Anda di halaman 1dari 3

A Universal Right

Jose C. Sison

In the enumeration of the bill of rights, all our Constitutions, from the 1935 to the 1973 and finally to the present 1987 Constitution have fittingly started off with an identical provision which indeed serves as the anchor of all the other civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the fundamental law. Said provision can be said to be the most invoke and oftentimes most abused clause by virtue of its all embracing dictum that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws" (Art. IV Sec. 1). In fact, while ordinarily one must be a citizen of the Philippines in order to get the full protection of its laws, the guarantees extended by the above cited section of our Constitution are universal in their application and includes all persons within its territorial jurisdiction. This can easily be deduced from the word "person" which the Constitution use. Such word is so encompassing that it does not regard any differences as to race, color or nationality. It includes even artificial persons or private corporations within the scope of the guarantees in so far as their property is concerned. This is the settled jurisprudence established way back in the early days of the American regime in the Philippines where it was held that the "due process and "equal protection of the laws" clause in the Philippines Bill of Rights are like the provisions found in the fourteenth amendment of the US Constitution, and therefore, in its interpretation, the decisions of US Supreme Court may be referred to and used (Smith Bell V. Natividad 40 Philippines 136). But the more significant aspect to consider is the order of it establishes a certain hierarchy of importance. In other words, when the Constitution mentions "life and liberty" ahead of "property" it values life and liberty more popularly known as "human right," over and above property or property rights. The primacy of human rights over property rights was duly recognized, and amply expounded in one case, where our Supreme Court speaking through Mr. Justice Makasiar, looks at human rights as "supremely precious in our society: which need breathing space to survive" thus permitting government regulation only with narrow specificity" (Philippines Blooming Mills Employees Organization vs. Philippines Blooming Mills Co., Inc. 51 SCRA 189). (A Law Each Day Keeps Trouble Away), Feb. 1988, Philippine Star). 1. What is meant by the statement: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law, nor shall any person b e denied the equal protection of laws? 2 Why does the author say that the statement is universal? 3 According to the constitution, what is another term for the value of life and liberty? 4 What do you think is the purpose of the author in the text? 5. What general guidelines should be followed by everyone to protect human rights? 6. If your right is being violated, what will you do?

Facts: The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills EmployeesOrganization (PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners. Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacaang on March 4, 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police. PBMEO thru Pagcu confirmed the planned demonstration and stated that the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management. The Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO that the demonstration is an inalienable right of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized that any demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company.

Workers who without previous leave of absence approved by the Company, particularly , the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following morning shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to an illegal strike. Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the demonstration despite the pleas of the respondent Company that the first shift workers should not be required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers in the second and third shifts should be utilized for the demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on March 4, 1969, filed a charge against petitioners and other employees who composed the first shift, for a violation of Republic Act No. 875(Industrial Peace Act), and of the CBA providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' Petitioners were held guilty in by CIR for bargaining in bad faith, hence this appeal.

Issue: Whether or Not the petitioners right to freedom of speech and to peaceable assemble violated.

Held: Yes. A constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent. This is not present in the case. It was to the interest herein private respondent firm to rally to the defense of, and take up the cudgels for, its employees, so that they can report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence perform more efficiently their respective tasks enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent employer did not even offer to intercede for its employees with the local police. In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as their right of assembly and of petition against alleged persecution of local officialdom, the employees and laborers of herein private respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the weapons afforded them by the Constitution the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic human rights. The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by reason of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is a plea for the preservation merely of their property rights. The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality abused, harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the municipality. As above intimated, the condition in which the employees found themselves vis-avis the local police of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right to individual existence as well as that of their families. Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The debasement of the human being broken in morale and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of grievances over property rights has been sustained. To regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the employer, as evidence of bad faith in collective bargaining and hence a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining agreement, is "a potent means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well as mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition. Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression. If demonstrators are reduced by one-third, then by that much the circulation of the Issue raised by the demonstration is diminished. The more the participants, the more persons can be apprised of the purpose of the rally. Moreover, the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate their position and abet continued alleged police persecution.