Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

LIDASAN v COMELEC

October 25, 1967


SANCHEZ, J.
PETITIONERS
BARA LIDASAN
RESPONDENTS
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
NATURE
Original Action in SC. Certiorari and Prohibition.
BRIEF
RA 4790s title did not reflect that barrios from Cotabato will be transferred to Lanao del Sur in the creation of
Dianaton Municipality. This is unconstitutional so court held RA 4790 as null and void.
FACTS
June 18 1966 RA 4790 or "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton in the Province of Lanao del Sur" was
signed into law:
Sec. 1. Barrios Togaig, Madalum, Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo, Tabangao,
Tiongko, Colodan, Kabamakawan, Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang, Dagowan, Bakikis, Bungabung,
Losain, Matimos and Magolatung, in the Municipalities of Butig and Balabagan, Province of Lanao del
Sur, are separated from said municipalities and constituted into a distinct and independent
municipality of the same province to be known as the Municipality of Dianaton, Province of Lanao
del Sur. The seat of government of the municipality shall be in Togaig.
Sec. 2. The first mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the new municipality shall be elected in the
nineteen hundred sixty-seven general elections for local officials.
Sec. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
However, barrios Togaig and Madalum are within the municipality of Buldon, Province of Cotabato, and barrios
Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo, Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan and Kabamakawan are part
of the municipality of Parang, Province of Cotabato and not of Lanao del Sur. Twelve barrios in two
municipalities in the province of Cotabato are transferred to the province of Lanao del Sur. This brought about a
change in the boundaries of the two provinces.
Prompted by upcoming elections, COMELEC issued resolution implementing the creation of Dianaton, Lanao del
Sur. Office of the President recommended to COMELEC that the operation of the statute be suspended until
"clarified by correcting legislation." COMELEC, in a resolution, declared that the statute "should be implemented
unless declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court."
Lidasan filed current petition as a resident and taxpayer of the detached portion of Parang, Cotabato, and a
qualified voter for the 1967 elections. He prays that RA 4790 be declared unconstitutional and that COMELECs
resolutions implementing the same for electoral purposes, be nullified.
ISSUES x RULING
1. WON RA 4790 is unconstitutional
YES. RA 4790 is unconstitutional and should be declared null and void.
Sec 21 (1), Art VI of 1987 Constitution: No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than
one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill.
This provision provides that: 1) Congress is to refrain from conglomeration, under one statute, of heterogeneous
subjects and 2) The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient to notify the legislators and the public
and those concerned of the import of the single subject thereof.
The subject of the statute must be expressed in the title of the bill. This is imperative because the Constitution
does not exact of Congress the obligation to read during its deliberations the entire text of the bill. In fact, for RA
4790, only its title was read from introduction to final approval. The title should sufficiently inform the legislators
and the public of the nature, scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation because this will then
lead them to inquire into the body of the bill, study and discuss, take appropriate action, and, thus, prevent
surprise or fraud upon the legislators.
The test of the sufficiency of a title is whether or not it is misleading; and, which technical accuracy is not
essential, and the subject need not be stated in express terms where it is clearly inferable from the details
set forth, a title which is so uncertain that the average person reading it would not be informed of the
purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its contents, or which is misleading, either in referring
to or indicating one subject where another or different one is really embraced in the act, or in omitting
any expression or indication of the real subject or scope of the act, is bad.
In determining sufficiency of particular title its substance rather than its form should be considered, and
the purpose of the constitutional requirement, of giving notice to all persons interested, should be kept in
mind by the court.
The title "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton, in the Province of Lanao del Sur" projects the
impression that solely the province of Lanao del Sur is affected by the creation of Dianaton. The phrase "in the
Province of Lanao del Sur," read without subtlety or contortion, makes the title misleading, deceptive. The
legislation: (1) creates the municipality of Dianaton purportedly from twenty-one barrios in the towns of Butig and
Balabagan, both in the province of Lanao del Sur; and (2) dismembers two municipalities in Cotabato, a province
different from Lanao del Sur. The title did not inform the members of Congress to the full impact of the law; it did
not apprise the people in Cotabato that part of their territory is being taken away from their towns and province
and added to the adjacent Province of Lanao del Sur; it kept the public in the dark as to what towns and provinces
were actually affected by the bill.
Respondent claims that the change in boundaries of the two provinces resulting in "the substantial diminution of
territorial limits" of Cotabato province is "merely the incidental legal results of the definition of the boundary" of
the municipality of Dianaton and that, therefore, reference to the fact that portions in Cotabato are taken away
"need not be expressed in the title of the law."
Transfer of territory involves reduction of area, population, and income for the first and a corresponding increase
for the other. This is as important as the creation of a municipality. And yet, the title did not reflect it.
Felwa v. Salas: The statute An Act Creating the Provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and
Kalinga-Apayao" was assailed as unconstitutional because it did not include in the title the provisions in
reference to the elective officials. Court held that this pretense is devoid of merit "for, surely, an Act
creating said provinces must be expected to provide for the officers who shall run the affairs thereof"
which is "manifestly germane to the subject" of the legislation, as set forth in its title.
With regards to RA 4790, however, the lumping together of barrios in adjacent but separate provinces under one
statute is neither a natural nor logical consequence of the creation of the new municipality of Dianaton. A change
of boundaries of the two provinces may be made without necessarily creating a new municipality and vice versa.
Hume v. Village of Fruitport: The statute "An Act to Incorporate the Village of Fruitport, in the County of
Muskegon" was challenged as void because it included territory in the counties of Muskegon and
Ottawa, Michigan Sec 20, Article IV of the Michigan State Constitution reads: "No law shall embrace
more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title." The statute was declared null and void.
Court held that: It may be that words, "An act to incorporate the village of Fruitport," would have been a
sufficient title, and that the words, "in the county of Muskegon" were unnecessary; but we do not agree
with appellant that the words last quoted may, for that reason, be disregarded as surplusage. Under the
guise of discarding surplusage, a court cannot reject a part of the title of an act for the purpose of saving
the act (Schmalz v. Woody). A purpose of the provision of the Constitution is to "challenge the attention
of those affected by the act to its provisions" (Savings Bank v. State of Michigan). The title here is
restrictive. It restricts the operation of the act of Muskegon county. The act goes beyond the restriction.
As was said in Schmalz v. Wooly: "The title is erroneous in the worst degree, for it is misleading."

2. WON RA 4790 may be salvaged by the nullification of unconstitutional portion
NO. RA 4790 may not be salvaged with reference to the nine barrios in Lanao del Sur, with the mere nullification of
the portion thereof which took away the twelve barrios in the province of Cotabato. RA 4790 is indivisible and it is
accordingly null and void in its totality.
Black: [] But when the parts of the statute are so mutually dependent and connected, as conditions,
considerations, inducements, or compensations for each other, as to warrant a belief that the legislature
intended them as a whole, and that if all could not be carried into effect, the legislature would not pass
the residue independently, then, if some parts are unconstitutional, all the provisions which are thus
dependent, conditional, or connected, must fall with them
The general rule is that where part of a statute is void, as repugnant to the Organic Law, while another
part is valid, the valid portion if separable from the invalid, may stand and be enforced. But in order to do
this, the valid portion must be so far independent of the invalid portion that it is fair to presume that the
Legislature would have enacted it by itself if they had supposed that they could not constitutionally enact
the other. [] Enough must remain to make a complete, intelligible, and valid statute, which carries out
the legislative intent. [] The language used in the invalid part of the statute can have no legal force or
efficacy for any purpose whatever, and what remains must express the legislative will independently of
the void part, since the court has no power to legislate []
Municipal corporations: 1) serve as an instrumentality of the State in carrying out the functions of government and
2) act as an agency of the community in the administration of local affairs. It is in the latter character that they are
a separate entity acting for their own purposes and not a subdivision of the State. Population, territory, and
income are the factors that should be considered in the capability of a municipality in maintaining itself as
independent.
Explanatory note to RA 4790: The territory is now a progressive community; the aggregate population is
large; and the collective income is sufficient to maintain an independent municipality. This bill, if
enacted into law, will enable the inhabitants concerned to govern themselves and enjoy the blessings of
municipal autonomy.
When the foregoing bill was presented in Congress, unquestionably, the totality of the twenty-one barrios not
nine barrios was in the mind of the proponent thereof. This can also be seen by the fact that the statute states
that the seat of the government is in Togaig, which is a barrio in Cotabato.
Paying due respect to the traditional separation of powers, the Court may not now melt and recast Republic Act
4790 to read a Dianaton town of nine instead of the originally intended twenty-one barrios. Really, if these nine
barrios are to constitute a town at all, it is the function of Congress, not of this Court, to spell out that
congressional will.
3. WON petitioner is the real party in interest
YES. Petitioner is a qualified voter. He expects to vote in the 1967 elections. His right to vote in his own barrio
before it was annexed to a new town is affected. He may not want, as is the case here, to vote in a town different
from his actual residence. Since by constitutional direction the purpose of a bill must be shown in its title for the
benefit, amongst others, of the community affected thereby, it stands to reason to say that when the
constitutional right to vote on the part of any citizen of that community is affected, he may become a suitor to
challenge the constitutionality of the Act as passed by Congress.
DISPOSITIVE
RA 4790 declared NULL and VOID.