G.R. No. L-20209. May 19, 1966. TAN TIONG ENG alias KUONG LEONG, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. THE HON. CITY MAYOR, PASAY, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees.


Petitioners are Chinese citizens allegedly working as laborers in the public market in Pasay. Defendants ordered them to stop working there beginning May 1962, because of Republic Act No. 37 and the Department of Finance Circular No. 32. Judge Encarnacion then rendered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. However, defendants requested a new trial and or reconsideration. And then 32 Filipino stallholders of Pasay market moved to intervene, in an effort to bolster the stand of the city officials. And asserting that they "had reasons to believe that the plaintiffs in this case (Chinese) are, in truth, not helpers but capitalists of the Filipino stallholders employing them", they — the intervenors — seconded the petition for a new trial. The motion was granted, and a new trial began. Judge Rilloraza denied the petition, intimating that these Chinese instead of being mere laborers in the stalls, were Chinese capitalists employing Filipinos who posed as stallholders and upholding the validity of the law and rules under which the defendant city officials had allegedly acted. Hence this appeal.


Whether RA No. 37 is unconstitutional because it is discriminatory against aliens.


No, RA No. 37 is not unconstitutional because its policy is to nationalize public markets and to restrict the intervention of aliens therein.

In this case, the lower court correctly refused to interfere with the city officials’ stand which was precisely aligned with the policies of RA No. 37 because while the petitioners were claiming to be mere helpers or salesmen of Filipino stallholders in the Pasay market in truth and in fact, they are the capitalists of those Filipino stallholders.

Hence, after the passage of Republic Act No. 1180 in June 1954, nationalizing retail trade in the Philippines, and reserving to Filipino citizens the right to engage therein — market stall holders are usually retailers — herein Chinese petitioners may no longer claim the right to operate market-stalls in the Pasay market in the guise of laborers or salesmen therein.