G.R. No. L-42571-72
July 25, 1983
VICENTE DE LA CRUZ, RENATO ALIPIO, JOSE TORRES III, LEONCIO CORPUZ, TERESITA CALOT, ROSALIA FERNANDEZ, ELIZABETH VELASCO, NANETTE VILLANUEVA, HONORATO BUENAVENTURA, RUBEN DE CASTRO, VICENTE ROXAS, RICARDO DAMIAN, DOMDINO ROMDINA, ANGELINA OBLIGACION, CONRADO GREGORIO, TEODORO REYES, LYDIA ATRACTIVO, NAPOLEON MENDOZA, PERFECTO GUMATAY, ANDRES SABANGAN, ROSITA DURAN, SOCORRO BERNARDEZ, and PEDRO GABRIEL, petitioners,
THE HONORABLE EDGARDO L. PARAS, MATIAS RAMIREZ as the Municipal Mayor, MARIO MENDOZA as the Municipal Vice-Mayor, and THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF BOCAUE, BULACAN, respondents.
Federico N. Alday for petitioners.Dakila F. Castro for respondents.
The Local Government of Bocaue, Bulacan, a municipal corporation, enacted Ordinance No. 84 which sought to prohibit the operation of night clubs and cabarets including the employment of hostesses or hospitality girls in such night clubs. The Petitioners filed with the Court of First Instance a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction alleging that:
- Ordinance No. 84 is null and void as a municipality has no authority to prohibit a lawful business, occupation, or calling.
- It violated the petitioners’ right to due process and equal protection of the law as their licenses were previously given and permits were withdrawn without a judicial hearing, and
- Under Presidential Decree No. 189, as amended, the power to license and regulate tourist-oriented business including night clubs has been transferred to the Department of Tourism.
The Municipality answered that:
- That the Municipal Council is authorized by law not only to regulate but to prohibit the establishment, maintenance, and operation of night clubs invoking Section 2243 of the RAC, CA 601, Republic Acts Nos. 938, 978 and 1224
- Ordinance No. 84 is not violative of petitioners’ right to due process and the equal protection of the law, since property rights are subordinate to public interests.
- That Presidential Decree No. 189, as amended, did not deprive Municipal Councils of their jurisdiction to regulate or prohibit night clubs
The Court of First Instance dismissed the case and upheld the constitutionality of Ordinance No. 84.
Whether or not Ordinance No. 84 as enacted is a valid exercise of police power by the local government unit.
Yes. Police power is granted to municipal corporations in general terms as follows: “General power of council to enact ordinances and make regulations. – The municipal council shall enact such ordinances and make such regulations, not repugnant to law, as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred upon it by law and such as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein.”
The general welfare clause has two branches: One branch attaches itself to the main trunk of municipal authority, and relates to such ordinances and regulations as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred upon the municipal council by law. With this class we are not here directly concerned. The second branch of the clause is much more independent of the specific functions of the council which are enumerated by law. It authorizes such ordinances as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein.’ It is a general rule that ordinances passed by virtue of the implied power found in the general welfare clause must be reasonable, consonant with the general powers and purposes of the corporation, and not inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.” If night clubs were merely then regulated and not prohibited, certainly the assailed ordinance would pass the test of validity. In the two leading cases above set forth, this Court had stressed reasonableness, consonant with the general powers and purposes of municipal corporations, as well as consistency with the laws or policy of the State. It cannot be said that such a sweeping exercise of a lawmaking power by Bocaue could qualify under the term reasonable.
It is clear that in the guise of a police regulation, there was in this instance a clear invasion of personal or property rights, personal in the case of those individuals desirous of patronizing those night clubs and property in terms of the investments made and salaries to be earned by those therein employed.
In the present case, it is clear that municipal corporations cannot prohibit the operation of night clubs. They may be regulated, but not prevented from carrying on their business.