Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PASEI vs. Drilon, 163 SCRA 386

Facts: The petitioner, Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI, for short), a firm "engaged principally in the recruitment of Filipino workers, male and female, for overseas placement," challenges the Constitutional validity of Department Order No. 1, Series of 1988, of the Department of Labor and Employment, in the character of "GUIDELINES GOVERNING THE TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEPLOYMENT OF FILIPINO DOMESTIC AND HOUSEHOLD WORKERS," in this petition for certiorari and prohibition. The measure is assailed for "discrimination against males or females," that it 'does not apply to all Filipino workers but only to domestic helpers and females with similar skills," and that it is violative of the right to travel. It was likewise held to be an invalid exercise of the lawmaking power, police power being legislative, and not executive, in character.

In its supplement to the petition, PASEI invokes Section 3, of Article XIII, of the Constitution, providing for worker participation "in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law." In addition, it was contended that Department Order No. 1 was passed in the absence of prior consultations. It was claimed to be in violation of the Charter's non-impairment clause, in addition to the "great and irreparable injury" that PASEI members face should the Order be further enforced.

The Solicitor General, on behalf of the respondent Secretary of Labor and Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, invokes the police power of the Philippine State.

Issue: Whether or not deployment ban for female domestic helpers is valid under our Constitution.

Held: Yes. It is a valid exercise of police power. The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has been defined as the "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare." As defined, it consists of (1) an imposition of restraint upon liberty or property, (2) in order to foster the common good. It is not capable of an exact definition but has been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all-comprehensive embrace.

"Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits."

It constitutes an implied limitation on the Bill of Rights. According to Fernando, it is "rooted in the conception that men in organizing the state and imposing upon its government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures calculated to ensure communal peace, safety, good order, and welfare." Significantly, the Bill of Rights itself does not purport to be an absolute guaranty of individual rights and liberties "Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one's will." It is subject to the far more overriding demands and requirements of the greater number.

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