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Assembly and petition-digests

PRIMICIAS VS. FUGOSO [L-18000. JAN enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor to
27, 1948] the rights of the community or society. The
Court holds that there can be 2 interpretations
Doctrine: of Sec. 1119: 1) the Mayor of the City of Manila
Clear and Present Danger Test, Freedom of is vested with unregulated discretion to grant
Assembly and Expression or refuse, to grant permit for the holding of a
lawful assembly or meeting, parade, or
FACTS: procession in the streets and other public
This case is an action of mandamus instituted places of the City of Manila; and 2) The right of
by petitioner Cipriano Primicias, manager of the Mayor is subject to reasonable discretion to
the Coalesced Minority Parties, against determine or specify the streets or public
respondent Manila City Mayor, Valeriano places to be used with the view to prevent
Fugoso, to compel the latter to issue a permit confusion by overlapping, to secure convenient
for the holding of a public meeting at the Plaza use of the streets and public places by others,
Miranda on Nov 16, 1947. The petitioner and to provide adequate and proper policing to
requested for a permit to hold a peaceful public minimize the risk of disorder. The court favored
meeting. However, the respondent refused to the second construction since the first
issue such permit because he found that there construction is tantamount to authorizing the
is a reasonable ground to believe, basing upon Mayor to prohibit the use of the streets. Under
previous utterances and upon the fact that our democratic system of government no such
passions, especially on the part of the losing unlimited power may be validly granted to any
groups, remains bitter and high, that similar officer of the government, except perhaps in
speeches will be delivered tending to cases of national emergency. It is to be noted
undermine the faith and confidence of the that the permit to be issued is for the use of
people in their government, and in the duly public places and not for the assembly itself.
peace and a disruption of public order. The Court holds that the assembly is lawful and
Respondent based his refusal to the Revised thus cannot be struck down. Fear of serious
Ordinances of 1927 prohibiting as an offense injury cannot alone justifies suppression of free
against public peace, and penalizes as a speech and assembly. It is the function of
misdemeanor, "any act, in any public place, speech to free men from the bondage of
meeting, or procession, tending to disturb the irrational fears. To justify suppression of free
peace or excite a riot; or collect with other speech there must be reasonable ground to
persons in a body or crowd for any unlawful fear that serious evil will result if free speech is
purpose; or disturb or disquiet any practiced. There must be reasonable ground to
congregation engaged in any lawful assembly." believe that the danger apprehended is
Included herein is Sec. 1119, Free use of Public imminent. There must be reasonable ground to
Place. believe that the evil to be prevented is a
serious one . The fact that speech is likely to
ISSUE: result in some violence or in destruction of
Whether or not the Mayor has the right to property is not enough to justify its
refuse to issue permit hence violating freedom suppression. There must be the probability of
of assembly. serious injury to the state.


The answer is negative. Supreme Court states
that the freedom of speech, and to peacefully MALABANAN VS. RAMENTO [129 SCRA
assemble and petition the government for 359; G.R. NO.62270; 21 MAY 1984]
redress of grievances, are fundamental
personal rights of thepeople recognized and Facts: Petitioners were officers of the Supreme
guaranteed by the constitution. However, Student Council of respondent University. They
these rights are not absolute. They can be sought and were granted by the school
regulated under the states police power that authorities a permit to hold a meeting from
they should not be injurious to the equal 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M, on August 27, 1982.

Assembly and petition-digests

Pursuant to such permit, along with other The rights to peaceable assembly and free
students, they held a general assembly at the speech are guaranteed students of educational
Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science institutions. Necessarily, their exercise to
basketball court (VMAS), the place indicated in discuss matters affecting their welfare or
such permit, not in the basketball court as involving public interest is not to be subjected
therein stated but at the second floor lobby. At to previous restraint or subsequent punishment
such gathering they manifested in vehement unless there be a showing of a clear and
and vigorous language their opposition to the present danger to a substantive evil that the
proposed merger of the Institute of Animal state, has a right to present. As a corollary, the
Science with the Institute of Agriculture. The utmost leeway and scope is accorded the
same day, they marched toward the Life content of the placards displayed or utterances
Science Building and continued their rally. It made. The peaceable character of an assembly
was outside the area covered by their permit. could be lost, however, by an advocacy of
Even they rallied beyond the period allowed. disorder under the name of dissent, whatever
They were asked to explain on the same day grievances that may be aired being susceptible
why they should not be held liable for holding to correction through the ways of the law. If the
an illegal assembly. Then on September 9, assembly is to be held in school premises,
1982, they were informed that they were under permit must be sought from its school
preventive suspension for their failure to authorities, who are devoid of the power to
explain the holding of an illegal assembly. The deny such request arbitrarily or unreasonably.
validity thereof was challenged by petitioners In granting such permit, there may be
both before the Court of First Instance of Rizal conditions as to the time and place of the
against private respondents and before the assembly to avoid disruption of classes or
Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. stoppage of work of the non-academic
Respondent Ramento found petitioners guilty personnel. Even if, however, there be violations
of the charge of illegal assembly which was of its terms, the penalty incurred should not be
characterized by the violation of the permit disproportionate to the offense.
granted resulting in the disturbance of classes
and oral defamation. The penalty was
suspension for one academic year. Hence this PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS
G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973
Issue: Whether on the facts as disclosed
resulting in the disciplinary action and the FACTS:
penalty imposed, there was an infringement of Philippine Blooming Mills Employees
the right to peaceable assembly and its Organization (PBMEO) decided to stage a mass
cognate right of free speech. demonstration at Malacaang in protest
against alleged abuses of the Pasig police and
that they informed the Philippine Blooming
Mills Inc. (Company) of their proposed
Held: Yes. Student leaders are likely to be demonstration.
assertive and dogmatic. They would be The company called a meeting with the officers
ineffective if during a rally they speak in the of PBMEO after learning the about the planned
guarded and judicious language of the mass. During the meeting, the planned
academe. But with the activity taking place in demonstration was confirmed by the union,
the school premises and during the daytime, explaining further that the demonstration has
nothing to do with the Company because the
no clear and present danger of public disorder
union has no quarrel or dispute with
is discernible. This is without prejudice to the Management. It was stressed out that the
taking of disciplinary action for conduct, demonstration was not a strike against the
"materially disrupts classwork or involves company but was in fact an exercise of the
substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of laborers inalienable constitutional right to
others." freedom of expression, freedom of speech and
freedom for petition for redress of grievances.

Assembly and petition-digests

Company informed PBMEO that the these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable,
demonstration is an inalienable right of the as well as supremely precious in our society"
union guaranteed by the Constitution but and the "threat of sanctions may deter
emphasized, however, that any demonstration their exercise almost as potently as the
for that matter should not unduly prejudice the actual application of sanctions," they "need
normal operation of the Company. For which breathing space to survive," permitting
reason, the Company warned the PBMEO government regulation only "with narrow
representatives that workers who without specificity." Property and property rights can be
previous leave of absence approved by the lost thru prescription; but human rights are
Company, particularly , the officers present imprescriptible. If human rights are
who are the organizers of the demonstration, extinguished by the passage of time,
who shall fail to report for work shall be then the Bill of Rights is a useless attempt to
dismissed. limit the power of government and ceases to
be an efficacious shield against the tyranny
Another meeting was convoked Company. It of officials, of majorities, of the influential and
reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO powerful, and of oligarchs political, economic
representatives that while all workers may join or otherwise.
the Malacaang demonstration, those from the
1st and regular shifts should not absent In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of
themselves to participate, otherwise, they free expression and of assembly occupy
would be dismissed. Since it was too late to a preferred position as they are essential
cancel the plan, the rally took place and the to the preservation and vitality of our
officers of the PBMEO were eventually civil and political institutions; and such
dismissed for a violation of the No Strike and priority "gives these liberties the sanctity and
No Lockout clause of their Collective the sanction not permitting dubious
Bargaining intrusions."
The lower court decided in favor of the
company and the officers of the PBMEO were The freedoms of speech and of the press as
found guilty of bargaining in bad faith. Their well as of peaceful assembly and of petition
motion for reconsideration was subsequently for redress of grievances are absolute when
denied by the Court of Industrial Relations for directed against public officials or "when
being filed two days late. exercised in relation to our right to choose the
men and women by whom we shall be
ISSUES: governed.
1. Whether the workers who joined the
strike violated the CBA 2. Company is the one guilty of unfair
2. Whether the company is guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on its part
labor practice for dismissing its employees to permit all its employees and workers to join
the mass demonstration against alleged police
RULING: abuses and the subsequent separation of the
eight (8) workers from the service constituted
1. No. The rights of free expression, free an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of
assembly and petition, are not only civil rights expression, freedom of assembly and freedom
but also political rights essential to man's petition for redress of grievances, the company
enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to committed an unfair labor practice defined in
his full and complete fulfillment. Thru these Section 4(a-1) in relation to Section 3 of
freedoms the citizens can participate not Republic Act No. 875, otherwise known as the
merely in the periodic establishment of the Industrial Peace Act. Section 3 of Republic Act
government through their suffrage but also in No. 8 guarantees to the employees the right
the administration of public affairs as well as in "to engage in concert activities for ... mutual
the discipline of abusive public officers. The aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards
citizen is accorded these rights so that he can as an unfair labor practice for an employer
appeal to the appropriate governmental interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in
officers or agencies for redress and protection the exercise their rights guaranteed in Section
as well as for the imposition of the lawful Three."
sanctions on erring public officers and
G.R. NO. 169838; 25 APR 2006
While the Bill of Rights also protects property
rights, the primacy of human rights over
property rights is recognized. Because Facts

Assembly and petition-digests

and petition for redress of grievances because

Rallies of September 20, October 4, 5 and 6, it puts a condition for the valid exercise of that
2005 is at issue. BAYANs rally was violently right. It also characterizes public assemblies
dispersed. 26 petitioners were injured, arrested without a permit as illegal and penalizes them
and detained when a peaceful mass action and allows their dispersal. Thus, its provisions
they was preempted and violently dispersed by are not mere regulations but are actually
the police. KMU asserts that the right to prohibitions. Regarding the CPR policy, it is
peaceful assembly, are affected by Batas void for being an ultra vires act that alters the
Pambansa No. 880 and the policy of standard of maximum tolerance set forth in B.P.
Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) being No. 880, aside from being void for being vague
followed to implement it. KMU, et al., claim that and for lack of publication.
on October 4, 2005, a rally KMU co-sponsored
was to be conducted at the Mendiola bridge KMU, et al., argue that the Constitution sets no
but police blocked them along C.M. Recto and limits on the right to assembly and therefore
Lepanto Streets and forcibly dispersed them, B.P. No. 880 cannot put the prior requirement
causing injuries to several of their members. of securing a permit. And even assuming that
They further allege that on October 6, 2005, a the legislature can set limits to this right, the
multi-sectoral rally which KMU also co- limits provided are unreasonable: First,
sponsored was scheduled to proceed along allowing the Mayor to deny the permit on clear
Espaa Avenue in front of the UST and going and convincingevidence of a clear and present
towards Mendiola bridge. Police officers danger is too comprehensive. Second, the five-
blocked them along Morayta Street and day requirement to apply for a permit is too
prevented them from proceeding further. They long as certain events require instant public
were then forcibly dispersed, causing injuries assembly, otherwise interest on the issue
on one of them. Three other rallyists were would possibly wane.As to the CPR policy, they
arrested. argue that it is preemptive, that the
government takes action even before the
All petitioners assail Batas Pambansa No. 880 rallyists can perform their act, and that no law,
The Public Assembly Act of 1985, some of them ordinance or executive order supports the
in toto and others only Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, policy. Furthermore, it contravenes the
13(a), and 14(a), as well as the policy of CPR. maximum tolerance policy of B.P. No. 880 and
They seek to stop violent dispersals of rallies violates the Constitution as it causes a chilling
under the no permit, no rally policy and the effect on the exercise by the people of the right
CPR policy announced on Sept. 21, 2005. to peaceably assemble.

Petitioners Bayan, et al., contend that BP 880 is Respondents argued that petitioners have no
clearly a violation ofthe Constitution and the standing. BP 880 entails traffic re-routing to
International Covenant on Civil and Political prevent grave public inconvenience and
Rights and other human rights treaties of which serious or undue interference in the free flow
the Philippines is a signatory. of commerce and trade. It is content-neutral
regulation of the time, place and manner of
They argue that B.P. No. 880 requires a permit holding public assemblies. According to Atienza
before one can stage a public assembly RA. 7160 gives the Mayor power to deny a
regardless of the presence or absence of a permit independently of B.P. No. 880. and that
clear and present danger. It also curtails the the permit is for the use of a public place and
choice of venue and is thus repugnant to the not for the exercise of rights; and that B.P. No.
freedom of expression clause as the time and 880 is not a content-based regulation because
place of a public assembly form part of the it covers all rallies.
message for which the expression is sought.
Petitioners Jess del Prado, et al., in turn, argue Whether or Not BP 880 and the CPR Policy
that B.P. No. 880 is unconstitutional as it is a unconstitutional.
curtailment of the right to peacefully assemble

Assembly and petition-digests

must be struck down as a darkness that

Held shrouds freedom. It merely confuses our people
No question as to standing. Their right as and is used by some police agents to
citizens to engage in peaceful assembly justify abuses. Insofar as it would purport to
and exercise the right of petition, as differ from or be in lieu of maximum tolerance,
guaranteed by the Constitution, is directly this was declared null and void.
affected by B.P. No. 880. B.P. 880 is not an
absolute ban of public assemblies but a The Secretary of the Interior and Local
restriction that simply regulates the time, place Governments, are DIRECTED to take all
and manner of the assemblies. It refers to all necessary steps for the immediate compliance
kinds of public assemblies that would use with Section 15 of Batas Pambansa No. 880
public places. The reference to lawful cause through the establishment or designation of at
does not make it content-based because least one suitable freedom park or plaza in
assemblies really have to be for lawful causes, every city and municipality of the country. After
otherwise they would not be peaceable and thirty (30) days from the finality of this
entitled to protection. Maximum tolerance1 is Decision, subject to the giving of advance
for the protection and benefit of all rallyists and notices, no prior permit shall be required
is independent of the content of the to exercise the right to peaceably assemble
expressions in the rally. There is, likewise, no and petition in the public parks or plazas of a
priorrestraint, since the content of the speech city or municipality that has not yet complied
is not relevant to the regulation. with Section 15 of the law.

The so-called calibrated preemptive response

policy has no place in our legal firmament and