Tuesday, August 2, 2011



Petitioners, Atty. Humberto Basco, seek to annul the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter – PD 1869, because it is allegedly contrary to morals, public policy and order. They also claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the declared national policy of the "new restored democracy" and the people's will as expressed in the 1987 Constitution. The decree is said to have a "gambling objective" and there is contrary to Sections 11, 12 and 13 of Article II, Sec. 1 of Article VIII and Section 3 (2) of Article XIV, of the present Constitution.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation was created by virtue of P.D. 1067 – A dated January 1, 1977 and was granted a franchise under P.D. 1067 – B also dated January 1, 1977 "to establish, operate, and maintain gambling casinos on land or water within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. On June 22, 1978, P.D. 1399 was passed for PAGCOR to fully attain its objective. Subsequently, on July 11, 1983, PAGCOR was created under P.D. 1869 to enable the Government to regulate and centralize all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by law.

Whether or not, as taxpayers and practicing lawyer (petitioner Basco also the Chairman of Committee of Laws of the City Council of Manilla), can question and seek the annulment of PD 1869 on the alleged ground mentioned above?

No. On petitioner's allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Section 11 (Personality Dignity), 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2(Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these facts are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principle. Every law has in its favour the presumption of constitutionality. Therefore, for PD 1869 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful and equivocal one. In other words, the ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. Based on the grounds raised by the petitioner to challenge the constitutionality of P.D. 1869, the Court finds that petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption.

FULL TEXT: http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1991/may1991/gr_91649_1991.html

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