SC grants TRO vs curfew ordinances of 3 LGUs

THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday has temporarily stopped the implementation of curfew ordinances in three local governments units after a youth group last week asked to Court to declare them unconstitutional.

The Court, in its en banc session Tuesday, granted the appeal of political youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) for the Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that would halt the implementation of curfew hours in Metro Manila, Quezon City and Navotas.

"The Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order effective immediately and until further orders enjoining the three local government units from implementing and enforcing the curfew ordinances," SC spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said.

The Court also ordered the respondents in the case Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco "to comment on the petition within 10 days from notice."

SPARK together with their legal counsel Atty. Jesus Falcis III on Friday filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for TRO before the high court challenging the curfew ordinances.

According to SPARK spokesperson Joanne Lim, the city ordinance that prohibits the youth to go out at night violates the Philippine constitution which seeks to protect the young people specifically their right not to be deprived, unlawfully or arbitrarily, of their liberty.

"The Manila curfew ordinance is ultra vires for being contrary to Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act," Lim said.

The youth group wants SC to junk particularly the Navotas ordinance No. 99-02, as amended by Ordinance No. 2002-13 or the "Navotas Curfew Ordinance," Manila Ordinance No. 8046 (Manila Curfew Ordinance), and Quezon City ordinance No. SP-2301 (QC Curfew ordinance).

The said ordinances from the three municipalities prohibit youth under 18 years old to go out from between 10 pm up to 5 am.

Aside from depriving minors of the right to liberty and right to travel, Lim said the ordinances also deprives parents of their primary right in the rearing of the youth.

Lim also cried foul on the unjust detention of parents if their children are apprehended during curfew hours.

Under the QC curfew ordinance, the guardian of the curfew violator will be penalized for allowing the minor to go out during night time either knowingly or unknowingly. It also requires parents to pay a fine of P2,000 or render community service for 48 hours.

"As we have previously mentioned, these ordinances are implemented without due consideration of various important factors such as housing conditions of affected areas, hardships encountered in transportation and the late shifts experienced by affected students," Lim stated.

Petitioners in the case are SPARK members Joanne Rose Sace Lim, John John Arvin Navarro Buenaagua, Ronel Baccutan, Mark Leo Delos Reyes and Clarissa Joyce Villegas, a minor who will be represented by her father Julian Villegas Jr. (Sunnex)
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