Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Case DIgest: Aglipay vs Ruiz

Facts of the Case:

The Director of Posts announced on May 1936 in Manila newspapers that he would order the issuance of postage stamps for the commemoration of the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress celebration in the City of Manila. The said event was organized by the Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor Gregorio Aglipay, the petitioner, is the Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, requested Vicente Sotto who is a member of the Philippine Bar to raise the matter to the President. The said stamps in consideration were actually issued already and sold though the greater part thereof remained unsold. The further sale of the stamps was sought to be prevented by the petitioner.


Whether or not the respondent violated the Constitution in issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress


No, the respondent did not violate the Constitution by issuing and selling the commemorative postage stamps. Ruiz acted under the provision of Act No. 4052, which contemplates no religious purpose in view, giving the Director of Posts the discretion to determine when the issuance of new postage stamps would be “advantageous to the Government.” Of course, the phrase “advantageous to the Government” does not authorize the violation of the Constitution. In the case at bar, the issuance of the postage stamps was not intended by Ruiz to favor a particular church or denomination. The stamps did not benefit the Roman Catholic Church, nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. The purpose of issuing of the stamps was to actually take advantage of an international event considered to be a great opportunity to give publicity to the Philippines and as a result attract more tourists to the country. In evaluating the design made for the stamp, it showed the map of the Philippines instead of showing a Catholic chalice. The focus was on the location of the City of Manila, and it also bore the inscription that reads “Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7, 1937.” In considering these, it is evident that there is no violation of the Constitution therefore the act of the issuing of the stamps is constitutional.

The Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of prohibition, without pronouncement as to costs.

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