SC Rules on Short-Time Rates in Motels, Inns
The Supreme Court (SC) struck down as unconstitutional yesterday a 1992 Manila City ordinance that bans short-time admissions and "wash-up" rates in hotels, motels, inns and lodging and pension houses in the city.
In a decision written by Justice Dante O. Tinga, the SC said that the ordinance is unconstitutional and void since it violates the right to privacy and the freedom of movement, aside from being an unreasonable and oppressive interference in the hotel and motel business.
Manila City Ordinance No. 774 signed by Mayor Alfredo S. Lim in 1992 seeks to minimize the use of hotels, motels, and inns for illicit sex, prostitution, and drugs.
But the SC said "the promotion of public welfare and a sense of morality among citizens deserve the full endorsement of the judiciary provided that such measures do not trample on rights this Court is sworn to protect."
It pointed out that the "wash-up" rate admissions and renting out a room more than twice a day, which the ordinance seeks to prohibit, have very legitimate uses such as for families who are known to choose to pass the time in a motel or hotel during power brownouts.
Likewise, in transit passengers who wish to wash up and rest between trips have a legitimate purpose for short stays in motels and hotels, it said. …