Suntay v People; G.R. No. L-9430; 29 Jun 1957; 101 Phil 833

FACTS:
On January 10, 1955, petitioner Emilio Suntay applied for and was granted a passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs. On January 20, 1955, he left the Philippines for San Francisco, California, U.S.A., where he is at present enrolled in school. The respondent Secretary on March 7, 1955 instructed the Ambassador to the United States to order the Consul General in San Francisco to cancel the passport issued to the petitioner and to compel him to return to the Philippines to answer the criminal charges against him.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not the cancellation of the petitioner’s passport without hearing violates his constitutional right to due process.

RULING:
NO. Hearing would have been proper and necessary if the reason for the withdrawal or cancellation of the passport were not clear but doubtful. But where the holder of a passport is facing a criminal charge in our courts and left the country to evade criminal prosecution, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in the exercise of his discretion to revoke a passport already issued, cannot be held to have acted whimsically or capriciously in withdrawing and cancelling such passport. Due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing. When discretion is exercised by an officer vested with it upon an undisputed fact, such as the filing of a serious criminal charge against the passport holder, hearing may be dispensed with by such officer as a prerequisite to the cancellation of his passport; lack of such hearing does not violate the due process of law clause of the Constitution; and the exercise of the discretion vested in him cannot be deemed whimsical and capricious because of the absence of such hearing. If hearing should always be held in order to comply with the due process of law clause of the Constitution, then a writ of preliminary injunction issued ex parte would be violative of the said clause.

Petition is DENIED.

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Category: Legal Chyme

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