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G.R. No. L-2216 January 31, 1950
DEE C. CHUAN & SONS, INC., petitioner, vs.
THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, CONGRESS OF LABOR ORGANIZATIONS (CLO), KAISAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA KAHOY SA PILIPINAS and JULIAN LUMANOG AND HIS WORK-CONTRACT LABORERS, respondents.
Dee C. Chuan & Sons, Inc. assails the validity of an order of the Court of Industrial Relations. The order made upon petitioner's request for authority to hire" about twelve(12) more laborers from time to time and on a temporary basis," contains the proviso that "the majority of the laborers to be employed should be native." The petition was filed pending settlement by the court of a labor dispute (strike) between the petitioner and Kaisahan Ng Mga Manggagawa sa Kahoy sa Pilipinas.
It is next said that "The Court of Industrial Relations cannot intervene in questions of selection of employees and workers so as to impose unconstitutional restrictions," and that "The restrictions of the number of aliens that may be employed in any business, occupation, trade or profession of any kind, is a denial of the equal protection of the laws." Although the brief does not name the persons who are supposed to be denied the equal protection of the laws, it is clearly to be inferred that aliens in general are in petitioner's mind. Certainly, the order does not, directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely, discriminate against the petitioner on account of race or citizenship. The order could have been issued in a case in which the employer was a Filipino. As a matter of fact the petitioner insists that 75 % of its shares of stock are held by Philippine citizens, a statement which is here assumed to be correct.
W/N the order of CIR is valid and constitutional.
Yes. Costs against petitioners.
An alien may question the constitutionality of a statute (or court order) only when and so far as it is being, or is about to be, applied to his disadvantage. (16 C.J.S. 157 et seq.) The prospective employees whom the petitioner may contemplate employing have not come forward to seek redress; their identity has not even been revealed. Clearly the petitioner has no case in so far as it strives to protect the rights of others, much less others who are unknown and undetermined.
We are of the opinion that the order under consideration meets the test of reasonableness and public interest. The passage of Commonwealth Act No. 103 was "in conformity with the constitutional objective and . . . the historical fact that industrial and agricultural disputes have given rise to disquietude, bloodshed and revolution in our country." (Antamok Goldfields Mining Co. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 40 Off. Gaz., 8th Supp., 173.)1 "Commonwealth Act No. 103 has precisely vested the Court of Industrial Relations with authority to intervene in all disputes between employees or strikes arising from the difference as regards wages, compensation, and other labor conditions which it may take cognizance of." (Central Azucarera de Tarlac vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 40 Off. Gaz., 3rd Supp., 319, 324.)2 Thus it has jurisdiction to determine the number of men to be laid off during off-seasons. By the same token, the court may specify that a certain proportion of the additional laborers to be employed should be Filipinos, if such condition, in the court's opinion, "is necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling disputes or doing justice to the parties."
We can not agree with the petitioner that the order constitutes an unlawful intrusion into the sphere of legislation, by attempting to lay down a public policy of the state or to settle a political question. In the first place, we believe, as we have already explained, that the court's action falls within the legitimate scope of its jurisdiction. In the second place, the order does not formulate a policy and is not political in character. It is not a permanent, all-embracing regulation. It is a compromise and emergency measure applicable only in this case and calculated to bridge a temporary gap and to adjust conflicting interests in an existing and menacing controversy. The hiring of Chinese laborers by the petitioner was rightly considered by the court likely to lead the parties away from the reconciliation which it was the function of the court to effectuate.
We should not close without adverting to the fact that the petitioner does not so much as pretend that the hiring of additional laborers is its prerogative as a matter of right. It seems to be conceded that during the pendency of the dispute the petitioner could employ temporary laborers only with the permission of the Court of Industrial Relations. The granting of the application thus lies within the sound judgment of the court, and if the court could turn it down entirely, as we think it could, its authority to quality the permission should be undeniable, provided only that the qualification is not arbitrary, against law, morals, or established public policy, which it is not; it is an expedient and emergency step designed to relieve petitioner's own difficulties. Also important to remember is that it is not compulsory on petitioner's part to take advantage of the order. Being a permute petitioner is the sole judge of whether it should take the order as it is, or leave it if it does not suit its interest to hire new laborers other than Chinese.