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THE UNITED STATES vs SILVESTRE POMPEYA

G.R. NO. L-10255, AUGUST 6, 2015


FACTS:
1. Acting prosecuting attorney of the Province of Iloilo charges Silvestre Pompeya with violation of
the municipal ordinance of Iloilo, on the subject of patrol duty, Executive Order No. 1, series of
1914, based on section 40 (m) of the Municipal Code. (fail to render service on patrol duty; an
act performed in violation of the law)
2. Upon arraignment the defendant presented a demurrer on the ground that the acts charged
therein do not constitute a crime. The municipal ordinance alleged to be violated is
unconstitutional because it is repugnant to the Organic Act of the Philippines, which guarantees
the liberty of the citizens."
3. Honorable J. s .Powell, sustained said demurrer and ordered the dismissal of said complaint.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not the ordinance upon which said complaint was based (paragraph "m" of section
40 of the Municipal Code) which was adopted in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 1309
is constitutional
2. Whether or not the facts stated in the complaint are sufficient to show:
(a) A cause of action under the said law;
(b) Whether or not said law is in violation of the provisions of the Philippine Bill in depriving
citizens of their rights therein guaranteed
HELD:
1. Yes. The right or power conferred upon the municipalities by Act No. 1309 falls within the police
power of the state.
The Philippine Legislature has power to legislate upon all subjects affecting the people of the
Philippine Islands which has not been delegated to Congress or expressly prohibited by said
Organic Act.
Police power of the state has been variously defined. It has been defined as the power of the
government, inherent in every sovereign, and cannot be limited. The power vested in the
legislature to make such laws as they shall judge to be for the good of the state and its subjects.
The power to govern men and things, extending to the protection of the lives, limbs, health,
comfort, and quiet of all persons, and the protection of all property within the state. The
authority to establish such rules and regulations for the conduct of all persons as may be
conducive to the public interest.
Blackstone defines police power as "the defenses, regulations, and domestic order of the
country, whereby the inhabitants of a state, like members of a well-governed family, are bound
to conform their general behaviour to the rules of propriety, good neighborhood, and good
manners, and to be decent, industrious, and inoffensive in their respective stations."
The police power of the state includes not only the public health and safety, but also the public
welfare, protection against impositions, and generally the public's best best interest. It so
extensive and all pervading, that the courts refuse to lay down a general rule defining it, but

decide each specific case on its merits. The police power of the state has been exercised in
controlling and regulating private business, even to the extent of the destruction of the property
of private persons, when the use of such property became a nuisance to the public health and
convenience
IN THE CASE AT BAR: 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 said Act are constitutional and not in violation nor in derogation of the rights of the
persons affected thereby.
It will also be noted that the law authorizing the president of the municipality to call upon
persons, imposes certain conditions as prerequisites: (1) The person called upon to render
such services must be an able-bodied male resident of the municipality; (2) he must be
between the ages of 18 and 55 [50], and (3) certain conditions must exist requiring the
services of such persons.
Moreover, the persons liable for the service mentioned in the law cannot be called upon at the mere
whim or caprice of the president. There must be some just and reasonable ground, at least sufficient
in the mind of a reasonable man, before the president can call upon the the persons for the service
mentioned in the law. The law does not apply to all persons. The law does not apply to every
condition. The law applies to special persons and special conditions.
2. No.
A complaint based upon such a law, in order to be free from objection under a demurrer,
must show that the person charged belongs to the class of persons to which the law is
applicable. The complaint, in a criminal case, must state every fact necessary to make out an
offense. The complaint must show, on its face that, if the facts alleged are true, an offense
has been committed. It must state explicitly and directly every fact and circumstance
necessary to constitute an offense. If the statute exempts certain persons, or classes of
persons, from liability, then the complaint should show that the person charged does not
belong to that class.
Even admitting all of the facts in the complaint in the present case, the court would be unable to
impose the punishment provided for by law, because it does not 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 [50]; nor (d) that conditions existed which justified the president of the
municipality in calling upon him for the services mentioned in the law.
Judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed.