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Felicisima De La Cruz vs Paras
Political Law – Subject Shall Be Expressed in the Title
De La Cruz et al were club & cabaret operators. They assail the constitutionality of Ord. No. 84, Ser. of 1975 or the Prohibition and Closure Ordinance of Bocaue, Bulacan. De la Cruz averred that the said Ordinance violates their right to engage in a lawful business for the said ordinance would close out their business. That the hospitality girls they employed are healthy and are not allowed to go out with customers. Judge Paras however lifted the TRO he earlier issued against Ord. 84 after due hearing declaring that Ord 84. is constitutional for it is pursuant to RA 938 which reads “AN ACT GRANTING MUNICIPAL OR CITY BOARDS AND COUNCILS THE POWER TO REGULATE THE ESTABLISHMENT, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF CERTAIN PLACES OF AMUSEMENT WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTIONS”. De la Cruz then appealed citing that they were deprived of due process.
ISSUE: Whether or not a municipal corporation, Bocaue, Bulacan can, prohibit the exercise of a lawful trade, the operation of night clubs, and the pursuit of a lawful occupation, such clubs employing hostesses pursuant to Ord 84 which is further in pursuant to RA 938.
HELD: RA 938 was enacted in 1953. Section thereof reads ”The municipal or city board or council of each chartered city shall have the power to regulate by ordinance the establishment, maintenance and operation of night clubs, cabarets, dancing schools, pavilions, cockpits, bars, saloons, bowling alleys, billiard pools, and other similar places of amusement within its territorial jurisdiction: . . . “. Then in 1954, the first section was amended to include not merely “the power to regulate, but likewise “prohibit . . .”. The title, however, remained the same. It is worded exactly as RA 938. If considered as amended, a municipal council may go as far as to prohibit the operation of night clubs. If that were all, then the appealed decision is not devoid of support in law. That is not all, however. The title was not in any way altered. It was not changed one bit. The exact wording was followed. The power granted remains that of regulation, not prohibition. There is thus support for the view advanced by De La Cruz that to construe RA. 938 as allowing the prohibition of the operation of night clubs is in violation of the constitutional provision that a bill shall contain only one subject matter and shall be expressed in the title thereof. The title clearly expresses that the purpose of which is to regulate. The amendment including “prohibition” is therefore violative of the constitution for it runs counter against the title of the said RA. As noted, the title was not modified to accommodate the amendment.
**Not to be confused with Vicente De La Cruz vs Edgardo Paras.
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