Did Ordinance No. 1664 meet the requirements of procedural due process?
Notice and hearing are the essential requirements of procedural due process. Yet, there are many instances under our laws in which the absence of one or both of such requirements is not necessarily a denial or deprivation of due process. Among the instances are the cancellation of the passport of a person being sought for the commission of a crime, the preventive suspension of a civil servant facing administrative charges, the distraint of properties to answer for tax delinquencies, the padlocking of restaurants found to be unsanitary or of theaters showing obscene movies, and the abatement of nuisance per se.32 Add to them the arrest of a person in flagrante delicto.33
The clamping of the petitioners’ vehicles pursuant to Ordinance No. 1664 (and of the vehicles of others similarly situated) was of the same character as the aforecited established exceptions dispensing with notice and hearing. As already said, the immobilization of illegally parked vehicles by clamping the tires was necessary because the transgressors were not around at the time of apprehension. Under such circumstance, notice and hearing would be superfluous. Nor should the lack of a trial–type hearing prior to the clamping constitute a breach of procedural due process, for giving the transgressors the chance to reverse the apprehensions through a timely protest could equally satisfy the need for a hearing. In other words, the prior intervention of a court of law was not indispensable to ensure a compliance with the guaranty of due process.
To reiterate, the clamping of the illegally parked vehicles was a fair and reasonable way to enforce the ordinance against its transgressors; otherwise, the transgressors would evade liability by simply driving away.