Labor Standards

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  Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaEN BANC G.R. No. 81958 June 30, 1988PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. FRANKLIN . !RILON # Se$%e& %' o( L )o% n* E+-o'+en&, n* TOAS !. ACHACOSO, # A*+n#&% &o% o( &/e P/-ne Oe%#e # E+-o'+en& A*+n#&% &on, respondents.   Gutierrez & Alo Law Offices for petitioner. SARIENTO, J.: The petitioner, Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI, for short), a firm engaged principally in the recritment of !ilipino or#ers, male and female, for overseas placement, 1   challenges the $onstittional validity of %epartment &rder 'o. , Series of **, of the %epartment of +aor and Employment, in the character of -I%E+I'ES -&/E0'I'- T1E TE2P&0A03 SSPE'SI&' &! %EP+&32E'T &! !I+IPI'& %&2ESTI$ A'% 1&SE1&+% 4&05E0S, in this petition for certiorari and prohiition. Specifically, the measre is assailed for discrimination against males or females6    that it does not apply to all !ilipino or#ers t only to domestic helpers and females ith similar s#ills6 3   and that it is violative of the right to travel. It is held li#eise to e an invalid exercise of the lama#ing poer, police poer eing legislative, and not exective, in character. In its spplement to the petition, PASEI invo#es Section 7, of Article 8III, of the $onstittion, providing for or#er participation in policy and decision9ma#ing processes affecting their rights and enefits as may e provided y la. 2   %epartment &rder 'o. , it is contended, as passed in the asence of prior consltations. It is claimed, finally, to e in violation of the $harter:s non9impairment clase, in addition to the great and irreparale in;ry that PASEI memers face shold the &rder e frther enforced. &n 2ay <=, **, the Solicitor -eneral, on ehalf of the respondents Secretary of +aor and Administrator of the Philippine &verseas Employment Administration, filed a $omment informing the $ort that on 2arch *, **, the respondent +aor Secretary lifted the deployment an in the states of Ira>, ?ordan, @atar, $anada, 1ong#ong, nited States, Italy, 'oray, Astria, and Siterland.   In smitting the validity of the challenged gidelines, the Solicitor -eneral invo#es the police poer of the Philippine State. It is admitted that %epartment &rder 'o.  is in the natre of a police poer measre. The only >estion is hether or not it is valid nder the $onstittion. The concept of police poer is ell9estalished in this ;risdiction. It has een defined as the state athority to enact legislation that may interfere ith personal lierty or property in order to promote the general elfare. 5    As defined, it consists of () an imposition of restraint pon lierty or property, (<) in order to foster the common good. It is not capale of an exact definition t has een, prposely, veiled in general terms to nderscore its all9comprehensive emrace. Its scope, ever9expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the ftre here it cold e done, provides enogh room for an efficient and flexile response to conditions and circmstances ths assring the greatest enefits. 4 It finds no specific $onstittional grant for the plain reason that it does not oe its srcin to the $harter. Along ith the taxing poer and eminent domain, it is inorn in the very fact of statehood and sovereignty. It is a fndamental attrite of government that has enaled it to perform the most vital fnctions of governance. 2arshall, to hom the expression has een credited,    refers to it sccinctly as the plenary poer of the State to govern its citiens. 8    The police poer of the State ... is a poer coextensive ith self9 protection, and it is not inaptly termed the la of overhelming necessity. It may e said to e that inherent and plenary poer in the State hich enales it to prohiit all things hrtfl to the comfort, safety, and elfare of society. 9 It constittes an implied limitation on the Bill of 0ights. According to !ernando, it is rooted in the conception that men in organiing the state and imposing pon its government limitations to safegard constittional rights did not intend therey to enale an individal citien or a grop of citiens to ostrct nreasonaly the enactment of sch saltary measres calclated to ensre commnal peace, safety, good order, and elfare. 10   Significantly, the Bill of 0ights itself does not prport to e an asolte garanty of individal rights and lierties Even lierty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not nrestricted license to act according to one:s ill. 11   It is s;ect to the far more overriding demands and re>irements of the greater nmer. 'otithstanding its extensive seep, police poer is not ithot its on limitations. !or all its aesome conse>ences, it may not e exercised aritrarily or nreasonaly. &therise, and in that event, it defeats the prpose for hich it is exercised, that is, to advance the plic good. Ths, hen the poer is sed to frther private interests at the expense of the citienry, there is a clear misse of the poer. 1  In the light of the foregoing, the petition mst e dismissed.  As a general rle, official acts en;oy a presmed vahdity. 13   In the asence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, the presmption logically stands. The petitioner has shon no satisfactory reason hy the contested measre shold e nllified. There is no >estion that %epartment &rder 'o.  applies only to female contract or#ers, 12   t it does not therey ma#e an nde discriminationeteen the sexes. It is ell9settled that e>ality efore the la nder the $onstittion 15   does not import a perfect Identity of rights among all men and omen. It admits of classifications, provided that () sch classifications rest on sstantial distinctions6 (<) they are germane to the prposes of the la6 (7) they are not confined to existing conditions6 and (C) they apply e>ally to all memers of the same class. 14  The $ort is satisfied that the classification made9the preference for female or#ers D rests on sstantial distinctions.  As a matter of ;dicial notice, the $ort is ell aare of the nhappy plight that has efallen or female laor force aroad, especially domestic servants, amid exploitative or#ing conditions mar#ed y, in not a fe cases, physical and personal ase. The sordid tales of maltreatment sffered y migrant !ilipina or#ers, even rape and varios forms of tortre, confirmed y testimonies of retrning or#ers, are compelling motives for rgent -overnment action. As precisely the careta#er of $onstittional rights, the $ort is called pon to protect victims of exploitation. In flfilling that dty, the $ort sstains the -overnment:s efforts. The same, hoever, cannot e said of or male or#ers. In the first place, there is no evidence that, except perhaps for isolated instances, or men aroad have een afflicted ith an Identical predicament. The petitioner has proffered no argment that the -overnment shold act similarly ith respect to male or#ers. The $ort, of corse, is not impressing some male chavinistic notion that men are sperior to omen. 4hat the $ort is saying is that it as largely a matter of evidence (that omen domestic or#ers are eing ill9treated aroad in massive instances) and not pon some fancifl or aritrary yardstic# that the -overnment acted in this case. It is evidence capale indeed of n>estionale demonstration and evidence this $ort accepts. The $ort cannot, hoever, say the same thing as far as men are concerned. There is simply no evidence to ;stify sch an inference. Sffice it to state, then, that insofar as classifications are concerned, this $ort is content that distinctions are orne y the evidence. %iscrimination in this case is ;stified.  As e have frthermore indicated, exective determinations are generally final on the $ort. nder a replican regime, itis the exective ranch that enforces policy. !or their part, the corts decide, in the proper cases, hether that policy, or the manner y hich it is implemented, agrees ith the $onstittion or the las, t it is not for them to >estion its isdom. As a co9e>al ody, the ;diciary has great respect for determinations of the $hief Exective or his salterns, especially hen the legislatre itself has specifically given them enogh room on ho the la shold e effectively enforced. In the case at ar, there is no gainsaying the fact, and the $ort ill deal ith this at greater length shortly, that %epartment &rder 'o.  implements the rle9ma#ing poers granted y the +aor $ode. Bt hat shold e noted is the fact that in spite of sch a fiction of finality, the $ort is on its on persaded that prevailing conditions indeed call for a deployment an. There is li#eise no dot that sch a classification is germane to the prpose ehind the measre. n>estionaly, it is the avoed o;ective of %epartment &rder 'o.  to enhance the protection for !ilipino female overseas or#ers 1  this  $ort has no >arrel that in the midst of the terrile mistreatment !ilipina or#ers have sffered aroad, a an on deployment ill e for their on good and elfare. The &rder does not narroly apply to existing conditions. 0ather, it is intended to apply indefinitely so long as those conditions exist. This is clear from the &rder itself ( Pending revie of the administrative and legal measres, in the Philippines and in the host contries . . .  18 ), meaning to say that shold the athorities arrive at a means impressed ith a greater degree of permanency, the an shall e lifted. As a stop9gap measre, it is possessed of a necessary malleaility, depending on the circmstances of each case. Accordingly, it provides . +I!TI'- &! SSPE'SI&'. D The Secretary of +aor and Employment (%&+E) may, pon recommendation of the Philippine &verseas Employment Administration (P&EA), lift the sspension in contries here there are . Bilateral agreements or nderstanding ith the Philippines, andFor, <. Existing mechanisms providing for sfficient safegards to ensre the elfare and protection of !ilipino or#ers. 19  The $ort finds, finally, the impgned gidelines to e applicale to all female domestic overseas or#ers. That it does not apply to all !ilipina or#ers 0   is not an argment for nconstittionality. 1ad the an een given niversal applicaility, then it old have een nreasonale and aritrary. !or ovios reasons, not all of them are similarly circmstanced. 4hat the $onstittion prohiits is the singling ot of a select person or grop of persons ithin an existing class, to the pre;dice of sch a person or grop or reslting in an nfair advantage to another person or grop of persons. To apply the an, say exclsively to or#ers deployed y A, t not to those recrited y B, old oviosly clash ith the e>al protection clase of the $harter. It old e a classic case of hat $hase refers to as a la that ta#es property from A and gives it to B. 1  It old e an nlafl invasion of property rights and freedom of contract and needless to state, an invalid act.    (!ernando says 4here the classification is ased on sch distinctions that ma#e a real difference as infancy, sex, and stage of civiliation of minority grops, the etter rle, it old seem, is to recognie itsvalidity only if the yong, the omen, and the cltral minorities are singled ot for favorale treatment. There old e anelement of nreasonaleness if on the contrary their stats that calls for the la ministering to their needs is made the asis of discriminatory legislation against them. If sch e the case, it old e difficlt to refte the assertion of denial of e>al protection. 3   In the case at ar, the assailed &rder clearly accords protection to certain omen or#ers, and not the contrary.) It is incorrect to say that %epartment &rder 'o.  prescries a total an on overseas deployment. !rom scattered provisions of the &rder, it is evident that sch a total an has hot een contemplated. 4e >ote =. AT1&0IGE% %EP+&32E'T9The deployment of domestic helpers and or#ers of similar s#ills defined herein to the folloing Hsic are athoried nder these gidelines and are exempted from the sspension. =. 1irings y immediate memers of the family of 1eads of State and -overnment6 =.< 1irings y 2inister, %epty 2inister and the other senior government officials6 and =.7 1irings y senior officials of the diplomatic corps and dly accredited international organiations. =.C 1irings y employers in contries ith hom the Philippines have Hsic ilateral laor agreements or nderstanding. xxx xxx xxxJ. /A$ATI&'I'- %&2ESTI$ 1E+PE0S A'% 4&05E0S &! SI2I+A0 S5I++S99/acationing domestic helpers andFor or#ers of similar s#ills shall e alloed to process ith the P&EA and leave for or#site only if they are retrning to the same employer to finish an existing or partially served employment contract. Those or#ers retrning to or#site to serve a ne employer shall e covered y the sspension and the provision of these gidelines.  xxx xxx xxx. +I!TI'- &! SSPE'SI&'9The Secretary of +aor and Employment (%&+E) may, pon recommendation of the Philippine &verseas Employment Administration (P&EA), lift the sspension in contries here there are . Bilateral agreements or nderstanding ith the Philippines, andFor, <. Existing mechanisms providing for sfficient safegards to ensre the elfare and protection of !ilipino or#ers. 2 xxx xxx xxxThe conse>ence the deployment an has on the right to travel does not impair the right. The right to travel is s;ect, among other things, to the re>irements of plic safety, as may e provided y la. 5   %epartment &rder 'o.  is a valid implementation of the +aor $ode, in particlar, its asic policy to afford protection to laor, 4  prsant to the respondent %epartment of +aor:s rle9ma#ing athority vested in it y the +aor $ode.    The petitioner assmes that it isnreasonale simply ecase of its impact on the right to travel, t as e have stated, the right itself is not asolte. The dispted &rder is a valid >alification thereto. 'either is there merit in the contention that %epartment &rder 'o.  constittes an invalid exercise of legislative poer. It is tre that police poer is the domain of the legislatre, t it does not mean that sch an athority may not e laflly delegated. As e have mentioned, the +aor $ode itself vests the %epartment of +aor and Employment ith rlema#ing poers in the enforcement hereof. 8  The petitioners:s reliance on the $onstittional garanty of or#er participation in policy and decision9ma#ing processes affecting their rights and enefits 9   is not ell9ta#en. The right granted y this provision, again, mst smit to the demands and necessities of the State:s poer of reglation. The $onstittion declares that Sec. 7. The State shall afford fll protection to laor, local and overseas, organied and norganied, and promote fll employment and e>ality of employment opportnities for all. 30   Protection to laor does not signify the promotion of employment alone. 4hat concerns the $onstittion more paramontly is that sch an employment e aove all, decent, ;st, and hmane. It is ad enogh that the contry has to send its sons and daghters to strange lands ecase it cannot satisfy their employment needs at home. nder these circmstances, the -overnment is dty9ond to insre that or toiling expatriates have ade>ate protection, personally and economically, hile aay from home. In this case, the -overnment has evidence, an evidence the petitioner cannot seriosly dispte, of the lac# or inade>acy of sch protection, and as part of its dty, it has precisely ordered an indefinitean on deployment. The $ort finds frthermore that the -overnment has not indiscriminately made se of its athority. It is not contested thatit has in fact removed the prohiition ith respect to certain contries as manifested y the Solicitor -eneral. The non9impairment clase of the $onstittion, invo#ed y the petitioner, mst yield to the loftier prposes targetted y the-overnment. 31   !reedom of contract and enterprise, li#e all other freedoms, is not free from restrictions, more so in this  ;risdiction, here laissez faire  has never een flly accepted as a controlling economic ay of life. This $ort nderstands the grave implications the >estioned &rder has on the siness of recritment. The concern of the -overnment, hoever, is not necessarily to maintain profits of siness firms. In the ordinary se>ence of events, it is profits that sffer as a reslt of -overnment reglation. The interest of the State is to provide a decent living to its citiens. The -overnment has convinced the $ort in this case that this is its intent. 4e do not find the impgned &rder to e tainted ith a grave ase of discretion to arrant the extraordinary relief prayed for. 41E0E!&0E, the petition is %IS2ISSE%. 'o costs. S& &0%E0E%.
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