Petitioners argued that the Ordinance is unconstitutional and void since it violates the right to privacy and the freedom of movement; it is an invalid exercise of police power; and it is an unreasonable and oppressive interference in their business
liberty is regulated by law.
We reiterate that individual rights may be adversely affected only to the extent that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. The State is a leviathan that must be restrained from needlessly intruding into the lives of its citizens. However well-intentioned the Ordinance may be, it is in effect an arbitrary and whimsical intrusion into the rights of the establishments as well as their patrons. The Ordinance needlessly restrains the operation of the businesses of the petitioners as well as restricting the rights of their patrons without sufficient justification. The Ordinance rashly equates wash rates and renting out a room more than twice a day with immorality without accommodating innocuous intentions.
Even as the implementation of moral norms remains an indispensable complement to governance, that prerogative is hardly absolute, especially in the face of the norms of due process of liberty. And while the tension may often be left to the courts to relieve, it is possible for the government to avoid the constitutional conflict by employing more judicious, less drastic means to promote morality.
reversed the decision of the RTC and affirmed the constitutionality of the Ordinance.
As held in Morfe v. Mutuc, the exercise of police power is subject to judicial review when life, liberty or property is affected.
It cannot be denied that the primary animus behind the ordinance is the curtailment of sexual behavior. The City asserts before this Court that the subject establishments "have gained notoriety as venue of ‘prostitution, adultery and fornications’ in Manila since they ‘provide the necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence and exit and thus became the ‘ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers.’"68 Whether or not this depiction of a mise-en-scene of vice is accurate, it cannot be denied that legitimate sexual behavior among willing married or consenting single adults which is constitutionally protected69 will be curtailed as well, as it was in the City of Manila case. Our holding therein retains significance for our purposes:
A plain reading of section 3 of the Ordinance shows it makes no classification of places of lodging, thus deems them all susceptible to illicit patronage and subject them without exception to the unjustified prohibition.
. Urban decay is a fact of mega cities such as Manila, and vice is a common problem confronted by the modern metropolis wherever in the world. The solution to such perceived decay is not to prevent legitimate businesses from offering a legitimate product.
The behavior which the Ordinance seeks to curtail is in fact already prohibited and could in fact be diminished simply by applying existing laws. Less intrusive measures such as curbing the proliferation of prostitutes and drug dealers through active police work would be more effective in easing the situation. So would the strict enforcement of existing laws and regulations penalizing prostitution and drug use. These measures would have minimal intrusion on the businesses of the petitioners and other legitimate merchants.
Before the Court of Appeals, the City asserted that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power pursuant to Section 458 (4)(iv) of the Local Government Code which confers on cities, among other local government units, the power:
In their petition and Memorandum, petitioners in essence repeat the assertions they made before the Court of Appeals.
The Ordinance prohibits two specific and distinct business practices, namely wash rate admissions and renting out a room more than twice a day
Police power is based upon the concept of necessity of the State and its corresponding right to protect itself and its people.
The apparent goal of the Ordinance is to minimize if not eliminate the use of the covered establishments for illicit sex, prostitution, drug use and alike.
do not sanctify any and all means for their achievement.
egulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses and other similar establishments, including tourist guides and transports.22
"to enact all ordinances it may deem necessary and proper for the sanitation and safety, the furtherance of the prosperity and the promotion of the morality, peace, good order, comfort, convenience and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, and such others as be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Chapter; and to fix penalties for the violation of ordinances which shall not exceed two hundred pesos fine or six months imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment for a single offense.23
Petitioners allege that as owners of establishments offering "wash-up" rates, their business is being unlawfully interfered with by the Ordinance. However, petitioners also allege that the equal protection rights of their clients are also being interfered with
The primary constitutional question that confronts us is one of due process, as guaranteed under Section 1, Article III of the Constitution. Due process evades a precise definition.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.