on the 26th day of October, 1923, the prosecuting attorney of the City of Manila presented a complaint in the Court of First Instance, accusing the defendant of a violation of section 13 in connection with section 15 of Act No. 3071 of the
the said accused, being the manager and person in charge of La Flor de la Isabela, a tobacco factory pertaining to La Compania General de Tabacos de
Filipinas, a corporation duly authorized to transact business in said city, and having, during the year 1923, in his employ and service as cigarmaker in said factory, a woman by the name of Macaria Fajardo, whom he granted vacation leave which began on the 16th day of July,... 1923, by reason of her pregnancy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously fail and refuse to pay to said woman the sum of eighty pesos (P80), Philippine currency, to which she was entitled as her regular wages corresponding to thirty days before and thirty days... after her delivery and confinement which took place on the 12th day of August, 1923, despite and over the demands made by her, the said Macaria Fajardo, upon said accused, to do so.
Upon a consideration of the facts charged in the complaint and admitted by the defendant, the Honorable C. A. Imperial, judge, found the defendant guilty of the alleged offense
From that sentence the defendant appealed, and now makes the following assignments of error: That the court erred in overruling the demurrer; in convicting him of the crime charged in the information; and in not declaring section 13 of Act No. 3071 unconstitutional.
Section 13 of Act No. 3071 is as follows:
"Every person, firm or corporation owning or managing a factory, shop or place of labor of any description shall be obliged to grant to any woman employed by it as laborer who may be pregnant, thirty days vacation with pay before and another thirty days after confinement:
Provided, That the employer shall not discharge such laborer without just cause, under the penalty of being required to pay to her wages equivalent to the total of two months counted from the day of her discharge."
Said section 13 was enacted by the Legislature of the Philippine Islands in the exercise of its supposed police power, with the praiseworthy purpose of safeguarding the health of pregnant women laborers in "factory, shop or place of labor of any description," and of insuring... to them, to a certain extent, reasonable support for one month before and one month after their delivery. The question presented for decision by the appeal is whether said Act hats been adopted in the reasonable and lawful exercise of the police power of the state.
whether or not the provisions of sections 13 and 15 of Act No. 3071 are a reasonable and lawful exercise of the police power of the state.
Sir William Blackstone, one of the greatest expounders of the common law, defines the police power as "the due regulation and domestic order of the kingdom, whereby the inhabitants of a state, like members of a well-governed... family, are bound to conform their general behavior to the rules of propriety, good neighborhood, and good manners, and to be decent, industrious, and inoffensive in their respective station.
In section 13 it will be seen that no person, firm, or corporation owning or managing a factory, shop, or place of labor of any description, can make a contract with a woman, without... incurring the obligation, whatever the contract of employment might be, unless he also promise to pay to such woman employed as a laborer, who may become pregnant, her wages for thirty days before and thirty days after confinement. In other words, said section creates a... term or condition in every contract made by every person, firm, or corporation with any woman who may, during the course of her employment, become pregnant, and a failure to include in said contract the terms fixed by the law, makes the employer criminally liable and subject to... a fine and imprisonment. Clearly, therefore, the law has deprived, every person, firm, or corporation owning or managing a factory, shop or place of labor of any description within the Philippine Islands, of his right to enter into contracts of employment upon such... terms as he and the employee may agree upon. The law creates a term in every such contract, without the consent of the parties. Such persons are, therefore, deprived of their liberty to contract. The constitution of the Philippine Islands guarantees to every... citizen his liberty and one of his liberties is the liberty to contract.
It is believed and confidently asserted that no case can be found, in civilized society and well-organized governments, where individuals have been deprived of their property, under the police power of the state, without compensation, except in cases where the... property in question was used for the purpose of violating some law legally adopted, or constitutes a nuisance.
The rule in this jurisdiction is, that the contracting parties may establish any agreements, terms, and conditions they may deem advisable, provided they are not contrary to law, morals or public policy. (Art. 1255, Civil Code.)
For all of the foregoing reasons, we are fully persuaded, under the facts and the law, that the provisions of section 13, of Act No. 3071 of the Philippine Legislature, are unconstitutional and void, in that they violate and are contrary to the provisions of the first... paragraph of section 3 of the Act of Congress of the United States of August 29, 1916. (Vol. 12, Public Laws, p. 238.)
Therefore, the sentence of the lower court is hereby revoked, the complaint is hereby dismissed, and the defendant is hereby discharged from the custody of the law, with costs de ofido. So ordered.