Business Permits and Licensing Office (QC-BPLO) issued a closure order for the establishment of Dok Alternatibo Healing Ministry Association Incorporated (DAHMAI) at No. 70, Main Horse Shoe Drive, Brgy. Horse Shoe, New Manila, Cubao, Quezon City on August 16, 2013 for the alleged violations of the City Revenue Code of 1993, SP-91.
This action correspondingly invalidated the Business Permit (No. 12-007230) issued last January 19, 2013 for reproving DAHMAI’s activity in their establishment “beyond what is authorized” by the said permit as the general finding of QC-BPLO who conducted the so-called visitation (but seemingly like a search and rescue operation) on Aug. 13, 2013 at the above-mentioned address. Hence, DAHMAI protested the said correlating actions by the BPLO, demanded for due process and questioned the bounds of the “authority” of the Mayor and QC-BPLO in the discharge of their duties as provided by laws.
On 13 August 2013 at around 11:00 o’clock in the morning, a composite team along with 13 QC-BPLO Officials/employees (sounds exaggerated! Sending 13 personnel to inspect a single establishment), Algy Bacla (complainant), and a certain Jose Norlito Fruto (who falsely representing himself as DOH-PITAHC Personnel), as well as representatives of GMA-Imbestigador, and other unidentified persons came to the administrative office and place of residence of DAHMAI at No. 70 Horseshoe Drive Brgy. Horseshoe,New Manila, Quezon City for an alleged raid or a search and rescue operation. The only legal basis for their action was the “Mission Order” issued by the office head of QC-BPLO which is anchored to the “visitorial right” of the LGU to various establishments in their locality as cited in their Revenue Code of 1993 purposely to ensure that the undertaking/s of the establishment is/are in accordance with what is stated in the business permit issued. This right somehow implied also an ethical responsibilities of a public servant in exercising their duties and the said right. However, the conduct of the said supposedly visitation and the manner of the government personnel of QC-BPLO were clearly imprudent and disrespectful to the constitutional rights of the persons / association members and of DAHMAI as a legal entity.
As per report, the BPLO Chief Personnel and their company did not properly identify themselves nor asked permission to enter the premises. They automatically proceeded to the 2nd floor of the building, opened the doors without knocking and proceeded to the 3rd Floor with the GMA 7 media team who took the videos and footages. This apparently defies the conditions of the Mission Order which states: “The herein named License Inspector/s is/are required to properly identify themeselves before conducting the inspection of your business establishments.”
After their search/inspection in the different rooms/ parts of the building, QC-BPLO personnel came down to the lobby and met the members of DAHMAI present and belatedly asked for the legal documents / permits/ credentials of DAHMAI. Afterwhich, they tendered a copy of the violation report to the representative of DAHMAI and then they all rushed out of the residence. The violation report, asserted that DAHMAI is operating a medical clinic without corresponding permits in the said place and therefore deemed illegal. This finding caused the immediate action of the LGU in ordering for closure of DAHMAI establishment.
What is DAHMAI in the first place? DAHMAI is a religious aggrupation, non-stock and non-profit association duly registered with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC Reg. No. CN200827978). A Business Permit from the QC-BPLO was issued to the association in lieu of our administrative office and headquarters at Horseshoe Drive, New Manila, Cubao, Quezon City. DAHMAI, as a national organization, comprises of a group of individuals who adhere to the principles of natural healing of the human body and faith healing and inspired by the very words of God in the bible: “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” The purposes of the organization as embodied in our SEC Articles of Incorporation include: 1.) To administer natural healing to the sick both physical and spiritual. 2.) To educate and train ministers of natural healing to its officers and members only and certify his/her completion thereafter. 3.) To conduct seminars, lectures and symposium for the awareness of the public on R.A 8423 or Traditional and Alternative Health Care Act of 1997. 4.) To administer holistic healing on the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of a person. 5.) To establish an open seminary for its members and officers to be trained as minister of Natural Healing of the physical body and divine healing for the spirits. 6.) To educate through media such as radio, tv, print and website as medium of advocacy and service to its officers and members as well as the public.
In general, DAHMAI operates based on the above mandates and legal personality. As law abiding group of individuals, it has acquired all pre-requisites, caused no harm & disturbance to anyone and respect the rights of every citizen especially its association- member. DAHMAI affirm that it works within the limits of the purpose of incorporation and within the scope of the permits issued by QC-BPLO.
On the other hand, let us revisit the powers and duties of the City Government of Quezon bestowed upon by laws which warrant the LGU to govern the operation of private establishments in their area of jurisdiction. The authority of the City Mayor, thru the BPLO, to issue licenses and permits and suspend or revoke the same is beyond question. It emanates from the City Revenue Code of 1993- SP 91 of Quezon City and likewise provided in the Local Government Code of 1991, Section 455 (3)(iv). From the language of the two laws, the Chief Executive of the Local Government Unit of Quezon City is vested with the power to issue business licenses and permits which necessarily includes the corollary power to suspend, revoke or even refuse to issue the same.
However, the power to suspend or revoke licenses and permits is expressly premised in violation of the conditions on which the licenses or permits were issued. In exercising these powers, the law intend that the mayor must observe due process. It means, the Mayor must give the applicant/ owner appropriate notice and opportunity to be heard. The authority of the office of the mayor to inspect and investigate private establishment for any violation of the conditions of their permits is coupled with the responsibility which guarantee equal protection of the law, utmost observance of the rights of the people and maintain ethical conduct as government officials and employees.
In this instance, DAHMAI claims of being abused by the QC-BPLO for the malicious implementation of the supposed inspection but was done in a manner of a search and rescue operation on August 13, 2013. The alleged unprofessional and uncoordinated intrusion to the DAHMAI establishment precisely disrespected the constitutional rights of the individuals occupying the private place. The premature issuance of closure order suppressed due process and equal protection of the law. True enough, QC-BPLO is robed with the legal mandates essentially for the promotion of the general welfare as expressed in the Local Government Code of 1991. The Quezon City Revenue Code of 1993 specifically provides the parameters of their power and duties in overseeing business, commerce and trade operations in the locality. Yet, the LGU Quezon City cannot take refuge under those laws since no provision thereof expressly or impliedly granting the Mayor, and the City Government in general, the authority to shut down the operation private establishments without due process. Nevertheless, the restrictions of the authority of the local government unit do not excuse the DAHMAI, as private entity, from complying with what is prescribed by prevailing laws. The tolerance of the regulatory power of the government doesn’t disregard the obligation of the private entity to supplement the alleged deficiencies and show causes of their actions in an ample period of time and at the proper venue.
Both parties (DAHMAI & QC-BPLO) must have synchronized each other’s responsibilities and authority. In carrying-out great responsibilities, one must not exceed with the limits of his/her authority while upholding value of respect. Otherwise, he/she would cause harm and disrupt the rights of others. With this constructive outlook, neither DAHMAI nor QC-BPLO should have had acted “beyond what is authorized”. Though damage has been done, doable remedies are available to correct the lapses, fix the desolations and alter the escalating emotions of both parties. It ultimately lies at the hand of Mayor Herbert Bautista of Quezon City who has the command responsibility over the actions of the Officials and Employees of Business Permits and Licenses Office (BPLO). It is for the Mayor to mitigate and resolve the underlying differences in this instant case. Triggered by the foregoing facts, personal opinions are expected from critical thinkers (readers). But the concluding judgement on who “acted beyond what is authorized” is for the judiciary of this Republic.