Petitioner, on behalf of Anti-Bases Coalition, sought a permit from the City of Manila to hold a peaceful march and rally but was denied by respondent mayor due to “persistent intelligence reports affirm[ing] the plans of subversive/criminal elements to infiltrate and/or disrupt any assembly or congregations where a large number of people is expected to attend.” The latter also suggested that “a permit may be issued for the rally if it is to be held at the Rizal Coliseum or any other enclosed area where the safety of the participants themselves and the general public may be ensured.”
Whether or not denial of the permit violates the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
YES. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right is the existence of a “clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the State has a right to prevent. In the case at bar, there is no showing that such evil exists. The mere assertion that subversives may infiltrate the ranks of the demonstrators does not suffice.
Mandatory injunction prayed for is GRANTED.