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G.R. No.

156052 March 7, 2007


SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) vs. HON. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR.
FACTS:
On November 20, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila enacted
Ordinance No. 8027 pursuant to the police power delegated to local government
units. It was approved by respondent mayor on November 28, 2001 and became
effective on December 28, 2001, after its publication.
As provided in Section 1 thereof, the said ordinances purpose was to
promote sound urban planning and ensuring health, public safety, and general
welfare of the residents of Pandacan and Sta. Ana as well as its adjoining areas
which were reclassified from Industrial II to Commercial I. Among the businesses
situated in the area are the so-called "Pandacan Terminals" of the oil companies
Caltex (Philippines), Inc., Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum
Corporation.
As per Section 3 of the said Ordinance, industries and other businesses which
are no longer permitted to operate were directed to cease and desist from
operations within a period of six (6) months from the date of its effectivity.
However, on June 26, 2002, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy
(DOE) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the oil companies,
wherein oil companies shall undertake a program to scale down the Pandacan
Terminals. The City of Manila and the DOE, on the other hand, committed to endorse
to the City Council the MOU and enable the OIL COMPANIES to continuously operate
in compliance with legal requirements, within the limited area resulting from the
joint operations and the scale down program.
In Resolution No. 97, the Sangguniang Panlungsod ratified the MOU declared
that the MOU was effective only for a period of six months starting July 25, 2002.
Thereafter, on January 30, 2003, the Sanggunian adopted Resolution No.
139 extending the validity of Resolution No. 97 to April 30, 2003 and authorizing
Mayor Atienza to issue special business permits to the oil companies. Resolution No.
13, s. 2003 also called for a reassessment of the ordinance. Hence, giving rise to
the present petition.
ISSUE:
WoN respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No.
8027 and
order the removal of the Pandacan Terminals.
RULING:

Yes. The Local Government Code imposes upon respondent the duty, as city
mayor, to "enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the
city." One of these is Ordinance No. 8027. As the chief executive of the city, Mayor
Jose L. Atienza, Jr. has the duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 as long as it has not
been repealed by the Sanggunian or annulled by the courts. He has no other choice
because it is his ministerial duty to do so.
The Supreme Court stated the reasons therefor in the case of Dimaporo v.
Mitra, Jr., where it was held that these officers cannot refuse to perform their duty
on the ground of an alleged invalidity of the statute imposing the duty. The reason
for this is obvious. It might seriously hinder the transaction of public business if
these officers were to be permitted in all cases to question the constitutionality of
statutes and ordinances imposing duties upon them and which have not judicially
been declared unconstitutional. Officers of the government from the highest to the
lowest are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.