American Bibile Society v City of Manila; G.R. No. L-9637; 30 Apr 1957; 101 Phil 386

in Legal Chyme by

Appellant has been distributing and selling bibles and/or gospel portions thereof (except during the Japanese occupation) throughout the Philippines and translating the same into several Philippine dialects. The Acting City Treasurer of the City of Manila required the appellant, pursuant to Ordinance No. 2529, to secure the necessary Mayor’s permit and license fees, together with compromise covering the period from the 4th quarter of 1945 to the 2nd quarter of 1953.

Whether or not the City Treasurer may impose permits and fees upon a religious organization before the latter may distribute and sell bibles and other religious literatures in the City of Manila.

NO. It may be true that in the case at bar the price asked for the bibles and other religious pamphlets was in some instances a little bit higher than the actual cost of the same, but this cannot mean that appellant was engaged in the business or occupation of selling said “merchandise” for profit. The provisions of City of Manila Ordinance No. 2529, as amended, cannot be applied to appellant, for in doing so it would impair its free exercise and enjoyment of its religious profession and worship as well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs.

Appealed decision is REVERSED.

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