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Tabalarin vs Gutierrez
G.R. No. 78164
The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine for the school year 1987- 1988. However, the petitioners either did not take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education, one of the public respondents, and administered by the private respondent, the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM).
On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. The petitioners sought to enjoin the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20 April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled. Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for certiorari with this Court to set aside the Order of the respondent judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
Whether NMAT requirement for admission to medical colleges contravenes the Constitutional guarantee for the accessibility of education to all, and whether such regulation is invalid and/or unconstitutional.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946, known as the "Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic objectives in the following manner: Section 1. Objectives. — This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the standardization and regulation of medical education (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality education “accessible to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to make such education accessible to all who qualify under “fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements.” The regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public. The power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine. Legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental powers. Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical educational requirements for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order of the respondent trial court denying the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.