HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

COMMISIONER RENE SARMIENTO

I. INTRODUCTION
II. BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce,
and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or
preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political
rights.

Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to
official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as
to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.

Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own
choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot
be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used
against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are
prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in
evidence against him.

Section 14. (1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall
enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf.
However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he
has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

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III. THE NATURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Human Rights are the aggregate of (PCBEM) privileges, claims, benefits entitlements and moral guarantees
that pertain to man because of his humanity.
Jose Zalaquett: human rights are regarded as a system of values or as elements which are inherent to
human dignity
Jean Jacques Maritain: The human person possesses rights because of the very fact that it is a person, a
whole, a master of itself, and of its acts, and which consequently is not merely a reason to an end, but an end
which must be treated as such; written “ The Rights of Man”
Pope John XXIII : any human society, it if is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a
foundation, this principle, that every human being is a person, that is, his nature is endowed with intelligence
and full will; written “Pacem in Terris”
Winluck Wahiu : Human rights are the legal and moral entitlements that have evolved as a basis for
constructing how state power is used and particularly to limit its use against the rights of citizens.
Jose W. Diokno: no cause is more worthy than the cause of human rights and they are what make man
human.

Three generation of rights: (according to Karel Vasak)
a) civil and political rights (liberty rights)
- evolved over centuries during the long development of democratic society and serve as protection of
the individuals from arbitrary exercise of police power
- Winluck Waihu: these are negative rights because it prevents the State from doing harmful acts
b) economic, social, and cultural rights (equality rights)
- inspired by the following:
1) experience of 3rd world countries in their struggle against colonialism
2) influence of socialism
3) encyclicals of the Popes
c) solidarity rights or collective rights ( solidarity rights)
- intended to benefit individuals, groups and peoples and its realization will need global cooperation
based on international solidarity
d) emerging rights (e.g., right to water)

Three divisions/slogans : Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (French Revolution’s slogans)

Three Principles of Human Rights:
a) Universality – rights are to be enjoyed by all human beings without distinction of any kind, such as race, color,
sex, or language,religion, political and other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other stature.
Human rights belong to everyone
b) Indivisibility- first and second generation of rights form an indivisible whole only if these rights are guaranteed
c) Interdependence- generation of rights are inter-related and of equal importance

Characteristics of Human Rights
a) Inherent- rights are the birthright of all human beings, existing independently of the will of either an individual
human being or group. They are not obtained and granted through any human intervention
b) Inalienable- no person can deprive another of these rights and no person can repudiate these rights by
himself. Rights cannot be the subject of commerce
c) Universal – rights belong to every human being no matter what he or she is like

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Stages of human rights
1) Idealization – notions about human rights have stated in the realm of ideas that reflect a consciousness
against oppression, dehumanization, or inadequate performance by the State
2) Positivization- support for the ideas became strong and the stage is set to incorporate them into some legal
instruments, whether domestic law or international law
3) Realization – enjoyed by the citizens of the State by the transformation of the social, economic, and political
order.

Three (3) Obligations of State Parties
a) Obligation to Respect
- Found in Article 2(1) of the ICCPR
- Negative character of the civil and political rights
- State Parties must refrain from restricting rights where such is not expressly allowed
b) Obligation to Ensure
- Found in Article 2(1) of the ICCPR
- Positive character of the civil and political rights and the economic, social and cultural rights
- State Parties must be proactive to enable individuals to enjoy their rights (e.g., adopting measures in
providing effective remedy to victims of HR violators)
c) Obligation to Protect
- Included in the obligation to ensure
- Preventing private individuals, groups or entities from interfering with the individual’s civil and political
rights
- Horizontal effects (application of HR between individuals or other private subjects)

Elements of Human Rights
1) Subject (person)
2) Object (right involved)
3) Implementation

Soriao Vs Pineda: Soriao was not allowed to enrol via verbal instruction of Pineda in his High School (in Aurora).
CA was correct in ordering the school to readmit Soriano as he was dismissed without due process

Oposa vs Factoran: class suit. Timber License Agreements (TLAs)
Section 16, Art II of 1987 Constitution. Right to a balanced and healthful ecology
Non-impairment clause. Intergenerational responsibility. A timber license is an instrument by which the State
regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. It is not a
contract within the purview of the due process clause.

Stonehill vs Diokno. Illegal Search and Seizure. Central Bank Law, Tariff and Customs Laws
Requisites of a valid warrant: 1) that no warrant issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the
judge in the manner set forth in said provision; and (2) that the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be
seized. None of these requirements has been complied with in the contested warrants. Warrant issued is a
general warrant covering all business transactions whether legal or illegal.
Moncado Doctrine abandoned (admissible on the doctrine that the criminal must still be prosecudted even if the
constable has blundered)

US vs Bustos (1909): privileged communication. It was proven that it is made with malice.
It was not the purpose of the Legislature to make the "private communication" in section 9 of Act No. 277
"absolutely privileged." Such communications must also be free from malice. The mere fact that a private
communication is made in good faith, and so forth, under section 9 (Act No. 277), will not relieve the party from
responsibility, unless he can show that the same was made "with good motives," "for justifiable ends" and with
"justifiable motives" and without malice. Section 9 (Act No. 277) provides that such communication must be
made with the sole purpose of protecting the interests (a) of the one making it and (b) of the one to whom it is
made. Such communication must be made to persons who have power to furnish such protection. Otherwise

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such communication would be idle and that provision of the law meaningless. It is appears that the
communication was made maliciously or to persons who could not furnish the protection, then the mere pretext
can not furnish protection under the law nor furnish an occasion for a privileged communication.
US vs Bustos (1918) A communication made bona fide upon any subject-matter in which the party
communicating has an interest, or in reference to which has a duty, is privileged, if made to a person having a
corresponding interest or duty, although it contained criminatory matter which without this privilege would be
slanderous and actionable.
A pertinent illustration of the application of qualified privilege is a complaint made in good faith and without
malice in regard to the character or conduct of a public official when addressed to an officer or a board having
some interest or duty in the matter. Even when the statements are found to be false, if there is probable cause
for belief in their truthfulness and the charge is made in good faith, the mantle of privilege may still cover the
mistake of the individual. But the statements must be made under an honest sense of duty; a self-seeking
motive is destructive. Personal injury is not necessary. All persons have an interest in the pure and efficient
administration of justice and of public affairs. The duty under which a party is privileged is sufficient if it is social
or moral in its nature and this person in good faith believes he is acting in pursuance thereof although in fact he
is mistaken. The privilege is not defeated by the mere fact that the communication is made in intemperate
terms. A further element of the law of privilege concerns the person to whom the complaint should be made.
The rule is that if a party applies to the wrong person through some natural and honest mistake as to the
respective functions of various officials such unintentional error will not take the case out of the privilege.
Villavicencio vs Lukban. Mayor Lukban sending 170 women to Davao
Right to Domicile. Habeas Corpus. Mayor Lukban found in contempt for failing to produce the bodies.

IV. Sources and Foundations of Human Rights Law

Sources of Human Rights
1) Constitution
2) Statutes
3) International Bill of Rights
4) Philosophy
5) Religion

CONSTITUTION
The basic source of human rights law in the Philippines is the 1987 Constitution (also called Human Rights
Constitution).
1897 Biak na Bato Constitution >> 1899 Malolos Constitution >> 1935 Constitution >> 1943 Constitution >>
1973 Constitution >> 1986 Freedom Constitution

1st generation of rights Article 3- Bill of Rights
Article 12- National Economy and Patrimony
Article 13- Social Justice and Human Rights
2nd generation of rights
Article 14- Education, Science and
Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports
Article 2- Declaration of Principles and State
3rd generation of rights Policies
Article 15- The Family

1987 Constitution – Commission on Human Rights
- To investigate human rights violations involving civil and political rights whether committed by
government or by non-governmental entities
- Establish a program of education and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights.

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STATUTES
Examples (see pg 6-7)
Speedy Trial Act
1st generation
Penalizes Acts of Torture RA 9745
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law
2nd generation
The Cooperative Code
Philippine Clean Air Act
3rd generation
Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act (RVAPA)

INTERNATIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS
Incorporation Clause – The Philippines renouncer was as an instrument of national policy, adopts the
generally accepted principles of international laws as part of the law of the land.. (Art. II sec 2)
International Bill of Rights:
a) Universal Declaration of human Rights (8-member committee chaired by Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt)
b) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
c) International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

U Thant – the Three documents plus the Original Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is
the Magna Carta for mankind, and is the essential prerequisite for peace at home and in the world.

On Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Prepared by the CHR of the UN
- drafting committee with 8 members
- chaired by Mrs. Elanor Roosevelt
- Carlos Romulo was the only Filipino member
- Submitted by the committee to UN General Assembly through Economic and Social Council
- Adopted by 48 votes in favour, none against, and 8 abstentions
- First internationally adopted catalogue of human rights

Mary Robinson, former High Commissioner for Human Rights: the common language of humanity, the
language of human rights, is enshrined in the declaration.

Preamble to the Declaration -refers to the concepts of inherent human dignity and one inalienable nature of
human rights as the philosophical sources of the Declaration and inspiration for further development of
human rights.

4 Freedoms Message to the US Congress by Franklin Roosevelt:
1) Freedom of speech
2) Freedom of belief
3) Freedom from fear
4) Freedom from want

PHILOSOPHY

Western Philosophers:
John Locke – wrote Second Treatise of Government, sovereignty resides in the people and explained the
nature of government in terms of natural rights and social contract
Jean Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract, a social contract by which the citizens surrender their
rights to the “general will” of the people which must aim at the impartial good. The duty of the Government
is to promote impartial good
Note: In the PH, social contract is embedded in the Preamble

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Baron de Montesquieu- The Spirit of the Laws. Despotism, a single person directs everything by his own
will and caprice, as a standing danger for any government not despotic and argued that it could best be
prevented by a system of separation of powers. The theory initially inspired the US Consti Convention
Note: James Madison was inspired by the work of Baron. He introduced the principle of separation of
powers in the US Constitutional Convention

Filipino Philosophers:
Rizal- Man is a masterpiece of creation and perfect within conditions under which he was created, to the
extent that it would not be possible to deprive him of any of those component conditions whether moral or
physical, without disfiguring him or making him unhappy. There is an intrinsic value in man which must be
either left unmolested or allowed to develop. This implies that man should be looked upon as an end and
never as means
Mabini- Since God gave man his life, it was both a right and duty to preserve it in accordance with one’s
ability and natural strength. Freedom is the right to acquire all means to preserve life, provided that the
actions involved were in accordance with what was reasonable.
Jacinto- Certain qualities such as liberty and equality belongs to man qua man. Freedom and equality can
be recaptured by the development of reason in people, for it impels men to love and help mankind.

RELIGION
(see verses in book)

Mary’s Magnificat
Jose Diokno’s Human Rights Make Man Human
- Human Rights are enumerated in the following documents:
1) Universal declaration of Human Rights
2) International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights
3) International Covenant on Civil and Political
International
Rights
Documents
4) Declaration and Action Programme on the
Establishment of a New International
Economic Order
5) Economic Rights and Duties of States
National 1) 1898 Malolos Constitution
Documents 2) 1935 Constitution

- A) Rights of Man: arise from the fact that all of us are equal when we are born; the right to life id more
than the right to live, it is the right to live in a manner that befits our common human dignity and enables
us to bring our particular talents to full flower.
B) Rights of the People: rights which belong to each of us individually but which we can exercise only
collectively as a people
C) Society can act only through government. Government always remains an agent and never becomes
a society itself, nor the people themselves.
 Government doesn’t seek the people’s welfare; on the contrary, it oppresses people.
2 conclusions:
1) Meaning of words:
a) National security- security of the people and not of the governors
b) Economic development- improvement of the standard of living of all the people, not the
enrichment of the governors
2) Since government is merely an agent, people have the right to change the governors and
the structure and system of the government itself, and if people cannot do so peacefully,
they have recourse of rebellion against tyranny as a last resort.
Rights of Man Rights of the People
1) Right to Life- man’s most basic right; 1) Right to Survive- people’s most basic
right to health, work, etc. right; right to peace, non-aggression,
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to share in international trade.
2) Right to Self-Determination- right to
2) Right to Human Dignity- rights to
sovereign equality in international
recognition everywhere as a person,
affairs, freedom from racial
to honor and reputation, etc.
discrimination,etc.
3) Right to Develop as people- right to
3) Right to Develop as a Man- right to
freely choose the goals and means of
education, form association, live in
development, to implement social
national and international order.
and economic reforms, etc.

- 2 Distinction of Rights
1) Absolute- cannot be limited in any way under any circumstances, not even under the gravest of
emergencies (e.g., right to freedom of thought, religion, free from torture,etc.); nothing justifies
imposing any limitation on them
2) Not absolute- may be and in fact must be limited to preserve social life (e.g., freedom of expression,
assembly, association); emergency must be so grave in order to justify. To be valid, 3 conditions
must concur:
a) Provided by law, not by executive whim
b) Necessary to preserve society, or protect public health, morals or similar rights of others
c) Must not exceed what is strictly necessary to achieve their purpose
- Problems related to rights of man: Salvaging, poor health, unemployment,low wages (exploitation of
labor by a)keeping wages low, b) allowing conditions of work bordering slavery)exploitation,suppressing
dissent (violates right to peaceful assembly)
- Why are the rights of man so blatantly violated?
1) On why decent men depress wages and exploit workers: The system is excessively materialistic
and we have an underdeveloped economy. The system stresses efficiency, profits, and competition
and ignores whatever cannot be expressed in pesos. It honors a man more for what he has than for
what he is.
2) On why good men salvage and torture and shoot into unarmed crowds of peaceful marchers: They
are influenced by US mentors and cold ware propaganda. The military mind jumps to 2 wrong
conclusions (1. Communists should not be allowed to exercise legal rights and 2. Anyone who
opposes or criticizes government is a communist sympathizer, and so were not reluctant to shoot
unarmed crowds)
- Problems related to rights of people: Survival is not in our hands (Marcos regime, US’ influence) and
Economic policy decided by aliens (given already to World Bank, IMF, ADB meeting demands of
international trade instead of people’s needs)
- How do we change the situation?
1) Convince the government to change policies
a) As individuals- by refusing to accept meekly the violations of our rights and those of others
(e.g., join protests, write publicly, etc.)
b) As a group- work with organizations
2) Change the government- (unrealistic)
Still, no guarantee that we will succeed. Only God can give that guaranty.
- It is extremely dangerous to defend our rights, but it would be indefinitely worse not to do so.

Emilio Jacinto’s Kartilla ng Katipunan
-“Cartilla” a primer for elementary students
Apolinario Mabini’s The Ten Decalogue
1.) Love for God
2.) Love for Country
3.) Love for Country Men
Federalist 51 on Separation of Powers:
- Defending the separation of powers; checking ambitions of each other (department)
- Members of each department should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the
members of the others and such appointments must be drawn from the people.
Exception: Judiciary department
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1) Has peculiar qualifications for its members
2) Permanent tenure of the appointments in this department destroys all sense of dependence on the
authority conferring them
- If men were angels, no government would be necessary
- It is not possible to give each department an equal power of self-defense
a) Republican government- legislative authority predominates, weak executive authority
Remedy divide the legislature into different branches and render them as little connected with
each other
- 2 considerations particularly applicable to the federal system of America
1) a. Single republic- all power surrendered by the people is submitted to the administration of a single
government
b. Compound republic- power surrendered by the people is first divided between 2 distinct
governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate
departments
2) Important in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard
one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.
- 2 methods to protect the rights of minority against the common interest of the majority:
1) Creating a will in the community independent of the majority, that is, of the society itself
 Prevails in all governments possessing a hereditary or self-appointed authority
2) Comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust
combination of majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable.
 Exemplified in the federal republic of the US
- In a free government, the security of civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights

V. Civil and Political Rights

Biak na Bato Constitution No Bill of Rights
1935 Consti
1973 Consti
Bill of Rights
1986 Consti
1987 Consti
1899 Malolos Consti The Filipinos and Their National and Individual Rights
1943 Consti Duties and Rights of the Citizen

Bill of Rights
- Enumeration of civil and political rights that are self-executing
- Serves as restriction upon powers of the State Government

Completely new provisions
Old provisions that contain amendments by
Bill of rights provisions in Art. 3
addition
1987 Consti and Art. 4 1973 Consti
Old provisions amended by deletion of words and
can be classified into 4 types
phrases
Old provisions that remain intact

Fr. Joaquin Bernas- “What the Bill of Rights does is to declare some forbidden zones in the private sphere
inaccessible to any power holder”

Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIL)
 First substantive agreement signed by the Negotiating Panels of the Government and National
Democratic Front
 Signed in Hague, Netherlands
 Product of years of peace talks and consultations with their principles
 The three principles of HR (universality, indivisibility and interdependence) are enunciated in the
agreement through numerous rights (see pg.12 for examples)
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 Consists of 7 parts as follows:
1) Preamble- introduces the Agreement and articulates the reasons and intentions of the parties
2) Declaration of Principles
3) Bases, Scope, Applicability
4) Respect for Human Rights
5) Respect for International Humanitarial Law
6) Joint Monitoring Committee
7) Final Provisions

Art 3- Art 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains the catalogue of civil and political rights of the
first generation (see pg.13 for examples)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Adopted by 106 States; effective in 1976
- Divided into following parts:
1) Preamble
Parts 1-3 Contain all substantive rights and some general
(Article 1-27) provisions (e.g., gender equality)
2) 6 Parts
Parts 4-6 International monitoring provisions, principles of
(Article 28-53) interpretation and final clauses

- Examples of individual rights enumerated in Part 3:
a) Prohibition of torture, slavery
b) Right to personal liberty and security
c) Freedom of movement, etc.
Title Description Votes
First Optional Protocol to the Provides for possibility of
66-2 with 38 abstentions
Covenant individual complaints
Second Optional Protocol to the
Abolition of death penalty 59-28 with 48 abstentions
Covenant

Orquiola vs Tandang Sora:
Government of Hongkong vs Olalia:
Rubi vs Provincial Board of Mindoro
Hudgens vs NLRB
Javier vs COMELEC

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VI. Economic, Social, And Cultural Rights
Article on Social Justice and Humarn Rights cannot be found in previous Constitutions,
Includes rights like rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, negotiations, and peaceful
concerted activities; right to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage; right to agrarian
and natural resources reform; right to urban land reform and housing; right to health; and right of working
women by providing them safe and healthful working conditions

Social Justice is the centrepiece of the 1987 Constitution and rights, dignity, and participation remain illusory
without social justice. – Commissioner Teresa Nieva, Chariperson of the Committee on Social Justice in the
1986 ConCom

Social Justice – neither communism nor despotism, not atomism, nor anarchy, but the humanization of laws
and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively
secular conception may at least be approximated. –Jose P. Laurel in Calalang vs Williams

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Articles 22 to 27 enumerates rights such as right to social security, right to work, right to rest and leisure, right
to an adequate standard of living, right to education, and right to participate in the cultural life. They served as
an inspirational tool for regional human rights instruments and national constitutions.

African Charter on Human and People’s Rights protect the right to work (Art 15), right to health (Art 16), right
to education (Art 17).
European Social Charter recognizes the right to work, to favourable working conditions, the right to join trade
unions and to take collective labor (Art 1 to 10), right to health (Art 11), right to social security, including the
right to medical assistance and right to welfare services (Art 12 -14).

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
- Sister covenant of the ICCP. These 2 covenants were adopted unanimously by 106 states.
- 31 Articles contained in six sections: the Preamble and Parts I to V.
- Part III lists the rights to be protected. Right to work (Art 6), right to fair conditions of employment (Art 7),
right to join and form trade unions (Art 8), right to social security (Art 9), right to protection of the family
(Art 10), right to an adequate standard of living, including right to food, clothing and housing (art 11), right
to health (Art 12) right to education (Art 13), right to culture (Art 15)

International Covention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women, instruments of the International Labor Organization.

Calalang vs Williams (animal-drawn vehicles)
To this fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are subordinated. Liberty is a
blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then
society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the
individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance of liberty and authority in his
mind through education and, personal discipline, so that there may be established the resultant equilibrium,
which means peace and order and happiness for all. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the
government, logically so much is withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The
paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its
preservation
Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among
divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all
groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount
objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the
greatest good to the greatest number."|||

MMDA vs Concerned Residents of Manila Bay GR No. 171947 (cleaning of manila bay)

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JMM Productions vs CA
The latin maxim salus populi est suprema lex embodies the character of the entire spectrum of public
laws aimed at promoting the general welfare of the people under the State's police power. As an inherent
attribute of sovereignty which virtually "extends to all public needs," this "least limitable" of governmental
powers grants a wide panoply of instruments through which the state, as parens patriae gives effect to a
host of its regulatory powers.
Under the welfare and social justice provisions of the Constitution, the promotion of full employment,
while desirable, cannot take a backseat to the government's constitutional duty to provide mechanisms for the
protection of our work-force, local or overseas

Bernardo vs NLRC GR 122917 (deaf-mutes of Far East Bank)
In rendering this Decision, the Court emphasizes not only the constitutional bias in favor of the working
class, but also the concern of the State for the plight of the disabled. The noble objectives of Magna Carta for
Disabled Persons are not based merely on charity or accommodation, but on justice and the equal treatment
ofqualified persons, disabled or not. In the present case, the handicap of petitioners (deaf-mutes) is not a
hindrance to their work. The eloquent proof of this statement is the repeated renewal of their employment
contracts. Why then should they be dismissed, simply because they are physically impaired? The Court
believes, that, after showing their fitness for the work assigned to them, they should be treated and granted
the same rights like any other regular employees

Kalikasan vs DENR (2012)

Social Justice: Roots and Wings
- The concept of social justice has been cited in (SPINS):
a) Speeches of political leaders
b) Papal encyclicals
c) International instruments
d) National constitutions
e) Supreme court decisions

- Societies grapple with new challenges arising from poverty, inequality, violence, climate change and
democratic deficits
- The biblical roots of social justice are found in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Justice: merciful, compassionate and bold concern for the outcasts, the poor, the widow, the orphans, the
distressed, the hungry, the persecuted, the victims of injustice and PWDs.
- Paul Louis Mertzger- bibilical justice involves making individuals, communities and the cosmos whole by
upholding both goodness and impartiality
- Verses in the old testament:
a) Isaiah 1:17- Learn to do right, seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the care of the widow
b) Zechariah 7:9- Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another
c) Other teachings are found in Proverbs, Amos, Psalm, Isaiah, etc.
- Verses in the new testament:
a) John 3:17-18- If anyoe has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against
him, how does God’s love abide in him?
b) Luke 4:18-19- The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty to those
who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
- Fr. Luigi Taparelli- wrote “Civilta Cattolica” based on the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. He argues that
competing capitalist and socialist theories undermined the unity of society present in Thomistic metaphysics as
neither sufficiently concerned with moral philosophy.
- John Stuart Mill- British philosopher wrote “Utilitarianism”. He said that society should treat all equally well
who have deserved equally well of it, that is, who have deserved equally well absolutely. This is the highest
abstract of standard of social and distributive justice towards which all institutions and efforts of citizens should
be made in the utmost degree to converge.
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- Popes who advocated the promotion of social justice as a means to address the concerns of the poor in their
encylicals:
1) Pope Leo 13th- Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of the Working Classes); he is a former student of
Fr.Taparelli
2) Pope Pius 11th- Quadrragesimo anno (On Reconstruction of Social Order)
3) Pope John 13th- Paccem in Terris
4) Pope Paul 6th- Populorum Progressio
5) Pope John Paul 2nd- Laborem exercens, Sollicitudo rei socialis and Centesimus annus
6) Pope Benedict 16th- Deus caritas est
7) Pope Francis- Laudato Si
- Claro M. Recto- president of the 1934 Constitutional Convention who suggested to the sub-committee of
seven to draft the section on social justice in the 1935 Consti.
Sec 5: The promotion of social justice to insure the well being and economic security of all the people should
be concern of the State.
- Jose C. Locsin- defined the meaning of social justice in the 1934 Consti Convention as “justice to common
tao”, the little men so called. It is justice to him, hiw wife, and children in relation to their employees in the
factories, farms and other employments. Justice in the education of children and his dealings with the different
government offices including the courts of justice.
- Manuel Quezon- included in his Code of Citizenship and Ethics a 14th provision which states “Contribute to the
welfare of your community and promote social justice. You do not live for yourselves and your families alone.
You are part of society to which you own definite responsibilities”
- Examples of statutory enactments of social justice:
a) Minimum Wage Law
b) Creating of SSS
c) Makes compulsory elementary education
d) Industrial Peace Act
e) Magna Carta for Public School teachers
f) Prohibits work on Sunday, Christmas, New year, Holy Thursday, etc

- Ramon Magsaysay- introduced the dictum that those who have less lin life should have more in law
- The 1935 Consti was revised because of historic events in the PH. Nevertheless, provision on the social
justice remains intact.
1) 1941- World War 2
2) 1971- Massive multi-sectoral demonstrators shook the government
3) 1986- EDSA revolution

1943 Japanese Consti and 1973 Consti 1987 Consti
Social justice is not only a provision but a
separate article entitled “Article on Social
Only a provision Justice and Human Rights”. It is the only
constitution in the world with a distinct article on
social justice

- Social justice defined in Calalang vs Williams by Justice Jose Laurel, a delegate to the 1934 Constitutional
Convention and a member of the Sub-Committee of Seven.
- Philippine Apparel Worker’s Union vs NLRC (1981)
Justice Fernando- social justice has an even more basic role to play in aiding those whose lives are spent in
toil, with destitution an ever-present thereto to attain a certain degree of economic well-being
- Llamanzares-Poe vs COMELEC- no such intent or language permitting discrimination against foundlings, on
the contrary, all constitutions guarantee equal protection of the laws. State value human dignity and protects
the rights of children without regard as to whether he is a foundling or not.
- Social Justice in elections- launching of initiatives of the COMELEC to empower detainees to vote, PWDs to
register as voters and indigenous people to register in their mountain habitat (separate voting centers are now
provided in Mindoro during 2016 elections)

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