PJA vs. Prado   G.R. No. 105371, November 11, 1993 227 SCRA 703 (1993)


Fact: The main target of this petition is Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 as implemented by the Philippine Postal Corporation through its Circular No. 92-28. These measures withdraw the franking privilege from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Land Registration Commission and its Registers of Deeds, along with certain other government offices. The petitioners are members of the lower courts who feel that their official functions as judges will be prejudiced by the above-named measures. The National Land Registration Authority has taken common cause with them insofar as its own activities, such as sending of requisite notices in registration cases, affect judicial proceedings. On its motion, it has been allowed to intervene. The petition assails the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7354, which of the grounds is that it is discriminatory and encroaches on the independence of the Judiciary.

Issue: Whether Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 is in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Held: Yes, The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of justice and fair play. The Constitution provides a more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause. The court are unable to agree with the respondents that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 represents a valid exercise of discretion by the Legislature under the police power. On the contrary, we find its repealing clause to be a discriminatory provision that denies the Judiciary the equal protection of the laws guaranteed for all persons or things similarly situated. The distinction made by the law is superficial. It is not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between the Judiciary and the grantees of the franking privilege. This is not a question of wisdom or power into which the Judiciary may not intrude. It is a matter of arbitrariness that this Court has the duty and power to correct.


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