Reyes vs Bagatsing

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constitutional law
  Reyes vs Bagatsing   FERNANDO, C.J  FACTS  Petitioner, retired Justice JB L. Reyes, on behalf of the Anti-Bases Coalition sought a permit from the City of Manila tohold a peaceful march and rally on ctober ! , #$%& from !'(( to )'(( in the afternoon, starting from the Luneta, a publicpar*, to the gates of the +nited tates mbassy, hardly to bloc*s aay. nce there, and in an open space of publicproperty, a short program ould be held. !  /uring the course of the oral argument, &  it as stated that after the deli0ery of to brief speeches, a petition based on the resolution adopted on the last day by the 1nternational Conference for 2eneral/isbarmament, 3orld Peace and the Remo0al of All 4oreign Military Bases held in Manila, ould be presented to arepresentati0e of the mbassy or any of its personnel ho may be there so that it may be deli0ered to the +nited tatesAmbassador. 5he march ould be attended by the local and foreign participants of such conference. 5here as li*eise anassurance in the petition that in the e6ercise of the constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, all the necessarysteps ould be ta*en by it 7to ensure a peaceful march and rally.7 8 5he 9iling of this suit for mandamus ith alternati0e prayer for rit of preliminary mandatory in:unction as due to thefact that petitioner had not been informed of any action ta*en on his re;uest on behalf of the organi<ation to hold a rally. 1t turned out that on ctober #$, such permit as denied. Petitioner as unaare of such a fact as the denial as sent byordinary mail. 5he reason for refusing a permit as due to persistent intelligence reports af9irm=ing> the plans of sub0ersi0e?criminal elements to in9iltrate and?or disrupt any assembly or congregations here a large number of peopleis e6pected to attend.7 @  Respondent Mayor suggested, hoe0er, in accordance ith the recommendation of the policeauthorities, that 7a permit may be issued for the rally if it is to be held at the Ri<al Coliseum or any other enclosed areahere the safety of the participants themsel0es and the general public may be ensured.7 ISSUE '3hether or not denial of a public rally on a public par* and the + mbassy is a 0iolation of constitutional guarantee tofree speech and assembly. HELD 'es. 5he Court then deliberated on the matter. 5hat same afternoon, a minute resolution as issued by the Court grantingthe mandatory in:unction prayed for on the ground that there as no shoing of the e6istence of a clear and present danger of a substanti0e e0il that could :ustify the denial of a permit. 1t is thus clear that the Court is called upon to protect the e6ercise of the cognate rights to free speech and peacefulassembly, arising from the denial of a permit. 5he Constitution is ;uite e6plicit' 7o la shall be passed abridging thefreedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the 2o0ernment forredress of grie0ances.7 4reedom of assembly connotes the right people to meet peaceably for consultation and discussionof matters of public concern. #@  1t is entitled to be accorded the utmost deference and respect.5here can be no legal ob:ection, absent the e6istence of a clear and present danger of a substanti0e e0il, on the choice of Luneta as the place here the peace rally ould start. 5he Philippines is committed to the 0ie e6pressed in the pluralityopinion, of #$&$ 0intage, of Justice Roberts in Hague v. CIO:   !)  3hene0er the title of streets and par*s may rest, they ha0eimmemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, ha0e been used for purposes of assembly,communicating thoughts beteen citi<ens, and discussing public ;uestions. 5o repeat, there can be no 0alid reason hy apermit should not be granted for the or oposed march and rally starting from a public dar* that is the Luneta. either canthere be any 0alid ob:ection to the use of the streets, to the gates of the + mbassy.1n line ith this, the Constitution 7adopts the generally accepted principles of international la as part of the la of theland. ...7 5hat being the case, sanctioned in the ienna Con0ention that if there ere a clear and present danger of anyintrusion or damage, or disturbance of the peace of the mission, or impairment of its dignity, there ould be a :usti9icationfor the denial of the permit insofar as the terminal point ould be the mbassy. Doe0er, respondent Mayor relied onrdinance o. @!$) of the City of Manila prohibiting the holding or staging of rallies or demonstrations ithin a radius of   9i0e hundred E)((F feet from any foreign mission or chancery and for other purposes. +nless the ordinance is nulli9ied, ordeclared ultra vires, its in0ocation as a defense is understandable but not decisi0e, in 0ie of the primacy accorded theconstitutional rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.5he participants to such assembly, composed primarily of those in attendance at the 1nternational Conference for 2eneral/isbarmament, 3orld Peace and the Remo0al of All 4oreign Military Bases ould start from the Luneta proceedingthrough Ro6as Boule0ard to the gates of the +nited tates mbassy located at the same street. 5o repeat, it is settled lathat as to public places, especially so as to par*s and streets, there is freedom of access. or is their use dependent on hois the applicant for the permit, hether an indi0idual or a group. 1f it ere, then the freedom of access becomesdiscriminatory access, gi0ing rise to an e;ual protection ;uestion. 1n fairness to respondent Mayor, he acted on the belief that Navarro v. Villegas   &%  and Pagkakaisa ng ManggagawangPilipino (PMP.) v. Bagatsing, &$   called for application. 3hile the 2eneral rule is that a permit should recogni<e the right of the applicants to hold their assembly at a public place of their choice, another place may be designated by the licensingauthority if it be shon that there is a clear and present danger of a substanti0e e0il if no such change ere made. 1n thea0arro and the Pag*a*aisa decisions, this Court as persuaded that the clear and present danger test as satis9ied. 5hepresent situation is ;uite different. Dence the decision reached by the Court. 5he mere assertion that sub0ersi0es mayin9iltrate the ran*s of the demonstrators does not suf9ice. 5he police force is in a position to cope ith such emergencyshould it arise 5hat is to comply ith its duty to e6tend protection to the participants of such peaceable assembly.By ay of a summary 5he applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing authority of the date,the public place here and the time hen it ill ta*e place. 1f it ere a pri0ate place, only the consent of the oner or theone entitled to its legal possession is re;uired. uch application should be 9iled ell ahead in time to enable the publicof9icial concerned to appraise hether there may be 0alid ob:ections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable cnditin t s!c #e$!sal # %di&icatin t at t e clea# and p#esent dange# test be t e standa#d $# t e decisin #eac ed'  1f he is of the 0ie that there is such an imminent and gra0edanger of a substanti0e e0il, the applicants must be heard on the matter. 5hereafter, his decision, hether fa0orable orad0erse, must be transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. 5hus if so minded, then, can ha0e recourse to the proper:udicial authority.Respondent Mayor posed the issue of the applicability of rdinance o. @!$) of the City of Manila prohibiting the holdingor staging of rallies or demonstrations ithin a radius of 9i0e hundred E)((F feet from any foreign mission or chancery andfor other purposes. 1t is to be admitted that it 9inds support 1n the pre0iously ;uoted Article !! of the ienna Con0entionon /iplomatic Relations. 5here as no shoing, hoe0er, that the distance beteen the chancery and the embassy gate isless than )(( feet. 0en if it could be shon that such a condition is satis9ied. it does not follo that respondent Mayorcould legally act the ay he did. 5he 0alidity of his denial of the permit sought could still be challenged. 1t could be arguedthat a case of unconstitutional application of such ordinance to the e6ercise of the right of peaceable assembly presentsitself. rdinarily, the remedy in cases of this character is to set aside the denial or the modi9ication of the permit sought andorder the respondent of9icial, to grant it. onetheless, as there as urgency in this case, the proposed march and rallybeing scheduled for the ne6t day after the hearing, this Court in the e6ercise of its conceded authority, granted themandatory in:unction in the resolution of ctober !), #$%&. 3DR4R, the mandatory in:unction prayed for is granted. o costs.
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