Monday, February 6, 2012

Ynot v IAC (1987) 148 SCRA 659

J. Cruz

Petitioner transported 6 caracbaos from Masbate to Iloilo in 1984 and these wer confiscated by the station commander in Barotac, Iloilo for violating E.O. 626 A which prohibits transportation of a carabao or carabeef from one province to another. Confiscation will be a result of this.
The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raise by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity.
The same result was decided in the trial court.
In the Supreme Court, he then petitioned against the constitutionality of the E.O. due to the outright confiscation without giving the owner the right to heard before an impartial court as guaranteed by due process. He also challenged the improper exercise of legislative power by the former president under Amendment 6 of the 1973 constitution wherein Marcos was given emergency powers to issue letters of instruction that had the force of law.

Issue: Is the E.O. constitutional?

Holding: The EO is unconstitutional. Petition granted.

The lower courts are not prevented from examining the constitutionality of a law.
Constitutional grant to the supreme court to review.
Justice Laurel's said, “courts should not follow the path of least resistance by simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned. On the contrary, they should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess, and so heal the wound or excise the affliction.”
The challenged measure is denominated an executive order but it is really presidential decree, promulgating a new rule instead of merely implementing an existing law due to the grant of legislative authority over the president under Amendment number 6.
Provisions of the constitution should be cast in precise language to avoid controvery. In the due process clause, however, the wording was ambiguous so it would remain resilient. This was due to the avoidance of an “iron rule “laying down a stiff command for all circumstances. There was flexibility to allow it to adapt to every situation with varying degrees at protection for the changing conditions.
Courts have also refrained to adopt a standard definition for due processlest they be confined to its interpretation like a straitjacket.
There must be requirements of notice and hearing as a safeguard against arbitrariness.
There are exceptions such as conclusive presumption which bars omission of contrary evidence as long as such presumption is based on human experience or rational connection between facts proved and fact presumed. An examples is a passport of a person with a criminal offense cancelled without hearing.
The protection of the general welfare is the particular function of police power which both restrains and is restrained by dure process. This power was invoked in 626-A, in addition to 626 which prohibits slaughter of carabos with an exception.
While 626-A has the same lawful subjectas the original executive order, it can’t be said that it complies with the existence of a lawful method. The transport prohibition and the purpose sought has a gap.
Summary action may be taken in valid admin proceedings as procedural due process is not juridical only due to the urgency needed to correct it.
There was no reason why the offense in the E.O. would not have been proved in a court of justice with the accused acquired the rights in the constitution.
The challenged measure was an invalid exercise of police power because the method toconfiscate carabos was oppressive.
Due process was violated because the owener was denied the right to be heard or his defense and punished immediately.
This was a clear encroachment on judicial functions and against the separataion of powers.
The policeman wasn’t liable for damages since the law during that time was valid.

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