x x x Freedom of assembly connotes the right of the people to meet peaceably for consultation and discussion of matters of public concern. It is entitled to be accorded the utmost deference and respect. It is not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing, as is the case with freedom of expression, of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. Even prior to the 1935 Constitution, Justice Malcolm had occasion to stress that it is a necessary consequence of our republican institutions and complements the right of free speech. To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge, speaking for the majority of the American Supreme Court in Thomas v. Collins, it was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guarantee with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. All these rights, while not identical, are inseparable. In every case, therefore, where there is a limitation placed on the exercise of this right, the judiciary is called upon to examine the effects of the challenged governmental actuation. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right, so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic institutions, is the danger, of a character both grave and imminent, of a serious evil to public safety, public morals, public health, or any other legitimate public interest. (emphasis supplied)
Section 4 of the the Public Assembly Act of 1985 said something relevant about the permit:
Section 4. Permit when required and when not required – A written permit shall be required for any person or persons to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place. However, no permit shall be required if the public assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private property, in which case only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be subject to the rules and regulations of said educational institution. Political meetings or rallies held during any election campaign period as provided for by law are not covered by this Act.
Section 5. Application requirements – All applications for a permit shall comply with the following guidelines:
(a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the leaders or organizers; the purpose of such public assembly; the date, time and duration thereof, and place or streets to be used for the intended activity; and the probable number of persons participating, the transport and the public address systems to be used.
(b) The application shall incorporate the duty and responsibility of applicant under Section 8 hereof.
(c) The application shall be filed with the office of the mayor of the city or municipality in whose jurisdiction the intended activity is to be held, at least five (5) working days before the scheduled public assembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, which must be duly acknowledged in writing, the office of the city or municipal mayor shall cause the same to immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or municipal building.
Section 6. Action to be taken on the application –
(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any official acting in his behalf to issue or grant a permit unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health.
(b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days from the date the application was filed, failing which, the permit shall be deemed granted. Should for any reason the mayor or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a permit, said application shall be posted by the applicant on the premises of the office of the mayor and shall be deemed to have been filed.
(c) If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the application within twenty-four hours.
(e) If the mayor or any official acting in his behalf denies the application or modifies the terms thereof in his permit, the applicant may contest the decision in an appropriate court of law.
(f) In case suit is brought before the Metropolitan Trial Court, the Municipal Trial Court, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the Regional Trial Court, or the Intermediate Appellate Court, its decisions may be appealed to the appropriate court within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of the same. No appeal bond and record on appeal shall be required. A decision granting such permit or modifying it in terms satisfactory to the applicant shall, be immediately executory.
(g) All cases filed in court under this Section shall be decided within twenty-four (24) hours from date of filing. Cases filed hereunder shall be immediately endorsed to the executive judge for disposition or, in his absence, to the next in rank.
(h) In all cases, any decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by formal appeals are hereby allowed
What if the rally has no required permit? Is it prohibited? If yes, what should be the proper action to be done by the LGU? What will be the possible penalty?
Section 12. Dispersal of public assembly without permit – When the public assembly is held without a permit where a permit is required, the said public assembly may be peacefully dispersed.
Section 13. Prohibited acts – The following shall constitute violations of this Act:
(a) The holding of any public assembly as defined in this Act by any leader or organizer without having first secured that written permit where a permit is required from the office concerned, or the use of such permit for such purposes in any place other than those set out in said permit: Provided, however, That no person can be punished or held criminally liable for participating in or attending an otherwise peaceful assembly;
Section 14. Penalties – Any person found guilty and convicted of any of the prohibited acts defined in the immediately preceding Section shall be punished as follows:
(a) violation of subparagraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and one day to six months
BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 880, AN ACT ENSURING THE FREE EXERCISE BY THE PEOPLE OF THEIR RIGHT PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE AND PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR OTHER PURPOSES. This Act shall be known as “The Public Assembly Act of 1985.”