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Apr 27, 2008

U.S. v. Pompeya

G.R. No. L-10255, August 6, 1915

  • police power of the state
  • "general welfare" clause

FACTS:

This case is regarding the complaint filed by the prosecuting attorney of the Province of Iloilo, charging Silvestre Pompeya with violation of the municipal ordinance of Iloilo for willfully, illegally, and criminally and without justifiable motive failing to render service on patrol duty, required under said municipal ordinance.

Upon arraignment, Pompeya presented a demurrer, stating that the acts charged in the complaint do not constitute a crime and that the municipal ordinance is unconstitutional for being repugnant to the Organic Act of the Philippines, which guarantees the liberty of the citizens.

The trial judge sustained said demurrer and ordered the dismissal of the complaint.

Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:

W/N the facts stated in the complaint are sufficient to show a cause of action under the said law
W/N said law is in violation of the provisions of the Philippine Bill in depriving citizens of their rights therein guaranteed

HELD:

Is the assailed municipal ordinance a violation of the Philippine Bill?

The municipal ordinance was enacted pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 1309, the specific purpose of which is to require each able-bodied male resident of the municipality, between the ages of 18 and 55, as well as each householder when so required by the president, to assist in the maintenance of peace and good order in the community, by apprehending ladrones, etc., as well as by giving information of the existence of such persons in the locality. The amendment contains a punishment for those who may be called upon for such service, and who refuse to render the same.

The question asked by the Supreme Court is whether there is anything in the law, organic or otherwise, in force in the Philippine Islands, which prohibits the central Government, or any governmental entity connected therewith, from adopting or enacting rules and regulations for the maintenance of peace and good government?

In answering this, the Supreme Court cited the tribal relations of the primitive man, the feudal system, the days of the "hundreds" -- all of which support the idea of an ancient obligation of the individual to assist in the protection of the peace and good order of his community.

The Supreme Court held that the power exercised under the provisions of Act No. 1309 falls within the police power of the state and that the state was fully authorized and justified in conferring the same upon the municipalities of the Philippine Islands and that, therefore, the provisions of the said Act are constitutional and not in violation nor in derogation of the rights of the persons affected thereby.

Is there a cause of action?

The complain is unable to show (a) that the defendant was a male citizen of the municipality; (b) that he was an able-bodied citizen; (c) that he was not under 18 years of age nor over 55; nor (d) that conditions existed which justified the president of the municipality in calling upon him for the services mentioned in the law.

"For all of the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed, with costs. So ordered."