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League of Cities of the Philippines vs. COMELEC, et al.

(November 18, 2008 Decision)


FACTS:

HELD:
We grant the petitions.

During the 11th Congress, Congress enacted into law 33 bills


converting 33 municipalities into cities. However, Congress did not
act on bills converting 24 other municipalities into cities.

First, applying the P100 million income requirement in RA


9009 to the present case is a prospective, not a retroactive
application, because RA 9009 took effect in 2001 while the
cityhood bills became law more than five years later.

During the 12th Congress, Congress enacted into law RA 9009,


which took effect on 30 June 2001. RA 9009 amended Section 450
of the Local Government Code by increasing the annual income
requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from P20
million to P100 million.

Second, the Constitution requires that Congress shall


prescribe all the criteria for the creation of a city in the Local
Government Code and not in any other law, including the Cityhood
Laws.

After the effectivity of RA 9009, the House of Representatives of


the 12th Congress adopted Joint Resolution No. 29, which sought to
exempt from theP100 million income requirement in RA 9009 the
24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not approved in the
11th Congress. However, the 12th Congress ended without the
Senate approving Joint Resolution No. 29.
During the 13th Congress, the House of Representatives readopted Joint Resolution No. 29 as Joint Resolution No. 1 and
forwarded it to
the Senate for approval. However, the Senate
again failed to approve the Joint Resolution. Following the advice
of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, 16 municipalities filed, through their
respective sponsors, individual cityhood bills. The 16 cityhood bills
contained a common provision exempting all the 16 municipalities
from the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009.
The cityhood bills were approved by both houses of
Congress. The cityhood bills lapsed into law (Cityhood Laws) on
various dates from March to July 2007 without the Presidents
signature.
The Cityhood Laws direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites to
determine whether the voters in each respondent municipality
approve of the conversion of their municipality into a city.
Petitioners filed the present petitions to declare the Cityhood Laws
unconstitutional for violation of Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution, as well as for violation of the equal protection clause.
Petitioners also lament that the wholesale conversion of
municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in
the Internal Revenue Allotment.
ISSUES:
1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of
the
Constitution; and
2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.

Third, the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6, Article X of


the Constitution because they prevent a fair and just distribution of
the national taxes to local government units.
Fourth, the criteria prescribed in Section 450 of the Local
Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, for converting a
municipality into a city are clear, plain and unambiguous, needing
no resort to any statutory construction.
Fifth, the intent of members of the 11 th Congress to
exempt certain municipalities from the coverage of RA 9009
remained an intent and was never written into Section 450 of the
Local Government Code.
Sixth, the deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on
unapproved bills or resolutions are not extrinsic aids in interpreting
a law passed in the 13th Congress.
Seventh, even if the exemption in the Cityhood Laws
were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, the
exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal
protection clause.
Applying RA 9009 is a Prospective Application of the Law
RA 9009 increased the income requirement for conversion of a
municipality into a city from P20 million to P100 million. Section
450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, does
not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement.
Congress passed the Cityhood Laws long after the effectivity of RA
9009. RA 9009 became effective on 30 June 2001 or during the
11thCongress. The 13th Congress passed in December 2006
the cityhood bills which became law only in 2007. Thus,
respondent municipalities cannot invoke the principle of nonretroactivity of laws. This basic rule has no application because RA
9009, an earlier law to the Cityhood Laws, is not being applied
retroactively but prospectively.

Congress Must Prescribe in the Local Government Code All


Criteria

in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, they prevent the fair
and just distribution of the Internal Revenue Allotment in violation
of Section 6, Article X of the Constitution.

Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides:


No province, city, municipality, or
barangay shall be created, divided, merged,
abolished or its boundary substantially
altered, except in accordance with the
criteria established in the local government
code and subject to approval by a majority of
the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political
units directly affected. (Emphasis supplied)
The Constitution is clear. The creation of local government units
must follow the criteria established in the Local Government
Code and not in any other law. Congress cannot write such
criteria in any other law, like the Cityhood Laws.
RA 9009 took effect on 30 June 2001. Hence, from that
moment the Local Government Code required that any
municipality desiring to become a city must satisfy the P100
million income requirement.
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.
Cityhood Laws Violate Section 6, Article X of the Constitution
Section 6, Article X of the Constitution provides:
Local government units shall have a just
share, as determined by law, in the national
taxes which shall be automatically released to
them. (Emphasis supplied)
A city with an annual income of only P20 million, all other criteria
being equal, should not receive the same share in national taxes
as a city with an annual income of P100 million or more. The
criteria of land area, population and income, as prescribed in
Section 450 of the Local Government Code, must be strictly
followed because such criteria, prescribed by law, are material in
determining the just share of local government units in national
taxes. Since the Cityhood Laws do not follow the income criterion

The 11th Congress Intent was not Written into the Local
Government Code
The Constitution requires that the criteria for the conversion of a
municipality into a city, including any exemption from such criteria,
must all be written in the Local Government Code. Congress
cannot prescribe such criteria or exemption from such criteria in
any other law. In short, Congress cannot create a city through
a law that does not comply with the criteria or exemption
found in the Local Government Code.
Section 10 of Article X is similar to Section 16, Article XII of
the Constitution prohibiting Congress from creating private
corporations except by a general law. Section 16 of Article XII
provides:
The Congress shall not, except by general
law, provide for the formation, organization,
or regulation of private corporations.
Government-owned or controlled corporations
may be created or established by special
charters in the interest of the common good
and subject to the test of economic
viability. (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, Congress must prescribe all the criteria for the formation,
organization, or regulation of private corporations in a general
law applicable to all without discrimination. Congress cannot
create a private corporation through a special law or charter.
Deliberations of the 11th Congress on Unapproved
Bills Inapplicable
Congress
is
not
a
continuing
body.
th
The unapproved cityhood bills filed during the 11 Congress
became mere scraps of paper upon the adjournment of the
11th Congress. All the hearings and deliberations conducted during
the 11th Congress on unapproved bills also became worthless upon
the adjournment of the 11 thCongress. These hearings and
deliberations cannot be used to interpret bills enacted into law
in the 13th or subsequent Congresses.
The members and officers of each Congress are
different. All unapproved bills filed in one Congress
become functus officio upon adjournment of that Congress and
must be re-filed anew in order to be taken up in the next Congress.
Section 123, Rule XLIV of the Rules of the Senate, on Unfinished
Business, provides:

All pending matters and proceedings shall


terminate upon the expiration of one (1)
Congress, but may be taken by the
succeeding Congress as if presented for the
first time.

Similarly, Section 78 of the Rules of the House of Representatives,


on Unfinished Business, states:
At the end of the term of a Congress,
all Unfinished Business are deemed
terminated.
Thus, the deliberations during the 11 th Congress on the
unapproved cityhood bills, as well as the deliberations during the
12th and 13th Congresses on the unapproved resolution exempting
from RA 9009 certain municipalities, have no legal significance.
Applicability of Equal Protection Clause
If Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA
9009, contained an exemption to the P100 million annual income
requirement, the criteria for such exemption could be scrutinized
for possible violation of the equal protection clause. Thus, the
criteria for the exemption, if found in the Local Government Code,
could be assailed on the ground of absence of a valid
classification. However, Section 450 of the Local Government
Code, as amended by RA 9009, does not contain any
exemption. The exemption is contained in the Cityhood Laws,
which are unconstitutional because such exemption must be
prescribed in the Local Government Code as mandated in Section
10, Article X of the Constitution.
Even if the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws were written
in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA
9009, such exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of
the equal protection clause. The exemption provision merely
states, Exemption from Republic Act No. 9009 The City of x
x x shall be exempted from the income requirement
prescribed under Republic Act No. 9009. This one sentence
exemption provision contains no classification standards or
guidelines differentiating the exempted municipalities from those
that are not exempted.
Even if we take into account the deliberations in the 11 th Congress
that municipalities with pending cityhood bills should be exempt
from the P100 million income requirement, there is still no valid
classification to satisfy the equal protection clause. The
exemption will be based solely on the fact that the 16
municipalities had cityhood bills pending in the 11 th Congress
when RA 9009 was enacted. This is not a valid classification

between those entitled and those not entitled to exemption from


the P100 million income requirement.
There is no substantial distinction between municipalities with
pending cityhood bills in the 11th Congress and municipalities that
did not have pending bills. The pendency of a cityhood bill in the
11th Congress does not affect or determine the level of income of a
municipality. Municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the
11th Congress might even have lower annual income than
municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills. In short, the
classification criterion mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the
11th Congress is not rationally related to the purpose of the law
which is to prevent fiscally non-viable municipalities from
converting into cities.
The fact of pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11 th Congress limits
the exemption to a specific condition existing at the time of
passage of RA 9009. That specific condition will never happen
again. This violates the requirement that a valid classification must
not be limited to existing conditions only.
The exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws gives the 16
municipalities a unique advantage based on an arbitrary
date the filing of their cityhood bills before the end of the
11th Congress as against all other municipalities that want to
convert into cities after the effectivity of RA 9009.
Furthermore, limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities
violates the requirement that the classification must apply to all
similarly situated. Municipalities with the same income as the 16
respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities, while the 16
respondent municipalities can.
WHEREFORE,
we GRANT the
petitions
declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Cityhood Laws.

and

_____________________________________________________

League of Cities of the Philippines vs. COMELEC, et al.


(December 21, 2009 Resolution)
FACTS:
In the November 18, 2008 Decision granting the
petitions, Justice Antonio T. Carpio, for the Court, resolved the twin
posers in the affirmative and accordingly declared the cityhood
laws unconstitutional, deviating as they do from the uniform and
non-discriminatory income criterion prescribed by the LGC of
1991. In so doing, the ponencia veritably agreed with the
petitioners that the Constitution, in clear and unambiguous
language, requires that all the criteria for the creation of a city shall
be embodied and written in the LGC, and not in any other law.

The 6-6 vote on the motion to reconsider the Resolution of March


31, 2009, which denied the initial motion on the sole ground that
the basic issues had already been passed upon betrayed an
evenly divided Court on the issue of whether or not the underlying
Decision of November 18, 2008 had indeed passed upon the
issues raised in the motion for reconsideration of the said
decision.
Accordingly, the motions of the respondent LGUs, in light
of the 6-6 vote, should be deliberated anew until the required
concurrence on the issue of the validity or invalidity of the laws in
question is, on the merits, secured.
ISSUES:

1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of


the
Constitution; and
2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.
HELD:
The creation, division, merger, and abolition of LGUs fall
within the legislative powers of Congress
The petitioners would parlay the thesis that the
indicators or criteria of creating political units must be written only
in the LGC and not in any other statute.
Petitioners posture does not persuade.
By constitutional design and as a matter of longestablished principle, the power to create political subdivisions or
LGUs is essentially legislative in character. But even without any
constitutional grant, Congress can, by law, create, divide, merge, or
altogether abolish or alter the boundaries of a province, city, or
municipality.

Since Congress wields the vast power of creating political


subdivisions, surely it can exercise the lesser authority of requiring
a set of criteria, standards, or ascertainable indicators of viability
for their creation. Thus, the only conceivable reason why the
Constitution employs the clause in accordance with the criteria
established in the local government code is to lay stress that it
is Congress alone, and no other, which can impose the criteria.
When the 1987 Constitution speaks of the LGC, the
reference cannot be to any specific statute or codification of laws,
let alone the LGC of 1991. Be it noted that at the time of the
adoption of the 1987 Constitution, Batas Pambansa Blg. (BP) 337,
the then LGC, was still in effect. Accordingly, had the framers of the
1987 Constitution intended to isolate the embodiment of the criteria
only in the LGC, then they would have actually referred to BP 337.
Also, they would then not have provided for the enactment by
Congress of a new LGC, as they did in Art. X, Sec. 3 of the
Constitution.
Consistent with its plenary legislative power on the
matter, Congress can, via either a consolidated set of laws or a
much simpler, single-subject enactment, impose the said verifiable
criteria of viability. These criteria need not be embodied in the local
government code, albeit this code is the ideal repository to ensure,
as much as possible, the element of uniformity. Congress can
even, after making a codification, enact an amendatory law, adding
to the existing layers of indicators earlier codified, just as
efficaciously as it may reduce the same. In this case, the
amendatory RA 9009 upped the already codified income
requirement from PhP 20 million toPhP 100 million. At the end of
the day, the passage of amendatory laws is no different from the
enactment of laws, i.e., the cityhood laws specifically exempting a
particular political subdivision from the criteria earlier mentioned.
Congress, in enacting the exempting law/s, effectively decreased
the already codified indicators.
As it were, Congress, through the medium of the cityhood
laws, validly decreased the income criterion vis--vis the
respondent LGUs, but without necessarily being unreasonably
discriminatory, as shall be discussed shortly, by reverting to
the PhP 20 million threshold what it earlier raised to PhP 100
million.
It is the intention of the legislature to exempt the 16
municipalities from the income requirement in RA 9009
Looking at the circumstances behind the enactment of
the laws subject of contention, the Court finds that the LGCamending RA 9009, no less, intended the LGUs covered by the
cityhood laws to be exempt from the PhP 100 million income
criterion. In other words, the cityhood laws, which merely carried

out the intent of RA 9009, adhered, in the final analysis, to the


criteria established in the Local Government Code, pursuant
to Sec. 10, Art. X of the 1987 Constitution.
Among the criteria established in the LGC pursuant to
Sec.10, Art. X of the 1987 Constitution are those detailed in Sec.
450 of the LGC of 1991 under the heading Requisites for
Creation. The section sets the minimum income qualifying bar
before a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be considered
for cityhood. Originally, Sec. 164 of BP 337 imposed an average
regular annual income of at least ten million pesos for the last
three consecutive years as a minimum income standard for a
municipal-to-city conversion. The LGC that BP 337 established was
superseded by the LGC of 1991 whose then Sec. 450 provided
that [a] municipality or cluster of barangays may be converted into
a component city if it has an average annual income, x x x of at
least twenty million pesos(P20,000,000.00) for at least two (2)
consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices x x x. RA 9009
in turn amended said Sec. 450 by further increasing the income
requirement to PhP 100 million
The rationale behind the enactment of RA 9009 to amend
Sec. 450 of the LGC of 1991 can reasonably be deduced from
Senator Pimentels sponsorship speech on S. Bill No. 2157 and the
ensuing excerpts from the floor exchange between then Senate
President Franklin Drilon and Senator Pimentel, the latter stopping
short of saying that the income threshold of PhP 100 million under
S. Bill No. 2157 would not apply to municipalities that have pending
cityhood bills.
What the foregoing Pimental-Drilon exchange eloquently
indicates are the following complementary legislative intentions: (1)
the then pending cityhood bills would be outside the pale of the
minimum income requirement of PhP 100 million that S. Bill No.
2159 proposes; and (2) RA 9009 would not have any retroactive
effect insofar as the cityhood bills are concerned.
Not only do the congressional records bear the legislative
intent of exempting the cityhood laws from the income requirement
of PhP 100 million. Congress has now made its intention to
exempt express in the challenged cityhood laws.
The deliberations in the 11th and 12th Congress qualify as
extrinsic aids in construing the cityhood laws
It is really immaterial if Congress is not a continuing
legislative body. What is important is that the debates,
deliberations, and proceedings of Congress and the steps taken in
the enactment of the law, in this case the cityhood laws in relation
to RA 9009 orvice versa, were part of its legislative history and may
be consulted, if appropriate, as aids in the interpretation of the
law. And of course the earlier cited Drilon-Pimentel exchange on
whether or not the 16 municipalities in question would be covered

by RA 9009 is another vital link to the historical chain of the


cityhood bills. This and other proceedings on the bills are spread in
the Congressional journals, which cannot be conveniently reduced
to pure rhetoric without meaning whatsoever, on the simplistic
and non-sequitur pretext that Congress is not a continuing body
and that unfinished business in either chamber is deemed
terminated at the end of the term of Congress.
The cityhood laws do not violate the equal protection clause
Artificial persons, as the respondent LGUs herein,
are entitled to protection only insofar as their property is
concerned.
In the proceedings at bar, petitioner LCP and the
intervenors cannot plausibly invoke the equal protection clause,
precisely because no deprivation of property results by virtue of the
enactment of the cityhood laws. The LCPs claim that the IRA of its
member-cities will be substantially reduced on account of the
conversion into cities of the respondent LGUs would not suffice to
bring it within the ambit of the constitutional guarantee. Indeed, it is
presumptuous on the part of the LCP member-cities to already
stake a claim on the IRA, as if it were their property, as the IRA is
yet to be allocated. For the same reason, the municipalities that are
not covered by the uniform exemption clause in the cityhood laws
cannot validly invoke constitutional protection. For, at this point, the
conversion of a municipality into a city will only affect its status as a
political unit, but not its property as such.
As things stand, the favorable treatment accorded the
sixteen (16) municipalities by the cityhood laws rests on
substantial distinction. Indeed, respondent LGUs, which are
subjected only to the erstwhile PhP 20 million income criterion
instead of the stringent income requirement prescribed in RA 9009,
are substantially different from other municipalities desirous to be
cities. Looking back, we note that respondent LGUs had pending
cityhood bills before the passage of RA 9009. There lies part of the
tipping difference. And years before the enactment of the
amendatory RA 9009, respondents LGUs had already met the
income criterion exacted for cityhood under the LGC of 1991. Due
to extraneous circumstances, however, the bills for their conversion
remained unacted upon by Congress. As aptly observed by then
Senator, now Manila Mayor, Alfredo Lim in his speech sponsoring
H. Joint Resolution No. 1, or the cityhood bills, respondent LGUs
saw themselves confronted with the changing of the rules in the
middle of the game. Each of the 12 municipalities has all the
requisites for conversion into a component city based on the
old requirements set forth under Section 450 of the [LGC],
prior to its amendment by RA 9009.
In hindsight, the peculiar conditions, as depicted in
Senator Lims speech, which respondent LGUs found themselves
in were unsettling. They were qualified cityhood applicants before

the enactment of RA 009. Because of events they had absolutely


nothing to do with, a spoiler in the form of RA 9009 supervened.
Now, then, to impose on them the much higher income requirement
after what they have gone through would appear to be
indeed unfair, to borrow from Senator Lim. Thus, the imperatives
of fairness dictate that they should be given a legal remedy by
which they would be allowed to prove that they have all the
necessary qualifications for city status, using the criteria set forth
under the LGC of 1991 prior to its amendment by RA 9009.
The classification is also germane to the purpose of the
law. The exemption of respondent LGUs/municipalities from the
PhP 100 million income requirement was meant to reduce the
inequality occasioned by the passage of the amendatory RA 9009.
From another perspective, the exemption was unquestionably
designed to insure that fairness and justice would be accorded
respondent LGUs. Let it be noted that what were then the cityhood
bills covering respondent LGUs were part and parcel of the original
57 conversion bills filed in the 11 th Congress, 33 of those became
laws before the adjournment of that Congress. The then bills of the
challenged cityhood laws were not acted upon due, inter alia, to the
impeachment
of
then
President
Estrada,
the
related jueteng scandal investigations conducted before, and the
EDSA events that followed the aborted impeachment.
While the equal protection guarantee frowns upon the
creation of a privileged class without justification, inherent in the
equality clause is the exhortation for the Legislature to pass laws
promoting equality or reducing existing inequalities. The
enactment of the cityhood laws was in a real sense an attempt on
the part of Congress to address the inequity dealt the respondent
LGUs. These laws positively promoted the equality and eliminated
the inequality, doubtless unintended, between respondent
municipalities and the thirty-three (33) other municipalities whose
cityhood bills were enacted during the 11th Congress. Respondent
municipalities and the 33 other municipalities, which had already
been elevated to city status, were all found to be qualified under
the old Sec. 450 of the LGC of 1991 during the 11 thCongress. As
such, both respondent LGUs and the 33 other former municipalities
are under like circumstances and conditions. There is, thus, no
rhyme or reason why an exemption from the PhP 100 million
requirement cannot be given to respondent LGUs. Indeed, to deny
respondent LGUs/municipalities the same rights and privileges
accorded to the 33 other municipalities when, at the outset they
were similarly situated, is tantamount to denying the former the
protective mantle of the equal protection clause. In effect,
petitioners and petitioners-in-intervention are creating an absurd
situation in which an alleged violation of the equal protection clause
of the Constitution is remedied by another violation of the same
clause.
Then too the non-retroactive effect of RA 9009 is not
limited in application only to conditions existing at the time of

its enactment. It is intended to apply for all time, as long as the


contemplated conditions obtain. To be more precise, the legislative
intent underlying the enactment of RA 9009 to exclude would-becities from the PhP 100 million criterion would hold sway, as long
as the corresponding cityhood bill has been filed before the
effectivity of RA 9009 and the concerned municipality qualifies for
conversion into a city under the original version of Sec. 450 of the
LGC of 1991.
Viewed in its proper light, the common exemption clause
in the cityhood laws is an application of the non-retroactive effect of
RA 9009 on the cityhood bills. It is not a declaration of certain
rights, but a mere declaration of prior qualification and/or
compliance with the non-retroactive effect of RA 9009.
Lastly, the uniform exemption clause would apply to
municipalities that had pending cityhood bills before the
passage of RA 9009 and were compliant with then Sec. 450 of
the LGC of 1991, which prescribed an income requirement of PhP
20 million. It is hard to imagine, however, if there are still
municipalities out there belonging in context to the same class as
the sixteen (16) respondent LGUs. Municipalities that cannot claim
to belong to the same class as the 16 cannot seek refuge in the
cityhood laws. The former have to comply with the PhP 100 million
income requirement imposed by RA 9009.
The operative fact doctrine upholds the constitutionality of the
cityhood laws
A final consideration. The existence of the cities
consequent to the approval of the creating, but challenged,
cityhood laws in the plebiscites held in the affected LGUs is now an
operative fact. New cities appear to have been organized and are
functioning accordingly, with new sets of officials and employees.
Other resulting events need not be enumerated. The operative fact
doctrine provides another reason for upholding the constitutionality
of the cityhood laws in question.
In view of the foregoing discussion, the Court ought to
abandon as it hereby abandons and sets aside the Decision of
November 18, 2008 subject of reconsideration.
And by way of summing up the main arguments in
support of this disposition, the Court hereby declares the following:
(1) Congress did not intend the increased income
requirement in RA 9009 to apply to the cityhood bills which became
the cityhood laws in question. In other words, Congress intended
the subject cityhood laws to be exempted from the income
requirement of PhP 100 million prescribed by RA 9009;
(2) The cityhood laws merely carry out the intent of RA
9009, now Sec. 450 of the LGC of 1991, to exempt respondent
LGUs from the PhP 100 million income requirement;

(3) The deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on


unapproved bills or resolutions are extrinsic aids in interpreting a
law passed in the 13th Congress. It is really immaterial if
Congress is not a continuing body. The hearings and deliberations
during the 11th and 12th Congress may still be used as extrinsic
reference inasmuch as the same cityhood bills which were filed
before the passage of RA 9009 were being considered during the
13th Congress. Courts may fall back on the history of a law, as
here, as extrinsic aid of statutory construction if the literal
application of the law results in absurdity or injustice.
(4) The exemption accorded the 16 municipalities is
based on the fact that each had pending cityhood bills long before
the enactment of RA 9009 that substantially distinguish them from
other municipalities aiming for cityhood. On top of this, each of the
16 also met the PhP 20 million income level exacted under the
original Sec. 450 of the 1991 LGC.
And to stress the obvious, the cityhood laws are
presumed constitutional. As we see it, petitioners have not
overturned the presumptive constitutionality of the laws in
question.
WHEREFORE, the cityhood
declared VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL.

laws,

are

_____________________________________________________
League of Cities of the Philippines vs. COMELEC, et al.
(August 24, 2010 Resolution)
FACTS:
On 18 November 2008, 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.

Upon reexamination, the Court finds the motions for


reconsideration meritorious and accordingly reinstates the 18
November 2008 Decision declaring the 16 Cityhood Laws
unconstitutional.
ISSUES:
1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of
the
Constitution; and
2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.
HELD:
A. Violation of Section 10, Article X of the Constitution
The Constitution is clear. The creation of local government units
must follow the criteria established in the Local Government Code
and not in any other law. The clear intent of the Constitution 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.
RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code to
increase the income requirement from P20 million toP100 million
for the creation of a city. This took effect on 30 June 2001. Hence,
from that moment theLocal Government Code required that any
municipality desiring to become a city must satisfy the P100 million
income requirement. Section 450 of the Local Government Code,
as amended by RA 9009, does not contain any exemption from this
income requirement.
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.
RA 9009, by amending Section 450 of the Local Government
Code, embodies the new and prevailing Section 450 of the Local
Government Code. Considering the Legislature's primary intent to
curtail "the mad rush of municipalities wanting to be converted into
cities," RA 9009 increased the income requirement for the creation
of cities. To repeat, RA 9009 is not a law different from the Local
Government Code, as it expressly amended Section 450 of the
Local Government Code.

B. Operative Fact Doctrine

C. Equal Protection Clause

Under the operative fact doctrine, the law is recognized as


unconstitutional but the effects of the unconstitutional law, prior to
its declaration of nullity, may be left undisturbed as a matter of
equity and fair play. In fact, the invocation of the operative fact
doctrine is an admission that the law is unconstitutional.

As the Court held in the 18 November 2008 Decision, there is no


substantial distinction between municipalities with pending cityhood
bills in the 11th Congress and municipalities that did not have
pending bills. The mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the
11th Congress is not a material difference to distinguish one
municipality from another for the purpose of the income
requirement. The pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11 th Congress
does not affect or determine the level of income of a municipality.
Municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11th Congress might
even have lower annual income than municipalities that did not
have pending cityhood bills. In short, the classification criterion
mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11 th Congress is not
rationally related to the purpose of the law which is to prevent
fiscally non-viable municipalities from converting into cities.

However, the minority's novel theory, invoking the operative fact


doctrine, is that the enactment of the Cityhood Laws and the
functioning of the 16 municipalities as new cities with new sets of
officials and employees operate to contitutionalize the
unconstitutional Cityhood Laws.
Under the minority's novel theory, an unconstitutional law, if already
implemented prior to its declaration of unconstitutionality by the
Court, can no longer be revoked and its implementation must be
continued despite being unconstitutional.
The general rule is that an unconstitutional law is void. The
operative fact doctrine is a rule of equity. As such, it must be
applied as an exception to the general rule that an
unconstitutional law produces no effects. It can never be
invoked to validate as constitutional an unconstitutional act.
The doctrine of operative fact, as an exception to the general
rule, only applies as a matter of equity and fair play. It nullifies
the effects of an unconstitutional law by recognizing that the
existence of a statute prior to a determination of unconstitutionality
is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot
always be ignored.
The doctrine is applicable when a declaration of
unconstitutionality will impose an undue burden on those who
have relied on the invalid law. The operative fact doctrine never
validates or constitutionalizes an unconstitutional law. Under the
operative fact doctrine, the unconstitutional law remains
unconstitutional, but the effects of the unconstitutional law, prior to
its judicial declaration of nullity, may be left undisturbed as a matter
of equity and fair play. In short, the operative fact doctrine
affects or modifies only the effects of the unconstitutional law,
not the unconstitutional law itself.
Thus, applying the operative fact doctrine to the present case, the
Cityhood Laws remain unconstitutional because they violate
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. However, the effects of
the implementation of the Cityhood Laws prior to the declaration of
their nullity, such as the payment of salaries and supplies by the
"new cities" or their issuance of licenses or execution of contracts,
may be recognized as valid and effective. This does not mean that
the Cityhood Laws are valid for they remain void.

Moreover, the fact of pendency of a cityhood bill in the


11th Congress limits the exemption to a specific condition existing at
the time of passage of RA 9009. That specific condition will never
happen again. This violates the requirement that a valid
classification must not be limited to existing conditions only.
Further, the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws gives the 16
municipalities a unique advantage based on an arbitrary date the
filing of their cityhood bills before the end of the 11 th Congress - as
against all other municipalities that want to convert into cities after
the effectivity of RA 9009.
In addition, limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities
violates the requirement that the classification must apply to all
similarly situated. Municipalities with the same income as the 16
respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities, while the 16
respondent municipalities can.
Conclusion
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution expressly provides that "no
x x x city shall be created x x x except in accordance with the
criteria established in the local government code." This provision
can only be interpreted in one way, that is, all the criteria for the
creation of cities must be embodied exclusively in the Local
Government Code. In this case, the Cityhood Laws, which are
unmistakably laws other than the Local Government Code,
provided an exemption from the increased income requirement for
the creation of cities under Section 450 of the Local Government
Code, as amended by RA 9009. Clearly, the Cityhood Laws
contravene the letter and intent of Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution.
Adhering to the explicit prohibition in Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution does not cripple Congress' power to make laws. In

fact, Congress is not prohibited from amending the Local


Government Code itself, as what Congress did by enacting RA
9009. Indisputably, the act of amending laws comprises an
integral part of the Legislature's law-making power. 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 lawmaking power, rendering the challenged Cityhood Laws void for
being violative of the Constitution.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the motions for reconsideration of the
21 December 2009 Decision and REINSTATE the 18 November
2008 Decision declaring UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Cityhood
Laws.

HELD:
1. The Cityhood Laws do not violate Section 10, Article X of
the Constitution
The tenor of the ponencias of the November 18, 2008 Decision and
the August 24, 2010 Resolution is that the exemption clauses in the
16 Cityhood Laws are unconstitutional because they are not written
in the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC), particularly Section
450 thereof, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9009.
Prior to the amendment, Section 450 of the LGC required only an
average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance,
of at least P20,000,000.00 for the last two (2) consecutive years,
based on 1991 constant prices.

FACTS:

Before Senate Bill No. 2157, now R.A. No. 9009, was introduced
by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, there were 57 bills filed for
conversion of 57 municipalities into component cities. During the
11th Congress (June 1998-June 2001), 33 of these bills were
enacted into law, while 24 remained as pending bills. Among these
24 were the 16 municipalities that were converted into component
cities through the Cityhood Laws.

In the Decision dated November 18, 2008, the Court En Banc, by a


6-5 vote,2 granted the petitions and struck down the Cityhood Laws
as unconstitutional for violating Sections 10 and 6, Article X, and
the equal protection clause.

The rationale for the enactment of R.A. No. 9009 can be gleaned
from the sponsorship speech of Senator Pimentel on Senate Bill
No. 2157, to wit it is a fact that there is a mad rush of
municipalities wanting to be converted into cities.

Then, in another Decision dated December 21, 2009, the Court En


Banc, by a vote of 6-4, declared the Cityhood Laws as
constitutional.

While R.A. No. 9009 was being deliberated upon, Congress was
well aware of the pendency of conversion bills of several
municipalities, including those covered by the Cityhood Laws,
desiring to become component cities which qualified under the P20
million income requirement of the old Section 450 of the LGC. The
interpellation of Senate President Franklin Drilon of Senator
Pimentel is revealing.

_____________________________________________________
League of Cities of the Philippines vs. COMELEC, et al.
(February 15, 2011 Resolution)

On August 24, 2010, the Court En Banc, through a Resolution, by


a vote of 7-6, resolved the Ad Cautelam Motion for
Reconsideration and Motion to Annul the Decision of December
21, 2009.
Considering these circumstances where the Court En Banc has
twice changed its position on the constitutionality of the 16
Cityhood Laws, and especially taking note of the novelty of the
issues involved in these cases, the Motion for Reconsideration of
the "Resolution" dated August 24, 2010 deserves favorable action
by this Court.
ISSUES:
1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of
the
Constitution; and
2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.
3. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6, Article X, of the
Constitution.

From the exchange, Congress intended that those with pending


cityhood bills during the 11th Congress would not be covered by
the new and higher income requirement of P100 million imposed
by R.A. No. 9009. 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.
Notwithstanding that both the 11th and 12th Congress failed to act
upon the pending cityhood bills, both the letter and intent of Section
450 of the LGC, as amended by R.A. No. 9009, were carried on
until the 13th Congress, when the Cityhood Laws were enacted.
The exemption clauses found in the individual Cityhood Laws are
the express articulation of that intent to exempt respondent
municipalities from the coverage of R.A. No. 9009.

Indeed, these municipalities have proven themselves viable and


capable to become component cities of their respective provinces.
It is also acknowledged that they were centers of trade and
commerce, points of convergence of transportation, rich havens of
agricultural, mineral, and other natural resources, and flourishing
tourism spots. In this regard, it is worthy to mention the distinctive
traits of each respondent municipality.
The enactment of the Cityhood Laws is an exercise by Congress of
its legislative power. The grant of legislative power to Congress is
broad, general, and comprehensive. 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 lawmaking powers. Congress has the power to alter or modify it as it
did when it enacted R.A. No. 9009. Such power of amendment of
laws was again exercised when Congress enacted the Cityhood
Laws. When Congress enacted the LGC in 1991, it provided for
quantifiable indicators of economic viability for the creation of local
government unitsincome, population, and land area. Congress
deemed it fit to modify the income requirement with respect to the
conversion of municipalities into component cities when it enacted
R.A. No. 9009, imposing an amount of P100 million, computed only
from locally-generated sources. However, Congress deemed it
wiser to exempt respondent municipalities from such a belatedly
imposed modified income requirement in order to uphold its higher
calling of putting flesh and blood to the very intent and thrust of the
LGC, which is countryside development and autonomy, especially
accounting for these municipalities as engines for economic growth
in their respective provinces.
Undeniably, R.A. No. 9009 amended the LGC. But it is also true
that, in effect, the Cityhood Laws amended R.A. No. 9009 through
the exemption clauses found therein. Since the Cityhood Laws
explicitly exempted the concerned municipalities from the
amendatory R.A. No. 9009, such Cityhood Laws are, therefore,
also amendments to the LGC itself.
2. The Cityhood Laws do not violate the equal protection
clause
The Cityhood Laws do not violate Section 6, Article X and the equal
protection clause of the Constitution.

Upon more profound reflection and deliberation, we declare that


there was valid classification, and the Cityhood Laws do not violate
the equal protection clause.
As this Court has ruled, the equal protection clause of the 1987
Constitution permits a valid classification, provided that it: (1) rests
on substantial distinctions; (2) is germane to the purpose of the
law; (3) is not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) applies
equally to all members of the same class.
The petitioners argue that there is no substantial distinction
between municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11th
Congress and municipalities that did not have pending bills, such
that the mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress is
not a material difference to distinguish one municipality from
another for the purpose of the income requirement.
It should be recalled from the above quoted portions of the
interpellation by Senate President Drilon of Senator Pimentel that
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. It should be pointed out that the
imposition of the P100 million average annual income requirement
for the creation of component cities was arbitrarily made. To be
sure, there was no evidence or empirical data, such as inflation
rates, to support the choice of this amount. 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. And to highlight such arbitrariness and
the absurdity of the situation created thereby, R.A. No. 9009 has, in
effect, placed component cities at a higher standing than highly
urbanized cities under Section 452 of the LGC which requires
latest annual income of at least Fifty Million Pesos
(P50,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices.
The P100 million income requirement imposed by R.A. No. 9009,
being an arbitrary amount, cannot be conclusively said to be the
only amount "sufficient, based on acceptable standards, to provide
for all essential government facilities and services and special
functions commensurate with the size of its population," per
Section 713 of the LGC. It was imposed merely because it is difficult
to comply with. While it could be argued that P100 million, being
more than P20 million, could, of course, provide the essential
government facilities, services, and special functions vis--vis the
population of a municipality wanting to become a component city, it
cannot be said that the minimum amount of P20 million would be
insufficient. This is evident from the existing cities whose income,
up to now, do not comply with the P100 million income
requirement, some of which have lower than the P20 million
average annual income.

The undeniable fact that these cities remain viable as component


cities of their respective provinces emphasizes the arbitrariness of
the amount of P100 million as the new income requirement for the
conversion of municipalities into component cities.
Verily, the determination of the existence of substantial distinction
with respect to respondent municipalities does not simply lie on the
mere pendency of their cityhood bills during the 11th Congress.
This Court sees the bigger picture. The existence of substantial
distinction with respect to respondent municipalities covered by the
Cityhood Laws is measured by the purpose of the law, not by R.A.
No. 9009, but by the very purpose of the LGC, as provided in its
Section 2 (a), -- It is hereby declared the policy of the State that
the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy
genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain
their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make
them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals.

the enactment of R.A. No. 9009. In the enactment of the Cityhood


Laws, Congress merely took the 16 municipalities covered thereby
from the disadvantaged position brought about by the abrupt
increase in the income requirement of R.A. No. 9009,
acknowledging the "privilege" that they have already given to those
newly-converted component cities, which prior to the enactment of
R.A. No. 9009, were undeniably in the same footing or "class" as
the respondent municipalities. Congress merely recognized the
capacity and readiness of respondent municipalities to become
component cities of their respective provinces.
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration of the "Resolution"
dated August 24, 2010, dated and filed on September 14, 2010 by
respondents Municipality of Baybay, et al. is GRANTED. The
Resolution dated August 24, 2010 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The Cityhood Laws are declared CONSTITUTIONAL.
_____________________________________________________

Indeed, substantial distinction lies in the capacity and viability of


respondent municipalities to become component cities of their
respective provinces. Congress, by enacting the Cityhood Laws,
recognized this capacity and viability of respondent municipalities
to become the States partners in accelerating economic growth
and development in the provincial regions, which is the very thrust
of the LGC, manifested by the pendency of their cityhood bills
during the 11th Congress and their relentless pursuit for cityhood
up to the present. Truly, the urgent need to become a component
city arose way back in the 11th Congress, and such condition
continues to exist.
3. The Cityhood Laws do not violate Section 6, Article X of the
Constitution
Petitioners in these cases complain about the purported reduction
of their "just share" in the IRA. To be sure, petitioners are entitled to
a "just share," not a specific amount. But the feared reduction
proved to be false when, after the implementation of the Cityhood
Laws, their respective shares increased, not decreased.

League of Cities of the Philippines vs. COMELEC, et al. (April


12, 2011 Resolution)
FACTS:
To recall, the Resolution promulgated on February 15,
2011 granted the Motion for Reconsideration of the respondents
presented against the Resolution dated August 24, 2010, reversed
the Resolution dated August 24, 2010, and declared the 16
Cityhood Laws constitutional.
Now, the petitioners anchor their Ad Cautelam Motion for
Reconsideration upon the primordial ground that the Court could
no longer modify, alter, or amend its judgment declaring the
Cityhood Laws unconstitutional due to such judgment having long
become final and executory. They submit that the Cityhood Laws
violated Section 6 and Section 10 of Article X of the Constitution,
as well as the Equal Protection Clause.
ISSUES:

What these petitioner cities were stating as a reduction of their


respective IRA shares was based on a computation of what they
would receive if respondent municipalities were not to become
component cities at all. Of course, that would mean a bigger
amount to which they have staked their claim. After considering
these, it all boils down to money and how much more they would
receive if respondent municipalities remain as municipalities and
not share in the 23% fixed IRA from the national government for
cities.
The justness in the act of Congress in enacting the Cityhood Laws
becomes obvious, especially considering that 33 municipalities
were converted into component cities almost immediately prior to

1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of


the
Constitution; and
2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.
3. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6, Article X, of the
Constitution.
HELD:
The Cityhood laws do not violate Section 10, Article X of the
Constitution

Congress clearly intended that the local government units


covered by the Cityhood Laws be exempted from the coverage of
R.A. No. 9009. The apprehensions of the then Senate President
with respect to the considerable disparity between the income
requirement of P20 million under the Local Government Code
(LGC) prior to its amendment, and the P100 million under the
amendment introduced by R.A. No. 9009 were definitively
articulated in his interpellation of Senator Pimentel during the
deliberations on Senate Bill No. 2157. The then Senate President
was cognizant of the fact that there were municipalities that then
had pending conversion bills during the 11 th Congress prior to the
adoption of Senate Bill No. 2157 as R.A. No. 9009, [24] including the
municipalities covered by the Cityhood Laws. It is worthy of
mention that the pertinent deliberations on Senate Bill No. 2157
occurred on October 5, 2000 while the 11 th Congress was in
session, and the conversion bills were then pending in the
Senate. Thus, the responses of Senator Pimentel made it obvious
that R.A. No. 9009 would not apply to the conversion bills then
pending deliberation in the Senate during the 11 th Congress.

The P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 is arbitrary

R.A. No. 9009 took effect on June 30, 2001, when the
12th Congress was incipient. By reason of the clear legislative intent
to
exempt
the
municipalities covered by the conversion bills pending during
the 11th Congress, the House of Representatives adopted Joint
Resolution No. 29, entitled Joint Resolution to Exempt Certain
Municipalities Embodied in Bills Filed in Congress before June 30,
2001 from the coverage of Republic Act No. 9009. However, the
Senate failed to act on Joint Resolution No. 29. Even so, the
House of Representatives readopted Joint Resolution No. 29 as
Joint Resolution No. 1 during the 12th Congress, and forwarded
Joint Resolution No. 1 to the Senate for approval. Again, the
Senate failed to approve Joint Resolution No. 1.

The Court takes note of the fact that the municipalities cited
by the petitioners as having generated the threshold income
of P100 million from local sources, including those already
converted into cities, are either in Metro Manila or in provinces
close to Metro Manila. In comparison, the municipalities covered by
the Cityhood Laws are spread out in the different provinces of
the Philippines, including the Cordillera and Mindanao regions, and
are considerably very distant from Metro Manila. This reality
underscores the danger the enactment of R.A. No. 9009 sought to
prevent, i.e., that the metropolis-located local governments would
have more priority in terms of funding because they would have
more qualifications to become a city compared to the far-flung
areas in Mindanao or in the Cordilleras, or whatever, actually
resulting from the abrupt increase in the income requirement.
Verily, this result is antithetical to what the Constitution and LGC
have nobly envisioned in favor of countryside development and
national growth. Besides, this result should be arrested early, to
avoid the unwanted divisive effect on the entire country due to the
local government units closer to the National Capital Region being
afforded easier access to the bigger share in the national coffers
than other local government units.

At this juncture, it is worthwhile to consider the


manifestation of Senator Pimentel with respect to Joint Resolution
No. 1, to wit: I am not saying that they are not qualified. All I am
saying is, if the House wants to pass and create cities out of
certain municipalities, by all means let them do that. But they
should do it following the requirements of the Local
Government Code and, if they want to make certain
exceptions, they can also do that too. But they should not use
the Senate as a ploy to get things done which they themselves
should do.
The acts of both Chambers of Congress show that the
exemption clauses ultimately incorporated in the Cityhood Laws
are but the express articulations of the clear legislative intent to
exempt the respondents, without exception, from the coverage of
R.A. No. 9009. Thereby, R.A. No. 9009, and, by necessity, the
LGC, were amended, not by repeal but by way of the express
exemptions being embodied in the exemption clauses.

As indicated in the Resolution of February 15, 2011, fiftynine (59) existing cities had failed as of 2006 to post an average
annual income of P100 million based on the figures contained in
the certification dated December 5, 2008 by the Bureau of Local
Government. The large number of existing cities, virtually 50% of
them, still unable to comply with the P100 million threshold income
five years after R.A. No. 9009 took effect renders it fallacious and
probably unwarranted for the petitioners to claim that the P100
million income requirement is not difficult to comply with.
In this regard, the deliberations on Senate Bill No. 2157 may
prove enlightening, thus: Otherwise, the danger here, if we
become lax in the requirements, is the metropolis-located
local governments would have more priority in terms of
funding because they would have more qualifications to
become a city compared to far-flung areas in Mindanao or in
the Cordilleras, or whatever.

There should also be no question that the local government


units covered by the Cityhood Laws belong to a class of their
own. They have proven themselves viable and capable to become
component cities of their respective provinces. They are and have
been centers of trade and commerce, points of convergence of
transportation, rich havens of agricultural, mineral, and other
natural resources, and flourishing tourism spots.
Some members of petitioner League of Cities do not meet the
requirements of cityhood under the LGC

Petitioner League of Cities argues that there exists no issue with


respect to the cityhood of its member cities, considering that they
became cities in full compliance with the criteria for conversion at
the time of their creation.
The Court considers the argument too sweeping. What
we pointed out was that the previous income requirement of P20
million was definitely not insufficient to provide the essential
government facilities, services, and special functions vis--vis the
population of a component city. We also stressed that the
increased income requirement of P100 million was not the only
conclusive indicator for any municipality to survive and
remain viable as a component city. These observations were
unerringly reflected in the respective incomes of the fifty-nine (59)
members of the League of Cities that have still failed, remarkably
enough, to be compliant with the new requirement of the P100
million threshold income five years after R.A. No. 9009 became
law.
Undoubtedly, the imposition of the income requirement
of P100 million from local sources under R.A. No. 9009 was
arbitrary. When the sponsor of the law chose the specific figure
of P100 million, no research or empirical data buttressed the
figure. Nor was there proof that the proposal took into account the
after-effects that were likely to arise. As already mentioned, even
the danger the passage of R.A. No. 9009 sought to prevent might
soon become a reality. While the Constitution mandates that the
creation of local government units must comply with the criteria laid
down in the LGC, it cannot be justified to insist that the Constitution
must have to yield to every amendment to the LGC despite such
amendment imminently producing effects contrary to the original
thrusts of the LGC to promote autonomy, decentralization,
countryside development, and the concomitant national growth.
Moreover, if we were now to adopt the stringent
interpretation of the Constitution the petitioners are espousing, we
may have to apply the same restrictive yardstick against the
recently converted cities cited by the petitioners, and find two of
them whose conversion laws have also to be struck down for being
unconstitutional. The two laws are R.A. No. 9387 [31] and R.A. No.
9388,[32] respectively converting the municipalities of San Juan and
Navotas into highly urbanized cities. A cursory reading of the laws
indicates that there is no indication of compliance with the
requirements imposed by the LGC, for, although the two local
government units concerned presumably complied with the income
requirement of P50 million under Section 452 of the LGC and the
income requirement of P100 million under the amended Section

450 of the LGC, they obviously did not meet the requirements set
forth under Section 453 of the LGC (Duty of the President to
declare highly urbanized status of cities that met the minimum
requirements for highly urbanized cities). Indeed, R.A. No. 9387
and R.A. No. 9388 evidently show that the President had not
classified San Juan and Navotas as highly urbanized cities upon
proper application and ratification in a plebiscite by the qualified
voters therein. A further perusal of R.A. No. 9387 reveals that San
Juan did not qualify as a highly urbanized city because it had a
population of only 125,558, contravening the required minimum
population of 200,000 under Section 452 of the LGC. Such nonqualification as a component city was conceded even by Senator
Pimentel during the deliberations on Senate Bill No. 2157.
The Cityhood Laws do not violate Section 6, Article X of the
Constitution
In this regard, it suffices to state that the share of local
government units is a matter of percentage under Section 285 of
the LGC, not a specific amount. Specifically, the share of the cities
is 23%, determined on the basis of population (50%), land area
(25%), and equal sharing (25%). This share is also dependent on
the number of existing cities, such that when the number of cities
increases, then more will divide and share the allocation for cities.
However, we have to note that the allocation by the National
Government is not a constant, and can either increase or
decrease. With every newly converted city becoming entitled to
share the allocation for cities, the percentage of internal revenue
allotment (IRA) entitlement of each city will decrease, although the
actual amount received may be more than that received in the
preceding year. That is a necessary consequence of Section 285
and Section 286 of the LGC.
WHEREFORE, the Ad
Cautelam Motion
for
Reconsideration (of the Decision dated 15 February 2011) is
denied with finality.