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THIRD DIVISION [G.R. No. 85279. July 28, 1989.

] SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (SSSEA), DIONISIO T. BAYLON, RAMON MODESTO, JUANITO MADURA, REUBEN ZAMORA, VIRGILIO DE ALDAY, SERGIO ARANETA, PLACIDO AGUSTIN, VIRGILIO MAGPAYO, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS), HON. CEZAR C. PERALEJO RTC, BRANCH 98, QUEZON CITY, respondents. Vicente T. Ocampo & Associates for petitioners. SYLLABUS 1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; CIVIL SERVICE; PROHIBITION TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FROM STRIKING. While the Constitution and the Labor Code are silent as to whether or not government employees may strike, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. 6 series of 1987 of the Civil Service Commission and as implied in E.O. No. 180. 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REMEDIES IN LIEU OF RIGHT TO STRIKE. Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. 3. ID.; CIVIL SERVICE; SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ARE PART THEREOF AND COVERED BY MEMORANDUM PROHIBITING STRIKES. SSS employees are part of the civil service and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. 4. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 180; ALLOWS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO NEGOTIATE WHERE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT ARE NOT AMONG THOSE FIXED BY LAW. E.O. No. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees, allows negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. 5. ID.; ID.; TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT IN GOVERNMENT ARE GOVERNED BY LAW; EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT STRIKE TO SECURE CHANGES. Section 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to SelfOrganization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof." 6. ID.; LABOR RELATIONS; STRIKES; NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN AN ILLEGAL STRIKE STAGED BY SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES; REASONS. An injunction may be issued to restrain it. It is

futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and, hence, the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations [Art. 276]. More importantly, E.O. No. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor-Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government employees [Sec. 16]. Clearly, the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute. 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION TO ENJOIN SAID STRIKE; REASON. The Public Sector LaborManagement Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in labor disputes within its jurisdiction. Thus, since it is the Council, and not the NLRC, that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute, resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate. 8. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; NOT PROPER WHERE COURT CANNOT BE ACCUSED OF IMPRUDENCE OR OVERZEALOUSNESS AS IT PROCEEDED WITH CAUTION. The lower Court cannot be accused of imprudence or zealousness, for after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of public service, the respondent judge, in the same order, admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer-employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action. 9. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; EXECUTION; WHEN REMEDY AVAILABLE TO PETITIONER. Petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction, but to cause the execution of the order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board if it has already become final. DECISION CORTES, J p: Primarily, the issue raised in this petition is whether or not the Regional Trial Court can enjoin the Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) from striking and order the striking employees to return to work. Collaterally, it is whether or not employees of the Social Security System (SSS) have the right to strike. The antecedents are as follows: On June 11, 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners, alleging that on June 9, 1987, the officers and members of SSSEA staged an illegal strike and barricaded the entrances to the SSS Building, preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members from transacting business with the SSS; that the strike was reported to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return to work; that the strikers refused to return to work; and that the SSS suffered damages as a result of the strike. The complaint prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return to work; that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered to pay damages; and that the strike be declared illegal. It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the

union's demands, which included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues; payment of accrued overtime pay, night differential pay and holiday pay; conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries, allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS; and payment of the children's allowance of P30.00, and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices [Rollo, pp. 21-24]. The court a quo, on June 11, 1987, issued a temporary restraining order pending resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction [Rollo, p. 71.] In the meantime, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss alleging the trial court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter [Rollo, pp. 72-82.] To this motion, the SSS filed an opposition, reiterating its prayer for the issuance of a writ of injunction [Rollo, pp. 209-222]. On July 22, 1987, in a four-page order, the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss and converted the restraining order into an injunction upon posting of a bond, after finding that the strike was illegal [Rollo, pp. 8386]. As petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaid order was also denied on August 14, 1988 [Rollo, p. 94], petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before this Court. Their petition was docketed as G.R. No. 79577. In a resolution dated October 21, 1987, the Court, through the Third Division, resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration thereof, but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on March 9, 1988 promulgated its decision on the referred case [Rollo, pp. 130-137]. Petitioners moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. In the meantime, the Court on June 29, 1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in G.R. No. 97577 for being moot and academic. Petitioners' motion to recall the decision of the Court of Appeals was also denied in view of this Court's denial of the motion for reconsideration [Rollo, pp. 141-143]. Hence, the instant petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals [Rollo, pp. 12-37]. Upon motion of the SSS on February 6, 1989, the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the petitioners from staging another strike or from pursuing the notice of strike they filed with the Department of Labor and Employment on January 25, 1989 and to maintain the status quo [Rollo, pp. 151-152]. The Court, taking the comment as answer, and noting the reply and supplemental reply filed by petitioners, considered the issues joined and the case submitted for decision. The position of the petitioners is that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to issue the restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction, as jurisdiction lay with the Department of Labor and Employment or the National Labor Relations Commission, since the case involves a labor dispute. On the other hand, the SSS advances the contrary view, on the ground that the employees of the SSS are covered by civil service laws and rules and regulations, not the Labor Code, therefore they do not have the right

to strike. Since neither the DOLE nor the NLRC has jurisdiction over the dispute, the Regional Trial Court may enjoin the employees from striking. In dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by petitioners, the Court of Appeals held that since the employees of the SSS, are government employees, they are not allowed to strike, and may be enjoined by the Regional Trial Court, which had jurisdiction over the SSS' complaint for damages, from continuing with their strike. Thus, the sequential questions to be resolved by the Court in deciding whether or not the Court of Appeals erred is finding that the Regional Trial Court did not act without or in excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of the case and enjoined the strike are as follows: 1. Do the employees of the SSS have the right to strike? 2. Does the Regional Trial Court have jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to enjoin the strikers from continuing with the strike and to order them to return to work? These shall be discussed and resolved seriatim. I The 1987 Constitution, in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights, provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to selforganization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law" [Art. XIII, Sec. 3]. By itself, this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and employees, including those in the public sector, to strike. But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this impression, for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission, it provides, after defining the scope of the civil service as "all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters," that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(1) and (5)]. Parenthetically, the Bill of Rights also provides that "[t]he right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. III, Sec. 8]. Thus, while there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize, it is silent as to whether such recognition also includes the right to strike. Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in understanding the meaning of these provisions. A reading of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution would show that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize, the commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or associations only, without including the right to strike. Thus, Commissioner Eulogio R. Lerum, one of the sponsors of the provision that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(5)], in answer to the apprehensions expressed by Commissioner Ambrosio B. Padilla, Vice-President of the Commission, explained: MR. LERUM. I think what I will try to say will not take that long. When we proposed this amendment providing for self-organization of government employees, it does not mean that because they have the right to organize, they also have the right to strike. That is a different matter. We are only talking

about organizing, uniting as a union. With regard to the right to strike, everyone will remember that in the Bill of Rights, there is a provision that the right to form associations or societies whose purpose is not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Now then, if the purpose of the state is to prohibit the strikes coming from employees exercising government functions, that could be done because the moment that is prohibited, then the union which will go on strike will be an illegal union. And that provision is carried in Republic Act 875. In Republic Act 875, workers, including those from the government-owned and controlled, are allowed to organize but they are prohibited from striking. So, the fear of our honorable Vice-President is unfounded. It does not mean that because we approve this resolution, it carries with it the right to strike. That is a different matter. As a matter of fact, that subject is now being discussed in the Committee on Social Justice because we are trying to find a solution to this problem. We know that this problem exists; that the moment we allow anybody in the government to strike, then what will happen if the members of the Armed Forces will go on strike? What will happen to those people trying to protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the Committee on Social Justice. But, I repeat, the right to form an organization does not carry with it the right to strike. [Record of the Constitutional Commission, vol. I, p. 569]. It will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (R.A. No. 875), which was repealed by the Labor Code (P.D. 442) in 1974, expressly banned strikes by employees in the Government, including instrumentalities exercising governmental functions, but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary functions: Sec. 11. Prohibition Against Strikes in the Government. The terms and conditions of employment in the Government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof, are governed by law and it is declared to be the policy of this Act that employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes or modification in their terms and conditions of employment. Such employees may belong to any labor organization which does not impose the obligation to strike or to join in strike: Provided, however, That this section shall apply only to employees employed in governmental functions and not those employed in proprietary functions of the Government including but not limited to governmental corporations. No similar provision is found in the Labor Code, although at one time it recognized the right of employees of government corporations established under the Corporation Code to organize and bargain collectively and those in the civil service to "form organizations for purposes not contrary to law" [Art. 244, before its amendment by B.P. Blg. 70 in 1980], in the same breath it provided that "[t]he terms and conditions of employment of all government employees, including employees of government owned and controlled corporations, shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations" [now Art. 276]. Understandably, the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not government employees may strike, for such are excluded from its coverage [Ibid]. But then the Civil Service Decree [P.D. No. 807], is equally silent on the matter.

On June 1, 1987, to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of government employees to organize, the President issued E.O. No. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. In Section 14 thereof, it is provided that "[t]he Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed, subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress." The President was apparently referring to Memorandum Circular No. 6, s. 1987 of the Civil Service Commission under date April 21, 1987 which, "prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees . . . enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government officers and employees from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service." The air was thus cleared of the confusion. At present, in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. 6 and as implied in E.O. No. 180. [At this juncture, it must be stated that the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 6 is not at issue]. But are employees of the SSS covered by the prohibition against strikes? The Court is of the considered view that they are. Considering that under the 1987 Constitution "[t]he civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including governmentowned or controlled corporations with original charters" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(1); see also Sec. 1 of E.O. No. 180 where the employees in the civil service are denominated as "government employees"] and that the SSS is one such government-controlled corporation with an original charter, having been created under R.A. No. 1161, its employees are part of the civil service [NASECO v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 69870 & 70295, November 24, 1988] and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. This being the case, the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal. The statement of the Court in Alliance of Government Workers v. Minister of Labor and Employment [G.R. No. 60403, August 3, 1983, 124 SCRA 1] is relevant as it furnishes the rationale for distinguishing between workers in the private sector and government employees with regard to the right to strike: The general rule in the past and up to the present is that "the terms and conditions of employment in the Government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof are governed by law" (Section 11, the Industrial Peace Act, R.A. No. 875, as amended and Article 277, the Labor Code, P.D. No. 442, as amended). Since the terms and conditions of government employment are fixed by law, government workers cannot use the same weapons employed by workers in the private sector to secure concessions from their employers. The principle behind labor unionism in private industry is that industrial peace cannot be secured through compulsion by law. Relations between private employers and their employees rest on an essentially voluntary basis. Subject to the minimum requirements of wage laws and other labor and welfare legislation, the terms and conditions of employment in the unionized private sector are settled through the process of collective bargaining. In government employment, however, it is the legislature and, where properly given delegated power, the administrative heads of government which fix the terms and conditions of employment. And this is effected through statutes or

administrative circulars, rules, and regulations, not through collective bargaining agreements. [At p. 13; Emphasis supplied]. Apropos is the observation of the Acting Commissioner of Civil Service, in his position paper submitted to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and quoted with approval by the Court in Alliance, to wit: It is the stand, therefore, of this Commission that by reason of the nature of the public employer and the peculiar character of the public service, it must necessarily regard the right to strike given to unions in private industry as not applying to public employees and civil service employees. It has been stated that the Government, in contrast to the private employer, protects the interest of all people in the public service, and that accordingly, such conflicting interests as are present in private labor relations could not exist in the relations between government and those whom they employ. [At pp. 16-17; also quoted in National Housing Corporation v. Juco, G.R. No. 64313 January 17, 1985, 134 SCRA 172, 178-179]. E.O. No. 180, which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees, while clinging to the same philosophy, has, however, relaxed the rule to allow negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. Thus: SECTION 13. Terms and conditions of employment or improvements thereof, except those that are fixed by law, may be the subject of negotiations between duly recognized employees' organizations and appropriate government authorities. The same executive order has also provided for the general mechanism for the settlement of labor disputes in the public sector, to wit: SECTION 16. The Civil Service and labor laws and procedures, whenever applicable, shall be followed in the resolution of complaints, grievances and cases involving government employees. In case any dispute remains unresolved after exhausting all the available remedies under existing laws and procedures, the parties may jointly refer the dispute to the [Public Sector Labor-Management] Council for appropriate action. Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be referred to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, walkouts and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private sector, to pressure the Government to accede to their demands. As now provided under Sec. 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to Self-Organization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the

purpose of securing changes thereof." II The strike staged by the employees of the SSS belonging to petitioner union being prohibited by law, an injunction may be issued to restrain it. It is futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and, hence, the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations [Art. 276]. More importantly, E.O. No. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor-Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government employees [Sec. 16]. Clearly, the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute. This being the case, the Regional Trial Court was not precluded, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction under B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, from assuming jurisdiction over the SSS's complaint for damages and issuing the injunctive writ prayed for therein. Unlike the NLRC, the Public Sector Labor-Management Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in labor disputes within its jurisdiction. Thus, since it is the Council, and not the NLRC, that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute, resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate. LibLex Neither could the court a quo be accused of imprudence or overzealousness, for in fact it had proceeded with caution. Thus, after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of public service, the respondent judge, in the same order, admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer-employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action [Rollo, p. 86]. III In their "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction," and reiterated in their reply and supplemental reply, petitioners allege that the SSS unlawfully withheld bonuses and benefits due the individual petitioners and they pray that the Court issue a writ of preliminary prohibitive and mandatory injunction to restrain the SSS and its agents from withholding payment thereof and to compel the SSS to pay them. In their supplemental reply, petitioners annexed an order of the Civil Service Commission, dated May 5, 1989, which ruled that the officers of the SSSEA who are not preventively suspended and who are reporting for work pending the resolution of the administrative cases against them are entitled to their salaries, year-end bonuses and other fringe benefits and affirmed the previous order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board. The matter being extraneous to the issues elevated to this Court, it is Our view that petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction, but to cause the execution of the aforesaid order, if it has already become final. WHEREFORE, no reversible error having been committed by the Court of Appeals, the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED and the decision of the appellate court dated March 9, 1988 in CA-G.R. SP No. 13192 is AFFIRMED. Petitioners' "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction" dated December 13, 1988 is DENIED. SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.

EN BANC [G.R. No. L-25246. September 12, 1974.] BENJAMIN VICTORIANO, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION and ELIZALDE ROPE FACTORY, INC., defendants, ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION, defendantappellant. Salonga, Ordoez, Yap, Sicat & Associates for plaintiff-appellee. Cipriano Cid & Associates for defendant-appellant. DECISION ZALDIVAR, J p: Appeal to this Court on purely questions of law from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in its Civil Case No. 58894. The undisputed facts that spawned the instant case follow: Benjamin Victoriano (hereinafter referred to as Appellee), a member of the religious sect known as the "Iglesia ni Cristo", had been in the employ of the Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as Company) since 1958. As such employee, he was a member of the Elizalde Rope Workers' Union (hereinafter referred to as Union) which had with the Company a collective bargaining agreement containing a closed shop provision which reads as follows:

"Membership in the Union shall be required as a condition of employment for all permanent employees workers covered by this Agreement." The collective bargaining agreement expired on March 3, 1964 but was renewed the following day, March 4, 1964. Under Section 4(a), paragraph 4, of Republic Act No. 875, prior to its amendment by Republic Act No. 3350, the employer was not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership therein, if such labor organization is the representative of the employees." On June 18, 1961, however, Republic Act No. 3350 was enacted, introducing an amendment to paragraph (4) subsection (a) of section 4 of Republic Act No. 875, as follows: . . . "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization". Being a member of a religious sect that prohibits the affiliation of its members with any labor organization, Appellee presented his resignation to appellant Union in 1962, and when no action was taken thereon, he reiterated his resignation on September 3, 1974. Thereupon, the Union wrote a formal letter to the Company asking the latter to separate Appellee from the service in view of the fact that he was resigning from the Union as a member. The management of the Company in turn notified Appellee and his counsel that unless the Appellee could achieve a satisfactory arrangement with the Union, the Company would be constrained to dismiss him from the service. This prompted Appellee to file an action for injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. 58894 in the Court of First Instance of Manila to enjoin the Company and the Union from dismissing Appellee. 1 In its answer, the Union invoked the "union security clause" of the collective bargaining agreement; assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 3350; and contended that the Court had no jurisdiction over the case, pursuant to Republic Act No. 875, Sections 24 and 9 (d) and (e). 2 Upon the facts agreed upon by the parties during the pre-trial conference, the Court a quo rendered its decision on August 26, 1965, the dispositive portion of which reads: "IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered enjoining the defendant Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc. from dismissing the plaintiff from his present employment and sentencing the defendant Elizalde Rope Workers' Union to pay the plaintiff P500 for attorney's fees and the costs of this action." 3 From this decision, the Union appealed directly to this Court on purely questions of law, assigning the following errors: "I. That the lower court erred when it did not rule that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional. "II. That the lower court erred when it sentenced appellant herein to pay plaintiff the sum of P500 as attorney's fees and the cost thereof." In support of the alleged unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. 3350, the Union contented, firstly, that the Act infringes on the fundamental right to form lawful associations; that "the very phraseology of said Republic Act 3350, that membership in a labor organization is banned to all those belonging to such religious sect prohibiting affiliation with any labor organization", 4 "prohibits all the members of a given religious sect from joining any labor union if such sect prohibits affiliations of their members thereto"; 5 and, consequently, deprives said members of their constitutional right to form or join lawful associations or organizations guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and thus becomes obnoxious to

Article III, Section 1 (6) of the 1935 Constitution. 6 Secondly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of contracts in that, while the Union is obliged to comply with its collective bargaining agreement containing a "closed shop provision," the Act relieves the employer from its reciprocal obligation of cooperating in the maintenance of union membership as a condition of employment; and that said Act, furthermore, impairs the Union's rights as it deprives the union of dues from members who, under the Act, are relieved from the obligation to continue as such members. 7 Thirdly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 discriminatorily favors those religious sects which ban their members from joining labor unions, in violation of Article III, Section 1 (7) of the 1935 Constitution; and while said Act unduly protects certain religious sects, it leaves no rights or protection to labor organizations. 8 Fourthly, Republic Act No. 3350, asserted the Union, violates the constitutional provision that "no religious test shall be required for the exercise of a civil right," in that the laborer's exercise of his civil right to join associations for purposes not contrary to law has to be determined under the Act by his affiliation with a religious sect; that conversely, if a worker has to sever his religious connection with a sect that prohibits membership in a labor organization in order to be able to join a labor organization, said Act would violate religious freedom. 9 Fifthly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350, violates the "equal protection of laws" clause of the Constitution, it being a discriminatory legislation, inasmuch as by exempting from the operation of closed shop agreement the members of the "Iglesia ni Cristo", it has granted said members undue advantages over their fellow workers, for while the Act exempts them from union obligation and liability, it nevertheless entitles them at the same time to the enjoyment of all concessions, benefits and other emoluments that the union might secure from the employer. 10 Sixthly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional provision regarding the promotion of social justice. 11 Appellant Union, furthermore, asserted that a "closed shop provision" in a collective bargaining agreement cannot be considered violative of religious freedom, as to call for the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. 3350; 12 and that unless Republic Act No. 3350 is declared unconstitutional, trade unionism in this country would be wiped out as employers would prefer to hire or employ members of the Iglesia ni Cristo in order to do away with labor organizations. 13 Appellee, assailing appellant's arguments, contended that Republic Act No. 3350 does not violate the right to form lawful associations, for the right to join associations includes the right not to join or to resign from a labor organization, if one's conscience does not allow his membership therein, and the Act has given substance to such right by prohibiting the compulsion of workers to join labor organizations; 14 that said Act does not impair the obligation of contracts for said law formed part of, and was incorporated into, the terms of the closed shop agreement; 15 that the Act does not violate the establishment of religion clause or separation of

Church and State, for Congress, in enacting said law, merely accommodated the religious needs of those workers whose religion prohibits its members from joining labor unions, and balanced the collective rights of organized labor with the constitutional right of an individual to freely exercise his chosen religion; that the constitutional right to the free exercise of one's religion has primacy and preference over union security measures which are merely contractual; 16 that said Act does not violate the constitutional provision of equal protection, for the classification of workers under the Act depending on their religious tenets is based on substantial distinction, is germane to the purpose of the law, and applies to all the members of a given class; 17 that said Act, finally, does not violate the social justice policy of the Constitution, for said Act was enacted precisely to equalize employment opportunities for all citizens in the midst of the diversities of their religious beliefs. 18 I. Before We proceed to the discussion of the first assigned error, it is necessary to premise that there are some thoroughly established principles which must be followed in all cases where questions of constitutionality as obtains in the instant case are involved. All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute, alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld, and the challenger must negate all possible bases; that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute; and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. 19 1. Appellant Union's contention that Republic Act No. 3350 prohibits and bans the members of such religious sects that forbid affiliation of their members with labor unions from joining labor unions appears nowhere in the wording of Republic Act No. 3350; neither can the same be deduced by necessary implication therefrom. It is not surprising, therefore, that appellant, having thus misread the Act, committed the error of contending that said Act is obnoxious to the constitutional provision on freedom of association. Both the Constitution and Republic Act No. 875 recognize freedom of association. Section 1 (6) of Article III of the Constitution of 1935, as well as Section 7 of Article n of the Constitution of 1973, provide that the right to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 875 provides that employees shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of collective bargaining and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid or protection. What the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the "right" to form or join associations. Notwithstanding the different theories propounded by the different schools of jurisprudence regarding the nature and contents of a "right", it can be safely said that whatever theory one subscribes to, a right comprehends at least two broad notions, namely: first, liberty or freedom, i e., the absence of legal restraint, whereby an employee may act for himself without being prevented by law; and second, power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases, join or refrain from joining an association. It is, therefore, the employee who should decide for himself whether he should join or not an association; and should he choose to join, he himself makes up his mind as to which association he would join; and

even after he has joined, he still retains the liberty and the power to leave and cancel his membership with said organization at any time. 20 It is clear, therefore, that the right to join a union includes the right to abstain from joining any union. 21 Inasmuch as what both the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act have recognized, and guaranteed to the employee, is the "right" to join associations of his choice, it would be absurd to say that the law also imposes, in the same breath, upon the employee the duty to join associations. The law does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any association. The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act is, however, limited. The legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is withdrawn by operation of law, where a labor union and an employer have agreed on a closed shop, by virtue of which the employer may employ only members of the collective bargaining union, and the employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration of the contract in order to keep their jobs. Thus Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act, before its amendment by Republic Act No. 3350, provides that although it would be an unfair labor practice for an employer "to discriminate in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization" the employer is, however, not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership therein, if such labor organization is the representative of the employees". By virtue, therefore, of a closed shop agreement, before the enactment of Republic Act No. 3350, if any person, regardless of his religious beliefs, wishes to be employed or to keep his employment, he must become a member of the collective bargaining union. Hence, the right of said employee not to join the labor union is curtailed and withdrawn. To that all embracing coverage of the closed shop arrangement, Republic Act No. 3350 introduced an exception, when it added to Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act the following proviso: "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization". Republic Act No. 3350 merely excludes ipso jure from the application and coverage of the closed shop agreement the employees belonging to any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members with any labor organization. What the exception provides, therefore, is that members of said religious sects cannot be compelled or coerced to join labor unions even when said unions have closed shop agreements with the employers; that in spite of any closed shop agreement, members of said religious sects cannot be refused employment or dismissed from their jobs on the sole ground that they are not members of the collective bargaining union. It is clear, therefore, that the assailed Act, far from infringing the constitutional provision on freedom of association, upholds and reinforces it. It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from affiliating with labor unions. It still leaves to said members the liberty and the power to affiliate, or not to affiliate, with labor unions. If, notwithstanding their religious beliefs, the members of said religious sects prefer to sign up

with the labor union, they can do so. If in deference and fealty to their religious faith, they refuse to sign up, they can do so; the law does not coerce them to join; neither does the law prohibit them from joining; and neither may the employer or labor union compel them to join. Republic Act No. 3350, therefore, does not violate the constitutional provision on freedom of association. 2. Appellant Union also contends that the Act is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of its contract, specifically, the "union security clause" embodied in its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Company, by virtue of which "membership in the union was required as a condition for employment for all permanent employees workers". This agreement was already in existence at the time Republic Act No. 3350 was enacted of June 18, 1961, and it cannot, therefore, be deemed to have been incorporated into the agreement. But by reason of this amendment, Appellee, as well as others similarly situated, could no longer be dismissed from his job even if he should cease to be a member, or disaffiliate from the Union, and the Company could continue employing him notwithstanding his disaffiliation from the Union. The Act, therefore, introduced a change into the express terms of the union security clause; the Company was partly absolved by law from the contractual obligation it had with the Union of employing only Union members in permanent positions. It cannot be denied, therefore, that there was indeed an impairment of said union security clause. According to Black, any statute which introduces a change into the express terms of the contract, or its legal construction, or its validity, or its discharge, or the remedy for its enforcement, impairs the contract. The extent of the change is not material. It is not a question of degree or manner or cause, but of encroaching in any respect on its obligation or dispensing with any part of its force. There is an impairment of the contract if either party is absolved by law from its performance. 22 Impairment has also been predicated on laws which, without destroying contracts, derogate from substantial contractual rights. 23 It should not be overlooked, however, that the prohibition to impair the obligation of contracts is not absolute and unqualified. The prohibition is general, affording a broad outline and requiring construction to fill in the details. The prohibition is not to be read with literal exactness like a mathematical formula, for it prohibits unreasonable impairment only. 24 In spite of the constitutional prohibition, the State continues to possess authority to safeguard the vital interests of its people. Legislation appropriate to safeguarding said interests may modify or abrogate contracts already in effect. 25 For not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix the obligations as between the parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a postulate of the legal order. All contracts made with reference to any matter that is subject to regulation under the police power must be understood as made in reference to the possible exercise of that power. 26 Otherwise, important and valuable reforms may be precluded by the simple device of entering into contracts for the purpose of doing that which otherwise may be prohibited. The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. The contract clause of the Constitution must, therefore, be not only in harmony with, but also in subordination to, in appropriate instances, the reserved power

of the state to safeguard the vital interests of the people. It follows that not all legislations, which have the effect of impairing a contract, are obnoxious to the constitutional prohibition as to impairment, and a statute passed in the legitimate exercise of police power, although it incidentally destroys existing contract rights, must be upheld by the courts. This has special application to contracts regulating relations between capital and labor which are not merely contractual, and said labor contracts, for being impressed with public interest, must yield to the common good. 27 In several occasions this Court declared that the prohibition against impairing the obligations of contracts has no application to statutes relating to public subjects within the domain of the general legislative powers of the state involving public welfare. 28 Thus, this Court also held that the Blue Sunday Law was not an infringement of the obligation of a contract that required the employer to furnish work on Sundays to his employees, the law having been enacted to secure the well-being and happiness of the laboring class, and being, furthermore, a legitimate exercise of the police power. 29 In order to determine whether legislation unconstitutionally impairs contract obligations, no unchanging yardstick, applicable at all times and under all circumstances, by which the validity of each statute may be measured or determined, has been fashioned, but every case must be determined upon its own circumstances. Legislation impairing the obligation of contracts can be sustained when it is enacted for the promotion of the general good of the people, and when the means adopted to secure that end are reasonable. Both the end sought and the means adopted must be legitimate, i.e., within the scope of the reserved power of the state construed in harmony with the constitutional limitation of that power. 30 What then was the purpose sought to be achieved by Republic Act No. 3350? Its purpose was to insure freedom of belief and religion, and to promote the general welfare by preventing discrimination against those members of religious sects which prohibit their members from joining labor unions, confirming thereby their natural, statutory and constitutional right to work, the fruits of which work are usually the only means whereby they can maintain their own life and the life of their dependents. It cannot be gainsaid that said purpose is legitimate. The questioned Act also provides protection to members of said religious sects against two aggregates of group strength from which the individual needs protection. The individual employee, at various times in his working life, is confronted by two aggregates of power collective labor, directed by a union, and collective capital, directed by management. The union, an institution developed to organize labor into a collective force and thus protect the individual employee from the power of collective capital, is, paradoxically, both the champion of employee rights, and a new source of their frustration. Moreover, when the Union interacts with management, it produces yet a third aggregate of group strength from which the individual also needs protection the collective bargaining relationship. 31 The aforementioned purpose of the amendatory law is clearly seen in the

Explanatory Note to House Bill No. 5859, which later became Republic Act No. 3350, as follows: "It would be unthinkable indeed to refuse employing a person who, on account of his religious beliefs and convictions, cannot accept membership in a labor organization although he possesses all the qualifications for the job. This is tantamount to punishing such person for believing in a doctrine he has a right under the law to believe in. The law would not allow discrimination to flourish to the detriment of those whose religion discards membership in any labor organization, Likewise, the law would not commend the deprivation of their right to work and pursue a modest means of livelihood, without in any manner violating their religious faith and/or belief." 32 It cannot be denied, furthermore, that the means adopted by the Act to achieve that purpose exempting the members of said religious sects from coverage of union security agreements is reasonable. It may not be amiss to point out here that the free exercise of religious profession or belief is superior to contract rights. In case of conflict, the latter must, therefore, yield to the former. The Supreme Court of the United States has also declared on several occasions that the rights in the First Amendment, which include freedom of religion, enjoy a preferred position in the constitutional system. 33 Religious freedom, although not unlimited, is a fundamental personal right and liberty, 34 and has a preferred position in the hierarchy of values. Contractual rights, therefore, must yield to freedom of religion. It is only where unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. 3. In further support of its contention that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional, appellant Union averred that said Act discriminates in favor of members of said religious sects in violation of Section 1(7) of Article III of the 1935 Constitution, and which is now Section 8 of Article 8 of the 1973 Constitution, which provides: "No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without. discrimination and preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights." The constitutional provision not only prohibits legislation for the support of any religious tenets or the modes of worship of any sect, thus forestalling compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship, 35 but also assures the free exercise of one's chosen form of religion within limits of utmost amplitude. It has been said that the religion clauses of the Constitution are all designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience, to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs, to profess his beliefs, and to live as he believes he ought to live, consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. 36 Any legislation whose effect or purpose is to impede the observance of one or all religions, or to discriminate invidiously between the religions, is invalid, even though the burden may be characterized as being only indirect. 37 But if the stage regulates conduct by enacting, within its power, a general law which has for its purpose and effect to advance the state's secular goals, the statute is valid despite its indirect burden

on religious observance, unless the state can accomplish its purpose without imposing such burden. 38 In Aglipay v. Ruiz, 39 this Court had occasion to state that the government should not be precluded from pursuing valid objectives secular ID character even if the incidental result would be favorable to a religion or sect. It has likewise been held that the statute, in order to withstand the strictures of constitutional prohibition, must have a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. 40 Assessed by these criteria, Republic Act No. 3350 cannot be said to violate the constitutional inhibition of the "noestablishment" (of religion) clause of the Constitution. The purpose of Republic Act No. 3350 is secular, worldly, and temporal, not spiritual or religious or holy and eternal. It was intended to serve the secular purpose of advancing the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, by averting that certain persons be refused work, or be dismissed from work, or be dispossessed of their right to work and of being impeded to pursue a modest means of livelihood, by reason of union security agreements. To help its citizens to find gainful employment whereby they can make a living to support themselves and their families is a valid objective of the state. In fact, the state is enjoined, in the 1935 Constitution, to afford protection to labor, and regulate the relations between labor and capital and industry. 41 More so now in the 1973 Constitution where it is mandated that "the State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relation between workers and employers." 42 The primary effects of the exemption from closed shop agreements in favor of members of religious sects that prohibit their members from affiliating with a labor organization, is the protection of said employees against the aggregate force of the collective bargaining agreement, and relieving certain citizens of a burden on their religious beliefs; and by eliminating to a certain extent economic insecurity due to unemployment, which is a serious menace to the health, morals, and welfare of the people of the State, the Act also promotes the well-being of society. It is our view that the exemption from the effects of closed shop agreement does not directly advance, or diminish, the interests of any particular religion. Although the exemption may benefit those who are members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions, the benefit upon the religious sects is merely incidental and indirect. The "establishment clause" (of religion) does not ban regulation on conduct whose reason or effect merely happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions. 43 The free exercise clause of the Constitution has been interpreted to require that religious exercise be preferentially aided. 44 We believe that in enacting Republic Act No. 3350, Congress acted consistently with the spirit of the constitutional provision. It acted merely to relieve the exercise of religion, by certain persons, of a burden that is imposed by union security agreements. It was Congress itself that imposed that burden when it enacted the Industrial Peace Act (Republic Act 875), and, certainly, Congress, if it so deems advisable, could take

away the same burden. It is certain that not every conscience can be accommodated by all the laws of the land; but when general laws conflict with scruples of conscience, exemptions ought to be granted unless some "compelling state interest" intervenes. 45 In the instant case, We see no such compelling state interest to withhold exemption. Appellant bewails that while Republic Act No. 3350 protects members of certain religious sects, it leaves no right to, and is silent as to the protection of, labor organizations. The purpose of Republic Act No. 3350 was not to grant rights to labor unions. The rights of labor unions are amply provided for in Republic Act No. 875 and the new Labor Code. As to the lamented silence of the Act regarding the rights and protection of labor unions, suffice it to say, first, that the validity of a statute is determined by its provisions, not by its silence; 46 and, second, the fact that the law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional. 47 It would not be amiss to state, regarding this matter, that to compel persons to join and remain members of a union to keep their jobs in violation of their religious scruples, would hurt, rather than help, labor unions. Congress has seen it fit to exempt religious objectors lest their resistance spread to other workers, for religious objections have contagious potentialities more than political and philosophic objections. Furthermore, let it be noted that coerced unity and loyalty even to the country, and a fortiori to a labor union - assuming that such unity and loyalty can be attained through coercion is not a goal that is constitutionally obtainable at the expense of religious liberty. 48 A desirable end cannot be promoted by prohibited means. 4. Appellants' fourth contention, that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional prohibition against requiring a religious test for the exercise of a civil right or a political right, is not well taken. The Act does not require as a qualification, or condition, for joining any lawful association membership in any particular religion or in any religious sect; neither does the Act require affiliation with a religious sect that prohibits Its members from joining a labor union as a condition or qualification for withdrawing from a labor union. Joining or withdrawing from a labor union requires a positive act. Republic Act No. 3350 only exempts members with such religious affiliation from the coverage of closed shop agreements. So, under this Act, a religious objector is not required to do a positive act to exercise the right to join or to resign from the union. He is exempted ipso jure without need of any positive act on his part. A conscientious religious objector need not perform a positive act or exercise the right of resigning from the labor union he is exempted from the coverage of any closed shop agreement that a labor union may have entered into. How then can there be a religious test required for the exercise of a right when no right need be exercised? We have said that it was within the police power of the State to enact Republic Act No. 3350, and that its purpose was legal and in consonance with the Constitution. It is never an illegal evasion of a constitutional provision or prohibition to accomplish a desired result, which is lawful in itself, by discovering or following a legal way to do it. 49 5. Appellant avers as its fifth ground that Republic Act No. 3350 is a discriminatory legislation, inasmuch as it grants to the members of certain religious sects undue advantages over other workers, thus violating Section 1 of

Article III of the 1935 Constitution which forbids the denial to any person of the equal protection of the laws. 50 The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. 51 It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate. The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. 52 The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. 53 All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. 54 This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. 55 In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over matters within its jurisdiction, the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. 56 It is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked differences of things or in their relation. 57 Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical nicety. 58 Hence legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions, 59 for the equal protection guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm, and legislation is addressed to evils as they may appear. We believe that Republic Act No. 3350 satisfies the aforementioned requirements. The Act classifies employees and workers, as to the effect and coverage of union shop security agreements, into those who by reason of their religious beliefs and convictions cannot sign up with a labor union, and those whose religion does not prohibit membership in labor unions. The classification rests on real or substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical, distinctions. There is such real distinction in the beliefs, feelings and sentiments of employees. Employees do not believe in the same religious faith and different religions differ in their dogmas and cannons. Religious beliefs, manifestations and practices, though they are found in all places, and in all times, take so many varied forms as to be almost beyond imagination. There are many views that comprise the

broad spectrum of religious beliefs among the people. There are diverse manners in which beliefs, equally paramount in the lives of their possessors, may be articulated. Today the country is far more heterogenous in religion than before, differences in religion do exist, and these differences are important and should not be ignored. Even from the psychological point of view, the classification is based on real and important differences. Religious beliefs are not mere beliefs, mere ideas existing only in the mind, for they carry with them practical consequences and are the motives of certain rules of human conduct and the justification of certain acts. 60 Religious sentiment makes a man view things and events in their relation to his God. It gives to human life its distinctive-character, its tone, its happiness, or unhappiness, its enjoyment or irksomeness. Usually, a strong and passionate desire is involved in a religious belief. To certain persons, no single factor of their experience is more important to them than their religion, or their not having any religion. Because of differences in religious belief and sentiments, a very poor person may consider himself better than the rich, and the man who even lacks the necessities of life may be more cheerful than the one who has all possible luxuries. Due to their religious beliefs people, like the martyrs, became resigned to the inevitable and accepted cheerfully even the most painful and excruciating pains. Because of differences in religious beliefs, the world has witnessed turmoil, civil strife, persecution, hatred, bloodshed and war, generated to a large extent by members of sects who were intolerant of other religious beliefs. The classification, introduced by Republic Act No. 3350, therefore, rests on substantial distinctions. The classification introduced by said Act is also germane to its purpose. The purpose of the law is precisely to avoid those who cannot, because of their religious belief, join labor unions, from being deprived of their right to work and from being dismissed from their work because of union shop security agreements. Republic Act No. 3350, furthermore, is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. The law does not provide that it is to be effective for a certain period of time only. It is intended to apply for all times as long as the conditions to which the law is applicable exist. As long as there are closed shop agreements between an employer and a labor union, and there are employees who are prohibited by their religion from affiliating with labor unions, their exemption from the coverage of said agreements continues. Finally, the Act applies equally to all members of said religious sects; this is evident from its provision. The fact that the law grants a privilege to members of said religious sects cannot by itself render the Act unconstitutional, for as We have adverted to, the Act only restores to them their freedom of association which closed shop agreements have taken away, and puts them in the same plane as the other workers who are not prohibited by their religion from joining labor unions. The circumstance, that the other employees, because they are differently situated, are not granted the same privilege, does not render the law unconstitutional, for every classification allowed by the Constitution by its nature involves inequality. The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law

is not thereby rendered invalid. A classification otherwise reasonable does not offend the constitution simply because in practice it results in some inequality. 61 Anent this matter, it has been said that whenever it is apparent from the scope of the law that its object is for the benefit of the public and the means by which the benefit is to be obtained are of public character, the law will be upheld even though incidental advantage may occur to individuals beyond those enjoyed by the general public. 62 6. Appellant's further contention that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional provision on social justice is also baseless. Social justice is intended to promote the welfare of all the people. 63 Republic Act No. 3350 promotes that welfare insofar as it looks after the welfare of those who, because of their religious belief, cannot join labor unions; the Act prevents their being deprived of work and of the means of livelihood. In determining whether any particular measure is for public advantage, it is not necessary that the entire state be directly benefited it is sufficient that a portion of the state be benefited thereby. Social justice also means the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all component elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the inter-relations of the members of the community. 64 Republic Act No. 3350 insures economic stability to the members of a religious sect, like the Iglesia ni Cristo, who are also component elements of society, for it insures security in their employment, notwithstanding their failure to join a labor union having a closed shop agreement with the employer. The Act also advances the proper economic and social equilibrium between labor unions and employees who cannot join labor unions, for it exempts the latter from the compelling necessity of joining labor unions that have closed shop agreements, and equalizes, in so far as opportunity to work is concerned, those whose religion prohibits membership in labor unions with those whose religion does not prohibit said membership. Social justice does not imply social equality, because social inequality will always exist as long as social relations depend on personal or subjective proclivities. Social justice does not require legal equality because legal equality, being a relative term, is necessarily premised on differentiations based on personal or natural conditions. 65 Social justice guarantees equality of opportunity, 66 and this is precisely what Republic Act No. 3350 proposes to accomplish it gives laborers, irrespective of their religious scruples, equal opportunity for work. 7. As its last ground, appellant contends that the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. 3350 is not called for - in other words, the Act is not proper, necessary or desirable. Anent this matter, it has been held that a statute which is not necessary is not, for that reason, unconstitutional; that in determining the constitutional validity of legislation, the courts are unconcerned with issues as to the necessity for the enactment of the legislation in question. 67 Courts do inquire into the wisdom of laws. 68 Moreover, legislatures, being chosen by the people, are presumed to understand and correctly appreciate the needs of the people, and it may change the laws accordingly. 69 The fear is entertained by appellant that unless the Act is declared unconstitutional,

employers will prefer employing members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions, and thus be a fatal blow to unionism. We do not agree. The threat to unionism will depend on the number of employees who are members of the religious sects that control the demands of the labor market. But there is really no occasion now to go further and anticipate problems We cannot judge with the material now before Us. At any rate, the validity of a statute is to be determined from its general purpose and its efficacy to accomplish the end desired, not from its effects on a particular case. 70 The essential basis for the exercise of power, and not a mere incidental result arising from its exertion, is the criterion by which the validity of a statute is to be measured. 71 II. We now pass on the second assignment of error, in support of which the Union argued that the decision of the trial court ordering the Union to pay P500 for attorney's fees directly contravenes Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875, for the instant action involves an industrial dispute wherein the Union was a party, and said Union merely acted in the exercise of its rights under the union shop provision of its existing collective bargaining contract with the Company; that said order also contravenes Article 2208 of the Civil Code; that, furthermore, Appellee was never actually dismissed by the defendant Company and did not therefore suffer any damage at all. 72 In refuting appellant Union's arguments, Appellee claimed that in the instant case there was really no industrial dispute involved in the attempt to compel Appellee to maintain its membership in the union under pain of dismissal, and that the Union, by its act, inflicted intentional harm on Appellee; that since Appellee was compelled to institute an action to protect his right to work, appellant could legally be ordered to pay attorney's fees under Articles 1704 and 2208 of the Civil Code. 73 The second paragraph of Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875 which is relied upon by appellant provides that: "No suit, action or other proceedings shall be maintainable in any court against a labor organization or any officer or member thereof for any act done by or on behalf of such organization in furtherance of an industrial dispute to which it is a party, on the ground only that such act induces some other person to break a contract of employment or that it is in restraint of trade or interferes with the trade, business or employment of some other person or with the right of some other person to dispose of his capital or labor." (Emphasis supplied) That there was a labor dispute in the instant case cannot be 'disputed for appellant sought the discharge of respondent by virtue of the closed shop agreement and under Section 2 (j) of Republic Act No. 875 a question involving tenure of employment is included in the term "labor dispute". 74 The discharge or the act of seeking it is the labor dispute itself. It being the labor dispute itself, that very same act of the Union in asking the employer to dismiss Appellee cannot be "an act done . . . in furtherance of an industrial dispute". The mere fact that appellant is a labor union does not necessarily mean that all its acts are in furtherance of an industrial dispute. 75 Appellant Union, therefore, cannot invoke in its favor Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875. This case is not intertwined with any unfair labor practice case existing at the time when Appellee filed his complaint before the lower court. Neither does Article 2208 of the Civil Code, invoked by the Union, serve as its shield. The article provides that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation may

be awarded "when the defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff . . . to incur expenses to protect his interest"; and "in any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered". In the instant case, it cannot be gainsaid that appellant Union's act in demanding Appellee's dismissal caused Appellee to incur expenses to prevent his being dismissed from his job. Costs according to Section 1, Rule 142, of the Rules of Court, shall be allowed as a matter of course to the prevailing party. WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is dismissed, and the decision, dated August 26, 1965, of the Court of First Instance of Manila, in its Civil Case No. 58894, appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellant Union. It is so ordered. Makalintal, C .J ., Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Esguerra, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ ., concur. Fernandez, J ., did not take part because he was co-author, when he was a Senator, of Rep. Act No. 3350. Separate Opinions FERNANDO, J ., concurring: The decision arrived at unanimously by this Court that Republic Act No. 3350 is free from the constitutional infirmities imputed to it was demonstrated in a manner well-nigh conclusive in the learned, scholarly, and comprehensive opinion so typical of the efforts of the ponente, Justice Zaldivar. Like the rest of my brethren, I concur fully. Considering moreover, the detailed attention paid to each and every objection raised as to its validity and the clarity and persuasiveness with which it was shown to be devoid of support in authoritative doctrines, it would appear that the last word has been written on this particular subject. Nonetheless, I deem it proper to submit this brief expression of my views on the transcendent character of religious freedom 1 and its primacy even as against the claims of protection to labor, 2 also one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution. 1. Religious freedom is identified with the liberty every individual possesses to worship or not a Supreme Being, and if a devotee of any sect, to act in accordance with its creed. Thus is constitutionally safeguarded, according to Justice Laurel, that "profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator . . ." 3 The choice of what a man wishes to believe in is his and his alone. That is a domain left untouched, where intrusion is not allowed, a citadel to which the law is denied entry, whatever be his thoughts or hopes. In that sphere, what he wills reigns supreme. The doctrine to which he pays fealty may for some be unsupported by evidence, devoid of rational foundation. No matter. There is no requirement as to its conformity to what has found acceptance. It suffices that for him such a concept holds undisputed sway. That is a recognition of man's freedom. That for him is one of the ways of self-realization. It would be to disregard the dignity that attaches to every human being to deprive him of such an attribute. The "fixed star on our constitutional constellation," to borrow the felicitous phrase of Justice Jackson, is that no official, not excluding the highest, has it in his power to prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of conscience or to mundane affairs, for that matter.

Gerona v. Secretary of Education 4 speaks similarly. In the language of its ponente, Justice Montemayor: "The realm of belief and creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought. So is the freedom of belief, including religious belief, limitless and without bounds. One may believe in most anything, however strange, bizarre and unreasonable the same may appear to others, even heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards." 5 There was this qualification though: "But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief, there is quite a stretch of road to travel. If the exercise of said religious belief clashes with the established institutions of society and with the law, then the former must yield and give way to the latter. The Government steps in and either restrains said exercise or even prosecutes the one exercising it." 6 It was on that basis that the daily compulsory flag ceremony in accordance with a statute 7 was found free from the constitutional objection on the part of a religious sect, the Jehovah's Witnesses, whose members alleged that their participation would be offensive to their religious beliefs. In a case not dissimilar, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 8 the American Supreme Court reached a contrary conclusion. Justice Jackson's eloquent opinion is, for this writer, highly persuasive. Thus: "The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order." 9 There is moreover this ringing affirmation by Chief Justice Hughes of the primacy of religious freedom in the forum of conscience even as against the command of the State itself: "Much has been said of the paramount duty to the state, a duty to be recognized, it is urged, even though it conflicts with convictions of duty to God. Undoubtedly that duty to the state exists within the domain of power, for government may enforce obedience to laws regardless of scruples. When one's belief collides with the power of the state, the latter is supreme within its sphere and submission or punishment follows. But, in the forum of conscience, duty to a moral power higher than the state has always been maintained. The reservation of that supreme obligation, as a matter of principle, would unquestionably be made by many of our conscientious and lawabiding citizens. The essence of religion is belief in a relation to God involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation." 10 The American Chief Justice spoke in dissent, it is true, but with him in agreement were three of the foremost jurists who ever sat in that Tribunal, Justices Holmes, Brandeis, and Stone. 2. As I view Justice Zaldivar's opinion in that light, my concurrence, as set forth earlier, is wholehearted and entire. With such a cardinal postulate as the

basis of our polity, it has a message that cannot be misread. Thus is intoned with a reverberating clang, to paraphrase Cardozo, a fundamental principle that drowns all weaker sounds. The labored effort to cast doubt on the validity of the statutory provision in question is far from persuasive. It is attended by futility. It is not for this Court, as I conceive of the judicial function, to restrict the scope of a preferred freedom. 3. There is, however, the question of whether such an exception possesses an implication that lessens the effectiveness of state efforts to protect labor, likewise, as noted, constitutionally ordained. Such a view, on the surface, may not be lacking in plausibility, but upon closer analysis, it cannot stand scrutiny. Thought must be given to the freedom of association, likewise an aspect of intellectual liberty. For the late Professor Howe, a constitutionalist and in his lifetime the biographer of the great Holmes, it even partakes of the political theory of pluralistic sovereignty. So great is the respect for the autonomy accorded voluntary societies. 11 Such a right implies at the very least that one can determine for himself whether or not he should join or refrain from joining a labor organization, an institutional device for promoting the welfare of the working man. A closed shop, on the other hand, is inherently coercive. That is why, as is unmistakably reflected in our decisions, the latest of which is Guijarno v. Court of Industrial Relations, 12 it is far from being a favorite of the law. For a statutory provision then to further curtail its operation, is precisely to follow the dictates of sound public policy. The exhaustive and well-researched opinion of Justice Zaldivar thus is in the mainstream of constitutional tradition. That, for me, is the channel to follow.

EN BANC [A.C. No. 1928. August 3, 1978.] In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty.

MARCIAL A. EDILLON (IBP Administrative Case No. MDD - 1). SYNOPSIS For respondent's stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since the latter's constitution, notwithstanding due notice, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines unanimously adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution recommending the removal of respondent's name from its Roll of Attorneys, pursuant to Par. 2, Sec. 24, Art. III of the By-Laws of the IBP. Respondent, although conceding the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, questions the all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership therein and the obligation to pay membership dues arguing that the provisions therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute an invasion of his constitutional right in the sense that he is being compelled, as a precondition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Respondent likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that this matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is of an administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. The Supreme Court unanimously held that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar are valid exercise of the police power over an important profession; that to compel a lawyer to be a member of the IBP is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate; that the requirement to pay membership fees is imposed as a regulatory measure designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration; that the penalty provisions for non-payment are not void as unreasonable or arbitrary; that the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and power to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys is expressly provided by Art. X, Section 5(5) of the Constitution and held as an inherent judicial function by a host of decided cases; and that the provisions of Rules of Court 139-A ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines and the IBP By-Laws complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. Respondent disbarred and his name ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. SYLLABUS 1. ATTORNEYS; BAR INTEGRATION; NATURE AND PURPOSE. An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are,

therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. 2. ID.; ID.; INTEGRATION OF THE BAR, A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER; PRACTICE OF LAW NOT A VESTED RIGHT BUT A PRIVILEGE. All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the Court. The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. The expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGISLATION TO EFFECT THE INTEGRATION OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR. The Congress in enacting Republic Act No. 6397, approved on September 17, 1971, authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively," the Supreme Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity. 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; IMPOSITION OF RESTRAINTS JUSTIFIED. The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty, property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals 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 (Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from some freedom. 5. ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTION VESTS SUPREME COURT WITH PLENARY POWER IN ALL CASES REGARDING ADMISSION TO AND SUPERVISION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW. Even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law, "(Sec. 5[5],

Art. X, 1973 Costitution) it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. 6. ID.; ID.; COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP THEREIN NOT VIOLATIVE OF A LAWYER'S CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He becomes a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers. 7. ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEE; A REGULATORY MEASURE NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Supreme Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) from requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; PENALTY PROVISIONS, NOT VOID. If the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. The practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public responsibilities. 9. ID.; POWER TO PASS UPON FITNESS TO REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE BAR VESTED IN THE SUPREME COURT. The matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. 10. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The provisions of Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines and

the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is neither unconstitutional nor illegal, and a lawyer's stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, notwithstanding due notice, in violation of said Rule and By-Laws, is a ground for disbarment and striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. RESOLUTION CASTRO, C.J p: The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines. On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice. On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said resolution to the Court for consideration and approval, pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP, which reads: ". . . . Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall deem appropriate, including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter concerned." On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter adverted to above; he submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay the membership fees due from him. On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: on March 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply. Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing, the parties were required to submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth submitted for resolution. At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings would show that the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The respondent, however, objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as the Court Rule) 1 in accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated and to the provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited). The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article III of the IBP By-Laws (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule, which reads: "SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for six months

shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys." The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the Court Rule: LLphil "SECTION 1. Organization. There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines,' composed of all persons whose names now appear or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court." The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule: "SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. . . . ." The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body." The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that inevitably and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the practice of law, define the conditions of such practice, or revoke the license granted for the exercise of the legal profession. The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the Court, entitled "Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines, Roman Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners." The Court exhaustively considered all these matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, promulgated on January 9, 1973. The Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was. ". . . . fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm. Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar is 'perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable' . . ." Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court. An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded

an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. 2 The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of individual lawyers. 3 Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the Court. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. As the U. S. Supreme Court through Mr. Justice Roberts explained, the expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. New York, 291 U.S. 502). When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectivity." Hence, the Congress in enacting such Act, the Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity. The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty, property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals 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 (Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from

some freedom. But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines, which reads: "Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx "(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . . .", and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads: "SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively." Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law, " it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns. On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall. The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now concisely deal with them seriatim. prLL 1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate). Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6 Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. 8 Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only

compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers. 9 Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the state. 10 2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring payment of a membership fee is void. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) which power the respondent acknowledges from requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 11 3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it clear that under the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondent's right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. 12 But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, 13 and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public responsibilities. 4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion. 14 In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court, sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky, said: The power to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper administration of justice . . . the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother member

of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It is a grave responsibility, to be assumed only with a determination to uphold the ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. . ." The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to "promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice . . . and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . . ." (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the Court. We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. cdll WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Muoz Palma, Aquino, Concepcion Jr., Santos, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.