Sunteți pe pagina 1din 6

Commission on Human Rights; Power to issue TRO (1997)

No. 8 - About a hundred people occupied a parcel of land in Quezon City belonging to the city
government and built shanties thereon which they utilized for dwelling, sari-sari stores, etc. The City
Mayor issued an order directing

the occupants to vacate the structures within five days from notice, otherwise they would be evicted
and relocated and their shanties removed, in order that the parcel of land could be converted into a
park for public use and enjoyment. The inhabitants of the parcel of land complained to the Commission
on Human Rights urging that the Mayor of Quezon City be stopped from doing what he has threatened
to do. The Commission on Human Rights, after conducting an investigation and finding that the shanties
of petitioners were already being demolished by then, ordered the Quezon City Mayor and persons
Implementing his order to cease and desist from demolishing petitioners' shanties under pain of
contempt.

What have you to say on the validity of the actuation of the Commission on Human Rights in relation to
that of the Quezon City Mayor?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The actuation of the Commission on Human Rights is void. In Simon vs. Commission on Human Rights,
229 SCRA 117. the Court held that the Commission on Human Rights has no power to issue a restraining
order or a writ of injunction and has no power to cite for contempt for violation of the restraining order
or a writ of preliminary injunction. The cease and desist order, according to the Court, is a semantic
Interplay for a restraining order. Its power to cite for contempt should be understood to apply only to
violations of its adopted operational guidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its
investigatorial powers, which it is constitutionally authorized to adopt.

Commission on Human Rights; Power to issue TRO (2001) No

VI - In order to implement a big government flood control project, the Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH) and a local government unit (LGU) removed squatters from the bank of a river and
certain esteros for relocation to another place. Their shanties were demolished. The Commission on
Human Rights (CHR) conducted an investigation and issued an order for the DPWH and the LGU to cease
and desist from effecting the removal of the squatters on the ground that the human rights of the
squatters were being violated. The DPWH and the LGU objected to the order of the CHR Resolve which
position is correct. Reasons (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER; The position of the Department of Public Works and Highways and of the local
government unit is correct. As held in Export Processing Zone Authority v. Commission on Human Rights,
208 SCRA125 (1992), no provision in the Constitution or any law confers on the Commission on Human
Rights jurisdiction to issue temporary restraining orders or writs of preliminary injunction. The
Commission on Human Rights has no judicial power. Its powers are merely investigatory.

Commission on Human Rights; Power; Limitations (Q4-2005)

(2) Squatters and vendors have put up structures in an area intended for a People's Park, which are
impeding the flow of traffic in the adjoining highway. Mayor Cruz gave notice for the structures to be
removed, and the area vacated within a month, or else, face demolition and ejectment. The occupants
filed a case with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to stop the Mayor's move. The CHR then issued
an "order to desist" against Mayor Cruz with warning that he would be held in contempt should he fail
to comply with the desistance order. When the allotted time lapsed, Mayor Cruz caused the demolition
and removal of the structures. Accordingly, the CHR cited him for contempt. (5%)

(a) What is your concept of Human Rights? Does this case involve violations of human rights within the
scope of the CHR's jurisdiction? SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the scope of human rights
includes "those that relate to an individual's social, economic, cultural, political and civil relations...
along with what is generally considered to be his inherent and inalienable rights, encompassing almost
all aspects of life." In the case at bar, the land adjoins a busy national highway and the construction of
the squatter shanties impedes the flow of traffic. The consequent danger to life and limb cannot be
ignored. It is paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the
first place, even be invoked, if it is, in fact, extant. Based on the circumstances obtaining in this instance,
the CHR order for demolition do not fall within the compartment of human rights violations involving
civil and political rights intended by the Constitution. (Simon v. Commission on Human Rights, G.R. No.
100150, January 5, 1994)

(b) Can the CHR issue an "order to desist" or restraining order?

SUGGESTED ANSWER: The CHR may not issue an "order to desist" or restraining order. The
constitutional provision directing the CHR to provide for preventive measures to those whose human
rights have been violated or need protection may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the
Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the intention, the
Constitution would have expressly said so. Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by law. It
is never derived by implication. (Export Processing Zone Authority v. Commission on Human Rights, G.R.
No. 101476, April 14, 1992)
(c) Is the CHR empowered to declare Mayor Cruz in contempt? Does it have contempt powers at all?

SUGGESTED ANSWER: The CHR does not possess adjudicative functions and therefore, on its own, is not
empowered to declare Mayor Cruz in contempt for issuing the "order to desist." However, under the
1987 Constitution, the CHR is constitutionally authorized, in the exercise of its investigative functions, to
"adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in
accordance with the Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR, in the course of an investigation, may only
cite or hold any person in contempt and impose the appropriate penalties in accordance with the
procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court. (Carino v. Commis Human Rights, G.R. No.
96681, December 2, 1991)

Posted by karissafaye at 10:41 PM

Simon vs. Commission on Human Rights


[GR 100150, 5 January 1994]
En Banc, Vitug (J): 12 concur

Facts: A "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo in his capacity as an Executive
Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor,
was sent to, and received by, the Roque Fermo, et. al. (being the officers and members of the North
Edsa Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, Fermo, et. al. were given a grace-period of 3
days (up to 12 July 1990) within which to vacate the premises of North EDSA. Prior to their receipt of the
demolition notice, Fermo, et. al. were informed by Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give
way to the "People's Park". On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a
letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
against Brigido R. Simon, Carlos Quimpo, Carlito Abelardo, and Generoso Ocampo, asking the late CHR
Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Simon of Quezon City to
stop the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA (CHR Case
90-1580). On 23 July 1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing Simon, et. al. "to desist from demolishing
the stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the
Commission" and ordering Simon, et. al. to appear before the CHR. On the basis of the sworn
statements submitted by Fermo, et. al. on 31 July 1990, as well as CHR's own ocular inspection, and
convinced that on 28 July 1990 Simon, et. al. carried out the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari
stores and carinderia, the CHR, in its resolution of 1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial
assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of Fermo, et. al. to purchase light housing materials
and food under the Commission's supervision and again directed Simon, et. al. to "desist from further
demolition, with the warning that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and
arrest." A motion to dismiss, dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. During the 12
September 1990 hearing, Simon, et. al. moved for postponement, arguing that the motion to dismiss set
for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved, and likewise manifested that they would bring the case
to the courts. In an Order, dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited Simon, et. al. in contempt for
carrying out the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and
it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them. On 1 March 1991, the CHR issued an Order, denying
Simon, et.al.'s motion to dismiss and supplemental motion to dismiss. In an Order, dated 25 April 1991,
Simon, et. al.'s motion for reconsideration was denied. Simon, et. al. filed the petition for prohibition,
with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction, questioning the extent of the authority
and power of the CHR, and praying that the CHR be prohibited from further hearing and investigating
CHR Case 90 —1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."

Issue: Whether the CHR has the power to issue the “order to desist” against the demolition of Fermo, et.
al.’s stalls, and to cite Mayor Simon, et. al. for contempt for proceeding to demolish said stalls despite
the CHR order.

Held: Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision empowering the Commission on
Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights." Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission, it is readily apparent that the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that
would focus its attention to the more severe cases of human rights violations; such areas as the "(1)
protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3)
fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes
committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to have any
preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless, significant for the
tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in peremptorily making a
conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to
resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of human rights that should
fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its recommendation." Herein, there is
no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as
temporary shanties, erected by Fermo, at. al. on a land which is planned to be developed into a
"People's Park." More than that, the land adjoins the North EDSA of Quezon City which, the Court can
take judicial notice of, is a busy national highway. The consequent danger to life and limb is thus to be
likewise simply ignored. It is indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is
one that cannot, in the first place, even be invoked, if its is not, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking
at the standards vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining herein, the Court not prepared to conclude that
the order for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of Fermo, et. al. can fall within
the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the
Constitution. On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational
guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the
Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power
"to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in
accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite for
contempt, however, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational
guidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the
power to cite for contempt could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said
body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in
pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order)
herein, however, is not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative power that it does
not possess. As held in Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights, "The
constitutional provision directing the CHR to 'provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to
the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection' may not be construed
to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that
were the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so. 'Jurisdiction is conferred only by the
Constitution or by law'. It is never derived by implication. Evidently, the 'preventive measures and legal
aid services' mentioned in the Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ
of preliminary injunction) which the CHR may seek from the proper courts on behalf of the victims of
human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ,
for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued `by the judge of any court in which the action is
pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. A writ of
preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending principal action, for the
preservation or protection of the rights and interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose."

PBM EMPLOYEES VS. PBM [51 SCRA 189; G.R. NO. L-31195; 5 JUN 1993]

Sunday, February 08, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes

Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (PBMEO) is a legitimate labor
union composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners.
Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. Petitioners
claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4,
1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police. PBMEO thru Pagcu confirmed the planned
demonstration and stated that the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already
been agreed upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do
with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management. The Management,
thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO that the demonstration is an
inalienable right of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized that any demonstration
for that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. Workers who
without previous leave of absence approved by the Company, particularly , the officers present who are
the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following morning shall be
dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to
an illegal strike. Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the
demonstration despite the pleas of the respondent Company that the first shift workers should not be
required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers in the second and third shifts should
be utilized for the demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on March 4, 1969, filed a charge against
petitioners and other employees who composed the first shift, for a violation of Republic Act No.
875(Industrial Peace Act), and of the CBA providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' Petitioners were held
guilty in by CIR for bargaining in bad faith, hence this appeal.

Issue: Whether or Not the petitioners right to freedom of speech and to peaceable assemble violated.

Held: Yes. A constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion,
namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has the right to
prevent. This is not present in the case. It was to the interest herein private respondent firm to rally to
the defense of, and take up the cudgels for, its employees, so that they can report to work free from
harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence perform more efficiently their respective tasks
enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent employer did not even offer to intercede
for its employees with the local police. In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as
their right of assembly and of petition against alleged persecution of local officialdom, the employees
and laborers of herein private respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the
weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic human rights.
The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by reason of the absence of its
employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is a plea for the preservation
merely of their property rights. The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused,
harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the municipality. As
above intimated, the condition in which the employees found themselves vis-a-vis the local police of
Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right to individual existence as well as that of their families.
Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The debasement of the human being broken
in morale and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. As heretofore stated,
the primacy of human rights — freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress
of grievances — over property rights has been sustained. To regard the demonstration against police
officers, not against the employer, as evidence of bad faith in collective bargaining and hence a violation
of the collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the
demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining agreement, is "a
potent means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well as mortal wound on the
constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition. Circulation is one of
the aspects of freedom of expression. If demonstrators are reduced by one-third, then by that much the
circulation of the Issue raised by the demonstration is diminished. The more the participants, the more
persons can be apprised of the purpose of the rally. Moreover, the absence of one-third of their
members will be regarded as a substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate their
position and abet continued alleged police persecution.