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Dent v.

West Virginia
No. 119
Submitted December 11, 1888
Decided January 14,
1889 129 U.S. 114
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
The statute of West Virginia ( 9 and 15, chapter 93, 1882) which requires every
practitioner of medicine in the State to obtain a certificate from the State Board of Health
that he is a graduate of a reputable medical college in the school of medicine to which he
belongs, or that he has practiced medicine in the State continuously for ten years prior to
March 8, 1881, or that he has been found upon examination to be qualified to practice
medicine in all its departments, and which subjects a person practicing without such
certificate to prosecution and punishment for a misdemeanor, does not, when enforced
against a person who had been a practicing physician in the State for a period of five
years before 1881, without a diploma of a reputable medical college in the school of
medicine to which he belonged, deprive him of his estate or interest in the profession
without due process of law.
The State, in the exercise of its power to provide for the general welfare of its people, may
exact from parties before they can practice medicine a degree of skill and learning in that
profession upon which the community employing their services may confidently rely, and,
to ascertain whether they have such qualifications, require them to obtain a certificate or
license from a board or other authority competent to judge in that respect. If the
qualifications required are appropriate to the profession and attainable by reasonable
study or application, their validity is not subject to objection because of their stringency or
difficulty.
Legislation is not open to the charge of depriving one of his rights without due process of
law if it be general in its operation upon the subjects to which it relates, and is
enforceable in the usual modes established in the administration of government with
respect to kindred matters; that is, by process or proceedings adapted to the nature of the
case, and such is the legislation of West Virginia in question. Cummings v. Missouri, 4
Wall. 277, and Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, examined and shown to differ materially
from this case.
The Court stated the case as follows:
This case comes from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. It involves the
validity of the statute of that State which requires every practitioner of medicine in it to
obtain a certificate from the state board of health that he is a graduate of a reputable
medical college in the school of medicine to which he belongs, or that he has practiced
medicine in the State continuously for the period of 10 years prior to the 8th day of
March, 1881, or that he has been found, upon examination by the board, to be qualified to
practice medicine in all its departments, and makes the practice of, or the attempt by any
person to practice, medicine, surgery, or obstetrics in the State without such certificate,
unless called from another State to treat a particular case, a misdemeanor punishable by
fine or imprisonment, or both, in the discretion of the court. The statute in question is
found in 9 and 15 of an act of the State, c. 93, passed March 15, 1882, amending a
chapter of its Code concerning the public health. St. 1882, pp. 245, 246, 248. These
sections are as follows:
"SEC. 9. The following persons, and no others, shall hereafter be permitted to practice
medicine in this State, viz.:"

"First. All persons who are graduates of a reputable medical college in the school of
medicine to which the person desiring to practice belongs. Every such person shall, if he
has not already done so and obtained the certificate hereinafter mentioned, present his
diploma to the State Board of Health, or to the two members thereof in his congressional
district, and if the same is found to be genuine, and was issued by such medical college,
as is hereinafter mentioned, and the person presenting the same be the graduate named
therein, the said Board, or said two members thereof, (as the case may be) shall issue and
deliver to him a certificate to that effect, and such diploma and certificate shall entitle the
person named in such diploma to practice medicine in all its departments in this State."
"Second. All persons who have practiced medicine in this State continuously for the period
of ten years prior to the 8th day of March, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-one.
Every such person shall make and file with the two members of the State Board of Health
in the congressional district in which he resides, or if he resides out of the State in the
district nearest his residence, an affidavit of the number of years he has continuously
practiced in this State; and, if the number of years therein stated be ten or more, the said
Board, or said two members thereof, shall, unless they ascertain such affidavit to be false,
give him a certificate to that fact, and authorizing him to practice medicine in all its
departments in this State."
"Third. A person who is not such graduate, and who has not so practiced in this State for a
period of ten years, desiring to practice medicine in this State, shall, if he has not already
done so, present himself for examination before the State Board of Health, or before the
said two members thereof in the congressional district in which he resides, or, if he
resides out of the State, to the said two members of the State Board of Health in the
congressional district nearest his place of residence, who, together with a member of the
local board of health, who is a physician (if there be such member of the local board) of
the county in which the examination is held, shall examine him as herein provided, and if,
upon full examination, they find him qualified to practice medicine in all its departments,
they, or a majority of them, shall grant him a certificate to that effect, and thereafter he
shall have the right to practice medicine in this State to the same extent as if he had the
diploma and certificate hereinbefore mentioned. The members of the State Board of
Health in each congressional district shall, by publication in some newspaper printed in
the county in which their meeting is to be held, or, if no such paper is printed therein, in
some newspaper of general circulation in such district, give at least twenty-one days'
notice of the time and place at which they will meet for the examination of applicants for
permission to practice medicine, which notice shall be published at least once in each
week for three successive weeks before the day of such meeting; but this section shall not
apply to a physician or surgeon who is called from another State to treat a particular case,
or to perform a particular surgical operation in this State and who does not otherwise
practice in this State."
"SEC. 15. If any person shall practice, or attempt to practice, medicine, surgery, or
obstetrics in this State without having complied with the provisions of 9 of this chapter,
except as therein provided, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined for every such
offense not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned in the county
jail not less than one month nor more than twelve months, or be punished by both such
fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. And if any person shall file, or
attempt to file, as his own, the diploma or certificate of another, or shall file, or attempt to
file, a false or forged affidavit of his identity, or shall willfully swear falsely to any question

which may be propounded to him on his examination, as herein provided for, or to any
affidavit herein required to be made or filed by him, he shall, upon conviction thereof, be
confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than three years, or imprisoned in
the county jail not less than six nor more than twelve months, and fined not less than one
hundred nor more than five hundred dollars, at the discretion of the court."
Under this statute, the plaintiff in error was indicted in the State Circuit Court of Preston
County, West Virginia, for unlawfully engaging in the practice of medicine in that State in
June, 1882, without a diploma, certificate, or license therefor, as there required, not being
a physician or surgeon called from another State to treat a particular case or to perform a
particular surgical operation. To this indictment the defendant pleaded not guilty, and, a
jury having been called, the State by its prosecuting attorney, and the defendant by his
attorney, agreed upon the following statement of facts, namely:
"That the defendant was engaged in the practice of medicine in the town of Newburg,
Preston county, West Virginia, at the time charged in the indictment, and had been so
engaged since the year 1876 continuously to the present time, and has during all said
time enjoyed a lucrative practice, publicly professing to be a physician, prescribing for the
sick, and appending to his name the letters, 'M.D.;' that he was not then and there a
physician and surgeon called from another State to treat a particular case or to perform a
particular surgical operation, nor was he then and there a commissioned officer of the
United States army and navy and hospital service; that he has no certificate, as required
by 9, chapter 93, acts of the Legislature of West Virginia, passed March 15, 1882, but
has a diploma from the 'American Medical Eclectic College of Cincinnati, Ohio;' that he
presented said diploma to the members of the Board of Health who reside in his
congressional district, and asked for the certificate as required by law, but they, after
retaining said diploma for some time, returned it to defendant with their refusal to grant
him a certificate asked, because, as they claimed, said college did not come under the
word 'reputable,' as defined by said Board of Health; that, if the defendant had been or
should be prevented from practicing medicine, it would be a great injury to him, as it
would deprive him of his only means of supporting himself and family; that, at the time of
the passage of the act of 1882, he had not been practicing medicine ten years, but had
only been practicing six, as aforesaid, from the year 1876."
These were all the facts in the case. Upon them, the jury found the defendant guilty, and
thereupon he moved an arrest of judgment on the ground that the act of the legislature
was unconstitutional and void so far as it interfered with his vested right in relation to the
practice of medicine, which motion was overruled, and to the ruling an exception was
taken. The court thereupon sentenced the defendant to pay a fine of $50 and the costs of
the proceedings. The case being taken on writ of error to the Supreme Court of Appeals of
the State, the judgment was affirmed, and to review this judgment the case is brought
here.
MR. JUSTICE FIELD, after stating the facts as above, delivered the opinion of the court.
Whether the indictment upon which the plaintiff in error was tried and found guilty is open
to objection for want of sufficient certainty in its averments is a question which does not
appear to have been raised either on the trial or before the Supreme Court of the State.
The Presiding Justice of the latter Court, in its opinion, states that the counsel for the
defendant expressly waived all objections to defects in form or substance of the
indictment, and based his claim for a review of the judgment on the ground that the

statute of West Virginia is unconstitutional and void. The unconstitutionality asserted


consists in its alleged conflict with the clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which
declares that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law; the denial to the defendant of the right to practice his profession without
the certificate required constituting the deprivation of his vested right and estate in his
profession, which he had previously acquired.
It is undoubtedly the right of every citizen of the United States to follow any lawful calling,
business, or profession he may choose, subject only to such restrictions as are imposed
upon all persons of like age, sex, and condition. This right may in many respects be
considered as a distinguishing feature of our republican institutions. Here, all vocations
are open to everyone on like conditions. All may be pursued as sources of livelihood, some
requiring years of study and great learning for their successful prosecution. The interest,
or, as it is sometimes termed, the "estate," acquired in them -- that is, the right to
continue their prosecution -- is often of great value to the possessors, and cannot be
arbitrarily taken from them, any more than their real or personal property can be thus
taken. But there is no arbitrary deprivation of such right where its exercise is not
permitted because of a failure to comply with conditions imposed by the State for the
protection of society. The power of the State to provide for the general welfare of its
people authorizes it to prescribe all such regulations as in its judgment will secure or tend
to secure them against the consequences of ignorance and incapacity, as well as of
deception and fraud. As one means to this end, it has been the practice of different
States, from time immemorial, to exact in many pursuits a certain degree of skill and
learning upon which the community may confidently rely; their possession being generally
ascertained upon an examination of parties by competent persons, or inferred from a
certificate to them in the form of a diploma or license from an institution established for
instruction on the subjects, scientific and otherwise, with which such pursuits have to
deal. The nature and extent of the qualifications required must depend primarily upon the
judgment of the State as to their necessity. If they are appropriate to the calling or
profession, and attainable by reasonable study or application, no objection to their validity
can be raised because of their stringency or difficulty. It is only when they have no relation
to such calling or profession, or are unattainable by such reasonable study and
application, that they can operate to deprive one of his right to pursue a lawful vocation.
Few professions require more careful preparation by one who seeks to enter it than that of
medicine. It has to deal with all those subtle and mysterious influences upon which health
and life depend, and requires not only a knowledge of the properties of vegetable and
mineral substances, but of the human body, in all its complicated parts, and their relation
to each other, as well as their influence upon the mind. The physician must be able to
detect readily the presence of disease, and prescribe appropriate remedies for its
removal. Everyone may have occasion to consult him, but comparatively few can judge of
the qualifications of learning and skill which he possesses. Reliance must be placed upon
the assurance given by his license, issued by an authority competent to judge in that
respect, that he possesses the requisite qualifications. Due consideration, therefore, for
the protection of society may well induce the State to exclude from practice those who
have not such a license, or who are found upon examination not to be fully qualified. The
same reasons which control in imposing conditions, upon compliance with which the
physician is allowed to practice in the first instance, may call for further conditions as new
modes of treating disease are discovered, or a more thorough acquaintance is obtained of
the remedial properties of vegetable and mineral substances, or a more accurate
knowledge is acquired of the human system and of the agencies by which it is affected. It

would not be deemed a matter for serious discussion that a knowledge of the new
acquisitions of the profession, as it from time to time advances in its attainments for the
relief of the sick and suffering, should be required for continuance in its practice, but for
the earnestness with which the plaintiff in error insists that, by being compelled to obtain
the certificate required, and prevented from continuing in his practice without it, he is
deprived of his right and estate in his profession without due process of law. We perceive
nothing in the statute which indicates an intention of the legislature to deprive one of any
of his rights. No one has a right to practice medicine without having the necessary
qualifications of learning and skill, and the statute only requires that whoever assumes, by
offering to the community his services as a physician, that he possesses such learning
and skill shall present evidence of it by a certificate or license from a body designated by
the State as competent to judge of his qualifications.
As we have said on more than one occasion, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to give
to the terms "due process of law" a definition which will embrace every permissible
exertion of power affecting private rights, and exclude such as are forbidden. They come
to us from the law of England, from which country our jurisprudence is to a great extent
derived, and their requirement was there designed to secure the subject against the
arbitrary action of the Crown, and place him under the protection of the law. They were
deemed to be equivalent to "the law of the land." In this country, the requirement is
intended to have a similar effect against legislative power -- that is, to secure the citizen
against any arbitrary deprivation of his rights, whether relating to his life, his liberty, or his
property. Legislation must necessarily vary with the different objects upon which it is
designed to operate. It is sufficient, for the purposes of this case, to say that legislation is
not open to the charge of depriving one of his rights without due process of law if it be
general in its operation upon the subjects to which it relates and is enforceable in the
usual modes established in the administration of government with respect to kindred
matters -- that is, by process or proceedings adapted to the nature of the case. The great
purpose of the requirement is to exclude everything that is arbitrary and capricious in
legislation affecting the rights of the citizen. As said by this court in Yick Wo v. Hopkins,
speaking by Mr. Justice Matthews:
"When we consider the nature and the theory of our institutions of government, the
principles upon which they are supposed to rest, and review the history of their
development, we are constrained to conclude that they do not mean to leave room for the
play and action of purely personal and arbitrary power."
118 U. S. 118 U.S. 356, 118 U. S. 369. See also Pennoyer v. Neff,95 U. S. 714, 95 U. S.
733; Davidson v. New Orleans,96 U. S. 97, 96 U. S. 104, 107; Hurtado v. California,110 U.
S. 516; Railroad Co. v. Humes,115 U. S. 512, 115 U. S. 519.
There is nothing of an arbitrary character in the provisions of the statute in question. It
applies to all physicians, except those who may be called for a special case from another
State. It imposes no conditions which cannot be readily met; and it is made enforceable in
the mode usual in kindred matters -- that is, by regular proceedings adapted to the case.
It authorizes an examination of the applicant by the Board of Health as to his
qualifications when he has no evidence of them in the diploma of a reputable medical
college in the school of medicine to which he belongs, or has not practiced in the State a
designated period before March, 1881. If, in the proceedings under the statute, there
should be any unfair or unjust action on the part of the Board in refusing him a certificate,
we doubt not that a remedy would be found in the courts of the State. But no such

imputation can be made, for the plaintiff in error did not submit himself to the
examination of the Board after it had decided that the diploma he presented was
insufficient.
The cases of Cummings v. State of Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, and of Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall.
333, upon which much reliance is placed, do not, in our judgment, support the contention
of the plaintiff in error. In the first of these cases, it appeared that the Constitution of
Missouri, adopted in 1865, prescribed an oath to be taken by persons holding certain
offices and trusts, and following certain pursuits within its limits. They were required to
deny that they had done certain things, or had manifested by act or word certain desires
or sympathies. The oath which they were to take embraced 30 distinct affirmations
respecting their past conduct, extending even to their words, desires, and sympathies.
Every person unable to take this oath was declared incapable of holding in the State "any
office of honor, trust, or profit under its authority, or of being an officer, councilman,
director, or trustee, or other manager of any corporation, public or private," then existing
or thereafter established by its authority, or "of acting as a professor or teacher in any
educational institution, or in any common or other school, or of holding any real estate or
other property in trust for the use of any church, religious society, or congregation."
And every person holding, at the time the constitution took effect, any of the offices,
trusts, or positions mentioned was required, within 60 days thereafter, to take the oath,
and, if he failed to comply with this requirement, it was declared that his office, trust, or
position should, ipso facto, become vacant. No person, after the expiration of the 60 days,
was allowed, without taking the oath, "to practice as an attorney or counselor at law," nor
after that period could
"any person be competent as a bishop, priest, deacon, minister, elder, or other clergyman
of any religious persuasion, sect, or denomination to teach or preach, or solemnize
marriages."
Fine and imprisonment were prescribed as a punishment for holding or exercising any of
the "offices, positions, trusts, professions, or functions" specified without taking the oath,
and false swearing or affirmation in taking it was declared to be perjury, punishable by
imprisonment in the penitentiary. A priest of the Roman Catholic Church was indicted in a
circuit court of Missouri and convicted of the crime of teaching and preaching as a priest
and minister of that religious denomination without having first taken the oath, and was
sentenced to pay a fine of $500, and to be committed to jail until the same was paid. On
appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, the judgment was affirmed, and the case was
brought on error to this Court. As many of the acts from which the parties were obliged to
purge themselves by the oath had no relation to their fitness for the pursuits and
professions designated, the Court held that the oath was not required as a means of
ascertaining whether the parties were qualified for those pursuits and professions, but
was exacted because it was thought that the acts deserved punishment, and that, for
many of them, there was no way of inflicting punishment except by depriving the parties
of their offices and trusts. A large portion of the people of Missouri were unable to take the
oath, and, as to them, the court held that the requirement of its constitution amounted to
a legislative deprivation of their rights. Many of the acts which parties were bound to deny
that they had ever done were innocent at the time they were committed, and the
deprivation of a right to continue in their offices if the oath were not taken was held to be
a penalty for a past act, which was violative of the Constitution. The doctrine of this case
was affirmed in Pierce v. Carskadon, 16 Wall. 234.

In the second case mentioned -- that of Ex parte Garland -- it appeared that, on the 2d of
July, 1862, Congress had passed an act prescribing an oath to be taken by every person
elected or appointed to any office of honor or profit under the United States, either in the
civil, military, or naval departments of the Government, except the President, before
entering upon the duties of his office, and before being entitled to his salary or other
emoluments. On the 24th of January, 1865, Congress, by a supplemental act, extended its
provisions so as to embrace attorneys and counselors of the courts of the United States.
This latter act, among other things, provided that, after its passage, no person should be
admitted as an attorney and counselor to the bar of the Supreme Court, and, after the 4th
of March, 1865, to the bar of any Circuit or District Court of the United States, or of the
Court of Claims, or be allowed to appear and be heard by virtue of any previous
admission, until he had taken and subscribed the oath prescribed by the act of July 2,
1862. The oath related to past acts, and its object was to exclude from practice in the
courts parties who were unable to affirm that they had not done the acts specified; and,
as it could not be taken by large classes of persons, it was held to operate against them
as a legislative decree of perpetual exclusion.
Mr. Garland had been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States
previous to the passage of the act. He was a citizen of Arkansas, and when that State
passed an ordinance of secession which purported to withdraw her from the Union, and by
another ordinance attached herself to the so-called "Confederate States," he followed the
State, and was one of her representatives, first in the lower house, and afterwards in the
senate of the congress of the Confederacy, and was a member of that senate at the time
of the surrender of the Confederate forces to the armies of the United States.
Subsequently, in 1865, he received from the President of the United States a full pardon
for all offenses committed by his participation, direct or implied, in the rebellion. He
produced this pardon, and asked permission to continue as an attorney and counselor of
this Court without taking the oath required by the act of January 24, 1865, and the rule of
the Court which had adopted the clause requiring its administration in conformity with the
act of Congress. The Court held that the law, in exacting the oath as to his past conduct
as a condition of his continuing in the practice of his profession, imposed a penalty for a
past act, and in that respect was subject to the same objection as that made to the
clauses of the Constitution of Missouri, and was therefore invalid.
There is nothing in these decisions which supports the positions for which the plaintiff in
error contends. They only determine that one who is in the enjoyment of a right to preach
and teach the Christian religion as a priest of a regular church, and one who has been
admitted to practice the profession of the law, cannot be deprived of the right to continue
in the exercise of their respective professions by the exaction from them of an oath as to
their past conduct respecting matters which have no connection with such professions.
Between this doctrine and that for which the plaintiff in error contends there is no analogy
or resemblance. The Constitution of Missouri and the act of Congress in question in those
cases were designed to deprive parties of their right to continue in their professions for
past acts, or past expressions of desires and sympathies, many of which had no bearing
upon their fitness to continue in their professions. The law of West Virginia was intended
to secure such skill and learning in the profession of medicine that the community might
trust with confidence those receiving a license under authority of the State. Judgment
affirmed.

G.R. No. L-24119

August 8, 1925

FELIX MARQUEZ, petitioner,


vs.
THE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS and THE SECRETARY-TREASURER OF THE BOARD OF
MEDICAL EXAMINERS, respondent.
M.H. de Joya for petitioner.
Acting Attorney-General Reyes for respondents.
STREET, J.:
This is an original proceeding in this court by which the petitioner, Felix Marquez, seeks to
obtain a writ of mandamus against the respondents, the Board of Medical Examiners,
requiring them to admit the petitioner to the physicians' examinations conducted, or to be
conducted by the respondents in the City of Manila. To the original complaint the
respondents answered, and to the answer a demurrer was interposed in behalf of the
petitioner.
It appears that petitioner is a graduate of the Chicago Medical College, having received
the degree of M.D. from said institution on June 8, of the year 1922. No question appears
to have been made by the respondents with respect to the petitioner's qualifications of
the physician's examinations in other respects, but they have denied him admission to the
examinations on the grounds that the Chicago Medical College, where the petitioner was
graduated, has been classified as a Class C medical college by the National Medical State
Board of the United States. For this reason the respondents, in accordance with the
regulations of the board now in effect, have denied the requisite standing to said
institution and excluded petitioner.
It is not denied by the respondents that prior to the adoption of the present regulations,
and prior to the date when the Chicago Medical School was classified as a Class C medical
college, the Board of Medical Examiners for the Philippine Islands had accepted diplomas
of graduation from said medical college as sufficient proof of proficiency in medical
knowledge to admit a graduate to the examinations held in these Islands; and as late as
October 29, 1923, said board accepted favorably upon the application of one Dr. Mariano
M. Lazatin, who was graduated from said school in the year 1921. At the time said
candidate was admitted, however, the regulations denying the requisite status to the
Chicago Medical College had not been made effective, and they had been made effective
by proper authority before the present petitioner had submitted his application.
In the argument for the petitioner it is admitted that under Act No. 3111, and the
regulations now in force, the petitioner is disqualified to take the examinations; but it is
pointed out that at the time he began and even when he conducted his course in the
Chicago Medical School, said institution was still recognized as a reputable medical
institution; and the question submitted is whether the petitioner's case should be
governed by the law and regulations in force at the time of his enrollment in and
graduation from the Chicago Medical School, or by those in force at the time he filed his
application for admission, on or about September 26, 1924. It is submitted for the
petitioner that his case should be governed by the law and regulations at the time of his
graduation. To hold otherwise, it is insisted, is to make the law retroactive in effect and to
do irreparable damage to the petitioner, who has pursued his work in the institution

referred to in good faith, believing that said school had the status necessary to qualify him
from examination.
The position taken by the petitioner is, we think, untenable. The question whether a
medical institution is "a reputable medical school," in the sense intended by the law, is
vested in the Board of Medical Examiners, and although the action taken by them may
conceivably, in isolated cases, result in hardship, nevertheless the interests of the public
require that the board should be free to exercise its judgment and discretion without
reference to the effect of the determination of the question in particular instances. There
can in the nature of things be no vested right in an existing law, which would preclude its
change or repeal. No one who has commenced preparation in a particular institution has
any inchoate right on account of that fact. If the law were otherwise upon this point, it
would be impossible for the Board of Medical Examiners to give effect to the knowledge
which they from time to time acquire as to the standing of medical schools; and an
intending physician, upon matriculating in a particular college, takes upon himself the risk
of changes that may be made in the standing of the institution by the board.
The demurrer to the answer is not well taken. The answer is therefore declared sufficient,
and the petition dismissed, with costs, So ordered.

G.R. No. L-25135

September 21, 1968

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, petitioner,


vs.
BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS and JOSE MA. TORRES, respondents.
Seva-Albert-Vergara and Julio V. Presbitero for petitioner.
Regino Hermosisima, Jr., for respondent Jose Ma. Torres.
Solicitor General for respondent Board of Medical Examiners.

CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Original action for certiorari and mandamus, against the Board of Medical Examiners and
Jose Ma. Torres, to annul a resolution of the former and a certificate issued by the same
authorizing the latter to practice medicine in the Philippines without examination.
The facts are not disputed. Jose Ma. Torres hereinafter referred to as respondent is a
Spanish subject and a member of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
otherwise known as the Claretian Missionaries. Having graduated from the University of
Barcelona, Spain, with the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery, he is entitled,
under the laws of Spain, to practice medicine and surgery throughout the territory thereof.
On January 21, 1955, respondent was granted special authority to practice medicine in
Lamitan, Basilan City, where he resides, pursuant to Section 771(e) of the Revised
Administrative Code reading:
SEC. 771. Persons exempt from registration. Registration shall not be required of the
following classes of persons: . . .
(e) In cases of epidemic or in municipalities where there is no legally qualified practicing
physician, or when the circumstances require it, in the interest of the public health, the
Director of Health may issue special authorizations, to all medical students who have
completed the first three years of their studies, or to persons who have qualified in
medicine, and to graduate or registered nurses, who may request it.
This authority was revoked, on November 8, 1960, by the then Secretary of Health, upon
the ground that "the conditions under which it was granted no longer obtained in Lamitan
Basilan City, there being enough practising physicians in that locality." Said officer
restored the authority on December 19, 1960, to be revoked again, on January 22, 1963. It
was renewed once more, on September 1, 1963, and, once again, it was revoked on
February 10, 1964, upon the recommendation of the Board of Medical Examiners
hereinafter referred to as the Board. On motion for reconsideration filed by respondent,
the Board issued, on April 6, 1965, its Resolution No. 25, series of 1965, which was
approved by the President, granting respondent a certificate to practice medicine in the
Philippines without the examination required in Republic Act No. 2882, otherwise known
as the Medical Act of 1959. The resolution relied therefor upon The Treaty on the Validity
of Academic Degrees and The Exercise of the Professions between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Spanish State, signed at Manila on March 4, 1949, and ratified on May
19, 1949. 1

Petitioner herein, Philippine Medical Association, is a domestic corporation. On June 14,


1965, it addressed the Chairman of the Board a communication requesting
reconsideration of said resolution No. 25, upon the ground that, pursuant to said Medical
Act of 1959, respondent has to take and pass the examination therein prescribed, before
he can be allowed to practice medicine in the Philippines. This letter was followed by
another, dated October 6, 1965, to which said Chairman replied on October 8, 1965,
stating "that the final decision on the matter will have to come from the President of the
Philippines upon whose authority said resolution has been finally approved and
implemented."
Thereupon, or, on October 18, 1965, petitioner commenced the present action, for the
purpose stated at the beginning of this decision, upon the theory that the Board had
violated Republic Act No. 2882 in granting respondent's certificate for the general practice
of medicine in the Philippines without the examination prescribed in said Act; that the
Board had exceeded its authority in passing said Resolution, because of which the same is
null and void; that the Board should, therefore, be ordered to cancel the certificate issued
in pursuance of said resolution; and that petitioner has no other plain, adequate and
speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law.
In their respective answers, respondents admit the basic facts, but not the conclusions
drawn therefrom by the petitioner and allege that the resolution in question is sanctioned
by the provisions of the Treaty above referred to; that petitioner has no cause of action;
and that the petition should be dismissed for failure of the petitioner to exhaust the
available administrative remedies.
Respondents cite the cases of Costas vs. Aldanese2 and Almario vs. City Mayor 3 in
support of the theory that petitioner herein has no sufficient interest or "personality" to
maintain the present case. In the first case, it was held that the President of the
Association of Philippine (Marine) Engineers4 had no particular "individual" interest, and,
hence,no cause of action for mandamus to compel the Collector of Customs to implement
section 1203(j) of the Administrative Code, providing that steamers making round trips of
more than 48 hours or travelling at night shall carry the complement of marine engineers
therein specified. In the second case, a citizen of the Philippines, as such, who is not an
Applicant for any stall or booth, or the representative of any such applicant, stallholder or
any association of persons who are deprived of the right to occupy stalls in said market,
"is not the real party in interest who has the capacity, right or personality" to bring an
action for mandamus, to compel the office of Pasay City to comply with the provisions of
Republic Act No. 37, by ejecting, from the public market of said City, stallholders who are
not nationals of the Philippines.
Said cases are not in point. To begin with, both are actions for mandamus, whereas the
case at bar is mainly one for certiorari. Although, petitioner herein, likewise, seeks a writ
of mandamus, directing the Board to cancel the certificate of registration issued to the
respondent, this would be a necessary consequence of the writ of certiorari annulling the
disputed resolution. Moreover, said two (2) cases were commenced by individuals, who,
as such, had no special interest in the relief therein prayed for. Indeed, in the Almario case
it was intimated that the result might have been otherwise had it been brought by an
"association" whose members have an interest in the subject matter of the action.

This was confirmed by PHILCONSA vs. Gimenez,5 in which we sustained the right of the
Philippine Constitution Association to assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 3836,
insofar as it allowed retirement gratuity and commutation of vacation and sick leave to
members of Congress and to elective officials thereof. Further authority in favor of
petitioner herein is supplied by Nacionalista Party vs. F. Bautista Angelo 6 in which the
Nacionalista Party successfully impugned the validity of the designation of the then
Solicitor General as Acting Member of the Commission on Elections.
It is our considered opinion that the view adopted in the last three (3) cases should be
maintained and that, in line therewith, petitioner herein has sufficient interest to
prosecute the case at bar and a cause of action against respondents herein.
As regards their objection based upon petitioner's failure to appeal to the President,
suffice it to say that the rule requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies is
concededly subject to exceptions, among which are cases involving only questions of law
or when jurisdiction is in issue7or the action complained of bears the approval of a
department secretary, as the disputed resolution, which was approved by the Executive
Secretary "by authority of the President," or as an alter ego of the Executive. 8 The case
at bar falls under these exceptions to said rule.1awphl.nt
The main issue herein hinges on the interpretation of Article I of the Treaty
aforementioned, reading as follows:
The nationals of both countries who shall have obtained degrees or diplomas to practice
the liberal professions in either of the Contracting States, issued by competent national
authorities, shall be deemed competent to exercise said professions in the territory of the
Other, subject to the laws and regulations of the latter. When the degree or diploma of
Bachelor, issued by competent national authorities allows its holder without requiring
further evidence of proficiency to pursue normally higher courses of study, he shall also
be deemed qualified to continue his studies in the territory of either Party in conformity
with the applicable laws and regulations of the State which recognizes the validity of the
title or diploma in question, and with the rules and regulations of the particular
educational institution in which he intends to pursue his studies.
This Treaty provision was the subject matter of our resolution of August 15, 1961, in
connection with the petition of Arturo Efren Garcia for admission to the Philippine Bar
without taking the Bar Examinations. After completing, in Spain, the course prescribed
therefor, Garcia had been graduated from the College of Law of the Universidad Central
de Madrid with the degree of "Licenciado en Derecho", which entitled him to practice law
in Spain. Having invoked the provisions of said treaty in support of his claim of exemption
from the requisite bar examinations, this Court denied his petition upon the ground,
among others ". . . that the privileges provided in the Treaty invoked by the applicant are
made expressly subject to the laws and regulations of the contracting State in whose
territory it is desired to exercise the legal profession; and Section 1 of Rule 127, in
connection with Sections 2, 9, and 16 thereof, which have the force of law, require that
before anyone can practice the legal profession in the Philippines he must first
successfully pass the required bar examinations; . . ."
We find no plausible reason to depart from this view. On the contrary, we reiterate the
same, inasmuch as the theory of respondent herein cannot be accepted without placing
graduates from our own educational institutions at a disadvantage vis-a-vis Spanish

graduates from Spanish schools, colleges or universities. Indeed, the latter could under
respondent's pretense engage in the practice of medicine in the Philippines without
taking the examination prescribed in Republic Act No. 2882, whereas the former would
have to take and pass said examination. Worse still, since as we ruled in the Garcia
case the benefits of the aforementioned Treaty cannot be availed of in the Philippines
except by Spanish subjects, the result would be should respondent's contention be
sustained that graduates from Spanish schools of medicine would be entitled to
practice medicine in the Philippines without examination, if they were Spanish subjects,
but not if they are Filipinos.
Surely said treaty was not made to discriminate against Philippine schools, colleges or
universities, much less against nationals of the Philippines.
WHEREFORE, we hold that said Treaty merely extended to diplomas issued or degrees
conferred by educational institutions of Spain the same recognition and treatment that we
accord to similar diplomas or degrees from local institutions of learning; that holders of
said Spanish diplomas or degrees must take the examination prescribed by our laws for
holders of similar diplomas or degrees from educational institutions in the Philippines; that
resolution No. 25, series of 1965, of respondent Board is violative of Republic Act No. 2882
and hence, null and void; and that, respondent Board of Medical Examiners should be, as
it is hereby ordered to cancel the certificate of registration, for the practice of medicine in
the Philippines, issued in favor of respondent Jose Ma. Torres, without special
pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. 78164

July 31, 1987

TERESITA TABLARIN, MA, LUZ CIRIACO, MA NIMFA B. ROVIRA, EVANGELINA S. LABAO, in


their behalf and in behalf of applicants for admission into the Medical Colleges during the
school year 1987-88 and future years who have not taken or successfully hurdled tile
National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE JUDGE ANGELINA S. GUTIERREZ, Presiding Judge of Branch XXXVII of the
Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region with seat at Manila, THE
HONORABLE SECRETARY LOURDES QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Chairman of the
BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION, and THE CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT
(CEM), respondents.
FELICIANO, J.:

Medical Association; (f) the Dean of the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines;
(g) a representative of the Council of Deans of Philippine Medical Schools; and (h) a
representative of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges, as members. The
functions of the Board of Medical Education specified in Section 5 of the statute include
the following:
(a)
To determine and prescribe equirements for admission into a recognized college of
medicine;
(b) To determine and prescribe requirements for minimum physical facilities of colleges of
medicine, to wit: buildings, including hospitals, equipment and supplies, apparatus,
instruments, appliances, laboratories, bed capacity for instruction purposes, operating
and delivery rooms, facilities for outpatient services, and others, used for didactic and
practical instruction in accordance with modern trends;

The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine for the school year
1987-1988. However, the petitioners either did not take or did not successfully take the
National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education, one
of the public respondents, and administered by the private respondent, the Center for
Educational Measurement (CEM).

(c) To determine and prescribe the minimum number and minimum qualifications of
teaching personnel, including student-teachers ratio;

On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, National Capital
Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. The petitioners sought to enjoin
the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the
Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act
No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and
from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates
of eligibility for admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking the
NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in the future.
After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied
said petition on 20 April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously
scheduled.

(e) To authorize the implementation of experimental medical curriculum in a medical


school that has exceptional faculty and instrumental facilities. Such an experimental
curriculum may prescribe admission and graduation requirements other than those
prescribed in this Act; Provided, That only exceptional students shall be enrolled in the
experimental curriculum;

Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for certiorari with this Court to set
aside the Order of the respondent judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946, known as the
"Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic objectives in the following manner:
Section 1. Objectives. This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the standardization and
regulation of medical education (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c)
the supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines.
(Underscoring supplied)
The statute, among other things, created a Board of Medical Education which is composed
of (a) the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports or his duly authorized representative,
as Chairman; (b) the Secretary of Health or his duly authorized representative; (c) the
Director of Higher Education or his duly authorized representative; (d) the Chairman of the
Medical Board or his duly authorized representative; (e) a representative of the Philippine

(d) To determine and prescribe the minimum required curriculum leading to the degree of
Doctor of Medicine;

(f) To accept applications for certification for admission to a medical school and keep a
register of those issued said certificate; and to collect from said applicants the amount of
twenty-five pesos each which shall accrue to the operating fund of the Board of Medical
Education;
(g) To select, determine and approve hospitals or some departments of the hospitals for
training which comply with the minimum specific physical facilities as provided in
subparagraph (b) hereof; and
(h) To promulgate and prescribe and enforce the necessary rules and regulations for the
proper implementation of the foregoing functions. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 7 prescribes certain minimum requirements for applicants to medical schools:
Admission requirements. The medical college may admit any student who has not been
convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction of any offense involving moral turpitude
and who presents (a) a record of completion of a bachelor's degree in science or arts; (b)
a certificate of eligibility for entrance to a medical school from the Board of Medical
Education; (c) a certificate of good moral character issued by two former professors in the
college of liberal arts; and (d) birth certificate. Nothing in this act shall be construed to
inhibit any college of medicine from establishing, in addition to the preceding, other
entrance requirements that may be deemed admissible.
xxx

xxx

x x x (Emphasis supplied)

MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, issued by the then Minister of Education, Culture and Sports
and dated 23 August 1985, established a uniform admission test called the National
Medical Admission Test (NMAT) as an additional requirement for issuance of a certificate of
eligibility for admission into medical schools of the Philippines, beginning with the school
year 1986-1987. This Order goes on to state that:
2.
The NMAT, an aptitude test, is considered as an instrument toward upgrading the
selection of applicants for admission into the medical schools and its calculated to
improve the quality of medical education in the country. The cutoff score for the
successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT, shall be determined every year
by the Board of Medical Education after consultation with the Association of Philippine
Medical Colleges. The NMAT rating of each applicant, together with the other admission
requirements as presently called for under existing rules, shall serve as a basis for the
issuance of the prescribed certificate of elegibility for admission into the medical colleges.
3. Subject to the prior approval of the Board of Medical Education, each medical college
may give other tests for applicants who have been issued a corresponding certificate of
eligibility for admission that will yield information on other aspects of the applicant's
personality to complement the information derived from the NMAT.
xxx

xxx

xxx

8.
No applicant shall be issued the requisite Certificate of Eligibility for Admission
(CEA), or admitted for enrollment as first year student in any medical college, beginning
the school year, 1986-87, without the required NMAT qualification as called for under this
Order. (Underscoring supplied)
Pursuant to MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, the private respondent Center conducted NMATs
for entrance to medical colleges during the school year 1986-1987. In December 1986
and in April 1987, respondent Center conducted the NMATs for admission to medical
colleges during the school year 1987.1988.1avvphi1
Petitioners raise the question of whether or not a writ of preliminary injunction may be
issued to enjoin the enforcement of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as
amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, pending resolution of the issue of
constitutionality of the assailed statute and administrative order. We regard this issue as
entirely peripheral in nature. It scarcely needs documentation that a court would issue a
writ of preliminary injunction only when the petitioner assailing a statute or administrative
order has made out a case of unconstitutionality strong enough to overcome, in the mind
of the judge, the presumption of constitutionality, aside from showing a clear legal right to
the remedy sought. The fundamental issue is of course the constitutionality of the statute
or order assailed.
1. The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 Constitution which are, in
their assertion, violated by the continued implementation of Section 5 (a) and (f) of
Republic Act 2381, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985. The provisions invoked
read as follows:
(a) Article 11, Section 11: "The state values the dignity of every human person and
guarantees full respect of human rights. "

(b) ArticleII, Section l3: "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building
and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well
being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their
involvement in public and civic affairs."
(c) Article II, Section 17: "The State shall give priority to education, science and
technology, arts, culture and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social
progress and to promote total human liberation and development. "
(d) Article XIV, Section l: "The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to
quality education at all levels and take appropriate steps to make such education
accessible to all. "
(e) Article XIV, Section 5 (3): "Every citizen has a right to select a profession or course of
study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements."
Article II of the 1987 Constitution sets forth in its second half certain "State policies" which
the government is enjoined to pursue and promote. The petitioners here have not
seriously undertaken to demonstrate to what extent or in what manner the statute and
the administrative order they assail collide with the State policies embodied in Sections
11, 13 and 17. They have not, in other words, discharged the burden of proof which lies
upon them. This burden is heavy enough where the constitutional provision invoked is
relatively specific, rather than abstract, in character and cast in behavioral or operational
terms. That burden of proof becomes of necessity heavier where the constitutional
provision invoked is cast, as the second portion of Article II is cast, in language descriptive
of basic policies, or more precisely, of basic objectives of State policy and therefore highly
generalized in tenor. The petitioners have not made their case, even a prima facie case,
and we are not compelled to speculate and to imagine how the legislation and regulation
impugned as unconstitutional could possibly offend the constitutional provisions pointed
to by the petitioners.
Turning to Article XIV, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution, we note that once more
petitioners have failed to demonstrate that the statute and regulation they assail in fact
clash with that provision. On the contrary we may note-in anticipation of discussion infra
that the statute and the regulation which petitioners attack are in fact designed to
promote "quality education" at the level of professional schools. When one reads Section
1 in relation to Section 5 (3) of Article XIV as one must one cannot but note that the latter
phrase of Section 1 is not to be read with absolute literalness. The State is not really
enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality education " accessible to all who might
for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to
make such education accessible to all who qualify under "fair, reasonable and equitable
admission and academic requirements. "
2. In the trial court, petitioners had made the argument that Section 5 (a) and (f) of
Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, offend against the constitutional principle which
forbids the undue delegation of legislative power, by failing to establish the necessary
standard to be followed by the delegate, the Board of Medical Education. The general
principle of non-delegation of legislative power, which both flows from the reinforces the
more fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of powers among the three great
departments of government,1 must be applied with circumspection in respect of statutes

which like the Medical Act of 1959, deal with subjects as obviously complex and technical
as medical education and the practice of medicine in our present day world. Mr. Justice
Laurel stressed this point 47 years ago in Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs. The
Public Service Commission:2

promote an the important interests and needs in a word, the public order of the
general community.6 An important component of that public order is the health and
physical safety and well being of the population, the securing of which no one can deny is
a legitimate objective of governmental effort and regulation.7

One thing, however, is apparent in the development of the principle of separation of


powers and that is that the maxim of delegatus non potest delegare or delegate potestas
non potest delegare, adopted this practice (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis Anglia edited by
G.E. Woodbine, Yale University Press, 1922, Vol. 2, p. 167) but which is also recognized in
principle in the Roman Law (d. 17.18.3) has been made to adapt itself to the complexities
of modern government, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits of the principle of
"subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and England but in practically all
modern governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68 Phil. 318, 1939].
Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects
of governmental regulation and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is
a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater power by the legislature,
and toward the approval of the practice by the courts." 3

Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some
reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for
admission to medical school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety of
the general community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully
approached by recalling that the regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches
has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of
the public.8 That the power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the
power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also
well recognized. thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish
to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago
been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power.9 Similarly, the establishment
of minimum medical educational requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed
courses in a recognized medical school for admission to the medical profession, has
also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.10
What we have before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to
medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of
regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional and technical quality of the
graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted to the student
body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of
admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to those who
exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical
practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in our
professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the current stage of
our social and economic development, are widely known.

The standards set for subordinate legislation in the exercise of rule making authority by
an administrative agency like the Board of Medical Education are necessarily broad and
highly abstract. As explained by then Mr. Justice Fernando in Edu v. Ericta4
The standard may be either expressed or implied. If the former, the non-delegation
objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It
could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In the
Reflector Law, clearly the legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be
attained as in Calalang v. Williams is "safe transit upon the roads. 5
We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth in Section 1 of the 1959
Medical Act: "the standardization and regulation of medical education" and in Section 5
(a) and 7 of the same Act, the body of the statute itself, and that these considered
together are sufficient compliance with the requirements of the non-delegation principle.
3. The petitioners also urge that the NMAT prescribed in MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is an
"unfair, unreasonable and inequitable requirement," which results in a denial of due
process. Again, petitioners have failed to specify just what factors or features of the NMAT
render it "unfair" and "unreasonable" or "inequitable." They appear to suggest that
passing the NMAT is an unnecessary requirement when added on top of the admission
requirements set out in Section 7 of the Medical Act of 1959, and other admission
requirements established by internal regulations of the various medical schools, public or
private. Petitioners arguments thus appear to relate to utility and wisdom or desirability of
the NMAT requirement. But constitutionality is essentially a question of power or authority:
this Court has neither commission or competence to pass upon questions of the
desirability or wisdom or utility of legislation or administrative regulation. Those questions
must be address to the political departments of the government not to the courts.
There is another reason why the petitioners' arguments must fail: the legislative and
administrative provisions impugned by them constitute, to the mind of the Court, a valid
exercise of the police power of the state. The police power, it is commonplace learning, is
the pervasive and non-waivable power and authority of the sovereign to secure and

We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as
a means for achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into
[our] medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the
country." Given the widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical
schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT]11 and
quite probably in other countries with far more developed educational resources than our
own, and taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to
prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is reasonably related to the
securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful
to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects of
incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds
for disease or trauma.
4. Petitioners have contended, finally, that MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is in conflict with
the equal protection clause of the Constitution. More specifically, petitioners assert that
that portion of the MECS Order which provides that
the cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT, shall be
determined every-year by the Board of Medical 11 Education after consultation with the
Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. (Emphasis supplied)

infringes the requirements of equal protection. They assert, in other words, that students
seeking admission during a given school year, e.g., 1987-1988, when subjected to a
different cutoff score than that established for an, e.g., earlier school year, are
discriminated against and that this renders the MECS Order "arbitrary and capricious."
The force of this argument is more apparent than real. Different cutoff scores for different
school years may be dictated by differing conditions obtaining during those years. Thus,
the appropriate cutoff score for a given year may be a function of such factors as the
number of students who have reached the cutoff score established the preceding year;
the number of places available in medical schools during the current year; the average
score attained during the current year; the level of difficulty of the test given during the
current year, and so forth. To establish a permanent and immutable cutoff score
regardless of changes in circumstances from year to year, may wen result in an
unreasonable rigidity. The above language in MECS Order No. 52, far from being arbitrary
or capricious, leaves the Board of Medical Education with the measure of flexibility needed
to meet circumstances as they change.
We conclude that prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain minimum scores therein as a
condition for admission to medical schools in the Philippines, do not constitute an
unconstitutional imposition.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order of the respondent trial
court denying the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 88259 August 10, 1989


NARVASA, J.:
THE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION and the HON. LOURDES R. QUISUMBING, in her capacity
as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and Chairman, Board of
Medical Education, petitioners,
vs. HON. DANIEL P. ALFONSO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Fourth
Judicial Region, Antipolo, Rizal, and the PHILIPPINE MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
FOUNDATION, INC., respondents.
Petitioners, the Board of Medical Education, the government agency which supervises and
regulates the country's medical colleges, and Secretary Lourdes R. Quisumbing of the
Department of Education, Culture and Sports, as Chairperson of the Board, pray for a writ of
certiorari to nullify and set aside the order issued by respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso,
Regional Trial Court, Antipolo, Rizal, in Civil Case No. 1385 restraining the enforcement of
petitioner Quisumbing's order of closure of the respondent Philippine Muslim-Christian College
of Medicine Foundation, Inc. (hereafter simply the College).lwph1.t
The, College, a private educational institution, was founded in 1981 for the avowed purpose of
producing physicians who will "emancipate Muslim citizens from age-old attitudes on health."
The, unstable peace and order situation in Mindanao led to the establishment of the College in
Antipolo, Rizal, which granted it a temporary permit to operate in the municipality, instead of in
Zamboanga City where the school was first proposed to be located. It has since adopted
Antipolo as its permanent site and changed its name to the Rizal College of Medicine.
In 1985, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) and the Board of Medical
Education (BME) authorized the Commission on Medical Education to conduct a study of all
medical schools in the Philippines. The, report of the Commission showed that the College fell
very much short of the minimum standards set for medical schools. 1 The, team of inspectors,
composed of Doctors Florentino Herrera, Jr., Elena Ines Cuyegkeng, Horacio Estrada, Jose V.
Silao, Jr. and Andres L. Reyes, recommended the closure of the school 2 upon the following
findings, to wit:
(a) the College was not fulfilling the purpose for which it had been created because of its
inappropriate location and the absence in its curriculum of subjects relating to Muslim culture
and welfare;
(b) its lack of university affiliation hindered its students from obtaining a "balanced humanistic
and scientific" education;
(c) it did not have its philosophy base hospital for the training of its students in the major
clinical disciplines, as required by the DECS;
(d) more than 60% of the college faculty did not teach in the College full-time, resulting in
shortened and irregular class hours, subject overloading, and in general, poor quality teaching.
The, school disputed these findings as biased and discriminatory. At its request, the Board of
Medical Education, in May, 1987, sent another team of doctors 3 for a re-evaluation of the
College. After inspection, the team confirmed the previous findings and recommended the
phase-out of the school. 4
The, first two reports were verified on June 23, 1987 by a third team of inspectors. 5 A year
thereafter, the College failed another test what was in effect the fourth evaluation of its fitness
to continue as a medical school conducted on March 4 and 5, 1988 by a team from the Board of
Medical Education determining the eligibility of medical schools for government recognition.
The, College was adjudged "inadequate" in all aspects of the survey, to wit, college, curriculum,
facilities, teaching hospital, and studentry. 6 The, inspectors, Doctors Nilo Rosas, Macario Tan
and Elena Ines Cuyegkeng, accordingly recommended denial of government; recognition.

Accordingly, the Board of Medical Education recommended to the DECS the closure of the
College, effective the end of the school year 1988-1989. The, College however succeeded in
having the Board form yet another team to review the previous findings. Doctors Elena Ines
Cuyegkeng, Alberto Romualdez, Artemio Ordinaria Joven Cuanang and Nilo L. Rosas conducted
their inspection on June 18, 1988. Their findings: although there had been a "major effort to
improve the physical plant for classroom instructions and the library, serious deficiencies
remain(ed) in the areas of clinical facilities and library operations;" "faculty continue(d) to be
quite inadequate with no prospects for satisfactory growth and development;" "student
profile ... (was) below par from the point of view of credentials (NMAT and transfer records) as
well as level knowledge and preparedness at various stages of medical education," and "the
most serious deficiency ... (was) the almost total lack of serious development efforts in
academic medicine i.e., seeming lack of philosophy of teaching, no serious effort to study
curricula, almost non-existent innovative approaches." Again, the recommendation was to close
the College with provisions for the dispersal of its students to other medical schools. 7
In her letter of June 23, 1988, Secretary Quisumbing informed the Chairman of the College's
Board of Trustees, Mr. Victor Sumulong, of the decision of the Board of Medical Education to
close the College. Mr. Sumulong instead proposed a gradual phase-out starting the school year
1989-1990 in order not to dislocate the students and staff and to minimize financial loss. 8 The,
Board subsequently allowed the College to continue its operations but only until May, 1989,
after which it was to be closed, this decision being "final and unappealable." The, College was,
however, assured of assistance in the relocation of its students and in its rehabilitation as an
institution for health-related and paramedical courses. 9
The, College appealed the decision to the Office of the President, imputing grave abuse of
discretion to the Secretary. 10 On February 16, 1989, Executive Secretary Catalino Macaraig, Jr.,
finding "no reason to disturb" the contested decision, affirmed it. 11
On March 2, 1989, the College went to court. It filed Civil Case No. 1385 in the court of
respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso against Secretary Quisumbing in her capacity as Secretary
of Education, Culture and Sports, questioning the decision as illegal, oppressive, arbitrary and
discriminatory and applied for a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain its implementation.
The, writ issued as prayed for by order of the respondent Judge dated May 10, 1989. 12 His
Honor ruled that the inspection of June 18, 1988 was the principal basis of the closure order,
and on such basis sustained the claim of the College that the inspection was done in an
"arbitrary and haphazard manner" by a team of inspectors who had already prejudged the
school. Judge Alfonso held that there was no evidence supporting the findings in the report of
June 18, 1988, and declared that his philosophy ocular inspection of the College disclosed that
the deficiencies mentioned in the report were non-existent, and that on the contrary, the
laboratory and library areas were "big enough," and in the operations of the proposed base
hospital were going on smoothly at the time of the ocular inspection."
The, school thereupon promptly advertised in major newspaper dailies for enrollees in all levels
of the medical college and in its pre-board review classes. 13
Hence the present petition, assailing the order of injunction dated May 10, 1989 as having been
issued with grave abuse of discretion, and praying for a restraining order against its
enforcement as well as for the dismissal of the action instituted in the court a quo. The, Court
on June 1, 1989 ordered the respondent College to desist from advertising and admitting
students, and the respondent judge to refrain from enforcing his injunction order.
The, College in its Comment would justify its entitlement to the questioned injunction on the
ground that the closure order against which it was directed was issued without factual basis

and in violation of the right of the College to due process of law, and that it violates MECS
Order No. 5 (Series of 1986) to the effect that the penalty of closure cannot be imposed earlier
than three (3) years from the last evaluation, which in this instance was made, on June 18,
1988.
Resort to the Courts to obtain a reversal of the determination by the Secretary of Education,
Culture and Sports that the College is unfit to continue its operations is in this case clearly
unavailing. There is, to begin with, no law authorizing an appeal from decisions or orders of the
Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports to this Court or any other Court. It is not the function
of this Court or any other Court to review the decisions and orders of the Secretary on the issue
of whether or not an educational institution meets the norms and standards required for
permission to operate and to continue operating as such. On this question, no Court has the
power or prerogative to substitute its opinion for that of the Secretary. Indeed, it is obviously
not expected that any Court would have the competence to do so.
The, only authority reposed in the Courts in the matter is the determination of whether or not
the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports has acted within the scope of powers granted
him by law and the Constitution. As long as it appears that he has done so, any decision
rendered by him should not and will not be subject to review and reversal by any court.
Of course, if it should be made, to appear to the Court that those powers were in a case
exercised so whimsically, capriciously, oppressively, despotically or arbitrarily as to call for
peremptory correction or stated otherwise, that the Secretary had acted with grave abuse of
discretion, or had unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law specifically
enjoins as a duty, or excluded another from the use or enjoyment of a right or office to which
such other is entitled it becomes the Court's duty to rectify such action through the
extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus, whichever may properly apply.
Yet even in these extreme instances, where a Court finds that there has been abuse of powers
by the Secretary and consequently nullifies and/or forbids such an abuse of power, or
compliance whatever is needful to keep its exercise within bounds, the Court, absent any
compelling reason to do otherwise, should still leave to the Secretary the ultimate
determination of the issue of the satisfy action or fulfillment by an educational institution of the
standards set down for its legitimate operation, as to which it should not ordinarily substitute
its over judgment for that of said office.
In any case, the recorded facts quite clearly fail to support the College's claim of grave abuse of
discretion containing the order of closure, and on the contrary convincingly show the
challenged decision to be correct. From 1985, no less than five (5) surveys were conducted of
respondent institution to determine its compliance with the minimum standards established for
a medical college. The, first survey, that undertaken by the Commission on Medical Education,
disclosed such various and significant deficiencies in the school as to constrain the inspectors
to recommend its closure. Four (4) other surveys were thereafter made by as many different
committees or teams, at the school's instance or otherwise, all of which basically confirmed the
results of that first survey. Moreover, the findings of all five (5) surveys were affirmed by the
Office of the President. Indeed, the petitioner, through the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, to
all intents and purposes accepted the validity of the findings of those five (5) survey groups
when it proposed, in 1988, a gradual phase-out of the school starting in 1989. The, respondent
College knew that the recommendation for its closure was made, as early as 1986, that
recommendation was reiterated and reaffirmed four (4) times thereafter until it was finally
approved and acted upon by the Secretary, whose action was confirmed by the Office of the
President. Said respondent was given notice in June 1988, that in consequence of all these, the
time for its definite closure had been unalterably set at May, 1989, a notice which was
accompanied by assurances of assistance in the relocation of its students before June, 1989
and in its rehabilitation as a school for other courses. After having resorted to the whole range

of administrative remedies available to it, without success, it sought to obtain from the
respondent Court the relief it could not obtain from those sources, and what can only be
described as a deliberate attempt to frustrate and obstruct implementation of the decision for
its closure as of June, 1989 openly solicited, by newspaper advertisements or otherwise,
enrollment of new and old students.
Given these facts, and it being a matter of law that the Secretary of Education, Culture and
Sports exercises the power to enjoin compliance with the requirements laid down for medical
schools and to mete out sanctions where he finds that violations thereof have been committed,
it was a grave abuse of discretion for the respondent judge to issue the questioned injunction
and thereby thwart official action, in the premises correctly taken, allowing the College to
operate without the requisite government permit. A single ocular inspection, done after the
College had been pre-warned thereof, did not, in the circumstances, warrant only the findings
of more qualified inspectors about the true state of the College, its faculty, facilities,
operations, etc. The, members of the evaluating team came from the different sectors in the
fields of education and medicine, 14 and their judgment in this particular area is certainly
better than that of the respondent Judge whose sole and only visit to the school could hardly
have given him much more to go on than a brief look at the physical plant and facilities and
into the conduct of the classes and other school activities. Respondent Judge gravely abused
his discretion in substituting his judgment for theirs. It is well-settled doctrine that courts of
justice should not generally interfere with purely administrative and discretionary functions;
that courts have no supervisory power over the proceedings and actions of the administrative
departments of the government; involving the exercise of judgment and findings of facts,
because by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their
jurisdiction, the latter are in a better position to pass judgment on such matters andn their
findings of facts in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts. 15
There are, to be sure, exceptions to this general rule but none of them obtains in this case.
The, claim of denial of due process likewise holds no water, as the record clearly shows that the
College was given every opportunity to so improve itself as to come up to requirements, but
remained sadly sub-standard after the inspections conducted by the evaluating teams. It had,
in fact, admitted its failure to have up to the desired standards when it proposed its gradual
phase-out in its letter dated June 27, 1988 to Secretary Quisumbing. It was also precisely
because of its complaints of bias and prejudice that the Board of Medical Education dispatched
new teams to survey and re-evaluate its performance. It had even gone all the way up to the
Office of the President to seek a reversal of the order of closure. There is thus no reason for it to
complain of a lack of opportunity to be heard and to explain its side as well as to seek
reconsideration of the ruling complained of.
There is also no merit in respondent College's argument that the closure violated NMCS ORDER
No. 5, Series of 1986, because it was sought to be effected before the lapse of the three-year
period therein snowed, which in this case is sought to be counted from June 18, 1988, or the
date of the last evaluation. The, provision referred to reads:
The following sanction shall be applied against any medical school, for failure to comply with
the specific requirements of the essentials, viz.:
c.
Withdrawal or cancellation of the school's government; authority to operate, for failure
to fully comply with the prescribed requirements after three (3) years from the last evaluation
conducted on the school.
It must at once be obvious from a reading of the provision, paragraph c, that the situation
therein contemplated where a school is found to have failed to "fully comply with the
prescribed requirements," i.e., has not complied with some requirements and has failed to do
so within three (3) years from the last evaluation is quite distinct from that obtaining in the
case at bar where respondent school was found to have deficiencies so serious as to warrant

its immediate closure. Said paragraph c should not be construed to prohibit absolutely the
withdrawal or cancellation of government; authority to operate until after three (3) years from
the last evaluation conducted on the school; or, stated otherwise, it does not unexceptionally
prescribe a three-year waiting period before authority to operate may be withdrawn. Rather, it
should be read as giving the Secretary of Education the discretion, depending on the
seriousness of the discovered deficiencies, to afford an educational institution which has failed
to comply with some requirement or other, time not exceeding three (3) years to correct the
deficiencies before applying the sanction of withdrawal or cancellation of the government;
authority to operate. The, circumstances in the case at bar are far from nominal and, to repeat,
are different from those obviously envisioned by the paragraph in question. There had never
been a recommendation that the College be granted an opportunity to comply with certain
requirements. From the outset, the proposal had been that it be forthwith closed, its discovered
deficiencies as a medical college being of so serious a character as to be irremediable. The,
other four (4) surveys were conducted, not to determine if in the course of time the petitioner
school had already fully complied with all the prescribed requisites, but rather, whether or not
the original recommendation for its closure was correct and should be sustained. And, as
already mentioned, the subsequent surveys, over a period of more than three (3) years, served
but to confirm the validity of that initial proposal for its closure. Under these circumstances,
therefore, even if it be assumed that the provision, paragraph c, applied to petitioner school, it
must be held that there has been substantial compliance therewith.
Having thus disposed of the issues raised by the facts of the case, the Court sees no useful
purpose to be served by remanding the case to the Trial Court for further proceedings. The,
only acceptable reason for such a remand would be so that the Trial Court may determine
whether or not the petitioners' first have acted within the scope of their powers or grossly
abused them, a matter that this Court has already passed upon here. Such a remand cannot be
justified on the theory that the Trial Court will make its philosophy independent determination
of whether or not respondent medical institution has complied with the minimum standards laid
down for its continued operation, since, as here ruled, it has not that power.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby granted and the temporary
restraining order issued by the Court is made, permanent. The, questioned writ of preliminary
injunction dated May 10, 1989 is set aside and respondent Judge is ordered to dismiss Civil
Case No. 1385. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 89572 December 21, 1989


DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS (DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER
FOR EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT, petitioners,
vs.
ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172,
respondents.
Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:
The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a person who has thrice failed
the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again.
The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule thath) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take the NMAT. After three (3)
successive failures, a student shall not be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.
The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional grounds.
But first the facts.
The private respondent is a graduate of the University of the East with a degree of
Bachelor of Science in Zoology. The petitioner claims that he took the NMAT three times
and flunked it as many times. 1 When he applied to take it again, the petitioner rejected
his application on the basis of the aforesaid rule. He then went to the Regional Trial Court
of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, to compel his admission to the test.
In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked his constitutional rights to academic
freedom and quality education. By agreement of the parties, the private respondent was
allowed to take the NMAT scheduled on April 16, 1989, subject to the outcome of his
petition. 2 In an amended petition filed with leave of court, he squarely challenged the
constitutionality of MECS Order No. 12, Series of 1972, containing the above-cited rule.
The additional grounds raised were due process and equal protection.
After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision on July 4, 1989, declaring the
challenged order invalid and granting the petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held
that the petitioner had been deprived of his right to pursue a medical education through
an arbitrary exercise of the police power. 3
We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision must be reversed.
In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 4 this Court upheld the constitutionality of the NMAT as a measure
intended to limit the admission to medical schools only to those who have initially proved

their competence and preparation for a medical education. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano
declared for a unanimous Court:
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some
reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for
admission to medical school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety of
the general community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully
approached by recalling that the regulation of the pratice of medicine in all its branches
has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of
the public. That the power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the
power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also
well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish
to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago
been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the establishment of
minimum medical educational requirements-i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a
recognized medical school-for admission to the medical profession, has also been
sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state. What we have
before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to medical
schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of
regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional and technical quality of the
graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted to the student
body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of
admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to those who
exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical
practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in our
professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the current state of
our social and economic development, are widely known.
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as
a means of achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into
[our] medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the
country." Given the widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical
schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT] and
quite probably, in other countries with far more developed educational resources than our
own, and taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to
prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is reasonably related to the
securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful
to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects of
incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds
for disease or trauma.
However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner that the said case was not
applicable. Her reason was that it upheld only the requirement for the admission test and
said nothing about the so-called "three-flunk rule."
We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case cannot apply to the case at bar.
The issue raised in both cases is the academic preparation of the applicant. This may be
gauged at least initially by the admission test and, indeed with more reliability, by the
three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded any less valid than the former in the
regulation of the medical profession.

There is no need to redefine here the police power of the State. Suffice it to repeat that
the power is validly exercised if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished
from those of a particular class, require the interference of the State, and (b) the means
employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment of the object sought to be
accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 5
In other words, the proper exercise of the police power requires the concurrence of a
lawful subject and a lawful method.

for this reason, do not require more vigilant regulation. The accountant, for example,
while belonging to an equally respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate
responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be similarly treated.
There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have passed the tests are
admitted and others who have also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what
the equal protection requires is equality among equals.

The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly within the ambit of the police power.
It is the right and indeed the responsibility of the State to insure that the medical
profession is not infiltrated by incompetents to whom patients may unwarily entrust their
lives and health.

The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right to quality education as a
guarantee of the Constitution: one must show that he is entitled to it because of his
preparation and promise. The private respondent has failed the NMAT five times. 7 While
his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it is certainly misplaced, like a hopeless
love.

The method employed by the challenged regulation is not irrelevant to the purpose of the
law nor is it arbitrary or oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the
medical schools and ultimately the medical profession from the intrusion of those not
qualified to be doctors.

No depreciation is intended or made against the private respondent. It is stressed that a


person who does not qualify in the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any
work or occupation. The only inference is that he is a probably better, not for the medical
profession, but for another calling that has not excited his interest.

While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a constitutional
right to be a doctor. This is true of any other calling in which the public interest is
involved; and the closer the link, the longer the bridge to one's ambition. The State has
the responsibility to harness its human resources and to see to it that they are not
dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all. These resources must be applied in a manner
that will best promote the common good while also giving the individual a sense of
satisfaction.

In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster; in the latter, he is more likely to
succeed and may even be outstanding. It is for the appropriate calling that he is entitled
to quality education for the full harnessing of his potentials and the sharpening of his
latent talents toward what may even be a brilliant future.

A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be a menace to his patients. If one
who wants to be a lawyer may prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and
adviced. Of course, he may not be forced to be a plumber, but on the other hand he may
not force his entry into the bar. By the same token, a student who has demonstrated
promise as a pianist cannot be shunted aside to take a course in nursing, however
appropriate this career may be for others.
The right to quality education invoked by the private respondent is not absolute. The
Constitution also provides that "every citizen has the right to choose a profession or
course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic
requirements. 6
The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule and give way to those better
prepared. Where even those who have qualified may still not be accommodated in our
already crowded medical schools, there is all the more reason to bar those who, like him,
have been tested and found wanting.
The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is not welltaken. A law does not have to operate with equal force on all persons or things to be
conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.
There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists between medical students
and other students who are not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The
medical profession directly affects the very lives of the people, unlike other careers which,

We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes, of dentists who should never
have left the farm and engineers who should have studied banking and teachers who
could be better as merchants.
It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to regulate and enrich our system of
education by directing the student to the course for which he is best suited as determined
by initial tests and evaluations. Otherwise, we may be "swamped with mediocrity," in the
words of Justice Holmes, not because we are lacking in intelligence but because we are a
nation of misfits.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent court dated January
13, 1989, is REVERSED, with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. 144681

June 21, 2004

PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (PRC), CHAIRMAN HERMOGENES P. POBRE,


ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ARMANDO PASCUAL, BOARD OF MEDICINE, CHAIRMAN
RODOLFO P. DE GUZMAN, JOSE S. RAMIREZ, JUANITO B. BILLOTE, RUBEN R. POLICARPIO,
EDGARDO T. FERNANDO and RICARDO D. FULGENCIO II, petitioners,
vs.
ARLENE V. DE GUZMAN, VIOLETA V. MENESES, CELERINA S. NAVARRO, JOSE RAMONCITO P.
NAVARRO, ARNEL V. HERRERA and GERALDINE ELIZABETH M. PAGILAGAN, ELNORA R.
RAQUENO, MARISSA A. REGODON, LAURA M. SANTOS, KARANGALAN D. SERRANO, DANILO
A. VILLAVER, MARIA ROSARIO L. LEONOR, ALICIA S. LIZANO, MARITEL M. ECHIVERRI,
BERNADETTE T. MENDOZA, FERNANDO F. MANDAPAT, ALELI A. GOLLAYAN, ELCIN C.
ARRIOLA, HERMINIGILDA E. CONEJOS, SALLY B. BUNAGAN, ROGELIO B. ANCHETA, OSCAR
H. PADUA, JR., EVELYN D. GRAJO, EVELYN S. ACOSTA, MARGARITA BELINDA L. VICENCIO,
VALENTINO P. ARBOLEDA, EVELYN O. RAMOS, ACHILLES J. PERALTA, CORAZON M. CRUZ,
LEUVINA P. CHICO, JOSEPH A. JAO, MA. LUISA S. GUTIERREZ, LYDIA C. CHAN, OPHELIA C.
HIDALGO, FERNANDO T. CRUZ, MELVIN M. USITA, RAFAEL I. TOLENTINO, GRACE E. UY,
CHERYL R. TRIGUERO, MICHAEL L. SERRANO, FEDERICO L. CASTILLO, MELITA J. CAEDO,
SAMUEL B. BANGOY, BERNARDITA B. SY, GLORIA T. JULARBAL, FREDERICK D. FRANCISCO,
CARLOS M. BERNARDO, JR., HUBERT S. NAZARENO, CLARISSA B. BACLIG, DAYMINDA G.
BONTUYAN, BERNADETTE H. CABUHAT, NANCY J. CHAVEZ, MARIO D. CUARESMA, ERNESTO
L. CUE, EVELYN C. CUNDANGAN, RHONEIL R. DEVERATURDA, DERILEEN D. DORADO,
SAIBZUR N. EDDING, VIOLETA C. FELIPE, HERMINIO V. FERNANDEZ, JR., MARIA VICTORIA
M. LACSAMANA, NORMA G. LAFAVILLA, RUBY B. LANTIN, MA. ELOISA Q. MALLARI, CLARISA
SJ. NICOLAS, PERCIVAL H. PANGILINAN, ARNULFO A. SALVADOR, ROBERT B. SANCHEZ,
MERLY D. STA. ANA and YOLANDA P. UNICA, respondents.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
This petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeks to nullify
the D E C I S I O N,1 dated May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283.
The appellate court affirmed the judgment2 dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case No. 93-66530. The trial court allowed
the respondents to take their physicians oath and to register as duly licensed physicians.
Equally challenged is the R E S O L U T I O N3 promulgated on August 25, 2000 of the
Court of Appeals, denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The facts of this case are as follows:
The respondents are all graduates of the Fatima College of Medicine, Valenzuela City,
Metro Manila. They passed the Physician Licensure Examination conducted in February
1993 by the Board of Medicine (Board). Petitioner Professional Regulation Commission
(PRC) then released their names as successful examinees in the medical licensure
examination.
Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that the grades of the seventy-nine successful
examinees from Fatima College in the two most difficult subjects in the medical licensure
exam, Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne), were
unusually and exceptionally high. Eleven Fatima examinees scored 100% in Bio-Chem and

ten got 100% in OB-Gyne, another eleven got 99% in Bio-Chem, and twenty-one scored
99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed that many of those who passed from Fatima
got marks of 95% or better in both subjects, and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A
comparison of the performances of the candidates from other schools was made. The
Board observed that strangely, the unusually high ratings were true only for Fatima
College examinees. It was a record-breaking phenomenon in the history of the Physician
Licensure Examination.
On June 7, 1993, the Board issued Resolution No. 19, withholding the registration as
physicians of all the examinees from the Fatima College of Medicine.4 The PRC asked the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate whether any anomaly or irregularity
marred the February 1993 Physician Licensure Examination.
Prior to the NBI investigation, the Board requested Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert
mathematician and authority in statistics, and later president of the Ateneo de Manila
University, to conduct a statistical analysis of the results in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the
said examination.
On June 10, 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He reported that a comparison of the
scores in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne, of the Fatima College examinees with those of
examinees from De La Salle University and Perpetual Help College of Medicine showed
that the scores of Fatima College examinees were not only incredibly high but unusually
clustered close to each other. He concluded that there must be some unusual reason
creating the clustering of scores in the two subjects. It must be a cause "strong enough to
eliminate the normal variations that one should expect from the examinees [of Fatima
College] in terms of talent, effort, energy, etc."5
For its part, the NBI found that "the questionable passing rate of Fatima examinees in the
[1993] Physician Examination leads to the conclusion that the Fatima examinees gained
early access to the test questions."6
On July 5, 1993, respondents Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V. Meneses, Celerina S.
Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan
(Arlene V. De Guzman et al., for brevity) filed a special civil action for mandamus, with
prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction docketed as Civil Case No. 93-66530 with the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition was adopted by the other
respondents as intervenors.
Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution No. 26, dated July 21, 1993, charging respondents
with "immorality, dishonest conduct, fraud, and deceit" in connection with the Bio-Chem
and Ob-Gyne examinations. It recommended that the test results of the Fatima examinees
be nullified. The case was docketed as Adm. Case No. 1687 by the PRC.
On July 28, 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil Case No. 93-66530 granting the
preliminary mandatory injunction sought by the respondents. It ordered the petitioners to
administer the physicians oath to Arlene V. De Guzman et al., and enter their names in
the rolls of the PRC.
The petitioners then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to
set aside the mandatory injunctive writ, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 31701.

On October 21, 1993, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP No. 31701, with the
dispositive portion of the Decision ordaining as follows:
WHEREFORE, this petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction issued by the lower court against petitioners is hereby nullified and set aside.
SO ORDERED.7
Arlene V. de Guzman, et al., then elevated the foregoing Decision to this Court in G.R. No.
112315. In our Resolution dated May 23, 1994, we denied the petition for failure to show
reversible error on the part of the appellate court.
Meanwhile, on November 22, 1993, during the pendency of the instant petition, the pretrial conference in Civil Case No. 93-66530 was held. Then, the parties, agreed to reduce
the testimonies of their respective witnesses to sworn questions-and-answers. This was
without prejudice to cross-examination by the opposing counsel.
On December 13, 1993, petitioners counsel failed to appear at the trial in the mistaken
belief that the trial was set for December 15. The trial court then ruled that petitioners
waived their right to cross-examine the witnesses.
On January 27, 1994, counsel for petitioners filed a Manifestation and Motion stating the
reasons for her non-appearance and praying that the cross-examination of the witnesses
for the opposing parties be reset. The trial court denied the motion for lack of notice to
adverse counsel. It also denied the Motion for Reconsideration that followed on the ground
that adverse counsel was notified less than three (3) days prior to the hearing.

A day before the first hearing, on September 22, 1994, the petitioners filed an Urgent ExParte Manifestation and Motion praying for the partial reconsideration of the appellate
courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506, and for the outright dismissal of Civil Case No.
93-66530. The petitioners asked for the suspension of the proceedings.
In its Order dated September 23, 1994, the trial court granted the aforesaid motion,
cancelled the scheduled hearing dates, and reset the proceedings to October 21 and 28,
1994.
Meanwhile, on October 25, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied the partial motion for
reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. Thus, petitioners filed with the Supreme Court a
petition for review docketed as G.R. No. 117817, entitled Professional Regulation
Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.
On November 11, 1994, counsel for the petitioners failed to appear at the trial of Civil
Case No. 93-66530. Upon motion of the respondents herein, the trial court ruled that
herein petitioners waived their right to cross-examine the herein respondents. Trial was
reset to November 28, 1994.
On November 25, 1994, petitioners counsel moved for the inhibition of the trial court
judge for alleged partiality. On November 28, 1994, the day the Motion to Inhibit was to be
heard, petitioners failed to appear. Thus, the trial court denied the Motion to Inhibit and
declared Civil Case No. 93-66530 deemed submitted for decision.
On December 19, 1994, the trial court handed down its judgment in Civil Case No. 9366530, the fallo of which reads:

Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from proceeding with Adm. Case No. 1687,
the respondents herein moved for the issuance of a restraining order, which the lower
court granted in its Order dated April 4, 1994.

WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered ordering the respondents to allow the petitioners and
intervenors (except those with asterisks and footnotes in pages 1 & 2 of this decision)
[sic],9 to take the physicians oath and to register them as physicians.

The petitioners then filed with this Court a petition for certiorari docketed as G.R. No.
115704, to annul the Orders of the trial court dated November 13, 1993, February 28,
1994, and April 4, 1994. We referred the petition to the Court of Appeals where it was
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506.

It should be made clear that this decision is without prejudice to any administrative
disciplinary action which may be taken against any of the petitioners for such causes and
in the manner provided by law and consistent with the requirements of the Constitution as
any other professionals.

On August 31, 1994, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 as follows:

No costs.

WHEREFORE, the present petition for certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining
order/preliminary injunction is GRANTED and the Orders of December 13, 1993, February
7, 1994, February 28, 1994, and April 4, 1994 of the RTC-Manila, Branch 52, and all further
proceedings taken by it in Special Civil Action No. 93-66530 are hereby DECLARED NULL
and VOID. The said RTC-Manila is ordered to allow petitioners counsel to cross-examine
the respondents witnesses, to allow petitioners to present their evidence in due course of
trial, and thereafter to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the evidence of the
parties. Costs against respondents.

SO ORDERED.10

IT IS SO ORDERED.8
The trial was then set and notices were sent to the parties.

As a result of these developments, petitioners filed with this Court a petition for review on
certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 118437, entitled Professional Regulation Commission v.
Hon. David G. Nitafan, praying inter alia, that (1) G.R. No. 118437 be consolidated with
G.R. No. 117817; (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 31, 1994 in CAG.R. SP No. 34506 be nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil Case No. 9366530, and in the alternative, to set aside the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No.
93-66530, order the trial court judge to inhibit himself, and Civil Case No. 93-66530 be reraffled to another branch.

On December 26, 1994, the petitioners herein filed their Notice of Appeal11 in Civil Case
No. 93-66530, thereby elevating the case to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed
as CA-G.R. SP No. 37283.

Hence, this petition raising the following issues:

In our Resolution of June 7, 1995, G.R. No. 118437 was consolidated with G.R. No. 117817.

WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS HAVE A VALID CAUSE OF ACTION FOR MANDAMUS


AGAINST PETITIONERS IN THE LIGHT OF THE RESOLUTION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN
G.R. NO. 112315 AFFIRMING THE COURT OF APPEALS DECISION DECLARING THAT IF EVER
THERE IS SOME DOUBT AS TO THE MORAL FITNESS OF EXAMINEES, THE ISSUANCE OF
LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED TO THE SUCCESSFUL
EXAMINEES.

On July 9, 1998, we disposed of G.R. Nos. 117817 and 118437 in this wise:
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 117817 is DISMISSED for being moot. The petition in
G.R. No. 118437 is likewise DISMISSED on the ground that there is a pending appeal
before the Court of Appeals. Assistant Solicitor General Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang is
advised to be more circumspect in her dealings with the courts as a repetition of the same
or similar acts will be dealt with accordingly.
SO ORDERED.12
While CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 was awaiting disposition by the appellate court, Arnel V.
Herrera, one of the original petitioners in Civil Case No. 93-66530, joined by twenty-seven
intervenors, to wit: Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T. Mendoza,
Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza,
Cheryl R. Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-Cabanes, Laura
M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C. Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S.
Lizano, Elnora R. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-Edding, Robert
B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario L. Leonor-Lacandula, Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma,
Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio,
Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, manifested that they were no
longer interested in proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal. A similar
manifestation and motion was later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan,
Michael L. Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabara, Yolanda P.
Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R.
Deveraturda, Aleli A. Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V.
Meneses, Melita J. Caedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano,
Danilo A. Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. The Court of Appeals
ruled that its decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 would not apply to them.
On May 16, 2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, with the following
fallo, to wit:
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, We hereby AFFIRM
the same and DISMISS the instant appeal.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.13
In sustaining the trial courts decision, the appellate court ratiocinated that the
respondents complied with all the statutory requirements for admission into the licensure
examination for physicians in February 1993. They all passed the said examination.
Having fulfilled the requirements of Republic Act No. 2382,14 they should be allowed to
take their oaths as physicians and be registered in the rolls of the PRC.

II
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS COULD PROCEED DESPITE THE
PENDENCY OF ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1687, WHICH WAS PRECISELY LODGED TO
DETERMINE THE MORAL FITNESS OF RESPONDENTS TO BECOME DOCTORS.15
To our mind, the only issue is: Did the Court of Appeals commit a reversible error of law in
sustaining the judgment of the trial court that respondents are entitled to a writ of
mandamus?
The petitioners submit that a writ of mandamus will not lie in this case. They point out
that for a writ of mandamus to issue, the applicant must have a well-defined, clear and
certain legal right to the thing demanded and it is the duty of the respondent to perform
the act required. Thus, mandamus may be availed of only when the duty sought to be
performed is a ministerial and not a discretionary one. The petitioners argue that the
appellate courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 upholding the decision of the trial court
in Civil Case No. 93-66530 overlooked its own pronouncement in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701.
The Court of Appeals held in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701 that the issuance of a license to
engage in the practice of medicine becomes discretionary on the PRC if there exists some
doubt that the successful examinee has not fully met the requirements of the law. The
petitioners stress that this Courts Resolution dated May 24, 1994 in G.R. No. 112315 held
that there was no showing "that the Court of Appeals had committed any reversible error
in rendering the questioned judgment" in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The petitioners point out
that our Resolution in G.R. No. 112315 has long become final and executory.
Respondents counter that having passed the 1993 licensure examinations for physicians,
the petitioners have the obligation to administer to them the oath as physicians and to
issue their certificates of registration as physicians pursuant to Section 2016 of Rep. Act
No. 2382. The Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, found that respondents complied
with all the requirements of Rep. Act No. 2382. Furthermore, respondents were admitted
by the Medical Board to the licensure examinations and had passed the same. Hence,
pursuant to Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, the petitioners had the obligation to
administer their oaths as physicians and register them.
Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction, in the name of
the state or the sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some
corporation or person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified,
which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed, or
from operation of law.17 Section 3 of Rule 6518 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
outlines two situations when a writ of mandamus may issue, when any tribunal,

corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully (1) neglects the performance of an act
which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; or (2)
excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which the other is
entitled.

However, the surrounding circumstances in this case call for serious inquiry concerning
the satisfactory compliance with the Board requirements by the respondents. The
unusually high scores in the two most difficult subjects was phenomenal, according to Fr.
Nebres, the consultant of PRC on the matter, and raised grave doubts about the integrity,
if not validity, of the tests. These doubts have to be appropriately resolved.

We shall discuss the issues successively.


1. On The Existence of a Duty of the Board of Medicine To Issue Certificates of Registration
as Physicians under Rep. Act No. 2382.
For mandamus to prosper, there must be a showing that the officer, board, or official
concerned, has a clear legal duty, not involving discretion.19 Moreover, there must be
statutory authority for the performance of the act,20 and the performance of the duty has
been refused.21 Thus, it must be pertinently asked now: Did petitioners have the duty to
administer the Hippocratic Oath and register respondents as physicians under the Medical
Act of 1959?
As found by the Court of Appeals, on which we agree on the basis of the records:
It bears emphasizing herein that petitioner-appellees and intervenor-appellees have fully
complied with all the statutory requirements for admission into the licensure examinations
for physicians conducted and administered by the respondent-appellants on February 12,
14, 20 and 21, 1993. Stress, too, must be made of the fact that all of them successfully
passed the same examinations.22
The crucial query now is whether the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that petitioners
should allow the respondents to take their oaths as physicians and register them, steps
which would enable respondents to practice the medical profession23 pursuant to Section
20 of the Medical Act of 1959?
The appellate court relied on a single provision, Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, in
concluding that the petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer the Hippocratic
Oath to respondents and register them as physicians. But it is a basic rule in statutory
construction that each part of a statute should be construed in connection with every
other part to produce a harmonious whole, not confining construction to only one
section.24 The intent or meaning of the statute should be ascertained from the statute
taken as a whole, not from an isolated part of the provision. Accordingly, Section 20, of
Rep. Act No. 2382, as amended should be read in conjunction with the other provisions of
the Act. Thus, to determine whether the petitioners had the ministerial obligation to
administer the Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them as physicians, recourse
must be had to the entirety of the Medical Act of 1959.
A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959 discloses that the law uses the
word "shall" with respect to the issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, the
petitioners "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to those who have satisfactorily
complied with the requirements of the Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is
a word of command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an examinee satisfies the
requirements for the grant of his physicians license, the Board is obliged to administer to
him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section 20 and par. (1) of
Section 2225 of the Medical Act of 1959.

Under the second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is vested with the power to conduct
administrative investigations and "disapprove applications for examination or
registration," pursuant to the objectives of Rep. Act No. 2382 as outlined in Section 126
thereof. In this case, after the investigation, the Board filed before the PRC, Adm. Case No.
1687 against the respondents to ascertain their moral and mental fitness to practice
medicine, as required by Section 927 of Rep. Act No. 2382. In its Decision dated July 1,
1997, the Board ruled:
WHEREFORE, the BOARD hereby CANCELS the respondents[] examination papers in the
Physician Licensure Examinations given in February 1993 and further DEBARS them from
taking any licensure examination for a period of ONE (1) YEAR from the date of the
promulgation of this DECISION. They may, if they so desire, apply for the scheduled
examinations for physicians after the lapse of the period imposed by the BOARD.
SO ORDERED.28
Until the moral and mental fitness of the respondents could be ascertained, according to
petitioners, the Board has discretion to hold in abeyance the administration of the
Hippocratic Oath and the issuance of the certificates to them. The writ of mandamus does
not lie to compel performance of an act which is not duly authorized.
The respondents nevertheless argue that under Section 20, the Board shall not issue a
certificate of registration only in the following instances: (1) to any candidate who has
been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal offense involving
moral turpitude; (2) or has been found guilty of immoral or dishonorable conduct after the
investigation by the Board; or (3) has been declared to be of unsound mind. They aver
that none of these circumstances are present in their case.
Petitioners reject respondents argument. We are informed that in Board Resolution No.
26,29 dated July 21, 1993, the Board resolved to file charges against the examinees from
Fatima College of Medicine for "immorality, dishonesty, fraud, and deceit in the
Obstetrics-Gynecology and Biochemistry examinations." It likewise sought to cancel the
examination results obtained by the examinees from the Fatima College.
Section 830 of Rep. Act No. 2382 prescribes, among others, that a person who aspires to
practice medicine in the Philippines, must have "satisfactorily passed the corresponding
Board Examination." Section 22, in turn, provides that the oath may only be administered
"to physicians who qualified in the examinations." The operative word here is
"satisfactorily," defined as "sufficient to meet a condition or obligation" or "capable of
dispelling doubt or ignorance."31 Gleaned from Board Resolution No. 26, the licensing
authority apparently did not find that the respondents "satisfactorily passed" the licensure
examinations. The Board instead sought to nullify the examination results obtained by the
respondents.
2. On the Right Of The Respondents To Be Registered As Physicians

3. On the Ripeness of the Petition for Mandamus


The function of mandamus is not to establish a right but to enforce one that has been
established by law. If no legal right has been violated, there can be no application of a
legal remedy, and the writ of mandamus is a legal remedy for a legal right.32 There must
be a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded.33 It is long
established rule that a license to practice medicine is a privilege or franchise granted by
the government.34
It is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional right35 of every citizen to select a
profession or course of study subject to a fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and
academic requirements.36 But like all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter,
their exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police power of the State to safeguard
health, morals, peace, education, order, safety, and general welfare of the people.37
Thus, persons who desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or
technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to
engaging in their chosen careers. This regulation takes particular pertinence in the field of
medicine, to protect the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and
ignorance among those who would practice medicine. In a previous case, it may be
recalled, this Court has ordered the Board of Medical Examiners to annul both its
resolution and certificate authorizing a Spanish subject, with the degree of Licentiate in
Medicine and Surgery from the University of Barcelona, Spain, to practice medicine in the
Philippines, without first passing the examination required by the Philippine Medical
Act.38 In another case worth noting, we upheld the power of the State to upgrade the
selection of applicants into medical schools through admission tests.39
It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to regulate the exercise of a profession
or pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary,
despotic, or oppressive manner. A political body that regulates the exercise of a particular
privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant such privilege in accordance with
certain conditions. Such conditions may not, however, require giving up ones
constitutional rights as a condition to acquiring the license.40 Under the view that the
legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to grant or refuse a license on a
public agency or officer, courts will generally strike down license legislation that vests in
public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to carry on some ordinarily lawful
business, profession, or activity without prescribing definite rules and conditions for the
guidance of said officials in the exercise of their power.41
In the present case, the aforementioned guidelines are provided for in Rep. Act No. 2382,
as amended, which prescribes the requirements for admission to the practice of medicine,
the qualifications of candidates for the board examinations, the scope and conduct of the
examinations, the grounds for denying the issuance of a physicians license, or revoking a
license that has been issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the
applicant must show that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications. Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully complied with all the
conditions and requirements imposed by the law and the licensing authority. Should doubt
taint or mar the compliance as being less than satisfactory, then the privilege will not
issue. For said privilege is distinguishable from a matter of right, which may be demanded
if denied. Thus, without a definite showing that the aforesaid requirements and conditions
have been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the writ of mandamus to secure
said privilege without thwarting the legislative will.

Lastly, the petitioners herein contend that the Court of Appeals should have dismissed the
petition for mandamus below for being premature. They argue that the administrative
remedies had not been exhausted. The records show that this is not the first time that
petitioners have sought the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. This issue was raised in
G.R. No. 115704, which petition we referred to the Court of Appeals, where it was
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. On motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No.
34506, the appellate court denied the motion to dismiss on the ground that the prayers
for the nullification of the order of the trial court and the dismissal of Civil Case No. 9366530 were inconsistent reliefs. In G.R. No. 118437, the petitioners sought to nullify the
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 insofar as it did not order the
dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. In our consolidated decision, dated July 9, 1998, in
G.R. Nos. 117817 & 118437, this Court speaking through Justice Bellosillo opined that:
Indeed, the issue as to whether the Court of Appeals erred in not ordering the dismissal of
Civil Case No. 93-66530 sought to be resolved in the instant petition has been rendered
meaningless by an event taking place prior to the filing of this petition and denial thereof
should follow as a logical consequence.42 There is no longer any justiciable controversy
so that any declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.43 It should be
recalled that in its decision of 19 December 1994 the trial court granted the writ of
mandamus prayed for by private respondents, which decision was received by petitioners
on 20 December 1994. Three (3) days after, or on 23 December 1994, petitioners filed the
instant petition. By then, the remedy available to them was to appeal the decision to the
Court of Appeals, which they in fact did, by filing a notice of appeal on 26 December
1994.44
The petitioners have shown no cogent reason for us to reverse the aforecited ruling. Nor
will their reliance upon the doctrine of the exhaustion of administrative remedies in the
instant case advance their cause any.
Section 2645 of the Medical Act of 1959 provides for the administrative and judicial
remedies that respondents herein can avail to question Resolution No. 26 of the Board of
Medicine, namely: (a) appeal the unfavorable judgment to the PRC; (b) should the PRC
ruling still be unfavorable, to elevate the matter on appeal to the Office of the President;
and (c) should they still be unsatisfied, to ask for a review of the case or to bring the case
to court via a special civil action of certiorari. Thus, as a rule, mandamus will not lie when
administrative remedies are still available.46 However, the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies does not apply where, as in this case, a pure question of law is
raised.47 On this issue, no reversible error may, thus, be laid at the door of the appellate
court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, when it refused to dismiss Civil Case No. 93-66530.
As we earlier pointed out, herein respondents Arnel V. Herrera, Fernando F. Mandapat,
Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T. Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa
A. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza, Cheryl R. Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H.
Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C.
Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N.
Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario Leonor-Lacandula,
Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla,
Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose
Ramoncito P. Navarro manifested to the Court of Appeals during the pendency of CA-G.R.

SP No. 37283, that they were no longer interested in proceeding with the case and moved
for its dismissal insofar as they were concerned. A similar manifestation and motion were
later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan, Michael L. Serrano, Norma G.
Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabarra, Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G.
Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A.
Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J.
Caedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver,
Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. Following these manifestations and
motions, the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 decreed that its ruling would not
apply to them. Thus, inasmuch as the instant case is a petition for review of the appellate
courts ruling in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, a decision which is inapplicable to the
aforementioned respondents will similarly not apply to them.
As to Achilles J. Peralta, Evelyn O. Ramos, Sally B. Bunagan, Rogelio B. Ancheta, Oscar H.
Padua, Jr., Evelyn D. Grajo, Valentino P. Arboleda, Carlos M. Bernardo, Jr., Mario D.
Cuaresma, Violeta C. Felipe, Percival H. Pangilinan, Corazon M. Cruz and Samuel B.
Bangoy, herein decision shall not apply pursuant to the Orders of the trial court in Civil
Case No. 93-66530, dropping their names from the suit.
Consequently, this Decision is binding only on the remaining respondents, namely: Arlene
V. de Guzman, Celerina S. Navarro, Rafael I. Tolentino, Bernardita B. Sy, Gloria T. Jularbal,
Hubert S. Nazareno, Nancy J. Chavez, Ernesto L. Cue, Herminio V. Fernandez, Jr., Maria
Victoria M. Lacsamana and Merly D. Sta. Ana, as well as the petitioners.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, (1) the assailed decision dated
May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, which affirmed the
judgment dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, in
Civil Case No. 93-66530, ordering petitioners to administer the physicians oath to herein
respondents as well as the resolution dated August 25, 2000, of the appellate court,
denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and (2)
the writ of mandamus, issued in Civil Case No. 93-66530, and affirmed by the appellate
court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 is NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 166097


July 14, 2008
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
BOARD OF MEDICINE, DR. RAUL FLORES (now DR. JOSE S. RAMIREZ), in his capacity as
Chairman of the Board, PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION, through its Chairman,
HERMOGENES POBRE (now DR. ALCESTIS M. GUIANG), Petitioners, vs. YASUYUKI OTA,
Respondent.
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision1 of the Court
of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 849452 dated November 16, 2004 which affirmed the
Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 22, Manila, dated October 19, 2003.4

The Board and the PRC (petitioners) appealed the case to the CA, stating that while
respondent submitted documents showing that foreigners are allowed to practice
medicine in Japan, it was not shown that the conditions for the practice of medicine there
are practical and attainable by a foreign applicant, hence, reciprocity was not established;
also, the power of the PRC and the Board to regulate and control the practice of medicine
is discretionary and not ministerial, hence, not compellable by a writ of mandamus.14
The CA denied the appeal and affirmed the ruling of the RTC.15
Hence, herein petition raising the following issue:

The facts are as follows:


Yasuyuki Ota (respondent) is a Japanese national, married to a Filipina, who has
continuously resided in the Philippines for more than 10 years. He graduated from Bicol
Christian College of Medicine on April 21, 1991 with a degree of Doctor of Medicine.5 After
successfully completing a one-year post graduate internship training at the Jose Reyes
Memorial Medical Center, he filed an application to take the medical board examinations
in order to obtain a medical license. He was required by the Professional Regulation
Commission (PRC) to submit an affidavit of undertaking, stating among others that should
he successfully pass the same, he would not practice medicine until he submits proof that
reciprocity exists between Japan and the Philippines in admitting foreigners into the
practice of medicine.6
Respondent submitted a duly notarized English translation of the Medical Practitioners
Law of Japan duly authenticated by the Consul General of the Philippine Embassy to
Japan, Jesus I. Yabes;7 thus, he was allowed to take the Medical Board Examinations in
August 1992, which he subsequently passed.8
In spite of all these, the Board of Medicine (Board) of the PRC, in a letter dated March 8,
1993, denied respondent's request for a license to practice medicine in the Philippines on
the ground that the Board "believes that no genuine reciprocity can be found in the law of
Japan as there is no Filipino or foreigner who can possibly practice there."9
Respondent then filed a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus against the Board before the
RTC of Manila on June 24, 1993, which petition was amended on February 14, 1994 to
implead the PRC through its Chairman.10

WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENT
HAD ESTABLISHED THE EXISTENCE OF RECIPROCITY IN THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE BETWEEN THE
PHILIPPINES AND JAPAN.16

Petitioners claim that: respondent has not established by competent and conclusive
evidence that reciprocity in the practice of medicine exists between the Philippines and
Japan. While documents state that foreigners are allowed to practice medicine in Japan,
they do not similarly show that the conditions for the practice of medicine in said country
are practical and attainable by a foreign applicant. There is no reciprocity in this case, as
the requirements to practice medicine in Japan are practically impossible for a Filipino to
comply with. There are also ambiguities in the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan, which
were not clarified by respondent, i.e., what are the provisions of the School Educations
Laws, what are the criteria of the Minister of Health and Welfare of Japan in determining
whether the academic and technical capability of foreign medical graduates are the same
or better than graduates of medical schools in Japan, and who can actually qualify to take
the preparatory test for the National Medical Examination. Consul General Yabes also
stated that there had not been a single Filipino who was issued a license to practice
medicine by the Japanese Government. The publication showing that there were
foreigners practicing medicine in Japan, which respondent presented before the Court,
also did not specifically show that Filipinos were among those listed as practicing said
profession.17 Furthermore, under Professional Regulation Commission v. De Guzman,18
the power of the PRC and the Board to regulate and control the practice of medicine
includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice
medicine, which power is discretionary and not ministerial, hence, not compellable by a
writ of mandamus.19

In his petition before the RTC, respondent alleged that the Board and the PRC, in refusing
to issue in his favor a Certificate of Registration and/or license to practice medicine, had
acted arbitrarily, in clear contravention of the provision of Section 20 of Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 2382 (The Medical Act of 1959), depriving him of his legitimate right to practice his
profession in the Philippines to his great damage and prejudice.11

Petitioners pray that the CA Decision dated November 16, 2004 be reversed and set
aside, that a new one be rendered reinstating the Board Order dated March 8, 1993 which
disallows respondent to practice medicine in the Philippines, and that respondent's
petition before the trial court be dismissed for lack of merit.20

On October 19, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision finding that respondent had
adequately proved that the medical laws of Japan allow foreigners like Filipinos to be
granted license and be admitted into the practice of medicine under the principle of
reciprocity; and that the Board had a ministerial duty of issuing the Certificate of
Registration and license to respondent, as it was shown that he had substantially
complied with the requirements under the law.12 The RTC then ordered the Board to issue
in favor of respondent the corresponding Certificate of Registration and/or license to
practice medicine in the Philippines.13

In his Comment, respondent argues that: Articles 2 and 11 of the Medical Practitioners
Law of Japan and Section 9 of the Philippine Medical Act of 1959 show that reciprocity
exists between the Philippines and Japan concerning the practice of medicine. Said laws
clearly state that both countries allow foreigners to practice medicine in their respective
jurisdictions as long as the applicant meets the educational requirements, training or
residency in hospitals and pass the licensure examination given by either country. Consul
General Yabes in his letter dated January 28, 1992 stated that "the Japanese Government
allows a foreigner to practice medicine in Japan after complying with the local
requirements." The fact that there is no reported Filipino who has successfully penetrated

the medical practice in Japan does not mean that there is no reciprocity between the two
countries, since it does not follow that no Filipino will ever be granted a medical license by
the Japanese Government. It is not the essence of reciprocity that before a citizen of one
of the contracting countries can demand its application, it is necessary that the interested
citizens country has previously granted the same privilege to the citizens of the other
contracting country.21 Respondent further argues that Section 20 of the Medical Act of
195922 indicates the mandatory character of the statute and an imperative obligation on
the part of the Board inconsistent with the idea of discretion. Thus, a foreigner, just like a
Filipino citizen, who successfully passes the examination and has all the qualifications and
none of the disqualifications, is entitled as a matter of right to the issuance of a certificate
of registration or a physicians license, which right is enforceable by mandamus.23

1. He shall be a citizen of the Philippines or a citizen of any foreign country who has submitted
competent and conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs,
showing that his countrys existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice medicine under
the same rules and regulations governing citizens thereof;

xxxx
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 22330 also provides in Section (j) thereof that:

There is no question that a license to practice medicine is a privilege or franchise granted


by the government.26 It is a right that is earned through years of education and training,
and which requires that one must first secure a license from the state through
professional board examinations.27

j) The [Professional Regulation] Commission may, upon the recommendation of the Board concerned,
approve the registration of and authorize the issuance of a certificate of registration with or without
examination to a foreigner who is registered under the laws of his country: Provided, That the
requirement for the registration or licensing in said foreign state or country are substantially the
same as those required and contemplated by the laws of the Philippines and that the laws of such
foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession on the same
basis and grant the same privileges as the subject or citizens of such foreign state or country:
Provided, finally, That the applicant shall submit competent and conclusive documentary evidence,
confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, showing that his country's existing laws permit
citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession under the rules and regulations governing
citizens thereof. The Commission is also hereby authorized to prescribe additional requirements or
grant certain privileges to foreigners seeking registration in the Philippines if the same privileges are
granted to or some additional requirements are required of citizens of the Philippines in acquiring the
same certificates in his country;

Indeed,

xxxx

[T]he regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized
as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public. That the power
to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission
to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also well recognized. Thus,
legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine
first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid
exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical
educational requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a recognized
medical school for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state."28

As required by the said laws, respondent submitted a copy of the Medical Practitioners
Law of Japan, duly authenticated by the Consul General of the Embassy of the Philippines
in Japan, which provides in Articles 2 and 11, thus:

It must be stressed however that the power to regulate the exercise of a profession or
pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary,
despotic, or oppressive manner. A political body which regulates the exercise of a
particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant such privilege in accordance
with certain conditions. As the legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to
grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer, courts will generally strike down
license legislation that vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to
carry on some ordinarily lawful business, profession, or activity without prescribing
definite rules and conditions for the guidance of said officials in the exercise of their
power.29

1. Persons who finished regular medical courses at a university based on the School Education Laws
(December 26, 1947) and graduated from said university.

Petitioners filed a Reply24 and both parties filed their respective memoranda25 reiterating
their arguments.1avvphi1
The Court denies the petition for lack of merit.

R.A. No. 2382 otherwise known as the Medical Act of 1959 states in Section 9 thereof that:
Section 9. Candidates for Board Examinations.- Candidates for Board examinations shall have the
following qualifications:

Article 2. Anyone who wants to be medical practitioner must pass the national examination for
medical practitioner and get license from the Minister of Health and Welfare.

xxxx
Article 11. No one can take the National Medical Examination except persons who conform to one of
the following items:

2. Persons who passed the preparatory test for the National Medical Examination and practiced
clinics and public sanitation more than one year after passing the said test.
3. Persons who graduated from a foreign medical school or acquired medical practitioner license in a
foreign country, and also are recognized to have the same or more academic ability and techniques
as persons stated in item 1 and item 2 of this article.31

Petitioners argue that while the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan allows foreigners to
practice medicine therein, said document does not show that conditions for the practice of
medicine in said country are practical and attainable by a foreign applicant; and since the
requirements are practically impossible for a Filipino to comply with, there is no reciprocity
between the two countries, hence, respondent may not be granted license to practice
medicine in the Philippines.

The Court does not agree.


R.A. No. 2382, which provides who may be candidates for the medical board
examinations, merely requires a foreign citizen to submit competent and conclusive
documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), showing
that his countrys existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice medicine
under the same rules and regulations governing citizens thereof.
Section (j) of P.D. No. 223 also defines the extent of PRC's power to grant licenses, i.e., it
may, upon recommendation of the board, approve the registration and authorize the
issuance of a certificate of registration with or without examination to a foreigner who is
registered under the laws of his country, provided the following conditions are met: (1)
that the requirement for the registration or licensing in said foreign state or country are
substantially the same as those required and contemplated by the laws of the Philippines;
(2) that the laws of such foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines to
practice the profession on the same basis and grant the same privileges as the subject or
citizens of such foreign state or country; and (3) that the applicant shall submit competent
and conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by the DFA, showing that his country's
existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession under the rules
and regulations governing citizens thereof.
The said provision further states that the PRC is authorized to prescribe additional
requirements or grant certain privileges to foreigners seeking registration in the
Philippines if the same privileges are granted to or some additional requirements are
required of citizens of the Philippines in acquiring the same certificates in his country.
Nowhere in said statutes is it stated that the foreign applicant must show that the
conditions for the practice of medicine in said country are practical and attainable by
Filipinos. Neither is it stated that it must first be proven that a Filipino has been granted
license and allowed to practice his profession in said country before a foreign applicant
may be given license to practice in the Philippines. Indeed, the phrase used in both R.A.
No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223 is that:
[T]he applicant shall submit] competent and conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed
by the Department of Foreign Affairs, showing that his country's existing laws permit
citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession [of medicine] under the [same] rules
and regulations governing citizens thereof. x x x (Emphasis supplied)
It is enough that the laws in the foreign country permit a Filipino to get license and
practice therein. Requiring respondent to prove first that a Filipino has already been
granted license and is actually practicing therein unduly expands the requirements
provided for under R.A. No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223.
While it is true that respondent failed to give details as to the conditions stated in the
Medical Practitioners Law of Japan -- i.e., the provisions of the School Educations Laws, the
criteria of the Minister of Health and Welfare of Japan in determining whether the
academic and technical capability of foreign medical graduates are the same as or better
than that of graduates of medical schools in Japan, and who can actually qualify to take
the preparatory test for the National Medical Examination respondent, however,
presented proof that foreigners are actually practicing in Japan and that Filipinos are not
precluded from getting a license to practice there.

Respondent presented before the trial court a Japanese Government publication,


Physician-Dentist-Pharmaceutist Survey, showing that there are a number of foreign
physicians practicing medicine in Japan.32 He also presented a letter dated January 28,
1992 from Consul General Yabes,33 which states:
Sir:
With reference to your letter dated 12 January 1993, concerning your request for a Certificate of
Confirmation for the purpose of establishing a reciprocity with Japan in the practice of medical
profession relative to the case of Mr. Yasuyuki Ota, a Japanese national, the Embassy wishes to inform
you that inquiries from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare as well
as Bureau of Immigration yielded the following information:
1. They are not aware of a Filipino physician who was granted a license by the Japanese Government
to practice medicine in Japan;
2. However, the Japanese Government allows a foreigner to practice medicine in Japan after
complying with the local requirements such as holding a valid visa for the purpose of taking the
medical board exam, checking the applicant's qualifications to take the examination, taking the
national board examination in Japanese and filing an application for the issuance of the medical
license.
Accordingly, the Embassy is not aware of a single Filipino physician who was issued by the Japanese
Government a license to practice medicine, because it is extremely difficult to pass the medical board
examination in the Japanese language. Filipino doctors here are only allowed to work in Japanese
hospitals as trainees under the supervision of a Japanese doctor. On certain occasions, they are
allowed to show their medical skills during seminars for demonstration purposes only. (Emphasis
supplied)
Very truly yours,
Jesus I. Yabes
Minister Counsellor &
Consul General

From said letter, one can see that the Japanese Government allows foreigners to practice
medicine therein provided that the local requirements are complied with, and that it is not
the impossibility or the prohibition against Filipinos that would account for the absence of
Filipino physicians holding licenses and practicing medicine in Japan, but the difficulty of
passing the board examination in the Japanese language. Granting that there is still no
Filipino who has been given license to practice medicine in Japan, it does not mean that
no Filipino will ever be able to be given one.
Petitioners next argue that as held in De Guzman, its power to issue licenses is
discretionary, hence, not compellable by mandamus.
The Court finds that the factual circumstances of De Guzman are different from those of
the case at bar; hence, the principle applied therein should be viewed differently in this
case. In De Guzman, there were doubts about the integrity and validity of the test results
of the examinees from a particular school which garnered unusually high scores in the two
most difficult subjects. Said doubts called for serious inquiry concerning the applicants
satisfactory compliance with the Board requirements.34 And as there was no definite
showing that the requirements and conditions to be granted license to practice medicine

had been satisfactorily met, the Court held that the writ of mandamus may not be granted
to secure said privilege without thwarting the legislative will.35
Indeed, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the applicant must show that he
possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. It must also appear that
he has fully complied with all the conditions and requirements imposed by the law and the
licensing authority.36
In De Guzman itself, the Court explained that:
A careful reading of Section 2037 of the Medical Act of 1959 discloses that the law uses
the word "shall" with respect to the issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, the
petitioners [PRC] "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to those who have
satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Board." In statutory construction the
term "shall" is a word of command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an
examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of his physician's license, the Board is
obliged to administer to him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section
20 and par. (1) of Section 22 of the Medical Act of 1959.38

In this case, there is no doubt as to the competence and qualifications of respondent. He


finished his medical degree from Bicol Christian College of Medicine. He completed a oneyear post graduate internship training at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, a
government hospital. Then he passed the Medical Board Examinations which was given on
August 8, 1992 with a general average of 81.83, with scores higher than 80 in 9 of the 12
subjects.
In fine, the only matter being questioned by petitioners is the alleged failure of
respondent to prove that there is reciprocity between the laws of Japan and the
Philippines in admitting foreigners into the practice of medicine. Respondent has
satisfactorily complied with the said requirement and the CA has not committed any
reversible error in rendering its Decision dated November 16, 2004 and Resolution dated
October 19, 2003.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.