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192 Rama v. Moises, G.R. No.

197146, December 6, 2016 AUTHOR: Dador


TOPIC: IX. DELEGATION OF POWERS; D. LGU Notes:
PONENTE: Bersamin
Other issues:
1. Whether Yu's expiration of term renders case moot
and academic.- NO. Yu's term as a member of the MCWD
Board of Directors expired on December 31, 2012.
However, this fact does not justify the dismissal of the
petition on the ground of its being rendered moot and
academic. The case should still be decided, despite the
intervening developments that could have rendered the
case moot and academic, because public interest is
involved, and because the issue is capable of repetition yet
evading review.
2. Whether Section 3(b) of P.D. 198 is unconstitutional
for violating the Due Process Clause and the Equal
Protection Clause.- YES Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 no
longer provided for substantial distinction because, firstly,
it ignored that the MCWD was built without the
participation of the provincial government; secondly, it
failed to consider that the MCWD existed to serve the
community that represents the needs of the majority of the
active water service connections; and, thirdly, the main
objective of the decree was to improve the water service
while keeping up with the needs of the growing population.
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:

A law enacted prior to the 1987 Constitution, like a presidential decree, is presumed to be valid and constitutional on the theory that it was
carefully studied by the Legislative and Executive Departments prior to its enactment, and determined to be in accord with the Fundamental
Law. However, the presumption of validity and constitutionality is overturned and the law should be struck down once it becomes
inconsistent with the present Constitution and the later laws.

EMERGENCY RECIT:

Section 3(b) of P.D. 198 issued by Marcos provides this xxx In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service
connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that
city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district
is locatedxxx In this regard, the GOVERNOR wrote to the MAYOR to assert his authority over the appointment of the members of MCWD
BoD. Soon enough, a Petition for Declaratory Relief was filed. The SC declared this provision unconstitutional because it violates the Due
Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause and the constitutional provision on local autonomy and independence of HUCs under Article X of
the 1987 Constitution

FACTS:

In 1973, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973). By virtue of
P. D. No. 198, Cebu City formed the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) in 1974. Thereafter, the Cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and
Talisay, and the Municipalities of Liloan, Compostela, Consolacion, and Cordova turned over their waterworks systems and
services to the MCWD. From 1974 to 2002, the Cebu City Mayor appointed all the members of the MCWD Board of Directors in
accordance with Section 3 (b) of P. D. No. 198, to wit:

(b) Appointing authority. The person empowered to appoint the members of the board of Directors of a local water
district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that
more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within
the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality,
as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the
district is located. If portions of more than one province are included within the boundary of the district, and the
appointing authority is to be the governors then the power to appoint shall rotate between the governors involved with
the initial appointments made by the governor in whose province the greatest number of service connections exists.
(emphasis supplied)

In July 2002, Cebu Provincial Governor Pablo L. Garcia wrote to the MCWD to assert his authority and intention to appoint the
members of the MCWD Board of Directors.' He stated in his letter that since 1996, the active water service connections in Cebu
City had been below 75% of the total active water service connection of the MCWD; that no other city or municipality under the
MCWD had reached the required percentage of 75%; and that, accordingly, he, as the Provincial Governor of Cebu, was the
appointing authority for the members of the MCWD Board of Directors pursuant to Section 3 (b) of P. D. No. 198.
Later on, the MCWD commenced in the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City (RTC) its action for declaratory relief seeking to declare
Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 unconstitutional; or, should the provision be declared valid, it should be interpreted to mean that the
authority to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors belonged solely to the Cebu City Mayor. The RTC (Branch 7)
dismissed the action for declaratory relief.

ISSUE(S):
Whether Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 was void on its face for violating the constitutional provision on local autonomy and
independence of HUCs under Article X of the 1987 Constitution.
HELD:

(1) Yes, partially.


RATIO:

The Court opines that Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 should be partially struck down for being repugnant to the local autonomy
granted by the 1987 Constitution to LGUs, and for being inconsistent with R.A. No. 7160 (1991 Local Government Code) and
related laws on local governments.

The enactment of P.D. No. 198 on May 25, 1973 was prior to the enactment on December 22, 1979 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 51
(An Act Providing for the Elective or Appointive Positions in Various Local Governments and for Other Purposes) and antedated
as well the effectivity of the 1991 Local Government Code on January 1, 1992. At the time of the enactment of P.D. No. 198, Cebu
City was still a component city of Cebu Province. Section 328 of B.P. Blg. 51 reclassified the cities of the Philippines based on
well-defined criteria. Cebu City thus became an HUC, which immediately meant that its inhabitants were ineligible to vote for
the officials of Cebu Province. In accordance with Section 12 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution, cities that are highly
urbanized, as determined by law, and component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective
officials, shall be independent of the province, but the voters of component cities within a province, whose charters contain no
such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their right to vote for elective provincial officials. Later on, Cebu City, already an HUC,
was further effectively rendered independent from Cebu Province pursuant to Section 29 of the 1991 Local Government Code.

Hence, all matters relating to its administration, powers and functions were exercised through its local executives led by the City
Mayor, subject to the President's retained power of general supervision over provinces, HUCs, and independent component
cities pursuant to and in accordance with Section 252 of the 1991 Local Government Code, a law enacted for the purpose of
strengthening the autonomy of the LGUs in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.

Article X of the 1987 Constitution guarantees and promotes the administrative and fiscal autonomy of the LGUs. The foregoing
statutory enactments enunciate and implement the local autonomy provisions explicitly recognized under the 1987
Constitution. To conform with the guarantees of the Constitution in favor of the autonomy of the LGUs, therefore, it becomes the
duty of the Court to declare and pronounce Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 as already partially unconstitutional

DISSENTING OPINION: