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S. Right against involuntary servitude


No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. (Section 18[2], Article III, 1987 Constitution)

Involuntary servitude – refers to a condition of enforced and compulsory service induced by means of any scheme, plan or pattern, intended to cause a person to believe that if he or she did not enter into or continue in such condition, he or she or another person would suffer serious harm or other forms of abuse or physical restraint, or threat of abuse or harm, or coercion including depriving access to travel documents and withholding salaries, or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process. (Section 3[f], R.A. 9208, as amended by R.A. 10364, Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012)

a. Employment

1) Continued work pending labor dispute

Case Law

1) Where a law stated that employment carried with it an “implied condition that when any dispute between the employer or landlord and the employee, tenant or laborer has been submitted to the Court of Industrial Relations for settlement or arbitration, pursuant to the provisions of this Act, and pending award or decision by it, the employee, tenant or laborer shall not strike or walk out of his employment when so joined by the court after hearing and when public interest so requires, and if he has already done so, that he shall forthwith return to it, upon order of the court, which shall be issued only after hearing when public interest so requires or when the dispute can not, in its opinion, be promptly decided or settled,” it was declared constitutional and does not violate the prohibition on involuntary servitude. The voluntariness of the employee’s entering into such a contract of employment – he has a free choice between entering into it or not – with such an implied condition, negatives the possibility of involuntary servitude ensuing. (Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Kahoy sa Pilipinas v. Gotamco Saw Mill, En Banc, G.R. No. L-1573, 29 March 1948)

NB: The Labor Code provides for assumption of jurisdiction by the DOLE Secretary who can order return to work pending a labor dispute.

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