BILL OF RIGHTS
Significance. Government is powerful. When limited, it becomes tyrannical. It is a guarantee that there are certain areas of person’s life, liberty or property which government power may not touch. All the powers of the government (police power, power of eminent domain and power of taxation) are limited by the Bill of Rights.
Classification of Rights:
1. Political Rights—granted by law to members of a community in relation to their direct or indirect participation in the establishment or administration of government. 2. Civil Rights—rights which municipal law will enforce at the instance of private individuals for the purpose of securing them the enjoyment of their means of happiness. 3. Social and Economic Rights—these are the rights which generally require implementing legislation. (Article XIII)
Doctrine of Preferred Freedom (Hierarchy of Rights)—some rights are preferred PBM Employees Org. vs. PBM Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 189
While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property is recognized. Because these freedoms are “delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society” and the “threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions,” they “need breathing space to survive,” permitting government regulation only “with narrow specificity.”
Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible.
In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; and such priority “gives these liberties the sanctity and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions.”
The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or rational relation between the means employed by the law and its object or purpose—that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive—would suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property rights.
On the other hand, a constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent.
Sec. 1, Art. III
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
LIMITATIONS OF SOVEREIGNTY
Inherent in sovereignty, and therefore not even required to be conferred by the Constitution, are the police, eminent domain, and taxation powers. The Bill of Rights, notably the due process, equal protection and non-impairment clauses, is a means of limiting the exercise of these powers by imposing on the State the obligation to protect individual rights. The Bill of Rights is addressed to the State, notably the government, telling it what it cannot do to the individual.
A. DUE PROCESS OF LAW
That which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial.
Applies to all persons, without regard to any difference in race, color or nationality Artificial persons—covered but only insofar as their property is concerned. Extends to aliens
Includes the means of livelihood
“Responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice.” (Ermita-Malate Hotel & Motel Operators Association vs. City of Manila, 20 SCRA 849)
Life—includes the right of an individual to his body in its completeness, free from dismemberment, and extends to the use of God-given faculties which make life enjoyable.
Liberty—includes the right to exist and the right to be free from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude. x x x It includes the right of the citizen to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways....
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