Lex Rex Ph

The State Does Not Want Me to Kill My Own Carabao | US vs. Toribio

G.R. No. L-5060, January 26, 1910

Notable keywords and topics

  • Restraint of an injurious private use of property.
  • Restrictions or limitation upon a private use by the legislature, which is detrimental to the public welfare.

In the town of Carmen, in the Province of Bohol, there was no municipal slaughterhouse. RA 1147 sections 30 and 33 requires that before a carabao or large cattle can be slaughtered, a permit from the municipal treasurer must be issued first.

Sections 30, 31, 32, and 33 of the Act as follows:

  • v.30: “No large cattle shall be slaughter or killed for food at the municipal slaughterhouse except upon permit secured from the municipal treasurer.
    • Branded: present original certificate and transfer certificates
    • Unbranded: Treasurer must be satisfied as to the ownership of the animal
  • v.31: Requirement for slaughter: Animal must be unfit for agricultural work or draft purposes, and must be fit for human consumption.
  • v.32: Treasurer shall keep records of all permits which contact personal information of the owner and details of the cattle.
  • v.33: Penalties

US v. Toribio

SC: What is prohibited and PENALIZED is the killing of large cattle ANYWHERE without permit.
Slaughterhouse killing without permit is only EXPRESS and SPECIFIC.
Slaughter that is prohibited is ONLY INSIDE a slaughterhouse without permit. Those without slaughterhouse are exempted from the punishment.
Toribio’s (→) ratiocination is opposed to the MANIFEST, EXPRESS PURPOSE of RA 1147“at the municipal slaughterhouse” is a limiting or restricting word for “slaughter”

RTC ruled against Toribio.

Toribio appealed to SC

What is the purpose of the act? Why such elaborate and compulsory system of branding and registering your own property (large cattle)?

STRENGTHEN OWNERSHIP. to protect the “large cattle” of the Philippine Islands against theft and to make easy the recovery and return of such cattle to their proper owners, when lost, strayed, or stolen.

PROTECT OWNERS. whereby owners are enabled readily and easily to establish their title; it prohibits and invalidates all transfers of large cattle unaccompanied by certificates of transfer issued by the proper officer in the municipality

MITIGATE THEFT. it provides also for the disposition of estrays and animals recovered from the possession of thieves or persons unlawfully in possession, so as to protect the rights of the true owners.

Why killing animals outside slaughterhouse prohibited?

CLANDESTINE ANIMAL KILLING WILL CAUSE CATTLE THEFT TO FLOURISH. if such animals were permitted to be slaughtered for human consumption without requiring proof of ownership and the production of certificates of registry by the person slaughtering or causing them to be slaughtered, and this especially if the animals were slaughtered privately or in a clandestine manner, outside of a municipal slaughterhouse.

What to follow if there are two possible constructions? Manifest Intent of lawmakers

Where the language of a statute is fairly susceptible of two or more constructions, that construction should be adopted which will most tend to give effect to the manifest intent of the lawmaker and promote the object for which the statute was enacted

Secondary purposes? Fit for agri must stay in agri. Unfit for consumption must not be eaten.

One of the secondary purposes of the law, as set out in that section, is to prevent the slaughter for food of carabaos fit for agricultural and draft purposes, and of all animals unfit for human consumption.

Is the law that limits the owner’s enjoyment of his own property unlawful/ equal to deprivation of property/ unconstitutional? No

Toribio applied for permit, but was denied because his carabao was ‘fit for agricultural and draft purposes.’

INJURIOUS USE OF PROPERTY. SC: “Not clear whether his contention is eminent domain without just compensation, or unreasonable exercise of police power. But such restraint of individual property is legitimate if such USE of OWN PROPERTY is INJURIOUS to the RIGHTS OF THE PUBLICS.”

A JUST RESTRAINT OF PROPERTY. An owner’s exclusive enjoyment of the his carabao is interfered by the statute, but with the quantum of interest involved, such taking is “a just restraint of an injurious private use of the property, which the legislature had authority to impose.”

OWNERSHIP COMES WITH LIABILITY. “…every holder of property, however absolute and unqualified may be his title, holds it under the implied liability… that his use…shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having an equal right to the enjoyment of their property. Com vs. Tewksbury

DISEASE. NATIONWIDE THEFT. FAMINE. There was also a nationwide disease that killed upto 90% of the carabaos which then led to an intimate connection to price of cattle and theft of such animal. These scenarios led to famine and starvation. It was not just the life of the animals that were threatened, but also the life of Filipino people. It led to the enactment of RA1147.

STATE MAY INTERFERE WHEN PUBLIC INTEREST DEMANDS. “the State may interfere wherever the public interests demand it, and in this particular a large discretion is necessarily vested in the legislature to determine, not only what the interests of the public require, but what measures are necessary for the protection of such interests.” (Barbier vs. Connolly

REASONABLE NECESSARY LIMITATION OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. to protect the community from the loss of the services of such animals by their slaughter by improvident owners, tempted either by greed of momentary gain, or by a desire to enjoy the luxury of animal food

Is it police power or eminent domain? The former.

“This is very different from the right of eminent domain, the right of a government to take and appropriate private property to public use, whenever the public exigency requires it;”

police power, the power vested in the legislature…to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws…not repugnant to the constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare

We are of the opinion…it is not an appropriation of property interests to a “public use,”

It is in fact a mere restriction or limitation upon a private use, which the legislature deemed to be detrimental to the public welfare.

Innumerable instances where police power may be validly exercised

where it becomes necessary to take, use, or destroy the private property of individuals to prevent the spreading of a fire, the ravages of a pestilence, the advance of a hostile army, or any other great public calamity.

Individual’s interest must yield to the necessity which “knows no law”

SC: Affirmed RTC

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