Political Law

Restituto Ynot vs Intermediate Appellate Court

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G.R. No. 74457 – 148 SCRA 659 – Political Law – Police Power – Not Validly Exercised

There had been an existing law which prohibited the slaughtering of carabaos (EO 626). To strengthen the law, Marcos issued EO 626-A which not only banned the movement of carabaos from one province to another but as well as the movement of carabeef. On 13 Jan 1984, Ynot was caught transporting 6 carabaos from Masbate to Iloilo. He was then charged in violation of EO 626-A. Ynot averred that EO 626-A was unconstitutional for it violated his right to be heard or his right to due process. He said that the authority provided by EO 626-A to outrightly confiscate carabaos even without being heard is unconstitutional. The lower court ruled against Ynot ruling that the EO is a valid exercise of police power in order to promote general welfare so as to curb down the indiscriminate slaughter of carabaos.

ISSUE: Whether or not the law is valid.

HELD: The SC ruled that the EO is not valid as it indeed violates due process. EO 626-A created a presumption based on the judgment of the executive. The movement of carabaos from one area to the other does not mean a subsequent slaughter of the same would ensue. Ynot should be given to defend himself and explain why the carabaos are being transferred before they can be confiscated. The SCĀ found that the challenged measure is an invalid exercise of the police power because the method employed to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose of the law and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner of the property confiscated is denied the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned and punished. The conferment on the administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is a clear encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally, also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the properties arbitrarily taken.

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