You are on page 1of 5

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 156052
March 7, 2007
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS), VLADIMIR ALARIQUE T. CABIGAO, and BONIFACIO S.
TUMBOKON, Petitioners,
vs.
HON. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., in his capacity as Mayor of the City of Manila, Respondent.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
In this original petition for mandamus,1 petitioners Social Justice Society (SJS), Vladimir
Alarique T. Cabigao and Bonifacio S. Tumbokon seek to compel respondent Hon. Jose L.
Atienza, Jr., mayor of the City of Manila, to enforce Ordinance No. 8027.
The antecedents are as follows.
On November 20, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 8027.2
Respondent mayor approved the ordinance on November 28, 2001. 3 It became effective on
December 28, 2001, after its publication.4
Ordinance No. 8027 was enacted pursuant to the police power delegated to local government
units, a principle described as the power inherent in a government to enact laws, within
constitutional limits, to promote the order, safety, health, morals and general welfare of the
society.5 This is evident from Sections 1 and 3 thereof which state:
SECTION 1. For the purpose of promoting 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, the land use of [those] portions of land bounded by the Pasig River in the north, PNR
Railroad Track in the east, Beata St. in the south, Palumpong St. in the southwest, and Estero
de Pancacan in the west[,] PNR Railroad in the northwest area, Estero de Pandacan in the
[n]ortheast, Pasig River in the southeast and Dr. M.L. Carreon in the southwest. The area of
Punta, Sta. Ana bounded by the Pasig River, Marcelino Obrero St., Mayo 28 St., and F. Manalo
Street, are hereby reclassified from Industrial II to Commercial I.
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 3. Owners or operators of industries and other businesses, the operation of which are no
longer permitted under Section 1 hereof, are hereby given a period of six (6) months from the
date of effectivity of this Ordinance within which to cease and desist from the operation of
businesses which are hereby in consequence, disallowed.
Ordinance No. 8027 reclassified the area described therein from industrial to commercial and
directed the owners and operators of businesses disallowed under Section 1 to cease and desist
from operating their businesses within six months from the date of effectivity of the ordinance.
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.
However, on June 26, 2002, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy (DOE) entered
into a memorandum of understanding (MOU)6 with the oil companies in which they agreed that
"the scaling down of the Pandacan Terminals [was] the most viable and practicable option."
Under the MOU, the oil companies agreed to perform the following:
Section 1. - Consistent with the objectives stated above, the OIL COMPANIES shall, upon
signing of this MOU, undertake a program to scale down the Pandacan Terminals which shall
include, among others, the immediate removal/decommissioning process of TWENTY EIGHT
(28) tanks starting with the LPG spheres and the commencing of works for the creation of
safety buffer and green zones surrounding the Pandacan Terminals. xxx
Section 2. Consistent with the scale-down program mentioned above, the OIL COMPANIES
shall establish joint operations and management, including the operation of common,
integrated and/or shared facilities, consistent with international and domestic technical, safety,
environmental and economic considerations and standards. Consequently, the joint operations
of the OIL COMPANIES in the Pandacan Terminals shall be limited to the common and
integrated areas/facilities. A separate agreement covering the commercial and operational
terms and conditions of the joint operations, shall be entered into by the OIL COMPANIES.
Section 3. - The development and maintenance of the safety and green buffer zones mentioned
therein, which shall be taken from the properties of the OIL COMPANIES and not from the
surrounding communities, shall be the sole responsibility of the OIL COMPANIES.
The City of Manila and the DOE, on the other hand, committed to do the following:
Section 1. - The City Mayor shall endorse to the City Council this MOU for its appropriate
action with the view of implementing the spirit and intent thereof.
Section 2. - The City Mayor and the DOE shall, consistent with the spirit and intent of this
MOU, 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.

Section 3. - The DOE and the City Mayor shall monitor the OIL COMPANIES compliance with
the provisions of this MOU.
Section 4. - The CITY OF MANILA and the national government shall protect the safety buffer
and green zones and shall exert all efforts at preventing future occupation or encroachment
into these areas by illegal settlers and other unauthorized parties.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod ratified the MOU in Resolution No. 97.7 In the same resolution,
the Sanggunian declared that the MOU was effective only for a period of six months starting
July 25, 2002.8 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.10
Meanwhile, petitioners filed this original action for mandamus on December 4, 2002 praying
that Mayor Atienza be compelled to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 and order the immediate
removal of the terminals of the oil companies.11
The issues raised by petitioners are as follows:
1. whether respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 and order
the removal of the Pandacan Terminals, and
2. whether the June 26, 2002 MOU and the resolutions ratifying it can amend or repeal
Ordinance No. 8027.12
Petitioners contend that respondent has the mandatory legal duty, under Section 455 (b) (2) of
the Local Government Code (RA 7160), 13 to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 and order the removal
of the Pandacan Terminals of the oil companies. Instead, he has allowed them to stay.
Respondents defense is that Ordinance No. 8027 has been superseded by the MOU and the
resolutions.14 However, he also confusingly argues that the ordinance and MOU are not
inconsistent with each other and that the latter has not amended the former. He insists that
the ordinance remains valid and in full force and effect and that the MOU did not in any way
prevent him from enforcing and implementing it. He maintains that the MOU should be
considered as a mere guideline for its full implementation.15
Under Rule 65, Section 316 of the Rules of Court, a petition for mandamus may be filed when
any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an
act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station.
Mandamus is an extraordinary writ that is employed to compel the performance, when refused,
of a ministerial duty that is already imposed on the respondent and there is no other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The petitioner should have a welldefined, clear and certain legal right to the performance of the act and it must be the clear and
imperative duty of respondent to do the act required to be done.17
Mandamus will not issue to enforce a right, or to compel compliance with a duty, which is
questionable or over which a substantial doubt exists. The principal function of the writ of
mandamus is to command and to expedite, not to inquire and to adjudicate; thus, it is neither
the office nor the aim of the writ to secure a legal right but to implement that which is already
established. Unless the right to the relief sought is unclouded, mandamus will not issue.18
To support the assertion that petitioners have a clear legal right to the enforcement of the
ordinance, petitioner SJS states that it is a political party registered with the Commission on
Elections and has its offices in Manila. It claims to have many members who are residents of
Manila. The other petitioners, Cabigao and Tumbokon, are allegedly residents of Manila.
We need not belabor this point. We have ruled in previous cases that when a mandamus
proceeding concerns a public right and its object is to compel a public duty, the people who are
interested in the execution of the laws are regarded as the real parties in interest and they need
not show any specific interest.19 Besides, as residents of Manila, petitioners have a direct
interest in the enforcement of the citys ordinances. Respondent never questioned the right of
petitioners to institute this proceeding.
On the other hand, 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.">20 One of
these is Ordinance No. 8027. As the chief executive of the city, he has the duty to enforce
Ordinance No. 8027 as long as it has not been repealed by the Sanggunian or annulled by the
courts.21 He has no other choice. It is his ministerial duty to do so. In Dimaporo v. Mitra, Jr.,22
we stated the reason for this:
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.23
The question now is whether the MOU entered into by respondent with the oil companies and
the subsequent resolutions passed by the Sanggunian have made the respondents duty to
enforce Ordinance No. 8027 doubtful, unclear or uncertain. This is also connected to the
second issue raised by petitioners, that is, whether the MOU and Resolution Nos. 97, s. 2002

and 13, s. 2003 of the Sanggunian can amend or repeal Ordinance No. 8027.
We need not resolve this issue. Assuming that the terms of the MOU were inconsistent with
Ordinance No. 8027, the resolutions which ratified it and made it binding on the City of Manila
expressly gave it full force and effect only until April 30, 2003. Thus, at present, there is
nothing that legally hinders respondent from enforcing Ordinance No. 8027.24
Ordinance No. 8027 was enacted right after the Philippines, along with the rest of the world,
witnessed the horror of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade
Center in New York City. The objective of the ordinance is to protect the residents of Manila
from the catastrophic devastation that will surely occur in case of a terrorist attack 25 on the
Pandacan Terminals. No reason exists why such a protective measure should be delayed.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. Respondent Hon. Jose L. Atienza, Jr., as
mayor of the City of Manila, is directed to immediately enforce Ordinance No. 8027.
SO ORDERED.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Chairperson
(On official leave)
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice
Asscociate Justice
CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the
above decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of
the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Footnotes
1
Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
2
Entitled "Ordinance Reclassifying the Land Use of [Those] Portions of Land Bounded by the
Pasig River In The North[,] PNR Railroad Track in the East, Beata St. in the South, Palumpong
St. in the Southwest and Estero De Pandacan in the West, PNR Railroad in the Northwest Area,
Estero of Pandacan in the Northeast, Pasig River in the Southeast and Dr. M. L. Carreon in the
Southwest; the Area of Punta, Sta. Ana Bounded by the Pasig River, Marcelino Obrero St.[,]
Mayo 28 St. and the F. Manalo Street from Industrial II to Commercial I."
3
Rollo, p. 12.
4
Id., p. 6.
5
Philtread Workers Union (PTWU) v. Confesor, 336 Phil. 375 (1997), citing Union of Filipro
Employees v. Nestl Philippines, Inc., G.R. Nos. 88710-13, 19 December 1990, 192 SCRA 396.
6
Rollo, pp. 16-18. This MOU modified the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed on
October 12, 2001 by the oil companies and the DOE. This MOA called for close coordination
among the parties with a view of formulating appropriate measures to arrive at the best
possible option to ensure, maintain and at the same time harmonize the interests of both
government and the oil companies; id., p. 36.
7
Entitled "Resolution Ratifying the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Entered into by and
Among the Department of Energy, the City of Manila, Caltex (Philippines), Inc., Petron
Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation on 26 June 2002, and Known as
Document No. 60, Page No. 12, Book No. 1, Series of 2002 in the Notarial Registry of Atty. Neil
Lanson Salcedo, Notary Public for and in the City of Manila;" id., p. 36.
8
Id.
9
Entitled "Resolution Extending the Validity of Resolution 97, Series of 2002, to April 30, 2003,
Thereby Authorizing his Honor Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr., to Issue Special Business Permits to
Caltex Phil., Inc., Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation Situated within
the Pandacan Oil Terminal Covering the said Period;" id., p. 38.
10
Id.
11
Id., p. 9.
12
Id., p. 15.
13
It states:
Section 455. Chief Executive: Powers, Duties and Compensation. xxx
(b) For efficient, effective and economical governance the purpose of which is the general
welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code, the city mayor shall:
xxx xxx xxx
(2) Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the city xxxx

14

Rollo, pp. 28 and 144.


Id., pp. 31 and 146-147.
16
The full text reads:
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus. When any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person
unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty
resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and
enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may
file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that
judgment be rendered commanding the respondent, immediately or at some other time to be
specified by the court, to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner,
and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the
respondent. xxxx
17
University of San Agustin, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 100588, 7 March 1994, 230
SCRA 761, 771, citations omitted.
18
BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc. v. Manikan, G.R. No. 148789, 16 January 2003, 395 SCRA
373, 375, citing Pacheco v. Court of Appeals, 389 Phil. 200 (2000).
19
Licaros v. Sandiganbayan, 421 Phil. 1075 (2001); Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, G.R.
No. L-72119, 29 May 1987, 150 SCRA 530, 536; Taada v. Tuvera, G.R. No. L-63915, 24 April
1985, 136 SCRA 27, 36.
20
Supra note 13.
21
Tuzon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 90107, 21 August 1992, 212 SCRA 739, 747. According
to respondent, the oil companies separately filed actions for annulment of Ordinance No. 8027
which are now pending before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branches 39 and 42; Rollo, p.
143.
22
G.R. No. 96859, 15 October 1991, 202 SCRA 779.
23
Id., p. 795, citing Cu Unjieng v. Patstone, 42 Phil. 818 (1922) and Burton v. U.S., 202 U.S.
344.
24
According to respondent, a Temporary Restraining Order was issued in the action filed by the
oil companies to annul Ordinance No. 8027 (see note 21, supra); rollo, p. 143. This presumably
has already lapsed.
25
This was alleged by petitioners and not refuted by respondent; id., pp. 7 and 118.
15

Social Justice Society (SJS), Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao, and Bonifacio S. Tumbokon vs. Hon.
Jose L. Atienza, jr., in his capacity as Mayor of Manila
G.R. No. 156052
March 7, 2007
Facts: On November 20, 2001, The Sangguniang Panglunsod of Maynila enacted Ordinance No.
8027. Hon. Jose L. Atienza, jr. approved the said ordinance on November 28, 2001. and it
became effective on December 28, 2001. Ordinance No. 8027 reclassified the area of Pandacan
and Sta. Ana from industrial to commercial and directed the owners and operators of
businesses disallowed under Section 1 to cease and desist from operating their businesses
within six months from the date of effectivity of the ordinance. Among the businesses situated
in the area are the so-called Pandacan Terminals of the oil companies Caltex, Petron and Shell.
However, on June 26, 2002, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy entered into a
memorandum of understanding with the oil companies in which they agreed that :scaling down
of Pandacan Terminals was the most viable and practicable option. Under the memorandum of
understanding, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy permits 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.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod ratified the memorandum of understanding in Resolution No. 97.
In that resolution, the Sanggunian declared that the memorandum of understanding was
effective only for a period of six months starting July 25, 2002. Thereafter, on January 30,
2003, the Sanggunian adopted Resolution No. 13 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.
Issue: Whether or not respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027
and order the removal of the Pandacan Terminals. And Whether or not the June 26, 2002
memorandum of understanding and the resolutions ratifying it can amend or repeal Ordinance
No. 8027.

Held: The Local Government Code imposes upon respondent the duty, as City Mayor of Manila,
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, he has the duty to put into effect
Ordinance No. 8027 as long as it has not been repealed by the Sanggunian or negated by the
courts.
On the other hand assuming that the terms of the memorandum of understanding were
contradictory with Ordinance No. 8027, the resolutions which ratified it and made it binding
on the City of Manila expressly gave it full force and effect only until April 30, 2003. There is
nothing that legally hinders respondent from enforcing Ordinance No. 8027. Wherefore the
Court Ordered Hon. Jose L. Atienza, Jr., as mayor of the city of Manila to immediately enforce
Ordinance No. 8027.