HON. HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ v. PICOP RESOURCES, INC. G.R. No. 162243, December 3, 2009 Chico-Nazario, J.: Doctrine: A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause. Facts: PICOP filed with the DENR an application to have its Timber License Agreement (TLA) No. 43 converted into an IFMA. PICOP filed before the (RTC) City a Petition for Mandamus against then DENR Sec Alvarez for unlawfully refusing and/or neglecting to sign and execute the IFMA contract of PICOP even as the latter has complied with all the legal requirements for the automatic conversion of TLA No. 43, as amended, into an IFMA. The cause of action of PICOP Resources, Inc. (PICOP) in its Petition for Mandamus with the trial court is clear: the government is bound by contract, a 1969 Document signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos, to enter into an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) with PICOP. Issue: Whether the 1969 Document is a contract recognized under the non-impairment clause by which the government may be bound (for the issuance of the IFMA) Held: NO. Our definitive ruling in Oposa v. Factoran that a timber license is not a contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause is edifying. We declared: Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads: "SEC. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed." cannot be invoked. The Presidential Warranty cannot, in any manner, be construed as a contractual undertaking assuring PICOP of exclusive possession and enjoyment of its concession areas. Such an interpretation would result in the complete abdication by the State in favor of PICOP of the sovereign power to control and supervise the exploration, development and utilization of the natural resources in the area.
HON. HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ v. PICOP RESOURCES, INC. G.R. No. 162243, December 3, 2009 Chico-Nazario, J.: Doctrine: The approval of the Sanggunian concerned is required by law, not because the local government has control over such project, but because the local government has the duty to protect its constituents and their stake in the implementation of the project. Facts: PICOP filed with the DENR an application to have its Timber License Agreement (TLA) No. 43 converted into an IFMA. PICOP initially sought to comply with the requirement under Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code to procure prior approval of the Sanggunians concerned. However, only one of the many provinces affected approved the issuance of an IFMA. PICOP nevertheless submitted to the DENR the purported resolution of the Province of Surigao del Sur indorsing the approval of PICOP’s application for IFMA conversion. PICOP filed a petition for MANDAMUS against DENR Sec Alvarez for refusing to sign and execute the IFMA contract. Issue: Whether PICOP complied with the LGC requirement of obtaining prior approval of the Sanggunian concerned by submitting a purported resolution of the Province of Surigao del Sur indorsing the approval of PICOP’s application for IFMA conversion. Held: NO. This cannot be deemed sufficient compliance with the foregoing provision. Surigao del Sur is not the only province affected by the area covered by the proposed IFMA. The approval of the Sanggunian concerned is required by law, not because the local government has control over such project, but because the local government has the duty to protect its constituents and their stake in the implementation of the project. Again, Section 26 states that it applies to projects that "may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of crop land, rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant species." The local government should thus represent the communities in such area, the very people who will be affected by flooding, landslides or even climatic change if the project is not properly regulated, and who likewise have a stake in the resources in the area, and deserve to be adequately compensated when these resources are exploited. Indeed, it would be absurd to claim that the project must first be devolved to the local government before the requirement of the national government seeking approval from the local government can be applied.
BARANGAY SANGALANG v. BARANGAY MAGUIHAN G.R. No. 159792, December 23, 2009 Peralta, J.: Doctrine: To this Court’s mind, the presence of the cadastral map, which was approved by the Director of Lands, should be given more weight than the documents sourced by petitioner from the assessor’s office. . Between a geodetic engineer and a tax assessor, the conclusion is inevitable that it is the former’s certification as to the location of properties in dispute that is controlling, absent any finding of abuse of discretion. Facts: The controversy has its roots in a barangay jurisdiction dispute between petitioner Barangay Sangalang and respondent Barangay Maguihan, both situated in Lemery, Batangas. Specifically, the properties involved in the controversy are those covered by Tax Declaration Nos. 038-00315, 03800316, and 038-00317. Resolution No. 75-96 was subsequently passed recognizing that the areas which are the subject of a barangay dispute covered are within the territorial jurisdiction of Barangay Sangalang. The documents presented by petitioner were sourced from the tax assessor’s office, whereas the documents presented by respondent were sourced from the land management bureau. Issue: Which between the documents presented by the parties carries greater weight in proving its claim? Held: To this Court’s mind, the presence of the cadastral map, which was approved by the Director of Lands, should be given more weight than the documents sourced by petitioner from the assessor’s office. Said map was approved on March 17, 1986, which was approximately 10 years before the controversy in hand developed. Hence, the same should be controlling in the absence of proof that such document is invalid or inaccurate. This Court shares the view of the RTC. It is undisputed that the Land Management Bureau is the principal government agency tasked with the survey of lands, and thus, more weight should be given to the documents relating to its official tasks which are presumed to be done in the ordinary course of business. Between a geodetic engineer and a tax assessor, the conclusion is inevitable that it is the former’s certification as to the location of properties in dispute that is controlling, absent any finding of abuse of discretion.
THE LEARNING CHILD, INC. AND SPS. FELIPE AND MARY ANNE ALFONSO v. AYALA ALABANG VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, SPOUSES ERNEST AND ALMA ARZAGA, ET AL. G.R. No. 134269, July 7, 2010 Leonardo-De Castro, J.: Doctrine: While it would be a violation of the principle of separation of powers for the courts to interfere with the wordings of a statute, there would be no violation of said principle for the court to merely affirm the correction made by the same entity which committed the error. Facts: A parcel of land was sold to spouses Alfonso with an annotated Deed of Restrictions, which states that the property shall be exclusively used for the establishment and maintenance thereon of a preparatory school. However, spouses Alfonso opened on the same lot The Learning Child Center Pre-school (TLC) which was later expanded to include a grade school program. AAVA filed with the RTC an action for injunction against TLC and the spouses Alfonso, alleging breach of contract. RTC rendered its Decision in favor of AAVA. TLC and the spouses Alfonso filed a Motion for Reconsideration and while pending, the Municipality of Muntinlupa, through its Sangguniang Bayan, passed Resolution No. 94-179 correcting an alleged typographical error in the description of a parcel of land under the heading "Institutional Zone" in Appendix B of Ordinance No. 91-39, adjusting the description "Lot 25, Block 1, Phase V, Ayala Alabang" to "Lot 25, Block 3, Phase V, Ayala Alabang." According to the HLURB, Muntinlupa Resolution No. 94-179 is not a case of a mere correction of an error but an actual rezoning of the property into an institutional area, and therefore remanded the same to the Sanguniang Bayan of Muntinlupa for the conduct of the required public hearings. The Municipality of Muntinlupa, TLC and the spouses Alfonso appealed the HLURB Resolution to the Office of the President which held that Muntinlupa Resolution No. 94-179 is a mere rectifying issuance and need not comply with the mandatory requirements of notice and hearing. CA affirmed with modifications. Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the Decision of the Office of the President that Muntinlupa Resolution No. 94-179 was merely a rectifying issuance and not a rezoning enactment Held: No. The authority of the HLURB is certainly subordinate to that of the Office of the President and the acts of the former may be set aside by the latter. Furthermore, while it is true that courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the special technical knowledge and training of such agencies, it should be noted that the HLURB and the then MMC were both tasked to regulate the rezoning of the Metropolitan Manila area. The then Municipality of Muntinlupa submitted Resolution No. 94-179 to both the HLURB and the MMC for their appropriate action. The MMC approved Muntinlupa Resolution No. 94-179, and this approval should be given more weight than the disapproval of the HLURB since it was the MMC itself which issued the Uniform Guidelines for the Rezoning of the Metropolitan Manila Area (MMC Resolution No. 12, Series of 1991), the issuance alleged by AAVA to have been violated by the Municipality of Muntinlupa.
THE MUNICIPALITY OF HAGONOY, BULACAN v. HON. SIMEON P. DUMDUM, JR. G.R. No. 168289, March 22, 2010 Peralta, J.: Doctrines: Be that as it may, a difference lies between suability and liability. Where the suability of the state is conceded and by which liability is ascertained judicially, the state is at liberty to determine for itself whether to satisfy the judgment or not. Facts: Respondent, doing business as KD Surplus was contacted by petitioner Ople. Respondent had entered into an agreement with petitioner municipality through Ople for the delivery of motor vehicles, which supposedly were needed to carry out certain developmental undertakings in the municipality. However, despite having made several deliveries, Ople allegedly did not heed respondent’s claim for payment. Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming that the action was unenforceable under the statute of frauds. Petitioners also filed a Motion to Dissolve and/or Discharge the Writ of Preliminary Attachment Already Issued, invoking among others, immunity of the state from suit. Issue: Whether as a municipal corporation, the Municipality of Hagonoy is immune from suit, and that its properties are by law exempt from execution and garnishment Held: The general rule spelled out in Section 3, Article XVI of the Constitution is that the state and its political subdivisions may not be sued without their consent. Otherwise put, they are open to suit but only when they consent to it. Consent is implied when the government enters into a business contract, as it then descends to the level of the other contracting party; or it may be embodied in a general or special law such as that found in Book I, Title I, Chapter 2, Section 22 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which vests local government units with certain corporate powers —one of them is the power to sue and be sued. Be that as it may, a difference lies between suability and liability. As held in City of Caloocan v. Allarde, where the suability of the state is conceded and by which liability is ascertained judicially, the state is at liberty to determine for itself whether to satisfy the judgment or not. Execution may not issue upon such judgment, because statutes waiving non-suability do not authorize the seizure of property to satisfy judgments recovered from the action. These statutes only convey an implication that the legislature will recognize such judgment as final and make provisions for its full satisfaction. Thus, where consent to be sued is given by general or special law, the implication thereof is limited only to the resultant verdict on the action before execution of the judgment. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects.The writ of attachment in this case would only prove to be useless and unnecessary under the premises, since the property of the municipality may not, in the event that respondent’s claim is validated, be subjected to writs of execution and garnishment — unless, of course, there has been a corresponding appropriation provided by law.
RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, ET AL. v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, ETC. ET AL G.R. No. 180050, May 12, 2010 Peralta, J.: Doctrines: The requirement of a contiguous territory and the requirement of a land area of at least 2,000 square kilometers are distinct and separate requirements for land area. The exemption under Sec461(b) pertains only to the requirement of territorial contiguity. Facts: When the Dinagat Islands was proclaimed a new province on December 3, 2006, it had an official population of only 106,951 based on the 2000 Census of Population conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), which population is short of the statutory requirement of 250,000 inhabitants. Moreover, the land area of the province failed to comply with the statutory requirement of 2,000 square kilometers. R.A. No. 9355 specifically states that the Province of Dinagat Islands contains an approximate land area of 802.12 square kilometers. Hence, Republic Act No. 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands was held unconstitutional and the provision in Article 9 (2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating, "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands," was declared NULL and VOID. Respondents instead asserted that the province, which is composed of more than one island, is exempted from the land area requirement based on the provision in the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 (IRR), specifically paragraph 2 of Article 9 which states that "[t]he land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands." Issue: Whether Dinagat Islands is exempted from the land area requirement Held: No. There are two requirements for land area: (1) the land area must be contiguous; and (2) the land area must be sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace. The requirement of a contiguous territory and the requirement of a land area of at least 2,000 square kilometers are distinct and separate requirements for land area. The exemption above pertains only to the requirement of territorial contiguity. It clearly states that the requirement of territorial contiguity may be dispensed with in the case of a province comprising two or more islands, or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. Nowhere in paragraph (b) is it expressly stated or may it be implied that when a province is composed of two or more islands, or when the territory of a province is separated by a chartered city or cities, such province need not comply with the land area requirement of at least 2,000 square kilometers or the requirement in paragraph (a) (i) of Section 461of the Local Government Code.
RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, ET AL. v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, ETC. ET AL G.R. No. 180050, May 12, 2010 Peralta, J.: Doctrines: No law has yet been passed amending Section 461 of the Local Government Code, so only the criteria stated therein are the bases for the creation of a province. The Court, while respecting the doctrine of separation of powers, cannot renege on its duty to determine whether the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution, and determine whether illegality attached to the creation of the province in question. Facts: Republic Act No. 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands was held unconstitutional for failure to satisfy the land area and population requirements and the provision in Article 9 (2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating, "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands," was declared NULL and VOID. OSG now contends that since the power to create a local government unit is vested with the Legislature, the acts of the Legislature and the Executive branch in enacting into law R.A. No. 9355 should be respected as petitioners failed to overcome the presumption of validity or constitutionality. Issue: Whether petitioners failed to overcome the presumption of validity Held: NO. As the law-making branch of the government, indeed, it was the Legislature that imposed the criteria for the creation of a province as contained in Section 461 of the Local Government Code. No law has yet been passed amending Section 461 of the Local Government Code, so only the criteria stated therein are the bases for the creation of a province. The Constitution clearly mandates that the criteria in the Local Government Code must be followed in the creation of a province; hence, any derogation of or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. The Court, while respecting the doctrine of separation of powers, cannot renege on its duty to determine whether the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution, and determine whether illegality attached to the creation of the province in question. To abandon this duty only because the Province of Dinagat Islands has began its existence is to consent to the passage of a law that is violative of the provisions of the Constitution and the Local Government Code, rendering the law and the province created null and void. The Court cannot tolerate such nullity to be in existence. Where the acts of other branches of the government go beyond the limit imposed by the Constitution, it is the sacred duty of the judiciary to nullify the same.
PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORPORATION v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT G.R. No. 183517, June 22, 2010 Perez, J.: Doctrine: Section 6 of Executive Order No. 756 cannot be construed as an additional alternative to existing general retirement laws and/or an exception to the prohibition against separate or supplementary insurance retirement or pension plans as aforesaid. Facts: With the issuance of PD 1071, otherwise known as the Revised Charter of the Philippine International Trading Corporation, then President Marcos issued EO 756, authorizing the reorganization of PITC. On February 18, 1983, President Marcos issued Executive Order No. 87. Romero, an officer of petitioner, filed a July 16, 2001 request, seeking from petitioner payment of retirement differentials on the strength of Section 6 of Executive Order No. 756. COA Comm. Habitan issued the assailed ruling,stating that Reserve for Retirement Gratuity and Commutation of Leave Credits of petitioner’s employees did not include allowances outside of the basic salary, said officer ruled that Executive Order No. 756 was a special law issued only for the specific purpose of reorganizing petitioner corporation. Finding that Section 6 of Executive Order No. 756 was simply an incentive to encourage employees to resign or retire at the height of petitioner’s reorganization, said decision went on to make the following pronouncements, to wit:"Moreover, RA No. 4968 prohibits the creation of any insurance retirement plan by any government agency and government-owned or controlled corporation other than the GSIS, Issue: Whether Executive Order No. 756 is an additional alternative to existing general retirement laws and/or an exception to the prohibition against separate or supplementary insurance retirement or pension plans Held: No. Time and again, it has been held that every statute must be so interpreted and brought in accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence – interpretere et concordare legibus est optimus interpretendi. Thus, if diverse statutes relate to the same thing, they ought to be taken into consideration in construing any one of them, as it is an established rule of law that all acts in pari materia are to be taken together, as if they were one law. Section 6 of Executive Order No. 756 cannot be construed as an additional alternative to existing general retirement laws and/or an exception to the prohibition against separate or supplementary insurance retirement or pension plans as aforesaid. Aside from the fact that a meaning that does not appear nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute cannot be placed therein by construction, petitioner would likewise do well to remember that repeal of laws should be made clear and express. Repeals by implication are not favored as laws are presumed to be passed with deliberation and full knowledge of all laws existing on the subject, the congruent application of which the courts must generally presume.
MUNICIPALITY OF TIWI, REPRESENTED BY HON. MAYOR JIAME C. VILLANUEVA AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF TIWI V. ANTONIO B. BETITO G.R. No. 171873, July 9, 2010 Del Castillo, J.: Doctrine: Pursuant to Section 444(b)(1)(vi) of te LGC, the municipal mayor is required to secure the prior authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan before entering into a contract on behalf of the municipality. The law speaks of prior authorization and not ratification with respect to the power of the local chief executive to enter into a contract on behalf of the local government unit. Facts: National Power corporation (NPC) is liable for unpaid real estate taxes on it s properties located in the Province of Albay. The said properties were sold at an auction sale conducted by Albay to satisfy NPC’s tax liabilities. As the sole bidder at the auction, Albay acquired ownership of said properties. The NPC and Albay, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) where the former agreed to settle its tax liabilities. Mayor Naomi C. Corral of Tiwi formally requested Governor Salalima to remit the rightful tax shares of Tiwiand its barangays where the NPC’s properties were located relative to the payments already made by NPC to Albay. Governor Salalima replied that the request cannot be granted as the initial payment amounting toP17,763,000.00 was only an ―earnest money‖ and that the total amount to be collected from the NPC was still being validated. Mayor Corral, representing Tiwi, and respondent and Atty. Lawenko entered into a Contract of Legal Services. The subject contract provided, among others, that respondent and Atty. Lawenko would receive a 10% contingent fee on whatever amount of realty taxes that would be recovered by Tiwi through their efforts. The Office of the President, through then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Antonio T. Carpio, opined that the MOA entered into by NPC and Albay merely recognized and established NPC’s realty taxes. He further clarified that the sharing scheme and those entitled to the payments to be made by NPC under the MOA should be that provided under the law, and since Tiwi is entitled to share in said realty taxes, NPC may remit such share directly to Tiwi. Issue: Is Mayor Corral authorized to enter into the contract of Legal Services? Ruling: Yes. Pursuant to Section 444(b)(1)(vi) of the LGC, the municipal mayor is required to secure the prior authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan before entering into a contract on behalf of the municipality. In the instant case, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi unanimously passed Resolution No. 15-92 authorizing Mayor Corral to hire a lawyer of her choice to represent the interest of Tiwi in the execution of this Court’s Decision in National Power Corporation v. Province of Albay. The abovequoted authority necessarily carried with it the power to negotiate, execute and sign on behalf of Tiwi the Contract of Legal Services. On its face, and there is no allegation to the contrary, this prior authorization appears to have been given by the council in good faith to the end of expeditiously safeguarding the rights of Tiwi. Under the particular circumstances of this case, there is, thus, nothing objectionable to this manner of prior authorization. Prescinding therefrom, petitioners’ next contention that the subject contract should first be ratified in order to become enforceable as against Tiwi must necessarily fail. As correctly held by the CA, the law speaks of prior authorization and not ratification with respect to the power of the local chief executive to enter into a contract on behalf of the local government unit.
THE PROVINCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, REPRESENTED BY ITS GOVERNOR ISIDRO P. ZAYCO v. THE COMMISSIONERS, COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL. G.R. No. 182574, September 28, 2010 Carpio, J.: Doctrine: The President’s power of general supervision means the power of a superior officer to see to it that subordinates perform their functions according to law. This is distinguished from the President’s power of control which is the power to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the President over that of the subordinate officer. Since LGUs are subject only to the power of general supervision of the President, the President’s authority is limited to seeing to it that rules are followed and laws are faithfully executed. Facts: The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental passed a resolution allocating P4,000,000 of its retained earnings for the hospitalization and health care insurance benefits of 1,949 officials and employees of the province. The Committee on Awards granted the insurance coverage to Philam Care Health System Incorporated (Philam Care). Petitioner Province of Negros Occidental, and Philam Care entered into a Group Health Care Agreement. After a post-audit investigation, the Provincial Auditor issued Notice of Suspension suspending the premium payment because of lack of approval from the Office of the President as provided under Administrative Order No. 103 (AO 103). Then President Joseph E. Estrada directed the COA to lift the suspension but only in the amount ofP100,000. The Provincial Auditor ignored the directive of the President. The COA ruled that under AO 103, no government entity, including a local government unit, is exempt from securing prior approval from the President granting additional benefits to its personnel. This is in conformity with the policy of standardization of compensation laid down in RA 6758. Issue: Whether or not COA committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the disallowance of P3,760,000 for premium paid for the hospitalization and health care insurance benefits granted by the Province of Negros Occidental to its 1,949 officials and employees. Ruling: Yes. It is clear from Section 1 of AO 103 that the President authorized all agencies of the national government as well as LGUs to grant the maximum amount of P2,000 productivity incentive benefit to each employee who has rendered at least one year of service as of 31 December 1993. In Section 2, the President enjoined all heads of government offices and agencies from granting productivity incentive benefits or any and all similar forms of allowances and benefits without the President’s prior approval. From a close reading of the provisions of AO 103, petitioner did not violate the rule of prior approval from the President since Section 2 states that the prohibition applies only to ―government offices/agencies, including government-owned and/or controlled corporations, as well as their respective governing boards.‖ Nowhere is it indicated in Section 2 that the prohibition also applies to LGUs. The President may only point out that rules have not been followed but the President cannot lay down the rules, neither does he have the discretion to modify or replace the rules. Thus, the grant of additional compensation like hospitalization and health care insurance benefits in the present case does not need the approval of the President to be valid.
SALUMBIDES v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN G. R. No. 180917, April 23, 2010 Carpio Morales, J.: Doctrine: The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. Facts: Salumbides and Glenda who were both appointed in July 2001 as Municipal Legal Officer/Administrator and Municipal Budget Officer, respectively of Tagkawayan, Quezon, and Mayor Vicente Salumbides III were administratively charged with with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and violation of the Commission on Audit (COA) Rules and the Local Government Code. This is with regards to the construction of a two-classroom building with fence for the Tagkawayan Municipal High School (TMHS) since the public school in the poblacion area would no longer admit high school freshmen starting school year 2002-2003. This was done without any approved appropriation and ahead of the public bidding. The Office of the Ombudsman dropped the mayor and Coleta, both elective officials, as respondents in the administrative case, the 2004 elections having mooted the case. Issue: Whether or not the Doctrine of Condonation shall expand to cover coterminous appointive officials who were administratively charged along with the reelected official/appointing authority with infractions allegedly committed during their preceding term. Ruling: No. The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. Election expresses the sovereign will of the people. Under the principle of vox populi est suprema lex, the re-election of a public official may, indeed, supersede a pending administrative case. The same cannot be said of a re-appointment to a non-career position. Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials. The former occupy their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions. On the other hand, appointive officials hold their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHIL. REP BY LCP NATIONAL PRESIDENT JERRY P. TRENAS, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. No. 176951/G.R. No. 177499/G.R. No. 178056, August 24, 2010 En Banc Doctrine: The clear intent of the Constitution particularly Section 10, Article X is to insure that the creation of cities and other political units must follow the same uniform, non-discriminatory criteria found solely in the Local Government Code. Any derogation or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. Facts: These cases were initiated by the consolidated petitions for prohibition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), City of Iloilo, City of Calbayog, and Jerry P. Treñas, assailing the constitutionality of the sixteen (16) laws, each converting the municipality covered thereby into a component city (Cityhood Laws), and seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the subject laws. The Supreme Court En Banc, by a majority vote, struck down the subject 16 Cityhood Laws for violating Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution and the equal protection clause. On 31 March 2009, the Supreme Court En Banc, again by a majority vote, denied the respondents' first motion for reconsideration. On 28 April 2009, the Supreme Court En Banc, by a split vote, denied the respondents' second motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, the 18 November 2008 Decision became final and executory and was recorded, in due course, in the Book of Entries of Judgments on 21 May 2009. However, after the finality of the 18 November 2008 Decision and without any exceptional and compelling reason, the Court En Banc unprecedentedly reversed the 18 November 2008 Decision by upholding the constitutionality of the Cityhood Laws in the Decision of 21 December 2009. Issue: Whether or not the subject 16 Cityhood Laws is a violation of the Constitution. Ruling: Yes. In enacting RA 9009, Congress did not grant any exemption to respondent municipalities, even though their cityhood bills were pending in Congress when Congress passed RA 9009. The Cityhood Laws, all enacted after the effectivity of RA 9009, explicitly exempt respondent municipalities from the increased income requirement in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009. Such exemption clearly violates Section 10, Article X of the Constitution and is thus patently unconstitutional. To be valid, such exemption must be written in the Local Government Code and not in any other law, including the Cityhood Laws. There is no substantial distinction between municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the th 11 Congress and municipalities that did not have pending bills. The mere pendency of a cityhood bill th in the 11 Congress is not a material difference to distinguish one municipality from another for the purpose of the income requirement. The classification criterion is not rationally related to the purpose of the law which is to prevent fiscally non-viable municipalities from converting into cities. The unconstitutionality of the Cityhood Laws lies in the fact that Congress provided an exemption contrary to the express language of the Constitution that "[n]o x x x city x x x shall be created except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code."In other words, Congress exceeded and abused its law-making power, rendering the challenged Cityhood Laws void for being violative of the Constitution.
LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COMELEC G.R. No. 176951 February 15, 2011 En Banc Doctrine: The legislative body possesses plenary powers for all purposes of civil government. Any power, deemed to be legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution has lodged it elsewhere. In fine, except as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly, legislative power embraces all subjects, and extends to matters of general concern or common interest. Without doubt, the LGC is a creation of Congress through its law-making powers. Congress has the power to alter or modify it as it did when it enacted R.A. No. 9009. Facts: This is a motion for consideration of the case, League of Cities of the Phil. rep by LCP National President Jerry P. Trenas, et al. Vs. COMELEC, et al., G.R. No. 176951/G.R. No. 177499/G.R. No. 178056. August 24, 2010. These cases were initiated by the consolidated petitions for prohibition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), City of Iloilo, City of Calbayog, and Jerry P. Treñas, assailing the constitutionality of the sixteen (16) laws, each converting the municipality covered thereby into a component city (Cityhood Laws), and seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the subject laws. Issue: Whether or not the subject 16 Cityhood Laws is a violation of the Constitution. Ruling: No. When the LGC was amended by R.A. No. 9009, the amendment carried with it both the letter and the intent of the law, and such were incorporated in the LGC by which the compliance of the Cityhood Laws was gauged. It cannot be denied that Congress saw the wisdom of exempting respondent municipalities from complying with the higher income requirement imposed by the amendatory R.A. No. 9009. Indeed, these municipalities have proven themselves viable and capable to become component cities of their respective provinces. The purpose of the enactment of R.A. No 9009 was merely to stop the "mad rush of municipalities wanting to be converted into cities" and the apprehension that before long the country will be a country of cities and without municipalities. The imposition of a very high income requirement of P100 million, increased from P20 million, was simply to make it extremely difficult for municipalities to become component cities. Indeed, substantial distinction lies in the capacity and viability of respondent municipalities to become component cities of their respective provinces. The courts invariably give the most careful consideration to questions involving the interpretation and application of the Constitution, and approach constitutional questions with great deliberation, exercising their power in this respect with the greatest possible caution and even reluctance; and they should never declare a statute void, unless its invalidity is, in their judgment, beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, in no doubtful case will the judiciary pronounce a legislative act to be contrary to the constitution. To doubt the constitutionality of a law is to resolve the doubt in favor of its validity.