Political Law

White Light Corp., vs City of Manila

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G.R. No. 122846 – 576 SCRA 416 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Police Power – Not Validly Exercised – Infringement of Private Rights

On 3 Dec 1992, then Mayor Lim signed into law Ord 7774 entitled “An Ordinance prohibiting short time admission in hotels, motels, lodging houses, pension houses and similar establishments in the City of Manila”. White Light Corp is an operator of mini hotels and motels who sought to have the Ordinance be nullified as the said Ordinance infringes on the private rights of their patrons. The RTC ruled in favor of WLC. It ruled that the Ordinance strikes at the personal liberty of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution. The City maintains that the ordinance is valid as it is a valid exercise of police power. Under the LGC, the City is empowered to regulate 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. The CA ruled in favor of the City.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ord 7774 is valid.

HELD: The SC ruled that the said ordinance is null and void as it indeed infringes upon individual liberty. It also violates the due process clause which serves as a guaranty for protection against arbitrary regulation or seizure. The said ordinance invades private rights. Note that not all who goes into motels and hotels for wash up rate are really there for obscene purposes only. Some are tourists who needed rest or to “wash up” or to freshen up. Hence, the infidelity sought to be avoided by the said ordinance is more or less subjected only to a limited group of people. The SC reiterates 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.

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