Political Law

City of Manila vs Judge Perfecto Laguio

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G.R. No. 118127 – 455 SCRA 308 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Police Power

On 30 Mar 1993, Mayor Lim signed into law Ord 7783 entitled AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF BUSINESSES PROVIDING CERTAIN FORMS OF AMUSEMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE AREA, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. It basically prohibited establishments such as bars, karaoke bars, motels and hotels from operating in the Malate District which was notoriously viewed as a red light district harboring thrill seekers. Malate Tourist Development Corporation avers that the ordinance is invalid as it includes hotels and motels in the enumeration of places offering amusement or entertainment. MTDC reiterates that they do not market such nor do they use women as tools for entertainment. MTDC also avers that under the LGC, LGUs can only regulate motels but cannot prohibit their operation. The City reiterates that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of Police Power as provided as well in the LGC. The City likewise emphasized that the purpose of the law is to promote morality in the City.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ordinance 7783 is valid.

HELD: The SC ruled that the said Ordinance is null and void. The SC noted that for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must be passed according to the procedure prescribed by law, it  must also conform to the following substantive requirements:

(1) must not contravene the Constitution or any statute;

(2) must not be unfair or oppressive;

(3) must not be partial or discriminatory;

(4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade;

(5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and

(6) must not be unreasonable.

The police power of the City Council, however broad and far-reaching, is subordinate to the constitutional limitations thereon; and is subject to the limitation that its exercise must be reasonable and for the public good. In the case at bar, the enactment of the Ordinance was an invalid exercise of delegated power as it is unconstitutional and repugnant to general laws.

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