Petitioner Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI), is a firm “engaged principally in the recruitment of Filipino workers, male and female, for overseas placement.”
In this petition for certiorari and prohibition, PASEI challenges the Constitutional validity of Department Order No. 1, Series of 1988, [GUIDELINES GOVERNING THE TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEPLOYMENT OF FILIPINO DOMESTIC AND HOUSEHOLD WORKERS] of the Department of Labor and Employment, which banned the deployment of female domestic overseas workers to “enhance the protection for Filipino female overseas workers” with respect to certain countries.
Specifically, the measure is assailed for “discrimination against males or females;” that it “does not apply to all Filipino workers but only to domestic helpers and females with similar skills;” and that it is violative of the right to travel. It is held likewise to be an invalid exercise of the lawmaking power, police power being legislative, and not executive, in character.
Whether or not Department Order No. 1 is valid under the Constitution.
The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has been defined as the “state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare.”
As defined, it consists of
(1) an imposition of restraint upon liberty or property,
(2) in order to foster the common good.
“Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits.”
It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not owe its origin to the Charter. Along with the taxing power and eminent domain, it is inborn in the very fact of statehood and sovereignty. It is a fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to perform the most vital functions of governance. Marshall, to whom the expression has been credited, refers to it succinctly as the plenary power of the State “to govern its citizens.”
Police power may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety, and welfare of society.
Department Order No. 1 is a valid implementation of the Labor Code, in particular, its basic policy to “afford protection to labor,” pursuant to the respondent Department of Labor’s rule-making authority vested in it by the Labor Code. The petitioner assumes that it is unreasonable simply because of its impact on the right to travel, but as we have stated, the right itself is not absolute. The disputed Order is a valid qualification thereto.
Neither is there merit in the contention that Department Order No. 1 constitutes an invalid exercise of legislative power. It is true that police power is the domain of the legislature, but it does not mean that such an authority may not be lawfully delegated. As we have mentioned, the Labor Code itself vests the DOLE with rulemaking powers in the enforcement whereof.
We do not find the impugned Order to be tainted with a grave abuse of discretion to warrant the extraordinary relief prayed for.