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B. Due process of law

1. Concept of right to life, liberty and property

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. (Section 1, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

2. Kinds of due process

Due process is comprised of two components:

1) Substantive due process which requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty, or property; and,

2) Procedural due process which consists of the two basic rights of notice and hearing, as well as the guarantee of being heard by an impartial and competent tribunal (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993 Ed., pp. 102-106 cited in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, En Banc, G.R. No. 139465, 18 January 20000

Due process of law has two aspects: substantive and procedural. In order that a particular act may not be impugned as violative of the due process clause, there must be compliance with both the substantive and the procedural requirements thereof. (Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. v. Garin, G.R. No. 217872, 26 April 2017)

a. Substantive

Substantive due process – refers to the intrinsic validity of a law that interferes with the rights of a person to his property. (Ibid.)

b. Procedural

Procedural due process – means compliance with the procedures or steps, even periods, prescribed by the statute, in conformity with the standard of fair play and without arbitrariness on the part of those who are called upon to administer it. (Ibid.)

1) Notice and opportunity to be heard

The essence of procedural due process is embodied in the basic requirement of notice and a real opportunity to be heard. In administrative proceedings, procedural due process simply means the opportunity to explain one’s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (Disciplinary Board LTO v. Gutierrez, G.R. No. 224395, 03 July 2017)

a) Opportunity to be heard

“To be heard” does not mean only verbal arguments in court; one may also be heard thru pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process. (Disciplinary Board LTO v. Gutierrez, G.R. No. 224395, 03 July 2017)

Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. (Ledesma v. CA, G.R. No. 166780, 27 December 2007)

i. Judicial

Where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, the courts are ousted from their jurisdiction. The violation of a party’s right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial of the fundamental right to due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction. This rule is equally true in quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings, for the constitutional guarantee that no man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process is unqualified by the type of proceedings (whether judicial or administrative) where he stands to lose the same. (Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. v. Garin, G.R. No. 217872, 26 April 2017)

(1) Criminal proceedings

Due process in criminal proceedings requires that:

1) The court or tribunal trying the case is properly clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it;

2) That jurisdiction is lawfully acquired by it over the person of the accused;

3) That the accused is given an opportunity to be heard; and

4) That judgment is rendered only upon lawful hearing. (Marquez v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 187912-14, 31 January 2011)

ii. Administrative

Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not strictly applied. (Vivo v. PAGCOR, En Banc, G.R. No. 187854, 12 November 2013)

In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (Ledesma v. CA, G.R. No. 166780, 27 December 2007)

(1) Cardinal primary rights for due process in administrative proceedings

1) The right to a hearing which includes the right of the party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof;

2) An opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented;

3) Decision must have something to support it;

4) Evidence must be “substantial” – substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion;

5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected;

6) The agency/tribunal must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision;

7) The agency/tribunal should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered. (Ang Tibay v. The Court of Industrial Relations, En Banc, G.R. No. L-46496, 27 February 1940)

c. Levels of scrutiny

The three (2) standards of judicial review when issue of validity of a legislation is based on due process:

1) Strict scrutiny

2) Rational basis

3) Heightened or immediate scrutiny (White Light Corporation v. City of Manila, En Banc, G.R. No. 122846, 20 January 2009)

The due process clause has to do with the reasonableness of legislation enacted in pursuance of the police power. Is there public interest, a public purpose; is public welfare involved? Is the Act reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the legislature’s purpose; is it not unreasonable, arbitrary or oppressive? Is there sufficient foundation or reason in connection with the matter involved; or has there not been a capricious use of the legislative power? Can the aims conceived be achieved by the means used, or is it not merely an unjustified interference with private interest? These are the questions that are asked when the due process test is applied. (Ichong v. Hernandez, En Banc, G.R. No. L-7995, 31 May 1957)

1) Strict scrutiny

Strict scrutiny is applied for laws dealing with freedom of the mind or restricting the political process. (White Light Corporation v. City of Manila, supra.)

In terms of judicial review of statutes or ordinances, strict scrutiny refers to the standard for determining the quality and the amount of governmental interest brought to justify the regulation of fundamental freedoms. Strict scrutiny is used today to test the validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race as well as other fundamental rights as expansion from its earlier applications to equal protection. The United States Supreme Court has expanded the scope of strict scrutiny to protect fundamental rights such as suffrage, judicial access and interstate travel. (Ibid.)

2) Rational basis

The rational basis standard of review is applied for economic legislation. (Ibid.)

The Supreme Court has often applied the rational basis test mainly in analysis of equal protection challenges. Using the rational basis examination, laws or ordinances are upheld if they rationally further a legitimate governmental interest. (Ibid.)

3) Heightened or immediate scrutiny

The heightened or immediate scrutiny is applied for evaluating classifications based on gender and legitimacy. (Ibid.)

Under intermediate review, governmental interest is extensively examined and the availability of less restrictive measures is considered. (Ibid.)

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