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Submitted to:
Atty. Rodolfo F. Lapid

Submitted by:
Rachel Andrelee I. Acal

Case no. 1
Torio v. Fontanilla
G.R. No. L-29993, Oct. 23, 1978

The Municipal Council of Malasiqui organized the “1959 Malasiqui ‘Town Fiesta
Executive Committee” was created, which, in turn, organized a sub-committee on
entertainment and stage. A “zarzuela” troupe, of which Vicente Fontanilla was a member,
arrived for their performance on January 22. During the “zarzuela”, the stage collapsed
and Fontanilla was pinned underneath. He was immediately hospitalized, but died the
following day. Fontanilla’s heirs filed a complaint to recover damages against the
Municipality of Malasiqui, its Municipal Council and all the Council’s individual members.
The municipality invoked inter alia the defense that as a legally and duly organized public
corporation it performs sovereign functions and the holding of a town fiesta was an
exercise of its governmental functions from which no liability can arise to answer for the
negligence of any of its agents. The councilors maintained that they merely acted as the
municipality’s agents in carrying out the municipal ordinance and as such they are
likewise not liable for damages as the undertaking was not one for profit; furthermore,
they had exercised due care and diligence in implementing the municipal ordinance. After
trial, the RTC dismisses the complaint, concluding that the Executive Committee had
exercised due diligence and care in selecting a competent man for the construction of the
stage, and the collapse was due to forces beyond the control of the committee.
Consequently, the defendants were not liable for the death of Vicente Fontanilla. Upon
appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and ordered all the
defendants-appellees to pay jointly and severally the heirs of Vicente Fontanilla the sums
of P12,000.00 by way of moral and actual damages: P1200.00 its attorney’s fees; and the

Whether or not the Municipality of Malasiqui may be held liable.

YES, the Municipality of Malasiqui may be held liable. Municipalities are political
bodies endowed with the faculties of municipal corporations to be exercised by and
through their respective municipal governments in conformity with law, and in their proper
corporate name, they may inter alia sue and be sued, and contract and be contracted
with. The powers of a municipality are two-fold in character: public, governmental or
political on the one hand; and corporate, private, or proprietary on the other.
Governmental powers are those exercised by the corporation in administering the powers
of the state and promoting the public welfare. These include the legislative, judicial public,
and political. Municipal powers, on the other hand, are exercised for the special benefit
and advantage of the community. If the injury is caused in the course of the performance
of a governmental function/duty, no recovery can be had from the municipality unless
there is an existing statute on the matter, nor from its officers, so long as they performed


their duties honestly and in good faith or that they did not act wantonly and maliciously.
With respect to proprietary functions, the settled rule is that a municipal corporation can
be held liable to third persons ex contract or ex delicto.


Case no. 2
Macasiano v. Diokno
G.R. No. 97764, August 10, 1992

The Municipality of Paranque passed an ordinance that authorized the closure of
J. Gabriel, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena Streets located at
Baclaran, Paranaque Metro Manila and the establishment of a flea market thereon.
Thereafter, the municipal council of Paranaque issued a resolution authorizing Paranaque
Mayor Walfrido N. Ferrer to enter into a contract with any service cooperative for the
establishment, operation, maintenance and management of flea markets and/or vending
areas. By virtue of this, respondent municipality and respondent Palanyag, a service
cooperative, entered into an agreement whereby the latter shall operate, maintain and
manage the flea market in the aforementioned streets with the obligation to remit dues to
the treasury of the municipal government of Paranaque. Consequently, market stalls were
put up by Palanyag on the said streets. Petitioner Macasiano, PNP Superintendent of the
Metropolitan Traffic Command, then ordered the destruction and confiscation of the stalls
along the abovementioned streets. Hence, respondents filed with the trial court a joint
petition for prohibition and mandamus with damages and prayer for preliminary injunction,
to which the petitioner filed his opposition to the issuance of the writ of preliminary
injunction. The trial court upheld the validity of the ordinance in question.

Whether or not an ordinance or resolution which authorizes the lease and use of
public streets or thoroughfares as sites for flea markets is valid.

No, it’s not valid. The aforementioned streets are local roads used for public
service and are therefore considered public properties of respondent municipality. Article
424 of the Civil Code provides that properties of public dominion devoted for public use
and made available to the public in general are outside the commerce of man and cannot
be disposed of or leased by the local government unit to private persons. Properties of
the local government which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are
under the absolute control of Congress. Hence, LGUs have no authority whatsoever to
control or regulate the use of public properties unless specific authority is vested upon
them by Congress.


Case no. 3
Balacuit v. CFI
G.R. No. L-38429, June 30, 1988

The municipal board of the City of Butuan passed Ordinance No. 640 which
penalized any person, entity, or corporation engaged in the business of selling tickets to
any movie or other public exhibitions, who shall require to pay full payment of tickets
intended for adults but should charge only one-half of said ticket. The ordinance also
provides for a penalty by fine and imprisonment. Petitioners are the aggrieved party by
the effect of the ordinance as they were the managers of the different theaters in the city.

Whether or not the police power to regulate include the authority to interfere in the
fixing of prices of admission to these places of exhibition and amusement.

No, it does not include such. While it is true that a business may be regulated, it is
equally true that such regulation must be within the bounds of reason, that is, the
regulatory ordinance must be reasonable and its provisions cannot be oppressive
amounting to an arbitrary interference with the business or calling subject of regulation.
A lawful business or calling may not, under the guise of regulation, be unreasonably
interfered with even by the exercise of police power. A police measure for the regulation
of the conduct, control and operation of a business should not encroach upon the
legitimate and lawful exercise by the citizens of their property rights. Hence, the
proprietors of a theater have a right to manage their property in their own way, to fix what
prices of admission they think most for their own advantage, and that any person who did
not approve could stay away.


Case no. 4
G.R. No. 73155, July 11, 1986

This case was prompted by the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 885, An Act
Creating a New Province in the Island of Negros to be known as the Province of Negros
del Norte, effective Dec. 3, 1985. Pursuant to and in implementation of this law, the
COMELEC scheduled a plebiscite for January 3, 1986. Petitioners opposed, filing a case
for Prohibition and contending that the B.P. 885 is unconstitutional and not in complete
accord with the Local Government Code because the voters of the parent province of
Negros Occidental, other than those living within the territory of the new province of
Negros del Norte, were not included in the plebiscite, and the area which would comprise
the new province of Negros del Norte would only be about 2,856.56 sq. km., which is
lesser than the minimum area prescribed by the governing statute, Sec. 197 of LGC.

Whether or not the plebiscite was legal and complied with the constitutional
requisites of the law.

No, it did not comply with the constitutional requisites. Whenever a province is
created, divided or merged and there is substantial alteration of the boundaries, “the
approval of a majority of votes in the plebiscite in the unit or units affected” must first be
obtained. The creation of the proposed new province of Negros del Norte will necessarily
result in the division and alteration of the existing boundaries of Negros Occidental (parent
province). Plain and simple logic will demonstrate that two political units would be
affected. The first would be the parent province of Negros Occidental because its
boundaries would be substantially altered. The other affected entity would be composed
of those in the area subtracted from the mother province to constitute the proposed
province of Negros del Norte. Paredes vs. Executive (G.R. No. 55628) should not be
taken as a doctrinal or compelling precedent. Rather, the dissenting view of Justice Abad
Santos is applicable, to wit: “…when the Constitution speaks of “the unit or units affected”
it means all of the people of the municipality if the municipality is to be divided such as in
the case at bar or of the people of two or more municipalities if there be a merger.” The
remaining portion of the parent province is as much an area affected. The substantial
alteration of the boundaries of the parent province, not to mention the adverse economic
effects it might suffer, eloquently argue the points raised by the petitioners.” The SC
pronounced that the plebiscite has no legal effect for being a patent nullity.


Case no. 5
Padilla v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 103328, October 19, 1992

Republic Act No. 7155 creates the Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa in the Province
of Camarines Norte to be composed of Barangays Tulay-Na-Lupa, Lugui, San Antonio,
Mabilo I, Napaod, Benit, Bayan-Bayan, Matanlang, Pag-Asa, Maot, and Calabasa, all in
the Municipality of Labo, same province. Pursuant to said law, the COMELEC issued a
resolution for the conduct of a plebiscite. The said resolution provides that the plebiscite
shall be held in the areas or units affected, namely the barangays comprising he proposed
Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa and the remaining areas of the mother Municipality of
Labo, Camarines Norte. In the plebiscite held throughout the Municipality of Labo,
majority of the votes cast were against the creation of the Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa.
Thus, petitioner as Governor of Camarines Norte, seeks to set aside the plebiscite
conducted throughout the Municipality of Labo and prays that a new plebiscite be
undertaken. It is the contention of petitioner that the plebiscite was a complete failure and
that the results obtained were invalid and illegal because the plebiscite, as mandated by
COMELEC, should have been conducted only in the political unit or units affected, i.e. the
12 barangays comprising the new Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa namely Tulay-Na-Lupa,
Lugui, San Antonio, Mabilo I, Napaod, Benit, Bayan-Bayan, Matanlang, Pag-Asa, Maot,
and Calabasa. Petitioner stresses that the plebiscite should not have included the
remaining area of the mother unit of the Municipality of Labo, Camarines Norte. In support
of his stand, petitioner argues that where a local unit is to be segregated from a parent
unit, only the voters of the unit to be segregated should be included in the plebiscite.

Whether or not plebiscite conducted in the areas comprising the proposed
Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa and the remaining areas of the mother Municipality of Labo
was valid.

No it was valid. When the law states that the plebiscite shall be conducted "in the
political units directly affected," it means that residents of the political entity who would be
economically dislocated by the separation of a portion thereof have a right to vote in said
plebiscite. Evidently, what is contemplated by the phase "political units directly affected,"
is the plurality of political units which would participate in the plebiscite. Logically, those
to be included in such political areas are the inhabitants of the 12 barangays of the
proposed Municipality of Tulay-Na-Lupa as well as those living in the parent Municipality
of Labo, Camarines Norte. Thus, it was concluded that respondent COMELEC did not
commit grave abuse of discretion in promulgating the resolution.


Case no. 6
Tatel v. Municipality of Virac
G.R. No. 40243, March 11, 1992

Residents of Sta. Elena complained about the disturbance caused by the operation
of the abaca bailing machine inside the warehouse of petitioner Celestino Tatel, a
businessman engaged in the import and export of abaca and other products, which
affected the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood due to the smoke, obnoxious odor
and dust emitted by the machine. The committee, organized by the Municipal council to
investigate the matter, noted the crowded nature of the neighborhood with narrow roads
and the surrounding residential houses, so much so that an accidental fire within the
warehouse of the petitioner occasioned by the continuance of the activity inside the
warehouse and the storing of inflammable materials tend to create a danger to the lives
and properties of the people within the neighborhood. Resultantly, Resolution No. 29 was
passed by the Municipal Council of Virac declaring the warehouse owned and operated
by petitioner a public nuisance within the purview of Article 694 of the New Civil Code. 2.
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration but such was denied, hence,
petitioner instituted a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction. Respondent
municipal officials contend that petitioner's warehouse was constructed in violation of
Ordinance No. 13, series of 1952, prohibiting the construction of warehouses near a block
of houses either in the poblacion or barrios without maintaining the necessary distance of
200 meters from said block of houses to avoid loss of lives and properties by accidental
fire. However, petitioner contends that said ordinance is unconstitutional, contrary to the
due process and equal protection clause of the Constitution and null and void for not
having been passed in accordance with law.

Whether or not Ordinance No. 13 of the Municipality of Virac was enacted in the
valid exercise of police power. 

Yes it was enacted in the valid exercise of police power. Ordinance No. 13, series
of 1952, was passed by the Municipal Council of Virac in the proper exercise of its police
power. It is a settled principle of law that municipal corporations are agencies of the State
for the promotion and maintenance of local self-government and as such are endowed
with the police powers in order to effectively accomplish and carry out the declared objects
of their creation. For an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the corporate
powers of the municipality to enact but must also be passed according to the procedure
prescribed by law, and must be in consonance with certain well established and basic
principles of a substantive nature. These principles require that a municipal ordinance (1)
must not contravene the Constitution or any statute (2) must not be unfair or oppressive
(3) must not be partial or discriminatory (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade (5)
must be general and consistent with public policy, and (6) must not be unreasonable.
Ordinance No. 13, Series of 1952, meets these criteria.


Case no. 7
The Solicitor General v. MMDA
G.R. No. 102782, December 11, 1991

On July 13, 1990, the Court held that the confiscation of the license plates of motor
vehicles for traffic violations was not among the sanctions that could be imposed by the
Metro Manila Commission under PD 1605 and was permitted only under the conditions
laid down by LOI 43 in the case of stalled vehicles obstructing the public streets. It was
there also observed that even the confiscation of driver's licenses for traffic violations was
not directly prescribed by the decree nor was it allowed by the decree to be imposed by
the Commission. No motion for reconsideration of that decision was submitted
(Metropolitan Traffic Command, West Traffic District vs. Hon. Arsenio M. Gonong). In a
letter dated October 17, 1990, Rodolfo A. Malapira complained to the Court that when he
was stopped for an alleged traffic violation, his driver's license was confiscated by Traffic
Enforcer Angel de los Reyes in Quezon City. Likewise, several letter-complaints were
received regarding removal of front license plate by E. Ramos of the Metropolitan Manila
Authority-Traffic Operations Center and the confiscation of his driver's license by Pat. A.V.
Emmanuel of the Metropolitan Police Command-Western Police District. On May 1990,
the Metropolitan Manila Authority issued Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, authorizing
itself "to detach the license plate/tow and impound attended/ unattended/ abandoned
motor vehicles illegally parked or obstructing the flow of traffic in Metro Manila.” On July
2, 1991, the Court issued the following resolution stating that the authority to detach
plate/tow and impound attended/unattended/abandoned motor vehicles illegally parked
or obstructing the flow of traffic in Metro Manila by the MMA appears to be in conflict with
the decision of the Court in the case abovementioned where it was held that the license
plates of motor vehicles may not be detached except only under the conditions prescribed
in LOI 43. MMA defended the said ordinance on the ground that it was adopted pursuant
to the powers conferred upon it by EO 392. It particularly cited Section 2 thereof vesting
in the Council (its governing body) the responsibility among others of: 1. Formulation of
policies on the delivery of basic services requiring coordination or consolidation for the
Authority; and 2. Promulgation of resolutions and other issuances of metropolitan wide
application, approval of a code of basic services requiring coordination, and exercise of
its rule-making powers. MMA argued that there was no conflict between the decision and
the ordinance because the latter was meant to supplement and not supplant the latter. It
stressed that the decision itself said that the confiscation of license plates was invalid in
the absence of a valid law or ordinance, which was why Ordinance No. 11 was enacted.
MMA sustains Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, under the specific authority conferred
upon it by EO 392, and while Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1988, is justified on the basis of
the General Welfare Clause embodied in the Local Government Code. Solicitor General
expressed the view that the ordinance was null and void because it represented an invalid
exercise of a delegated legislative power. The flaw in the measure was that it violated
existing law, specifically PD 1605, which does not permit, and so impliedly prohibits, the
removal of license plates and the confiscation of driver's licenses for traffic violations in
Metropolitan Manila.


Whether or not Ordinance No. 11 is valid.

No, it is not valid. The Court holds that there is a valid delegation of legislative
power to promulgate such measures, it appearing that the requisites of such delegation
are present. These requisites are. 1) the completeness of the statute making the
delegation; and 2) the presence of a sufficient standard. Under the first requirement, the
statute must leave the legislature complete in all its terms and provisions such that all the
delegate will have to do when the statute reaches it is to implement it. As a second
requirement, the enforcement may be effected only in accordance with a sufficient
standard, the function of which is to map out the boundaries of the delegate's authority
and thus "prevent the delegation from running riot.” The measures in question are
enactments of local governments acting only as agents of the national legislature.
Necessarily, the acts of these agents must reflect and conform to the will of their principal.
To test the validity of such acts in the specific case now before us, we apply the particular
requisites of a valid ordinance as laid down by the accepted principles governing
municipal corporations. According to Elliot, a municipal ordinance, to be valid: 1) must not
contravene the Constitution or any statute; 2) must not be unfair or oppressive; 3) must
not be partial or discriminatory; 4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; 5) must not
be unreasonable; and 6) must be general and consistent with public policy. A careful
study of the Gonong decision will show that the measures under consideration do not
pass the first criterion because they do not conform to existing law. The pertinent law is
PD 1605. PD 1605 does not allow either the removal of license plates or the confiscation
of driver's licenses for traffic violations committed in Metropolitan Manila. There is nothing
in the following provisions of the decree authorizing the Metropolitan Manila Commission
(and now the Metropolitan Manila Authority) to impose such sanctions. In fact, the above
provisions prohibit the imposition of such sanctions in Metropolitan Manila. The
Commission was allowed to "impose fines and otherwise discipline" traffic violators only
"in such amounts and under such penalties as are herein prescribed," that is, by the
decree itself. Nowhere is the removal of license plates directly imposed by the decree or
at least allowed by it to be imposed by the Commission. Notably, Section 5 thereof
expressly provides that "in case of traffic violations, the driver's license shall not be
confiscated." These restrictions are applicable to the Metropolitan Manila Authority and
all other local political subdivisions comprising Metropolitan Manila, including the
Municipality of Mandaluyong. It is for Congress to determine, in the exercise of its own
discretion, whether or not to impose such sanctions, either directly through a statute or
by simply delegating authority to this effect to the local governments in Metropolitan
Manila. Without such action, PD 1605 remains effective and continues prohibit the
confiscation of license plates of motor vehicles (except under the conditions prescribed
in LOI 43) and of driver licenses as well for traffic violations in Metropolitan Manila.


Case no. 8
Magtajas v. Pryce
G.R. No. 111097, July 20, 1994

PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. To this end,
it leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., renovated
and equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its casino there during the Christmas
season. Civic organizations angrily denounced the project. The religious elements
echoed the 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 the welfare of the city. The contention of the petitioners is that it is
violative of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City Ordinance No. 3353
prohibiting the use of buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93
prohibiting the operation of casinos. On the other hand, the respondents invoke P.D. 1869
which created PAGCOR to help centralize and regulate all games of chance, including
casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. The Court of
Appeals ruled in favor of the respondents. Hence, the petition for review.

Whether or not Ordinance No. 3353 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 are valid.

No, both are not valid. Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions,
is empowered to enact ordinances 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 follows: 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 incidental for
its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential 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 enrichment of culture,
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 capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and
social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order,
and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants. There is a requirement
that the ordinances should not contravene a statute. Municipal governments are only
agents of the national government. Local councils exercise only delegated legislative
powers conferred on them by Congress as the national lawmaking body. 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, from
which they have derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the
mandate of the statute. Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the
status of a statute that cannot be amended or nullified by a mere ordinance.


Case no. 9
Binary v. Domingo
G.R. No. 92389, September 11, 1991

Petitioner Municipality of Makati, through its Council, approved Resolution No. 60
which extends P500 burial assistance to bereaved families whose gross family income
does not exceed P2,000.00 a month. The funds are to be taken out of the unappropriated
available funds in the municipal treasury. The Metro Manila Commission approved the
resolution. Thereafter, the municipal secretary certified a disbursement of P400,000.00
for the implementation of the program. However, the Commission on Audit disapproved
said resolution and the disbursement of funds for the implementation thereof for the
following reasons: (1) the resolution has no connection to alleged public safety, general
welfare, safety, etc. of the inhabitants of Makati; (2) government funds must be disbursed
for public purposes only; and, (3) it violates the equal protection clause since it will only
benefit a few individuals.

Whether or not Resolution No. 60 is a valid exercise of the police power under the
general welfare clause.

Yes, it is a valid exercise of the police power under the general welfare clause. The
police power is a governmental function, an inherent attribute of sovereignty, which was
born with civilized government. It is founded largely on the maxims, "Sic utere tuo et
ahenum non laedas and "Salus populi est suprema lex. Its fundamental purpose is
securing the general welfare, comfort and convenience of the people. Police power is
inherent in the state but not in municipal corporations. Before a municipal corporation may
exercise such power, there must be a valid delegation of such power by the legislature
which is the repository of the inherent powers of the State. Municipal governments
exercise this power under the general welfare clause. Pursuant thereto they are clothed
with authority to "enact such ordinances and issue such regulations as may be necessary
to carry out and discharge the responsibilities conferred upon it by law, and such as shall
be necessary and proper to provide for the health, safety, comfort and convenience,
maintain peace and order, improve public morals, promote the prosperity and general
welfare of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and insure the protection of
property therein.


Case no. 10
Villacorta v. Bernardo
G.R. No. L-31249, August 19, 1986

A petition for certiorari was raised against a decision of the Court of First Instance
of Pangasinan annulling an ordinance adopted by the municipal board of Dagupan City.
Ordinance 22, that sought to regulate subdivision plans in Dagupan City, ordained that
every proposed subdivision plan over any lot in the City of Dagupan, shall before the
same is submitted for approval and/or verification by the Bureau of Lands and/or the Land
Registration Commission, be previously submitted to the City Engineer of the City who
shall see to it that no encroachment is made on any portion of the public domain, that the
zoning ordinance and all other pertinent rules and regulations are observed, and that
subsequent fees be imposed thereafter.

Whether or not Ordinance 22 is a valid exercise of police power.

No, it was not a valid exercise of the police power. In declaring the said ordinance
null and void, the court a quo, and affirmed by the Supreme Court, declared: From the
above-recited requirements, there is no showing that would justify the enactment of the
questioned ordinance. Section 1 of said ordinance clearly conflicts with Section 44 of Act
496, because the latter law does not require subdivision plans to be submitted to the City
Engineer before the same is submitted for approval to and verification by the General
Land Registration Office or by the Director of Lands as provided for in Section 58 of said
Act. Section 2 of the same ordinance also contravenes the provisions of Section 44 of
Act496, the latter being silent on a service fee of PO.03 per square meter of every lot
subject of such subdivision application; Section 3 of the ordinance in question also
conflicts with Section 44 of Act 496, because the latter law does not mention of a
certification to be made by the City Engineer before the Register of Deeds allows
registration of the subdivision plan; and the last section of said ordinance imposes a
penalty for its violation, which Section 44 of Act 496 does not impose. In other words,
Ordinance 22 of the City of Dagupan imposes upon a subdivision owner additional
conditions. The Court takes note of the laudable purpose of the ordinance in bringing to
a halt the surreptitious registration of lands belonging to the government. But as already
intimidated above, the powers of the board in enacting such a laudable ordinance cannot
be held valid when it shall impede the exercise of rights granted in a general law and/or
make a general law subordinated to a local ordinance. To sustain the ordinance would be
to open the floodgates to other ordinances amending and so violating national laws in the
guise of implementing them. Thus, ordinances could be passed imposing additional
requirements for the issuance of marriage licenses, to prevent bigamy; the registration of
vehicles, to minimize carnapping; the execution of contracts, to forestall fraud; the
validation of passports, to deter imposture; the exercise of freedom of speech, to reduce
disorder; and so on. The list is endless, but the means, even if the end be valid, would be
ultra vires. We therefore urge that proper care attend the exercise of the police power lest


it deteriorate into an unreasonable intrusion into the purely private affairs of the individual.
The so-called "general welfare" is too amorphous and convenient an excuse for official
arbitrariness. Let it always be remembered that in the truly democratic state, protecting
the rights of the individual is as important as, if not more so than, protecting the rights of
the public. This advice is especially addressed to the local governments which exercise
the police power only by virtue of a valid delegation from the national legislature under
the general welfare clause. In the instant case, Ordinance No. 22 suffers from the
additional defect of violating this authority for legislation in contravention of the national
law by adding to its requirements.


Case no. 11
Cruz v. Paras
G.R. No. L-42571-72, July 25, 1983

The petitioners are operators of nightclubs in Bocaue, Bulacan. They filed
prohibition suits to stop the municipality of Bocaue from enforcing an ordinance prohibiting
the operation of nightclubs, cabarets, and dance halls in that municipality or renewal of
licenses to operate them. The CFI upheld the validity of the ordinance and dismissed the
petition. Hence, this petition for certiorari.

Whether or not a municipal corporation can prohibit the operation of nightclubs.

No, a municipal corporation cannot prohibit the operation of nightclubs. A municipal
corporation cannot prohibit the operation of nightclubs. Nightclubs may be regulated but
not prevented from carrying on their business. R.A. 938, as originally enacted, granted
municipalities the power to regulate the establishment, maintenance and operation of
nightclubs and the like. While it is true that on May, 21,1954, the law was amended by
R.A. 979 which purported to give municipalities the power not only to regulate but likewise
to prohibit the operation of nightclubs, the fact is that the title of the law remained the
same so that the power granted to municipalities remains that of regulation, not
prohibition. To construe the amendatory act as granting municipal corporations the power
to prohibit the operation of nightclubs would be to construe it in a way that it violates the
constitutional provision that “every bill shall embrace only one subject which shall be
expressed in the title thereof.” Moreover, the recently-enacted LGC (B.P. 337) speaks
simply of the power to regulate the establishment and operation of billiard pools, theatrical
performances, circuses and other forms of entertainment.


Case no. 12
Quezon City v. Ericta
G.R. No. L-34915, June 24, 1983

Quezon City Council passed Ordinance No. 6118 where under Section 9 of which
provides for regulation of private memorial type cemetery and providing penalties for non-
compliance thereof. The said section ordered private cemeteries to allot at least six (6)
percent of the total area for charity burial of deceased persons who are paupers and who
have been resident of Quezon City for at least 5 years prior to their death. But respondent
Himlayang Pilipino reacted and alleged the ordinance to be contrary to the Constitution,
the Quezon City Charter, the Local Autonomy Act and the Revised Administrative Code.
Petitioners argue that the taking of the respondent’s property is a valid and reasonable
exercise of police lower and that land taken for a public use as itis intended for the burial
ground of paupers.

Whether or not Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118 is a valid exercise of police power.

No, it is not a valid exercise of police power. Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118 is
not a mere police regulation but an outright confiscation. It deprives a person of his private
property without due process by law and even without just compensation. Police power
usually exercised in the form of mere regulation or restriction in the use of liberty or
property for the promotion of the general welfare. It does not involve the taking or
confiscation of property with the exception of a few cases where there is a necessity to
confiscate private property in order to destroy it for the purpose of protecting the peace
and order and of promoting the general welfare as for instance, the confiscation of an
illegally-possessed article such as opium and firearms.


Case no. 13
Ortigas v. FEATI
G.R. No. L-24670, December 14, 1979

On March 4, 1952, Ortigas & Co., a partnership involved in real estate particularly
the Highway Hills subdivision along EDSA in Mandaluyong entered into a contract of sale
on installment over two parcels of land with Augusto and Natividad Angeles who later
transferred their rights and interests to a certain Emma Chavez. Under the agreement, it
was stipulated among others that: “xxx this shall be used exclusively for residential
purposes xxx”. Eventually, defendant FEATI Bank and Trust Company acquired the lots
and started the construction of a building on the said lot devoted to banking purposes.
Ortigas then filed for a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain and enjoin the defendant
from continuing with the construction of the commercial bank in violation of the restrictions
set in the contract of sale that was imposed by the plaintiff as part of its general building
scheme designed for the beautification and development of the Highway Hills
Subdivision. Defendant maintains that the area in question has been declared as a
commercial and industrial zone by the Zoning Regulation of Resolution No. 27 on
February 4, 1980 of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, Rizal. The trial court ruled in
favor of defendant bank FEATI holding that restrictions set by plaintiff Ortigas were
subordinate to Municipal Resolution No. 27 because of the Municipal’s valid exercise of
police power. It stressed that the private interest should “bow down to the general interest
and welfare.” Plaintiff appealed until it reached the Supreme Court.

Whether or not Resolution No. 27 is a valid exercise of police power.

Yes, it is a valid exercise of police power. Although the validity of the resolution
was never questioned in the past proceedings, its validity was at least impliedly admitted
from the facts. Section 3 of R.A.2264 (Local Autonomy Act) empowers a municipal council
“to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations for the municipality. It gives
more power to local governments in promoting the economic conditions, social welfare
and material progress of the community. The only exceptions are a contract between “a
province, city or municipality on one hand and a third party on the other hand,” in which
case the original terms and provisions of the contract should govern. The exceptions,
clearly, do not apply in the case.


Case no. 14
Heirs of Ardona v. Reyes
G.R. No. L-60549, October 26, 1983

The Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) filed 4 complaints with the CFI of Cebu
City for the expropriation of some 282 hectares of rolling land situated in Barangays
Malubog and Babag, Cebu City, under PTA’s express authority, as mandated in its
Charter, “to acquire by purchase, by negotiation or by condemnation proceedings any
private land within and without the tourist zones“ for the development into integrated
resort and sport complexes of selected and well- defined geographic areas with potential
tourism value. The defendants, numbering 40, filed motions to dismiss on the ground that
the taking was not for public use, specifically that the there is no constitutional provision
authorizing the taking of private property for tourism purposes. Moreover, the defendants
claimed that the land they own subject of the expropriation is actually covered by
certificate of land transfer (CLT) and emancipation patents thereby making the lands
expropriated within the coverage of the land reform area under P.D No.2. The defendants
argue that the agrarian reform program occupies a higher level in the order of priorities
than other state policies like those relating to the health and physical well-being of the

Whether or not the position of the so-called Ardona is tenable.

No, the position of Ardona is untenable. The petition should be dismissed.
Reasons: The concept of public use is not limited to traditional purposes like the
construction of roads, bridges, parks and the like. Public use is not use by the public.” It
also mean, public well-fare and such a concept are broad, and inclusive. The values it
represents are spiritual, as well as physical, aesthetic as well as monetary. It is within the
power of the legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful as well as
healthy, spacious, as well as clean, well balanced as well as carefully patrolled. Once the
object is within the authority of Congress, the right to realize it through the exercise of
Eminent Domain is clear. As a general rule then, as long as the taking is public, the power
of eminent domain comes into pay. The records show that the only 2 of the 40 defendants
have CLT’s or emancipation patents. And those CLT’s in their possession covers only
less than1 hectare of the 282 hectares intended for expropriation. Moreover, the less-
than 10-hectare portion of land is not even part of the resort and sports complex proper
but is part of the 32 hectare resettlement are for all persons affected by the expropriation.
Certainly, the human settlement needs of the many beneficiaries of the 32 hectare
resettlement area should prevail over the property rights of two of their compatriots.


Case no. 15
Flores v. Drilon
G.R. No. 104732, June 22, 1993

The constitutionality of Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227, otherwise known as the
"Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992," under which Mayor Richard J.Gordon
of Olongapo City was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Subic Bay
Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). Under said provision, “for the first year of its operations
from the effectivity of this Act, the mayor of the City of Olongapo shall be appointed as
the chairman and chief executive officer of the Subic Authority.”Petitioners, as taxpayers,
contend that said provision is unconstitutional asunder the following constitutional and
statutory provisions: (a) Sec. 7, first par.,Art. IX-B, of the Constitution, which states that
"[n]o elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in any capacity to any
public officer or position during his tenure," because the City Mayor of Olongapo City is
an elective official and the subject posts are public offices; (b) Sec. 16, Art. VII, of the
Constitution, which provides that "[t]he President shall appoint all other officers of the
Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom
he may be authorized by law to appoint", since it was Congress through the questioned
proviso and not the President who appointed the Mayor to the subject posts; and, (c) Sec.
261,par. (g), of the Omnibus Election Code.

Whether or not the proviso in Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227 violates the
constitutional proscription against appointment or designation of elective officials to other
government posts.

Yes, it violated the constitutional proscription against appointment of elective
officials to other government posts. The rule expresses the policy against the
concentration of several public positions in one person, so that a public officer or
employee may serve full-time with dedication and thus be efficient in the delivery of public
services. It is an affirmation that a public office is a full-time job. Hence, a public officer or
employee, like the head of an executive department described in Civil Liberties Union v.
Executive Secretary, and Anti-Graft League of the Philippines, Inc. v. Philip Ella C. Juico,
as Secretary of Agrarian Reform should be allowed to attend to his duties and
responsibilities without the distraction of other governmental duties or employment. He
should be precluded from dissipating his efforts, attention and energy among too many
positions of responsibility, which may result in haphazardness and inefficiency. In this
case, the subject proviso directs the President to appoint an elective official, i.e., the
Mayor of Olongapo City, to other government posts (as Chairman of the Board and Chief
Executive Officer of SBMA). In any case, the view that an elective official may be
appointed to another post if allowed by law or by the primary functions of his office ignores
the clear-cut difference in the wording of the two (2) paragraphs of Sec. 7, Art. IX-B, of
the Constitution. While the second paragraph authorizes holding of multiple offices by an
appointive official when allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, the first


paragraph appears to be more stringent by not providing any exception to the rule against
appointment or designation of an elective official to the government post, except as are
particularly recognized in the Constitution itself, e.g., the President as head of the
economic and planning agency; the Vice-President, who may be appointed Member of
the Cabinet; and, a member of Congress who may be designated ex officio member of
the Judicial and Bar Council. It is further argued that the SBMA posts are merely ex officio
to the position of Mayor of Olongapo City, hence, an excepted circumstance. However,
the court held that the Congress did not contemplate making the subject SBMA posts as
ex officio or automatically attached to the Office of the Mayor of Olongapo City without
need of appointment. The phrase "shall be appointed" unquestionably shows the intent
to make the SBMA posts appointive and not merely adjunct to the post of Mayor of
Olongapo City. Had it been the legislative intent to make the subject positions ex officio,
Congress would have, at least, avoided the word "appointed" and, instead, "ex officio"
would have been used. Even in the Senate deliberations, the Senators were fully aware
that subject proviso may contravene Sec. 7, first par., Art. IX-B, but they nevertheless
passed the bill and decided to have the controversy resolved by the courts.


Case no. 16
Marquez v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 112889, April 18, 1995

Bienvenido Marquez, a defeated candidate in the Province of Quezon filed a
petition for certiorari praying for the reversal of the COMELEC Resolution which
dismissed his petition for quo warranto against Eduardo Rodriguez, for being allegedly a
fugitive from justice. It is averred that at the time private respondent filed his certificate of
candidacy, a criminal charge against him for ten (10) counts of insurance fraud or grand
theft of personal property was still pending before the Municipal Court of Los Angeles
Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of California, U.S.A. A warrant issued by
said court for his arrest, it is claimed, has yet to be served on private respondent on
account of his alleged “flight” from that country. Petitioner’s subsequent recourse (in G.R.
No. 105310) from the COMELEC’s May 8, 1992 resolution was dismissed without
prejudice, however, to the filing in due time of a possible post-election quo warranto
proceeding against private respondent. Before the 11th May 1992 elections, petitioner
filed a petition with the COMELEC for cancellation of respondent’s CoC on account of the
candidate’s disqualification under Sec. 40 (e) of the LGC. Private respondent was
proclaimed Governor-elect of Quezon on 29 May 1992. Forthwith, petitioner instituted quo
warranto proceedings (EPC 92-28) against private respondent before the COMELEC.

Whether or not private is said to be facing a criminal charge before a foreign court
and evading a warrant for his arrest comes within the term “fugitive from justice”.

Yes, private respondent is ineligible. Section 40(e) of the LGC (RA 7160) provide
that a “Fugitive from justice in criminal cases here and abroad” are “disqualified from
running for any elective local position.” It has been held that construction placed upon law
by the officials in charge of its enforcement deserves great and considerable weight (Atlas
Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. vs. CA, 182 SCRA 166,181). However,
when there clearly is no obscurity and ambiguity in an enabling law, it must merely be
made to apply as it is so written. An administrative rule or regulation can neither expand
nor constrict the law but must remain congruent to it. The confinement of the term “fugitive
from justice” in Article 73 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the LGC of 1991 to
refer only to a person “who has been convicted by final judgment” is an inordinate and
undue circumscription of the law. Unfortunately, the COMELEC did not make any definite
finding on whether or not private respondent is in fact a “fugitive from justice” as such
term must be interpreted and applied in the light of the Court’s opinion. The omission is
understandable since the COMELEC outrightly dismissed the petition for quo warranto
on the basis instead of Rule 73 of the Rules and Regulations promulgated by the
Oversight Committee. The Court, not being a trier of facts, is thus constrained to remand
the case to the COMELEC for a determination of this unresolved factual matter.


Case no. 17
Mercado v. Manzano
G.R. No. 135083, May 26, 1999

Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Eduardo Manzano were both candidates for Vice-
Mayor of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. Based on the results of the election,
Manzano garnered the highest number of votes. However, his proclamation was
suspended due to the pending petition for disqualification filed by Ernesto Mercado on
the ground that he was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. From the
facts presented, it appears that Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen. The
Commission on Elections declared Manzano disqualified as candidate for said elective
position. However, in a subsequent resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the
disqualification of the respondent was reversed. Respondent was held to have renounced
his US citizenship when he attained the age of majority and registered himself as a voter
in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998. Manzano was eventually proclaimed as the Vice-
Mayor of Makati City on August 31, 1998. Thus, he present petition.

Whether or not a dual citizen is disqualified to hold public elective office in the

No, a dual citizen is not disqualified. The court ruled that the phrase "dual
citizenship" in R.A. 7160 Sec. 40 (d) and R.A. 7854 Sec. 20 must be understood as
referring to dual allegiance. Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former
arises when, as a result of the application of the different laws of two or more states, a
person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. Dual allegiance on the
other hand, refers to a situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive
act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is
a result of an individual's volition. Article IV Sec. 5 of the Constitution provides "Dual
allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.”
Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification.
Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with
respect to the termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should
suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship
to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition
is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states. By electing
Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the other
country of which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual
citizens. It may be that, from the point of view of the foreign state and of its laws, such
an individual has not effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no moment.
When a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounces
his loyalty to any other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, the condition imposed by law is satisfied and
complied with. The determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully complies


with the provisions of our Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive
prerogative of our courts. The latter should apply the law duly enacted by the legislative
department of the Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and
application. The court ruled that the filing of certificate of candidacy of respondent sufficed
to renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might
have as a dual citizen. By declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino
citizen; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another country; that he will
defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance
thereto and that he does so without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as
the laws of this country are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship
and anything which he may have said before as a dual citizen. On the other hand, private
respondent’s oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered with the fact that he
has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his profession as
an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election
of Philippine citizenship. His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his
undertaking made under oath. Should he betray that trust, there are enough sanctions for
declaring the loss of his Philippine citizenship through expatriation in appropriate
proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, the court sustained the denial of entry into the
country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking his oath as a naturalized citizen, he
applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in commercial
documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can
be taken against anyone who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign
nationality, but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine


Case no. 18
City of Manila v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 71159, November 15, 1989

Vivencio Sto. Domingo, Sr. deceased husband of plaintiff Irene Sto. Domingo and
father of the litigating minors, died on June 4,1971 and buried on June 6,1971 in Lot No.
159, Block No. 194 of the North Cemetery which lot was leased by the city to Irene Sto.
Domingo from June 6, 1971 to June 6, 2021. Full payment of the rental therefor of P50.00
is evidenced by the said receipt which appears to be regular on its face. Apart from the
aforementioned receipt, no other document was executed to embody such lease over the
burial lot in question. In accordance with Administrative Order No. 5, the City Mayor of
Manila prescribing uniform procedure and guidelines in the processing of documents
pertaining to and for the use and disposition of burial lots and plots within the North
Cemetery, subject lot was certified on January 25, 1978 as ready for exhumation. On the
basis of such certification, the authorities of the North Cemetery then headed by
defendant Joseph Helmuth authorized the exhumation and removal from subject burial
lot the remains of the late Vivencio Sto. Domingo, Sr., placed the bones and skull in a
bag or sack and kept the same in the depository or bodega of the cemetery.
Subsequently, the same lot in question was rented out to another lessee so that when the
plaintiffs herein went to said lot on All Souls Day in their shock, consternation and dismay,
that the resting place of their dear departed did not anymore bear the stone marker which
they lovingly placed on the tomb. Indignant and disgusted over such a sorrowful finding.

Whether or not the operations and functions of a public cemetery are a
governmental, or a corporate or proprietary function of the City of Manila.

The City of Manila entered into a contract of lease which involve the exercise of
proprietary functions. Under Philippine laws, the City of Manila is a political body
corporate and as such endowed with the faculties of municipal corporations to be
exercised by and through its city government in conformity with law, and in its proper
corporate name. It may sue and be sued, and contract and be contracted with. Its powers
are twofold in character-public, governmental or political on the one hand, and corporate,
private and proprietary on the other. Governmental powers are those exercised in
administering the powers of the state and promoting the public welfare and they include
the legislative, judicial, public and political. Municipal powers on the one hand are
exercised for the special benefit and advantage of the community and include those which
are ministerial, private and corporate. In connection with the powers of a municipal
corporation, it may acquire property in its public or governmental capacity, and private or
proprietary capacity. The New Civil Code divides such properties into property for public
use and patrimonial properties (Article 423), and further enumerates the properties for
public use as provincial roads, city streets, municipal streets, the squares, fountains,
public waters, promenades, and public works for public service paid for by said provisions,
cities or municipalities, all other property is patrimonial without prejudice to the provisions


of special laws. Under the foregoing considerations and in the absence of a special law,
the North Cemetery is a patrimonial property of the City of Manila which was created by
resolution of the Municipal Board. The City of Manila furthermore prescribes the
procedure and guidelines for the use and dispositions of burial lots and plots within the
North Cemetery through Administrative Order No. 5. With the acts of dominion, there is,
therefore no doubt that the North Cemetery is within the class of property which the City
of Manila owns in its proprietary or private character. Furthermore, there is no dispute
that the burial lot was leased in favor of the private respondents. Hence, obligations
arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties. Thus a lease
contract executed by the lessor and lessee remains as the law between them. Therefore,
a breach of contractual provision entitles the other party to damages even if no penalty
for such breach is prescribed in the contract.


Case no. 19
Andaya v. RTC
G.R. No. 126661, December 3, 1999

There was a vacancy in the position of chief of police in Cebu. The regional director
of the Cebu police Andaya submitted a list of 5 eligible appointees to the position to the
mayor of Cebu. However, the mayor refused to appoint one because he wanted a certain
Sarmiento, who was not on the list due to being disqualified. RTC ruled in favor of the
mayor, granting the appointment of Sarmiento.

Whether or not the mayor can require the Regional Director to include the mayor’s
protégé in the list.

No, the mayor cannot require the Regional Director to include the mayor’s protege
in the list. The mayor has only the power to choose from the list. It it’s the prerogative of
the regional director of the police to choose the eligible person who should be included in
the list without intervention from local executives – based on the National Police
Commission (NPC) memorandum, which provides the qualifications of a chief of police.
In case of disagreement, the issue should be elevated to the regional director of the NPC
who shall resolve the issue within 5 working days. The authority of the mayor is limited,
no power to appoint but basically power to choose from the list. The purpose is to enhance
professionalism and isolate police service from political domination.


Case no. 20
Grego v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 125955, June 19, 1997

In 1981, Basco was removed from his position as Deputy Sheriff for serious
misconduct. Subsequently, he ran as a candidate for councilor in the Second District of
the City of Manila during the 1988, local elections. He won and assumed office. After his
term, Basco sought re-election. Again, he won. However, he found himself facing lawsuits
filed by his opponents who wanted to dislodge him from his position. Petitioner argues
that Basco should be disqualified from running for any elective position since he had been
“removed from office as a result of an administrative case” pursuant to Section 40 (b) of
Republic Act No. 7160. For a third time, Basco was elected councilor in 1995. Expectedly,
his right to office was again contested. In 1995, petitioner Grego filed with the COMELEC
a petition for disqualification. The COMELEC conducted a hearing and ordered the parties
to submit their respective memoranda. However, the Manila City BOC proclaimed Basco
in May 1995, as a duly elected councilor for the Second District of Manila, placing sixth
among several candidates who vied for the seats. Basco immediately took his oath of
office. COMELEC resolved to dismiss the petition for disqualification. Petitioner’s motion
for reconsideration of said resolution was later denied by the COMELE, hence, this

Whether or not the COMELEC acted in with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
the petition for disqualification.

No, the COMELEC did not act with grave abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court
found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of COMELEC in dismissing the petition for
disqualification, however, the Court noted that they do not agree with its conclusions and
reasons in the assailed resolution. The Court reiterated that being merely an
implementing rule, Sec 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure must not override, but
instead remain consistent with and in harmony with the law it seeks to apply and
implement. Administrative rules and regulations are intended to carry out, neither to
supplant nor to modify, the law. The law itself cannot be extended to amending or
expanding the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute.
An administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress. In case of discrepancy
between the basic law and a rule or regulation issued to implement said law, the basic
law prevails because said rule or regulations cannot go beyond the terms and provisions
of the basic law. Since Section 6 of Rep. Act 6646, the law which Section 5 of Rule 25 of
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure seeks to implement, employed the word “may,” it is,
therefore, improper and highly irregular for the COMELEC to have used instead the word
“shall” in its rules. Still, the Court DISMISSED the petition for lack of merit.


Case no. 21
Borja v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 133495, September 3, 1998

Jose T. Capco, Jr. was elected as Vice-Mayor of Pateros in 1988 for a term ending
in 1992. In 1989, he became Mayor, by operation of law, upon the death of the incumbent,
Cesar Borja. Thereafter, Capco was elected and served as Mayor for two more terms,
from 1992 to 1998. In 1998, Capco filed a Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Pateros
in the May 11, 1998 elections. Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also a candidate
for mayor, sought Capco’s disqualification on the ground that Capco would have already
served as Mayor for 3 consecutive terms by June 30, 1998; hence, he would be ineligible
to serve for another term. The Second Division of the Comelec declared Capco
disqualified but the Comelec en banc reversed the decision and declared Capco eligible
to run for mayor. Capco was subsequently voted and proclaimed as mayor.

Whether or not a vice-mayor who succeeds to the office of mayor by operation of
law and serves the remainder of the term is considered to have served a term in that
office for the purpose of the three-term limit.

No, the vice-mayor will not be considered to have served a term. The term limit for
elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right
to serve the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual
has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have
been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification
can apply. Capco was qualified to run again as mayor in the next election because he
was not elected to the office of mayor in the first term but simply found himself thrust into
it by operation of law. Neither had he served the full term because he only continued the
service, interrupted by the death, of the deceased mayor. The vice-mayor’s assumption
of the mayorship in the event of the vacancy is more a matter of chance than of design.
Hence, his service in that office should not be counted in the application of any term limit.
The policy embodied in the constitutional provision (Art. X, §8) is not only to prevent the
establishment of political dynasties but also to enhance the freedom of choice of the
people. A consideration of the historical background of Art. X, §8 of the Constitution
reveals that the members of the Constitutional Commission were as much concerned with
preserving the freedom of choice of the people as they were with preventing the
monopolization of political power. In discussing term limits, the drafters of the Constitution
did so on the assumption that the officials concerned were serving by reason of election.
To consider Capco to have served the first term in full and therefore ineligible to run a
third time for reelection would be not only to falsify reality but also to unduly restrict the
right of the people to choose whom they wish to govern them.


Case no. 22
G.R. No. 125416, September 26, 1996

On March 13, 1992, Congress enacted RA. 7227 (The Bases Conversion and
Development Act of 1992), which created the Subic Economic Zone. RA 7227 likewise
created SBMA to implement the declared national policy of converting the Subic military
reservation into alternative productive uses. On November 24, 1992, the American navy
turned over the Subic military reservation to the Philippines government. Immediately,
petitioner commenced the implementation of its task, particularly the preservation of the
sea-ports, airport, buildings, houses and other installations left by the American navy. On
April 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan passed Pambayang Kapasyahan
Bilang 10, Serye 1993, expressing therein its absolute concurrence, as required by said
Sec. 12 of RA 7227, to join the Subic Special Economic Zone and submitted such to the
Office of the President. On May 24, 1993, respondents Garcia filed a petition with the
Sangguniang Bayan of Morong to annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993.
The petition prayed for the following: a) to nullify Pambayang Kapasyang Blg. 10 for
Morong to join the Subic Special Economi Zone, b) to allow Morong to join provided
conditions are met.The Sangguniang Bayan ng Morong acted upon the petition by
promulgating Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 18, Serye 1993, requesting Congress of the
Philippines so amend certain provisions of RA 7227.Not satisfied, respondents resorted
to their power initiative under the LGC of 1991. On July 6, 1993, COMELEC denied the
petition for local initiative on the ground that the subject thereof was merely a resolution
and not an ordinance. On February 1, 1995, the President issued Proclamation No. 532
defining the metes and bounds of the SSEZ including therein the portion of the former
naval base within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Morong. On June 18,
19956, respondent Comelec issued Resolution No. 2845 and 2848, adopting a "Calendar
of Activities for local referendum and providing for "the rules and guidelines to govern the
conduct of the referendum. On July 10, 1996, SBMA instituted a petition for certiorari
contesting the validity of Resolution No. 2848 alleging that public respondent is intent on
proceeding with a local initiative that proposes an amendment of a national law

Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating
Resolution No. 2848 which governs the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or
repeal Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10.

Whether or not the questioned local initiative covers a subject within the powers of
the people of Morong to enact; i.e., whether such initiative "seeks the amendment of a
national law."

Yes, the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. The process started by
private respondents was an INITIATIVE but respondent Comelec made preparations for
a REFERENDUM only. In fact, in the body of the Resolution as reproduced in the footnote


below, the word "referendum" is repeated at least 27 times, but "initiative" is not
mentioned at all. The Comelec labeled the exercise as a "Referendum"; the counting of
votes was entrusted to a "Referendum Committee"; the documents were called
"referendum returns"; the canvassers, "Referendum Board of Canvassers" and the ballots
themselves bore the description "referendum". To repeat, not once was the word
"initiative" used in said body of Resolution No. 2848. And yet, this exercise is
unquestionably an INITIATIVE. As defined, Initiative is the power of the people to propose
bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative
assembly. On the other hand, referendum is the right reserved to the people to adopt or
reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most
cases would without action on the part of electors become a law. In initiative and
referendum, the Comelec exercises administration and supervision of the process itself,
akin to its powers over the conduct of elections. These law-making powers belong to the
people, hence the respondent Commission cannot control or change the substance or
the content of legislation.

The municipal resolution is still in the proposal stage. It is not yet an approved law.
Should the people reject it, then there would be nothing to contest and to adjudicate. It is
only when the people have voted for it and it has become an approved ordinance or
resolution that rights and obligations can be enforced or implemented thereunder. At this
point, it is merely a proposal and the writ or prohibition cannot issue upon a mere
conjecture or possibility. Constitutionally speaking, courts may decide only actual
controversies, not hypothetical questions or cases. In the present case, it is quite clear
that the Court has authority to review Comelec Resolution No. 2848 to determine the
commission of grave abuse of discretion. However, it does not have the same authority
in regard to the proposed initiative since it has not been promulgated or approved, or
passed upon by any "branch or instrumentality" or lower court, for that matter. The
Commission on Elections itself has made no reviewable pronouncements about the
issues brought by the pleadings. The Comelec simply included verbatim the proposal in
its questioned Resolution No. 2848. Hence, there is really no decision or action made by
a branch, instrumentality or court which this Court could take cognizance of and acquire
jurisdiction over, in the exercise of its review powers.