNP Maritime Group that have jurisdiction over said vessels.
revenues so as to effectively achieve the country's development objectives. 34

(9)The MMDA, as earlier indicated, is duty-bound to put up and maintain adequate sanitary landfill and
One of the country's development objectives is enshrined in RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act
solid waste and liquid disposal system as well as other alternative garbage disposal systems. It is
of 2004. This law stresses that the State shall pursue a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent
primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003, which
with the protection, preservation, and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish, and marine waters. It
would necessary include its penal provisions, within its area of jurisdiction. 29
also provides that it is the policy of the government, among others, to streamline processes and
procedures in the prevention, control, and abatement of pollution mechanisms for the protection of
Among the prohibited acts under Sec. 48, Chapter VI of RA 9003 that are frequently violated are water resources; to promote environmental strategies and use of appropriate economic instruments and
dumping of waste matters in public places, such as roads, canals or esteros,open burning of solid waste, of control mechanisms for the protection of water resources; to formulate a holistic national program of
squatting in open dumps and landfills, open dumping, burying of biodegradable or non-biodegradable water quality management that recognizes that issues related to this management cannot be separated
materials in flood-prone areas, establishment or operation of open dumps as enjoined in RA 9003, and from concerns about water sources and ecological protection, water supply, public health, and quality of
operation of waste management facilities without an environmental compliance certificate. aEHIDT life; and to provide a comprehensive management program for water pollution focusing on pollution
prevention.
Under Sec. 28 of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (RA 7279), eviction or demolition may
be allowed "when persons or entities occupy danger areas such asesteros, railroad tracks, garbage Thus, the DBM shall then endeavor to provide an adequate budget to attain the noble objectives of RA
dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks and 9275 in line with the country's development objectives.
All told, the aforementioned enabling laws and issuances are in themselves clear, categorical, and that the twin provisions would have to be read alongside the succeeding Sec. 62 (g) and (h), which
complete as to what are the obligations and mandate of each agency/petitioner under the law. We need defines the terms "cleanup operations" and "accidental spills", as follows:
not belabor the issue that their tasks include the cleanup of the Manila Bay.
g.Clean-up Operations [refer] to activities conducted in removing the pollutants
Now, as to the crux of the petition. Do Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code encompass the cleanup discharged or spilled in water to restore it to pre-spill condition.
of water pollution in general, not just specific pollution incidents?
h.Accidental Spills [refer] to spills of oil or other hazardous substances in water
Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code Include Cleaning in General that result from accidents such as collisions and groundings.

The disputed sections are quoted as follows: Petitioners proffer the argument that Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 merely direct the government agencies
concerned to undertake containment, removal, and cleaning operations of a specific polluted portion or
portions of the body of water concerned. They maintain that the application of said Sec. 20 is limited
Section 17.Upgrading of Water Quality. — Where the quality of water has
only to "water pollution incidents", which are situations that presuppose the occurrence of specific,
deteriorated to a degree where its state will adversely affect its best usage, the
isolated pollution events requiring the corresponding containment, removal, and cleaning operations.
government agencies concerned shall take such measures as may be necessary
Pushing the point further, they argue that the aforequoted Sec. 62 (g) requires "cleanup operations" to
to upgrade the quality of such water to meet the prescribed water quality
restore the body of water to pre-spill condition, which means that there must have been a specific
standards.
incident of either intentional or accidental spillage of oil or other hazardous substances, as mentioned in
Sec. 62 (h).
Section 20.Clean-up Operations. — It shall be the responsibility of the polluter
to contain, remove and clean-up water pollution incidents at his own expense.
As a counterpoint, respondents argue that petitioners erroneously read Sec. 62 (g) as delimiting the
In case of his failure to do so, the government agencies concerned shall
application of Sec. 20 to the containment, removal, and cleanup operations for accidental spills only.
undertake containment, removal and clean-up operations and expenses
Contrary to petitioners' posture, respondents assert that Sec. 62 (g), in fact, even expanded the coverage
incurred in said operations shall be charged against the persons and/or entities
of Sec. 20. Respondents explain that without its Sec. 62 (g), PD 1152 may have indeed covered only
responsible for such pollution.
pollution accumulating from the day-to-day operations of businesses around the Manila Bay and other
sources of pollution that slowly accumulated in the bay. Respondents, however, emphasize that Sec. 62
When the Clean Water Act (RA 9275) took effect, its Sec. 16 on the subject, Cleanup (g), far from being a delimiting provision, in fact even enlarged the operational scope of Sec. 20, by
Operations, amended the counterpart provision (Sec. 20) of the Environment Code (PD 1152). Sec. 17 of including accidental spills as among the water pollution incidents contemplated in Sec. 17 in relation to
PD 1152 continues, however, to be operational. IaDTES Sec. 20 of PD 1152.

The amendatory Sec. 16 of RA 9275 reads: To respondents, petitioners' parochial view on environmental issues, coupled with their narrow reading
of their respective mandated roles, has contributed to the worsening water quality of the Manila Bay.
SEC. 16.Cleanup Operations. — Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 15 Assuming, respondents assert, that petitioners are correct in saying that the cleanup coverage of Sec. 20
and 26 hereof, any person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in of PD 1152 is constricted by the definition of the phrase "cleanup operations" embodied in Sec. 62 (g),
excess of the applicable and prevailing standards shall be responsible to Sec. 17 is not hobbled by such limiting definition. As pointed out, the phrases "cleanup operations" and
contain, remove and clean up any pollution incident at his own expense to the "accidental spills" do not appear in said Sec. 17, not even in the chapter where said section is found.
extent that the same water bodies have been rendered unfit for utilization and
beneficial use: Provided, That in the event emergency cleanup operations are Respondents are correct. For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the government
necessary and the polluter fails to immediately undertake the same, the [DENR] agencies concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment, removal, and cleaning operations
in coordination with other government agencies concerned, shall undertake when a specific pollution incident occurs. On the contrary, Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the
containment, removal and cleanup operations. Expenses incurred in said absence of a specific pollution incident, as long as water quality "has deteriorated to a degree where its
operations shall be reimbursed by the persons found to have caused such state will adversely affect its best usage". This section, to stress, commands concerned government
pollution under proper administrative determination . . . . Reimbursements of agencies, when appropriate, "to take such measures as may be necessary to meet the prescribed water
the cost incurred shall be made to the Water Quality Management Fund or to quality standards". In fine, the underlying duty to upgrade the quality of water is not conditional on the
such other funds where said disbursements were sourced. occurrence of any pollution incident. ACcTDS

As may be noted, the amendment to Sec. 20 of the Environment Code is more apparent than real since For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched, indicates that it is properly
the amendment, insofar as it is relevant to this case, merely consists in the designation of the DENR as applicable to a specific situation in which the pollution is caused by polluters who fail to clean up the
lead agency in the cleanup operations. mess they left behind. In such instance, the concerned government agencies shall undertake the cleanup
work for the polluters' account. Petitioners' assertion, that they have to perform cleanup operations in
Petitioners contend at every turn that Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code concern themselves only the Manila Bay only when there is a water pollution incident and the erring polluters do not undertake
with the matter of cleaning up in specific pollution incidents, as opposed to cleanup in general. They aver the containment, removal, and cleanup operations, is quite off mark. As earlier discussed, the
complementary Sec. 17 of the Environment Code comes into play and the specific duties of the agencies
to clean up come in even if there are no pollution incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus, cannot is not seriously addressed with sustained resolve, then practically all efforts to cleanse these important
plausibly invoke and hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or Sec. 16 of RA 9275 on the pretext that their bodies of water would be for naught. The DENR Secretary said as much. 38 cSTHaE
cleanup mandate depends on the happening of a specific pollution incident. In this regard, what the CA
said with respect to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 is at once valid as it is practical. The
Giving urgent dimension to the necessity of removing these illegal structures is Art. 51 of PD 1067 or the
appellate court wrote: "PD 1152 aims to introduce a comprehensive program of environmental
Water Code, 39 which prohibits the building of structures within a given length along banks of rivers and
protection and management. This is better served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather
other waterways. Art. 51 reads:
than limiting them to specific pollution incidents." 35

The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and
lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three (3) meters in
urban areas, twenty (20) meters in agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in
Granting arguendo that petitioners' position thus described vis-à-vis the implementation of Sec. 20 is forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in
correct, they seem to have overlooked the fact that the pollution of the Manila Bay is of such magnitude the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage. No person
and scope that it is well-nigh impossible to draw the line between a specific and a general pollution shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for
incident. And such impossibility extends to pinpointing with reasonable certainty who the polluters are. recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any
We note that Sec. 20 of PD 1152 mentions "water pollution incidents" which may be caused by polluters kind. (Emphasis added.)
in the waters of the Manila Bay itself or by polluters in adjoining lands and in water bodies or waterways
that empty into the bay. Sec. 16 of RA 9275, on the other hand, specifically adverts to "any person who
Judicial notice may likewise be taken of factories and other industrial establishments standing along or
causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies", which may refer to an individual or an establishment that
near the banks of the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting waterways. But while they may not
pollutes the land mass near the Manila Bay or the waterways, such that the contaminants eventually end
be treated as unauthorized constructions, some of these establishments undoubtedly contribute to the
up in the bay. In this situation, the water pollution incidents are so numerous and involve nameless and
pollution of the Pasig River and waterways. The DILG and the concerned LGUs, have, accordingly, the
faceless polluters that they can validly be categorized as beyond the specific pollution incident level.
duty to see to it that non-complying industrial establishments set up, within a reasonable period, the
necessary waste water treatment facilities and infrastructure to prevent their industrial discharge,
Not to be ignored of course is the reality that the government agencies concerned are so undermanned including their sewage waters, from flowing into the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting
that it would be almost impossible to apprehend the numerous polluters of the Manila Bay. It may waterways. After such period, non-complying establishments shall be shut down or asked to transfer
perhaps not be amiss to say that the apprehension, if any, of the Manila Bay polluters has been few and their operations.
far between. Hence, practically nobody has been required to contain, remove, or clean up a given water
pollution incident. In this kind of setting, it behooves the Government to step in and undertake cleanup
At this juncture, and if only to dramatize the urgency of the need for petitioners-agencies to comply with
operations. Thus, Sec. 16 of RA 9275, previously Sec. 20 of PD 1152, covers for all intents and purposes a
their statutory tasks, we cite the Asian Development Bank-commissioned study on the garbage problem
general cleanup situation. IDaEHC
in Metro Manila, the results of which are embodied in the The Garbage Book. As there reported, the
garbage crisis in the metropolitan area is as alarming as it is shocking. Some highlights of the
The cleanup and/or restoration of the Manila Bay is only an aspect and the initial stage of the long-term report: IcTCHD
solution. The preservation of the water quality of the bay after the rehabilitation process is as important
as the cleaning phase. It is imperative then that the wastes and contaminants found in the rivers, inland
1.As early as 2003, three land-filled dumpsites in Metro Manila — the Payatas,
bays, and other bodies of water be stopped from reaching the Manila Bay. Otherwise, any cleanup effort
Catmon and Rodriquez dumpsites — generate an alarming quantity of lead and
would just be a futile, cosmetic exercise, for, in no time at all, the Manila Bay water quality would again
leachate or liquid run-off. Leachate are toxic liquids that flow along the surface
deteriorate below the ideal minimum standards set by PD 1152, RA 9275, and other relevant laws. It
and seep into the earth and poison the surface and groundwater that are used
thus behooves the Court to put the heads of the petitioner-department-agencies and the bureaus and
for drinking, aquatic life, and the environment.
offices under them on continuing notice about, and to enjoin them to perform, their mandates and
duties towards cleaning up the Manila Bay and preserving the quality of its water to the ideal level.
Under what other judicial discipline describes as "continuing mandamus": 36 the Court may, under 2.The high level of fecal coliform confirms the presence of a large amount of
extraordinary circumstances, issue directives with the end in view of ensuring that its decision would not human waste in the dump sites and surrounding areas, which is presumably
be set to naught by administrative inaction or indifference. In India, the doctrine of generated by households that lack alternatives to sanitation. To say that Manila
continuing mandamus was used to enforce directives of the court to clean up the length of the Ganges Bay needs rehabilitation is an understatement.
River from industrial and municipal pollution. 37
3.Most of the deadly leachate, lead and other dangerous contaminants and
The Court can take judicial notice of the presence of shanties and other unauthorized structures which possibly strains of pathogens seeps untreated into ground water and runs into
do not have septic tanks along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the National Capital Region (NCR) the Marikina and Pasig River systems and Manila Bay. 40
(Parañaque-Zapote, Las Piñas) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycuayan-
Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, Given the above perspective, sufficient sanitary landfills should now more than ever be established as
and other minor rivers and connecting waterways, river banks, and esteros which discharge their waters, prescribed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003). Particular note should be taken of
with all the accompanying filth, dirt, and garbage, into the major rivers and eventually the Manila Bay. If the blatant violations by some LGUs and possibly the MMDA of Sec. 37, reproduced below:
there is one factor responsible for the pollution of the major river systems and the Manila Bay, these
unauthorized structures would be on top of the list. And if the issue of illegal or unauthorized structures
Sec. 37.Prohibition against the Use of Open Dumps for Solid Waste. — No open So it was that in Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. the Court stated that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology
dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid need not even be written in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other civil and political rights
waste by any person, including LGUs which [constitute] the use of open dumps guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind and it is an issue of
for solid waste, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further transcendental importance with intergenerational implications. 41 Even assuming the absence of a
that no controlled dumps shall be allowed (5) years following the effectivity of categorical legal provision specifically prodding petitioners to clean up the bay, they and the men and
this Act. (Emphasis added.) women representing them cannot escape their obligation to future generations of Filipinos to keep the
waters of the Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as possible. Anything less would be a betrayal of the
trust reposed in them.
RA 9003 took effect on February 15, 2001 and the adverted grace period of five (5) years which ended on
February 21, 2006 has come and gone, but no single sanitary landfill which strictly complies with the
prescribed standards under RA 9003 has yet been set up. EaDATc WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 28, 2005 Decision of the CA in CA-G.R. CV No.
76528 and SP No. 74944 and the September 13, 2002 Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 1851-99 are
AFFIRMED but with MODIFICATIONS in view of subsequent developments or supervening events in the
In addition, there are rampant and repeated violations of Sec. 48 of RA 9003, like littering, dumping of
case. The fallo of the RTC Decision shall now read:
waste matters in roads, canals, esteros, and other public places, operation of open dumps, open burning
of solid waste, and the like. Some sludge companies which do not have proper disposal facilities simply
discharge sludge into the Metro Manila sewerage system that ends up in the Manila Bay. Equally WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the abovenamed
unabated are violations of Sec. 27 of RA 9275, which enjoins the pollution of water bodies, groundwater defendant-government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila
pollution, disposal of infectious wastes from vessels, and unauthorized transport or dumping into sea Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level (Class B sea waters per
waters of sewage or solid waste and of Secs. 4 and 102 of RA 8550 which proscribes the introduction by Water Classification Tables under DENR Administrative Order No. 34 [1990]) to
human or machine of substances to the aquatic environment including "dumping/disposal of waste and make them fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.
other marine litters, discharge of petroleum or residual products of petroleum of carbonaceous
materials/substances [and other] radioactive, noxious or harmful liquid, gaseous or solid substances,
In particular:
from any water, land or air transport or other human-made structure."

(1)Pursuant to Sec. 4 of EO 192, assigning the DENR as the primary agency responsible for the
In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the Court wishes to emphasize the extreme
conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country's environment and natural
necessity for all concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately act and discharge their
resources, and Sec. 19 of RA 9275, designating the DENR as the primary government agency responsible
respective official duties and obligations. Indeed, time is of the essence; hence, there is a need to set
for its enforcement and implementation, the DENR is directed to fully implement its Operational Plan for
timetables for the performance and completion of the tasks, some of them as defined for them by law
the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy for the rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of the Manila Bay at
and the nature of their respective offices and mandates.
the earliest possible time. It is ordered to call regular coordination meetings with concerned government
departments and agencies to ensure the successful implementation of the aforesaid plan of action in
The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical landmark cannot be accordance with its indicated completion schedules.
over-emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the Manila Bay to its former splendor and
bring back the plants and sea life that once thrived in its blue waters. But the tasks ahead, daunting as
(2)Pursuant to Title XII (Local Government) of the Administrative Code of 1987 and Sec. 25 of the Local
they may be, could only be accomplished if those mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civic-
Government Code of 1991, 42 the DILG, in exercising the President's power of general supervision and its
minded individuals, would put their minds to these tasks and take responsibility. This means that the
duty to promulgate guidelines in establishing waste management programs under Sec. 43 of the
State, through petitioners, has to take the lead in the preservation and protection of the Manila Bay.
Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152), shall direct all LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite,
Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to inspect all factories, commercial establishments, and private homes
along the banks of the major river systems in their respective areas of jurisdiction, such as but not
limited to the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Parañaque-Zapote, Las Piñas) Rivers, the
Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the
The era of delays, procrastination, and ad hoc measures is over. Petitioners must transcend their
Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor rivers and waterways
limitations, real or imaginary, and buckle down to work before the problem at hand becomes
that eventually discharge water into the Manila Bay; and the lands abutting the bay, to determine
unmanageable. Thus, we must reiterate that different government agencies and instrumentalities
whether they have wastewater treatment facilities or hygienic septic tanks as prescribed by existing
cannot shirk from their mandates; they must perform their basic functions in cleaning up and
laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations. If none be found, these LGUs shall be ordered to require
rehabilitating the Manila Bay. We are disturbed by petitioners' hiding behind two untenable claims: (1)
non-complying establishments and homes to set up said facilities or septic tanks within a reasonable
that there ought to be a specific pollution incident before they are required to act; and (2) that the
time to prevent industrial wastes, sewage water, and human wastes from flowing into these rivers,
cleanup of the bay is a discretionary duty. TacESD
waterways, esteros, and the Manila Bay, under pain of closure or imposition of fines and other
sanctions. SaHTCE
RA 9003 is a sweeping piece of legislation enacted to radically transform and improve waste
management. It implements Sec. 16, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, which explicitly provides that the
(3)As mandated by Sec. 8 of RA 9275, 43 the MWSS is directed to provide, install, operate, and maintain
State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord
the necessary adequate waste water treatment facilities in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite where
with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
needed at the earliest possible time.
(4)Pursuant to RA 9275, 44 the LWUA, through the local water districts and in coordination with the (11)The DBM shall consider incorporating an adequate budget in the General Appropriations Act of 2010
DENR, is ordered to provide, install, operate, and maintain sewerage and sanitation facilities and the and succeeding years to cover the expenses relating to the cleanup, restoration, and preservation of the
efficient and safe collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, water quality of the Manila Bay, in line with the country's development objective to attain economic
Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan where needed at the earliest possible time. growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation, and revival of our marine waters.

(5)Pursuant to Sec. 65 of RA 8550, 45 the DA, through the BFAR, is ordered to improve and restore the (12)The heads of petitioners-agencies MMDA, DENR, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH, DBM, PCG, PNP Maritime
marine life of the Manila Bay. It is also directed to assist the LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Group, DILG, and also of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, in line with the principle of "continuing mandamus",
Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan in developing, using recognized methods, the fisheries and aquatic shall, from finality of this Decision, each submit to the Court a quarterly progressive report of the
resources in the Manila Bay. activities undertaken in accordance with this Decision.

(6)The PCG, pursuant to Secs. 4 and 6 of PD 979, and the PNP Maritime Group, in accordance with Sec.
124 of RA 8550, in coordination with each other, shall apprehend violators of PD 979, RA 8550, and other
existing laws and regulations designed to prevent marine pollution in the Manila Bay.
No costs.

(7)Pursuant to Secs. 2 and 6-c of EO 513 46 and the International Convention for the Prevention of
SO ORDERED.
Pollution from Ships, the PPA is ordered to immediately adopt such measures to prevent the discharge
and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated wastes into the Manila Bay waters
from vessels docked at ports and apprehend the violators.

(8)The MMDA, as the lead agency and implementor of programs and projects for flood control projects
and drainage services in Metro Manila, in coordination with the DPWH, DILG, affected LGUs, PNP
Maritime Group, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and other agencies,
shall dismantle and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments established or built in
violation of RA 7279, and other applicable laws along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR
(Parañaque-Zapote, Las Piñas) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, and connecting
waterways and esteros in Metro Manila. The DPWH, as the principal implementor of programs and
projects for flood control services in the rest of the country more particularly in Bulacan, Bataan,
Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna, in coordination with the DILG, affected LGUs, PNP Maritime Group,
HUDCC, and other concerned government agencies, shall remove and demolish all structures,
constructions, and other encroachments built in breach of RA 7279 and other applicable laws along the
Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the
Laguna De Bay, and other rivers, connecting waterways, and esteros that discharge wastewater into the
Manila Bay.

In addition, the MMDA is ordered to establish, operate, and maintain a sanitary landfill, as prescribed by
RA 9003, within a period of one (1) year from finality of this Decision. On matters within its territorial
jurisdiction and in connection with the discharge of its duties on the maintenance of sanitary landfills
and like undertakings, it is also ordered to cause the apprehension and filing of the appropriate criminal
cases against violators of the respective penal provisions of RA 9003, 47 Sec. 27 of RA 9275 (the Clean
Water Act), and other existing laws on pollution.

(9)The DOH shall, as directed by Art. 76 of PD 1067 and Sec. 8 of RA 9275, within one (1) year from
finality of this Decision, determine if all licensed septic and sludge companies have the proper facilities
for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks. The DOH shall give
the companies, if found to be non-complying, a reasonable time within which to set up the necessary
facilities under pain of cancellation of its environmental sanitation clearance.

(10)Pursuant to Sec. 53 of PD 1152, 48 Sec. 118 of RA 8550, and Sec. 56 of RA 9003, 49 the DepEd shall
integrate lessons on pollution prevention, waste management, environmental protection, and like
subjects in the school curricula of all levels to inculcate in the minds and hearts of students and, through
them, their parents and friends, the importance of their duty toward achieving and maintaining a
balanced and healthful ecosystem in the Manila Bay and the entire Philippine archipelago. aSEHDA