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Apr 18, 2008

G.R. No. 118127, April 12, 2005

  • Due Process
  • Equal Protection
  • Requisites of a Valid Exercise of Police Power by LGU


The private respondent, Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTOC) is a corporation engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels, and lodgin houses. It built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.

March 30, 1993 - City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim approved an ordinance enacted which prohibited certain forms of amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in entertainment and which tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community. The Ordinance also provided that in case of violation and conviction, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked permanently.

June 28, 1993 - MTOC filed a Petition with the lower court, praying that the Ordinance, insofar as it included motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional for several reasons but mainly because it is not a valid exercise of police power and it constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law.

Judge Laguio ruled for the petitioners. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court.


W/N the City of Manila validly exercised police power
W/N there was a denial of equal protection under the law


The Ordinance infringes the due process clause since the requisites for a valid exercise of police power are not met. The prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per se protect and promote the social and moral welfare of the community; it will not in itself eradicate the alluded social ills fo prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the spread of sexual diseases in Manila. It is baseless and insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns. These are lawful pursuits which are not per se offensive to the moral welfare of the community.

Sexual immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent places.... Every house, building, park, curb, street, or even vehicles for that matter will not be exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no "pure" places where there are impure men.

The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality. Try as the Ordinance may to shape morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building or establishment; it is in the hearts of men.

The Ordinance violates equal protection clause and is repugnant to general laws; it is ultra vires. The Local Government Code merely empowers local government units to regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated in Section 1 thereof.

All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights adn impairs personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to be forgotten, the City Council unde the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is therefore ultra vires null and void.


ryatchi said...

this is a good case digest...
thanks for sharing ;)

Anonymous said...

very helpful because the topic is given...tnx

Anonymous said...

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