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PUBLIC CORPORATION: CASES SET A or local government units. Once delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative powers
as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking body.

FIRST DIVISION 3. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT; DEFINED. — A local government is a "political subdivision of a
[G.R. No. 135962. March 27, 2000.] nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs." The Local
METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. BEL-AIR VILLAGE Government Code of 1991 defines a local government unit as a "body politic and corporate" —
ASSOCIATION, INC., respondent. one endowed with powers as a political subdivision of the National Government and as a
corporate entity representing the inhabitants of its territory. Local government units are the
The Solicitor General for petitioner. provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. They are also the territorial and political
subdivisions of the state.
R.V. Saguisag and J. Vicente G. Sison for respondent.
4. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991; CONGRESS DELEGATED THE POLICE
SYNOPSIS POWER TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS. — Our Congress delegated police power to the
local government units in the Local Government Code of 1991. This delegation is found in
Petitioner Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMDA) is a government agency tasked with the Section 16 of the same Code, known as the general welfare clause, viz: "Sec. 16. General
delivery of basic services in Metro Manila, while respondent Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those
(BAVA) is the registered owner of Neptune Street, a road inside a private residential subdivision, necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its
the Bel-Air Village. On December 30, 1995, the president of the respondent received from the efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general
chairman of the petitioner a notice dated December 22, 1995 requesting the respondent to open welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and
Neptune Street to public vehicular traffic starting January 2, 1996. On that same day, the support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and
president of the respondent was apprised that the perimeter wall separating the subdivision from safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the
the adjacent Kalayaan Avenue would be demolished. On January 2, 1996, the respondent development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve
instituted an action for injunction against the petitioner before the Regional Trial Court, Branch public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among
136, Makati City. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order. However, after due their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their
hearing, the court denied the issuance of a preliminary injunction. On appeal, the Court of inhabitants."
Appeals ruled that the MMDA has no authority to order the opening of Neptune Street being a
private subdivision road and to cause the demolition of its perimeter walls. It held that the 5. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS; EXERCISE POLICE POWER THROUGH THEIR
authority is lodged in the City Council of Makati by an ordinance. RESPECTIVE LEGISLATIVE BODIES. — Local government units exercise police power
through their respective legislative bodies. The legislative body of the provincial government is
In this petition, the Court ruled that the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare the sangguniang panlalawigan, that of the city government is the sangguniang panlungsod, that
of the community. It is the local government units, acting through their respective legislative of the municipal government is the sangguniang bayan, and that of the barangay is the
councils, that possess legislative power and police power. In the case at bar, the Sangguniang sangguniang barangay. The Local Government Code of 1991 empowers the sangguniang
Panlunsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the opening of panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod and sangguniang bayan to "enact ordinances, approve
Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by petitioner MMDA is illegal and the respondent resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the [province, city or municipality, as
Court of Appeals did not err in so ruling. the case may be], and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of the Code and in the proper
exercise of the corporate powers of the [province, city municipality] provided under the Code . . .
Moreover, the MMDA was created to put some order in the metropolitan transportation system, ." The same Code gives the sangguniang barangay the power to "enact ordinances as may be
but unfortunately the powers granted by its charter are limited. Its good intentions cannot justify necessary to discharge the responsibilities conferred upon it by law or ordinance and to promote
the opening for public use of a private street in a private subdivision without any legal warrant. the general welfare of the inhabitants thereon."
The promotion of the general welfare is not antithetical to the preservation of the rule of law.
6. ID.; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY; METROPOLITAN MANILA
SYLLABUS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY; CREATED BY REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7924, TO ADMINISTER
BASIC SERVICES AFFECTING METRO MANILA. — Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body
1. POLITICAL LAW; STATE; INHERENT POWER; POLICE POWER; DEFINED. — Police composed of several local government units — i.e., twelve (12) cities and five (5) municipalities,
power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It has been defined as the power vested by the namely, the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon,
Constitution in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina, Parañaque and Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Malabon,
reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the Navotas, Pateros, San Juan and Taguig. With the passage of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7924 in
Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and for 1995, Metropolitan Manila was declared as a "special development and administrative region"
the subjects of the same. The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive, reaching and the Administration of "metro-wide" basic services affecting the region placed under "a
and justifying measures for public health, public safety, public morals, and the general welfare. development authority" referred to as the MMDA.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; LODGED PRIMARILY IN THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE; CAN BE 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; METRO-WIDE SERVICES; COVERAGE. — "Metro-wide services" are those
DELEGATED TO THE PRESIDENT, ADMINISTRATIVE BOARDS AND LAWMAKING BODIES "services which have metro-wide impact and transcend local political boundaries or entail huge
OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS. — It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in expenditures such that it would not be viable for said services to be provided by the individual
the National Legislature. It cannot be exercised by any group or body of individuals not local government units comprising Metro Manila." There are seven (7) basic metro-wide services
possessing legislative power. The National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the and the scope of these services cover the following: (1) development planning; (2) transport and
President and administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations traffic management; (3) solid waste disposal and management; (4) flood control and sewerage
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management; (5) urban renewal, zoning and land use planning, and shelter services; (6) health BAVA, through its president. The notice does not cite any ordinance or law, either by the
and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control; and (7) public safety. Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City or by the MMDA, as the legal basis for the proposed
opening of Neptune Street. Petitioner MMDA simply relied on its authority under its charter "to
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; IMPLEMENTATION OF PLANS, PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS; rationalize the use of roads and/or thoroughfares for the safe and convenient movement of
ELUCIDATED. — The implementation of the MMDA's plans, programs and projects is persons." Rationalizing the use of roads and thoroughfares is one of the acts that fall within the
undertaken by the local government units, national government agencies, accredited people's scope of transport and traffic management. By no stretch of the imagination, however, can this
organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector as well as by the MMDA be interpreted as an express or implied grant of ordinance-making power, much less police
itself. For this purpose, the MMDA has the power to enter into contracts, memoranda of power. Secondly, the MMDA is not the same entity as the MMC in Sangalang. Although the
agreement and other cooperative arrangements with these bodies for the delivery of the required MMC is the forerunner of the present MMDA, an examination of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No.
services within Metro Manila. 824, the charter of the MMC, shows that the latter possessed greater powers which were not
bestowed on the present MMDA.
9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; METRO MANILA COUNCIL; APPROVES METRO-WIDE PLANS,
PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS, AND ISSUES THE NECESSARY RULES AND REGULATIONS 13. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS; METROPOLITAN MANILA; CREATED AS A
FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION. — The governing board of the MMDA is the Metro Manila RESPONSE TO RAPID GROWTH OF POPULATION AND INCREASE OF SOCIAL AND
Council. The Council is composed of the mayors of the component 12 cities and 5 municipalities, ECONOMIC REQUIREMENTS. — Metropolitan Manila was first created in 1975 by Presidential
the president of the Metro Manila Vice-Mayors' League and the president of the Metro Manila Decree (P.D.) No. 824. It comprised the Greater Manila Area composed of the contiguous four
Councilors' League. The Council is headed by a Chairman who is appointed by the President (4) cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay and Caloocan, and the thirteen (13) municipalities of Makati,
and vested with the rank of cabinet member. As the policy-making body of the MMDA, the Metro Mandaluyong, San Juan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig, Pateros, Parañaque, Marikina,
Manila Council approves metro-wide plans, programs and projects, and issues the necessary Muntinlupa and Taguig in the province of Rizal, and Valenzuela in the province of Bulacan.
rules and regulations for the implementation of said plans; it approves the annual budget of the Metropolitan Manila was created as a response to the finding that the rapid growth of population
MMDA and promulgates the rules and regulations for the delivery of basic services, collection of and the increase of social and economic requirements in these areas demand a call for
service and regulatory fees, fines and penalties. simultaneous and unified development; that the public services rendered by the respective local
governments could be administered more efficiently and economically if integrated under a
10. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; AUTHORIZED TO SET POLICIES CONCERNING TRANSPORT AND system of central planning; and this coordination, "especially in the maintenance of peace and
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS. — Clearly, the scope of the MMDA's function is limited order and the eradication of social and economic ills that fanned the flames of rebellion and
to the delivery of the seven (7) basic services. One of these is transport and traffic management discontent [were] part of reform measures under Martial Law essential to the safety and security
which includes the formulation and monitoring of policies, standards and projects to rationalize of the State."
the existing transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares and
promotion of the safe movement of persons and goods. It also covers the mass transport system 14. ID.; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY; METRO MANILA COUNCIL;
and the institution of a system of road regulation, the administration of all traffic enforcement CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OF METRO MANILA FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING
operations, traffic engineering services and traffic education programs, including the institution of AND ADMINISTERING PROGRAMS PROVIDING SERVICES COMMON TO THE AREA. —
a single ticketing system in Metro Manila for traffic violations. Under this service, the MMDA is The MMC was the "central government" of Metro Manila for the purpose of establishing and
expressly authorized "to set the policies concerning traffic" and "coordinate and regulate the administering programs providing services common to the area. As a "central government" it had
implementation of all traffic management programs." In addition, the MMDA may "install and the power to levy and collect taxes and special assessments, the power to charge and collect
administer a single ticketing system," fix, impose and collect fines and penalties for all traffic fees; the power to appropriate money for its operation, and at the same time, review
violations. appropriations for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction. It was bestowed the power to
enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and fix penalties for violation of such ordinances and
11. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT GRANTED POLICE POWER; ALL FUNCTIONS ARE resolutions. It also had the power to review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances, resolutions
ADMINISTRATIVE IN NATURE. — It will be noted that the powers of the MMDA are limited to and acts of any of the four (4) cities and thirteen (13) municipalities comprising Metro Manila.
the following acts: formulation, coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation,
management, monitoring, setting of policies, installation of a system and administration. There is 15. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CREATION THEREOF IS COUPLED BY CREATION OF SANGGUNIANG
no syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. BAYAN. — The creation of the MMC also carried with it the creation of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Even the Metro Manila Council has not been delegated any legislative power. Unlike the This was composed of the members of the component city and municipal councils, barangay
legislative bodies of the local government units, there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924 that captains chosen by the MMC and sectoral representatives appointed by the President. The
empowers the MMDA or its Council to "enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate Sangguniang Bayan had the power to recommend to the MMC the adoption of ordinances,
funds for the general welfare" of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The MMDA is, as termed in the resolutions or measures.
charter itself, a "development authority." It is an agency created for the purpose of laying down
policies and coordinating with the various national government agencies, people's organizations, 16. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; POSSESSED LEGISLATIVE POWERS. — It was the MMC itself, however,
non-governmental organizations and the private sector for the efficient and expeditious delivery that possessed legislative powers. All ordinances, resolutions and measures recommended by
of basic services in the vast metropolitan area. All its functions are administrative in nature and the Sangguniang Bayan were subject to the MMC's approval. Moreover, the power to impose
these are actually summed up in the charter itself. taxes and other levies, the power to appropriate money, and the power to pass ordinances or
resolutions with penal sanctions were vested exclusively in the MMC. Thus, Metropolitan Manila
12. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SANGALANG VS. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT; NOT had a "central government," i.e., the MMC which fully possessed legislative and police powers.
APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. — Contrary to petitioner's claim, the two Sangalang cases do Whatever legislative powers the component cities and municipalities had were all subject to
not apply to the case at bar. Firstly, both involved zoning ordinances passed by the municipal review and approval by the MMC.
council of Makati and the MMC. In the instant case, the basis for the proposed opening of
Neptune Street is contained in the notice of December 22, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent
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17. ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; 1987 CONSTITUTION; RESTORES AUTONOMY OF LOCAL enacting its charter. . . . Clearly, the MMDA is not a political unit of government. The power
GOVERNMENT UNITS IN METRO MANILA. — After President Corazon Aquino assumed delegated to the MMDA is that given to the Metro Manila Council to promulgate administrative
power, there was a clamor to restore the autonomy of the local government units in Metro rules and regulations in the implementation of the MMDA's functions. There is no grant of
Manila. Hence, Sections 1 and 2 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution provided: "Section 1. The authority to enact ordinances and regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of the
territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, metropolis. This was explicitly stated in the last Committee deliberations prior to the bill's
municipalities and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the presentation to Congress. . . . The draft of H. B. No. 14170/11116 was presented by the
Cordilleras as herein provided. Section 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy Committee to the House of Representatives. The explanatory note to the bill stated that the
local autonomy." proposed MMDA is a "development authority" which is a "national agency, not a political
government unit." The explanatory note was adopted as the sponsorship speech of the
18. ID.; ID.; ID.; RECOGNIZED THE NECESSITY OF CREATING METROPOLITAN REGIONS. Committee on Local Governments. No interpellations or debates were made on the floor and no
— The Constitution, however, recognized the necessity of creating metropolitan regions not only amendments introduced. The bill was approved on second reading on the same day it was
in the existing National Capital Region but also in potential equivalents in the Visayas and presented. When the bill was forwarded on the Senate, several amendments were made. These
Mindanao. Section 11 of the same Article X thus provided: "Section 11. The Congress may, by amendments, however, did not affect the nature of the MMDA as originally conceived in the
law, create special metropolitan political subdivisions, subject to a plebiscite as set forth in House of Representatives.
Section 10 hereof. The component cities and municipalities shall retain their basic autonomy and
shall be entitled to their own local executives and legislative assemblies. The jurisdiction of the 22. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT EVEN A SPECIAL METROPOLITAN POLITICAL SUBDIVISION. — It
metropolitan authority that will thereby be created shall be limited to basic services requiring is thus beyond doubt that the MMDA is not local government unit or a public corporation
coordination." The Constitution itself expressly provides that Congress may, by law, create endowed with legislative power. It is not even a "special metropolitan political subdivision" as
"special metropolitan political subdivisions" which shall be subject to approval by a majority of contemplated in Section 11, Article X of the Constitution. The creation of a "special metropolitan
the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected; the jurisdiction of this political subdivision" requires the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
subdivision shall be limited to basic services requiring coordination; and the cities and political units directly affected. R. A. No. 7924 was not submitted to the inhabitants of Metro
municipalities comprising this subdivision shall retain basic autonomy and their own local Manila in a plebiscite. The Chairman of the MMDA is not an official elected by the people, but
executive and legislative assemblies. appointed by the President with the rank and privileges of a cabinet member. In fact, part of his
function is to perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the president, whereas in
19. ID.; ID.; ID.; TRANSITORY PROVISIONS; GAVE THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES local government units, the President merely exercises supervisory authority. This emphasizes
THE POWER TO CONSTITUTE THE METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY. — Pending enactment of the administrative character of the MMDA.
this law, the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution gave the President of the Philippines the
power to constitute the Metropolitan Authority, viz. "Section 8. Until otherwise provided by 23. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NO POWER TO ENACT ORDINANCES FOR THE WELFARE OF THE
Congress, the President may constitute the Metropolitan Authority to be composed of the heads COMMUNITY; CASE AT BAR. — Clearly then, the MMC under P.D. No. 824 is not the same
of all local government units comprising the Metropolitan Manila area." entity as the MMDA under R.A. No. 7924. Unlike the MMC, the MMDA has no power to enact
ordinances for the welfare of the community. It is the local government units, acting through their
20. ID.; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY; METROPOLITAN MANILA respective legislative councils, that possess legislative power and police power. In the case at
AUTHORITY; LIMITED TO DELIVERY OF BASIC URBAN SERVICES REQUIRING bar, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution
COORDINATION IN METROPOLITAN MANILA. — In 1990, President Aquino issued Executive ordering the opening of Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by petitioner MMDA is
Order (E.O.) No. 392 and constituted the Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMA). The powers and illegal and the respondent Court of Appeals did not err in so ruling.
functions of the MMC were developed to the MMA. It ought to be stressed, however, that not all
powers and functions of the MMC were passed to the MMA. The MMA's power was limited to 24. ID.; STATE; INHERENT POWERS; POLICE POWER; GOOD INTENTIONS CANNOT
the "delivery of basic urban services requiring coordination in Metropolitan Manila." The MMA's JUSTIFY THE OPENING FOR PUBLIC USE OF PRIVATE STREET IN PRIVATE
governing body, the Metropolitan Manila Council, although composed of the mayors of the SUBDIVISION WITHOUT ANY LEGAL WARRANT. — We stress that this decision does not
component cities and municipalities, was merely given the power of: (1) formulation of policies make light of the MMDA's noble efforts to solve the chaotic traffic condition in Metro Manila.
on the delivery of basic services requiring coordination and consolidation; and (2) promulgation Everyday, traffic jams and traffic bottlenecks plague the metropolis. Even our once sprawling
of resolutions and other issuances, approval of a code of basic services and the exercise of its boulevards and avenues are now crammed with cars while city streets are clogged with
rule-making power. Under the 1987 Constitution, the local government units became primarily motorists and pedestrians. Traffic has become a social malaise affecting our people's
responsible for the governance of their respective political subdivisions. The MMA's jurisdiction productivity and the efficient delivery of goods and services in the country. The MMDA was
was limited to addressing common problems involving basic services that transcended local created to put some order in the metropolitan transportation system but unfortunately the powers
boundaries. It did not have legislative power. Its power was merely to provide the local granted by its charter are limited. Its good intentions cannot justify the opening for public use of a
government units technical assistance in the preparation of local development plans. Any private street in a private subdivision without any legal warrant. The promotion of the general
semblance of legislative power it had was confined to a "review [of] legislation proposed by the welfare is not antithetical to the preservation of the rule of law. cdrep
local legislative assemblies to ensure consistency among local governments and with the
comprehensive development plan of Metro Manila," and to "advice the local governments DECISION
accordingly."
PUNO, J p:
21. ID.; ID.; ID.; METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY; NOT A POLITICAL
UNIT OF GOVERNMENT. — When R.A. No. 7924 took effect, Metropolitan Manila became a Not infrequently, the government is tempted to take legal shortcuts to solve urgent problems of
"special development and administrative region" and the MMDA a "special development the people. But even when government is armed with the best of intention, we cannot allow it to
authority" whose functions were "without prejudice to the autonomy of the affected local run roughshod over the rule of law. Again, we let the hammer fall and fall hard on the illegal
government units." The character of the MMDA was clearly defined in the legislative debates attempt of the MMDA to open for public use a private road in a private subdivision. While we
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hold that the general welfare should be promoted, we stress that it should not be achieved at the "WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED; the challenged Order dated January 23, 1995, in
expense of the rule of law. LLjur Civil Case No. 96-001, is SET ASIDE and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on February
13, 1996 is hereby made permanent.
Petitioner MMDA is a government agency tasked with the delivery of basic services in Metro
Manila. Respondent Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. (BAVA) is a non-stock, non-profit "For want of sustainable substantiation, the Motion to Cite Roberto L. del Rosario in contempt is
corporation whose members are homeowners in Bel-Air Village, a private subdivision in Makati denied. 5
City. Respondent BAVA is the registered owner of Neptune Street, a road beside Bel-Air Village.
"No pronouncement as to costs.
On December 30, 1995, respondent received from petitioner, through its Chairman, a notice
dated December 22, 1995 requesting respondent to open Neptune Street to public vehicular "SO ORDERED." 6
traffic starting January 2, 1996. The notice reads:
The Motion for Reconsideration of the decision was denied on September 28, 1998. Hence, this
"SUBJECT: NOTICE of the Opening of Neptune Street to Traffic recourse.

"Dear President Lindo, Petitioner MMDA raises the following questions:

"Please be informed that pursuant to the mandate of the MMDA law or Republic Act No. 7924 "I
which requires the Authority to rationalize the use of roads and/or thoroughfares for the safe and
convenient movement of persons, Neptune Street shall be opened to vehicular traffic effective HAS THE METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (MMDA) THE MANDATE
January 2, 1996. TO OPEN NEPTUNE STREET TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC PURSUANT TO ITS REGULATORY AND
POLICE POWERS?
"In view whereof, the undersigned requests you to voluntarily open the points of entry and exit
on said street. II

"Thank you for your cooperation and whatever assistance that may be extended by your IS THE PASSAGE OF AN ORDINANCE A CONDITION PRECEDENT BEFORE THE MMDA
association to the MMDA personnel who will be directing traffic in the area. MAY ORDER THE OPENING OF SUBDIVISION ROADS TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC?

"Finally, we are furnishing you with a copy of the handwritten instruction of the President on the III
matter.
IS RESPONDENT BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC. ESTOPPED FROM DENYING OR
"Very truly yours, ASSAILING THE AUTHORITY OF THE MMDA TO OPEN THE SUBJECT STREET?

PROSPERO I. ORETA IV
Chairman" 1
WAS RESPONDENT DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS DESPITE THE SEVERAL MEETINGS
On the same day, respondent was apprised that the perimeter wall separating the subdivision HELD BETWEEN MMDA AND THE AFFECTED BEL-AIR RESIDENTS AND BAVA
from the adjacent Kalayaan Avenue would be demolished. OFFICERS?

On January 2, 1996, respondent instituted against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court, V
Branch 136, Makati City, Civil Case No. 96-001 for injunction. Respondent prayed for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the opening of HAS RESPONDENT COME TO COURT WITH UNCLEAN HANDS?" 7
Neptune Street and prohibiting the demolition of the perimeter wall. The trial court issued a
temporary restraining order the following day. Neptune Street is owned by respondent BAVA. It is a private road inside Bel-Air Village, a
private residential subdivision in the heart of the financial and commercial district of Makati City.
On January 23, 1996 after due hearing, the trial court denied issuance of a preliminary It runs parallel to Kalayaan Avenue, a national road open to the general public. Dividing the two
injunction. 2 Respondent questioned the denial before the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. (2) streets is a concrete perimeter wall approximately fifteen (15) feet high. The western end of
39549. The appellate court conducted an ocular inspection of Neptune Street 3 and on February Neptune Street intersects Nicanor Garcia, formerly Reposo Street, a subdivision road open to
13, 1996, it issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the implementation of the MMDA's public vehicular traffic, while its eastern end intersects Makati Avenue, a national road. Both
proposed action. 4 ends of Neptune Street are guarded by iron gates.

On January 28, 1997, the appellate court rendered a Decision on the merits of the case finding Petitioner MMDA claims that it has the authority to open Neptune Street to public traffic because
that the MMDA has no authority to order the opening of Neptune Street, a private subdivision it is an agent of the state endowed with police power in the delivery of basic services in Metro
road and cause the demolition of its perimeter walls. It held that the authority is lodged in the Manila. One of these basic services is traffic management which involves the regulation of the
City Council of Makati by ordinance. The decision disposed of as follows: use of thoroughfares to insure the safety, convenience and welfare of the general public. It is
alleged that the police power of MMDA was affirmed by this Court in the consolidated cases of
Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court. 8 From the premise that it has police power, it is now
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urged that there is no need for the City of Makati to enact an ordinance opening Neptune street the passage of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7924 24 in 1995, Metropolitan Manila was declared as a
to the public. 9 "special development and administrative region" and the Administration of "metro-wide" basic
services affecting the region placed under "a development authority" referred to as the MMDA.
Police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It has been defined as the power vested by 25
the Constitution in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and
reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the "Metro-wide services" are those "services which have metro-wide impact and transcend local
Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and for political boundaries or entail huge expenditures such that it would not be viable for said services
the subjects of the same. 10 The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive, reaching to be provided by the individual local government units comprising Metro Manila." 26 There are
and justifying measures for public health, public safety, public morals, and the general welfare. seven (7) basic metro-wide services and the scope of these services cover the following: (1)
11 development planning; (2) transport and traffic management; (3) solid waste disposal and
management; (4) flood control and sewerage management; (5) urban renewal, zoning and land
It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in the National Legislature. 12 It cannot use planning, and shelter services; (6) health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution
be exercised by any group or body of individuals not possessing legislative power. 13 The control; and (7) public safety. The basic service of transport and traffic management includes the
National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the President and administrative following:
boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local government units. 14
Once delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on them "(b) Transport and traffic management which include the formulation, coordination, and
by the national lawmaking body. 15 monitoring of policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing transport
operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares, and promotion of safe and
A local government is a "political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and convenient movement of persons and goods; provision for the mass transport system and the
has substantial control of local affairs." 16 The Local Government Code of 1991 defines a local institution of a system to regulate road users; administration and implementation of all traffic
government unit as a "body politic and corporate" 17 — one endowed with powers as a political enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and traffic education programs, including
subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate entity representing the inhabitants of the institution of a single ticketing system in Metropolitan Manila;" 27
its territory. 18 Local government units are the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.
19 They are also the territorial and political subdivisions of the state. 20 In the delivery of the seven (7) basic services, the MMDA has the following powers and
functions:
Our Congress delegated police power to the local government units in the Local Government
Code of 1991. This delegation is found in Section 16 of the same Code, known as the general "SECTION 5. Functions and powers of the Metro Manila Development Authority. — The MMDA
welfare clause, viz: LexLib shall:

"SECTION 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers (a) Formulate, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium and long-term plans and
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, programs for the delivery of metro-wide services, land use and physical development within
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential Metropolitan Manila, consistent with national development objectives and priorities;
to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local
government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and (b) Prepare, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium-term investment programs
enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced for metro-wide services which shall indicate sources and uses of funds for priority programs and
ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and projects, and which shall include the packaging of projects and presentation to funding
technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social institutions;
justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve
the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants." 21 (c) Undertake and manage on its own metro-wide programs and projects for the delivery of
specific services under its jurisdiction, subject to the approval of the Council. For this purpose,
Local government units exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies. The MMDA can create appropriate project management offices;
legislative body of the provincial government is the sangguniang panlalawigan, that of the city
government is the sangguniang panlungsod, that of the municipal government is the (d) Coordinate and monitor the implementation of such plans, programs and projects in Metro
sangguniang bayan, and that of the barangay is the sangguniang barangay. The Local Manila; identify bottlenecks and adopt solutions to problems of implementation;
Government Code of 1991 empowers the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod
and sangguniang bayan to "enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the (e) The MMDA shall set the policies concerning traffic in Metro Manila, and shall coordinate and
general welfare of the [province, city or municipality, as the case may be], and its inhabitants regulate the implementation of all programs and projects concerning traffic management,
pursuant to Section 16 of the Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the specifically pertaining to enforcement, engineering and education. Upon request, it shall be
[province, city municipality] provided under the Code . . ." 22 The same Code gives the extended assistance and cooperation, including but not limited to, assignment of personnel, by
sangguniang barangay the power to "enact ordinances as may be necessary to discharge the all other government agencies and offices concerned;
responsibilities conferred upon it by law or ordinance and to promote the general welfare of the
inhabitants thereon." 23 (f) Install and administer a single ticketing system, fix, impose and collect fines and penalties for
all kinds of violations of traffic rules and regulations, whether moving or non-moving in nature,
Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body composed of several local government units — i.e., and confiscate and suspend or revoke drivers' licenses in the enforcement of such traffic laws
twelve (12) cities and five (5) municipalities, namely, the cities of Caloocan, Manila, and regulations, the provisions of RA 4136 and PD 1605 to the contrary notwithstanding. For this
Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina, Parañaque and purpose, the Authority shall impose all traffic laws and regulations in Metro Manila, through its
Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Malabon, Navotas, Pateros, San Juan and Taguig. With traffic operation center, and may deputize members of the PNP, traffic enforcers of local
6

government units, duly licensed security guards, or members of non-governmental organizations not been delegated any legislative power. Unlike the legislative bodies of the local government
to whom may be delegated certain authority, subject to such conditions and requirements as the units, there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924 that empowers the MMDA or its Council to "enact
Authority may impose; and ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare" of the inhabitants
of Metro Manila. The MMDA is, as termed in the charter itself, a "development authority." 30 It is
(g) Perform other related functions required to achieve the objectives of the MMDA, including the an agency created for the purpose of laying down policies and coordinating with the various
undertaking of delivery of basic services to the local government units, when deemed necessary national government agencies, people's organizations, non-governmental organizations and the
subject to prior coordination with and consent of the local government unit concerned." private sector for the efficient and expeditious delivery of basic services in the vast metropolitan
area. All its functions are administrative in nature and these are actually summed up in the
The implementation of the MMDA's plans, programs and projects is undertaken by the local charter itself, viz:
government units, national government agencies, accredited people's organizations, non-
governmental organizations, and the private sector as well as by the MMDA itself. For this "SECTION 2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. — . . .
purpose, the MMDA has the power to enter into contracts, memoranda of agreement and other
cooperative arrangements with these bodies for the delivery of the required services within The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the process
Metro Manila. 28 exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services within
Metro Manila, without diminution of the autonomy of the local government units concerning
The governing board of the MMDA is the Metro Manila Council. The Council is composed of the purely local matters." 31
mayors of the component 12 cities and 5 municipalities, the president of the Metro Manila Vice-
Mayors' League and the president of the Metro Manila Councilors' League. 29 The Council is Petitioner cannot seek refuge in the cases of Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court 32
headed by a Chairman who is appointed by the President and vested with the rank of cabinet where we upheld a zoning ordinance issued by the Metro Manila Commission (MMC), the
member. As the policy-making body of the MMDA, the Metro Manila Council approves metro- predecessor of the MMDA, as an exercise of police power. The first Sangalang decision was on
wide plans, programs and projects, and issues the necessary rules and regulations for the the merits of the petition, 33 while the second decision denied reconsideration of the first case
implementation of said plans; it approves the annual budget of the MMDA and promulgates the and in addition discussed the case of Yabut v. Court of Appeals. 34
rules and regulations for the delivery of basic services, collection of service and regulatory fees,
fines and penalties. These functions are particularly enumerated as follows: cdrep Sangalang v. IAC involved five (5) consolidated petitions filed by respondent BAVA and three
residents of Bel-Air Village against other residents of the Village and the Ayala Corporation,
"SECTION 6. Functions of the Metro Manila Council. — formerly the Makati Development Corporation, as the developer of the subdivision. The
petitioners sought to enforce certain restrictive easements in the deeds of sale over their
(a) The Council shall be the policy-making body of the MMDA; respective lots in the subdivision. These were the prohibition on the setting up of commercial
and advertising signs on the lots, and the condition that the lots be used only for residential
(b) It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and projects and issue rules and regulations purposes. Petitioners alleged that respondents, who were residents along Jupiter Street of the
deemed necessary by the MMDA to carry out the purposes of this Act; subdivision, converted their residences into commercial establishments in violation of the "deed
restrictions," and that respondent Ayala Corporation ushered in the full commercialization of
(c) It may increase the rate of allowances and per diems of the members of the Council to be Jupiter Street by tearing down the perimeter wall that separated the commercial from the
effective during the term of the succeeding Council. It shall fix the compensation of the officers residential section of the village. 35
and personnel of the MMDA, and approve the annual budget thereof for submission to the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM); The petitions were dismissed based on Ordinance No. 81 of the Municipal Council of Makati and
Ordinance No. 81-01 of the Metro Manila Commission (MMC). Municipal Ordinance No. 81
(d) It shall promulgate rules and regulations and set policies and standards for metro-wide classified Bel-Air Village as a Class A Residential Zone, with its boundary in the south extending
application governing the delivery of basic services, prescribe and collect service and regulatory to the center line of Jupiter Street. The Municipal Ordinance was adopted by the MMC under the
fees, and impose and collect fines and penalties." Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for the National Capital Region and promulgated as MMC
Ordinance No. 81-01. Bel-Air Village was indicated therein as bounded by Jupiter Street and the
Clearly, the scope of the MMDA's function is limited to the delivery of the seven (7) basic block adjacent thereto was classified as a High Intensity Commercial Zone. 36
services. One of these is transport and traffic management which includes the formulation and
monitoring of policies, standards and projects to rationalize the existing transport operations, We ruled that since both Ordinances recognized Jupiter Street as the boundary between Bel-Air
infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares and promotion of the safe movement of Village and the commercial district, Jupiter Street was not for the exclusive benefit of Bel-Air
persons and goods. It also covers the mass transport system and the institution of a system of residents. We also held that the perimeter wall on said street was constructed not to separate
road regulation, the administration of all traffic enforcement operations, traffic engineering the residential from the commercial blocks but simply for security reasons, hence, in tearing
services and traffic education programs, including the institution of a single ticketing system in down said wall, Ayala Corporation did not violate the "deed restrictions" in the deeds of sale.
Metro Manila for traffic violations. Under this service, the MMDA is expressly authorized "to set
the policies concerning traffic" and "coordinate and regulate the implementation of all traffic We upheld the ordinances, specifically MMC Ordinance No. 81-0l, as a legitimate exercise of
management programs." In addition, the MMDA may "install and administer a single ticketing police power. 37 The power of the MMC and the Makati Municipal Council to enact zoning
system," fix, impose and collect fines and penalties for all traffic violations. ordinances for the general welfare prevailed over the "deed restrictions." LibLex

It will be noted that the powers of the MMDA are limited to the following acts: formulation, In the second Sangalang/Yabut decision, we held that the opening of Jupiter Street was
coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation, management, monitoring, setting of warranted by the demands of the common good in terms of "traffic decongestion and public
policies, installation of a system and administration. There is no syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that convenience." Jupiter was opened by the Municipal Mayor to alleviate traffic congestion along
grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Even the Metro Manila Council has the public streets adjacent to the Village. 38 The same reason was given for the opening to
7

public vehicular traffic of Orbit Street, a road inside the same village. The destruction of the gate
in Orbit Street was also made under the police power of the municipal government. The gate, 3. To charge and collect fees for the use of public service facilities;
like the perimeter wall along Jupiter, was a public nuisance because it hindered and impaired the
use of property, hence, its summary abatement by the mayor was proper and legal. 39 4. To appropriate money for the operation of the metropolitan government and review
appropriations for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction with authority to disapprove
Contrary to petitioner's claim, the two Sangalang cases do not apply to the case at bar. Firstly, the same if found to be not in accordance with the established policies of the Commission,
both involved zoning ordinances passed by the municipal council of Makati and the MMC. In the without prejudice to any contractual obligation of the local government units involved existing at
instant case, the basis for the proposed opening of Neptune Street is contained in the notice of the time of approval of this Decree;
December 22, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent BAVA, through its president. The notice
does not cite any ordinance or law, either by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City or by 5. To review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances, resolutions and acts of cities and
the MMDA, as the legal basis for the proposed opening of Neptune Street. Petitioner MMDA municipalities within Metropolitan Manila;
simply relied on its authority under its charter "to rationalize the use of roads and/or
thoroughfares for the safe and convenient movement of persons." Rationalizing the use of roads 6. To enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and to fix penalties for any violation thereof which
and thoroughfares is one of the acts that fall within the scope of transport and traffic shall not exceed a fine of P10,000.00 or imprisonment of six years or both such fine and
management. By no stretch of the imagination, however, can this be interpreted as an express imprisonment for a single offense;
or implied grant of ordinance-making power, much less police power.
7. To perform general administrative, executive and policy-making functions; cdtai
Secondly, the MMDA is not the same entity as the MMC in Sangalang. Although the MMC is the
forerunner of the present MMDA, an examination of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 824, the 8. To establish a fire control operation center, which shall direct the fire services of the city and
charter of the MMC, shows that the latter possessed greater powers which were not bestowed municipal governments in the metropolitan area;
on the present MMDA.
9. To establish a garbage disposal operation center, which shall direct garbage collection and
Metropolitan Manila was first created in 1975 by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 824. It disposal in the metropolitan area;
comprised the Greater Manila Area composed of the contiguous four (4) cities of Manila,
Quezon, Pasay and Caloocan, and the thirteen (13) municipalities of Makati, Mandaluyong, San 10. To establish and operate a transport and traffic center, which shall direct traffic activities;
Juan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig, Pateros, Parañaque, Marikina, Muntinlupa and
Taguig in the province of Rizal, and Valenzuela in the province of Bulacan. 40 Metropolitan 11. To coordinate and monitor governmental and private activities pertaining to essential
Manila was created as a response to the finding that the rapid growth of population and the services such as transportation, flood control and drainage, water supply and sewerage, social,
increase of social and economic requirements in these areas demand a call for simultaneous health and environmental services, housing, park development, and others;
and unified development; that the public services rendered by the respective local governments
could be administered more efficiently and economically if integrated under a system of central 12. To insure and monitor the undertaking of a comprehensive social, economic and physical
planning; and this coordination, "especially in the maintenance of peace and order and the planning and development of the area;
eradication of social and economic ills that fanned the names of rebellion and discontent [were]
part of reform measures under Martial Law essential to the safety and security of the State." 41 13. To study the feasibility of increasing barangay participation in the affairs of their respective
local governments and to propose to the President of the Philippines definite programs and
Metropolitan Manila was established as a "public corporation" with the following powers: policies for implementation;

"SECTION 1. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila. — There is hereby created a public 14. To submit within thirty (30) days after the close of each fiscal year an annual report to the
corporation, to be known as the Metropolitan Manila, vested with powers and attributes of a President of the Philippines and to submit a periodic report whenever deemed necessary; and
corporation including the power to make contracts, sue and be sued, acquire, purchase,
expropriate, hold, transfer and dispose of property and such other powers as are necessary to 15. To perform such other tasks as may be assigned or directed by the President of the
carry out its purposes. The Corporation shall be administered by a Commission created under Philippines."
this Decree." 42
The MMC was the "central government" of Metro Manila for the purpose of establishing and
The administration of Metropolitan Manila was placed under the Metro Manila Commission administering programs providing services common to the area. As a "central government" it had
(MMC) vested with the following powers: the power to levy and collect taxes and special assessments, the power to charge and collect
fees; the power to appropriate money for its operation, and at the same time, review
"SECTION 4. Powers and Functions of the Commission. — The Commission shall have the appropriations for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction. It was bestowed the power to
following powers and functions: enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and fix penalties for violation of such ordinances and
resolutions. It also had the power to review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances, resolutions
1. To act as a central government to establish and administer programs and provide services and acts of any of the four (4) cities and thirteen (13) municipalities comprising Metro Manila.
common to the area;
P.D. No. 824 further provided:
2. To levy and collect taxes and special assessments, borrow and expend money and issue
bonds, revenue certificates, and other obligations of indebtedness. Existing tax measures "SECTION 9. Until otherwise provided, the governments of the four cities and thirteen
should, however, continue to be operative until otherwise modified or repealed by the municipalities in the Metropolitan Manila shall continue to exist in their present form except as
Commission; may be inconsistent with this Decree. The members of the existing city and municipal councils in
8

Metropolitan Manila shall, upon promulgation of this Decree, and until December 31, 1975, assemblies. 44 Pending enactment of this law, the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution gave
become members of the Sangguniang Bayan which is hereby created for every city and the President of the Philippines the power to constitute the Metropolitan Authority, viz:
municipality of Metropolitan Manila.
"SECTION 8. Until otherwise provided by Congress, the President may constitute the
In addition, the Sangguniang Bayan shall be composed of as many barangay captains as may Metropolitan Authority to be composed of the heads of all local government units comprising the
be determined and chosen by the Commission, and such number of representatives from other Metropolitan Manila area." 45
sectors of the society as may be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the
Commission. In 1990, President Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.) No. 392 and constituted the
Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMA). The powers and functions of the MMC were devolved to
xxx xxx xxx. the MMA. 46 It ought to be stressed, however, that not all powers and functions of the MMC
were passed to the MMA. The MMA's power was limited to the "delivery of basic urban services
The Sangguniang Bayan may recommend to the Commission ordinances, resolutions or such requiring coordination in Metropolitan Manila." 47 The MMA's governing body, the Metropolitan
measures as it may adopt; Provided, that no such ordinance, resolution or measure shall Manila Council, although composed of the mayors of the component cities and municipalities,
become effective, until after its approval by the Commission; and Provided further, that the was merely given the power of : (1) formulation of policies on the delivery of basic services
power to impose taxes and other levies, the power to appropriate money and the power to pass requiring coordination and consolidation; and (2) promulgation of resolutions and other
ordinances or resolutions with penal sanctions shall be vested exclusively in the Commission." issuances, approval of a code of basic services and the exercise of its rule-making power. 48

The creation of the MMC also carried with it the creation of the Sangguniang Bayan. This was Under the 1987 Constitution, the local government units became primarily responsible for the
composed of the members of the component city and municipal councils, barangay captains governance of their respective political subdivisions. The MMA's jurisdiction was limited to
chosen by the MMC and sectoral representatives appointed by the President. The Sangguniang addressing common problems involving basic services that transcended local boundaries. It did
Bayan had the power to recommend to the MMC the adoption of ordinances, resolutions or not have legislative power. Its power was merely to provide the local government units technical
measures. It was the MMC itself, however, that possessed legislative powers. All ordinances, assistance in the preparation of local development plans. Any semblance of legislative power it
resolutions and measures recommended by the Sangguniang Bayan were subject to the MMC's had was confined to a "review [of] legislation proposed by the local legislative assemblies to
approval. Moreover, the power to impose taxes and other levies, the power to appropriate ensure consistency among local governments and with the comprehensive development plan of
money, and the power to pass ordinances or resolutions with penal sanctions were vested Metro Manila," and to "advise the local governments accordingly." 49
exclusively in the MMC.
When R.A. No. 7924 took effect, Metropolitan Manila became a "special development and
Thus, Metropolitan Manila had a "central government," i.e., the MMC which fully possessed administrative region" and the MMDA a "special development authority" whose functions were
legislative and police powers. Whatever legislative powers the component cities and "without prejudice to the autonomy of the affected local government units." The character of the
municipalities had were all subject to review and approval by the MMC. MMDA was clearly defined in the legislative debates enacting its charter.

After President Corazon Aquino assumed power, there was a clamor to restore the autonomy of R.A. No. 7924 originated as House Bill No. 14170/11116 and was introduced by several
the local government units in Metro Manila. Hence, Sections 1 and 2 of Article X of the 1987 legislators led by Dante Tinga, Roilo Golez and Feliciano Belmonte. It was presented to the
Constitution provided: House of Representatives by the Committee on Local Governments chaired by Congressman
Ciriaco R. Alfelor. The bill was a product of Committee consultations with the local government
"SECTION 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the units in the National Capital Region (NCR), with former chairmen of the MMC and MMA, 50 and
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim career officials of said agencies. When the bill was first taken up by the Committee on Local
Mindanao and the Cordilleras as herein provided. Governments, the following debate took place:

"SECTION 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy." "THE CHAIRMAN [Hon. Ciriaco Alfelor]: Okay, Let me explain. This has been debated a long
time ago, you know. It's a special . . . we can create a special metropolitan political subdivision.
The Constitution, however, recognized the necessity of creating metropolitan regions not only in
the existing National Capital Region but also in potential equivalents in the Visayas and Actually, there are only six (6) political subdivisions provided for in the Constitution: barangay,
Mindanao. 43 Section 11 of the same Article X thus provided: municipality, city, province, and we have the Autonomous Region of Mindanao and we have the
Cordillera. So we have 6. Now . . .
"SECTION 11. The Congress may, by law, create special metropolitan political subdivisions,
subject to a plebiscite as set forth in Section 10 hereof. The component cities and municipalities HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: May I interrupt, Mr. Chairman. In the case of the Autonomous Region, that
shall retain their basic autonomy and shall be entitled to their own local executives and is also specifically mandated by the Constitution.
legislative assemblies. The jurisdiction of the metropolitan authority that will thereby be created
shall be limited to basic services requiring coordination." THE CHAIRMAN: That's correct. But it is considered to be a political subdivision. What is the
meaning of a political subdivision? Meaning to say, that it has its own government, it has its own
The Constitution itself expressly provides that Congress may, by law, create "special political personality, it has the power to tax, and all governmental powers: police power and
metropolitan political subdivisions" which shall be subject to approval by a majority of the votes everything. All right. Authority is different; because it does not have its own government. It is only
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected; the jurisdiction of this subdivision shall a council, it is an organization of political subdivision, powers, 'no, which is not imbued with any
be limited to basic services requiring coordination; and the cities and municipalities comprising political power. llcd
this subdivision shall retain their basic autonomy and their own local executive and legislative
9

If you go over Section 6, where the powers and functions of the Metro Manila Development HON. BELMONTE: All right, Mr. Chairman, okay, what you are saying there is . . .
Authority, it is purely coordinative. And it provides here that the council is policy-making. All right.
THE CHAIRMAN: In setting up ordinances, it is a political exercise. Believe me.
Under the Constitution is a Metropolitan Authority with coordinative power. Meaning to say, it
coordinates all of the different basic services which have to be delivered to the constituency. All HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: Mr. Chairman, it can be changed into issuances of rules and regulations.
right. That would be . . . it shall also be enforced.

There is now a problem. Each local government unit is given its respective . . . as a political HON. BELMONTE: Okay, I will . . .
subdivision. Kalookan has its powers, as provided for and protected and guaranteed by the
Constitution. All right, the exercise. However, in the exercise of that power, it might be HON. LOPEZ: And you can also say that violation of such rule, you impose a sanction. But you
deleterious and disadvantageous to other local government units. So, we are forming an know, ordinance has a different legal connotation.
authority where all of these will be members and then set up a policy in order that the basic
services can be effectively coordinated. All right. HON. BELMONTE: All right. I defer to that opinion, your Honor.

Of course, we cannot deny that the MMDA has to survive. We have to provide some funds, THE CHAIRMAN: So instead of ordinances, say rules and regulations.
resources. But it does not possess any political power. We do not elect the Governor. We do not
have the power to tax. As a matter of fact, I was trying to intimate to the author that it must have HON. BELMONTE: Or resolutions. Actually, they are actually considering resolutions now.
the power to sue and be sued because it coordinates. All right. It coordinates practically all these
basic services so that the flow and the distribution of the basic services will be continuous. Like THE CHAIRMAN: Rules and resolutions.
traffic, we cannot deny that. It's before our eyes. Sewerage, flood control, water system, peace
and order, we cannot deny these. It's right on our face. We have to look for a solution. What HON. BELMONTE: Rules, regulations and resolutions." 52
would be the right solution? All right, we envision that there should be a coordinating agency and
it is called an authority. All right, if you do not want to call it an authority, it's alright. We may call The draft of H. B. No. 14170/11116 was presented by the Committee to the House of
it a council or maybe a management agency. Representatives. The explanatory note to the bill stated that the proposed MMDA is a
"development authority" which is a "national agency, not a political government unit." 53 The
xxx xxx xxx." 51 explanatory note was adopted as the sponsorship speech of the Committee on Local
Governments. No interpellations or debates were made on the floor and no amendments
Clearly, the MMDA is not a political unit of government. The power delegated to the MMDA is introduced. The bill was approved on second reading on the same day it was presented. 54
that given to the Metro Manila Council to promulgate administrative rules and regulations in the
implementation of the MMDA's functions. There is no grant of authority to enact ordinances and When the bill was forwarded to the Senate, several amendments were made. These
regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of the metropolis. This was explicitly stated amendments, however, did not affect the nature of the MMDA as originally conceived in the
in the last Committee deliberations prior to the bill's presentation to Congress. Thus: House of Representatives. 55

"THE CHAIRMAN: Yeah, but we have to go over the suggested revision. I think this was already It is thus beyond doubt that the MMDA is not a local government unit or a public corporation
approved before, but it was reconsidered in view of the proposals, set-up, to make the MMDA endowed with legislative power. It is not even a "special metropolitan political subdivision" as
stronger. Okay, so if there is no objection to paragraph "f" . . . And then next is paragraph "b," contemplated in Section 11, Article X of the Constitution. The creation of a "special metropolitan
under Section 6. "It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and projects and issue political subdivision" requires the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
ordinances or resolutions deemed necessary by the MMDA to carry out the purposes of this political units directly affected. 56 R.A. No. 7924 was not submitted to the inhabitants of Metro
Act." Do you have the powers? Does the MMDA . . . because that takes the form of a local Manila in a plebiscite. The Chairman of the MMDA is not an official elected by the people, but
government unit, a political subdivision. appointed by the President with the rank and privileges of a cabinet member. In fact, part of his
function is to perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the President, 57 whereas
HON. [Feliciano] BELMONTE: Yes, I believe so, your Honor. When we say that it has the in local government units, the President merely exercises supervisory authority. This
policies, it's very clear that those policies must be followed. Otherwise, what's the use of emphasizes the administrative character of the MMDA.
empowering it to come out with policies. Now, the policies may be in the form of a resolution or it
may be in the form of a ordinance. The term "ordinance in this case really gives it more teeth, Clearly then, the MMC under P.D. No. 824 is not the same entity as the MMDA under R.A. No.
your honor. Otherwise, we are going to see a situation where you have the power to adopt the 7924. Unlike the MMC, the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of the
policy but you cannot really make it stick as in the case now, and I think here is Chairman community. It is the local government units, acting through their respective legislative councils,
Bunye. I think he will agree that that is the case now. You've got the power to set a policy, the that possess legislative power and police power. In the case at bar, the Sangguniang
body wants to follow your policy, then we say let's call it an ordinance and see if they will not Panlungsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the opening of
follow it. Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by petitioner MMDA is illegal and the respondent
Court of Appeals did not err in so ruling. We desist from ruling on the other issues as they are
THE CHAIRMAN: That's very nice. I like that. However, there is a constitutional impediment. unnecessary.
You are making this MMDA a political subdivision. The creation of the MMDA would be subject
to a plebiscite. That is what I'm trying to avoid. I've been trying to avoid this kind of predicament. We stress that this decision does not make light of the MMDA's noble efforts to solve the chaotic
Under the Constitution it states: if it is a political subdivision, once it is created it has to be traffic condition in Metro Manila. Everyday, traffic jams and traffic bottlenecks plague the
subject to a plebiscite. I'm trying to make this as administrative. That's why we place the metropolis. Even our once sprawling boulevards and avenues are now crammed with cars while
Chairman as a cabinet rank. city streets are clogged with motorists and pedestrians. Traffic has become a social malaise
10

affecting our people's productivity and the efficient delivery of goods and services in the country. 3.STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1869 NOT REPEALED PRO
The MMDA was created to put some order in the metropolitan transportation system but TANTO BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE.— The challenged ordinances were enacted
unfortunately the powers granted by its charter are limited. Its good intentions cannot justify the pursuant to the Sangguniang Panglungsod's express powers conferred by Section
opening for public use of a private street in a private subdivision without any legal warrant. The 458paragraph (a)subparagraphs (1)-(V), (3)-(ii), and (4)-(i), (iv), and (vii), Local Government
promotion of the general welfare is not antithetical to the preservation of the rule of law. Cdpr Code,and pursuant to its implied power under Section 16 thereof. . . . . The issue that
necessarily arises is whether in granting local governments (such as the City of Cagayan de
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is denied. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Oro) the above powers and functions, the Local Government Code has, pro tanto, repealed P.D.
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39549 are affirmed. No. 1869 insofar as PAGCOR'S general authority to establish and maintain gambling casinos
anywhere in the Philippines is concerned. I join the majority in holding that the ordinances
SO ORDERED. prcd cannot repeal P.D. No. 1869.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur 4.CONTRAVENTION OF LAW NOT NECESSARILY A CONTRAVENTION OF THE
CONSTITUTION; ORDINANCES IN CASE AT BAR RECONCILED WITH PRESIDENTIAL
||| (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc., G.R. No. DECREE NO. 1869. — The nullification by the Court of Appeals of the challenged ordinances as
135962, [March 27, 2000], 385 PHIL 586-622) unconstitutional primarily because it is in contravention to P.D. No. 1869 is unwarranted. A
contravention of a law is not necessarily a contravention of the constitution. In any case, the
ordinances can still stand even if they be conceded as offending P.D. No. 1869. They can be
reconciled, which is not impossible to do. So reconciled, the ordinances should be construed as
not applying to PAGCOR.

EN BANC DECISION
[G.R. No. 111097. July 20, 1994.]
MAYOR PABLO P. MAGTAJAS & THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO, petitioners, vs. CRUZ, J p:
PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, INC. & PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING
CORPORATION, respondents. There was instant opposition when PAGCOR announced the opening of a casino in Cagayan de
Oro City. Civic organizations angrily denounced the project, The religious elements echoed and
SYLLABUS objection and so did the women's groups and the youth. Demonstrations were led by the mayor
and the city legislators. The media trumpeted the protest, describing the casino as an affront to
DAVIDE, JR., J., separate opinion: the welfare of the city.

1.REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; PRINCIPAL CAUSE OF ACTION IN CASE AT The trouble arose when in 1992, flush with its tremendous success in several cities, PAGCOR
BAR ONE FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF. — It must at once be noted that private respondent decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. To this end, it leased a portion of a
Pryce Properties Corporation (PRYCE) directly filed with the Court of Appeals its so-called building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation Inc., one of the herein private respondents,
petition for prohibition, thereby invoking the said court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of renovated and equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its casino there during the
prohibition under Section 9(1) of B.P. Blg. 129. As I see it, however, the principal cause of action Christmas season.
therein is one for declaratory relief: to declare null and unconstitutional — for, inter alia, having
been enacted without or in excess of jurisdiction, for impairing the obligation of contracts, and for The reaction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City was swift and hostile. On
being inconsistent with public policy — the challenged ordinances enacted by the Sangguniang December 7, 1992, it enacted Ordinance No. 3353 reading as follows:
Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro. The intervention therein of public respondent
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) further underscores the "declaratory ORDINANCE NO. 3353
relief" nature of the action. PAGCOR assails the ordinances for being contrary to the non-
impairment and equal protection clauses of the Constitution, violative of the Local Government AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ISSUANCE OF BUSINESS PERMIT AND CANCELLING
Code, and against the State's national policy declared in P.D. No. 1869. Accordingly, the Court EXISTING BUSINESS PERMIT TO ANY ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE USING AND ALLOWING
of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over the nature of the action. TO BE USED ITS PREMISES OR PORTION THEREOF FOR THE OPERATION OF CASINO.

2.ID.; ID.; PROHIBITION; ESTABLISHED POLICY RELATIVE TO HIERARCHY OF COURTS BE IT ORDAINED by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro, in session
NOT OBSERVED IN FILING OF PETITION IN CASE AT BAR. — Assuming arguendo that the assembled that:
case is one for prohibition, then, under this Court's established policy relative to the hierarchy of
courts, the petition should have been filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. SECTION 1. That pursuant to the policy of the city banning the operation of casino within its
I find no special or compelling reason why it was not filed with the said court. I do not wish to territorial jurisdiction, no business permit shall be issued to any person, partnership or
entertain the thought that PRYCE doubted a favorable verdict therefrom, in which case the filing corporation for the operation of casino within the city limits.
of the petition with the Court of Appeals may have been impelled by tactical considerations. A
dismissal of the petition by the Court of Appeals would have been in order pursuant to our SECTION 2. That it shall be violation of existing business permit by any persons, partnership or
decisions in People vs. Cuaresma (172 SCRA 415, [1989]) and Defensor-Santiago vs. Vasquez corporation to use its business establishment or portion thereof, or allow the use thereof by
(217 SCRA 633 1993]). others for casino operation and other gambling activities.
11

SECTION 3. PENALTIES. — Any violation of such existing business permit as defined in the SECTION 3. This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its publication in a local
preceding section shall suffer the following penalties, to wit: newspaper of general circulation.

a)Suspension of the business permit for sixty (60) days for the first offense and a fine of Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it was joined by PAGCOR as
P1,000.00/day intervenor and supplemental petitioner. Their challenge succeeded. On March 31, 1993, the
Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the writ prayed for to prohibit their
b)Suspension of the business permit for Six (6) months for the second offense, and a fine of enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this decision was denied on July 13, 1993. 2
P3,000.00/day
Cagayan de Oro City and its mayor are now before us in this petition for review under Rule 45 of
c)Permanent revocation of the business permit and imprisonment of One (1) year, for the third the Rules of Court. 3 They aver that the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that:
and subsequent offenses.
1.Under existing laws, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro does not
SECTION 4. This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days from publication thereof. have the power and authority to prohibit the establishment and operation of a PAGCOR
gambling casino within the City's territorial limits.
Nor was this all. On January 4, 1993, it adopted a sterner Ordinance No. 3375-93 reading as
follows: 2.The phrase "gambling and other prohibited games of chance" found in Sec. 458, par. (a), sub-
par. (1) - (v) of R.A. 7160 could only mean "illegal gambling."
ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93
3.The questioned Ordinances in effect annul P.D. 1869 and are therefore invalid on that point.
AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE OPERATION OF CASINO AND PROVIDING PENALTY
FOR VIOLATION THEREFOR. 4.The questioned Ordinances are discriminatory to casino and partial to cockfighting and are
therefore invalid on that point.
WHEREAS, the City Council established a policy as early as 1990 against CASINO under its
Resolution No. 2295; 5.The questioned Ordinances are not reasonable, not consonant with the general powers and
purposes of the instrumentality concerned and inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.
WHEREAS, on October 14, 1992, the City Council passed another Resolution No. 2673,
reiterating its policy against the establishment of CASINO; 6.It had no option but to follow the ruling in the case of Basco, et al. v. PAGCOR, G.R. No.
91649, May 14, 1991, 195 SCRA 53 in disposing of the issues presented in this present case.
WHEREAS, subsequently, thereafter, it likewise passed Ordinance No. 3353, prohibiting the
issuance of Business Permit and to cancel existing Business Permit to any establishment for the PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help centralize and regulate all
using and allowing to be used its premises or portion thereof for the operation of CASINO. games of chance, including casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the
Philippines. In Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, 4 this Court sustained
WHEREAS, under Art. 3, section 458, No. (4), sub paragraph VI of the Local Government Code the constitutionality of the decree and even cited the benefits of the entity to the national
of 1991 (Rep. Act 7160) and under Art. 99, No. (4), Paragraph VI of the implementing rules of economy as the third highest revenue-earner in the government, next only to the BIR and the
the Local Government Code, the City Council as the Legislative Body shall enact measure to Bureau of Customs. cdasia
suppress any activity inimical to public morals and general welfare of the people and/or regulate
or prohibit such activity pertaining to amusement or entertainment in order to protect social and Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact ordinances
moral welfare of the community; for the purposes indicated in the Local Government Code.It is expressly vested with the police
power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause now embodied in Section 16 as
NOW THEREFORE, follows:

BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council in session duly assembled that: SEC. 16.General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly
granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or
SECTION 1. The operation of gambling CASINO in the City of Cagayan de Oro is hereby incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the
prohibited. promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government
units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture,
SECTION 2. Any violation of this Ordinance shall be subject to the following penalties: promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage
and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological
a)Administrative fine of P5,000.00 shall be imposed against the proprietor, partnership or capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full
corporation undertaking the operation, conduct, maintenance of gambling CASINO in the City employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and
and closure thereof; convenience of their inhabitants.

b)Imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one (1) year or a fine in the In addition, Section 458 of the said Code specifically declares that:
amount of P5,000.00 or both at the discretion of the court against the manager, supervisor,
and/or any person responsible in the establishment, conduct and maintenance of gambling SEC. 458.Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. — (1) The Sangguniang Panlungsod,
CASINO. as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate
funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code
12

and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of the direction in the Code calling for its liberal interpretation in favor of the local government units.
this Code, and shall: Section 5 of the Code specifically provides:

(1)Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city Sec. 5.Rules of Interpretation. — In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the following
government, and in this connection, shall: rules shall apply:

xxx xxx xxx (a)Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be liberally interpreted in its favor,
and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers
(v)Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for habitual and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the
drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment and power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned;
maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited games of chance, fraudulent
devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug xxx xxx xxx
pushing, juvenile delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic
materials or publications, and such other activities inimical to the welfare and morals of the (c)The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers
inhabitants of the city; to local government units in accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life
for the people in the community; . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
This section also authorizes the local government units to regulate properties and businesses
within their territorial limits in the interest of the general welfare. 5 Finally, the petitioners also attack gambling as intrinsically harmful and cite various provisions of
the Constitution and several decisions of this Court expressive of the general and official
The petitioners argue that by virtue of these provisions, the Sangguniang Panlungsod may disapprobation of the vice. They invoke the State policies on the family and the proper
prohibit the operation and casinos because they involve games of chance, which are detrimental upbringing of the youth and, as might be expected, call attention to the old case of U.S. v.
to the people. Gambling is not allowed by general law and even by the Constitution itself. The Salaveria, 7 which sustained a municipal ordinance prohibiting the playing of panguingue. The
legislative power conferred upon local government units may be exercised over all kinds of petitioners decry the immorality of gambling. They also impugn the wisdom of P.D. 1869 (which
gambling and not only over "illegal gambling" as the respondents erroneously argue. Even if the they describe as "a martial law instrument") in creating PAGCOR and authorizing it to operate
operation of casinos may have been permitted under P.D. 1869, the government of Cagayan de casinos "on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines." LexLib
Oro City has the authority to prohibit them within its territory pursuant to the authority entrusted
to it by the Local Government Code. This is the opportune time to stress an important point.

It is submitted that this interpretation is consonant with the policy of local autonomy as mandated The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While it is
in Article II, Section 25, and Article X of the Constitution, as well as various other provisions generally considered inimical to the interests of the people, there is nothing in the Constitution
therein seeking to strengthen the character of the nation. In giving the local government units the categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even mentioning it at all. It is
power to prevent or suppress gambling and other social problems, the Local Government Code left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise of its own discretion, the
has recognized the competence of such communities to determine and adopt the measures best legislature may prohibit gambling altogether or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some
expected to promote the general welfare of their inhabitants in line with the policies of the State. forms of gambling and allow others for whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has
prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In making
The petitioners also stress that when the Code expressly authorized the local government units such choices, Congress has consulted its own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to
to prevent and suppress gambling and other prohibited games of chance, like craps, baccarat, review, much less reverse. Well has it been said that courts do no sit to resolve the merits of
blackjack and roulette, it meant all forms of gambling without distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit, conflicting theories. 8 That is the prerogative of the political departments. It is settled that
nec nos distinguere debemos. 6 Otherwise, it would have expressly excluded from the scope of questions regarding the wisdom, morality, or practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the
their power casinos and other forms of gambling authorized by special law, as it could have judiciary but may be resolved only by the legislative and executive departments, to which the
easily done. The fact that it did not do so simply means that the local government units are function belongs in our scheme of government. That function is exclusive. Whichever way these
permitted to prohibit all kinds of gambling within their territories, including the operation of branches decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who will
casinos. cdlex ultimately judge their acts, and not to the courts of justice. cda

The adoption of the Local Government Code, it is pointed out, had the effect of modifying the The only question we can and shall resolve in this petition is the validity of Ordinance No. 3355
charter of the PAGCOR. The Code is not only a later enactment than P.D. 1869 and so is and Ordinance No. 3375-93 as enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro
deemed to prevail in case of inconsistencies between them. More than this, the powers of the City. And we shall do so only by the criteria laid down by law and not by our own convictions on
PAGCOR under the decree are expressly discontinued by the Code insofar as they do not the propriety of gambling.
conform to its philosophy and provisions, pursuant to Par. (f) of its repealing clause reading as
follows: The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions 9 has held to be
valid, an ordinance must conform to the following substantive requirements:
(f)All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and
administrative regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the 1)It must not contravene the constitution or any statute.
provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
2)It must not be unfair or oppressive.
It is also maintained that assuming there is doubt regarding the effect of the Local Government
Code on P.D. 1869, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the petitioners, in accordance with 3)It must not be partial or discriminatory.
13

4)It must not prohibit but may regulate trade. (b)Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other decrees, orders, instructions,
memoranda and issuances related to or concerning the barangay are hereby repealed. prLL
5)It must be general and consistent with public policy.
(c)The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939 regarding hospital fund;
6)It must not be unreasonable. Section 3, a (3) and b (2) of Republic Act No. 5447 regarding the Special Education Fund;
Presidential Decree No. 144 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741;
We begin by observing that under Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, local government Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No. 436 as amended by
units are authorized to prevent or suppress, among others, "gambling and other prohibited Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential Decree Nos. 381, 436,464, 477, 526, 632, 752,
games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of chance which are not prohibited and 1136 are hereby repealed and rendered of no force and effect.
but are in fact permitted by law. The petitioners are less than accurate in claiming that the Code
could have excluded such games of chance but did not. In fact it does. The language of the (d)Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it governs locally-funded projects.
section is clear and unmistakable. Under the rule of noscitur a sociis, a word or phrase should
be interpreted in relation to, or given the same meaning of, words with which it is associated. (e)The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended insofar as they are inconsistent
Accordingly, we conclude that since the word "gambling" is associated with "and other prohibited with the provisions of this Code: Sections 2, 16, and 29 of Presidential Decree No. 704; Section
games of chance," the word should be read as referring to only illegal gambling which, like the 12 of Presidential Decree No. 87, as amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73,
other prohibited games of chance, must be prevented or suppressed. and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended; and Section 16 of Presidential Decree No.
972, as amended, and
We could stop here as this interpretation should settle the problem quite conclusively. But we will
not. The vigorous efforts of the petitioners on behalf of the inhabitants of Cagayan de Oro City, (f)All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and
and the earnestness of their advocacy, deserve more than short shrift from this Court. LLpr administrative regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the
provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
The apparent flaw in the ordinances in question is that they contravene P.D. 1869 and the public
policy embodied therein insofar as they prevent PAGCOR from exercising the power conferred Furthermore, it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the absence of a
on it to the operate a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. The petitioners have an ingenious answer clear and unmistakable showing of such intention. In Lichauco & Co. v. Apostol, 10 this Court
to this misgiving. They deny that it is the ordinances that have changed P.D. 1869 for an explained:
ordinance admittedly cannot prevail against a statute. Their theory is that the change has been
made by the Local Government Code itself, which was also enacted by the national lawmaking The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all proceed on the assumption that if
authority. In their view, the decree has been, not really repealed by the Code, but merely the act of later date clearly reveals an intention of the part of the lawmaking power to abrogate
"modified pro tanto" in the sense that PAGCOR cannot now operate a casino over the objection the prior law, this intention must be given effect; but there must always be a sufficient revelation
of the local government unit concerned. This modification of P.D. 1869 by the Local Government of this intention, and it has become an unbending rule of statutory construction that the intention
Code is permissible because one law can change or repeal another law. to repeal a former law will not be imputed to the Legislature when it appears that the two
statutes, or provisions, with reference to which the question arises bear to each other the
It seems to us that the petitioner are playing with words. While insisting that the decree has only relation of general to special.
been "modified pro tanto," they are actually arguing that it is already dead, repealed and useless
for all intents and purposes because the Code has shorn PAGCOR of all power to centralize and There is no sufficient indication of an implied repeal of P.D. 1869. On the contrary, as the private
regulate casinos. Strictly speaking, its operations may now be not only prohibited by the local respondent points, out, PAGCOR is mentioned as the source of funding in two later enactments
government unit; in fact, the prohibition is not only discretionary by mandated by Section 458 of of Congress, to wit, R.A. 7309, creating a Board of Claims under the Department of Justice for
the Code if the word "shall" as used therein is to be given its accepted meaning. Local the benefit of victims of unjust punishment or detention or of violent crimes, and R.A. 7648,
government units have now on choice but to prevent and suppress gambling, which in the providing for measures for the solution of the power crisis. PAGCOR revenues are tapped by
petitioners' view includes both legal and illegal gambling. Under this construction, PAGCOR will these two statutes. This would show that the PAGCOR charter has not been repealed by the
have no more games of chance to regulate or centralize as they must all be prohibited by the Local Government Code but has in fact been improved as it were to make the entity more
local government units pursuant to the mandatory duty imposed upon them by the Code. In this responsive to the fiscal problems of the government.
situation, PAGCOR cannot continue to exist except only as a toothless tiger or a white elephant
and will no longer be able to exercise its powers as a prime source of government revenue It is a canon of legal hermeneutics that instead of pitting one statute against another in an
through the operation of casinos. inevitably destructive confrontation, courts must exert every effort to reconcile them,
remembering that both laws deserve a becoming respect as the handiwork of a coordinate
It is noteworthy that the petitioners have cited only Par. (f) of the repealing clause, conveniently branch of the government. On the assumption of a conflict between P.D. 1869 and the Code, the
discarding the rest of the provision which painstakingly mentions the specific laws or the parts proper action is not to uphold one and annul the other but to give effect to both by harmonizing
thereof which are repealed (or modified) by the Code. Significantly, P.D. 1869 is not one of them if possible. This is possible in the case before us. The proper resolution of the problem at
them. A reading of the entire repealing clause, which is reproduced below, will disclose the hand is to hold that under the Local Government Code, local government units may (and indeed
omission: must) prevent and suppress all kinds of gambling within their territories except only those
allowed by statutes like P.D. 1869. The exception reserved in such laws must be read in the
SEC. 534.Repealing Clause. — (a) Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the Local Code, to make both the Code and such laws equally effective and mutually complementary.
Government Code." Executive Order No. 112 (1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) are
hereby repealed. This approach would also affirm that there are indeed two kinds of gambling, to wit, the illegal
and those authorized by law. Legalized gambling is not a modern concept; it is probably as old
as illegal gambling, if not indeed more so. The petitioners' suggestion that the Code authorizes
14

them to prohibit all kinds of gambling would erase the distinction between these two forms of P.D. 1869 has not been modified by the Local Government Code, which empowers the local
gambling without a clear indication that this is the will of the legislature. Plausibly, following this government units to prevent or suppress only those forms of gambling prohibited by law. llcd
theory, the City of Manila could, by mere ordinance, prohibit the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes
Office from conducting a lottery as authorized by R.A. 1169 and B.P. 42 or stop the races at the Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the status of a statute that cannot
San Lazaro Hippodrome as authorized by R.A. 309 and R.A. 983. LexLib be amended or nullified by a mere ordinance. Hence, it was not competent for the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact Ordinance No. 3353 prohibiting the use of
In light of all the above considerations, we see no way of arriving at the conclusion urged on us buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting the operation of
by the petitioners that the ordinances in question are valid. On the contrary, we find that the casinos. For all their praiseworthy motives, these ordinance are contrary to P.D. 1869 and the
ordinances violate P.D. 1869, which has the character and force of a statute, as well as the public policy announced therein and are therefore ultra vires and void.
public policy expressed in the decree allowing the playing of certain games of chance despite
the prohibition of gambling in general. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the respondent Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED, with the costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.
The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious.
Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local councils exercise only Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug,
delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the national lawmaking body. Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the
latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of Congress, Padilla, J. and Davide, Jr., JJ., see separate opinion
from which they have derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the
mandate of the statute. ||| (Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc., G.R. No. 111097, [July 20, 1994], 304 PHIL 428-
454)
Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from the
legislature. It breathes into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates,
so it may destroy. As it may destroy, it may abridge and control. Unless there is some
constitutional limitation on the right, the legislature might, by a single act, and if we can suppose
it capable of so great a folly and so great a wrong, sweep from existence all of the municipal EN BANC
corporations in the State, and the corporation could not prevent it. We know of no limitation on
the right so far as to the corporation themselves are concerned. They are, so to phrase it, the [G.R. No. 118303. January 31, 1996.]
mere tenants at will of the legislature. 11
SENATOR HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ, SENATOR JOSE D. LINA, JR., MR. NICASIO B.
This basic relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not BAUTISTA, MR. JESUS P. GONZAGA, MR. SOLOMON D. MAYLEM, LEONORA C. MEDINA,
been enfeebled by the new provisions in the Constitution strengthening the policy of local CASIANO S. ALIPON, petitioners, vs. HON. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as
autonomy. Without meaning to detract from that policy, we here confirm that Congress retains Executive Secretary, HON. RAFAEL ALUNAN, in his capacity as Secretary of Local
control of the local government units although in significantly reduced degree now than under Government, HON. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget, THE
our previous Constitutions. The power to create still includes the power to destroy. The power to COMMISSION ON AUDIT, HON. JOSE MIRANDA, in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of
grant still includes the power to withhold or recall. True, there are certain notable innovations in Santiago and HON. CHARITO MANUBAY, HON. VICTORINO MIRANDA, JR., HON. ARTEMIO
the Constitution, like the direct conferment on the local government units of the power to tax, 12 ALVAREZ, HON. DANILO VERGARA, HON. PETER DE JESUS, HON. NELIA NATIVIDAD,
which cannot now be withdrawn by mere statute. By and large, however, the national legislature HON. CELSO CALEON and HON. ABEL MUSNGI, in their capacity as SANGGUNIANG BAYAN
is still the principal of the local government units, which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it. MEMBERS, MR. RODRIGO L. SANTOS, in his capacity as Municipal Treasurer, and ATTY.
ALFREDO S. DIRIGE, in his capacity as Municipal Administrator, respondents.

Belo, Gozon, Elma, Parel, Asuncion & Lucila, for petitioners.


The Court understands and admires the concern of the petitioners for the welfare of their
constituents and their apprehensions that the welfare of Cagayan de Oro City will be Renato P. Pine, for private respondents.
endangered by the opening of the casino. We share the view that "the hope of large or easy
gain, obtained without special effort, turns the head of the workman" 13 and that "habitual SYLLABUS
gambling is a cause of laziness and ruin." 14 In People v. Gorostiza, 15 we declared: "The social
scourge of gambling must be stamped out. The laws against gambling must be enforced to the 1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
limit." George Washington called gambling "the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the CONSTRUED. — A local Government Unit is a political subdivision of the State which is
father of mischief." Nevertheless, we must recognize the power of the legislature to decide, in its constituted by law and possessed of substantial control over its own affairs. Remaining to be an
own wisdom, to legalize certain forms of gambling, as was done in P.D. 1869 in impliedly intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation, but not intended, however, to be an
affirmed in the Local Government Code. That decision can be revoked by this Court only if it imperium in imperia, the local government unit is autonomous in the sense that it is given more
contravenes the Constitution as the touchstone of all official acts. We do not find such powers, authority, responsibilities and resources.
contravention here.
2. ID.; ID.; INCOME; DEFINED. — Income is defined in the Local Government Code to be all
We hold that the power of PAGCOR to centralize and regulate all games of chance, including revenues and receipts collected or received forming the gross accretions of funds of the local
casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, remains unimpaired. government unit.
15

3. ID.; ID.; INTERNAL REVENUE ALLOTMENT (IRA) ARE ITEMS OF INCOME. — The IRAs equivocal one; in other words, the grounds for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable
are items of income because they form part of the gross accretion of the funds of the local doubt. Those who petition this court to declare a law to be unconstitutional must clearly and fully
government unit. The IRAs regularly and automatically accrue to the local treasury without need establish the basis that will justify such a declaration; otherwise, their petition must fail. Taking
of any further action on the part of the local government unit. They thus constitute income which into consideration the justification of our stand on the immediately preceding ground raised by
the local government can invariably rely upon as the source of much needed funds. petitioners to challenge the constitutionality of RA No. 7720, the Court stands on the holding that
petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of this petition is, therefore,
4. ID.; ID.; ANNUAL INCOME; DEFINED. — Department of Finance Order No. 35-93 correctly inevitable.
encapsulizes the full import of the above disquisition when it defined ANNUAL INCOME to be
"revenues and receipts realized by provinces, cities and municipalities from regular sources of DECISION
the Local General Fund including the internal revenue allotment and other shares provided for in
Sections 284, 290 and 291 of the Code, but exclusive of non-recurring receipts, such as other HERMOSISIMA, JR., J p:
national aids, grants, financial assistance, loan proceeds, sales of fixed assets, and similar
others" (Emphasis ours). cdasia Of main concern to the petitioners is whether Republic Act No. 7720, just recently passed by
Congress and signed by the President into law, is constitutionally infirm.
5. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; ORDER CONSTITUTING EXECUTIVE OR
CONTEMPORANEOUS CONSTRUCTION OF A STATUTE BY ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY Indeed, in this Petition for Prohibition with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and
CHARGED WITH THE TASK OF INTERPRETING THE SAME, ENTITLED TO FULL Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction, petitioners assail the validity of Republic Act No. 7720,
RESPECT. — Such order, constituting executive or contemporaneous construction of a statute entitled, "An Act Converting the Municipality of Santiago, Isabela into an Independent
by an administrative agency charged with the task of interpreting and applying the same, is Component City to be known as the City of Santiago," mainly because the Act allegedly did not
entitled to full respect and should be accorded great weight by the courts, unless such originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as mandated by Section 24, Article VI of
construction is clearly shown to be in sharp conflict with the Constitution, the governing statute, the 1987 Constitution. cdasia
or other laws.
6. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; LEGISLATIVE; BILL CONVERTING MUNICIPALITY TO CITY Also, petitioners claim that the Municipality of Santiago has not met the minimum average
MUST ORIGINATE FROM THE HOUSE; PASSING OF SUBSEQUENT BILL COVERING THE annual income required under Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991 in order to be
SAME MUNICIPALITY, NO ADVERSE EFFECT. — Although a bill of local application like HB converted into a component city.
No. 8817 should, by constitutional prescription, originate exclusively in the House of
Representatives, the claim of petitioners that Republic Act No. 7720 did not originate exclusively Undisputed is the following chronicle of the metamorphosis of House Bill No. 8817 into Republic
in the House of Representatives because a bill of the same import, SB No. 1243, was passed in Act No. 7720:
the Senate, is untenable because it cannot be denied that HB No. 8817 was filed in the House of
Representatives first before SB No. 1243 was filed in the Senate. Petitioners themselves cannot On April 18, 1993, HB No. 8817, entitled "An Act Converting the Municipality of Santiago into an
disavow their own admission that HB No. 8817 was filed on April 18, 1993 while SB No. 1243 Independent Component City to be known as the City of Santiago," was filed in the House of
was filed on May 19, 1993. The filing of HB No. 8817 was thus precursive not only of the said Representatives with Representative Antonio Abaya as principal author. Other sponsors
Act in question but also of SB No. 1243. Thus, HB No. 8817, was the bill that initiated the included Representatives Ciriaco Alfelor, Rodolfo Albano, Santiago Respicio and Faustino Dy.
legislative process that culminated in the enactment of Republic Act No. 7720. No violation of The bill was referred to the House Committee on Local Government and the House Committee
Section 24, Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution is perceptible under the circumstances attending on Appropriations on May 5, 1993. cdasia
the instant controversy. cdasia
On May 19, 1993, June 1, 1993, November 28, 1993, and December 1, 1993, public hearings on
7. ID.; ID.; FILING IN THE SENATE OF A SUBSTITUTE BILL IN ANTICIPATION OF ITS HB No. 8817 were conducted by the House Committee on Local Government. The committee
RECEIPT OF THE HOUSE BILL WITHOUT ACTING THEREON DOES NOT CONTRAVENE submitted to the House a favorable report, with amendments, on December 9, 1993.
CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT. — Petitioners themselves acknowledge that HB No. 8817
was already approved on Third Reading and duly transmitted to the Senate when the Senate On December 13, 1993, HB No. 8817 was passed by the House of Representatives on Second
Committee on Local Government conducted its public hearing on HB No. 8817. HB No. 8817 Reading and was approved on Third Reading on December 17, 1993. On January 28, 1994, HB
was approved on the Third Reading on December 17, 1993 and transmitted to the Senate on No. 8817 was transmitted to the Senate.
January 28, 1994; a little less than a month thereafter, or on February 23, 1994, the Senate
Committee on Local Government conducted public hearings on SB No. 1243. Clearly, the Meanwhile, a counterpart of HB No. 8817, Senate Bill No. 1243, entitled, "An Act Converting the
Senate held in abeyance any action on SB No. 1243 until it received HB No. 8817, already Municipality of Santiago into an Independent Component City to be Known as the City of
approved on the Third Reading, from the House of Representatives. The filing in the Senate of a Santiago," was filed in the Senate. It was introduced by Senator Vicente Sotto III, as principal
substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House, does not contravene the sponsor, on May 19, 1993. This was just after the House of Representatives had conducted its
constitutional requirement that a bill of local application should originate in the House of first public hearing on HB No. 8817. cdasia
Representatives, for as long as the Senate does not act thereupon until it receives the House
bill. On February 23, 1994, or a little less than a month after HB No. 8817 was transmitted to the
Senate, the Senate Committee on Local Government conducted public hearings on SB No.
8. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PRESUMPTIONS; EVERY LAW IS PRESUMED 1243. On March 1, 1994, the said committee submitted Committee Report No. 378 on HB No.
CONSTITUTIONAL; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF R.A. 7720 NOT OVERCOME IN CASE AT 8817, with the recommendation that it be approved without amendment, taking into
BAR. — It is a well-entrenched jurisprudential rule that on the side of every law lies the consideration the reality that H.B. No. 8817 was on all fours with SB No. 1243. Senator
presumption of constitutionality. Consequently, for RA No. 7720 to be nullified, it must be shown Heherson T. Alvarez, one of the herein petitioners, indicated his approval thereto by signing said
that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful and report as member of the Committee on Local Government.
16

Petitioners asseverate that the IRAs are not actually income but transfers and/or budgetary aid
On March 3, 1994, Committee Report No. 378 was passed by the Senate on Second Reading from the national government and that they fluctuate, increase or decrease, depending on
and was approved on Third Reading on March 14, 1994. On March 22, 1994, the House of factors like population, land and equal sharing.
Representatives, upon being apprised of the action of the Senate, approved the amendments
proposed by the Senate. In this regard, we hold that petitioners' asseverations are untenable because Internal Revenue
Allotments form part of the income of Local Government Units. cdasia
The enrolled bill, submitted to the President on April 12, 1994, was signed by the Chief
Executive on May 5, 1994 as Republic Act No. 7720. When a plebiscite on the Act was held on It is true that for a municipality to be converted into a component city, it must, among others,
July 13, 1994, a great majority of the registered voters of Santiago voted in favor of the have an average annual income of at least Twenty Million Pesos for the last two (2) consecutive
conversion of Santiago into a city. cdasia years based on 1991 constant prices. 1 Such income must be duly certified by the Department
of Finance. 2
The question as to the validity of Republic Act No. 7720 hinges on the following twin issues: (I)
Whether or not the Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs) are to included in the computation of the Resolution of the controversy regarding compliance by the Municipality of Santiago with the
average annual income of a municipality for purposes of its conversion into an independent aforecited income requirement hinges on a correlative and contextual explication of the meaning
component city, and (II) Whether or not, considering that the Senate passed SB No. 1243, its of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) vis-a-vis the notion of income of a local government unit
own version of HB No. 8817, Republic Act No. 7720 can be said to have originated in the House and the principles of local autonomy and decentralization underlying the institutionalization and
of Representatives. intensified empowerment of the local government system.
I. The annual income of a local government unit includes the IRAs.
A Local Government Unit is a political subdivision of the State which is constituted by law and
Petitioners claim that Santiago could not qualify into a component city because its average possessed of substantial control over its own affairs. 3 Remaining to be an intra sovereign
annual income for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices falls below subdivision of one sovereign nation, but not intended, however, to be an imperium in imperio, 4
the required annual income of Twenty Million Pesos (P20,000,000.00) for its conversion into a the local government unit is autonomous in the sense that it is given more powers, authority,
city, petitioners having computed Santiago's average annual income in the following manner: responsibilities and resources. 5 Power which used to be highly centralized in Manila, is thereby
deconcentrated, enabling especially the peripheral local government units to develop not only at
Total income (at 1991 constant prices) for 1991 their own pace and discretion but also with their own resources and assets. 6
P20,379,057.07
Total income (at 1991 constant prices) for 1992 The practical side to development through a decentralized local government system certainly
P21,570,106.87 concerns the matter of financial resources. With its broadened powers and increased
responsibilities, a local government unit must now operate on a much wider scale. More
—————— extensive operations, in turn, entail more expenses. Understandably, the vesting of duty,
Total income for 1991 and 1992 responsibility and accountability in every local government unit is accompanied with a provision
P41,949,163.94 for reasonably adequate resources to discharge its powers and effectively carry out its functions.
7 Availment of such resources is effectuated through the vesting in every local government unit
of (1) the right to create and broaden its own source of revenue; (2) the right to be allocated a
Minus: just share in national taxes, such share being in the form of internal revenue allotments (IRAs);
and (3) the right to be given its equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and
development of the national wealth, if any, within its territorial boundaries. 8
IRAs for 1991 and 1992
P15,730,043.00 The funds generated from local taxes, IRAs and national wealth utilization proceeds accrue to
the general fund of the local government and are used to finance its operations subject to
—————— specified modes of spending the same as provided for in the Local Government Code and its
Total income for 1991 and 1992 implementing rules and regulations. For instance, not less than twenty percent (20%) of the IRAs
P26,219,120.94 must be set aside for local development projects. 9 As such, for purposes of budget preparation,
which budget should reflect the estimates of the income of the local government unit, among
others, the IRAs and the share in the national wealth utilization proceeds are considered items of
Average Annual Income income. This is as it should be, since income is defined in the Local Government Code to be all
P13,109,560.47 revenues and receipts collected or received forming the gross accretions of funds of the local
government unit. 10
__________
By dividing the total income of Santiago for calendar years 1991 and 1992, after deducting the The IRAs are items of income because they form part of the gross accretion of the funds of the
IRAs, the average annual income arrived at would only be P13,109,560.47 based on the 1991 local government unit. The IRAs regularly and automatically accrue to the local treasury without
constant prices. Thus, petitioners claim that Santiago's income is far below the aforesaid Twenty need of any further action on the part of the local government unit. 11 They thus constitute
Million Pesos average annual income requirement. income which the local government can invariably rely upon as the source of much needed
funds.
The certification issued by the Bureau of Local Government Finance of the Department of
Finance, which indicates Santiago's average annual income to be P20,974,581.97, is allegedly For purposes of converting the Municipality of Santiago into a city, the Department of Finance
not accurate as the Internal Revenue Allotments were not excluded from the computation. certified, among others, that the municipality had an average annual income of at least Twenty
17

Million Pesos for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. This, the ". . . To begin with, it is not the law — but the revenue bill — which is required by the
Department of Finance did after including the IRAs in its computation of said average annual Constitution to 'originate exclusively' in the House of Representatives. It is important to
income. cdasia emphasize this, because a bill originating in the House may undergo such extensive changes in
the Senate that the result may be a rewriting of the whole. . . . as a result of the Senate action, a
Furthermore, Section 450 (c) of the Local Government Code provides that "the average annual distinct bill may be produced. To insist that a revenue statute — and not only the bill which
income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, initiated the legislative process culminating in the enactment of the law — must substantially be
transfers, and non-recurring income.'' To reiterate, IRAs are a regular, recurring item of income; the same as the House bill would be to deny the Senate's power not only to 'concur with
nil is there a basis, too, to classify the same as a special fund or transfer, since IRAs have a amendments' but also to 'propose amendments.' It would be to violate the coequality of
technical definition and meaning all its own as used in the Local Government Code that legislative power of the two houses of Congress and in fact make the House superior to the
unequivocally makes it distinct from special funds or transfers referred to when the Code speaks Senate.
of "funding support from the national government, its instrumentalities and government-owned or
-controlled corporations". 12 xxx xxx xxx

Thus, Department of Finance Order No. 35-93 13 correctly encapsulizes the full import of the It is insisted, however, that S. No. 1630 was passed not in substitution of H. No. 11197 but of
above disquisition when it defined ANNUAL INCOME to be "revenues and receipts realized by another Senate bill (S. No. 1129) earlier filed and that what the Senate did was merely to 'take
provinces, cities and municipalities from regular sources of the Local General Fund including the [H. No. 11197] into consideration' in enacting S. No. 1630. There is really no difference between
internal revenue allotment and other shares provided for in Sections 284, 290 and 291 of the the Senate preserving H. No. 11197 up to the enacting clause and then writing its own version
Code, but exclusive of non-recurring receipts, such as other national aids, grants, financial following the enacting clause (which, it would seem petitioners admit is an amendment by
assistance, loan proceeds, sales of fixed assets, and similar others" (Italics ours). 14 Such substitution), and, on the other hand, separately presenting a bill of its own on the same subject
order, constituting executive or contemporaneous construction of a statute by an administrative matter. In either case the result are two bills on the same subject.
agency charged with the task of interpreting and applying the same, is entitled to full respect and
should be accorded great weight by the courts, unless such construction is clearly shown to be Indeed, what the Constitution simply means is that the initiative for filing revenue, tariff, or tax
in sharp conflict with the Constitution, the governing statute, or other laws. 15 bills, bills authorizing an increase of the public debt, private bills and bills of local application
must come from the House of Representatives on the theory that, elected as they are from the
II. In the enactment of RA No. 7720, there was compliance with Section 24, Article VI of the districts, the members of the House can be expected to be more sensitive to the local needs and
1987 Constitution. problems. On the other hand, the senators, who are elected at large, are expected to approach
the same problems from the national perspective. Both views are thereby made to bear on the
Although a bill of local application like HB No. 8817 should, by constitutional prescription, 16 enactment of such laws.
originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, the claim of petitioners that Republic Act
No. 7720 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives because a bill of the Nor does the Constitution prohibit the filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its
same import, SB No. 1243, was passed in the Senate, is untenable because it cannot be denied receipt of the bill from the House, so long as action by the Senate as a body is withheld pending
that HB No. 8817 was filed in the House of Representatives first before SB No. 1243 was filed in receipt of the House Bill. . . ." 18
the Senate. Petitioners themselves cannot disavow their own admission that HB No. 8817 was
filed on April 18, 1993 while SB No. 1243 was filed on May 19, 1993. The filing of HB No. 8817 III. Every law, including RA No. 7720, has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality.
was thus precursive not only of the said Act in question but also of SB No. 1243. Thus, HB No.
8817, was the bill that initiated the legislative process that culminated in the enactment of It is a well-entrenched jurisprudential rule that on the side of every law lies the presumption of
Republic Act No. 7720. No violation of Section 24, Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution is constitutionality. 19 Consequently, for RA No. 7720 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is
perceptible under the circumstances attending the instant controversy. cdasia a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful and equivocal one; in
other words, the grounds for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. 20 Those who
Furthermore, petitioners themselves acknowledge that HB No. 8817 was already approved on petition this court to declare a law to be unconstitutional must clearly and fully establish the basis
Third Reading and duly transmitted to the Senate when the Senate Committee on Local that will justify such a declaration; otherwise, their petition must fail. Taking into consideration the
Government conducted its public hearing on HB No. 8817. HB No. 8817 was approved on the justification of our stand on the immediately preceding ground raised by petitioners to challenge
Third Reading on December 17, 1993 and transmitted to the Senate on January 28, 1994; a little the constitutionality of RA No. 7720, the Court stands on the holding that petitioners have failed
less than a month thereafter, or on February 23, 1994, the Senate Committee on Local to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of this petition is, therefore, inevitable.
Government conducted public hearings on SB No. 1243. Clearly, the Senate held in abeyance
any action on SB No. 1243 until it received HB No. 8817, already approved on the Third WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit with costs against petitioners.
Reading, from the House of Representatives. The filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in
anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House, does not contravene the constitutional SO ORDERED. cdasia
requirement that a bill of local application should originate in the House of Representatives, for
as long as the Senate does not act thereupon until it receives the House bill. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Francisco and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
We have already addressed this issue in the case of Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance. 17
There, on the matter of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law, which, as a revenue bill, is ||| (Alvarez v. Guingona, Jr., G.R. No. 118303, [January 31, 1996], 322 PHIL 774-790)
nonetheless constitutionally required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives,
we explained:
18

EN BANC discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken
cognizance of this petition. (Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas Inc. v.
[G.R. No. 91649. May 14, 1991.] Tan, 163 SCRA 371) "With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in the
cases before us, We hold that the same is satisfied by the petitioners and intervenors because
ATTORNEYS HUMBERTO BASCO, EDILBERTO BALCE, SOCRATES MARANAN AND each of them has sustained or is in danger of sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the
LORENZO SANCHEZ, petitioners, vs. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENTS AND GAMING acts or measures complained of and even if, strictly speaking they are not covered by the
CORPORATION (PAGCOR), respondent. definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so
remove the impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions
H .B . Basco & Associates for petitioners. raised. "In the first Emergency Powers Cases, ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to
Valmonte Law Offices collaborating counsel for petitioners. question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although
Aguirre, Laborte and Capule for respondent PAGCOR. they were involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The
Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that 'the
SYLLABUS transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly
and definitely, brushing aside, if we must technicalities of procedure.' We have since then
1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY OF STATUTE; MUST BE applied the exception in many other cases." (Association of Small Landowners in the
INDULGED IN FAVOR OF ITS CONSTITUTIONALITY. — As We enter upon the task of passing Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343).
on the validity of an act of a co-equal and coordinate branch of the government We need not be
reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply ingrained in our jurisprudence, that a statute is 4. ID.; ID.; NO POWER TO SETTLE POLICY ISSUES. — Anent petitioners' claim that PD 1869
presumed to be valid. Every presumption must be indulged in favor of its constitutionality. This is is contrary to the "avowed trend of the Cory Government away from monopolies and crony
not to say that We approach Our task with diffidence or timidity. Where it is clear that the economy and toward free enterprise and privatization" suffice it to state that this is not a ground
legislature or the executive for that matter, has over-stepped the limits of its authority under the for this Court to nullify P.D. 1869. If, indeed, PD 1869 runs counter to the government's policies
constitution, We should not hesitate to wield the axe and let it fall heavily, as fall it must, on the then it is for the Executive Department to recommend to Congress its repeal or amendment.
offending statute (Lozano v. Martinez, supra). In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et "The judiciary does not settle policy issues. The Court can only declare what the law is and not
al, 59 SCRA 54, the Court thru Mr. Justice Zaldivar underscored the — ". . . thoroughly what the law should be. Under our system of government, policy issues are within the domain of
established principle which must be followed in all cases where questions of constitutionality as the political branches of government and of the people themselves as the repository of all state
obtain in the instant cases are involved. All presumptions are indulged in favor of power." (Valmonte v. Belmonte, Jr., 170 SCRA 256.) LLphil
constitutionality; one who attacks a statute alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity
beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional; 5. ID.;CONCEPT OF POLICE POWER; CONSTRUED. — The concept of police power is well-
that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld and established in this jurisdiction. It has been defined as the "state authority to enact legislation that
the challenger must negate all possible basis; that the courts are not concerned with the may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare." (Edu v.
wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute and that a liberal interpretation of the Ericta, 35 SCRA 481, 487) As defined, it consists of (1) an imposition or restraint upon liberty or
constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted." (Danner v. Hass, property, (2) in order to foster the common good. It is not capable of an exact definition but has
194 N.W. 2nd 534, 539, Spurbeck v. Statton, 106 N.W. 2nd 660, 663; 59 SCRA 66; see also e.g. been, purposely, veiled in general terms to — underscore its all-comprehensive embrace.
Salas v. Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734, 739 [1970];Peralta v. Commission on Elections, 82 SCRA 30, (Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. v. Drilon, 163 SCRA 386).Its scope, ever-
55 [1978];and Heirs of Ordona v. Reyes, 125 SCRA 220, 241-242 [1983] cited in Citizens expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be
Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 521, 540). cdasia done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and
circumstances thus assuming the greatest benefits. (Edu v. Ericta, supra).It finds no specific
2. ID.; IN NULLIFYING A LAW, IT MUST BE SHOWN THAT THERE IS A CLEAR AND Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not owe its origin to the charter. Along with
UNEQUIVOCAL BREACH OF THE CONSTITUTION. — Every law has in its favor the the taxing power and eminent domain, it is inborn in the very fact of statehood and sovereignty.
presumption of constitutionality (Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 387; Salas v. Jarencio, 48 It is a fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to perform the most vital functions
SCRA 734; Peralta v. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30; Abbas v. Comelec, 179 SCRA 287). Therefore, for of governance. Marshall, to whom the expression has been credited, refers to it succinctly as the
PD 1869 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the plenary power of the state "to govern its citizens".(Tribe, American Constitutional Law, 323,
Constitution, not merely a doubtful and equivocal one. In other words, the grounds for nullity 1978).The police power of the State is a power co-extensive with self-protection. and is most
must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. (Peralta v. Comelec, supra) Those who petition this aptly termed the "law of overwhelming necessity." (Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil.
Court to declare a law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional must clearly establish the basis for such 660, 708) It is "the most essential, insistent, and illimitable of powers." (Smith Bell & Co. v.
a declaration. Otherwise, their petition must fail. Based on the grounds raised by petitioners to National, 40 Phil. 136) It is a dynamic force that enables the state to meet the exigencies of the
challenge the constitutionality of P.D. 1869, the Court finds that petitioners have failed to winds of change.
overcome the presumption. The dismissal of this petition is therefore, inevitable. But as to
whether P.D. 1869 remains a wise legislation considering the issues of "morality, monopoly, 6. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION (P.D. NO. 1869); PURPOSE
trend to free enterprise, privatization as well as the state principles on social justice, role of youth FOR ITS CREATION. — P.D. 1869 was enacted pursuant to the policy of the government to
and educational values" being raised, is up for Congress to determine. "regulate and centralize thru an appropriate institution all games of chance authorized by
existing franchise or permitted by law" (1st whereas clause, PD 1869). As was subsequently
3. POLITICAL LAW; JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT; TECHNICALITIES OF PROCEDURE MAY BE proved, regulating and centralizing gambling operations in one corporate entity — the PAGCOR,
BRUSHED ASIDE FOR THE PROPER EXERCISE OF ITS POWERS. — Considering however was beneficial not just to the Government but to society in general. It is a reliable source of much
the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the Court's duty, under the needed revenue for the cash strapped Government. It provided funds for social impact projects
1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of government have kept and subjected gambling to "close scrutiny, regulation, supervision and control of the
themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the Government" (4th Whereas Clause, PD 1869). With the creation of PAGCOR and the direct
19

intervention of the Government, the evil practices and corruptions that go with gambling will be
minimized if not totally eradicated. Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the enactment of PD 9. ID.; NOT A VIOLATION OF THE LOCAL AUTONOMY CLAUSE IN THE CONSTITUTION. —
1896. The power of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always subject to "limitations"
which Congress may provide by law. Since PD 1869 remains an "operative" law until "amended,
7. ID.; DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A WAIVER OF THE RIGHT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO repealed or revoked" (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause" remains as
IMPOSE TAXES AND LOCAL FEES; REASONS THEREFOR. — Petitioners contend that P.D. an exception to the exercise of the power of local governments to impose taxes and fees. It
1869 constitutes a waiver of the right of the City of Manila to impose taxes and legal fees; that cannot therefore be violative but rather is consistent with the principle of local autonomy.
the exemption clause in P.D. 1869 is violative of the principle of local autonomy. They must be Besides, the principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution simply means
referring to Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 which exempts PAGCOR, as the franchise holder "decentralization" (III Records of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, pp. 436-436, as cited in
from paying any "tax of any kind or form, income or otherwise, as well as fees, charges or levies Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, First Ed., 1988, p. 374). It
of whatever nature, whether National or Local." Their contention stated hereinabove is without does not make local governments sovereign within the state or an "imperium in imperio." "Local
merit for the following reasons: (a) The City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has Government has been described as a political subdivision of a nation or state which is
no inherent right to impose taxes (Icard v. City of Baguio, 83 Phil. 870; City of Iloilo v. Villanueva, constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs. In a unitary system of government,
105 Phil. 337; Santos v. Municipality of Caloocan, 7 SCRA 643). Thus, "the Charter or statute such as the government under the Philippine Constitution, local governments can only be an
must plainly show an intent to confer that power or the municipality cannot assume it" (Medina v. intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation,it cannot be an imperium in imperio.Local
City of Baguio, 12 SCRA 62). Its "power to tax" therefore must always yield to a legislative act government in such a system can only mean a measure of decentralization of the function of
which is superior having been passed upon by the state itself which has the "inherent power to government. As to what state powers should be "decentralized" and what may be delegated to
tax" (b) The Charter of the City of Manila is subject to control by Congress. It should be stressed local government units remains a matter of policy, which concerns wisdom. It is therefore a
that "municipal corporations are mere creatures of Congress" (Unson v. Lacson, G.R. No. 7909, political question. (Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162
January 18, 1957) which has the power to "create and abolish municipal corporations" due to its SCRA 539).What is settled is that the matter of regulating, taxing or otherwise dealing with
"general legislative powers" (Asuncion v. Yriantes, 28 Phil. 67; Merdanillo v. Orandia, 5 SCRA gambling is a State concern and hence, it is the sole prerogative of the State to retain it or
541). Congress, therefore, has the power of control over Local governments (Hebron v. Reyes, delegate it to local governments.
G.R. No. 9124, July 2, 1950). And if Congress can grant the City of Manila the power to tax
certain matters, it can also provide for exemptions or even take back the power. (c) The City of 10. ID.; NOT A VIOLATION OF EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE. — Petitioners next contend
Manila's power to impose license fees on gambling, has long been revoked. As early as 1975, that P.D. 1869 violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution,because "it legalized
the power of local governments to regulate gambling thru the grant of "franchise, licenses or PAGCOR — conducted gambling, while most gambling are outlawed together with prostitution,
permits" was withdrawn by P.D. No. 771 and was vested exclusively on the National drug trafficking and other vices" We, likewise, find no valid ground to sustain this contention. The
Government. Therefore, only the National Government has the power to issue "licenses or petitioners' posture ignores the well-accepted meaning of the clause "equal protection of the
permits" for the operation of gambling. Necessarily, the power to demand or collect license fees laws." The clause does not preclude classification of individuals who may be accorded different
which is a consequence of the issuance of "licenses or permits" is no longer vested in the City of treatment under the law as long as the classification is not unreasonable or arbitrary (Itchong v.
Manila. (d) Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the National Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155). A law does not have to operate in equal force on all persons or
Government. PAGCOR is a government owned or controlled corporation with an original charter, things to be conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution (DECS v. San Diego, G.R.
PD 1869. All of its shares of stocks are owned by the National Government. In addition to its No. 89572, December 21, 1989). The "equal protection clause" does not prohibit the Legislature
corporate powers (Sec. 3, Title II, PD 1869) it also exercises regulatory powers. cda from establishing classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules shall operate
(Laurel v. Misa, 43 O.G. 2847). The Constitution does not require situations which are different
in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same (Gomez v. Palomar, 25
SCRA 827). Just how P.D. 1869 in legalizing gambling conducted by PAGCOR is violative of the
8. ID.;EXEMPT FROM LOCAL TAXES; REASONS THEREOF. — PAGCOR has a dual role, to equal protection is not clearly explained in the petition. The mere fact that some gambling
operate and to regulate gambling casinos. The latter role is governmental, which places it in the activities like cockfighting (P.D. 449), horse racing (R.A. 306 as amended by RA 983),
category of an agency or instrumentality of the Government. Being an instrumentality of the sweepstakes, lotteries and races (RA 1169 as amended by B.P. 42) are legalized under certain
Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from local taxes. Otherwise, its conditions, while others are prohibited, does not render the applicable laws, P.D. 1869 for one,
operation might be burdened, impeded or subjected to control by a mere Local government. unconstitutional. "If the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be
"The states have no power by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner overthrown because there are other instances to which it might have been applied." (Gomez v.
control the operation of constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the Palomar, 25 SCRA 827) "The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not mean
powers vested in the federal government." (MC Culloch v. Marland, 4 Wheat 316, 4 L Ed. that all occupations called by the same name must be treated the same way; the state may do
579).This doctrine emanates from the "supremacy" of the National Government over local what it can to prevent which is deemed as evil and stop short of those cases in which harm to
governments. "Justice Holmes, speaking for the Supreme Court, made reference to the entire the few concerned is not less than the harm to the public that would insure if the rule laid down
absence of power on the part of the States to touch, in that way (taxation) at least, the were made mathematically exact." (Dominican Hotel v. Arizana, 249 US 2651)
instrumentalities of the United States (Johnson v. Maryland, 254 US 51) and it can be agreed
that no state or political subdivision can regulate a federal instrumentality in such a way as to 11. ID.; PRESUMED VALID AND CONSTITUTIONAL. — As this Court held in Citizens' Alliance
prevent it from consummating its federal responsibilities, or even to seriously burden it in the for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 521 — "Presidential Decree
accomplishment of them." (Antieau, Modern Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, p. 140) Otherwise, mere No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137 has, in any case, in its favor the presumption
creatures of the State can defeat National policies thru extermination of what local authorities of validity and constitutionality which petitioners Valmonte and the KMU have not overturned.
may perceive to be undesirable activates or enterprise using the power to tax as "a tool for Petitioners have not undertaken to identify the provisions in the Constitution which they claim to
regulation" (U.S. v. Sanchez, 340 US 42).The power to tax which was called by Justice Marshall have been violated by that statute. This Court, however, is not compelled to speculate and to
as the "power to destroy" (Mc Culloch v. Maryland, supra) cannot be allowed to defeat an imagine how the assailed legislation may possibly offend some provisions of the Constitution.
instrumentality or creation of the very entity which has the inherent power to wield it. The Court notes, further, in this respect that petitioners have in the main put in question the
20

wisdom, justice and expediency of the establishment of the OPSF, issues which are not properly "B. For the same reason stated in the immediately preceding paragraph, the law has intruded
addressed to this Court and which this Court may not constitutionally pass upon. Those issues into the local government's right to impose local taxes and license fees. This, in contravention of
should be addressed rather to the political departments of government: the President and the the constitutionally enshrined principle of local autonomy;
Congress." cda
"C. It violates the equal protection clause of the constitution in that it legalizes PAGCOR —
PADILLA, J.,concurring: conducted gambling, while most other forms of gambling are outlawed, together with prostitution,
drug trafficking and other vices;
1. POLITICAL LAW; LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT; VESTED WITH POWER
TO DECIDE STATE POLICY. — J. Padilla concur in the result of the learned decision penned "D. It violates the avowed trend of the Cory government away from monopolistic and crony
by my brother Mr. Justice Paras. This means that I agree with the decision insofar as it holds economy, and toward free enterprise and privatization." (p. 2, Amended Petition; p. 7, Rollo)
that the prohibition, control, and regulation of the entire activity known as gambling properly
pertain to "state policy." It is, therefore, the political departments of government, namely, the In their Second Amended Petition, petitioners also claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the declared
legislative and the executive that should decide on what government should do in the entire area national policy of the "new restored democracy" and the people's will as expressed in the 1987
of gambling, and assume full responsibility to the people for such policy. The courts, as the Constitution. The decree is said to have a "gambling objective" and therefore is contrary to
decision states, cannot inquire into the wisdom, morality or expediency of policies adopted by Sections 11, 12 and 13 of Article II, Sec. 1 of Article VIII and Section 3 (2) of Article XIV, of the
the political departments of government in areas which fall within their authority, except only present Constitution (p. 3, Second Amended Petition; p. 21, Rollo). cdasia
when such policies pose a clear and present danger to the life, liberty or property of the
individual. This case does not involve such a factual situation. The procedural issue is whether petitioners, as taxpayers and practicing lawyers (petitioner
Basco being also the Chairman of the Committee on Laws of the City Council of Manila), can
2. ID.;LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; MUST OUTLAW ALL FORMS OF GAMBLING, AS A question and seek the annulment of PD 1869 on the alleged grounds mentioned above.
FUNDAMENTAL STATE OF POLICY; REASON THEREFOR. — J. Padilla hasten to make of
record that I do not subscribe to gambling in any form. It demeans the human personality, The Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created by virtue of P.D.
destroys self-confidence and eviscerates one's self-respect, which in the long run will corrode 1067-A dated January 1, 1977 and was granted a franchise under P.D. 1067-B also dated
whatever is left of the Filipino moral character. Gambling has wrecked and will continue to wreck January 1, 1977 "to establish, operate and maintain gambling casinos on land or water within
families and homes; it is an antithesis to individual reliance and reliability as well as personal the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines." Its operation was originally conducted in the well
industry which are the touchstones of real economic progress and national development. known floating casino "Philippine Tourist." The operation was considered a success for it proved
Gambling is reprehensible whether maintained by government or privatized. The revenues to be a potential source of revenue to fund infrastructure and socioeconomic projects, thus, P.D.
realized by the government out of "legalized" gambling will, in the long run, be more than offset 1399 was passed on June 2, 1978 for PAGCOR to fully attain this objective.
and negated by the irreparable damage to the people's moral values. Also, the moral standing of
the government in its repeated avowals against "illegal gambling" is fatally flawed and becomes Subsequently, on July 11, 1983, PAGCOR was created under P.D. 1869 to enable the
untenable when it itself engages in the very activity it seeks to eradicate. One can go through the Government to regulate and centralize all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or
Court's decision today and mentally replace the activity referred to therein as gambling,which is permitted by law, under the following declared policy —
legal only because it is authorized by law and run by the government, with the activity known as
prostitution. Would prostitution be any less reprehensible were it to be authorized by law, "Section 1. Declaration of Policy.— It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to
franchised, and "regulated" by the government, in return for the substantial revenues it would centralize and integrate all games of chance not heretofore authorized by existing franchises or
yield the government to carry out its laudable projects, such as infrastructure and social permitted by law in order to attain the following objectives:
amelioration? The question, I believe, answers itself. I submit that the sooner the legislative
department outlaws all forms of gambling, as a fundamental state policy,and the sooner the "(a) To centralize and integrate the right and authority to operate and conduct games of chance
executive implements such policy, the better it will be for the nation. into one corporate entity to be controlled, administered and supervised by the Government.

DECISION "(b) To establish and operate clubs and casinos, for amusement and recreation, including sports
gaming pools, (basketball, football, lotteries, etc.) and such other forms of amusement and
PARAS,J p: recreation including games of chance, which may be allowed by law within the territorial
jurisdiction of the Philippines and which will: (1) generate sources of additional revenue to fund
A TV ad proudly announces: infrastructure and socio-civic projects, such as flood control programs, beautification, sewerage
and sewage projects, Tulungan ng Bayan Centers, Nutritional Programs Population Control and
"The new PAGCOR — responding through responsible gaming." such other essential public services; (2) create recreation and integrated facilities which will
expand and improve the country's existing tourist attractions; and (3) minimize, if not totally
But the petitioners think otherwise, that is why, they filed the instant petition seeking to annul the eradicate, all the evils, malpractices and corruptions that are normally prevalent on the conduct
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter — PD 1869, because it is and operation of gambling clubs and casinos without direct government involvement." (Section
allegedly contrary to morals, public policy and order, and because — 1, P.D. 1869)

"A. It constitutes a waiver of a right prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law. It To attain these objectives PAGCOR is given territorial jurisdiction all over the Philippines. Under
waived the Manila City government's right to impose taxes and license fees, which is recognized its Charter's repealing clause, all laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations,
by law; inconsistent therewith, are accordingly repealed, amended or modified.
21

It is reported that PAGCOR is the third largest source of government revenue, next to the
Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs. In 1989 alone, PAGCOR earned P3.43 "With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in the cases before us, We
Billion, and directly remitted to the National Government a total of P2.5 Billion in form of hold that the same is satisfied by the petitioners and intervenors because each of them has
franchise tax, government's income share, the President's Social Fund and Host Cities' share. In sustained or is in danger of sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the acts or measures
addition, PAGCOR sponsored other socio-cultural and charitable projects on its own or in complained of and even if, strictly speaking they are not covered by the definition, it is still within
cooperation with various governmental agencies, and other private associations and the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the impediment to its
organizations. In its 3 1/2 years of operation under the present administration, PAGCOR addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised.
remitted to the government a total of P6.2 Billion. As of December 31, 1989, PAGCOR was
employing 4,494 employees in its nine (9) casinos nationwide, directly supporting the livelihood "In the first Emergency Powers Cases, ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question
of Four Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-Four (4,494) families. LLjur the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were
involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court
But the petitioners, are questioning the validity of P.D. No. 1869. They allege that the same is dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that 'the transcendental
"null and void" for being "contrary to morals, public policy and public order," monopolistic and importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely,
tends toward "crony economy", and is violative of the equal protection clause and local brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.' We have since then applied the
autonomy as well as for running counter to the state policies enunciated in Sections 11 exception in many other cases." (Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v.
(Personal Dignity and Human Rights), 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II, Section 1 Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343).
(Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987
Constitution. Having disposed of the procedural issue, We will now discuss the substantive issues raised.

This challenge to P.D. No. 1869 deserves a searching and thorough scrutiny and the most Gambling in all its forms, unless allowed by law, is generally prohibited. But the prohibition of
deliberate consideration by the Court, involving as it does the exercise of what has been gambling does not mean that the Government cannot regulate it in the exercise of its police
described as "the highest and most delicate function which belongs to the judicial department of power.
the government." (State v. Manuel, 20 N.C. 144; Lozano v. Martinez, 146 SCRA 323).
The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has been defined as the
As We enter upon the task of passing on the validity of an act of a co-equal and coordinate "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to
branch of the government We need not be reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply promote the general welfare." (Edu v. Ericta, 35 SCRA 481, 487) As defined, it consists of (1) an
ingrained in our jurisprudence, that a statute is presumed to be valid. Every presumption must imposition or restraint upon liberty or property, (2) in order to foster the common good. It is not
be indulged in favor of its constitutionality. This is not to say that We approach Our task with capable of an exact definition but has been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its
diffidence or timidity. Where it is clear that the legislature or the executive for that matter, has all-comprehensive embrace. (Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. v. Drilon, 163
over-stepped the limits of its authority under the constitution, We should not hesitate to wield the SCRA 386).
axe and let it fall heavily, as fall it must, on the offending statute (Lozano v. Martinez, supra).
Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future
In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al, 59 SCRA 54, the Court thru Mr. Justice where it could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions
Zaldivar underscored the — and circumstances thus assuming the greatest benefits. (Edu v. Ericta, supra).

". . . thoroughly established principle which must be followed in all cases where questions of It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not owe its origin to the
constitutionality as obtain in the instant cases are involved. All presumptions are indulged in charter. Along with the taxing power and eminent domain, it is inborn in the very fact of
favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute alleging unconstitutionality must prove its statehood and sovereignty. It is a fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to
invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it perform the most vital functions of governance. Marshall, to whom the expression has been
unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will credited, refers to it succinctly as the plenary power of the state "to govern its citizens".(Tribe,
be upheld and the challenger must negate all possible basis; that the courts are not concerned American Constitutional Law, 323, 1978).The police power of the State is a power co-extensive
with the wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute and that a liberal interpretation of the with self-protection. and is most aptly termed the "law of overwhelming necessity." (Rubi v.
constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted." (Danner v. Hass, Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil. 660, 708) It is "the most essential, insistent, and illimitable
194 N.W. 2nd 534, 539, Spurbeck v. Statton, 106 N.W. 2nd 660, 663; 59 SCRA 66; see also e.g. of powers." (Smith Bell & Co. v. National, 40 Phil. 136) It is a dynamic force that enables the
Salas v. Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734, 739 [1970];Peralta v. Commission on Elections, 82 SCRA 30, state to meet the exigencies of the winds of change.
55 [1978];and Heirs of Ordona v. Reyes, 125 SCRA 220, 241-242 [1983] cited in Citizens
Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 521, 540). What was the reason behind the enactment of P.D. 1869?

Of course, there is first, the procedural issue. The respondents are questioning the legal P.D. 1869 was enacted pursuant to the policy of the government to "regulate and centralize thru
personality of petitioners to file the instant petition. an appropriate institution all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by
law" (1st whereas clause, PD 1869). As was subsequently proved, regulating and centralizing
Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the gambling operations in one corporate entity — the PAGCOR, was beneficial not just to the
Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of Government but to society in general. It is a reliable source of much needed revenue for the
government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they cash strapped Government. It provided funds for social impact projects and subjected gambling
have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of to "close scrutiny, regulation, supervision and control of the Government" (4th Whereas Clause,
procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition. (Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa PD 1869). With the creation of PAGCOR and the direct intervention of the Government, the evil
Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 371) dctai
22

practices and corruptions that go with gambling will be minimized if not totally eradicated. Public of its shares of stocks are owned by the National Government. In addition to its corporate
welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the enactment of PD 1896. llcd powers (Sec. 3, Title II, PD 1869) it also exercises regulatory powers, thus:

Petitioners contend that P.D. 1869 constitutes a waiver of the right of the City of Manila to "Sec. 9. Regulatory Power.— The Corporation shall maintain a Registry of the affiliated entities,
impose taxes and legal fees; that the exemption clause in P.D. 1869 is violative of the principle and shall exercise all the powers, authority and the responsibilities vested in the Securities and
of local autonomy. They must be referring to Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 which exempts Exchange Commission over such affiliating entities mentioned under the preceding section,
PAGCOR, as the franchise holder from paying any "tax of any kind or form, income or otherwise, including, but not limited to amendments of Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, changes in
as well as fees, charges or levies of whatever nature, whether National or Local." corporate term, structure, capitalization and other matters concerning the operation of the
affiliated entities, the provisions of the Corporation Code of the Philippines to the contrary
"(2) Income and other taxes.—(a) Franchise Holder: No tax of any kind or form, income or notwithstanding, except only with respect to original incorporation." cdtai
otherwise as well as fees, charges or levies of whatever nature, whether National or Local, shall
be assessed and collected under this franchise from the Corporation; nor shall any form of tax or PAGCOR has a dual role, to operate and to regulate gambling casinos. The latter role is
charge attach in any way to the earnings of the Corporation, except a franchise tax of five (5%) governmental, which places it in the category of an agency or instrumentality of the Government.
percent of the gross revenues or earnings derived by the Corporation from its operations under Being an instrumentality of the Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from
this franchise. Such tax shall be due and payable quarterly to the National Government and shall local taxes. Otherwise, its operation might be burdened, impeded or subjected to control by a
be in lien of all kinds of taxes, levies, fees or assessments of any kind, nature or description, mere Local government.
levied, established or collected by any municipal, provincial or national government authority"
(Section 13 [2]). "The states have no power by taxation or otherwise, to retard impede, burden or in any manner
control the operation of constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the
Their contention stated hereinabove is without merit for the following reasons: powers vested in the federal government." (MC Culloch v. Marland, 4 Wheat 316, 4 L Ed. 579)

(a) The City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has no inherent right to impose taxes This doctrine emanates from the "supremacy" of the National Government over local
(Icard v. City of Baguio, 83 Phil. 870; City of Iloilo v. Villanueva, 105 Phil. 337; Santos v. governments.
Municipality of Caloocan, 7 SCRA 643). Thus, "the Charter or statute must plainly show an intent
to confer that power or the municipality cannot assume it" (Medina v. City of Baguio, 12 SCRA "Justice Holmes, speaking for the Supreme Court, made reference to the entire absence of
62). Its "power to tax" therefore must always yield to a legislative act which is superior having power on the part of the States to touch, in that way (taxation) at least, the instrumentalities of
been passed upon by the state itself which has the "inherent power to tax" (Bernas, the Revised the United States (Johnson v. Maryland, 254 US 51) and it can be agreed that no state or
[1973] Philippine Constitution, Vol. 1, 1983 ed. p. 445). political subdivision can regulate a federal instrumentality in such a way as to prevent it from
consummating its federal responsibilities, or even to seriously burden it in the accomplishment of
(b) The Charter of the City of Manila is subject to control by Congress. It should be stressed that them." (Antieau, Modern Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, p. 140, emphasis supplied)
"municipal corporations are mere creatures of Congress" (Unson v. Lacson, G.R. No. 7909,
January 18, 1957) which has the power to "create and abolish municipal corporations" due to its Otherwise, mere creatures of the State can defeat National policies thru extermination of what
"general legislative powers" (Asuncion v. Yriantes, 28 Phil. 67; Merdanillo v. Orandia, 5 SCRA local authorities may perceive to be undesirable activities or enterprise using the power to tax as
541). Congress, therefore, has the power of control over Local governments (Hebron v. Reyes, "a tool for regulation" (U.S. v. Sanchez, 340 US 42).
G.R. No. 9124, July 2, 1950). And if Congress can grant the City of Manila the power to tax
certain matters, it can also provide for exemptions or even take back the power. The power to tax which was called by Justice Marshall as the "power to destroy" (Mc Culloch v.
Maryland, supra) cannot be allowed to defeat an instrumentality or creation of the very entity
(c) The City of Manila's power to impose license fees on gambling, has long been revoked. As which has the inherent power to wield it.
early as 1975, the power of local governments to regulate gambling thru the grant of "franchise,
licenses or permits" was withdrawn by P.D. No. 771 and was vested exclusively on the National (e) Petitioners also argue that the Local Autonomy Clause of the Constitution will be violated by
Government, thus: P.D. 1869. This is a pointless argument. Article X of the 1987 Constitution (on Local Autonomy)
provides:
"Section 1. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the authority of chartered cities
and other local governments to issue license, permit or other form of franchise to operate, "Sec. 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own source of revenue
maintain and establish horse and dog race tracks, jai-alai and other forms of gambling is hereby and to levy taxes, fees, and other charges subject to such guidelines and limitation as the
revoked. congress may provide,consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy. Such taxes, fees and
charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government." (emphasis supplied).
"Section 2. Hereafter, all permits or franchises to operate, maintain and establish, horse and dog
race tracks, jai-alai and other forms of gambling shall be issued by the national government The power of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always subject to "limitations"
upon proper application and verification of the qualification of the applicant. ..." which Congress may provide by law. Since PD 1869 remains an "operative" law until "amended,
repealed or revoked" (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause" remains as
Therefore, only the National Government has the power to issue "licenses or permits" for the an exception to the exercise of the power of local governments to impose taxes and fees. It
operation of gambling. Necessarily, the power to demand or collect license fees which is a cannot therefore be violative but rather is consistent with the principle of local autonomy. cdll
consequence of the issuance of "licenses or permits" is no longer vested in the City of Manila.
Besides, the principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution simply means
(d) Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the National Government. "decentralization" (III Records of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, pp. 435-436, as cited in
PAGCOR is a government owned or controlled corporation with an original charter, PD 1869. All
23

Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, First Ed., 1988, p. 374). It
does not make local governments sovereign within the state or an "imperium in imperio." Anent petitioners' claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the "avowed trend of the Cory Government
away from monopolies and crony economy and toward free enterprise and privatization" suffice
"Local Government has been described as a political subdivision of a nation or state which is it to state that this is not a ground for this Court to nullify P.D. 1869. If, indeed, PD 1869 runs
constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs. In a unitary system of government, counter to the government's policies then it is for the Executive Department to recommend to
such as the government under the Philippine Constitution, local governments can only be an Congress its repeal or amendment. LLpr
intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation,it cannot be an imperium in imperio.Local
government in such a system can only mean a measure of decentralization of the function of "The judiciary does not settle policy issues. The Court can only declare what the law is and not
government. (emphasis supplied) what the law should be. Under our system of government, policy issues are within the domain of
the political branches of government and of the people themselves as the repository of all state
As to what state powers should be "decentralized" and what may be delegated to local power." (Valmonte v. Belmonte, Jr.,170 SCRA 256.)
government units remains a matter of policy, which concerns wisdom. It is therefore a political
question. (Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA On the issue of "monopoly," however, the Constitution provides that:
539).
"Sec. 19. The State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when public interest so requires. No
What is settled is that the matter of regulating, taxing or otherwise dealing with gambling is a combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition shall be allowed." (Art. XII, National
State concern and hence, it is the sole prerogative of the State to retain it or delegate it to local Economy and Patrimony)
governments.
It should be noted that, as the provision is worded, monopolies are not necessarily prohibited by
"As gambling is usually an offense against the State, legislative grant or express charter power the Constitution. The state must still decide whether public interest demands that monopolies be
is generally necessary to empower the local corporation to deal with the subject....In the regulated or prohibited. Again, this is a matter of policy for the Legislature to decide.
absence of express grant of power to enact, ordinance provisions on this subject which are
inconsistent with the state laws are void." (Ligan v. Gadsden, Ala App. 107 So. 733 Ex-Parte On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personality Dignity) 12 (Family)
Solomon, 9, Cals. 440, 27 PAC 757 following in re Ah You, 88 Cal. 99, 25 PAC 974, 22 Am St. and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2
Rep. 280, 11 LRA 480, as cited in Mc Quinllan Vol. 3 ibid, p. 548, emphasis supplied). (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are
merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are basically not self-executing,
Petitioners next contend that P.D. 1869 violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.
because "it legalized PAGCOR — conducted gambling, while most gambling are outlawed cdrep
together with prostitution, drug trafficking and other vices" (p. 82, Rollo).
"In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles
We, likewise, find no valid ground to sustain this contention. The petitioners' posture ignores the ready for enforcement through the Courts. They were rather directives addressed to the
well-accepted meaning of the clause "equal protection of the laws." The clause does not executive and the legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of
preclude classification of individuals who may be accorded different treatment under the law as the articles the available remedy was not judicial or political. The electorate could express their
long as the classification is not unreasonable or arbitrary (Itchong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155). displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of the
A law does not have to operate in equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to ballot." (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2)
Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution (DECS v. San Diego, G.R. No. 89572, December 21,
1989). Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality (Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil.
387; Salas v. Jarencio, 48 SCRA 734; Peralta v. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30; Abbas v. Comelec, 179
The "equal protection clause" does not prohibit the Legislature from establishing classes of SCRA 287). Therefore, for PD 1869 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a clear and
individuals or objects upon which different rules shall operate (Laurel v. Misa, 43 O.G. 2847). unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful and equivocal one. In other words,
The Constitution does not require situations which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in the grounds for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. (Peralta v. Comelec, supra)
law as though they were the same (Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827). Those who petition this Court to declare a law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional must clearly
establish the basis for such a declaration. Otherwise, their petition must fail. Based on the
Just how P.D. 1869 in legalizing gambling conducted by PAGCOR is violative of the equal grounds raised by petitioners to challenge the constitutionality of P.D. 1869, the Court finds that
protection is not clearly explained in the petition. The mere fact that some gambling activities like petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of this petition is therefore,
cockfighting (P.D. 449) horse racing (R.A. 306 as amended by RA 983), sweepstakes, lotteries inevitable. But as to whether P.D. 1869 remains a wise legislation considering the issues of
and races (RA 1169 as amended by B.P. 42) are legalized under certain conditions, while others "morality, monopoly, trend to free enterprise, privatization as well as the state principles on
are prohibited, does not render the applicable laws, P.D. 1869 for one, unconstitutional. social justice, role of youth and educational values" being raised, is up for Congress to
determine. LLjur
"If the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be overthrown because there
are other instances to which it might have been applied." (Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827) As this Court held in Citizens' Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy regulatory Board, 162
SCRA 521 —
"The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not mean that all occupations called
by the same name must be treated the same way; the state may do what it can to prevent which "Presidential Decree No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137 has, in any case, in its
is deemed as evil and stop short of those cases in which harm to the few concerned is not less favor the presumption of validity and constitutionality which petitioners Valmonte and the KMU
than the harm to the public that would insure if the rule laid down were made mathematically have not overturned. Petitioners have not undertaken to identity the provisions in the
exact." (Dominican Hotel v. Arizana, 249 US 2651) Constitution which they claim to have been violated by that statute. This Court, however, is not
24

compelled to speculate and to imagine how the assailed legislation may possibly offend some wanting or desire to thresh out and settle, no matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a
provision of the Constitution. The Court notes, further, in this respect that petitioners have in the substitute for the notice and hearing contemplated by law. While we have held that due process,
main put in question the wisdom, justice and expediency of the establishment of the OPSF, as the term is known in administrative law, does not absolutely require notice and that a party
issues which are not properly addressed to this Court and which this Court may not need only be given the opportunity to be heard, it does not appear herein that the petitioner had,
constitutionally pass upon. Those issues should be addressed rather to the political departments to begin with, been made aware that he had in fact stood charged of graft and corruption before
of government: the President and the Congress." his colleagues. It cannot be said therefore that he was accorded any opportunity to rebut their
accusations. As it stands, then, the charges now levelled amount to mere accusations that
Parenthetically, We wish to state that gambling is generally immoral, and this is precisely so cannot warrant expulsion.
when the gambling resorted to is excessive. This excessiveness necessarily depends not only
on the financial resources of the gambler and his family but also on his mental, social, and 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT JUSTIFIED; NO ONE SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR SEEKING
spiritual outlook-on life. However, the mere fact that some persons may have lost their material REDRESS IN THE COURT. — The resolution appears strongly to be a bare act of vendetta by
fortunes, mental control, physical health, or even their lives does not necessarily mean that the the other Assemblymen against the petitioner arising from what the former perceive to be
same are directly attributable to gambling. Gambling may have been the antecedent, but obduracy on the part of the latter. Indeed, it (the resolution) speaks of "a case [having been filed]
certainly not necessarily the cause.For the same consequences could have been preceded by [by the petitioner] before the Supreme Court . . . on question which should have been resolved
an overdose of food, drink, exercise, work, and even sex. prcd within the confines of the Assembly — an act which some members claimed unnecessarily and
unduly assails their integrity and character as representative of the people," an act that cannot
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. possibly justify expulsion. Access to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Constitution, and,
unless the recourse amounts to malicious prosecution, no one may be punished for seeking
SO ORDERED. redress in the courts.

Fernan, C .J .,Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr.,Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento, Griño- 3. ID.;ID.;ID.;POWER TO DISCIPLINE ITS MEMBERS; SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW IN
Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr.,JJ ., concur. CASE OF GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. — Reinstatement is in order with the caution that
Melencio-Herrera, J ., concurring in the result with Justice Padilla. should the past acts of the petitioner indeed warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined,
should it still be so minded, to commence proper proceedings therefor in line with the most
||| (Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp., G.R. No. 91649, [May 14, 1991], 274 elementary requirements of due process. And while it is within the discretion of the members of
PHIL 323-346) the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues, their acts are nonetheless subject to the
moderating hand of this Court in the event that such discretion is exercised with grave abuse.

4. ID.; ID.; EXTENT OF SELF-GOVERNMENT GRANTED THERETO. — The autonomous


governments of Mindanao were organized in Regions IX and XII by Presidential Decree No.
1618 promulgated on July 25, 1979. Among other things, the Decree established "internal
autonomy" in the two regions "[w]ithin the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial
EN BANC integrity of the Republic of the Philippines and its Constitution," "with legislative and executive
machinery to exercise the powers and responsibilities"' specified therein. It requires the
[G.R. No. 80391. February 28, 1989.] autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal administrative matters for the
respective regions," except to "act on matters which are within the jurisdiction and competence
SULTAN ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA, petitioner, vs. CONTE MANGELIN, SALIC ALI, of the National Government," "which include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) National
SALINDATO ALI, PILIMPINAS CONDING, ACMAD TOMAWIS, GERRY TOMAWIS, JESUS defense and security; (2) Foreign relations; (3) Foreign trade; (4) Currency, monetary affairs,
ORTIZ, ANTONIO DELA FUENTE, DIEGO PALOMARES, JR.,RAKIL DAGALANGIT, and foreign exchange, banking and quasi-banking, and external borrowing, (5) Disposition,
BIMBO SINSUAT, respondents. exploration, development, exploitation or utilization of all natural resources; (6) Air and sea
transport; (7) Postal matters and telecommunications; (8) Customs and quarantine; (9)
Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Office for petitioner. Immigration and deportation; (10) Citizenship and naturalization; (11) National economic, social
and educational planning; and (12) General auditing." In relation to the central government, it
Makabangkit B. Lanto for respondents. provides that "[t]he President shall have the power of general supervision and control over the
Autonomous Regions . . .
SYLLABUS
5. ID.; ID.; ID. — An examination of the very Presidential Decree creating the autonomous
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; AUTONOMOUS REGIONS OF MINDANAO UNDER P.D. 1618; governments of Mindanao persuades us that they were never meant to exercise autonomy in the
SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK; EXPULSION OF MEMBER; INVALID FOR LACK OF DUE second sense, that is, in which the central government commits an act of self-immolation.
PROCESS. — We hold that the expulsion in question is of no force and effect. In the first place, Presidential Decree No. 1618, in the first place, mandates that "[t]he President shall have the
there is no showing that the Sanggunian had conducted an investigation, and whether or not the power of general supervision and control over Autonomous Regions." In the second place, the
petitioner had been heard in his defense, assuming that there was an investigation, or otherwise Sangguniang Pampook, their legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative
given the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, what appears in the records is an admission services.
by the Assembly (at least, the respondents) that "since November, 1987 up to this writing, the
petitioner has not set foot at the Sangguniang Pampook." To be sure, the private respondents 6. ID.;LOCAL AUTONOMY; DECENTRALIZATION OF ADMINISTRATION DISTINGUISHED
aver that "[t]he Assemblymen, in a conciliatory gesture, wanted him to come to Cotabato City," FROM DECENTRALIZATION OF POWER. — Autonomy is either decentralization of
but that was "so that their differences could be threshed out and settled." Certainly, that avowed administration or decentralization of power. There is decentralization of administration when the
25

central government delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden SARMIENTO,J p:
the base of government power and in the process to make local governments "more responsive
and accountable," and "ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make The acts of the Sangguniang Pampook of Region XII are assailed in this petition. The
them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress." At the antecedent facts are as follows:
same time, it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and
enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The President exercises "general supervision" 1. On September 24, 1986, petitioner Sultan Alimbusar Limbona was appointed as a member of
over them, but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." He has no the Sangguniang Pampook, Regional Autonomous Government, Region XII, representing Lanao
control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own. del Sur.
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the
favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous 2. On March 12, 1987 petitioner was elected Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly or
government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from Batasang Pampook of Central Mindanao (Assembly for brevity).
central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to
"self-immolation," since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to 3. Said Assembly is composed of eighteen (18) members. Two of said members, respondents
the central authorities but to its constituency. Acmad Tomawis and Rakil Dagalangit, filed on March 23, 1987 with the Commission on
Elections their respective certificates of candidacy in the May 11, 1987 confessional elections for
7. ID.; LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION. — Under the 1987 the district of Lanao del Sur but they later withdrew from the aforesaid election and thereafter
Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy in these two senses, thus: Section 1. The resumed again their positions as members of the Assembly.
territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities,
municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the 4. On October 21, 1987 Congressman Datu Guimid Matalam, Chairman of the Committee on
Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives, invited Mr. Xavier Razul, Pampook Speaker of
local autonomy . . . Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao Region XI, Zamboanga City and the petitioner in his capacity as Speaker of the Assembly,
and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas Region XII, in a letter which reads:
sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures,
and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national The Committee on Muslim Affairs will undertake consultations and dialogues with local
sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. An autonomous government officials, civic, religious organizations and traditional leaders on the recent and
government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. (1987), art. X sec. 15.] is present political developments and other issues affecting Regions IX and XII.
subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and accepted principles on the effects The result of the conference, consultations and dialogues would hopefully chart the autonomous
and limits of "autonomy." On the other hand, an autonomous government of the former class is, governments of the two regions as envisioned and may prod the President to constitute
as we noted, under the supervision of the national government acting through the President (and immediately the Regional Consultative Commission as mandated by the Commission. LLphil
the Department of Local Government).
You are requested to invite some members of the Pampook Assembly of your respective
8. ID.; AUTONOMOUS REGIONS OF MINDANAO UNDER P.D. 1618; SANGGUNIANG assembly on November 1 to 15, 1987, with venue at the Congress of the Philippines.
PAMPOOK; "RECESS" CALLED BY THE SPEAKER HELD AS VALID. — It is true that under
Section 31 of the Region XII Sanggunian Rules, "[s]essions shall not be suspended or adjourned Your presence, unstinted support and cooperation is (sic) indispensable.
except by direction of the Sangguniang Pampook," but it provides likewise that "the Speaker
may, on [sic] his discretion, declare a recess of short intervals." Of course, there is disagreement 5. Consistent with the said invitation, petitioner sent a telegram to Acting Secretary Johnny
between the protagonists as to whether or not the recess called by the petitioner effective Alimbuyao of the Assembly to wire all Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November
November 1 through 15, 1987 is the "recess of short intervals" referred to; the petitioner says as "our presence in the house committee hearing of confess take (sic) precedence over any
that it is while the respondents insist that, to all intents and purposes, it was an adjournment and pending business in batasang pampook ..."
that "recess" as used by their Rules only refers to "a recess when arguments get heated up so
that protagonists in a debate can talk things out informally and obviate dissension [sic] and 6. In compliance with the aforesaid instruction of the petitioner, Acting Secretary Alimbuyao sent
disunity." The Court agrees with the respondents on this regard, since clearly, the Rules speak to the members of the Assembly the following telegram:
of "short intervals." Secondly, the Court likewise agrees that the Speaker could not have validly
called a recess since the Assembly had yet to convene on November 1, the date session opens TRANSMITTING FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE TELEGRAM RECEIVED FROM
under the same Rules. Hence, there can be no recess to speak of that could possibly interrupt SPEAKER LIMBONA QUOTE CONGRESSMAN JIMMY MATALAM CHAIRMAN OF THE
any session. But while this opinion is in accord with the respondents' own, we still invalidate the HOUSE COMMITTEE ON MUSLIM AFFAIRS REQUESTED ME TO ASSIST SAID
twin sessions in question, since at the time the petitioner called the "recess," it was not a settled COMMITTEE IN THE DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSED AUTONOMY ORGANIC NOV. 1ST
matter whether or not he could do so. In the second place, the invitation tendered by the TO 15. HENCE WIRE ALL ASSEMBLYMEN THAT THERE SHALL BE NO SESSION IN
Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives provided a plausible reason for NOVEMBER AS OUR PRESENCE IN THE HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING OF CONGRESS
the intermission sought. Thirdly, assuming that a valid recess could not be called, it does not TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ANY PENDING BUSINESS IN BATASANG PAMPOOK OF
appear that the respondents called his attention to this mistake. What appears is that instead, MATALAM FOLLOWS UNQUOTE REGARDS.
they opened the sessions themselves behind his back in an apparent act of mutiny. Under the
circumstances, we find equity on his side. For this reason, we uphold the "recess" called on the 7. On November 2, 1987, the Assembly held session in defiance of petitioner's advice, with the
ground of good faith. following assemblymen present:

DECISION 1. Sali, Salic


26

2. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) newcomers in order for them to cast their votes on the previous motion to declare the position of
the Speaker vacant. But before doing so, I move also that the designation of the Speaker Pro
3. Dagalangit, Rakil Tempore as the Presiding Officer and Mr. Johnny Evangelista as Acting Secretary in the session
last November 2, 1987 be reconfirmed in today's session.
4. Dela Fuente, Antonio
HON. SALIC ALI: I second the motions.
5. Mangelen, Conte
PRESIDING OFFICER: Any comment or objections on the two motions presented? The chair
6. Ortiz, Jesus hears none and the said motions are approved. ...

7. Palomares, Diego Twelve (12) members voted in favor of the motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant; one
abstained and none voted against. 1
8. Sinsuat, Bimbo
Accordingly, the petitioner prays for judgment as follows:
9. Tomawis, Acmad
WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays that —
10. Tomawis, Jerry
(a) This Petition be given due course;
After declaring the presence of a quorum, the Speaker Pro-Tempore was authorized to preside
in the session. On Motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant, all Assemblymen in (b) Pending hearing, a restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining
attendance voted in the affirmative, hence, the chair declared said seat of the Speaker vacant. respondents from proceeding with their session to be held on November 5, 1987, and on any
day thereafter;
8. On November 5, 1987, the session of the Assembly resumed with the following Assemblymen (c) After hearing, judgment be rendered declaring the proceedings held by respondents of their
present: session on November 2, 1987 as null and void;

1. Mangelen Conte — Presiding Officer (d) Holding the election of petitioner as Speaker of said Legislative Assembly or Batasan
Pampook, Region XII held on March 12, 1987 valid and subsisting, and(e) Making the injunction
2. Ali Salic permanent. llcd

3. Ali Salindatu Petitioner likewise prays for such other relief as may be just and equitable. 2

4. Aratuc, Malik Pending further proceedings, this Court, on January 19, 1988, received a resolution filed by the
Sangguniang Pampook "EXPELLING ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA FROM MEMBERSHIP OF
5. Cajelo, Rene THE SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK, AUTONOMOUS REGION XII," 3 on the grounds, among
other things, that the petitioner "had caused to be prepared and signed by him paying [sic] the
6. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) salaries and emoluments of Odin Abdula, who was considered resigned after filing his Certificate
of Candidacy for Congressmen for the First District of Maguindanao in the last May 11, elections
7. Dagalangit, Rakil ...and nothing in the record of the Assembly will show that any request for reinstatement by
Abdula was ever made ..." 4 and that "such action of Mr. Limbona in paying Abdula his salaries
8. Dela Fuente, Antonio and emoluments without authority from the Assembly ...constituted a usurpation of the power of
the Assembly," 5 that the petitioner "had recently caused withdrawal of so much amount of cash
9. Ortiz, Jesus from the Assembly resulting to the non-payment of the salaries and emoluments of some
Assembly [sic]," 6 and that he had "filed before the Supreme Court against some members of
10. Palamares, Diego Assembly on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assembly," 7
for which the respondents now submit that the petition had become "moot and academic".8
11. Quijano, Jesus
The first question, evidently, is whether or not the expulsion of the petitioner (pending litigation)
12. Sinsuat, Bimbo has made the case moot and academic.

13. Tomawis, Acmad We do not agree that the case has been rendered moot and academic by reason simply of the
expulsion resolution so issued. For, if the petitioner's expulsion was done purposely to make this
14. Tomawis, Jerry petition moot and academic, and to preempt the Court, it will not make it academic. LLjur

An excerpt from the debates and proceeding of said session reads: On the ground of the immutable principle of due process alone, we hold that the expulsion in
question is of no force and effect. In the first place, there is no showing that the Sanggunian had
HON. DAGALANGIT: Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of the House, with the presence of our conducted an investigation, and whether or not the petitioner had been heard in his defense,
colleagues who have come to attend the session today, I move to call the names of the assuming that there was an investigation, or otherwise given the opportunity to do so. On the
27

other hand, what appears in the records is an admission by the Assembly (at least, the
respondents) that "since November, 1987 up to this writing, the petitioner has not set foot at the (5) Disposition, exploration, development, exploitation or utilization of all natural resources;
Sangguniang Pampook." 9 To be sure, the private respondents aver that "[t]he Assemblymen, in
a conciliatory gesture, wanted him to come to Cotabato City," 10 but that was "so that their (6) Air and sea transport;
differences could be threshed out and settled." 11 Certainly, that avowed wanting or desire to
thresh out and settle, no matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a substitute for the notice (7) Postal matters and telecommunications;
and hearing contemplated by law. LibLex
(8) Customs and quarantine;
While we have held that due process, as the term is known in administrative law, does not
absolutely require notice and that a party need only be given the opportunity to be heard, 12 it (9) Immigration and deportation;
does not appear herein that the petitioner had, to begin with, been made aware that he had in
fact stood charged of graft and corruption before his colleagues. It cannot be said therefore that (10) Citizenship and naturalization;
he was accorded any opportunity to rebut their accusations. As it stands, then, the charges now
levelled amount to mere accusations that cannot warrant expulsion. (11) National economic, social and educational planning; and

In the second place, the resolution appears strongly to be a bare act of vendetta by the other (12) General auditing." 21
Assemblymen against the petitioner arising from what the former perceive to be obduracy on the
part of the latter. Indeed, it (the resolution) speaks of "a case [having been filed] [by the In relation to the central government, it provides that "[t]he President shall have the power of
petitioner] before the Supreme Court . . . on question which should have been resolved within general supervision and control over the Autonomous Regions . . . 22
the confines of the Assembly — an act which some members claimed unnecessarily and unduly
assails their integrity and character as representative of the people," 13 an act that cannot Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is
possibly justify expulsion. Access to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Constitution, 14 and, decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers
unless the recourse amounts to malicious prosecution, no one may be punished for seeking to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to
redress in the courts. llcd make local governments "more responsive and accountable," 23 and "ensure their fullest
development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of
We therefore order reinstatement, with the caution that should the past acts of the petitioner national development and social progress." 24 At the same time, it relieves the central
indeed warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined, should it still be so minded, to commence government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national
proper proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary requirements of due process. And concerns. The President exercises "general supervision" 25 over them, but only to "ensure that
while it is within the discretion of the members of the Sanggunian to punish their erring local affairs are administered according to law." 26 He has no control over their acts in the sense
colleagues, their acts are nonetheless subject to the moderating hand of this Court in the event that he can substitute their judgments with his own. 27
that such discretion is exercised with grave abuse.
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the
It is, to be sure, said that precisely because the Sangguniang Pampook(s) are "autonomous," favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous
the courts may not rightfully intervene in their affairs, much less strike down their acts. We come, government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from
therefore, to the second issue: Are the so-called autonomous governments of Mindanao, as they central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to
are now constituted, subject to the jurisdiction of the national courts? In other words, what is the "self-immolation," since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to
extent of self-government given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII? the central authorities but to its constituency. 28

The autonomous governments of Mindanao were organized in Regions IX and XII by But the question of whether or not the grant of autonomy to Muslim Mindanao under the 1987
Presidential Decree No. 1618 15 promulgated on July 25, 1979. Among other things, the Decree Constitution involves, truly, an effort to decentralize power rather than mere administration is a
established "internal autonomy" 16 in the two regions "[w]ithin the framework of the national question foreign to this petition, since what is involved herein is a local government unit
sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines and its Constitution," 18 constituted prior to the ratification of the present Constitution. Hence, the Court will not resolve
specified therein. that controversy now, in this case, since no controversy in fact exists. We will resolve it at the
proper time and in the proper case. prcd
It requires the autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal administrative
matters for the respective regions," 19 except to "act on matters which are within the jurisdiction Under the 1987 Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy in these two senses, thus:
and competence of the National Government," 20 "which include, but are not limited to, the
following: Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the
provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim
(1) National defense and security; Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. 29

(2) Foreign relations; Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. 30

(3) Foreign trade; xxx xxx xxx

(4) Currency, monetary affairs, foreign exchange, banking and quasi-banking, and external Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras
borrowing, consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and
28

distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant Hence, we assume jurisdiction. And if we can make an inquiry in the validity of the expulsion in
characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as question, with more reason can we review the petitioner's removal as Speaker. Cdpr
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. 31
Briefly, the petitioner assails the legality of his ouster as Speaker on the grounds that: (1) the
An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. (1987), art. X Sanggunian, in convening on November 2 and 5, 1987 (for the sole purpose of declaring the
sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and accepted principles on office of the Speaker vacant),did so in violation of the Rules of the Sangguniang Pampook since
the effects and limits of "autonomy." On the other hand, an autonomous government of the the Assembly was then on recess; and (2) assuming that it was valid, his ouster was ineffective
former class is, as we noted, under the supervision of the national government acting through nevertheless for lack of quorum.
the President (and the Department of Local Government). 32 If the Sangguniang Pampook (of
Region XII), then, is autonomous in the latter sense, its acts are, debatably, beyond the domain Upon the facts presented, we hold that the November 2 and 5, 1987 sessions were invalid. It is
of this Court in perhaps the same way that the internal acts, say, of the Congress of the true that under Section 31 of the Region XII Sanggunian Rules, "[s]essions shall not be
Philippines are beyond our jurisdiction. But if it is autonomous in the former category only, it suspended or adjourned except by direction of the Sangguniang Pampook," 35 but it provides
comes unarguably under our jurisdiction. likewise that "the Speaker may, on [sic] his discretion, declare a recess of "short intervals." 36 Of
course, there is disagreement between the protagonists as to whether or not the recess called
An examination of the very Presidential Decree creating the autonomous governments of by the petitioner effective November 1 through 15, 1987 is the "recess of short intervals" referred
Mindanao persuades us that they were never meant to exercise autonomy in the second sense, to; the petitioner says that it is while the respondents insist that, to all intents and purposes, it
that is, in which the central government commits an act of self-immolation. Presidential Decree was an adjournment and that "recess" as used by their Rules only refers to "a recess when
No. 1618, in the first place, mandates that "[t]he President shall have the power of general arguments get heated up so that protagonists in a debate can talk things out informally and
supervision and control over Autonomous Regions." 33 In the second place, the Sangguniang obviate dissension [sic] and disunity." 37 The Court agrees with the respondents on this regard,
Pampook, their legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative services, thus: since clearly, the Rules speak of "short intervals." Secondly, the Court likewise agrees that the
Speaker could not have validly called a recess since the Assembly had yet to convene on
SEC. 7. Powers of the Sangguniang Pampook.— The Sangguniang Pampook shall exercise November 1, the date session opens under the same Rules. 38 Hence, there can be no recess
local legislative powers over regional affairs within the framework of national development plans, to speak of that could possibly interrupt any session. But while this opinion is in accord with the
policies and goals, in the following areas: respondents' own, we still invalidate the twin sessions in question, since at the time the
petitioner called the "recess," it was not a settled matter whether or not he could do so. In the
(1) Organization of regional administrative system; second place, the invitation tendered by the Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of
Representatives provided a plausible reason for the intermission sought. Thirdly, assuming that
(2) Economic, social and cultural development of the Autonomous Region; a valid recess could not be called, it does not appear that the respondents called his attention to
this mistake. What appears is that instead, they opened the sessions themselves behind his
(3) Agricultural, commercial and industrial programs for the Autonomous Region; back in an apparent act of mutiny. Under the circumstances, we find equity on his side. For this
reason, we uphold the "recess" called on the ground of good faith.
(4) Infrastructure development for the Autonomous Region;
It does not appear to us, moreover, that the petitioner had resorted to the aforesaid "recess" in
(5) Urban and rural planning for the Autonomous Region; order to forestall the Assembly from bringing about his ouster. This is not apparent from the
pleadings before us. We are convinced that the invitation was what precipitated it. llcd
(6) Taxation and other revenue-raising measures as provided for in this Decree;
In holding that the "recess" in question is valid, we are not to be taken as establishing a
(7) Maintenance, operation and administration of schools established by the Autonomous precedent, since, as we said, a recess can not be validly declared without a session having been
Region; first opened. In upholding the petitioner herein, we are no him a carte blanche to order recesses
in the future in violation of the Rules, or otherwise to prevent the lawful meetings thereof.
(8) Establishment, operation and maintenance of health, welfare and other social services,
programs and facilities; Neither are we, by this disposition, discouraging the Sanggunian from reorganizing itself
pursuant to its lawful prerogatives. Certainly, it can do so at the proper time. In the event that he
(9) Preservation and development of customs, traditions languages and culture indigenous to petitioner should initiate obstructive moves, the Court is certain that it is armed with enough
the Autonomous Region; and coercive remedies to thwart them. 39

(10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law, including the enactment of such measures In view hereof, we find no need in dwelling on the issue of quorum.
as may be necessary for the promotion of the general welfare of the people in the Autonomous
Region. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Sangguniang Pampook,
Region XII, is ENJOINED to (1) REINSTATE the petitioner as Member, Sangguniang Pampook,
The President shall exercise such powers as may be necessary to assure that enactment and Region XII; and (2) REINSTATE him as Speaker thereof. No costs.
acts of the Sangguniang Pampook and the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook are in compliance
with this Decree, national legislation, policies, plans and programs. SO ORDERED.

The Sangguniang Pampook shall maintain liaison with the Batasang Pambansa. 34 Fernan, C .J .,Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr.,Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco,
Bidin, Cortés, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ .,concur.
29

EN BANC 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CHANGED SUPERVISION CLAUSE DOES NOT EXEMPT LOCAL
GOVERNMENTS FROM LEGISLATIVE REGULATION. — The 1987 Constitution provides in
[G.R. No. 93252. August 5, 1991.] Art. X, Sec. 4 that "[T]he President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over
local governments." It modifies a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution, Art.
RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and LUIS VII, Sec. 10(1), stating that "[T]he President shall . . . exercise general supervision over all local
T. SANTOS, respondents. governments as may be provided by law." It is the considered opinion of the Court that
notwithstanding the change in the constitutional language, the Charter did not intend to divest
[G.R. No. 93746. August 5, 1991.] the legislature of its right — or the President of her prerogative as conferred by existing
legislation — to provide administrative sanctions against local officials. It is our opinion that the
MARY ANN RIVERA ARTIEDA, petitioner,vs. HON. LUIS SANTOS, in his capacity as Secretary omission (of "as may be provided by law") signifies nothing more than to underscore local
of the Department of Local Government, NICANOR M. PATRICIO, in his capacity as Chief, governments' autonomy from Congress and to break Congress' "control" over local government
Legal Service of the Department of Local Government, and SALVADOR CABALUNA, affairs. The Constitution did not, however, intend, for the sake of local autonomy, to deprive the
JR.,respondents. legislature of all authority over municipal corporations, in particular, concerning discipline. The
change in constitutional language did not exempt local governments from legislative regulation
[G.R. No. 95245. August 5, 1991.] provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy.

RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and LUIS T. 4. ID.;ID.;ID.;NATIONAL AUTHORITY CAN DISCIPLINE LOCAL OFFICIALS. — Since local
SANTOS, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Local Government, respondents. governments remain accountable to the national authority, the latter may, by law, and in the
manner set forth therein, impose disciplinary action against local officials. In the case at bar, the
Nicolas P. Sonalan for petitioner in 93252. Secretary of Local Government, the President's alter ego, in consonance with the specific legal
provisions of Batas Blg. 337, the existing Local Government Code, can suspend petitioner
Romeo A. Gerochi for petitioner in 93746. Mayor of Iloilo City (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) and petitioner member of the Sangguniang
Panglunsod (G.R. No. 93746).
Eugenio Original for petitioner in 95245.
5. ID.;ID.;ID.;ID.;"SUPERVISION" NOT INCOMPATIBLE WITH DISCIPLINARY AUTHORITY. —
SYLLABUS "Supervision" is not incompatible with disciplinary authority. As this Court held in Ganzon
vs.Cayanan, 104 Phil. 484, "in administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; 1987 CONSTITUTION; LOCAL AUTONOMY, NATURE OF; authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or
LOCAL OFFICIALS REMAIN ACCOUNTABLE TO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. — Local neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them
autonomy, under the Constitution, involves a mere decentralization of administration, not of perform their duties."
power, in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner the
law may provide. Autonomy does not contemplate making mini-states out of local government 6. ID.;ID.;ID.;ID.;POWER TO SUSPEND LOCAL OFFICIALS MUST NOT BE EXERCISED
units. Autonomy, in the constitutional sense, is subject to the guiding star, though not control, of OPPRESSIVELY. — While the respondent Secretary of Interior, as alter ego of the President,
the legislature, albeit the legislative responsibility under the Constitution — and as the under the existing Local Government Code, has the Power to suspend the petitioner Iloilo City
"supervision clause" itself suggests — is to wean local government units from overdependence Mayor, such power cannot be exercised oppressively. Ten administrative cases have been
on the central government. It is noteworthy that under the Charter, "local autonomy" is not successively filed against the City Mayor. The Mayor has been made to serve a total of 120 days
instantly self executing, but subject to, among other things, the passage of a local government of suspension for the first two cases and the respondent Secretary has issued another order
code, a local tax law, income distribution legislation, and a national representation law, and preventively suspending the former for another 60 days, the third time in twenty months. We are
measures designed to realize autonomy at the local level. It is also noteworthy that in spite of allowing the Mayor to suffer the duration of his third suspension. Insofar as the seven remaining
autonomy, the Constitution places the local governments under the general supervision of the charges are concerned, we are urging the Department of Local Government, upon finality of this
Executive. It is noteworthy finally, that the Charter allows Congress to include in the local decision, to undertake steps to expedite the same, subject to the Mayor's usual remedies of
government code provisions for removal of local officials, which suggests that Congress may appeal, judicial or administrative, or certiorari, if warranted, and meanwhile, we are precluding
exercise removal powers, and as the existing Local Government Code has done, delegate its the Secretary from meting out further suspensions based on those remaining complaints,
exercise to the President. notwithstanding findings of prima facie evidence.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; NEW CONSTITUTION DOES NOT PRESCRIBE FEDERALISM. — As the DECISION
Constitution itself declares, local autonomy means "a more responsive and accountable local
government structure instituted through a system of decentralization." The Constitution, as we SARMIENTO,J p:
observed, does nothing more than to break up the monopoly of the national government over the
affairs of local governments and as put by political adherents, to "liberate the local governments The petitioners take common issue on the power of the President (acting through the Secretary
from the imperialism of Manila." Autonomy, however, is not meant to end the relation of of Local Government),to suspend and/or remove local officials.
partnership and interdependence between the central administration and local government units,
or otherwise, to usher in a regime of federalism. The Charter has not taken such a radical step. The petitioners are the Mayor of Iloilo City (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) and a member of the
Local governments, under the Constitution, are subject to regulation, however limited, and for no Sangguniang Panglunsod thereof (G.R. No. 93746),respectively. cdasia
other purpose than precisely, albeit paradoxically, to enhance self-government.
The petitions of Mayor Ganzon originated from a series of administrative complaints, ten in
number, filed against him by various city officials sometime in 1988, on various charges, among
30

them, abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct, petitioner. The petitioner asked for a postponement before the scheduled date of hearing and
intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution, and arbitrary detention. 1 The personalities was represented by counsel, Atty. Samuel Castro. The hearing officers, Atty. Salvador Quebral
involved are Joceleehn Cabaluna, a clerk at the city health office; Salvador Cabaluna, her and Atty. Marino Bermudez had to come all the way from Manila for the two-day hearings but
husband; Dr. Felicidad Ortigoza, Assistant City Health Officer; Mansueto Malabor, Vice-Mayor; was actually held only on June 20, 1988 in view of the inability and unpreparedness of
Rolando Dabao, Dan Dalido, German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Peña Redondo, petitioner's counsel.
members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod; and Pancho Erbite, a barangay tanod. The
complaints against the Mayor are set forth in the opinion of the respondent Court of Appeals. 2 The next hearings were re-set to July 25, 26, 27, 1988 in the same venue — Iloilo City. Again,
We quote: the petitioner attempted to delay the proceedings and moved for a postponement under the
excuse that he had just hired his counsel. Nonetheless, the hearing officers denied the motion to
xxx xxx xxx postpone, in view of the fact that the parties were notified by telegrams of the scheduled
hearings (Annex M).
In her verified complaint (Annex A),Mrs. Cabaluna, a clerk assigned to the City Health, Office of
Iloilo City charged that due to political reasons, having supported the rival candidate, Mrs. Rosa In the said hearings, petitioner's counsel cross-examined the complainants and their witnesses.
O. Caram, the petitioner City Mayor, using as an excuse the exigency of the service and the
interest of the public, pulled her out from rightful office where her qualification are best suited Finding probable grounds and reasons, the respondent issued a preventive suspension order on
and assigned her to a work that should be the function of a non-career service employee. To August 11, 1988 to last until October 11, 1988 for a period of sixty (60) days.
make matters worse, a utility worker in the office of the Public Services, whose duties are alien
to the complainant's duties and functions, has been detailed to take her place. The petitioner's Then the next investigation was set on September 21, 1988 and the petitioner again asked for a
act are pure harassments aimed at luring her away from her permanent position or force her to postponement to September 26, 1988. On September 26, 1988, the complainants and petitioner
resign. were present, together with their respective counsel. The petitioner sought for a postponement
which was denied. In these hearings which were held in Manila, the petitioner testified in Adm.
In the case of Dra. Felicidad Ortigoza, she claims that the petitioner handpicked her to perform Case No. C-10298 and 10299.
task not befitting her position as Assistant City Health Officer of Iloilo City; that her office was
padlocked without any explanation or justification; that her salary was withheld without cause The investigation was continued regarding the Malabor case and the complainants testified
since April 1, 1988; that when she filed her vacation leave, she was given the run-around including their witnesses.
treatment in the approval of her leave in connivance with Dr. Rodolfo Villegas and that she was
the object of a well-engineered trumped-up charge in an administrative complaint filed by Dr. On October 10, 1988, petitioner's counsel, Atty. Onginal moved for a postponement of the
Rodolfo Villegas (Annex B). October 24, 1988 hearing to November 7 to 11, 1988 which was granted. However, the motion
for change of venue was denied due to lack of funds. At the hearing on November 7, 1988, the
On the other hand, Mansuelo Malabor is the duty elected Vice Mayor of Iloilo City and parties and counsel were present. Petitioner reiterated his motion to change venue and moved
complainants Rolando Dabao, Dan Dalido, German Gonzales, Larry Ong and Eduardo Peña for postponement anew. The counsel discussed a proposal to take the deposition of witnesses in
Redondo are members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of the City of Iloilo. Their complaint Iloilo City so the hearing was indefinitely postponed. However, the parties failed to come to
arose out from the case where Councilor Larry Ong, whose key to his office was terms and after the parties were notified of the hearing, the investigation was set to December
unceremoniously and without previous notice, taken by petitioner. Without an office, Councilor 13 to 15, 1988.
Ong had to hold office at Plaza Libertad. The Vice-Mayor and the other complainants
sympathized with him and decided to do the same. However, the petitioner, together with his The petitioner sought for another postponement on the ground that his witnesses were sick or
fully-armed security men, forcefully drove them away from Plaza Libertad. Councilor Ong cannot attend the investigation due to lack of transportation. The motion was denied and the
denounced the petitioner's actuations the following day in the radio station and decided to hold petitioner was given up to December 14, 1988 to present his evidence. LexLib
office at the Freedom Grandstand at Iloilo City and there were so many people who gathered to
witness the incident. However, before the group could reach the area, the petitioner, together On December 14, 1988, petitioner's counsel insisted on his motion for postponement and the
with his security men, led the firemen using a firetruck in dozing water to the people and the hearing officers gave petitioner up to December 15, 1988 to present his evidence. On December
bystanders. 15, 1988, the petitioner failed to present evidence and the cases were considered submitted for
resolution.
Another administrative case was filed by Pancho Erbite, a barangay tanod, appointed by former
mayor Rosa O. Caram. On March 13, 1988, without the benefit of charges filed against him and In the meantime, a prima facie evidence was found to exist in the arbitrary detention case filed
no warrant of arrest was issued, Erbite was arrested and detained at the City Jail of Iloilo City by Pancho Erbite so the respondent ordered the petitioner's second preventive suspension
upon orders of petitioner. In jail, he was allegedly mauled by other detainees thereby causing dated October 11, 1988 for another sixty (60) days. The petitioner was able to obtain a
injuries. He was released only the following day. 3 restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 of
Iloilo City. The second preventive suspension was not enforced. 5
The Mayor thereafter answered, 4 and the cases were set for hearing. The opinion of the Court
of Appeals also set forth the succeeding events: Amidst the two successive suspensions, Mayor Ganzon instituted an action for prohibition
against the respondent Secretary of Local Government (now, Interior) in the Regional Trial
xxx xxx xxx Court, Iloilo City, where he succeeded in obtaining a writ of preliminary injunction. Presently, he
instituted CA-G.R. SP No. 16417, an action for prohibition, in the respondent Court of Appeals.
The initial hearing in the Cabaluna and Ortigoza cases were set for hearing on June 20-21, 1988
at the Regional Office of the Department of Local Government in Iloilo City. Notices, through Meanwhile, on May 3, 1990, the respondent Secretary issued another order, preventively
telegrams, were sent to the parties (Annex L) and the parties received them, including the suspending Mayor Ganzon for another sixty days, the third time in twenty months, and
31

designating meantime Vice-Mayor Mansueto Malabor as acting mayor. Undaunted, Mayor


Ganzon commenced CA-G.R. SP No. 20736 of the Court of Appeals, a petition for prohibition, 6 As to his request, finally, for postponements, the Court is afraid that he has not given any
(Malabor, it is to be noted, is one of the complainants, and hence, he is interested in seeing compelling reason why we should overturn the Court of Appeals, which found no convincing
Mayor Ganzon ousted.) reason to overrule Secretary Santos in denying his requests. Besides, postponements are a
matter of discretion on the part of the hearing officer, and based on Mayor Ganzon's above
On September 7, 1989, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment, dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. story, we are not convinced that the Secretary has been guilty of a grave abuse of discretion.
16417. On July 5, 1990, it likewise promulgated a decision, dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 20736.
In a Resolution dated January 24, 1990, it issued a Resolution certifying the petition of Mary Ann The Court can not say, under these circumstances, that Secretary Santos' actuations deprived
Artieda, who had been similarly charged by the respondent Secretary, to this Court. Mayor Ganzon of due process of law.

On June 26, 1990, we issued a Temporary Restraining Order, barring the respondent Secretary We come to the core question: Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government, as the
from implementing the suspension orders, and restraining the enforcement of the Court of President's alter ego, can suspend and or remove local officials.
Appeals' two decisions.
It is the petitioners' argument that the 1987 Constitution 20 no longer allows the President, as
In our Resolution of November 29, 1990, we consolidated all three cases. In our Resolutions of the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions did, to exercise the power of suspension and/or removal over
January 15, 1991, we gave due course thereto. local officials. According to both petitioners, the Constitution is meant, first, to strengthen self-
rule by local government units and second, by deleting the phrase "as may be provided by law,"
Mayor Ganzon claims as a preliminary (G.R. No. 93252), that the Department of Local 21 to strip the President of the power of control over local governments. It is a view, so they
Government in hearing the ten cases against him, had denied him due process of law and that contend, that finds support in the debates of the Constitutional Commission.
the respondent Secretary had been "biased, prejudicial and hostile" towards him 7 arising from
his (Mayor Ganzon's) alleged refusal to join the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party 8 and The provision in question reads as follows:
the running political rivalry they maintained in the last congressional and local elections; 9 and
his alleged refusal to operate a lottery in Iloilo City. 10 He also alleges that he requested the SECTION 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local
Secretary to lift his suspension since it had come ninety days prior to an election (the barangay governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and
elections of November 14, 1988), 11 notwithstanding which, the latter proceeded with the municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their
hearing — and meted out two more suspension orders — of the aforementioned cases. 12 He component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions. 22
likewise contends that he sought to bring the cases to Iloilo City (they were held in Manila) in
order to reduce the costs of proceeding, but the Secretary rejected his request. 13 He states that It modifies a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution, which we quote:
he asked for postponement on 'valid and justifiable" 14 grounds, among them, that he was
suffering from a heart ailment which required confinement; that his "vital" 15 witness was also SECTION 10. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or
hospitalized 16 but that the latter unduly denied his request. 17 offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law, and
take care that the laws be faithfully executed. 23
Mayor Ganzon's primary argument (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) is that the Secretary of Local
Government is devoid, in any event, of any authority to suspend and remove local officials, an The petitioners submit that the deletion (of "as may be provided by law") is significant, as their
argument reiterated by the petitioner Mary Ann Rivera Artieda (G.R. No. 93746). argument goes, since: (1) the power of the President is "provided by law" and (2) hence, no law
may provide for it any longer. LLphil
As to Mayor Ganzon's charges of denial of due process, the records do not show very clearly in
what manner the Mayor might have been deprived of his rights by the respondent Secretary. His It is to be noted that in meting out the suspensions under question, the Secretary of Local
claims that he and Secretary Luis Santos were (are) political rivals and that his "persecution" Government acted in consonance with the specific legal provisions of Batas Blg. 337, the Local
was politically motivated are pure speculation and although the latter does not appear to have Government Code, we quote:
denied these contentions (as he, Mayor Ganzon, claims), we can not take his word for it the way
we would have under less political circumstances, considering furthermore that "political feud" SECTION 62. Notice of Hearing.— Within seven days after the complaint is filed, the Minister of
has often been a good excuse in contesting complaints. Local Government, or the sanggunian concerned, as the case may be, shall require the
respondent to submit his verified answer within seven days from receipt of said complaint, and
The Mayor has failed furthermore to substantiate his say-so's that Secretary Santos had commence the hearing and investigation of the case within ten days after receipt of such answer
attempted to seduce him to join the administration party and to operate a lottery in Iloilo City. of the respondent. No investigation shall be held within ninety days immediately prior to an
Again, although the Secretary failed to rebut his allegations, we can not accept them at face election, and no preventive suspension shall be imposed within the said period. If preventive
value, much more, as judicial admissions as he would have us accept them, 18 for the same suspension has been imposed prior to the aforesaid period, the preventive suspension shall be
reasons above-stated and furthermore, because his say-so's were never corroborated by lifted. 24
independent testimonies. As a responsible public official, Secretary Santos, in pursuing an
official function, is presumed to be performing his duties regularly and in the absence of contrary SECTION 63. Preventive Suspension.— (1) Preventive suspension may be imposed by the
evidence, no ill motive can be ascribed to him. Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official, by the provincial
governor if the respondent is an elective municipal official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the
As to Mayor Ganzon's contention that he had requested the respondent Secretary to defer the respondent is an elective barangay official.
hearing on account of the ninety-day ban prescribed by Section 62 of Batas Blg. 337, the Court
finds the question to be moot and academic since we have in fact restrained the Secretary from (2) Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the issues are joined, when there is
further hearing the complaints against the petitioners. 19 reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of,
32

when the evidence of culpability is strong, when the gravity of the offense so warrants, or when The petitioners are under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere
the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the supervisory powers, which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her
safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. In all cases, preventive suspension shall control, which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because
not extend beyond sixty days after the start of said suspension. legally, "supervision" is not incompatible with disciplinary authority as this Court has held, 34
thus:
(3) At the expiration of sixty days, the suspended official shall be deemed reinstated in office
without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him until its termination. xxx xxx xxx
However, if the delay in the proceedings of the case is due to his fault, neglect or request, the
time of the delay shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension. 25 It is true that in the case of Mondano vs. Silvosa, 51 Off. Gaz.,No. 6 p. 2884, this Court had
occasion to discuss this scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over local
The issue, as the Court understands it, consists of three questions: (1) Did the 1987 government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of
Constitution, in deleting the phrase "as may be provided by law" intend to divest the President of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and supervision, are two
the power to investigate, suspend, discipline, and or remove local officials? (2) Has the different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. Thus in that case the
Constitution repealed Sections 62 and 63 of the Local Government Code? (3) What is the Court has made the following digression: "In administration law supervision means overseeing
significance of the change in the constitutional language? or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the
latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to
It is the considered opinion of the Court that notwithstanding the change in the constitutional make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to
language, the charter did not intend to divest the legislature of its right — or the President of her alter or modify or nullify of set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of
prerogative as conferred by existing legislation to provide administrative sanctions against local his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter." But from this
officials. It is our opinion that the omission (of "as may be provided by law") signifies nothing pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of supervision of the President
more than to underscore local governments' autonomy from congress and to break Congress' over local government officials does not include the power of investigation when in his opinion
"control" over local government affairs. The Constitution did not, however, intend, for the sake of the good of the public service so requires, as postulated in Section 64(c) of the Revised
local autonomy, to deprive the legislature of all authority over municipal corporations, in Administrative Code. ... 35
particular, concerning discipline.
xxx xxx xxx
Autonomy does not, after all, contemplate making mini-states out of local government units, as
in the federal governments of the United States of America (or Brazil or Germany), although "Control" has been defined as "the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside
Jefferson is said to have compared municipal corporations euphemistically to "small republics". what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
26 Autonomy, in the constitutional sense, is subject to the guiding star, though not control, of the judgment of the former for test of the latter." 36 "Supervision" on the other hand means
legislature, albeit the legislative responsibility under the Constitution — and as the "supervision "overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their
clause" itself suggest — is to wean local government units from over dependence on the central duties." 37 As we held, 38 however, "investigating" is not inconsistent with "overseeing",
government. although it is a lesser power than "altering".

It is noteworthy that under the Charter, "local autonomy" is not instantly self-executing, but The impression is apparently exacerbated by the Court's pronouncements in at least three
subject to, among other things, the passage of a local government code, 27 a local tax law, 28 cases, Lacson v. Roque, 39 Hebron v. Reyes, 40 and Mondano v. Silvosa, 41 and possibly, a
income distribution legislation, 29 and a national representation law, 30 and measures 31 fourth one, Pelaez v. Auditor General. 42 In Lacson, this Court said that the President enjoyed
designed to realize autonomy at the local level. It is also noteworthy that in spite of autonomy, no control powers but only supervision "as may be provided by law," 43 a rule we reiterated in
the Constitution places the local government under the general supervision of the Executive. It is Hebron,and Mondano.In Pelaez, we stated that the President "may not . . . suspend an elective
noteworthy finally, that the Charter allows Congress to include in the local government code official of a regular municipality or take any disciplinary action against him, except on appeal
provisions for removal of local officials, which suggest that Congress may exercise removal from a decision of the corresponding provincial board." 44 However, neither Lacson nor Hebron
powers, and as the existing Local Government Code has done, delegate its exercise to the nor Mondano categorically banned the Chief Executive from exercising acts of disciplinary
President. Thus: authority because she did not exercise control powers, but because no law allowed her to
exercise disciplinary authority. Thus, according to Lacson:
SECTION 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more
responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of The contention that the President has inherent power to remove or suspend municipal officers is
decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among without doubt not well taken. Removal and suspension of public officers are always controlled by
the different local government units their powers, responsibilities and resources, and provide for the particular law applicable and its proper construction subject to constitutional limitations. 45
the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and
duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the In Hebron,we stated:
local units. 32
Accordingly, when the procedure for the suspension of an officer is specified by law, the same
As hereinabove indicated, the deletion of "as may be provided by law" was meant to stress, sub must be deemed mandatory and adhered to strictly, in the absence of express or clear provision
silencio, the objective of the framers to strengthen local autonomy by severing congressional to the contrary — which does not exist with respect to municipal officers. ... 46
control of its affairs, as observed by the Court of Appeals, like the power of local legislation. 33
The Constitution did nothing more, however, and insofar as existing legislation authorizes the In Mondano,the Court held:
President (through the Secretary of Local Government) to proceed against local officials
administratively, the Constitution contains no prohibition.
33

. . . The Congress has expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over national development and social progress." At the same time, it relieves the central government
municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to "receive and investigate of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The
complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, President exercises "general supervision" over them, but only to "ensure that local affairs are
corruption or other form of maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any administered according to law." He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can
crime involving moral turpitude." And if the charges are serious, "he shall submit written charges substitute their judgments with his own.
touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused
either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such case suspend the officer (not being Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the
the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his opinion the charge by one effecting favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous, In that case, the autonomous
the official integrity of the officer in question." Section 86 of the Revised Administration Code government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from
adds nothing to the power of supervision to be exercised by the Department Head over the central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to
administration of . . . municipalities. . . . If it be construed that it does and such additional power "self-immolation," since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to
is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by section 79(c) of the Revised the central authorities but to its contituency. 55
Administrative Code, then such additional power must be deemed to have been abrogated by
Section 110(1), Article VII, of the Constitution." 47 The successive sixty-day suspensions imposed on Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon is albeit another
matter. What bothers the Court, and what indeed looms very large, is the fact that since the
xxx xxx xxx Mayor is facing ten administrative charges, the Mayor is in fact facing the possibility of 600 days
of suspension, in the event that all ten cases yield prima facie findings. The Court is not of
In Pelaez, we stated that the President can not impose disciplinary measures on local officials course tolerating misfeasance in public office (assuming that Mayor Ganzon is guilty of
except on appeal from the provincial board pursuant to the Administrative Code. 48 misfeasance) but it is certainly another question to make him serve 600 days of suspension,
which is effectively, to suspend him out of office. As we held: 5 6
Thus, in those case that this Court denied the President the power (to suspend remove) it was
not because we did not think that the President can not exercise it on account of his limited 2. Petitioner is a duly elected municipal mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. His term of office does
power, but because the law lodged the power elsewhere. But in those cases in which the law not expire until 1986. Were it not for this information and the suspension decreed by the
gave him the power, the Court, as in Ganzon v. Kayanan, found little difficulty in sustaining him. Sandiganbayan according to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, he would have been all
49 this while in the full discharge of his functions as such municipal mayor. He was elected
precisely to do so. As of October 26, 1983, he has been unable to. It is a basic assumption of
The Court does not believe that the petitioners can rightfully point to the debates of the the electoral process implicit in the right of suffrage that the people are entitled to the services of
Constitutional Commission to defeat the President's powers. The Court believes that the elective officials of their choice. For misfeasance or malfeasance, any of them could, of course,
deliberations are by themselves inconclusive, because although Commissioner Jose Nolledo be proceeded against administratively or, as in this instance, criminally. In either case, his
would exclude the power of removal from the President, 50 Commissioner Blas Ople would not. culpability must be established. Moreover, if there be a criminal action, he is entitled to the
51 constitutional presumption of innocence. A preventive suspension may be justified. Its
continuance, however, for an unreasonable length of time raises a due process question. For
The Court is consequently reluctant to say that the new Constitution has repealed the Local even if thereafter he were acquitted, in the meanwhile his right to hold office had been nullified.
Government Code, Batas Blg. 37. As we said, "supervision" and "removal" are not incompatible Clearly, there would be in such a case an injustice suffered by him. Nor is he the only victim.
terms and one may stand with the other notwithstanding the stronger expression of local There is injustice inflicted likewise on the people of Lianga. They were deprived of the services
autonomy under the new Charter. We have indeed held that in spite of the approval of the of the man they had elected to serve as mayor. In that sense, to paraphrase Justice Cardozo,
Charter, Batas Blg. 337 is still in force and effect. 52 the protracted continuance of this preventive suspension had outrun the bonds of reason and
resulted in sheer oppression. A denial of due process is thus quite manifest. It is to avoid such
As the Constitution itself declares, local autonomy means "a more responsive and accountable an unconstitutional application that the order of suspension should be lifted. 57
local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization." 53 The Constitution,
as we observed, does nothing more than to break up the monopoly of the national government The plain truth is that this Court has been ill at ease with suspensions, for the above reasons, 58
over the affairs of local governments and as put by political adherents, to "liberate the local and so also, because it is out of the ordinary to have a vacancy in local government. The sole
governments from the imperialism of Manila." Autonomy, however, is not meant to end the objective of a suspension, as we have held, 59 is simply "to prevent the accused from
relation of partnership and interdependence between the central administration and local hampering the normal cause of the investigation with his influence and authority over possible
government units, or otherwise, to usher in a regime of federalism. The Charter has not taken witnesses" 60 or to keep him off "the records and other evidence." 61 It is a means, and no
such a radical step. Local governments, under the Constitution, are subject to regulation, more, to assist prosecutors in firming up a case, if any, against an erring local official. Under the
however limited, and for no other purpose than precisely, albeit paradoxically, to enhance self- Local Government Code, it can not exceed sixty days, 62 which is to say that it need not be
government. exactly sixty days long if a shorter period is otherwise sufficient, and which is also to say that it
ought to be lifted if prosecutors have achieved their purpose in a shorter span.
As we observed in one case, 54 decentralization means devolution of national administration —
but not power — to the local levels. Thus: Suspension is not a penalty and is not unlike preventive imprisonment in which the accused is
held to insure his presence at the trial. In both cases, the accused (the respondent) enjoys a
Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is presumption of innocence unless and until found guilty. cdphil
decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers
to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to Suspension finally is temporary, and as the Local Government Code provides, it may be
make local governments "more responsive and accountable," and "ensure their fullest imposed for no more than sixty days. As we held, 63 a longer suspension is unjust and
development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of unreasonable, and we might add, nothing less than tyranny.
34

6. The petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, may serve the suspension so far ordered, but may no
As we observed earlier, imposing 600 days of suspension — which is not a remote possibility — longer be suspended for the offenses he was charged originally; provided:
on Mayor Ganzon is to all intents and purposes, to make him spend the rest of his term in
inactivity. It is also to make, to all intents and purposes, his suspension permanent. a) that delays in the investigation of those charges "due to his fault, neglect or request, (the time
of the delay) shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension." [Supra, sec. 63(3)]
It is also, in fact, to mete out punishment in spite of the fact that the Mayor's guilt has not been
proven. Worse, any absolution will be for naught because needless to say, the length of his b) that if during, or after the expiration of, his preventive suspension, the petitioner commits
suspension would have, by the time he is reinstated, wiped out his tenure considerably. another or other crimes and abuses for which proper charges are filed against him by the
aggrieved party or parties, his previous suspension shall not be a bar to his being preventively
The Court is not to be mistaken for obstructing the efforts of the respondent Secretary to see suspended again, if warranted under subpar. (2),Section 63 of the Local Government Code.
that justice is done in Iloilo City, yet it is hardly any argument to inflict on Mayor Ganzon
successive suspensions when apparently, the respondent Secretary has had sufficient time to WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitions are DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining
gather the necessary evidence to build a case against the Mayor — without suspending him a Order issued is LIFTED. The suspensions of the petitioners are AFFIRMED, provided that the
day longer. What is intriguing is that the respondent Secretary has been cracking down, so to petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, may not be made to serve future suspensions on account of
speak, on the Mayor piecemeal — apparently, to pin him down ten times the pain, when he, the any of the remaining administrative charges pending against him for acts committed prior to
respondent Secretary, could have pursued a consolidated effort. August 11, 1988. The Secretary of Interior is ORDERED to consolidate all such administrative
cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. cdasia
We reiterate that we are not precluding the President, through the Secretary of Interior from
exercising a legal power, yet we are of the opinion that the Secretary of Interior is exercising that The sixty-day suspension against the petitioner, Mary Ann Rivera Artieda, is AFFIRMED. No
power oppressively, and needless to say, with a grave abuse of discretion. costs.

The Court is aware that only the third suspension is under question, and that any talk of future SO ORDERED.
suspensions is in fact premature. The fact remains, however, that Mayor Ganzon has been
made to serve a total of 120 days of suspension and the possibility of sixty days more is Fernan, C .J .,Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr.,Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco,
arguably around the corner (which amounts to a violation of the Local Government Code) — Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr.,JJ .,concur.
which brings to light a pattern of suspensions intended to suspend the Mayor the rest of his
natural tenure. The Court is simply foreclosing what appears to us as a concerted effort of the ||| (Ganzon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 93252, 93746 & 95245, [August 5, 1991], 277 PHIL
State to perpetuate an arbitrary act. 311-334)

As we said, we can not tolerate such a state of affairs.

We are therefore allowing Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon to suffer the duration of his third suspension EN BANC
and lifting, for the purpose, the Temporary Restraining Order earlier issued. Insofar as the seven
remaining charges are concerned, we are urging the Department of Local Government, upon the [G.R. No. 93252. November 8, 1991.]
finality of this Decision, to undertake steps to expedite the same, subject to Mayor Ganzon's
usual remedies of appeal, judicial or administrative, or certiorari, if warranted, and meanwhile, RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND LUIS T. SANTOS,
we are precluding the Secretary from meting out further suspensions based on those remaining respondents.
complaints, notwithstanding findings of prima facie evidence.
[G.R. No. 93746. November 8, 1991.]
In resumé, the Court is laying down the following rules:
MARY ANN RIVERA ARTIEDA, petitioner, vs. HON. LUIS SANTOS, in his capacity as
1. Local autonomy, under the Constitution, involves a mere decentralization of administration, Secretary of the Department of Local Government, NICANOR M. PATRICIO, in his capacity as
not of power, in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner Chief, Legal Service of the Department of Local Government and SALVADOR CABALUNA, JR.,
the law may provide; respondents.

2. The new Constitution does not prescribe federalism; [G.R. No. L-95245. November 8, 1991.]

3. The change in constitutional language (with respect to the supervision clause) was meant but RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T.
to deny legislative control over local governments; it did not exempt the latter from legislative SANTOS, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Local Government, respondents.
regulations provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy;
Manuel Lazaro and Vincent Rondaris for petitioner in G.R. Nos. 93252 & 95245.
4. Since local governments remain accountable to the national authority, the latter may, by law,
and in the manner set forth therein, impose disciplinary action against local officials; SYLLABUS

5. "Supervision" and "investigation" are not inconsistent terms; "investigation" does not signify 1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION; SIMULTANEOUS SERVICE OF
"control" (which the President does not have); OVERLAPPING SUSPENSIONS; LESSENS THE HARSH EFFECTS OF WHATEVER MOTIVE
BEHIND SUCCESSIVE SUSPENSION ORDERS. — Petitioner raises the issue of whether he
35

could or should be allowed to serve the third and the fourth orders "simultaneously". It will be
recalled that, in the main decisions, noting that successive suspensions have been inflicted on Before the Court for resolution are the various issues raised by Rodolfo T. Ganzon's urgent
Mayor Ganzon, we stated that what "is intriguing is that respondent Secretary has been cracking motion, dated 7 September 1991, wherein he asks the court to dissolve the temporary
down, so to speak, on the Mayor piecemeal — apparently, to pin him down ten times the pain, restraining order (TRO) it had issued, dated 5 September 1991, against the TRO earlier issued
when he, the respondent Secretary could have pursued a consolidated effort." Surely, allowing by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 25840 entitled Ganzon vs. Santos, et al.
petitioner to serve simultaneously the overlapping third and fourth suspensions will favor him,
(and presumably the local constituency) and certainly lessen if not offset the harsh effects of On 5 August 1991, the Court's decision in the present case was promulgated, upholding the
whatever motive may be behind the intriguing action of the respondent Secretary in issuing validity of the orders of preventive suspension issued by respondent Secretary Santos, the
those successive suspension orders. dispositive part of which decision reads:

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ELECTIVE OFFICIALS CAN NOT BE PREVENTIVELY SUSPENDED FOR "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petitions are DISMISSED. The Temporary
MORE THAN 90 DAYS. — We may already take judicial notice of the recently-approved Local Restraining Order issued is LIFTED. The suspensions of the petitioners are AFFIRMED,
Government Code of 1991 (recently signed into law by the President) which provides (as to provided that the petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, may not be made to serve future
imposition of preventive suspensions) as follows: "SEC. 63. Preventive Suspension . . . b) . . . suspensions on account of any of the remaining administrative charges pending against him for
that, any single preventive suspension of local elective official shall not extend beyond sixty (60) acts committed prior to August 11, 1988. The Secretary of Interior is ORDERED to consolidate
days: Provided, further that in the event that several administrative cases are filed against an all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. cdphil
elective official, he cannot be preventively suspended for more than ninety (90) days within a
single year on the same ground or grounds existing and known at the time of the first The sixty-day suspension against the petitioner, Mary Ann Rivera Artieda, is AFFIRMED No
suspension." (emphasis ours) costs." 1

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALLOWED UNDER THE BIZARRE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE AT BAR. A brief summary of the facts that led to this Court's decision of 5 August 1991 ("main decision",
— The main decision refers to the three (3) suspension orders — the first, the second and the for brevity) is as follows:
third. As shown earlier, the first and the third orders have already been served. It is only the
second order which seems to have been unserved. If we follow the decision which states that 1. Sometime in 1988, a series of ten (10) administrative complaints were filed by various city
the three (3) suspensions are affirmed, there appears to be no reason why the second order officials, against petitioner Ganzon, the elected City Mayor of Iloilo City, on various charges such
should not be served for another 60-day period. However, there is no cogent reason why, under as abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct and others.
the bizarre circumstances of this case — where the respondent Secretary has chosen to impose
preventive suspensions piecemeal, instead of consolidating the several administrative cases of 2. In the course of the hearing of the administrative cases, respondent Secretary Santos issued
similar nature and close vintage — we cannot allow the concept of simultaneous service to apply against petitioner Ganzon three (3) separate orders of preventive suspension dated 11 August
to the second order (as we did in the third order). It would follow then that the second order is 1988, 11 October 1988, and 3 May 1990, each of the orders to last for a 60-day period.
also fully served to this date for the service of said second order would have started on 5 August
1991 (when the main decision was rendered as this was the time when this Court found and Petitioner assailed the validity of the said orders by filing with the Court of Appeals two (2)
affirmed the validity of the three (3) suspensions orders, including the second order). The 60-day separate petitions for prohibition docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 16417 and CA-G.R. SP No. 20736.
period from 5 August 1991 expired on 4 October 1991. On 7 September 1988 and 5 July 1990, the appellate court rendered the decision in CA-G.R. SP
Nos. 16417 and 20736 dismissing the petitions for lack of merit. Hence, petitioner Ganzon filed
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; SERVICE OF SUSPENSION RENDERS ISSUE ON VALIDITY OF PREVENTIVE with this Court two (2) separate petitions assailing the decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 16417
SUSPENSION MOOT AND ACADEMIC. — It appears that as to the second preventive (subject of G.R. No. 93252), and that in CA-G.R. SP No. 20736 (subject of G.R. No. 95245). 2
suspension, petitioner manifested that there is still an existing preliminary injunction issued by
the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 33 in Special Civil Action No. 18312, entitled Ganzon vs. Santos, 3. On 26 June 1990, we issued a Temporary Restraining Order barring the respondent
et al. One may ask as to the status of the case pending with the RTC, Iloilo City, Branch 33 Secretary from implementing the suspension orders, and restraining the enforcement of the
insofar as the said case involves the issue on the validity of the second preventive suspension Court of Appeals' two (2) decisions.
order. Under the main decision of this Court, dated 5 August 1991, the second preventive
suspension has been affirmed; under the present resolution, said second preventive suspension However, it appears that even before the promulgation on 5 August 1991 of the main decision,
has been served. Consequently, Special Civil Action No. 18312 before the Regional Trial Court respondent Secretary Santos had issued on 3 July 1991 against petitioner Ganzon another
of Iloilo City has been rendered moot and academic, insofar as the second preventive order of preventive suspension in connection with Administrative Case No. 51-90 filed by
suspension order is concerned. As to the petition (docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 25840) filed with complainant Octavius J. Jopson, which order states:
the Court of Appeals, which involves the question of the validity of the fourth order, and which
has clearly been served, petitioner admitted that he filed it, on the belief that it was the proper "It appearing from a perusal of the complaint as well as the answer in Administrative Case No
remedy for his reinstatement to office; thinking that his suspensions have been served and 51-90, entitled Octavius J. Jopson, Complainant, versus, Mayor Rodolfo T. Ganzon,
ended. As we have ruled that petitioner has served the suspension orders decreed in the main Respondent, for Oppression, etc., that there is reasonable ground to believe that Respondent
decision and in the light of the finding of this Court that the fourth preventive suspension order has committed the act or acts complained of, as prayed for by Complainant Jopson, you are
has been served, the issues raised in CA-G.R. SP No. 25840, have also become moot and hereby preventively suspended from office for a period of sixty (60) days effective immediately."
academic, warranting dismissal thereof. (Emphasis ours)

RESOLUTION On 6 July 1991, petitioner Ganzon filed his "extremely urgent motion" (with supplemental
motions later filed) questioning the validity of the said last mentioned suspension order. This
PADILLA, J p:
36

Court issued a resolution dated 9 July 1991, requiring respondents to comment on petitioner's
urgent motion. On the other hand, respondent Secretary maintains that petitioner Ganzon can be allowed to
return to his office (as Mayor of Iloilo City) only after 19 October 1991, as it is only after such
After the main decision in the present petitions was rendered by the Court on 5 August 1991, date when petitioner may be said to have fully served the preventive suspension orders as
respondents filed motions dated 9 and 29 August 1991 alleging therein that the issued raised in decreed in the main decision and in the order dated 3 July 1991 (fourth suspension).
petitioner's motion (6 July 1991) were rendered moot and academic by the said decision, and
seeking clarification on whether it was still necessary to comply with this Court's resolutions The question then is when petitioner Ganzon may be allowed to re-assume his position and
requiring respondents to file comment on petitioner's said motion of 6 July 1991. duties as mayor of Iloilo City. Is it only after 19 October 1991 as claimed by respondents, or at
some earlier date? The answer to this question would depend on how petitioner has served the
Meanwhile, on 29 August 1991, respondent Santos issued a memorandum addressed to preventive suspension orders issued against him.
petitioner Ganzon, in connection with the 5 August 1991 main decision, stating therein that the
third order of preventive suspension issued against petitioner on 3 May 1990 shall be deemed in We note that the main decision refers to three (3) orders of preventive suspension each to last
force and effect. The memorandum states: for 60 days. The first, dated 11 August 1988, was admittedly fully served by petitioner. The
second order dated 11 October 1988 was not served because its enforcement was restrained by
"The Supreme Court, in its Decision in the above-referred cases, which affirmed the authority of am order of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City upon petition of petitioner himself. 4 As to the
the Secretary of Local Government to discipline local elective officials, explicitly states that, third order dated 3 May 1990, the main decision states that petitioner is allowed to serve the
duration of said third suspension order. It would seem, therefore, that after petitioner has served
in full the third suspension order as decreed in the main decision, he can then return to his
official duties as Iloilo City Mayor. cdphil
'We are therefore allowing Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon to suffer the duration of his third suspension
and lifting for the purpose, the Temporary Restraining Order earlier issued . . . ' However, we must also take note of the supervening 3 July 1991 order, again suspending
petitioner from office for another 60 days, which order was issued even before the main decision
In view thereof, the third preventive suspension imposed on you, photo copy of which is hereto of 5 August 1991 was promulgated. (The records show, however, that petitioner has in fact fully
attached, is hereby deemed in force." served the fourth suspension order, as admitted by respondents no less. This will be discussed
shortly; but any issue on its validity is now moot and academic. 5 Besides, it is clear that this
On 30 August 1991, petitioner Ganzon filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for mandamus, fourth suspension order is not one of the three orders covered by and subject of the main
docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 25480 against respondents. On the same day, petitioner filed in these decision).
petitions his "manifestation and compliance," alleging that he had already fully served the
suspension orders issued against him, in compliance with the main decision of 5 August 1991, Considering, nonetheless, the necessity of serving the third and fourth orders of suspension,
and that he should be allowed to re-assume his office starting 4 September 1991. there is need to look into when petitioner started to serve these orders so as to determine when
their service expires.
Meanwhile, in reaction to the memorandum dated 29 August 1991 issued by respondent Santos,
petitioner filed in CA-G.R. SP No. 25840 a motion praying for the issuance of a temporary Petitioner contends that the following are the periods within which he stayed out of his office as
restraining order, which motion was granted by the Court of Appeals, when on 3 September he was serving the orders of preventive suspension issued against him.
1991, it (CA) issued the said TRO. On 4 September 1991, respondents filed with this Court a
motion asking for the issuance of a restraining order addressed to the Court of Appeals and FROM Up to and Including
against the TRO issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 25840. Granting respondents' motion, this Court on
5 September 1991 issued a temporary restraining order directing the Court of Appeals to cease May 4, 1990 May 18, 1990 6
and desist from implementing the TRO it had issued dated 3 September 1991 immediately June 9, 1990 June 26, 1990 7
suspending the implementation of the order of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government July 5, 1991 September 3, 1991 8
dated 29 August 1991. On 9 September 1991, petitioner Ganzon filed a motion to dissolve this
Court's restraining order dated 5 September 1991. Petitioner argues that for the periods of 4 May 18 May 1990, and 9 June to 26 June 1990, he
was serving the third suspension order; whereas for the period of 5 July to 3 September 1991,
The records show that petitioner Ganzon, to this date, remains suspended from office (as the he was then serving the fourth suspension order.
elected Mayor of Iloilo City) and since the order of preventive suspension dated 3 July 1991 (the
fourth suspension order 3 ) was issued against him by respondent Secretary; in other words, he On the other hand, respondent Secretary contends that as to the third order of preventive
has been serving the said fourth suspension order which is to expire after a period of 60 days, or suspension, dated 3 May 1990, petitioner served it only from 4 May 1990 to 19 May 1990. 9
on 4 September 1991. Respondent denies that from 11 June to 30 June 1990 10 petitioner had served again the third
suspension order.
Similar to the argument raised in his petition filed with the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
25840, petitioner Ganzon, in support of his plea for the lifting of the TRO dated 3 September As to the fourth suspension order, respondent Secretary confirms that petitioner served it
1991 issued by this Court, in re: TRO dated 3 September 1991, issued by Court of Appeals, starting from 5 July 1991 to 3 September 1991. 11
contends that inasmuch as he has already served fully the suspension orders issued against
him, in compliance with the mandate of this Court's decision dated 5 August 1991, coupled with As regards the third suspension order, it is noted that though both parties admit that petitioner
the fact that he had also completely served by 4 September 1991 the fourth order of preventive started serving it on 4 May 1990, they however differ as to when the service ended (Petitioner
suspension dated 3 July 1991, he should therefore be allowed to re-assume his office starting 4 claims he served it even after 18 May 1990, whereas, respondent claims it ended 19 May 1990.)
September 1991. In view of this divergence, the Court rules that the third order was served by petitioner from 4
37

May 1990 up to 18 May 1990 only, the latter date being the date when the Court of Appeals Furthermore, we may already take judicial notice of the recently-approved Local Government
issued a TRO in CA-G.R. SP No. 20736, 12 and thus, interrupted petitioner's service of the Code of 1991 (recently signed into law by the President) 18 which provides (as to imposition of
suspension orders and enabled him re-assume his office as Iloilo City Mayor. preventive suspensions) as follows:

We also do not accept petitioner's contention that from 9 June 1990 up to 26 June 1990 13 he "SECTION 63. Preventive Suspension. —
again started to serve the third suspension order, inasmuch as during the period of 9 June 1990
to 26 June 1990, the records show that he was then in office discharging the functions of the xxx xxx xxx
Mayor of Iloilo City. 14 In sum, we rule that petitioner served the third suspension order only
from 4 May 1990 up to 18 May 1990. b) . . . that, any single preventive suspension of local elective official shall not extend beyond
sixty (60) days: Provided, further that in the event that several administrative cases are filed
The period from 4 May 1990 to 18 May 1990 is equivalent to fourteen (14) days. 15 Hence, as to against an elective official, he cannot be preventively suspended for more than ninety (90) days
the third suspension order (3 May 1990), petitioner having served fourteen (14) days of the 60- within a single year on the same ground or grounds existing and known at the time of the first
day preventive suspension imposed in the order, 46 days still remained to be served by him as suspension." (emphasis ours)
decreed in the main decision. If we follow the mandate of such main decision which ordained
that the third order be served and that the temporary restraining order 16 against it be lifted, it Since we can allow, as we here allow, under the bizarre circumstances of this case, petitioner to
would follow that the remaining 46 days should be served starting 5 August 1991 (date of serve the third and fourth orders simultaneously (insofar as they overlap), this means that, as
promulgation of main decision) until fully served. Another way to serve the 46 days would be to explained earlier, petitioner shall serve only 17 days more (not 46 days) to complete the service
begin serving it only on 4 September 1991 (the day after 3 September 1991 which was the last of the third order, that is, starting from 3 September 1991 and ending on 20 September 1991.
day of service for the fourth suspension order), or until 20 October 1991 (the 46th day from 4 Hence, as of this latter date, petitioner has complied with the mandate of the main decision for
September 1990). prLL he has already fully served the third preventive suspension which ended on 20 September 1991.

However we take note of the fact that petitioner has already fully served the 60-day fourth order But then another issue is raised by respondents, i.e. that considering that the main decision
of preventive suspension which started 5 July 1991 (that is, even before the main decision was refers to the first, second and third orders of preventive suspension (as far as Mayor Ganzon is
rendered) and ended on 3 September 1991. Petitioner raises the issue of whether he could or concerned), petitioner, apart from serving the third order (the first one having been fully served),
should be allowed to serve the third and the fourth orders "simultaneously". If we allow his should also serve the second order (for another 60 days) as the latter has admittedly not been
submission and accept "simultaneous service", it would mean the following: that from 5 August serve yet due to a restraining order issued by a trial court, 19 and considering that the
1991 (the date the TRO issued by this Court was lifted) up to 3 September 1991 (the last day for dispositive portion of the main decision decreed that "suspensions of petitioners (including the
serving the fourth order), twenty-nine (29) days have elapsed; that these twenty-nine (29) days other petitioner Artieda in G.R. No. 93746) are affirmed."
which form part of his service for the fourth order can be also credited to his favor by treating
said twenty-nine (29) days as forming part of his service of the third order; if this were so, he We agree with the respondents on this point.
would need to serve only seventeen (17) days more to complete the service of the third order;
said seventeen (17) days from 3 September 1991 will expire on 20 September 1991, which The main decision refers to the three (3) suspension orders — the first, the second and the third.
would be the last day for serving the third suspension order. As shown earlier, the first and the third orders have already been served. It is only the second
order which seems to have been unserved. If we follow the decision which states that the three
Respondents however object to adopting the idea of "simultaneous service," of preventive (3) suspensions are affirmed, there appears to be no reason why the second order should not be
suspensions as, according of them, this is not allowed under the Local Government Code. served for another 60-day period. However, there is no cogent reason why, under the bizarre
circumstances of this case — where the respondent Secretary has chosen to impose preventive
We agree with petitioner that he can be allowed the benefit of simultaneous service of the third suspensions piecemeal, instead of consolidating the several administrative cases of similar
and fourth suspension orders, for the following reasons. nature and close vintage — we cannot allow the concept of simultaneous service to apply to the
second order (as we did in the third order). It would follow then that the second order is also fully
If simultaneous service of two (2) suspension orders is allowed, this would work in favor of the served to this date for the service of said second order would have started on 5 August 1991
petitioner (an elective local official) as the balance of his third preventive suspension would, in (when the main decision was rendered as this was the time when this Court found and affirmed
effect, be reduced from 46 days to 17 days. the validity of the three (3) suspension orders, including the second order). The 60-day period
from 5 August 1991 expired on 4 October 1991. LLphil
It will be recalled that, in the main decision, noting that successive suspensions have been
inflicted on Mayor Ganzon, we stated that what "is intriguing is that respondent Secretary has It appears that as to the second preventive suspension, petitioner manifested that there is still an
been cracking down, so to speak, on the Mayor piecemeal — apparently, to pin him down ten existing preliminary injunction issued by the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 33 in Special Civil Action
times the pain, when he, the respondent Secretary could have pursued a consolidated effort." 17 No. 18312, entitled Ganzon vs. Santos, et al. 20
Surely, allowing petitioner to serve simultaneously the overlapping third and fourth suspensions
will favor him, (and presumably the local constituency) and certainly lessen if not offset the harsh One may ask as to the status of the case pending with the RTC, Iloilo City, Branch 33 insofar as
effects of whatever motive may be behind the intriguing action of the respondent Secretary in the said case involves the issue on the validity of the second preventive suspension order.
issuing those successive suspension orders. Under the main decision of this Court, dated 5 August 1991, the second preventive suspension
has been affirmed; under the present resolution, said second preventive suspension has been
served. Consequently, Special Civil Action No. 18312 before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo
City has been rendered moot and academic, insofar as the second preventive suspension order
is concerned.
38

As to the petition (docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 25840) filed with the Court of Appeals, which EN BANC
involves the question of the validity of the fourth order, and which has clearly been served,
petitioner admitted that he filed it, on the belief that it was the proper remedy for his [G.R. No. 152774. May 27, 2004.]
reinstatement to office; thinking that his suspensions have been served and ended. 21 As we
have ruled that petitioner has served the suspension orders decreed in the main decision and in THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, represented by its Governor, HERMILANDO I. MANDANAS,
the light of the finding of this Court that the fourth preventive suspension order has been served, petitioner, vs. HON. ALBERTO G. ROMULO, Executive Secretary and Chairman of the
the issues raised in CA-G.R. SP No. 25840; have also become moot and academic, warranting Oversight Committee on Devolution; HON. EMILIA BONCODIN, Secretary, Department of
dismissal thereof. Budget and Management; HON. JOSE D. LINA, JR., Secretary, Department of the Interior and
Local Government, respondents.
WHEREFORE, the urgent motion of petitioner, dated 7 September 1991 is hereby GRANTED.
The temporary restraining order dated 5 September 1991 is hereby LIFTED. Respondents are DECISION
ordered to allow petitioner to re-assume his office as elected Mayor of Iloilo City effective
immediately. CALLEJO, SR., J p:

The Court of Appeal is directed to dismiss CA-G.R. SP No. 25840 for having become moot and The Province of Batangas, represented by its Governor, Hermilando I. Mandanas, filed the
academic. The Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 33 before which petitioner's action for present petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as
prohibition (Special Civil Action No. 18312) is pending is also ordered to dismiss the said case amended, to declare as unconstitutional and void certain provisos contained in the General
for having become moot and academic insofar as petitioner prays therein to enjoin his (second) Appropriations Acts (GAA) of 1999, 2000 and 2001, insofar as they uniformly earmarked for
preventive suspension. each corresponding year the amount of five billion pesos (P5,000,000,000.00) of the Internal
Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the Local Government Service Equalization Fund (LGSEF) and
This resolution is without prejudice to the administrative cases (where the first, second, third and imposed conditions for the release thereof.
fourth preventive suspension orders were issued) proceeding on the merits thereof Also, as
decreed in the main decision of 5 August 1991. Named as respondents are Executive Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, in his capacity as Chairman
of the Oversight Committee on Devolution, Secretary Emilia Boncodin of the Department of
" . . . petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, may not be made to serve future suspensions on Budget and Management (DBM) and Secretary Jose Lina of the Department of the Interior and
account of any of the remaining administrative charges pending against him for acts committed Local Government (DILG).
prior to August 11, 1988. . . . ."
Background
SO ORDERED.
On December 7, 1998, then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada issued Executive Order (E.O.)
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, No. 48 entitled "ESTABLISHING A PROGRAM FOR DEVOLUTION ADJUSTMENT AND
Regalado, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur. EQUALIZATION." The program was established to "facilitate the process of enhancing the
capacities of local government units (LGUs) in the discharge of the functions and services
Melencio-Herrera, J., is on leave. devolved to them by the National Government Agencies concerned pursuant to the Local
Government Code." 1 The Oversight Committee (referred to as the Devolution Committee in
||| (Ganzon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 93252, 93746, L-95245 (Resolution), [November 8, E.O. No. 48) constituted under Section 533(b) of Republic Act No. 7160 (The Local Government
1991], 280 PHIL 431-444) Code of 1991) has been tasked to formulate and issue the appropriate rules and regulations
necessary for its effective implementation. 2 Further, to address the funding shortfalls of
functions and services devolved to the LGUs and other funding requirements of the program, the
"Devolution Adjustment and Equalization Fund" was created. 3 For 1998, the DBM was directed
to set aside an amount to be determined by the Oversight Committee based on the devolution
status appraisal surveys undertaken by the DILG. 4 The initial fund was to be sourced from the
available savings of the national government for CY 1998. 5 For 1999 and the succeeding years,
the corresponding amount required to sustain the program was to be incorporated in the annual
GAA. 6 The Oversight Committee has been authorized to issue the implementing rules and
regulations governing the equitable allocation and distribution of said fund to the LGUs. 7

The LGSEF in the GAA of 1999

In Republic Act No. 8745, otherwise known as the GAA of 1999, the program was renamed as
the LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE EQUALIZATION FUND (LGSEF). Under said
appropriations law, the amount of P96,780,000,000 was allotted as the share of the LGUs in the
internal revenue taxes. Item No. 1, Special Provisions, Title XXXVI — A. Internal Revenue
Allotment of Rep. Act No. 8745 contained the following proviso:

. . . PROVIDED, That the amount of FIVE BILLION PESOS (P5,000,000,000) shall be


earmarked for the Local Government Service Equalization Fund for the funding requirements of
39

projects and activities arising from the full and efficient implementation of devolved functions and Municipalities : 40%
services of local government units pursuant to R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local This is applied to the P2 Billion after the approved amounts granted to individual provinces, cities
Government Code of 1991: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That such amount shall be released to the and municipalities as assistance to cover decrease in 1999 IRA share due to reduction in land
local government units subject to the implementing rules and regulations, including such area have been taken out.
mechanisms and guidelines for the equitable allocations and distribution of said fund among
local government units subject to the guidelines that may be prescribed by the Oversight 2. The remaining PhP1 Billion of the LGSEF shall be earmarked to support local affirmative
Committee on Devolution as constituted pursuant to Book IV, Title III, Section 533(b) of R.A. No. action projects and other priority initiatives submitted by LGUs to the Oversight Committee on
7160. The Internal Revenue Allotment shall be released directly by the Department of Budget Devolution for approval in accordance with its prescribed guidelines as promulgated and
and Management to the Local Government Units concerned. adopted by the OCD.

On July 28, 1999, the Oversight Committee (with then Executive Secretary Ronaldo B. Zamora In Resolution No. OCD-99-003, the Oversight Committee set aside the one billion pesos or 20%
as Chairman) passed Resolution Nos. OCD-99-003, OCD-99-005 and OCD-99-006 entitled as of the LGSEF to support Local Affirmative Action Projects (LAAPs) of LGUs. This remaining
follows: amount was intended to "respond to the urgent need for additional funds assistance, otherwise
not available within the parameters of other existing fund sources." For LGUs to be eligible for
OCD-99-005 funding under the one-billion-peso portion of the LGSEF, the OCD promulgated the following:

RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE ALLOCATION SCHEME FOR THE PhP5 BILLION CY 1999 III. CRITERIA FOR ELIGIBILITY:
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE EQUALIZATION FUND (LGSEF) AND REQUESTING HIS
EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA TO APPROVE SAID 1. LGUs (province, city, municipality, or barangay), individually or by group or multi-LGUs or
ALLOCATION SCHEME. leagues of LGUs, especially those belonging to the 5th and 6th class, may access the fund to
support any projects or activities that satisfy any of the aforecited purposes. A barangay may
OCD-99-006 also access this fund directly or through their respective municipality or city.

RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE ALLOCATION SCHEME FOR THE PhP4.0 BILLION OF THE 2. The proposed project/activity should be need-based, a local priority, with high development
1999 LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE EQUALIZATION FUND AND ITS CONCOMITANT impact and are congruent with the socio-cultural, economic and development agenda of the
GENERAL FRAMEWORK, IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES AND MECHANICS FOR ITS Estrada Administration, such as food security, poverty alleviation, electrification, and peace and
IMPLEMENTATION AND RELEASE, AS PROMULGATED BY THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE order, among others.
ON DEVOLUTION.
3. Eligible for funding under this fund are projects arising from, but not limited to, the following
OCD-99-003 areas of concern:

RESOLUTION REQUESTING HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA a. delivery of local health and sanitation services, hospital services and other tertiary services;
TO APPROVE THE REQUEST OF THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON DEVOLUTION TO SET
ASIDE TWENTY PERCENT (20%) OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE EQUALIZATION b. delivery of social welfare services;
FUND (LGSEF) FOR LOCAL AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROJECTS AND OTHER PRIORITY
INITIATIVES FOR LGUs INSTITUTIONAL AND CAPABILITY BUILDING IN ACCORDANCE c. provision of socio-cultural services and facilities for youth and community development;
WITH THE IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES AND MECHANICS AS PROMULGATED BY THE
COMMITTEE. d. provision of agricultural and on-site related research;

These OCD resolutions were approved by then President Estrada on October 6, 1999. e. improvement of community-based forestry projects and other local projects on environment
and natural resources protection and conservation;
Under the allocation scheme adopted pursuant to Resolution No. OCD-99-005, the five billion
pesos LGSEF was to be allocated as follows: EDcICT f. improvement of tourism facilities and promotion of tourism;

1. The PhP4 Billion of the LGSEF shall be allocated in accordance with the allocation scheme g. peace and order and public safety;
and implementing guidelines and mechanics promulgated and adopted by the OCD. To wit:
h. construction, repair and maintenance of public works and infrastructure, including public
a. The first PhP2 Billion of the LGSEF shall be allocated in accordance with the codal formula buildings and facilities for public use, especially those destroyed or damaged by man-made or
sharing scheme as prescribed under the 1991 Local Government Code; natural calamities and disaster as well as facilities for water supply, flood control and river dikes;

b. The second PhP2 Billion of the LGSEF shall be allocated in accordance with a modified 1992 i. provision of local electrification facilities;
cost of devolution fund (CODEF) sharing scheme, as recommended by the respective leagues
of provinces, cities and municipalities to the OCD. The modified CODEF sharing formula is as j. livelihood and food production services, facilities and equipment;
follows:
k. other projects that may be authorized by the OCD consistent with the aforementioned
Province : 40% objectives and guidelines;
Cities : 20%
40

4. Except on extremely meritorious cases, as may be determined by the Oversight Committee Under Rep. Act No. 8760, otherwise known as the GAA of 2000, the amount of
on Devolution, this portion of the LGSEF shall not be used in expenditures for personal costs or P111,778,000,000 was allotted as the share of the LGUs in the internal revenue taxes. As in the
benefits under existing laws applicable to governments. Generally, this fund shall cover the GAA of 1999, the GAA of 2000 contained a proviso earmarking five billion pesos of the IRA for
following objects of expenditures for programs, projects and activities arising from the the LGSEF. This proviso, found in Item No. 1, Special Provisions, Title XXXVII — A. Internal
implementation of devolved and regular functions and services: Revenue Allotment, was similarly worded as that contained in the GAA of 1999. CaSAcH

a. acquisition/procurement of supplies and materials critical to the full and effective The Oversight Committee, in its Resolution No. OCD-2000-023 dated June 22, 2000, adopted
implementation of devolved programs, projects and activities; the following allocation scheme governing the five billion pesos LGSEF for 2000:

b. repair and/or improvement of facilities; 1. The PhP3.5 Billion of the CY 2000 LGSEF shall be allocated to and shared by the four levels
of LGUs, i.e., provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays, using the following percentage-
c. repair and/or upgrading of equipment; sharing formula agreed upon and jointly endorsed by the various Leagues of LGUs:

d. acquisition of basic equipment; For Provinces 26% or


P910,000,000
e. construction of additional or new facilities; For Cities 23% or
805,000,000
f. counterpart contribution to joint arrangements or collective projects among groups of For Municipalities 35% or
municipalities, cities and/or provinces related to devolution and delivery of basic services. 1,225,000,000
For Barangays 16% or
5. To be eligible for funding, an LGU or group of LGU shall submit to the Oversight Committee 560,000,000
on Devolution through the Department of the Interior and Local Governments, within the Provided that the respective Leagues representing the provinces, cities, municipalities and
prescribed schedule and timeframe, a Letter Request for Funding Support from the Affirmative barangays shall draw up and adopt the horizontal distribution/sharing schemes among the
Action Program under the LGSEF, duly signed by the concerned LGU(s) and endorsed by member LGUs whereby the Leagues concerned may opt to adopt direct financial assistance or
cooperators and/or beneficiaries, as well as the duly signed Resolution of Endorsement by the project-based arrangement, such that the LGSEF allocation for individual LGU shall be released
respective Sanggunian(s) of the LGUs concerned. The LGU-proponent shall also be required to directly to the LGU concerned;
submit the Project Request (PR), using OCD Project Request Form No. 99-02, that details the
following: Provided further that the individual LGSEF shares to LGUs are used in accordance with the
general purposes and guidelines promulgated by the OCD for the implementation of the LGSEF
(a) general description or brief of the project; at the local levels pursuant to Res. No. OCD-99-006 dated October 7, 1999 and pursuant to the
Leagues' guidelines and mechanism as approved by the OCD;
(b) objectives and justifications for undertaking the project, which should highlight the benefits to
the locality and the expected impact to the local program/project arising from the full and efficient Provided further that each of the Leagues shall submit to the OCD for its approval their
implementation of social services and facilities, at the local levels; respective allocation scheme, the list of LGUs with the corresponding LGSEF shares and the
corresponding project categories if project-based;
(c) target outputs or key result areas;
Provided further that upon approval by the OCD, the lists of LGUs shall be endorsed to the DBM
(d) schedule of activities and details of requirements; as the basis for the preparation of the corresponding NCAs, SAROs, and related budget/release
documents.
(e) total cost requirement of the project;
2. The remaining P1,500,000,000 of the CY 2000 LGSEF shall be earmarked to support the
(f) proponent's counterpart funding share, if any, and identified source(s) of counterpart funds for following initiatives and local affirmative action projects, to be endorsed to and approved by the
the full implementation of the project; Oversight Committee on Devolution in accordance with the OCD agreements, guidelines,
procedures and documentary requirements:
(g) requested amount of project cost to be covered by the LGSEF.
On July 5, 2000, then President Estrada issued a Memorandum authorizing then Executive
Further, under the guidelines formulated by the Oversight Committee as contained in Secretary Zamora and the DBM to implement and release the 2.5 billion pesos LGSEF for 2000
Attachment — Resolution No. OCD-99-003, the LGUs were required to identify the projects in accordance with Resolution No. OCD-2000-023.
eligible for funding under the one-billion-peso portion of the LGSEF and submit the project
proposals thereof and other documentary requirements to the DILG for appraisal. The project Thereafter, the Oversight Committee, now under the administration of President Gloria
proposals that passed the DILG's appraisal would then be submitted to the Oversight Committee Macapagal-Arroyo, promulgated Resolution No. OCD-2001-29 entitled "ADOPTING
for review, evaluation and approval. Upon its approval, the Oversight Committee would then RESOLUTION NO. OCD-2000-023 IN THE ALLOCATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND RELEASE
serve notice to the DBM for the preparation of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and OF THE REMAINING P2.5 BILLION LGSEF FOR CY 2000." Under this resolution, the amount
Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) to effect the release of funds to the said LGUs. of one billion pesos of the LGSEF was to be released in accordance with paragraph 1 of
Resolution No. OCD-2000-23, to complete the 3.5 billion pesos allocated to the LGUs, while the
The LGSEF in the GAA of 2000 amount of 1.5 billion pesos was allocated for the LAAP. However, out of the latter amount,
P400,000,000 was to be allocated and released as follows: P50,000,000 as financial assistance
41

to the LAAPs of LGUs; P275,360,227 as financial assistance to cover the decrease in the IRA of On January 25, 2002, Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo approved Resolution No. OCD-2002-001.
LGUs concerned due to reduction in land area; and P74,639,773 for the LGSEF Capability-
Building Fund. The Petitioner's Case

The LGSEF in the GAA of 2001 The petitioner now comes to this Court assailing as unconstitutional and void the provisos in the
GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001, relating to the LGSEF. Similarly assailed are the Oversight
In view of the failure of Congress to enact the general appropriations law for 2001, the GAA of Committee's Resolutions Nos. OCD-99-003, OCD-99-005, OCD-99-006, OCD-2000-023, OCD-
2000 was deemed re-enacted, together with the IRA of the LGUs therein and the proviso 2001-029 and OCD-2002-001 issued pursuant thereto. The petitioner submits that the assailed
earmarking five billion pesos thereof for the LGSEF. provisos in the GAAs and the OCD resolutions, insofar as they earmarked the amount of five
billion pesos of the IRA of the LGUs for 1999, 2000 and 2001 for the LGSEF and imposed
On January 9, 2002, the Oversight Committee adopted Resolution No. OCD-2002-001 allocating conditions for the release thereof, violate the Constitution and the Local Government Code of
the five billion pesos LGSEF for 2001 as follows: 1991.

Modified Codal Formula Section 6, Article X of the Constitution is invoked as it mandates that the "just share" of the
P3.000 billion LGUs shall be automatically released to them. Sections 18 and 286 of the Local Government
Priority Projects Code of 1991, which enjoin that the "just share" of the LGUs shall be "automatically and directly"
1.900 billion released to them "without need of further action" are, likewise, cited.
Capability Building Fund
.100 billion The petitioner posits that to subject the distribution and release of the five-billion-peso portion of
the IRA, classified as the LGSEF, to compliance by the LGUs with the implementing rules and
—————— regulations, including the mechanisms and guidelines prescribed by the Oversight Committee,
contravenes the explicit directive of the Constitution that the LGUs' share in the national taxes
P5.000 billion "shall be automatically released to them." The petitioner maintains that the use of the word
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the P3.0 B of the CY 2001 LGSEF which is to be allocated "shall" must be given a compulsory meaning.
according to the modified codal formula shall be released to the four levels of LGUs, i.e.,
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, as follows: To further buttress this argument, the petitioner contends that to vest the Oversight Committee
with the authority to determine the distribution and release of the LGSEF, which is a part of the
LGUs Percentage Amount IRA of the LGUs, is an anathema to the principle of local autonomy as embodied in the
Provinces 25 Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991.The petitioner cites as an example the
P0.750 billion experience in 2001 when the release of the LGSEF was long delayed because the Oversight
Cities 25 Committee was not able to convene that year and no guidelines were issued therefor. Further,
0.750 the possible disapproval by the Oversight Committee of the project proposals of the LGUs would
Municipalities 35 result in the diminution of the latter's share in the IRA. HCETDS
1.050
Barangays 15 Another infringement alleged to be occasioned by the assailed OCD resolutions is the improper
0.450 amendment to Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991 on the percentage sharing of
—– the IRA among the LGUs. Said provision allocates the IRA as follows: Provinces — 23%; Cities
——– — 23%; Municipalities — 34%; and Barangays — 20%. 8 This formula has been improperly
100 amended or modified, with respect to the five-billion-peso portion of the IRA allotted for the
P3.000 billion LGSEF, by the assailed OCD resolutions as they invariably provided for a different sharing
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the P1.9 B earmarked for priority projects shall be distributed scheme.
according to the following criteria:
The modifications allegedly constitute an illegal amendment by the executive branch of a
1.0 For projects of the 4th, 5th and 6th class LGUs; or substantive law. Moreover, the petitioner mentions that in the Letter dated December 5, 2001 of
respondent Executive Secretary Romulo addressed to respondent Secretary Boncodin, the
2.0 Projects in consonance with the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA)/summit former endorsed to the latter the release of funds to certain LGUs from the LGSEF in
commitments. accordance with the handwritten instructions of President Arroyo. Thus, the LGUs are at a loss
as to how a portion of the LGSEF is actually allocated. Further, there are still portions of the
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the remaining P100 million LGSEF capability building fund shall be LGSEF that, to date, have not been received by the petitioner; hence, resulting in damage and
distributed in accordance with the recommendation of the Leagues of Provinces, Cities, injury to the petitioner.
Municipalities and Barangays, and approved by the OCD.
The petitioner prays that the Court declare as unconstitutional and void the assailed provisos
Upon receipt of a copy of the above resolution, Gov. Mandanas wrote to the individual members relating to the LGSEF in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001 and the assailed OCD resolutions
of the Oversight Committee seeking the reconsideration of Resolution No. OCD-2002-001. He (Resolutions Nos. OCD-99-003, OCD-99-005, OCD-99-006, OCD-2000-023, OCD-2001-029
also wrote to Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo urging her to disapprove said resolution as it violates the and OCD-2002-001) issued by the Oversight Committee pursuant thereto. The petitioner,
Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991. likewise, prays that the Court direct the respondents to rectify the unlawful and illegal distribution
and releases of the LGSEF for the aforementioned years and release the same in accordance
42

with the sharing formula under Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991. Finally, the
petitioner urges the Court to declare that the entire IRA should be released automatically without Before resolving the petition on its merits, the Court shall first rule on the following procedural
further action by the LGUs as required by the Constitution and the Local Government Code of issues raised by the respondents: (1) whether the petitioner has legal standing or locus standi to
1991. file the present suit; (2) whether the petition involves factual questions that are properly
cognizable by the lower courts; and (3) whether the issue had been rendered moot and
The Respondents' Arguments academic.

The respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, urge the Court to dismiss the The petitioner has locus standi
petition on procedural and substantive grounds. On the latter, the respondents contend that the to maintain the present suit
assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001 and the assailed resolutions issued by
the Oversight Committee are not constitutionally infirm. The respondents advance the view that The gist of the question of standing is whether a party has "alleged such a personal stake in the
Section 6, Article X of the Constitution does not specify that the "just share" of the LGUs shall be outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the
determined solely by the Local Government Code of 1991. Moreover, the phrase "as determined presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
by law" in the same constitutional provision means that there exists no limitation on the power of constitutional questions." 9 Accordingly, it has been held that the interest of a party assailing the
Congress to determine what is the "just share" of the LGUs in the national taxes. In other words, constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. Such party must be able to show, not
Congress is the arbiter of what should be the "just share" of the LGUs in the national taxes. only that the law or any government act is invalid, but also that he has sustained or is in
imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely
The respondents further theorize that Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has
provides for the percentage sharing of the IRA among the LGUs, was not intended to be a fixed been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is
determination of their "just share" in the national taxes. Congress may enact other laws, about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained
including appropriations laws such as the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001, providing for a different of. 10
sharing formula. Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991 was merely intended to be
the "default share" of the LGUs to do away with the need to determine annually by law their "just The Court holds that the petitioner possesses the requisite standing to maintain the present suit.
share." However, the LGUs have no vested right in a permanent or fixed percentage as The petitioner, a local government unit, seeks relief in order to protect or vindicate an interest of
Congress may increase or decrease the "just share" of the LGUs in accordance with what it its own, and of the other LGUs. This interest pertains to the LGUs' share in the national taxes or
believes is appropriate for their operation. There is nothing in the Constitution which prohibits the IRA. The petitioner's constitutional claim is, in substance, that the assailed provisos in the
Congress from making such determination through the appropriations laws. If the provisions of a GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the OCD resolutions contravene Section 6, Article X of the
particular statute, the GAA in this case, are within the constitutional power of the legislature to Constitution, mandating the "automatic release" to the LGUs of their share in the national taxes.
enact, they should be sustained whether the courts agree or not in the wisdom of their Further, the injury that the petitioner claims to suffer is the diminution of its share in the IRA, as
enactment. provided under Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991, occasioned by the
implementation of the assailed measures. These allegations are sufficient to grant the petitioner
On procedural grounds, the respondents urge the Court to dismiss the petition outright as the standing to question the validity of the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001,
same is defective. The petition allegedly raises factual issues which should be properly threshed and the OCD resolutions as the petitioner clearly has "a plain, direct and adequate interest" in
out in the lower courts, not this Court, not being a trier of facts. Specifically, the petitioner's the manner and distribution of the IRA among the LGUs.
allegation that there are portions of the LGSEF that it has not, to date, received, thereby causing
it (the petitioner) injury and damage, is subject to proof and must be substantiated in the proper The petition involves a significant
venue, i.e., the lower courts. legal issue

Further, according to the respondents, the petition has already been rendered moot and The crux of the instant controversy is whether the assailed provisos contained in the GAAs of
academic as it no longer presents a justiciable controversy. The IRAs for the years 1999, 2000 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the OCD resolutions infringe the Constitution and the Local
and 2001, have already been released and the government is now operating under the 2003 Government Code of 1991. This is undoubtedly a legal question. On the other hand, the
budget. In support of this, the respondents submitted certifications issued by officers of the DBM following facts are not disputed:
attesting to the release of the allocation or shares of the petitioner in the LGSEF for 1999, 2000
and 2001. There is, therefore, nothing more to prohibit. 1. The earmarking of five billion pesos of the IRA for the LGSEF in the assailed provisos in the
GAAs of 1999, 2000 and re-enacted budget for 2001;
Finally, the petitioner allegedly has no legal standing to bring the suit because it has not suffered
any injury. In fact, the petitioner's "just share" has even increased. Pursuant to Section 285 of 2. The promulgation of the assailed OCD resolutions providing for the allocation schemes
the Local Government Code of 1991, the share of the provinces is 23%. OCD Nos. 99-005, 99- covering the said five billion pesos and the implementing rules and regulations therefor; and
006 and 99-003 gave the provinces 40% of P2 billion of the LGSEF. OCD Nos. 2000-023 and
2001-029 apportioned 26% of P3.5 billion to the provinces. On the other hand, OCD No. 2001- 3. The release of the LGSEF to the LGUs only upon their compliance with the implementing
001 allocated 25% of P3 billion to the provinces. Thus, the petitioner has not suffered any injury rules and regulations, including the guidelines and mechanisms, prescribed by the Oversight
in the implementation of the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001 and the Committee.
OCD resolutions.
Considering that these facts, which are necessary to resolve the legal question now before this
The Ruling of the Court Court, are no longer in issue, the same need not be determined by a trial court. 11 In any case,
the rule on hierarchy of courts will not prevent this Court from assuming jurisdiction over the
Procedural Issues petition. The said rule may be relaxed when the redress desired cannot be obtained in the
43

appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a


remedy within and calling for the exercise of this Court's primary jurisdiction. 12 Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. — (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial
and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to
The crucial legal issue submitted for resolution of this Court entails the proper legal interpretation enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more
of constitutional and statutory provisions. Moreover, the "transcendental importance" of the case, effective partners in the attainment of national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for
as it necessarily involves the application of the constitutional principle on local autonomy, cannot a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of
be gainsaid. The nature of the present controversy, therefore, warrants the relaxation by this decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers, authority,
Court of procedural rules in order to resolve the case forthwith. responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall proceed from the National
Government to the local government units.
The substantive issue needs to be resolved
notwithstanding the supervening events Guided by these precepts, the Court shall now determine whether the assailed provisos in the
GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001, earmarking for each corresponding year the amount of five
Granting arguendo that, as contended by the respondents, the resolution of the case had billion pesos of the IRA for the LGSEF and the OCD resolutions promulgated pursuant thereto,
already been overtaken by supervening events as the IRA, including the LGSEF, for 1999, 2000 transgress the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991.
and 2001, had already been released and the government is now operating under a new
appropriations law, still, there is compelling reason for this Court to resolve the substantive issue The assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000
raised by the instant petition. Supervening events, whether intended or accidental, cannot and 2001 and the OCD resolutions violate the
prevent the Court from rendering a decision if there is a grave violation of the Constitution. 13 constitutional precept on local autonomy
Even in cases where supervening events had made the cases moot, the Court did not hesitate
to resolve the legal or constitutional issues raised to formulate controlling principles to guide the Section 6, Article X of the Constitution reads:
bench, bar and public. 14
Sec. 6. Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national
Another reason justifying the resolution by this Court of the substantive issue now before it is the taxes which shall be automatically released to them.
rule that courts will decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is "capable of repetition,
yet evading review." 15 For the GAAs in the coming years may contain provisos similar to those When parsed, it would be readily seen that this provision mandates that (1) the LGUs shall have
now being sought to be invalidated, and yet, the question may not be decided before another a "just share" in the national taxes; (2) the "just share" shall be determined by law; and (3) the
GAA is enacted. It, thus, behooves this Court to make a categorical ruling on the substantive "just share" shall be automatically released to the LGUs.
issue now.
The Local Government Code of 1991, among its salient provisions, underscores the automatic
Substantive Issue release of the LGUs' "just share" in this wise:

As earlier intimated, the resolution of the substantive legal issue in this case calls for the Sec. 18. Power to Generate and Apply Resources. — Local government units shall have the
application of a most important constitutional policy and principle, that of local autonomy. 16 In power and authority to establish an organization that shall be responsible for the efficient and
Article II of the Constitution, the State has expressly adopted as a policy that: effective implementation of their development plans, program objectives and priorities; to create
their own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and charges which shall accrue exclusively
Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments. aTIEcA for their use and disposition and which shall be retained by them; to have a just share in national
taxes which shall be automatically and directly released to them without need of further action;
An entire article (Article X) of the Constitution has been devoted to guaranteeing and promoting
the autonomy of LGUs. Section 2 thereof reiterates the State policy in this wise: xxx xxx xxx

Section 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.
Sec. 286. Automatic Release of Shares. — (a) The share of each local government unit shall be
Consistent with the principle of local autonomy, the Constitution confines the President's power released, without need of any further action, directly to the provincial, city, municipal or barangay
over the LGUs to one of general supervision. 17 This provision has been interpreted to exclude treasurer, as the case may be, on a quarterly basis within five (5) days after the end of each
the power of control. The distinction between the two powers was enunciated in Drilon v. Lim: 18 quarter, and which shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the
national government for whatever purpose.
An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, he may, in
his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it (b) Nothing in this Chapter shall be understood to diminish the share of local government units
himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. The supervisor or superintendent merely under existing laws.
sees to it that the rules are followed, but he himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he
have the discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines "automatic" as "involuntary either wholly or
work done or re-done but only to conform to the prescribed rules. He may not prescribe his own to a major extent so that any activity of the will is largely negligible; of a reflex nature; without
manner for doing the act. He has no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the rules are volition; mechanical; like or suggestive of an automaton." Further, the word "automatically" is
followed. 19 defined as "in an automatic manner: without thought or conscious intention." Being "automatic,"
thus, connotes something mechanical, spontaneous and perfunctory. As such, the LGUs are not
The Local Government Code of 1991 20 was enacted to flesh out the mandate of the required to perform any act to receive the "just share" accruing to them from the national coffers.
Constitution. 21 The State policy on local autonomy is amplified in Section 2 thereof: As emphasized by the Local Government Code of 1991, the "just share" of the LGUs shall be
44

released to them "without need of further action." Construing Section 286 of the LGC, we held in P100 million — capability building fund. 26
Pimentel, Jr. v. Aguirre, 22 viz:
Significantly, the LGSEF could not be released to the LGUs without the Oversight Committee's
Section 4 of AO 372 cannot, however, be upheld. A basic feature of local fiscal autonomy is the prior approval. Further, with respect to the portion of the LGSEF allocated for various projects of
automatic release of the shares of LGUs in the National internal revenue. This is mandated by the LGUs (P1 billion for 1999; P1.5 billion for 2000 and P2 billion for 2001), the Oversight
no less than the Constitution. The Local Government Code specifies further that the release Committee, through the assailed OCD resolutions, laid down guidelines and mechanisms that
shall be made directly to the LGU concerned within five (5) days after every quarter of the year the LGUs had to comply with before they could avail of funds from this portion of the LGSEF.
and "shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national The guidelines required (a) the LGUs to identify the projects eligible for funding based on the
government for whatever purpose." As a rule, the term "SHALL" is a word of command that must criteria laid down by the Oversight Committee; (b) the LGUs to submit their project proposals to
be given a compulsory meaning. The provision is, therefore, IMPERATIVE. the DILG for appraisal; (c) the project proposals that passed the appraisal of the DILG to be
submitted to the Oversight Committee for review, evaluation and approval. It was only upon
Section 4 of AO 372, however, orders the withholding, effective January 1, 1998, of 10 percent approval thereof that the Oversight Committee would direct the DBM to release the funds for the
of the LGUs' IRA "pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development Budget projects. TEDaAc
Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation" in the country. Such withholding clearly
contravenes the Constitution and the law. Although temporary, it is equivalent to a holdback,
which means "something held back or withheld, often temporarily." Hence, the "temporary"
nature of the retention by the national government does not matter. Any retention is prohibited. To the Court's mind, the entire process involving the distribution and release of the LGSEF is
constitutionally impermissible. The LGSEF is part of the IRA or "just share" of the LGUs in the
In sum, while Section 1 of AO 372 may be upheld as an advisory effected in times of national national taxes. To subject its distribution and release to the vagaries of the implementing rules
crisis, Section 4 thereof has no color of validity at all. The latter provision effectively encroaches and regulations, including the guidelines and mechanisms unilaterally prescribed by the
on the fiscal autonomy of local governments. Concededly, the President was well-intentioned in Oversight Committee from time to time, as sanctioned by the assailed provisos in the GAAs of
issuing his Order to withhold the LGUs' IRA, but the rule of law requires that even the best 1999, 2000 and 2001 and the OCD resolutions, makes the release not automatic, a flagrant
intentions must be carried out within the parameters of the Constitution and the law. Verily, violation of the constitutional and statutory mandate that the "just share" of the LGUs "shall be
laudable purposes must be carried out by legal methods. 23 automatically released to them." The LGUs are, thus, placed at the mercy of the Oversight
Committee.
The "just share" of the LGUs is incorporated as the IRA in the appropriations law or GAA
enacted by Congress annually. Under the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and Where the law, the Constitution in this case, is clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean
2001, a portion of the IRA in the amount of five billion pesos was earmarked for the LGSEF, and exactly what it says, and courts have no choice but to see to it that the mandate is obeyed. 27
these provisos imposed the condition that "such amount shall be released to the local Moreover, as correctly posited by the petitioner, the use of the word "shall" connotes a
government units subject to the implementing rules and regulations, including such mechanisms mandatory order. Its use in a statute denotes an imperative obligation and is inconsistent with
and guidelines for the equitable allocations and distribution of said fund among local government the idea of discretion. 28
units subject to the guidelines that may be prescribed by the Oversight Committee on
Devolution." Pursuant thereto, the Oversight Committee, through the assailed OCD resolutions, Indeed, the Oversight Committee exercising discretion, even control, over the distribution and
apportioned the five billion pesos LGSEF such that: release of a portion of the IRA, the LGSEF, is an anathema to and subversive of the principle of
local autonomy as embodied in the Constitution. Moreover, it finds no statutory basis at all as the
For 1999 Oversight Committee was created merely to formulate the rules and regulations for the efficient
and effective implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991 to ensure "compliance with
P2 billion — allocated according to Sec. 285 LGC the principles of local autonomy as defined under the Constitution." 29 In fact, its creation was
placed under the title of "Transitory Provisions," signifying its ad hoc character. According to
P2 billion — Modified Sharing Formula (Provinces — 40%; Cities — 20%; Municipalities — 40%) Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, the principal author and sponsor of the bill that eventually became
Rep. Act No. 7160, the Committee's work was supposed to be done a year from the approval of
P1 billion — projects (LAAP) approved by OCD. 24 the Code, or on October 10, 1992. 30 The Oversight Committee's authority is undoubtedly
limited to the implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991, not to supplant or subvert
For 2000 the same. Neither can it exercise control over the IRA, or even a portion thereof, of the LGUs.

P3.5 billion — Modified Sharing Formula (Provinces — 26%; Cities — 23%; Municipalities — That the automatic release of the IRA was precisely intended to guarantee and promote local
35%; Barangays — 16%); autonomy can be gleaned from the discussion below between Messrs. Jose N. Nolledo and
Regalado M. Maambong, then members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, to wit:
P1.5 billion — projects (LAAP) approved by the OCD. 25
MR. MAAMBONG. Unfortunately, under Section 198 of the Local Government Code, the
For 2001 existence of subprovinces is still acknowledged by the law, but the statement of the Gentleman
on this point will have to be taken up probably by the Committee on Legislation. A second point,
P3 billion — Modified Sharing Formula (Provinces — 25%; Cities — 25%; Municipalities — 35%; Mr. Presiding Officer, is that under Article 2, Section 10 of the 1973 Constitution, we have a
Barangays — 15%) provision which states:

P1.9 billion — priority projects The State shall guarantee and promote the autonomy of local government units, especially the
barrio, to insure their fullest development as self-reliant communities.
45

Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the [sic]
This provision no longer appears in the present configuration; does this mean that the concept of favor of local governments [sic] units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous
giving local autonomy to local governments is no longer adopted as far as this Article is government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from
concerned? central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to
'self-immolation,' since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to
MR. NOLLEDO. No. In the report of the Committee on Preamble, National Territory, and the central authorities but to its constituency. 34
Declaration of Principles, that concept is included and widened upon the initiative of
Commissioner Bennagen. Local autonomy includes both administrative and fiscal autonomy. The fairly recent case of
Pimentel v. Aguirre 35 is particularly instructive. The Court declared therein that local fiscal
MR. MAAMBONG. Thank you for that. autonomy includes the power of the LGUs to, inter alia, allocate their resources in accordance
with their own priorities:
With regard to Section 6, sources of revenue, the creation of sources as provided by previous
law was "subject to limitations as may be provided by law," but now, we are using the term Under existing law, local government units, in addition to having administrative autonomy in the
"subject to such guidelines as may be fixed by law." In Section 7, mention is made about the exercise of their functions, enjoy fiscal autonomy as well. Fiscal autonomy means that local
"unique, distinct and exclusive charges and contributions," and in Section 8, we talk about governments have the power to create their own sources of revenue in addition to their equitable
"exclusivity of local taxes and the share in the national wealth." Incidentally, I was one of the share in the national taxes released by the national government, as well as the power to allocate
authors of this provision, and I am very thankful. Does this indicate local autonomy, or was the their resources in accordance with their own priorities. It extends to the preparation of their
wording of the law changed to give more autonomy to the local government units? 31 budgets, and local officials in turn have to work within the constraints thereof. They are not
formulated at the national level and imposed on local governments, whether they are relevant to
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes. In effect, those words indicate also "decentralization" because local local needs and resources or not . . . 36
political units can collect taxes, fees and charges subject merely to guidelines, as recommended
by the league of governors and city mayors, with whom I had a dialogue for almost two hours. Further, a basic feature of local fiscal autonomy is the constitutionally mandated automatic
They told me that limitations may be questionable in the sense that Congress may limit and in release of the shares of LGUs in the national internal revenue. 37
effect deny the right later on.
Following this ratiocination, the Court in Pimentel struck down as unconstitutional Section 4 of
MR. MAAMBONG. Also, this provision on "automatic release of national tax share" points to Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 372 which ordered the withholding, effective January 1, 1998, of
more local autonomy. Is this the intention? ten percent of the LGUs' IRA "pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development
Budget Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation."
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, the Commissioner is perfectly right. 32
In like manner, the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the OCD
The concept of local autonomy was explained in Ganzon v. Court of Appeals 33 in this wise: resolutions constitute a "withholding" of a portion of the IRA. They put on hold the distribution
and release of the five billion pesos LGSEF and subject the same to the implementing rules and
As the Constitution itself declares, local autonomy 'means a more responsive and accountable regulations, including the guidelines and mechanisms prescribed by the Oversight Committee
local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization.' The Constitution, as from time to time. Like Section 4 of A.O. 372, the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000
we observed, does nothing more than to break up the monopoly of the national government over and 2001 and the OCD resolutions effectively encroach on the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the
the affairs of local governments and as put by political adherents, to "liberate the local LGUs and must be struck down. They cannot, therefore, be upheld. ASDCaI
governments from the imperialism of Manila." Autonomy, however, is not meant to end the
relation of partnership and interdependence between the central administration and local The assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000
government units, or otherwise, to usher in a regime of federalism. The Charter has not taken and 2001 and the OCD resolutions cannot amend
such a radical step. Local governments, under the Constitution, are subject to regulation, Section 285 of the Local Government Code of 1991
however limited, and for no other purpose than precisely, albeit paradoxically, to enhance self-
government. Section 284 38 of the Local Government Code provides that, beginning the third year of its
effectivity, the LGUs' share in the national internal revenue taxes shall be 40%. This percentage
As we observed in one case, decentralization means devolution of national administration — but is fixed and may not be reduced except "in the event the national government incurs an
not power — to the local levels. Thus: unmanageable public sector deficit" and only upon compliance with stringent requirements set
forth in the same section:
Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is
decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers
to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to
make local governments 'more responsive and accountable' and 'ensure their fullest Sec. 284. . . .
development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of
national development and social progress.' At the same time, it relieves the central government Provided, That in the event that the national government incurs an unmanageable public sector
of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The deficit, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon recommendation of Secretary
President exercises 'general supervision' over them, but only to 'ensure that local affairs are of Finance, Secretary of Interior and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and
administered according to law.' He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can Management, and subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress
substitute their judgments with his own. and the presidents of the liga, to make the necessary adjustments in the internal revenue
allotment of local government units but in no case shall the allotment be less than thirty percent
46

(30%) of the collection of the national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the autonomy of the LGUs, and thus put the same in jeopardy every year. This, the Court cannot
current fiscal year; Provided, further That in the first year of the effectivity of this Code, the local sanction.
government units shall, in addition to the thirty percent (30%) internal revenue allotment which
shall include the cost of devolved functions for essential public services, be entitled to receive It is relevant to point out at this juncture that, unlike those of 1999, 2000 and 2001, the GAAs of
the amount equivalent to the cost of devolved personnel services. 2002 and 2003 do not contain provisos similar to the herein assailed provisos. In other words,
the GAAs of 2002 and 2003 have not earmarked any amount of the IRA for the LGSEF.
Thus, from the above provision, the only possible exception to the mandatory automatic release Congress had perhaps seen fit to discontinue the practice as it recognizes its infirmity.
of the LGUs' IRA is if the national internal revenue collections for the current fiscal year is less Nonetheless, as earlier mentioned, this Court has deemed it necessary to make a definitive
than 40 percent of the collections of the preceding third fiscal year, in which case what should be ruling on the matter in order to prevent its recurrence in future appropriations laws and that the
automatically released shall be a proportionate amount of the collections for the current fiscal principles enunciated herein would serve to guide the bench, bar and public.
year. The adjustment may even be made on a quarterly basis depending on the actual
collections of national internal revenue taxes for the quarter of the current fiscal year. In the Conclusion
instant case, however, there is no allegation that the national internal revenue tax collections for
the fiscal years 1999, 2000 and 2001 have fallen compared to the preceding three fiscal years. In closing, it is well to note that the principle of local autonomy, while concededly expounded in
greater detail in the present Constitution, dates back to the turn of the century when President
Section 285 then specifies how the IRA shall be allocated among the LGUs: William McKinley, in his Instructions to the Second Philippine Commission dated April 7, 1900,
ordered the new Government "to devote their attention in the first instance to the establishment
Sec. 285. Allocation to Local Government Units. — The share of local government units in the of municipal governments in which the natives of the Islands, both in the cities and in the rural
internal revenue allotment shall be allocated in the following manner: communities, shall be afforded the opportunity to manage their own affairs to the fullest extent of
which they are capable, and subject to the least degree of supervision and control in which a
(a) Provinces — Twenty-three (23%) careful study of their capacities and observation of the workings of native control show to be
consistent with the maintenance of law, order and loyalty." 45 While the 1935 Constitution had
(b) Cities — Twenty-three percent (23%); no specific article on local autonomy, nonetheless, it limited the executive power over local
governments to "general supervision . . . as may be provided by law." 46 Subsequently, the
(c) Municipalities — Thirty-four (34%); and 1973 Constitution explicitly stated that "[t]he State shall guarantee and promote the autonomy of
local government units, especially the barangay to ensure their fullest development as self-
(d) Barangays — Twenty percent (20%). reliant communities." 47 An entire article on Local Government was incorporated therein. The
present Constitution, as earlier opined, has broadened the principle of local autonomy. The 14
However, this percentage sharing is not followed with respect to the five billion pesos LGSEF as sections in Article X thereof markedly increased the powers of the local governments in order to
the assailed OCD resolutions, implementing the assailed provisos in the GAAs of 1999, 2000 accomplish the goal of a more meaningful local autonomy.
and 2001, provided for a different sharing scheme. For example, for 1999, P2 billion of the
LGSEF was allocated as follows: Provinces — 40%; Cities — 20%; Municipalities — 40%. 39 Indeed, the value of local governments as institutions of democracy is measured by the degree
For 2000, P3.5 billion of the LGSEF was allocated in this manner: Provinces — 26%; Cities — of autonomy that they enjoy. 48 As eloquently put by M. De Tocqueville, a distinguished French
23%; Municipalities — 35%; Barangays — 26%. 40 For 2001, P3 billion of the LGSEF was political writer, "[l]ocal assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of free nations. Township
allocated, thus: Provinces — 25%; Cities — 25%; Municipalities — 35%; Barangays — 15%. 41 meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people's
reach; they teach men how to use and enjoy it. A nation may establish a system of free
The respondents argue that this modification is allowed since the Constitution does not specify governments but without the spirit of municipal institutions, it cannot have the spirit of liberty." 49
that the "just share" of the LGUs shall only be determined by the Local Government Code of
1991. That it is within the power of Congress to enact other laws, including the GAAs, to Our national officials should not only comply with the constitutional provisions on local autonomy
increase or decrease the "just share" of the LGUs. This contention is untenable. The Local but should also appreciate the spirit and liberty upon which these provisions are based. 50
Government Code of 1991 is a substantive law. And while it is conceded that Congress may
amend any of the provisions therein, it may not do so through appropriations laws or GAAs. Any WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed provisos in the General Appropriations
amendment to the Local Government Code of 1991 should be done in a separate law, not in the Acts of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the assailed OCD Resolutions, are declared
appropriations law, because Congress cannot include in a general appropriation bill matters that UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
should be more properly enacted in a separate legislation. 42
SO ORDERED.
A general appropriations bill is a special type of legislation, whose content is limited to specified
sums of money dedicated to a specific purpose or a separate fiscal unit. 43 Any provision therein Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-
which is intended to amend another law is considered an "inappropriate provision." The category Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Azcuna and Tinga, JJ ., concur.
of "inappropriate provisions" includes unconstitutional provisions and provisions which are
intended to amend other laws, because clearly these kinds of laws have no place in an Davide, Jr., C .J . and Puno, J ., are on official leave.
appropriations bill. 44
||| (Province of Batangas v. Romulo, G.R. No. 152774, [May 27, 2004], 473 PHIL 806-843)
Increasing or decreasing the IRA of the LGUs or modifying their percentage sharing therein,
which are fixed in the Local Government Code of 1991, are matters of general and substantive
law. To permit Congress to undertake these amendments through the GAAs, as the respondents
contend, would be to give Congress the unbridled authority to unduly infringe the fiscal
47

Petitioners challenged the aforementioned ordinances and office order on the ground that it
EN BANC deprived them of due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly restricted them from the
practice of their trade.
[G.R. No. 110249. August 21, 1997.]
The Supreme Court ruled that the challenged ordinances do not suffer any infirmity, both under
ALFREDO TANO, BALDOMERO TANO, DANILO TANO, ROMUALDO TANO, TEOCENES the Constitution and applicable laws, including the Local Government Code. There is no showing
MIDELLO, ANGEL DE MESA, EULOGIO TREMOCHA, FELIPE ONGONION, JR., ANDRES that any of the petitioners qualifies as a subsistence or marginal fisherman.
LINIJAN, ROBERT LIM, VIRGINIA LIM, FELIMON DE MESA, GENEROSO ARAGON,
TEODORICO ANDRE, ROMULO DEL ROSARIO, CHOLITO ANDRE, ERICK MONTANO, The Local Government Code vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in
ANDRES OLIVA, VITTORIO SALVADOR, LEOPOLDO ARAGON, RAFAEL RIBA, ALEJANDRO municipal waters and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor. The Sangguniangs are directed
LEONILA, JOSE DAMACINTO, RAMIRO MANAEG, RUBEN MARGATE, ROBERTO REYES, to enact ordinances that protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts
DANILO PANGARUTAN, NOE GOLPAN, ESTANISLAO ROMERO, NICANOR DOMINGO, which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing.
ROLDAN TABANG, ADRIANO TABANG, FREDDIE SACAMAY, MIGUEL TRIMOCHA, One of the devolved powers under the Code is the enforcement of fishery laws in municipal
PACENCIO LABABIT, PABLO H. OMPAD, CELESTINO A. ABANO, ALLAN ALMODAL, BILLY waters including the conservation of mangroves. In light then of the principles of decentralization
D. BARTOLAY, ALBINO D. LIQUE, MELCHOR J. LAYSON, MELANIE AMANTE, CLARO E. and devolution and the powers granted therein to local government units under the General
YATOC, MERGELDO B. BALDEO, EDGAR M. ALMASETA, JOSELITO MANAEG, LIBERATO Welfare Clause and those which involve the exercise of police power, the validity of the
ANDRADA, JR., ROBERTO BERRY, RONALD VILLANUEVA, EDUARDO VALMORIA, questioned Ordinances cannot be doubted.
WILFREDO MENDOZA, NAPOLEON BABANGGA, ROBERTO TADEPA, RUBEN ASINGUA,
SILVERIO GABO, JERRY ROMERO, DAVID PANGGARUTAN, DANIEL PANGGARUTAN, The ordinances find full support under R.A. 7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environment
ROMEO AGAWIN, FERNANDO EQUIZ, DITO LEQUIZ, RONILO MODERABLE, BENEDICTO Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, approved on 19 June 1992 which adopts a comprehensive
TORRES, ROSITO A. VALDEZ, CRESENCIO A. SAYANG, NICOMEDES S. ACOSTA, framework for the sustainable development of Palawan compatible with protecting and
ERENEO A. SEGARINO, JR., WILFREDO A. RAUTO, DIOSDADO A. ACOSTA, BONIFACIO enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the province.
G. SISMO, TACIO ALUBA, DANIEL B. BATERZAL, ELISEO YBAÑEZ, DIOSDADO E.
HANCHIC, EDDIE ESCALICAS, ELEAZAR B. BATERZAL, DOMINADOR HALICHIC, The dissenting opinion of Justice Bellosillo relies upon the lack of authority on the part of the
ROOSEVELT RISMO-AN, ROBERT C. MERCADER, TIRSO ARESGADO, DANIEL CHAVEZ, Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa to enact Ordinance No. 15, series of 1992, as the
DANILO CHAVEZ, VICTOR VILLAROEL, ERNESTO C. YBAÑEZ, ARMANDO T. SANTILLAN, subject thereof is within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
RUDY S. SANTILLAN, JODJEN ILUSTRISIMO, NESTOR SALANGRON, ALBERTO Resources (BFAR) under P.D. No. 704, the Fisheries Decree of 1975, and the ordinance is
SALANGRON, ROGER L. ROXAS, FRANCISCO T. ANTICANO, PASTOR SALANGRON, unenforceable for lack of approval by the Secretary of the Department of Environment and
BIENVENIDO SANTILLAN, GILBUENA LADDY, FIDEL BENJAMIN, JOVELITO BELGANO, Natural Resources (DENR) under P.D. 704. But BFAR is no longer under the Department of
HONEY PARIOL, ANTONIO SALANGRON, NICASIO SALANGRON, & AIRLINE SHIPPERS Natural Resources (now DENR), but under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and converted
ASSOCIATION OF PALAWAN, petitioners, vs. HON. GOV. SALVADOR P. SOCRATES, into a mere staff agency thereof. The approval that should be sought would be that of the
MEMBERS OF SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF PALAWAN, namely, VICE-GOVERNOR Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. However, the requirement of approval by the
JOEL T. REYES, JOSE D. ZABALA, ROSALINO R. ACOSTA, JOSELITO A. CADLAON, Secretary has been dispensed with. cITCAa
ANDRES R. BAACO, NELSON P. PENEYRA, CIPRI-ANO C. BARROMA, CLARO E.
ORDINARIO, ERNESTO A. LLACUNA, RODOLFO C. FLOR-DELIZA, GILBERT S. BAACO, SYLLABUS
WINSTON G. ARZAGA, NAPOLEON F. ORDOÑEZ and GIL P. ACOSTA, CITY MAYOR
EDWARD HAGEDORN, MEMBERS OF SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD NG PUERTO 1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; MUST FAIL ON THE GROUND
PRINCESA, ALL MEMBERS OF BANTAY DAGAT, MEMBERS OF PHILIPPINE NATIONAL OF PREMATURITY AMOUNTING TO A LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION. — The special civil
POLICE OF PALAWAN, PROVINCIAL AND CITY PROSECUTORS OF PALAWAN and action for certiorari must fail on the ground of prematurity amounting to a lack of cause of action.
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, and ALL JUDGES OF PALAWAN, REGIONAL, MUNICIPAL AND There is no showing that said petitioners, as the accused in the criminal cases, have filed
METROPOLITAN, respondents. motions to quash the informations therein and that the same were denied. The ground available
for such motions is that the facts charged therein do not constitute an offense because the
Arturo S. Santos for petitioners. ordinances in question are unconstitutional. It cannot then be said that the lower courts acted
without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion to justify recourse to the
Romeo M. Seratubas, Robert Y. Peneira and Martin E. Ruelo for Hon. Salvador P. Socrates. extraordinary remedy of certiorari or prohibition. It must further be stressed that even if
petitioners did file motions to quash, the denial thereof would not forthwith give rise to a cause of
SYNOPSIS action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The general rule is that where a motion to quash is
denied, the remedy therefrom is not certiorari, but for the party aggrieved thereby to go to trial
On December 15, 1992, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa City enacted prejudice to reiterating special defenses involved in said motion, and if, after trial on the merits
Ordinance No. 15-92 banning the shipment of all live fish and lobster outside Puerto Princesa an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law. And,
City effective for five years. To implement the ordinance, the City Mayor of Puerto Princesa City even where in an exceptional circumstance such denial may be the subject of a special civil
issued Office Order No. 23 dated January 23, 1993, ordering inspections on cargoes containing action for certiorari, a motion for reconsideration must have to be filed to allow the court
live fish and lobster being shipped out from air and sea. Likewise, on February 19, 1993, the concerned an opportunity to correct its errors, unless such motion may be dispensed with
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Provincial Government of Palawan, enacted Resolution No. because of existing exceptional circumstances. Finally, even if a motion for reconsideration has
33 and Ordinance No. 2, series of 1993, prohibiting the catching, gathering, possessing, buying, been filed and denied, the remedy under Rule 65 is still unavailable absent any showing of the
selling and shipment of live marine coral dwelling aquatic organisms for a period of five years. grounds provided for in Section 1 thereof. For obvious reasons, the petition at bar does not, and
could not have, alleged any of such grounds. aCTcDH
48

meant precisely to protect and conserve our marine resources to the end that their enjoyment
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; MUST LIKEWISE FAIL IN THE SUPREME COURT SINCE IT IS NOT may be guaranteed not only for the present generation, but also for the generations to come.
POSSESSED OF ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF The so-called "preferential right" of subsistence or marginal fishermen to the use of marine
EVEN IF ONLY QUESTIONS OF LAW ARE INVOLVED. — As to the second set of petitioners, resources is not at all absolute. In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine resources
the instant petition is obviously one for DECLARATORY RELIEF, i.e., for a declaration that the belong to the State, and, pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII of the
Ordinances in question are a "nullity . . . for being unconstitutional." As such, their petition must Constitution, their "exploration, development and utilization . . . shall be under the full control and
likewise fail, as this Court is not possessed of original jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory supervision of the State." Moreover, their mandated protection, development and conservation
relief even if only questions of law are involved, it being settled that the Court merely exercises as necessarily recognized by the framers of the Constitution, imply certain restrictions on
appellate jurisdiction over such petitions. whatever right of enjoyment there may be in favor of anyone.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; MUST ALSO FAIL WHEN THERE IS A CLEAR DISREGARD OF THE 7. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT; MUNICIPALITIES; SCOPE OF POWER
HIERARCHY OF COURTS AND SO SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT REASON OR OVER ITS MUNICIPAL WATERS. — Section 5(c) of the LGC "shall be liberally interpreted to
EXCEPTIONAL AND COMPELLING CIRCUMSTANCE HAS BEEN ADDUCED WHY DIRECT give more powers to the local government units in accelerating economic development and
RECOURSE SHOULD BE ALLOWED. — Even granting arguendo that the first set of petitioners upgrading the quality of life for the people of the community." The LGC vests municipalities with
have a cause of action ripe for the extraordinary writ of certiorari, there is here a clear disregard the power to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters and impose rentals, fees or charges
of the hierarchy of courts, and no special and important reason or exceptional and compelling therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous
circumstance has been adduced why direct recourse to us should be allowed. While we have substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to prosecute
concurrent jurisdiction with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals to issue writs of any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. Further, the sangguniang bayan, the
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such sangguniang panlungsod and the sangguniang panlalawigan are directed to enact ordinances
concurrence gives petitioners no unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. In Santiago v. for the general welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants, which shall include, inter alia,
Vasquez, (172 SCRA 415), this Court forcefully expressed that the propensity of litigants and ordinances that "[p]rotect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which
lawyers to disregard the hierarchy of courts must be put to a halt, not only because of the endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing . . .
imposition upon the precious time of this Court, but also because of the inevitable and resultant and such other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and
delay, intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or lakes, or of ecological imbalance."
referred to the lower court, the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped
to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We reiterated "the judicial policy that 8. ID.; ID.; ANY PROVISION ON A POWER OF A LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT SHALL BE
this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the LIBERALLY INTERPRETED IN ITS FAVOR. — The centerpiece of LGC is the system of
appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a decentralization as expressly mandated by the Constitution. Indispensable to decentralization is
remedy within and calling for the exercise of [its] primary jurisdiction." devolution and the LGC expressly provides that "[a]ny provision on a power of a local
government unit shall be liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question
thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower local government unit.
Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of
4. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; PRESUMPTIONS; LAWS ENJOY THE PRESUMPTION OF the local government unit concerned." Devolution refers to the act by which the National
CONSTITUTIONALITY. — It is of course settled that laws (including ordinances enacted by local Government confers power and authority upon the various local government units to perform
government units) enjoy the presumption of constitutionality. To overthrow this presumption, specific functions and responsibilities.
there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or
argumentative contradiction. In short, the conflict with the Constitution must be shown beyond 9. ID.; ID.; HAS THE POWER TO ENFORCE FISHERIES LAWS IN MUNICIPAL WATERS
reasonable doubt. Where doubt exists, even if well-founded, there can be no finding of INCLUDING THE CONSERVATION OF MANGROVE. — One of the devolved powers
unconstitutionality. To doubt is to sustain. enumerated in the section of the LGC on devolution is the enforcement of fishery laws in
municipal waters including the conservation of mangroves. This necessarily includes the
5. CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS; SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS; AGRARIAN AND enactment of ordinances to effectively carry out such fishery laws within the municipal waters.
NATURAL RESOURCES REFORM; SUBSISTENCE FISHERMEN; DISTINGUISHED FROM The term "municipal waters," in turn, includes not only streams, lakes, and tidal water within the
MARGINAL FISHERMEN. — Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of municipality, not being the subject of private ownership and not comprised within the national
the terms "subsistence" or "marginal" fishermen, they should be construed in their general and parks, public forest, timber lands, forest reserves, or fishery reserves, but also marine waters
ordinary sense. A marginal fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing whose margin of return included between two lines drawn perpendicularly to the general coastline from points where the
or reward in his harvest of fish as measured by existing price levels is barely sufficient to yield a boundary lines of the municipality or city touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with
profit or cover the cost of gathering the fish, while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch the general coastline and fifteen kilometers from it. Under P.D. No. 704, the marine waters
yields but the irreducible minimum for his livelihood. Section 131(p) of the LGC (R.A. No. 7160) included in municipal waters is limited to three nautical miles from the general coastline using
defines a marginal farmer or fisherman as "an individual engaged in subsistence farming or the above perpendicular lines and a third parallel line. cTDaEH
fishing which shall be limited to the sale, barter or exchange of agricultural or marine products
produced by himself and his immediate family." It bears repeating that nothing in the record 10. ID.; ID.; ID.; SCOPE. — These "fishery laws" which local government units may enforce
supports a finding that any petitioner falls within these definitions. under Section 17(b)(2)(i) in municipal waters include: (1) P.D. No. 704; (2) P.D. No. 1015 which,
inter alia, authorizes the establishment of a "closed season" in any Philippine water if necessary
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; PREFERENTIAL RIGHT OF SUBSISTENCE OR MARGINAL FISHERMEN TO for conservation or ecological purposes; (3) P.D. No. 1219 which provides for the exploration,
THE USE OF MARINE RESOURCES IS NOT AT ALL ABSOLUTE. — Anent Section 7 of Article exploitation, utilization and conservation of coral resources; (4) R.A. No. 5474, as amended by
XIII, it speaks not only of the use of communal marine and fishing resources, but of their B.P. Blg. 58, which makes it unlawful for any person, association or corporation to catch or
protection, development and conservation. As hereafter shown, the ordinances in question are cause to be caught, sell, offer to sell, purchase, or have in possession any of the fish specie
49

called gobiidae or "ipon" during closed season; and (5) R.A. No. 6451 which prohibits and
punishes electrofishing, as well as various issuances of the BFAR. To those specifically 13. ID.; SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; APPROVAL OF
devolved insofar as the control and regulation of fishing in municipal waters and the protection of MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE AFFECTING FISHING AND FISHERIES IN MUNICIPAL WATERS
its marine environment are concerned, must be added the following: 1. Issuance of permits to HAS BEEN DISPENSED WITH; REASON THEREFOR. — In Executive Order No. 116 of 30
construct fish cages within municipal waters; 2. Issuance of permits to gather aquarium fishes January 1987, which reorganized the MAF, the BFAR was retained as an attached agency of the
within municipal waters; 3. Issuance of permits to gather kapis shells within municipal waters; 4. MAF. And under the Administrative Code of 1987, the BFAR is placed under the Title concerning
Issuance of permits to gather/culture shelled mollusks within municipal waters; 5. Issuance of the Department of Agriculture. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the challenged Ordinance of
licenses to establish seaweed farms within municipal waters; 6. Issuance of licenses to establish the City of Puerto Princesa is invalid or unenforceable because it was not approved by the
culture pearls within municipal waters; 7. Issuance of auxiliary invoice to transport fish and Secretary of the DENR. If at all, the approval that should be sought would be that of the
fishery products; and 8. Establishment of "closed season" in municipal waters. These functions Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. However, the requirement of approval by the
are covered in the Memorandum of Agreement of 5 April 1994 between the Department of Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (not DENR) of municipal ordinances affecting fishing
Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government. and fisheries in municipal waters has been dispensed with.

11. ID.; ID.; HAS THE POWER, INTER ALIA, TO ENACT ORDINANCE TO ENHANCE THE MENDOZA, J., concurring opinion:
RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO A BALANCED ECOLOGY. — Under the general welfare clause of
the LGC, local government units have the power, inter alia, to enact ordinances to enhance the 1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; PRESUMPTIONS; ORDINANCES PRESUMED VALID IN
right of the people to a balanced ecology. It likewise specifically vests municipalities with the THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT THE NECESSARY FACTUAL FOUNDATION
power to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters, and impose rentals, fees or charges DOES NOT EXIST. — The ordinances in question in this case are conservation measures which
therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous the local governments of Palawan have adopted in view of the widespread destruction caused
substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to prosecute by cyanide fishing of corals within their territorial waters. At the very least, these ordinances
any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. Finally, it imposes upon the must be presumed valid in the absence of evidence to show that the necessary factual
sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang panlungsod, and the sangguniang panlalawigan the duty foundation for their enactment does not exists. Their invalidation at this point can result in the
to enact ordinances to "[p]rotect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts untimely exoneration of otherwise guilty parties on the basis of doubtful constitutional claims.
which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing Petitioners' challenge to the validity of the ordinances does not rest on the claim that the
. . . and such other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and ordinances are beyond the power of local governments to enact but on the ground that they
lakes or of ecological imbalance." deprive petitioners of their means of livelihood and occupation and for that reason violate the
Constitution of the Philippines. Art. XII, Sec. 2 and Art. III, Secs. 1 and 7 of the Constitution refer
12. ID.; BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES; JURISDICTION AND to the duty of the State to protect the nation's marine resources for the exclusive use and
RESPONSIBILITY OVER ALL FISHERY AND AQUATIC RESOURCES OF THE COUNTRY; enjoyment of Filipino citizens, to the preferential right of subsistence fishermen in the use of
NOT ALL-ENCOMPASSING. — The nexus then between the activities barred by Ordinance No. such communal marine resources, and to their right to be protected, even in offshore fishing
15-92 of the City of Puerto Princesa and the prohibited acts provided in Ordinance No. 2, Series grounds, against foreign intrusion. There is no question here of Filipino preference over aliens in
of 1993 of the Province of Palawan, on one hand, and the use of sodium cyanide, on the other, the use of marine resources. What is in issue is the protection of marine resources in the
is painfully obvious. In sum, the public purpose and reasonableness of the Ordinances may not Province of Palawan. It was precisely to implement Art. XII, §2 that the ordinances in question
then be controverted. As to Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993, issued by Acting City Mayor were enacted. For, without these marine resources, it would be idle to talk of the rights of
Amado L. Lucero of the City of Puerto Princesa, we find nothing therein violative of any subsistence fishermen to be preferred in the use of these resources. It has been held that "as
constitutional or statutory provision. The Order refers to the implementation of the challenged underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of legislation of this character, the
ordinance and is not the Mayor's Permit. The dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Josue N. presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of record
Bellosillo relies upon the lack of authority on the part of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto for overthrowing the statute." No evidence has been presented by petitioners to overthrow the
Princesa to enact Ordinance No. 15, Series of 1992, on the theory that the subject thereof is factual basis of the ordinances — that, as a result of the use of cyanide and other noxious
within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources substances for fishing, only 5% of the coral reefs in Palawan was in excellent condition, that
(BFAR) under P.D. No. 704, otherwise known as the Fisheries Decree of 1975; and that, in any 75% had been heavily destroyed, and that because of the thriving market for live fish and lobster
event, the Ordinance is unenforceable for lack of approval by the Secretary of the Department of here and abroad there was rampant illicit trade in live fish. Nor has it been shown by petitioners
Natural Resources (DNR), likewise in accordance with P.D. No. 704. The majority is unable to that the local legislation here involved is arbitrary or unreasonable. It has been held: "If the laws
accommodate this view. The jurisdiction and responsibility of the BFAR under P.D. No. 704, over passed are seen to have a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither
the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization and disposition of all fishery arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial
and aquatic resources of the country is not all encompassing. First, Section 4 thereof excludes determination to that effect renders a court functus officio. . . . With the wisdom of the policy
from such jurisdiction and responsibility municipal waters, which shall be under the municipal or adopted, with the adequacy or practicability of the law enacted to forward it, the courts are both
city government concerned, except insofar as fishpens and seaweed culture in municipal centers incompetent and unauthorized to deal. . . ." Indeed, the burden of showing that there is no
are concerned. This section provides, however, that all municipal or city ordinances and reasonable relation between the end and the means adopted in this case is not on the local
resolutions affecting fishing and fisheries and any disposition thereunder shall be submitted to governments but on petitioners because of the presumption that a regulatory statute is valid in
the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources for appropriate action and shall have full the absence of factual evidence to the contrary. As held in United States v. Salaveria (39 Phil.
force and effect only upon his approval. Second, it must at once be pointed out that the BFAR is 102, 111 [1918]), "The presumption is all in favor of validity. . . . The councilors must, in the very
no longer under the Department of Natural Resources (now Department of Environment and nature of things be familiar with the necessities of their particular municipality and with all the
Natural Resources). Executive Order No. 967 of 30 June 1984 transferred the BFAR from the facts and circumstances which surround the subject, and necessitate action. The local legislative
control and supervision of the Minister (formerly Secretary) of Natural Resources to the Ministry body, by enacting the ordinance, has in effect given notice that the regulations are essential to
of Agriculture and Food (MAF) and converted it into a mere staff agency thereof, integrating its the well being of the people. . . . The Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when
functions with the regional offices of the MAF. there is not a clear invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of police regulation."
50

purpose of the petition is for declaratory relief if the petition has far-reaching implications and
2. REMEDIAL LAW; JUDICIAL PROCESS; SHORT-CIRCUITING OF THE NORMAL PROCESS raises questions that should be resolved as they involve national interest, it may be treated as a
OF ADJUDICATING NOT ALLOWED ON THE MERE PLEA WHEN THE MATTER CAN VERY special civil action under Rule 65. The mere absence of a prior motion to quash the Information
WELL BE LOOKED INTO BY TRIAL COURT AND IN FACT SHOULD BE BROUGHT THERE. in the trial court should not prevent the accused, petitioners herein, from seeking to render null
— This case was brought to this Court on the bare bones of the ordinances, on the mere claim and void the criminal proceedings below. EDHTAI
of petitioner Alfredo Tano and his 83 co-petitioners that they are subsistence fishermen. The
constitutional protection refers to small fishermen who depend on the sea for their existence. 4. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; PARTIES IN AN ACTION; PROPER PARTIES DEFINED. —
Ten of the petitioners, led by Alfredo Tano, are accused in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Petitioners are proper parties to set aside the proceedings in the trial court. A proper party is one
possession of the species covered by Provincial Ordinance No. 2-93, while two, Roberto Lim who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an injury as a result of the act
and Virginia Lim, are charged with violation of the two ordinances in the City Prosecutor's Office. complained of. Petitioners have been criminally charged and arrested for alleged violation of the
There is no telling from the records of this case whether petitioners are subsistence fishermen or ordinances in question. Consequently, unless the trial court is enjoined from continuing with the
simply impecunious individuals selling their catch to the big businessmen. The other petitioners proceedings, petitioners are in danger of being convicted and punished under ordinances which
are admittedly fish traders, members of an association of airline shippers, to whom the they allege to be invalid.
constitutional provisions obviously do not apply. The judicial invalidation of the ordinances in this
case could undermine the on-going trial of some of petitioners. Instead of leaving the 5. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE; DOES NOT EXPRESSLY REPEAL
determination of the validity of the ordinances to the trial court, where some of petitioners are THE REQUIREMENT UNDER P.D. NO. 704 DIRECTING MUNICIPAL OR CITY
facing charges, this Court will be shortcircuiting the criminal process by prematurely passing GOVERNMENTS TO SUBMIT ORDINANCE ENACTED PERTINENT TO FISHING AND
upon the constitutional questions and indirectly on the criminal liability of some of the petitioners. FISHERY RESOURCES TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. — There is no doubt that
This is a task which should await the development of evidence of record. Indeed because of the under P.D. No. 704 fishing, fishery and aquatic resources in municipal waters are under the
unsatisfactory abstractness of the record, this case should not have been brought here. The jurisdiction of the municipal or city government concerned. However, the same decree imposes
mere fact that some of petitioners are facing prosecution for violation of the ordinances is no a mandatory requirement directing municipal or city governments to submit ordinances enacted
reason for entertaining their suit. Our jurisdiction is limited to cases and controversies. Who are pertinent to fishing and fishery resources to the Secretary of Agriculture who now has control
petitioners? What is the impact of the ordinance on their economic situation? Are the factual and supervision over the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The ordinances
bases of the two ordinances supported by evidence? These questions must be raised in the will attain full force and effect only upon the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture. Ordinance
criminal trial or in suit brought in the trial court so that facts necessary to adjudicate the 15-92 of Puerto Princesa City, admittedly, was not submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture
constitutional questions can be presented. Nothing can take the place of the flesh and blood of through the BFAR for approval. Such failure of compliance with the law prevented it from
litigation to assess the actual operation of a statute and thus ground the judicial power more becoming valid and effective. Consequently, Office Order No. 23 of the Mayor of Puerto
firmly. Princesa City which seeks to implement and enforce Ordinance No. 15-92 is also ineffective as
there is nothing to implement. To say that Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 704 was impliedly repealed by the
BELLOSILLO, J., dissenting opinion: Local Government Code is gratuitous. For, if it was the intention of the legislature to dispense
with the requirement of prior approval by the Secretary of Agriculture of ordinances pertinent to
1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; INTERPRETATION OF LAWS; WHEN CLEAR AND fishery resources, it would have expressly repealed Sec. 4 when, in fact, it did so with Secs. 16
UNAMBIGUOUS, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR INTERPRETATION AND THE COURT HAS THE and 29 of P.D. No. 704. Cases abound holding that a repeal by implication is not presumed or
DUTY TO APPLY THE LAW; EXCEPTION. — It is settled rule that where the provisions of the favored considering that the legislature is presumed to be aware of existing laws; ordinarily, if it
law are clear and unambiguous there is no room for interpretation. The duty of the court is only intends to revoke a statute it would manifest such intention in express terms. Before such a
to apply the law. The exception to such rule cannot be justified on the sole basis of good motives repeal is deemed to exist it should be shown that the statutes or statutory provisions deal with
or noble objectives. For it is also basic that the end does not justify the means. the same subject matter and that the latter be inconsistent with the former. There must be a
showing of repugnancy clear and convincing in character. The language used in the latter
2. ID.; VALIDITY OR CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ORDINANCES; WELL-ESTABLISHED TEST statute must be such as to render it irreconcilable with what has been formerly enacted. An
IN DETERMINING THE VALIDITY. — While I agree with the majority that the local leaders of inconsistency that falls short of that standard does not suffice. In fact, there is no inconsistency
Palawan and Puerto Princesa City be commended for their efforts to uplift and protect the between the Local Government Code and P.D. No. 704 as amended. While the Local
environment and natural resources within their areas, the general welfare clause is not the sole Government Code vests power upon the local government to enact ordinances for the general
criterion to determine the validity or constitutionality of the ordinances. In Magtajas v. Pryce welfare of its inhabitants, such power is subject to certain limitations imposed by the Code itself
Properties Corporation, we reiterated that the well-established tests of a valid ordinance are: (a) and by other statutes. When the legislature failed to repeal Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 704 it accepted
It must not contravene the Constitution or any statute; (b) It must not be unfair or oppressive; (c) and recognized a limitation on the power of the local government to enact ordinances relative to
It must not be partial or discriminatory; (d) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (e) It must matters affecting fishery and aquatic resources. A reading of particular provisions of the Local
be general and consistent with public policy; and, (f) It must not be unreasonable. Government Code itself will reveal that devolution on the powers of the local government
pertaining to the protection of environment is limited and not all-encompassing, as will be
3. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; MAY BE ENTERTAINED EVEN discussed in the succeeding paragraphs. Further, while the Local Government Code is a general
IF THE PURPOSE OF THE PETITION IS FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF, IF THE PETITION law on the powers, responsibilities and composition of different local government units, P.D. No.
HAS FAR-REACHING IMPLICATION AND RAISES QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE 704 is a special law dealing with the protection and conservation of fishing and aquatic
RESOLVED AS THEY INVOLVE NATIONAL INTEREST. — Notwithstanding the procedural resources including those in the municipal waters. Hence, the special law should prevail over the
limitations strictly applied in the majority opinion to render the petition dismissible on grounds of general law.
prematurity and lack of real interest in the controversy, the case clearly falls under the
exceptions allowed by law. The petition, I submit, can be properly treated as a special civil action 6. ID.; ID.; IN ORDER THAT IT MAY EXERCISE POLICE POWER, THERE MUST BE A
for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to correct errors of jurisdiction LEGISLATIVE GRANT WHICH NECESSARILY SETS THE LIMITS FOR THE EXERCISE OF
committed by the lower court arising from the implementation of a void ordinance. Even if the THE POWER. — It is true that police power can be exercised through the general welfare
51

clause. But, while police power is inherent in a state, it is not so in municipal corporations or More appropriately, the petition is, and shall be treated as, a special civil action for certiorari and
local governments. In order that a local government may exercise police power, there must be a prohibition.
legislative grant which necessarily sets the limits for the exercise of the power. In this case,
Congress has enacted the Local Government Code which provides the standards as well as the The following is petitioners' summary of the factual antecedents giving rise to the petition:
limitations in the exercise of the police power by the local government unit.
1. On December 15, 1992, the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Puerto Princesa City enacted
7. ID.; ID.; SHALL SHARE WITH THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT THE RESPONSIBILITY IN Ordinance No. 15-92 which took effect on January 1, 1993 entitled "AN ORDINANCE BANNING
THE MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF ECOLOGICAL BALANCE WITHIN THEIR THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY
TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION. — Section 2 of the Local Government Code provides for a FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS;
system of decentralization whereby local government units are given more powers, authority, PENALTIES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF", the full text of which reads as follows:
responsibilities and resources, and the process shall proceed from the national government to
the local government units. However, under Sec. 3, par. (i), of the Local Government Code, the Section 1. Title of the Ordinance. — This Ordinance is entitled: AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE
operative principles of decentralization upon the environment and natural resources are not SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM
absolute when it is provided therein that "local government units shall share with the national JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES AND
government the responsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF
their territorial jurisdiction, subject to the provisions of this Code and national policies." The
national policies mentioned here refer to existing policies which the DENR and other government Section 2. Purpose, Scope and Coverage. — To effectively free our City Sea Waters from
agencies concerned with the environment may implement at any given moment. The national Cyanide and other Obnoxious substance[s], and shall cover all persons and/or entities operating
policies are embodied in existing laws, rules and regulations pertaining to environment and within and outside the City of Puerto Princesa who is are (sic) directly or indirectly in the
natural resources, such as P.D. Nos. 704 and 1219 relating to fishery resources. The above business or shipment of live fish and lobster outside the City.
provision was crafted to make sure that local government enactments do not supplant or negate
national government policies on environment. This is precisely the reason why the Local Section 3. Definition of terms. — For purpose of this Ordinance the following are hereby defined:
Government Code did not repeal Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 704 requiring prior submission to and
approval by the Secretary of Agriculture of ordinances relative to fishery and aquatic resources. A. SEA BASS — A kind of fish under the family of Centropomidae, better known as APAHAP;
Needless to stress, the approval of the Secretary is necessary in order to ensure that these
ordinances are in accordance with the laws on fisheries and national policies. Likewise, the B. CATFISH — A kind of fish under the family of Plotosidae, better known as HITO-HITO;
jurisdiction of the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources over coral resources under
P.D. No. 1219 remains. C. MUDFISH — A kind of fish under the family of Orphicaphalisae better known as DALAG;

8. ID.; ID.; NOT POSSESSED WITH PROHIBITORY POWERS BUT ONLY REGULATORY D. ALL LIVE FISH — All alive, breathing not necessarily moving of all specie[s] use[d] for food
POWERS UNDER THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE. — The questioned ordinances may and for aquarium purposes.
also be struck down for being not only a prohibitory legislation but also an unauthorized exercise
of delegation of powers. An objective, however worthy or desirable it may be, such as the E. LIVE LOBSTER — Several relatively, large marine crusteceans [sic] of the genus Homarus
protection and conservation of our fisheries in this case, can be attained by a measure that does that are alive and breathing not necessarily moving.
not encompass too wide a field. The purpose can be achieved by reasonable restrictions rather
than by absolute prohibition. Local governments are not possessed with prohibitory powers but Section 4. It shall unlawful [for] any person or any business enterprise or company to ship out
only regulatory powers under the general welfare clause. They cannot therefore exceed the from Puerto Princesa City to any point of destination either via aircraft or seacraft of any live fish
powers granted to them by the Code by altogether prohibiting fishing and selling for five (5) and lobster except SEA BASS, CATFISH, MUDFISH, AND MILKFISH FRIES.
years all live fishes through Ordinance No. 15-92 and coral organisms through Ordinance No. 2-
93 involving even lawful methods of fishing. Section 5. Penalty Clause. — Any person/s and or business entity violating this Ordinance shall
be penalized with a fine of not more than P5,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than twelve
DECISION (12) months, cancellation of their permit to do business in the City of Puerto Princesa or all of the
herein stated penalties, upon the discretion of the court.
DAVIDE, JR., J p:
Section 6. If the owner and/or operator of the establishment found violating the provisions of this
Petitioners caption their petition as one for "Certiorari, Injunction With Preliminary and ordinance is a corporation or a partnership, the penalty prescribed in Section 5 hereof shall be
Mandatory Injunction, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order" and pray that this Court: (1) imposed upon its president and/or General Manager or Managing Partner and/or Manager, as
declare as unconstitutional: (a) Ordinance No. 15-92, dated 15 December 1992, of the the case maybe [sic].
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa; (b) Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993, dated 22
January 1993, issued by Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero of Puerto Princesa City; and (c) Section 7. Any existing ordinance or any provision of any ordinance inconsistent to [sic] this
Resolution No. 33, Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, dated 19 February 1993, of the ordinance is deemed repealed.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan; (2) enjoin the enforcement thereof; and (3) restrain
respondents Provincial and City Prosecutors of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City and Judges Section 8. This Ordinance shall take effect on January 1, 1993.
of the Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts 1 and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in
Palawan from assuming jurisdiction over and hearing cases concerning the violation of the SO ORDAINED."
Ordinances and of the Office Order. prcd
xxx xxx xxx
52

WHEREAS, Sec. 468, Par. 1, Sub-Par. VI of the [sic] R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the Local
2. To implement said city ordinance, then Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero issued Office Government Code of 1991 empowers the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to protect the environment
Order No. 23, Series of 1993 dated January 22, 1993 which reads as follows: and impose appropriate penalties [upon] acts which endanger the environment such as
dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing, among others.
"In the interest of public service and for purposes of City Ordinance No. PD426-14-74, otherwise
known as 'AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING ANY PERSON ENGAGED OR INTENDING TO NOW, THEREFORE, on motion by Kagawad Nelson P. Peneyra and upon unanimous decision
ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS, TRADE, OCCUPATION, CALLING OR PROFESSION OR of all the members present;
HAVING IN HIS POSSESSION ANY OF THE ARTICLES FOR WHICH A PERMIT IS
REQUIRED TO BE HAD, TO OBTAIN FIRST A MAYOR'S PERMIT' and City Ordinance No. 15- Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved, to approve Resolution No. 33, Series of 1993 of the
92, AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE Sangguniang Panlalawigan and to enact Ordinance No. 2 for the purpose, to wit:
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998, you are hereby
authorized and directed to check or conduct necessary inspections on cargoes containing live ORDINANCE NO. 2
fish and lobster being shipped out from the Puerto Princesa Airport, Puerto Princesa Wharf or at
any port within the jurisdiction of the City to any point of destinations [sic] either via aircraft or Series of 1993
seacraft.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN IN SESSION ASSEMBLED:
The purpose of the inspection is to ascertain whether the shipper possessed the required
Mayor's Permit issued by this Office and the shipment is covered by invoice or clearance issued Section I. TITLE. — This Ordinance shall be known as an "Ordinance Prohibiting the catching,
by the local office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and as to compliance with gathering, possessing, buying, selling and shipment of live marine coral dwelling, aquatic
all other existing rules and regulations on the matter. organisms, to wit: 1. Family: Scaridae (Mameng), 2. Ephinephelus Fasciatus (Suno), 3.
Cromileptes altivelis (Panther or Señorita), lobster below 200 grams and spawning), 4. Tridacna
Any cargo containing live fish and lobster without the required documents as stated herein must Gigas (Taklobo), 5. Pinctada Margaretefera (Mother Pearl, Oysters, Giant Clams and other
be held for proper disposition. species), 6. Penaeus Monodon (Tiger Prawn-breeder size or mother), 7. Epinephelus Suillus
(Loba or Green Grouper) and 8. Family: Balistidae (T[r]opical Aquarium Fishes) for a period of
In the pursuit of this Order, you are hereby authorized to coordinate with the PAL Manager, the five (5) years in and coming from Palawan Waters.
PPA Manager, the local PNP Station and other offices concerned for the needed support and
cooperation. Further, that the usual courtesy and diplomacy must be observed at all times in the Section II. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS . —
conduct of the inspection.
1. Sec. 2-A (Rep. Act 7160). It is hereby declared, the policy of the state that the territorial and
Please be guided accordingly." political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable
them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more
xxx xxx xxx effective partners in the attainment of national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for
[a] more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of
3. On February 19, 1993, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Provincial Government of Palawan decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers, authority,
enacted Resolution No. 33 entitled: "A RESOLUTION PROHIBITING THE CATCHING, responsibilities and resources.
GATHERING, POSSESSING, BUYING, SELLING AND SHIPMENT OF LIVE MARINE CORAL
DWELLING AQUATIC ORGANISMS, TO WIT: FAMILY: SCARIDAE (MAMENG), EPINE 2. Sec. 5-A (R.A. 7160). Any provision on a power of [a] local Government Unit shall be liberally
PHELUS FASCIATUS(SUNO), CROMILEPTES ALTIVELIS (PANTHER OR SEÑORITA), interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of
LOBSTER BELOW 200 GRAMS AND SPAWNING, TRIDACNA GIGAS (TAKLOBO), devolution of powers and of the lower government units. "Any fair and reasonable doubts as to
PINCTADA MARGARITEFERA (MOTHER PEARL, OYSTERS, GIANT CLAMS AND OTHER the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of all the Local Government Unit
SPECIES), PENAEUS MONODON (TIGER PRAWN-BREEDER SIZE OR MOTHER), concerned."
EPINEPHELUS SUILLUS (LOBA OR GREEN GROUPER) AND FAMILY: BALISTIDAE
(TROPICAL AQUARIUM FISHES) FOR A PERIOD FIVE (5) YEARS IN AND COMING FROM 3. Sec. 5-C (R.A. 7160). The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally interpreted
PALAWAN WATERS", the full text of which reads as follows: to give more powers to local government units in accelerating economic development and
upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community.
"WHEREAS, scientific and factual researches [sic], and studies disclose that only five (5)
percent of the corals of our province remain to be in excellent condition as [a] habitat of marine 4. Sec. 16 (R.A. 7160). General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the
coral dwelling aquatic organisms; powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary,
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance; and those which are essential
WHEREAS, it cannot be gainsaid that the destruction and devastation of the corals of our to the promotion of the general welfare.
province were principally due to illegal fishing activities like dynamite fishing, sodium cyanide
fishing, use of other obnoxious substances and other related activities; Section III. DECLARATION OF POLICY . — It is hereby declared to be the policy of the
Province of Palawan to protect and conserve the marine resources of Palawan not only for the
WHEREAS, there is an imperative and urgent need to protect and preserve the existence of the greatest good of the majority of the present generation but with [the] proper perspective and
remaining excellent corals and allow the devastated ones to reinvigorate and regenerate consideration of [sic] their prosperity, and to attain this end, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
themselves into vitality within the span of five (5) years; cdpr henceforth declares that is (sic) shall be unlawful for any person or any business entity to
engage in catching, gathering, possessing, buying, selling and shipment of live marine coral
53

dwelling aquatic organisms as enumerated in Section 1 hereof in and coming out of Palawan
Waters for a period of five (5) years; Finally, as Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is null and void, the criminal cases
based thereon against petitioners Tano and the others have to be dismissed.
Section IV. PENALTY CLAUSE. — Any person and/or business entity violating this Ordinance
shall be penalized with a fine of not more than Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00), Philippine In the Resolution of 15 June 1993 we required respondents to comment on the petition, and
Currency, and/or imprisonment of six (6) months to twelve (12) months and confiscation and furnished the Office of the Solicitor General with a copy thereof.
forfeiture of paraphernalias [sic] and equipment in favor of the government at the discretion of
the Court; In their comment filed on 13 August 1993, public respondents Governor Socrates and Members
of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan defended the validity of Ordinance No. 2, Series
Section V. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE. — If for any reason, a Section or provision of this of 1993, as a valid exercise of the Provincial Government's power under the general welfare
Ordinance shall be held as unconditional [sic] or invalid, it shall not affect the other provisions clause (Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 [hereafter, LGC]), and its specific
hereof. power to protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the
environment, such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing under Section
Section VI. REPEALING CLAUSE. — Any existing Ordinance or a provision of any ordinance 447(a)(1)(vi), Section 458(a)(1)(vi), and Section 468(a)(1)(vi), of the LGC. They claimed that in
inconsistent herewith is deemed modified, amended or repealed. the exercise of such powers, the Province of Palawan had "the right and responsibility . . . to
insure that the remaining coral reefs, where fish dwells [sic], within its territory remain healthy for
Section VII. EFFECTIVITY . — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its the future generation." The Ordinance, they further asserted, covered only live marine coral
publication. dwelling aquatic organisms which were enumerated in the ordinance and excluded other kinds
of live marine aquatic organisms not dwelling in coral reefs; besides the prohibition was for only
SO ORDAINED." five (5) years to protect and preserve the pristine coral and allow those damaged to regenerate.
cdta
xxx xxx xxx
Aforementioned respondents likewise maintained that there was no violation of the due process
4. The respondents implemented the said ordinances, Annexes "A" and "C" hereof thereby and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. As to the former, public hearings were
depriving all the fishermen of the whole province of Palawan and the City of Puerto Princesa of conducted before the enactment of the Ordinance which, undoubtedly, had a lawful purpose and
their only means of livelihood and the petitioners Airline Shippers Association of Palawan and employed reasonable means, while as to the latter, a substantial distinction existed "between a
other marine merchants from performing their lawful occupation and trade; fisherman who catches live fish with the intention of selling it live, and a fisherman who catches
live fish with no intention at all of selling it live," i.e., "the former uses sodium cyanide while the
5. Petitioners Alfredo Tano, Baldomero Tano, Teocenes Midello, Angel de Mesa, Eulogio latter does not." Further, the Ordinance applied equally to all those belonging to one class.
Tremocha, and Felipe Ongonion, Jr. were even charged criminally under criminal case no. 93-
05-C in the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Cuyo-Agutaya-Magsaysay, an original carbon On 25 October 1993 petitioners filed an Urgent Plea for the Immediate Issuance of a Temporary
copy of the criminal complaint dated April 12, 1993 is hereto attached as Annex "D"; while xerox Restraining Order, claiming that despite the pendency of this case, Branch 50 of the Regional
copies are attached as Annex "D" to the copies of the petition; Trial Court of Palawan was bent on proceeding with Criminal Case No. 11223 against petitioners
Danilo Tano, Alfredo Tano, Eulogio Tremocha, Romualdo Tano, Baldomero Tano, Andres
6. Petitioners Robert Lim and Virginia Lim, on the other hand, were charged by the respondent Linijan and Angel de Mesa for violation of Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of
PNP with the respondent City Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa City, a xerox copy of the complaint Palawan. Acting on said plea, we issued on 11 November 1993 a temporary restraining order
is hereto attached as Annex "E"; directing Judge Angel Miclat of said court to cease and desist from proceeding with the
arraignment and pre-trial of Criminal Case No. 11223.
Without seeking redress from the concerned local government units, prosecutor's office and
courts, petitioners directly invoked our original jurisdiction by filing this petition on 4 June 1993. On 12 July 1994, we excused the Office of the Solicitor General from filing a comment,
In sum, petitioners contend that: considering that as claimed by said office in its Manifestation of 28 June 1994, respondents were
already represented by counsel.
First, the Ordinances deprived them of due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly restricted
them from the practice of their trade, in violation of Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7 of The rest of the respondents did not file any comment on the petition.
Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution.
In the resolution of 15 September 1994, we resolved to consider the comment on the petition as
Second, Office Order No. 23 contained no regulation nor condition under which the Mayor's the Answer, gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective
permit could be granted or denied; in other words, the Mayor had the absolute authority to memoranda. 2
determine whether or not to issue the permit.
On 22 April 1997 we ordered impleaded as party respondents the Department of Agriculture and
Third, as Ordinance No. 2 of the Province of Palawan "altogether prohibited the catching, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and required the Office of the Solicitor General
gathering, possession, buying, selling and shipping of live marine coral dwelling organisms, to comment on their behalf. But in light of the latter's motion of 9 July 1997 for an extension of
without any distinction whether it was caught or gathered through lawful fishing method," the time to file the comment which would only result in further delay, we dispensed with said
Ordinance took away the right of petitioners-fishermen to earn their livelihood in lawful ways; and comment.
insofar as petitioners-members of Airline Shippers Association are concerned, they were unduly
prevented from pursuing their vocation and entering "into contracts which are proper, necessary, After due deliberation on the pleadings filed, we resolved to dismiss this petition for want of
and essential to carry out their business endeavors to a successful conclusion." merit, and on 22 July 1997, assigned it to the ponente to write the opinion of the Court.
54

why direct recourse to us should be allowed. While we have concurrent jurisdiction with Regional
I Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus,
quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such concurrence gives petitioners no unrestricted
There are actually two sets of petitioners in this case. The first is composed of Alfredo Tano, freedom of choice of court forum, so we held in People v. Cuaresma: 13
Baldomero Tano, Danilo Tano, Romualdo Tano, Teocenes Midello, Angel de Mesa, Eulogio
Tremocha, Felipe Ongonion, Jr., Andres Linijan, and Felimon de Mesa, who were criminally This concurrence of jurisdiction is not . . . to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the
charged with violating Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 33 and Ordinance No. 2, writs an absolute unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be
Series of 1993, of the Province of Palawan, in Criminal Case No. 93-05-C of the 1st Municipal directed. There is after all hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of
Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Palawan; 3 and Robert Lim and Virginia Lim who were charged appeals, and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions
with violating City Ordinance No. 15-92 of Puerto Princesa City and Ordinance No. 2, Series of for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates
1993, of the Province of Palawan before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa. 4 that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be
All of them, with the exception of Teocenes Midello, Felipe Ongonion, Jr., Felimon de Mesa, filed with the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A
Robert Lim and Virginia Lim, are likewise the accused in Criminal Case No. 11223 for the direct invocation of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be
violation of Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan, pending before allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set
Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan. 5 out in the petition. This is established policy. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate
demands upon the Court's time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its
The second set of petitioners is composed of the rest of the petitioners numbering seventy- exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of the Court's docket. . . . cdti
seven (77), all of whom, except the Airline Shippers Association of Palawan — an alleged
private association of several marine merchants — are natural persons who claim to be The Court feels the need to reaffirm that policy at this time, and to enjoin strict adherence thereto
fishermen. in the light of what it perceives to be a growing tendency on the part of litigants and lawyers to
have their applications for the so-called extraordinary writs, and sometimes even their appeals,
The primary interest of the first set of petitioners is, of course, to prevent the prosecution, trial passed upon and adjudicated directly and immediately by the highest tribunal of the land . . . .
and determination of the criminal cases until the constitutionality or legality of the Ordinances
they allegedly violated shall have been resolved. The second set of petitioners merely claim that In Santiago v. Vasquez, 14 this Court forcefully expressed that the propensity of litigants and
being fishermen or marine merchants, they would be adversely affected by the ordinances. lawyers to disregard the hierarchy of courts must be put to a halt, not only because of the
imposition upon the precious time of this Court, but also because of the inevitable and resultant
As to the first set of petitioners, this special civil for certiorari must fail on the ground of delay, intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or
prematurity amounting to a lack of cause of action. There is no showing that said petitioners, as referred to the lower court, the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped
the accused in the criminal cases, have filed motions to quash the informations therein and that to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We reiterated "the judicial policy that
the same were denied. The ground available for such motions is that the facts charged therein this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the
do not constitute an offense because the ordinances in question are unconstitutional. 6 It cannot appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a
then be said that the lower courts acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of remedy within and calling for the exercise of [its] primary jurisdiction."
discretion to justify recourse to the extraordinary remedy of certiorari or prohibition. It must
further be stressed that even if petitioners did file motions to quash, the denial thereof would not III
forthwith give rise to a cause of action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The general rule is
that where a motion to quash is denied, the remedy therefrom is not certiorari, but for the party Notwithstanding the foregoing procedural obstacles against the first set of petitioners, we opt to
aggrieved thereby to go to trial prejudice to reiterating special defenses involved in said motion, resolve this case on its merits considering that the life-time of the challenged Ordinances is
and if, after trial on the merits an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the about to end. Ordinance No. 15-92 of the City of Puerto Princesa is effective only up to 1
manner authorized by law. 7 And, even where in an exceptional circumstance such denial may January 1998, while Ordinance No. 2 of the Province of Palawan, enacted on 19 February 1993,
be the subject of a special civil action for certiorari, a motion for reconsideration must have to be is effective for only five (5) years. Besides, these Ordinances were undoubtedly enacted in the
filed to allow the court concerned an opportunity to correct its errors, unless such motion may be exercise of powers under the new LGC relative to the protection and preservation of the
dispensed with because of existing exceptional circumstances. 8 Finally, even if a motion for environment and are thus novel and of paramount importance. No further delay then may be
reconsideration has been filed and denied, the remedy under Rule 65 is still unavailable absent allowed in the resolution of the issues raised.
any showing of the grounds provided for in Section 1 thereof. 9 For obvious reasons, the petition
at bar does not, and could not have, alleged any of such grounds. It is of course settled that laws (including ordinances enacted by local government units) enjoy
the presumption of constitutionality. 15 To overthrow this presumption, there must be a clear and
As to the second set of petitioners, the instant petition is obviously one for DECLARATORY unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative contradiction. In
RELIEF, i.e., for a declaration that the Ordinances in question are a "nullity . . . for being short, the conflict with the Constitution must be shown beyond reasonable doubt. 16 Where
unconstitutional." 10 As such, their petition must likewise fail, as this Court is not possessed of doubt exists, even if well-founded, there can be no finding of unconstitutionality. To doubt is to
original jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief even if only questions of law are involved, sustain. 17
11 it being settled that the Court merely exercises appellate jurisdiction over such petitions. 12
After a scrutiny of the challenged Ordinances and the provisions of the Constitution petitioners
II claim to have been violated, we find petitioners' contentions baseless and so hold that the
former do not suffer from any infirmity, both under the Constitution and applicable laws.
Even granting arguendo that the first set of petitioners have a cause of action ripe for the
extraordinary writ of certiorari, there is here a clear disregard of the hierarchy of courts, and no Petitioners specifically point to Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7, Article XIII of the
special and important reason or exceptional and compelling circumstance has been adduced Constitution as having been transgressed by the Ordinances.
55

That duly registered organizations and cooperatives of marginal fishermen shall have the
The pertinent portion of Section 2 of Article XII reads: preferential right to such fishery privileges . . .

SEC. 2. . . . In a Joint Administrative Order No. 3 dated 25 April 1996, the Secretary of the Department of
Agriculture and the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government prescribed
The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and guidelines concerning the preferential treatment of small fisherfolk relative to the fishery right
exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. mentioned in Section 149. This case, however, does not involve such fishery right.

The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, Anent Section 7 of Article XIII, it speaks not only of the use of communal marine and fishing
as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in resources, but of their protection, development and conservation. As hereafter shown, the
rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons. ordinances in question are meant precisely to protect and conserve our marine resources to the
end that their enjoyment may be guaranteed not only for the present generation, but also for the
Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII provide: generations to come.

SEC. 2. The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic The so-called "preferential right" of subsistence or marginal fishermen to the use of marine
opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance. resources is not at all absolute. In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine resources
belong to the State, and, pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII of the
xxx xxx xxx Constitution, their "exploration, development and utilization . . . shall be under the full control and
supervision of the State." Moreover, their mandated protection, development and conservation
SEC. 7. The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local as necessarily recognized by the framers of the Constitution, imply certain restrictions on
communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland whatever right of enjoyment there may be in favor of anyone. Thus, as to the curtailment of the
and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and preferential treatment of marginal fishermen, the following exchange between Commissioner
research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The Francisco Rodrigo and Commissioner Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr., took place as the plenary session
State shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to of the Constitutional Commission: prll
offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fisherworkers shall
receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources. MR. RODRIGO:

There is absolutely no showing that any of the petitioners qualifies as a subsistence or marginal Let us discuss the implementation of this because I would not raise the hopes of our people, and
fisherman. In their petition, petitioner Airline Shippers Association of Palawan is self-described afterwards fail in the implementation. How will this be implemented? Will there be a licensing or
as "a private association composed of Marine Merchants;" petitioners Robert Lim and Virginia giving of permits so that government officials will know that one is really a marginal fisherman?
Lim, as "merchants;" while the rest of the petitioners claim to be "fishermen," without any Or if policeman say that a person is not a marginal fisherman, he can show his permit, to prove
qualification, however, as to their status. that indeed he is one.

Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of the terms "subsistence" or MR. BENGZON:
"marginal" fishermen, 18 they should be construed in their general and ordinary sense. A
marginal fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing whose margin of return or reward in his Certainly, there will be some mode of licensing insofar as this is concerned and this particular
harvest of fish as measured by existing price levels is barely sufficient to yield a profit or cover question could be tackled when we discuss the Article on Local Governments — whether we will
the cost of gathering the fish, 19 while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch yields but leave to the local governments or to Congress on how these things will be implemented. But
the irreducible minimum for his livelihood. 20 Section 131(p) of the LGC (R.A. No. 7160) defines certainly, I think our congressmen and our local officials will not be bereft of ideas on how to
a marginal farmer or fisherman as "an individual engaged in subsistence farming or fishing implement this mandate.
which shall be limited to the sale, barter or exchange of agricultural or marine products produced
by himself and his immediate family." It bears repeating that nothing in the record supports a xxx xxx xxx
finding that any petitioner falls within these definitions.
MR. RODRIGO:
Besides, Section 2 of Article XII aims primarily not to bestow any right to subsistence fishermen,
but to lay stress on the duty of the State to protect the nation's marine wealth. What the So, once one is licensed as a marginal fisherman, he can go anywhere in the Philippines and
provision merely recognizes is that the State may allow, by law, cooperative fish farming, with fish in any fishing grounds.
priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays and lagoons. Our survey
of the statute books reveals that the only provision of law which speaks of a preferential right of MR. BENGZON:
marginal fishermen is Section 149 of the LGC, which pertinently provides:
Subject to whatever rules and regulations and local laws that may be passed, may be existing or
SEC. 149. Fishery Rentals, Fees and Charges. — . . . will be passed. 21 (emphasis supplied)

(b) The sangguniang bayan may: What must likewise be borne in mind is the state policy enshrined in the Constitution regarding
the duty of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful
(1) Grant fishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or bangus ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. 22 On this score, in Oposa v.
fry areas, within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by it: Provided, however, Factoran, 23 this Court declared:
56

Devolution refers to the act by which the National Government confers power and authority upon
While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of the various local government units to perform specific functions and responsibilities. 29
Principles the State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less
important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs One of the devolved powers enumerated in the section of the LGC on devolution is the
to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters including the conservation of mangroves. 30
self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — the advancement of which This necessarily includes the enactment of ordinances to effectively carry out such fishery laws
may even be said to prodate all governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic within the municipal waters.
rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they assumed to exist from the inception of
humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the The term "municipal waters," in turn, includes not only streams, lakes, and tidal waters within the
well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to municipality, not being the subject of private ownership and not comprised within the national
health are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their parks, public forest, timber lands, forest reserves, or fishery reserves, but also marine waters
continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and included between two lines drawn perpendicularly to the general coastline from points where the
protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not boundary lines of the municipality or city touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with
only for the present generation, but also for those to come — generations which stand to inherit the general coastline and fifteen kilometers from it. 31 Under P.D. No. 704, the marine waters
nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life. included in municipal waters is limited to three nautical miles from the general coastline using
the above perpendicular lines and a third parallel line.
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it a correlative duty to refrain from
impairing the environment . . . These "fishery laws" which local government units may enforce under Section 17(b) (2) (i) in
municipal waters include: (1) P.D. No. 704; (2) P.D. No. 1015 which, inter alia, authorizes the
The LGC provisions invoked by private respondents merely seek to give flesh and blood to the establishment of a "closed season" in any Philippine water if necessary for conservation or
right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. In fact, the General Welfare Clause, ecological purposes; (3) P.D. No. 1219 which provides for the exploration, exploitation, utilization
expressly mentions this right: and conservation of coral resources; (4) R.A. No. 5474, as amended by B.P. Blg. 58, which
makes it unlawful for any person, association or corporation to catch or cause to be caught, sell,
SEC. 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly offer to sell, purchase, or have in possession any of the fish specie called gobiidae or "ipon"
granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or during closed season; and (5) R.A. No. 6451 which prohibits and punishes electrofishing, as well
incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the as various issuances of the BFAR.
promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government
units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, To those specifically devolved insofar as the control and regulation of fishing in municipal waters
promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and the protection of its marine environment are concerned, must be added the following:
and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological
capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full 1. Issuance of permits to construct fish cages within municipal waters;
employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and
convenience of their inhabitants. (emphasis supplied). 2. Issuance of permits to gather aquarium fishes within municipal waters;

Moreover, Section 5(c) of the LGC explicitly mandates that the general welfare provisions of the 3. Issuance of permits to gather kapis shells within municipal waters;
LGC "shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to the local government units in
accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people of the 4. Issuance of permits to gather/culture shelled mollusks within municipal waters;
community."
5. Issuance of licenses to establish seaweed farms within municipal waters;
The LGC vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters and
impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of 6. Issuance of licenses to establish culture pearls within municipal waters;
explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious
methods of fishing; and to prosecute any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. 24 7. Issuance of auxiliary invoice to transport fish and fishery products; and
Further, the sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang panlungsod and the sangguniang
panlalawigan are directed to enact ordinances for the general welfare of the municipality and its 8. Establishment of "closed season" in municipal waters.
inhabitants, which shall include, inter alia, ordinances that "[p]rotect the environment and impose
appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and These functions are covered in the Memorandum of Agreement of 5 April 1994 between the
other forms of destructive fishing . . . and such other activities which result in pollution, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government. LLpr
acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes, or of ecological imbalance." 25
In light then of the principles of decentralization and devolution enshrined in the LGC and the
Finally, the centerpiece of LGC is the system of decentralization 26 as expressly mandated by powers granted therein to local government units under Section 16 (the General Welfare
the Constitution. 27 Indispensable to decentralization is devolution and the LGC expressly Clause), and under Sections 149, 447(a) (1) (vi), 458(a)(1)(vi) and 468(a)(1)(vi), which
provides that "[a]ny provision on a power of a local government unit shall be liberally interpreted unquestionably involve the exercise of police power, the validity of the questioned Ordinances
in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of cannot be doubted.
powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the
existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned." 28 Parenthetically, we wish to add that these Ordinances find full support under R.A. No. 7611,
otherwise known as the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, approved on 19
57

June 1992. This statute adopts a "comprehensive framework for the sustainable development of
Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered As to Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993, issued by Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero of the
environment of the province," which "shall serve to guide the local government of Palawan and City of Puerto Princesa, we find nothing therein violative of any constitutional or statutory
the government agencies concerned in the formulation and implementation of plans, programs provision. The Order refers to the implementation of the challenged ordinance and is not the
and projects affecting said province." 32 Mayor's Permit.

At this time then, it would be appropriate to determine the relation between the assailed The dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo relies upon the lack of authority on the
Ordinances and the aforesaid powers of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto part of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa to enact Ordinance No. 15, Series of
Princesa and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Palawan to protect the 1992, on the theory that the subject thereof is within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the
environment. To begin, we ascertain the purpose of the Ordinances as set forth in the statement Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under P.D. No. 704, otherwise known as the
of purposes or declaration of policies quoted earlier. Fisheries Decree of 1975; and that, in any event, the Ordinance is unenforceable for lack of
approval by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), likewise in
It is clear to the Court that both Ordinances have two principal objectives or purposes: (1) to accordance with P.D. No. 704.
establish a "closed season" for the species of fish or aquatic animals covered therein for a
period of five years; and (2) to protect the coral in the marine waters of the City of Puerto The majority is unable to accommodate this view. The jurisdiction and responsibility of the BFAR
Princesa and the Province of Palawan from further destruction due to illegal fishing activities. under P.D. No. 704, over the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization
and disposition of all fishery and aquatic resources of the country is not all encompassing. First,
The accomplishment of the first objective is well within the devolved power to enforce fishery Section 4 thereof excludes from such jurisdiction and responsibility municipal waters, which shall
laws in municipal waters, such as P.D. No. 1015, which allows the establishment of "closed be under the municipal or city government concerned, except insofar as fishpens and seaweed
seasons." The devolution of such power has been expressly confirmed in the Memorandum of culture in municipal centers are concerned. This section provides, however, that all municipal or
Agreement of 5 April 1994 between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior city ordinances and resolutions affecting fishing and fisheries and any disposition thereunder
and Local Government. shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources for appropriate
action and shall have full force and effect only upon his approval. 42
The realization of the second objective clearly falls within both the general welfare clause of the
LGC and the express mandate thereunder to cities and provinces to protect the environment and Second, it must at once be pointed out that the BFAR is no longer under the Department of
impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment. 33 Natural Resources (now Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Executive Order
No. 967 of 30 June 1984 transferred the BFAR from the control and supervision of the Minister
The destruction of coral reefs results in serious, if not irreparable, ecological imbalance, for coral (formerly Secretary) of Natural Resources to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) and
reefs are among nature's life-support systems. 34 They collect, retain and recycle nutrients for converted it into a mere staff agency thereof, integrating its functions with the regional offices of
adjacent nearshore areas such as mangroves, seagrass beds, and reef flats; provide food for the MAF.
marine plants and animals; and serve as a protective shelter for aquatic organisms. 35 It is said
that "[e]cologically, the reefs are to the oceans what forests are to continents: they are shelter In Executive Order No. 116 of 30 January 1987, which reorganized the MAF, the BFAR was
and breeding grounds for fish and plant species that will disappear without them. 36 retained as an attached agency of the MAF. And under the Administrative Code of 1987, 43 the
BFAR is placed under the Title concerning the Department of Agriculture. 44
The prohibition against catching live fish stems, in part, from the modern phenomenon of live-
fish trade which entails the catching of so-called exotic species of tropical fish, not only for Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the challenged Ordinance of the City of Puerto Princesa is
aquarium use in the West, but also for "the market for live banquet fish [which] is virtually invalid or unenforceable because it was not approved by the Secretary of the DENR. If at all, the
insatiable in ever more affluent Asia. 37 These exotic species are coral-dwellers, and fishermen approval that should be sought would be that of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
catch them by "diving in shallow water with corraline habitats and squirting sodium cyanide However, the requirement of approval by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (not
poison at passing fish directly or onto coral crevices; once affected the fish are immobilized DENR) of municipal ordinances affecting fishing and fisheries in municipal waters has been
[merely stunned] and then scooped by hand." 38 The diver then surfaces and dumps his catch dispensed with in view of the following reasons:
into a submerged net attached to the skiff. Twenty minutes later, the fish can swim normally.
Back on shore, they are placed in holding pens, and within a few weeks, they expel the cyanide (1) Section 534 (Repealing Clause) of the LGC expressly repeals or amends Section 16 and 29
from their system and are ready to be hauled. They are then placed in saltwater tanks or of P.D. No. 704 45 45a insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of the LGC.
packaged in plastic bags filled with seawater for shipment by air freight to major markets for live
food fish. 39 While the fish are meant to survive, the opposite holds true for their former home as (2) As discussed earlier, under the general welfare clause of the LGC, local government units
"[a]fter the fisherman squirts the cyanide, the first thing to perish is the reef algae, on which fish have the power, inter alia, to enact ordinances to enhance the right of the people to a balanced
feed. Days later, the living coral starts to expire. Soon the reef loses its function as habitat for the ecology. It likewise specifically vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in
fish, which eat both the algae and invertebrates that cling to the coral. The reef becomes an municipal waters, and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; the penalize, by appropriate
underwater graveyard, its skeletal remains brittle, bleached of all color and vulnerable to erosion ordinances, the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, electricity, muro-ami, and
from the pounding of the waves." 40 It has been found that cyanide fishing kills most hard and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to prosecute any violation of the provisions of
soft corals within three months of repeated application. 41 applicable fishery laws. 46 Finally, it imposes upon the sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang
panlungsod, and the sangguniang panlalawigan the duty to enact ordinances to "[p]rotect the
The nexus then between the activities barred by Ordinance No. 15-92 of the City of Puerto environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as
Princesa and the prohibited acts provided in Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993 of the Province of dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing . . . and such other activities which result
Palawan, on one hand, and the use of sodium cyanide, on the other, is painfully obvious. In sum, in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes or of ecological imbalance." 47
the public purpose and reasonableness of the Ordinances may not then be controverted.
58

In closing, we commend the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto Princesa and FIRST DIVISION
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Palawan for exercising the requisite political will to
enact urgently needed legislation to protect and enhance the marine environment, thereby [G.R. No. L-7708. May 30, 1955.]
sharing in the herculean task of arresting the tide of ecological destruction. We hope that other
local government units shall now be roused from their lethargy and adopt a more vigilant stand JOSE MONDANO, petitioner, vs. FERNANDO SILVOSA, Provincial Governor of Surigao, JOSE
in the battle against the decimation of our legacy to future generations. At this time, the ARREZA and OLIMPIO EPIS, Members of the Provincial Board, respondents.
repercussions of any further delay in their response may prove disastrous, if not, irreversible. cdll
D. Avila and C. H. Lozada for petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the temporary restraining
order issued on 11 November 1993 is LIFTED. Olimpio R. Epis in his own behalf and for his co-respondents.

No pronouncement as to costs: SYLLABUS

SO ORDERED. 1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; DEPARTMENT HEAD AS AGENT OF THE PRESIDENT HAS


DIRECT CONTROL ONLY OVER BUREAUS AND OFFICES UNDER HIS JURISDICTION BUT
Narvasa, C .J ., Padilla, Vitug, Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ ., concur. NOT OVER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. — The department head as agent of the President has
direct control and supervision over all bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction as provided for
Romero, J ., I join the ponencias of Justices Davide and Mendoza. in section 79(c) of the Revised Administrative Code, but he does not have the same control of
local governments as that exercised by him over bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction.
Melo, J ., I join the ponencias of Justices Davide and Mendoza. Likewise, his authority to order the investigation of any act or conduct of any person in the
person in the service of any bureau of office under his department is confined to bureaus under
Puno, J ., I join JJ. Davide & Mendoza. his jurisdiction and does not extend to local governments over the President exercises only
general supervision as may be provided by law (section 10, paragraph 1, Article VII of the
Francisco, J ., I join the ponencia of Justice Davide and the concurring opinion of Justice Constitution). If the provisions of section 79(c) of the Revised Administrative Code are to be
Mendoza. construed as conferring upon the corresponding department head direct control, direction, and
supervision over all local governments and that for that reason he may order the investigation of
Regalado, J ., is on official leave. an official of a local government for malfeasance in office, such interpretation would be contrary
to the provisions of paragraph 1, section 10, article VII, of the Constitution.
||| (Tano v. Socrates, G.R. No. 110249, [August 21, 1997], 343 PHIL 670-734)
2. ID.; ID.; CONTROL AND SUPERVISION, DISTINGUISH. — In administrative law supervision
means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform
their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as
prescribed by law to make them perform these duties. Control, on the other hand, means the
power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in
the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.

3. ID.; ID.; SCOPE OF SUPERVISION OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OVER MUNICIPAL


OFFICIALS; INSTANCE WHERE INVESTIGATION OF PROVINCIAL BOARD IS ILLEGAL. —
The provincial supervision over municipal officials is lodged in the provincial governor who is
authorized to "receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for
neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or order from of maladministration of office, and
conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude." (Section 2188, Revised
Administrative Code). If the charges are serious he shall refer the matter to the provincial board
and "may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by
the board, if in his opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in
question." (Ibid.) But where, as in the present case, the municipal officer was charged with rape
and concubinage which have nothing to do with the performance of his duties as mayor of the
municipality nor do they constitute or involve neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or any other
form of maladministration of office, as provided for in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative
Code, the investigation of such charges by the provincial board is unauthorized and illegal.
Hence, his suspension as mayor of the municipality is unlawful and without authority of law.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUISITE BEFORE CHARGES OF RAPE AND CONCUBINAGE MAY BE
FILED AND TRIED BY PROVINCIAL BOARD. — It is true that the charges of rape and
concubinage may involve moral turpitude of which a municipal official may be proceeded against
in accordance with the provisions of section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code but before
the provincial governor and board may act proceed against the municipal official, a conviction by
59

final judgment must precede the filing by the provincial governor of the charges and trial by the office under his department is confined to bureaus or offices under his jurisdiction and does not
provincial board. Even the provincial fiscal cannot file an information for rape without a sworn extend to local governments over which, as already stated, the President exercises only general
complaint of the offended party and the crime of concubinage cannot be prosecuted but upon a supervision as may be provided by law. If the provisions of section 79 (c) of the Revised
sworn complaint of the offended spouse (Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code). Administrative Code are to be construed as conferring upon the corresponding department head
direct control, direction, and supervision over all local governments and that for that reason he
DECISION may order the investigation of an official of a local government for malfeasance in office, such
interpretation would be contrary to the provisions of paragraph 1, section 10, Article VII, of the
PADILLA, J p: Constitution. If "general supervision over all local governments" is to be construed as the same
power granted to the Department Head in section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code,
The petitioner is the duly elected and qualified mayor of the municipality of Mainit, province of then there would no longer be a distinction or difference between the power of control and that of
Surigao. On 27 February 1954 Consolacion Vda. de Mosende filed a sworn complaint with the supervision. In administrative law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an
Presidential Complaints and Action Committee accusing him of (1) rape committed on her officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill
daughter Caridad Mosende; and (2) concubinage for cohabiting with her daughter in a place them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their
other than the conjugal dwelling. On 6 March the Assistant Executive Secretary indorsed the duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or
complaint to the respondent provincial governor for immediate investigation, appropriate action set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute
and report. On 10 April the petitioner appeared before the provincial governor in obedience to the judgment of the former for that of the latter. Such is the import of the provisions of section 79
his summons and was served with a copy of the complaint filed by the provincial governor with (c) of the Revised Administrative Code and 37 of Act No. 4007. The Congress has expressly and
the provincial board. On the same day, the provincial governor issued Administrative Order No. specifically lodged the provincial supervision over municipal officials in the provincial governor
8 suspending the petitioner from office. Thereafter, the Provincial Board proceeded to hear the who is authorized to "receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal
charges preferred against the petitioner over his objection. officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of office,
and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude." 2 And if the charges are
The petitioner prays for a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to enjoin the respondents serious, "he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a
from further proceeding with the hearing of the administrative case against him and for a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such
declaration that the order of suspension issued by the respondent provincial governor is illegal case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his
and without legal effect. opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question." 3 Section 86 of
the Revised Administrative Code adds nothing to the power of supervision to be exercised by
On 4 May 1954 the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for was issued after the filing and the Department Head over the administration of . . . municipalities . . . If it be construed that it
approval of a bond for P500. does and such additional power is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by
section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, then such additional power must be deemed
The answer of the respondents admits the facts alleged in the petition except those that are to have been abrogated by section 10(1), Article VII, of the Constitution.
inferences and conclusions of law and invokes the provisions of section 79 (c) of the Revised
Administrative Code which clothes the department head with "direct control, direction, and
supervision over all bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction . . ." and to that end "may order the
investigation of any act or conduct of any person in the service of any bureau or office under his In Lacson vs. Roque, 49 Off. Gaz. 93, this Court held that the power of the President to remove
Department and in connection therewith may appoint a committee or designate an official or officials from office as provided for in section 64 (b) of the Revised Administrative Code must be
person who shall conduct such investigations; . . ." and the rule in the case of Villena vs. done "conformably to law;" and only for disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines he "may at
Secretary of Interior, 67 Phil. 451, which upheld "the power of the Secretary of Interior to any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the Government of the
conduct at its own initiative investigation of charges against local elective municipal officials and (Philippine Islands) Philippines." Again, this power of removal must be exercised conformably to
to suspend them preventively," on the board proposition "that under the presidential type of law.
government which we have adopted and considering the departmental organization established
and continued in force by paragraph 1, section 11, Article VII, of our Constitution, all executive In the indorsement to the provincial governor the Assistant Executive Secretary requested
and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Departments, the heads of the immediate investigation, appropriate action and report on the complaint indorsed to him, and
various executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive." called his attention to section 2193 of the Revised Administrative Code which provides for the
institution of judicial proceedings by the provincial fiscal upon direction of the provincial
The executive departments of the Government of the Philippines created and organized before governor. If the indorsement of the Assistant Executive Secretary be taken as a designation of
the approval of the Constitution continued to exist as "authorized by law until the Congress shall the provincial governor to investigate the petitioner, then he would only be acting as agent of the
provide otherwise." 1 Section 10, paragraph 1, Article VII, of the Constitution provides: "The Executive, but the investigation to be conducted by him would not be that which is provided for in
President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise sections 2188, 2189 and 2190 of the Revised Administrative Code. The charges preferred
general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that against the respondent are not malfeasances or any of those enumerated or specified in section
the laws be faithfully executed." Under this constitutional provision the President has been 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, because rape and concubinage have nothing to do
invested with the power of control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, but not of with the performance of his duties as mayor nor do they constitute or involve "neglect of duty,
all local governments over which he has been granted only the power of general supervision as oppression, corruption or any other form of maladministration of office." True, they may involve
may be provided by law. The Department head as agent of the President has direct control and moral turpitude, but before the provincial governor and board may act and proceed in
supervision over all bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction as provided for in section 79(c) of accordance with the provisions of the Revised Administrative Code referred to, a conviction by
the Revised Administrative Code, but he does not have the same control of local governments final judgment must precede the filing by the provincial governor of charges and trial by the
as that exercised by him over bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction. Likewise, his authority provincial board. Even the provincial fiscal cannot file an information for rape without a sworn
to order the investigation of any act or conduct of any person in the service of any bureau or complaint of the offended party who is 28 years of age and the crime of concubinage cannot be
60

prosecuted but upon a sworn complaint of the offended spouse. 4 The charges preferred against
the petitioner, municipal mayor of Mainit, province of Surigao, not being those or any of those
specified in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, the investigation of such charges
by the provincial board is unauthorized and illegal. The suspension of the petitioner as mayor of
the municipality of Mainit is, consequently, unlawful and without authority of law.

The writ of prohibition prayed for is granted, without pronouncement as to costs.

Pablo, Acting C.J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion
and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.

||| (Mondano v. Silvosa, G.R. No. L-7708, [May 30, 1955], 97 PHIL 143-150)