Political Law

Vicente De La Cruz vs Edgardo Paras

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G.R. No. L-42571-72 – 123 SCRA 569 – Political Law – Subject Shall Be Expressed in the Title – Police Power Not Validly Exercise

Vicente De La Cruz et al were club & cabaret operators. They assail the constitutionality of Ord. No. 84, Ser. of 1975 or the Prohibition and Closure Ordinance of Bocaue, Bulacan. De la Cruz averred that the said Ordinance violates their right to engage in a lawful business for the said ordinance would close out their business. That the hospitality girls they employed are healthy and are not allowed to go out with customers. Judge Paras however lifted the TRO he earlier issued against Ord. 84 after due hearing declaring that Ord 84. is constitutional for it is pursuant to RA 938 which reads “AN ACT GRANTING MUNICIPAL OR CITY BOARDS AND COUNCILS THE POWER TO REGULATE THE ESTABLISHMENT, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF CERTAIN PLACES OF AMUSEMENT WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTIONS”. Paras ruled that the prohibition is a valid exercise of police power to promote general welfare. De la Cruz then appealed citing that they were deprived of due process.

ISSUE: Whether or not a municipal corporation, Bocaue, Bulacan can, prohibit the exercise of a lawful trade, the operation of night clubs, and the pursuit of a lawful occupation, such clubs employing hostesses pursuant to Ord 84 which is further in pursuant to RA 938.

HELD: The SC ruled against Paras. If night clubs were merely then regulated and not prohibited, certainly the assailed ordinance would pass the test of validity. SC had stressed reasonableness, consonant with the general powers and purposes of municipal corporations, as well as consistency with the laws or policy of the State. It cannot be said that such a sweeping exercise of a lawmaking power by Bocaue could qualify under the term reasonable. The objective of fostering public morals, a worthy and desirable end can be attained by a measure that does not encompass too wide a field. Certainly the ordinance on its face is characterized by overbreadth. The purpose sought to be achieved could have been attained by reasonable restrictions rather than by an absolute prohibition. Pursuant to the title of the Ordinance, Bocaue should and can only regulate not prohibit the business of cabarets.

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