CA junks smoking ban in Balanga’s University Town for being unconstitutional
The Court of Appeals (CA) has declared unconstitutional the smoking ban imposed by the Balanga City, Bataan, government within three kilometers of University Town.
In a recent 13-page decision, the CA Special 16th Division denied the appeal of the city government on the July 5, 2018 ruling of the Balanga City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 in favor of the Philippine Tobacco Institute, Inc. (PTI)
PTI, which consists of 11 cigarette manufacturers, assailed Section 1 of Ordinance No. 9, series of 2016, for preventing its members from selling tobacco products within the school zone.
The CA agreed that the Balanga City council “overstepped Congress” by passing an ordinance that was more stringent than Republic Act Nunber 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
The law only prohibited smoking within 100 meters of schools, playgrounds or places frequented by minors.
Meanwhile, the ordinance not only provided for a wider coverage, it also prohibited the acts of selling, distributing, advertising and promoting tobacco products.
“Therefore, the challenged Ordinance should be struck down as invalid for being ultra vires since it contravenes RA 9211,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Jane Aurora Lantion.
Although the city argued that the ordinance conformed with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the CA said RA 9211 should prevail and could not be disregarded.
“The fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not necessarily imply the primacy of international law over national or municipal law in the municipal sphere,” the CA said.