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Republic of the Philippines Ms.

Dalisay Santos was then Municipal Budget Officer of Taytay, Rizal before she
SUPREME COURT discharged the functions of acting PBO.
Manila
In a Memorandum dated July 26, 1988 addressed to the DBM Secretary, then
EN BANC Director Abella of Region IV recommended the appointment of the private respondent
as PBO of Rizal on the basis of a comparative study of all Municipal Budget Officers
G.R. No. 92299 April 19, 1991 of the said province which included three nominees of the petitioner. According to
Abella, the private respondent was the most qualified since she was the only Certified
Public Accountant among the contenders.
REYNALDO R. SAN JUAN, petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT On August 1, 1988, DBM Undersecretary Nazario S. Cabuquit, Jr. signed the
and CECILIA ALMAJOSE,respondents. appointment papers of the private respondent as PBO of Rizal upon the aforestated
recommendation of Abella.
Legal Services Division for petitioner.
Sumulong, Sumulong, Paras & Abano Law Offices for private respondent. In a letter dated August 3, 1988 addressed to Secretary Carague, the petitioner
reiterated his request for the appointment of Dalisay Santos to the contested position
unaware of the earlier appointment made by Undersecretary Cabuquit.

On August 31, 1988, DBM Regional Director Agripino G. Galvez wrote the petitioner
that Dalisay Santos and his other recommendees did not meet the minimum
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: requirements under Local Budget Circular No. 31 for the position of a local budget
officer. Director Galvez whether or not through oversight further required the petitioner
In this petition for certiorari pursuant to Section 7, Article IX (A) of the present to submit at least three other qualified nominees who are qualified for the position of
Constitution, the petitioner Governor of the Province of Rizal, prays for the nullification PBO of Rizal for evaluation and processing.
of Resolution No. 89-868 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) dated November 21,
1989 and its Resolution No. 90-150 dated February 9, 1990. On November 2, 1988, the petitioner after having been informed of the private
respondent's appointment wrote Secretary Carague protesting against the said
The dispositive portion of the questioned Resolution reads: appointment on the grounds that Cabuquit as DBM Undersecretary is not legally
authorized to appoint the PBO; that the private respondent lacks the required three
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission resolved to years work experience as provided in Local Budget Circular No. 31; and that under
dismiss, as it hereby dismisses the appeal of Governor Reynaldo San Juan Executive Order No. 112, it is the Provincial Governor, not the Regional Director or a
of Rizal. Accordingly, the approved appointment of Ms. Cecilia Almajose as Congressman, who has the power to recommend nominees for the position of PBO.
Provincial Budget Officer of Rizal, is upheld. (Rollo, p. 32)
On January 9, 1989 respondent DBM, through its Director of the Bureau of Legal &
The subsequent Resolution No. 90-150 reiterates CSC's position upholding the Legislative Affairs (BLLA) Virgilio A. Afurung, issued a Memorandum ruling that the
private respondent's appointment by denying the petitioner's motion for petitioner's letter-protest is not meritorious considering that public respondent DBM
reconsideration for lack of merit. validly exercised its prerogative in filling-up the contested position since none of the
petitioner's nominees met the prescribed requirements.

The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:


On January 27, 1989, the petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the BLLA ruling.

On March 22, 1988, the position of Provincial Budget Officer (PBO) for the province of
Rizal was left vacant by its former holder, a certain Henedima del Rosario. On February 28, 1989, the DBM Secretary denied the petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.

In a letter dated April 18, 1988, the petitioner informed Director Reynaldo Abella of the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Region IV that Ms. Dalisay Santos On March 27, 1989, the petitioner wrote public respondent CSC protesting against the
assumed office as Acting PBO since March 22, 1988 pursuant to a Memorandum appointment of the private respondent and reiterating his position regarding the
issued by the petitioner who further requested Director Abella to endorse the matter.
appointment of the said Ms. Dalisay Santos to the contested position of PBO of Rizal.
Subsequently, public respondent CSC issued the questioned resolutions which Before the promulgation of Executive Order No. 112 on December 24, 1986, Batas
prompted the petitioner to submit before us the following assignment of errors: Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the Local Government Code vested upon
the Governor, subject to civil service rules and regulations, the power to appoint the
A. THE CSC ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE APPOINTMENT BY DBM PBO (Sec. 216, subparagraph (1), BP 337). The Code further enumerated the
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CABUQUIT OF CECILIA ALMAJOSE AS PBO qualifications for the position of PBO. Thus, Section 216, subparagraph (2) of the
OF RIZAL. same code states that:

B. THE CSC ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CECILIA ALMA JOSE (2) No person shall be appointed provincial budget officer unless he is a
POSSESSES ALL THE REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS. citizen of the Philippines, of good moral character, a holder of a degree
preferably in law, commerce, public administration or any related course
from a recognized college or university, a first grade civil service eligibility or
C. THE CSC ERRED IN DECLARING THAT PETITIONER'S NOMINEES its equivalent, and has acquired at least five years experience in budgeting
ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO THE SUBJECT POSITION. or in any related field.

D. THE CSC AND THE DBM GRAVELY ABUSED THEIR DISCRETION IN The petitioner contends that since the appointing authority with respect to the
NOT ALLOWING PETITIONER TO SUBMIT NEW NOMINEES WHO Provincial Budget Officer of Rizal was vested in him before, then, the real intent
COULD MEET THE REQUIRED QUALIFICATION (Petition, pp. 7-8, Rollo, behind Executive Order No. 112 in empowering him to recommend nominees to the
pp. 15-16) position of Provincial Budget Officer is to make his recommendation part and parcel of
the appointment process. He states that the phrase "upon recommendation of the
All the assigned errors relate to the issue of whether or not the private respondent is local chief executive concerned" must be given mandatory application in consonance
lawfully entitled to discharge the functions of PBO of Rizal pursuant to the with the state policy of local autonomy as guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution under
appointment made by public respondent DBM's Undersecretary upon the Art. II, Sec. 25 and Art. X, Sec. 2 thereof. He further argues that his power to
recommendation of then Director Abella of DBM Region IV. recommend cannot validly be defeated by a mere administrative issuance of public
respondent DBM reserving to itself the right to fill-up any existing vacancy in case the
The petitioner's arguments rest on his contention that he has the sole right and petitioner's nominees do not meet the qualification requirements as embodied in
privilege to recommend the nominees to the position of PBO and that the appointee public respondent DBM's Local Budget Circular No. 31 dated February 9, 1988.
should come only from his nominees. In support thereof, he invokes Section 1 of
Executive Order No. 112 which provides that: The questioned ruling is justified by the public respondent CSC as follows:

Sec. 1. All budget officers of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be As required by said E.O. No. 112, the DBM Secretary may choose from
appointed henceforth by the Minister of Budget and Management upon among the recommendees of the Provincial Governor who are thus qualified
recommendation of the local chief executive concerned, subject to civil and eligible for appointment to the position of the PBO of Rizal.
service law, rules and regulations, and they shall be placed under the Notwithstanding, the recommendation of the local chief executive is merely
administrative control and technical supervision of the Ministry of Budget and directory and not a condition sine qua non to the exercise by the Secretary of
Management. DBM of his appointing prerogative. To rule otherwise would in effect give the
law or E.O. No. 112 a different interpretation or construction not intended
The petitioner maintains that the appointment of the private respondent to the therein, taking into consideration that said officer has been nationalized and
contested position was made in derogation of the provision so that both the public is directly under the control and supervision of the DBM Secretary or through
respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in upholding Almajose's his duly authorized representative. It cannot be gainsaid that said national
appointment. officer has a similar role in the local government unit, only on another area or
concern, to that of a Commission on Audit resident auditor. Hence, to
preserve and maintain the independence of said officer from the local
There is no question that under Section 1 of Executive Order No. 112 the petitioner's government unit, he must be primarily the choice of the national appointing
power to recommend is subject to the qualifications prescribed by existing laws for the official, and the exercise thereof must not be unduly hampered or interfered
position of PBO. Consequently, in the event that the recommendations made by the with, provided the appointee finally selected meets the requirements for the
petitioner fall short of the required standards, the appointing authority, the Minister position in accordance with prescribed Civil Service Law, Rules and
(now Secretary) of public respondent DBM is expected to reject the same. Regulations. In other words, the appointing official is not restricted or
circumscribed to the list submitted or recommended by the local chief
In the event that the Governor recommends an unqualified person, is the Department executive in the final selection of an appointee for the position. He may
Head free to appoint anyone he fancies ? This is the issue before us.
consider other nominees for the position vis a vis the nominees of the local supervision as may be provided by law. He could not thus go beyond the
chief executive. (CSC Resolution No. 89-868, p. 2; Rollo, p. 31) applicable statutory provisions, which bind and fetter his discretion on the
matter. Moreover, as had been earlier ruled in an opinion penned by Justice
The issue before the Court is not limited to the validity of the appointment of one Padilla in Mondano V. Silvosa, (97 Phil. 143 [1955]) referred to by the
Provincial Budget Officer. The tug of war between the Secretary of Budget and present Chief Justice in his opinion in the Hebron case, supervision goes no
Management and the Governor of the premier province of Rizal over a seemingly further than "overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that
innocuous position involves the application of a most important constitutional policy subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill
and principle, that of local autonomy. We have to obey the clear mandate on local them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make
autonomy. Where a law is capable of two interpretations, one in favor of centralized them perform their duties." (Ibid, pp. 147-148) Control, on the other hand,
power in Malacaang and the other beneficial to local autonomy, the scales must be "means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a
weighed in favor of autonomy. subordinate had done in the performance of their duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for that of the latter." It would follow then, according
to the present Chief Justice, to go back to the Hebron opinion, that the
The exercise by local governments of meaningful power has been a national goal President had to abide by the then provisions of the Revised Administrative
since the turn of the century. And yet, inspite of constitutional provisions and, as in Code on suspension and removal of municipal officials, there being no
this case, legislation mandating greater autonomy for local officials, national officers power of control that he could rightfully exercise, the law clearly specifying
cannot seem to let go of centralized powers. They deny or water down what little the procedure by which such disciplinary action would be taken.
grants of autonomy have so far been given to municipal corporations.
Pursuant to this principle under the 1935 Constitution, legislation implementing local
President McKinley's Instructions dated April 7, 1900 to the Second Philippine autonomy was enacted. In 1959, Republic Act No. 2264, "An Act Amending the Law
Commission ordered the new Government "to devote their attention in the first Governing Local Governments by Increasing Their Autonomy and Reorganizing Local
instance to the establishment of municipal governments in which natives of the Governments" was passed. It was followed in 1967 when Republic Act No. 5185, the
Islands, both in the cities and rural communities, shall be afforded the opportunity to Decentralization Law was enacted, giving "further autonomous powers to local
manage their own local officers to the fullest extent of which they are capable and governments governments."
subject to the least degree of supervision and control which a careful study of their
capacities and observation of the workings of native control show to be consistent
with the maintenance of law, order and loyalty. The provisions of the 1973 Constitution moved the country further, at least insofar as
legal provisions are concerned, towards greater autonomy. It provided under Article II
as a basic principle of government:
In this initial organic act for the Philippines, the Commission which combined both
executive and legislative powers was directed to give top priority to making local
autonomy effective. Sec. 10. The State shall guarantee and promote the autonomy of local
government units, especially the barangay to ensure their fullest
development as self-reliant communities.
The 1935 Constitution had no specific article on local autonomy. However, in
distinguishing between presidential control and supervision as follows:
An entire article on Local Government was incorporated into the Constitution. It called
for a local government code defining more responsive and accountable local
The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, government structures. Any creation, merger, abolition, or substantial boundary
or offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may alteration cannot be done except in accordance with the local government code and
be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. (Sec. upon approval by a plebiscite. The power to create sources of revenue and to levy
11, Article VII, 1935 Constitution) taxes was specifically settled upon local governments.

the Constitution clearly limited the executive power over local governments to The exercise of greater local autonomy is even more marked in the present
"general supervision . . . as may be provided by law." The President controls the Constitution.
executive departments. He has no such power over local governments. He has only
supervision and that supervision is both general and circumscribed by statute.
Article II, Section 25 on State Policies provides:
In Tecson v. Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 282 (1970), this Court stated:
Sec. 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments
. . . Hebron v. Reyes, (104 Phil. 175 [1958]) with the then Justice, now Chief
Justice, Concepcion as theponente, clarified matters. As was pointed out,
the presidential competence is not even supervision in general, but general
The 14 sections in Article X on Local Government not only reiterate earlier doctrines President makes the appointments from the list of nominees submitted to her by the
but give in greater detail the provisions making local autonomy more meaningful. Council. She cannot apply the DBM procedure, reject all the Council nominees, and
Thus, Sections 2 and 3 of Article X provide: appoint another person whom she feels is better qualified. There can be no
reservation of the right to fill up a position with a person of the appointing power's
Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. personal choice.

Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall The public respondent's grave abuse of discretion is aggravated by the fact that
provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure Director Galvez required the Provincial Governor to submit at least three other names
instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of of nominees better qualified than his earlier recommendation. It was a meaningless
recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local exercise. The appointment of the private respondent was formalized before the
government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide Governor was extended the courtesy of being informed that his nominee had been
for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, rejected. The complete disregard of the local government's prerogative and the smug
powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters belief that the DBM has absolute wisdom, authority, and discretion are manifest.
relating to the organization and operation of the local units.
In his classic work "Philippine Political Law" Dean Vicente G. Sinco stated that the
When the Civil Service Commission interpreted the recommending power of the value of local governments as institutions of democracy is measured by the degree of
Provincial Governor as purely directory, it went against the letter and spirit of the autonomy that they enjoy. Citing Tocqueville, he stated that "local assemblies of
constitutional provisions on local autonomy. If the DBM Secretary jealously hoards the citizens constitute the strength of free nations. . . . A people may establish a system of
entirety of budgetary powers and ignores the right of local governments to develop free government but without the spirit of municipal institutions, it cannot have the spirit
self-reliance and resoluteness in the handling of their own funds, the goal of of liberty." (Sinco, Philippine Political Law, Eleventh Edition, pp. 705-706).
meaningful local autonomy is frustrated and set back.
Our national officials should not only comply with the constitutional provisions on local
The right given by Local Budget Circular No. 31 which states: autonomy but should also appreciate the spirit of liberty upon which these provisions
are based.
Sec. 6.0 The DBM reserves the right to fill up any existing vacancy where
none of the nominees of the local chief executive meet the prescribed WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned resolutions of the
requirements. Civil Service Commission are SET ASIDE. The appointment of respondent Cecilia
Almajose is nullified. The Department of Budget and Management is ordered to
appoint the Provincial Budget Officer of Rizal from among qualified nominees
is ultra vires and is, accordingly, set aside. The DBM may appoint only from the list of submitted by the Provincial Governor.
qualified recommendees nominated by the Governor. If none is qualified, he must
return the list of nominees to the Governor explaining why no one meets the legal
requirements and ask for new recommendees who have the necessary eligibilities SO ORDERED.
and qualifications.

The PBO is expected to synchronize his work with DBM. More important, however, is
the proper administration of fiscal affairs at the local level. Provincial and municipal
budgets are prepared at the local level and after completion are forwarded to the
national officials for review. They are prepared by the local officials who must work
within the constraints of those budgets. They are not formulated in the inner sanctums
of an all-knowing DBM and unilaterally imposed on local governments whether or not
they are relevant to local needs and resources. It is for this reason that there should
be a genuine interplay, a balancing of viewpoints, and a harmonization of proposals
from both the local and national officials. It is for this reason that the nomination and
appointment process involves a sharing of power between the two levels of
government.

It may not be amiss to give by way of analogy the procedure followed in the
appointments of Justices and Judges.1wphi1Under Article VIII of the Constitution,
nominations for judicial positions are made by the Judicial and Bar Council. The
On December 27, 1997, the President of the Philippines issued AO 372. Its full
EN BANC text, with emphasis on the assailed provisions, is as follows:

"ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372

[G.R. No. 132988. July 19, 2000]


ADOPTION OF ECONOMY MEASURES IN GOVERNMENT FOR FY 1998

WHEREAS, the current economic difficulties brought about by the peso depreciation
requires continued prudence in government fiscal management to maintain economic
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL JR., petitioner, vs. Hon. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE in his stability and sustain the country's growth momentum;
capacity as Executive Secretary, Hon. EMILIA BONCODIN in her capacity
as Secretary of the Department of Budget and
Management, respondents. WHEREAS, it is imperative that all government agencies adopt cash management
measures to match expenditures with available resources;
ROBERTO PAGDANGANAN, intervenor.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the
DECISION Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order
and direct:
PANGANIBAN, J.:
SECTION 1. All government departments and agencies, including state
The Constitution vests the President with the power of supervision, not control, universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations and
over local government units (LGUs). Such power enables him to see to it that LGUs local governments units will identify and implement measures in FY 1998 that
and their officials execute their tasks in accordance with law. While he may issue will reduce total expenditures for the year by at least 25% of authorized regular
advisories and seek their cooperation in solving economic difficulties, he cannot appropriations for non-personal services items, along the following suggested
prevent them from performing their tasks and using available resources to achieve their areas:
goals. He may not withhold or alter any authority or power given them by the law. Thus,
the withholding of a portion of internal revenue allotments legally due them cannot be
directed by administrative fiat. 1. Continued implementation of the streamlining policy on organization and
staffing by deferring action on the following:

a. Operationalization of new agencies;


The Case

b. Expansion of organizational units and/or creation of positions;


Before us is an original Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition seeking (1) to annul
Section 1 of Administrative Order (AO) No. 372, insofar as it requires local government c. Filling of positions; and
units to reduce their expenditures by 25 percent of their authorized regular
appropriations for non-personal services; and (2) to enjoin respondents from d. Hiring of additional/new consultants, contractual and casual personnel, regardless
implementing Section 4 of the Order, which withholds a portion of their internal revenue of funding source.
allotments.
On November 17, 1998, Roberto Pagdanganan, through Counsel Alberto C. Agra, 2. Suspension of the following activities:
filed a Motion for Intervention/Motion to Admit Petition for Intervention, [1] attaching
thereto his Petition in Intervention[2] joining petitioner in the reliefs sought. At the time, a. Implementation of new capital/infrastructure projects, except those
intervenor was the provincial governor of Bulacan, national president of the League of which have already been contracted out;
Provinces of the Philippines and chairman of the League of Leagues of Local
Governments. In a Resolution dated December 15, 1998, the Court noted said Motion
b. Acquisition of new equipment and motor vehicles;
and Petition.

c. All foreign travels of government personnel, except those associated


with scholarships and trainings funded by grants;
The Facts and the Arguments
d. Attendance in conferences abroad where the cost is charged to the SECTION 5. The Development Budget Coordination Committee shall
government except those clearly essential to Philippine conduct a monthly review of the fiscal position of the National
commitments in the international field as may be determined by the Government and if necessary, shall recommend to the President the
Cabinet; imposition of additional reserves or the lifting of previously imposed
reserves.
e. Conduct of trainings/workshops/seminars, except those conducted by SECTION 6. This Administrative Order shall take effect January 1, 1998 and
government training institutions and agencies in the performance of shall remain valid for the entire year unless otherwise lifted.
their regular functions and those that are funded by grants;
DONE in the City of Manila, this 27th day of December, in the year of our Lord,
f. Conduct of cultural and social celebrations and sports activities, except nineteen hundred and ninety-seven."
those associated with the Philippine Centennial celebration and
those involving regular competitions/events;
Subsequently, on December 10, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada issued AO
43, amending Section 4 of AO 372, by reducing to five percent (5%) the amount of
g. Grant of honoraria, except in cases where it constitutes the only source internal revenue allotment (IRA) to be withheld from the LGUs.
of compensation from government received by the person
concerned; Petitioner contends that the President, in issuing AO 372, was in effect exercising
the power of control over LGUs. The Constitution vests in the President, however, only
h. Publications, media advertisements and related items, except those the power of general supervision over LGUs, consistent with the principle of local
required by law or those already being undertaken on a regular autonomy. Petitioner further argues that the directive to withhold ten percent (10%) of
basis; their IRA is in contravention of Section 286 of the Local Government Code and of
Section 6, Article X of the Constitution, providing for the automatic release to each of
these units its share in the national internal revenue.
i. Grant of new/additional benefits to employees, except those expressly
and specifically authorized by law; and The solicitor general, on behalf of the respondents, claims on the other hand that
AO 372 was issued to alleviate the "economic difficulties brought about by the peso
j. Donations, contributions, grants and gifts, except those given by devaluation" and constituted merely an exercise of the President's power of supervision
institutions to victims of calamities. over LGUs. It allegedly does not violate local fiscal autonomy, because it
merely directs local governments to identify measures that will reduce their total
expenditures for non-personal services by at least 25 percent. Likewise, the withholding
3. Suspension of all tax expenditure subsidies to all GOCCs and LGUs of 10 percent of the LGUs IRA does not violate the statutory prohibition on the
4. Reduction in the volume of consumption of fuel, water, office supplies, imposition of any lien or holdback on their revenue shares, because such withholding
electricity and other utilities is "temporary in nature pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development
Coordination Committee of the emerging fiscal situation."
5. Deferment of projects that are encountering significant implementation
problems
The Issues
6. Suspension of all realignment of funds and the use of savings and
reserves

SECTION 2. Agencies are given the flexibility to identify the specific sources of cost- The Petition[3] submits the following issues for the Court's resolution:
savings, provided the 25% minimum savings under Section 1 is complied with.
"A. Whether or not the president committed grave abuse of discretion [in] ordering all
SECTION 3. A report on the estimated savings generated from these measures shall LGUS to adopt a 25% cost reduction program in violation of the LGU[']S fiscal
be submitted to the Office of the President, through the Department of Budget and autonomy
Management, on a quarterly basis using the attached format.
"B. Whether or not the president committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the
SECTION 4. Pending the assessment and evaluation by the withholding of 10% of the LGU[']S IRA"
Development Budget Coordinating Committee of the emerging
fiscal situation, the amount equivalent to 10% of the internal In sum, the main issue is whether (a) Section 1 of AO 372, insofar as it "directs"
revenue allotment to local government units shall be withheld. LGUs to reduce their expenditures by 25 percent; and (b) Section 4 of the same
issuance, which withholds 10 percent of their internal revenue allotments, are valid interfere with local governments, so long as they act within the scope of their
exercises of the President's power of general supervision over local governments. authority. "Supervisory power, when contrasted with control, is the power of mere
oversight over an inferior body; it does not include any restraining authority over such
Additionally, the Court deliberated on the question whether petitioner had body,"[8] we said.
the locus standi to bring this suit, despite respondents' failure to raise the
issue.[4] However, the intervention of Roberto Pagdanganan has rendered academic In a more recent case, Drilon v. Lim,[9] the difference between control and
any further discussion on this matter. supervision was further delineated. Officers in control lay down the rules in the
performance or accomplishment of an act. If these rules are not followed, they may, in
their discretion, order the act undone or redone by their subordinates or even decide to
do it themselves. On the other hand, supervision does not cover such
The Court's Ruling
authority. Supervising officials merely see to it that the rules are followed, but they
themselves do not lay down such rules, nor do they have the discretion to modify or
replace them. If the rules are not observed, they may order the work done or redone,
The Petition is partly meritorious. but only to conform to such rules. They may not prescribe their own manner of
Main Issue: execution of the act. They have no discretion on this matter except to see to it that the
Validity of AO 372 rules are followed.
Insofar as LGUs Are Concerned
Under our present system of government, executive power is vested in the
President.[10] The members of the Cabinet and other executive officials are merely alter
Before resolving the main issue, we deem it important and appropriate to define egos. As such, they are subject to the power of control of the President, at whose will
certain crucial concepts: (1) the scope of the President's power of general supervision and behest they can be removed from office; or their actions and decisions changed,
over local governments and (2) the extent of the local governments' autonomy.
suspended or reversed.[11] In contrast, the heads of political subdivisions are elected
by the people. Their sovereign powers emanate from the electorate, to whom they are
directly accountable. By constitutional fiat, they are subject to the Presidents
Scope of President's Power of Supervision Over LGUs supervision only, not control, so long as their acts are exercised within the sphere of
their legitimate powers. By the same token, the President may not withhold or alter any
authority or power given them by the Constitution and the law.
Section 4 of Article X of the Constitution confines the President's power over local
governments to one of general supervision. It reads as follows:
Extent of Local Autonomy

"Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local
governments. x x x"
Hand in hand with the constitutional restraint on the President's power over local
This provision has been interpreted to exclude the power of control. In Mondano governments is the state policy of ensuring local autonomy. [12]
v. Silvosa,[5] the Court contrasted the President's power of supervision over local In Ganzon v. Court of Appeals,[13] we said that local autonomy signified "a more
government officials with that of his power of control over executive officials of the responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of
national government. It was emphasized that the two terms -- supervision and control - decentralization." The grant of autonomy is intended to "break up the monopoly of the
- differed in meaning and extent. The Court distinguished them as follows: national government over the affairs of local governments, x x x not x x x to end the
relation of partnership and interdependence between the central administration and
"x x x In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power or authority local government units x x x."Paradoxically, local governments are still subject to
of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or regulation, however limited, for the purpose of enhancing self-government.[14]
neglect to fulfill them, the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to
make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an Decentralization simply means the devolution of national administration, not
officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer ha[s] done in power, to local governments. Local officials remain accountable to the central
the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of government as the law may provide.[15] The difference between decentralization of
the latter."[6] administration and that of power was explained in detail inLimbona v. Mangelin[16] as
follows:
In Taule v. Santos,[7] we further stated that the Chief Executive wielded no more
authority than that of checking whether local governments or their officials were "Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of
performing their duties as provided by the fundamental law and by statutes. He cannot power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government
delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base
of government power and in the process to make local governments 'more responsive national level and imposed on local governments, whether they are relevant to local
and accountable,'[17] and 'ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities needs and resources or not. Hence, the necessity of a balancing of viewpoints and the
and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and harmonization of proposals from both local and national officials, [24] who in any case
social progress.'[18] At the same time, it relieves the central government of the burden are partners in the attainment of national goals.
of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The
President exercises 'general supervision'[19] over them, but only to 'ensure that local Local fiscal autonomy does not however rule out any manner of national
affairs are administered according to law.'[20] He has no control over their acts in the government intervention by way of supervision, in order to ensure that local programs,
sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own.[21] fiscal and otherwise, are consistent with national goals. Significantly, the President, by
constitutional fiat, is the head of the economic and planning agency of the
government,[25] primarily responsible for formulating and implementing continuing,
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power coordinated and integrated social and economic policies, plans and programs[26] for the
in the favor of local government units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the entire country. However, under the Constitution, the formulation and the
autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with implementation of such policies and programs are subject to "consultations with the
minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a constitutional author, appropriate public agencies, various private sectors, and local government units." The
decentralization of power amounts to 'self-immolation,' since in that event, the President cannot do so unilaterally.
autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its
constituency."[22] Consequently, the Local Government Code provides:[27]

Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy, the national government has not "x x x [I]n the event the national government incurs an unmanaged public sector
completely relinquished all its powers over local governments, including autonomous deficit, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon the
regions. Only administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political recommendation of [the] Secretary of Finance, Secretary of the Interior and Local
subdivisions. The purpose of the delegation is to make governance more directly Government and Secretary of Budget and Management, and subject to consultation
responsive and effective at the local levels. In turn, economic, political and social with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and the presidents of the liga,
development at the smaller political units are expected to propel social and economic to make the necessary adjustments in the internal revenue allotment of local
growth and development. But to enable the country to develop as a whole, the government units but in no case shall the allotment be less than thirty percent (30%)
programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a of the collection of national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding
common national goal. Thus, policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the the current fiscal year x x x."
President and Congress. As we stated in Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp.,
Inc., municipal governments are still agents of the national government. [23] There are therefore several requisites before the President may interfere in local
fiscal matters: (1) an unmanaged public sector deficit of the national government; (2)
consultations with the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of
The Nature of AO 372 Representatives and the presidents of the various local leagues;and (3) the
corresponding recommendation of the secretaries of the Department of Finance,
Interior and Local Government, and Budget and Management.Furthermore, any
adjustment in the allotment shall in no case be less than thirty percent (30%) of the
Consistent with the foregoing jurisprudential precepts, let us now look into the
collection of national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the current
nature of AO 372. As its preambular clauses declare, the Order was a "cash
one.
management measure" adopted by the government "to match expenditures with
available resources," which were presumably depleted at the time due to "economic Petitioner points out that respondents failed to comply with these requisites before
difficulties brought about by the peso depreciation." Because of a looming financial the issuance and the implementation of AO 372. At the very least, they did not even try
crisis, the President deemed it necessary to "direct all government agencies, state to show that the national government was suffering from an unmanageable public
universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations as well as sector deficit. Neither did they claim having conducted consultations with the different
local governments to reduce their total expenditures by at least 25 percent along leagues of local governments. Without these requisites, the President has no authority
suggested areas mentioned in AO 372. to adjust, much less to reduce, unilaterally the LGU's internal revenue allotment.
Under existing law, local government units, in addition to having administrative The solicitor general insists, however, that AO 372 is merely directory and has
autonomy in the exercise of their functions, enjoy fiscal autonomy as well. Fiscal been issued by the President consistent with his power of supervision over local
autonomy means that local governments have the power to create their own sources governments. It is intended only to advise all government agencies and
of revenue in addition to their equitable share in the national taxes released by the instrumentalities to undertake cost-reduction measures that will help maintain
national government, as well as the power to allocate their resources in accordance economic stability in the country, which is facing economic difficulties. Besides, it does
with their own priorities. It extends to the preparation of their budgets, and local officials not contain any sanction in case of noncompliance. Being merely an advisory,
in turn have to work within the constraints thereof. They are not formulated at the therefore, Section 1 of AO 372 is well within the powers of the President. Since it is not
a mandatory imposition, the directive cannot be characterized as an exercise of the Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan dissents from our Decision on the grounds that,
power of control. allegedly, (1) the Petition is premature; (2) AO 372 falls within the powers of the
President as chief fiscal officer; and (3) the withholding of the LGUs IRA is implied in
While the wordings of Section 1 of AO 372 have a rather commanding tone, and the President's authority to adjust it in case of an unmanageable public sector deficit.
while we agree with petitioner that the requirements of Section 284 of the Local
Government Code have not been satisfied, we are prepared to accept the solicitor First, on prematurity. According to the Dissent, when "the conduct has not yet
general's assurance that the directive to "identify and implement measures x x x that occurred and the challenged construction has not yet been adopted by the agency
will reduce total expenditures x x x by at least 25% of authorized regular appropriation" charged with administering the administrative order, the determination of the scope and
is merely advisory in character, and does not constitute a mandatory or binding order constitutionality of the executive action in advance of its immediate adverse effect
that interferes with local autonomy. The language used, while authoritative, does not involves too remote and abstract an inquiry for the proper exercise of judicial function."
amount to a command that emanates from a boss to a subaltern.
This is a rather novel theory -- that people should await the implementing evil to
Rather, the provision is merely an advisory to prevail upon local executives to befall on them before they can question acts that are illegal or unconstitutional. Be it
recognize the need for fiscal restraint in a period of economic difficulty.Indeed, all remembered that the real issue here is whether the Constitution and the law are
concerned would do well to heed the President's call to unity, solidarity and teamwork contravened by Section 4 of AO 372, not whether they are violated by the acts
to help alleviate the crisis. It is understood, however, that no legal sanction may be implementing it. In the unanimous en banc case Taada v. Angara, [33] this Court held
imposed upon LGUs and their officials who do not follow such advice. It is in this light that when an act of the legislative department is seriously alleged to have infringed the
that we sustain the solicitor general's contention in regard to Section 1. Constitution, settling the controversy becomes the duty of this Court. By the mere
enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the challenged action, the dispute
is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even without any other overt
act.Indeed, even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to
Withholding a Part of LGUs' IRA
awaken judicial duty. Said the Court:

"In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes
Section 4 of AO 372 cannot, however, be upheld. A basic feature of local fiscal
the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy.Where an action
autonomy is the automatic release of the shares of LGUs in the national internal
of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it
revenue. This is mandated by no less than the Constitution. [28] The Local Government
becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the
Code[29] specifies further that the release shall be made directly to the LGU concerned
dispute. 'The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to
within five (5) days after every quarter of the year and "shall not be subject to any lien
adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is
or holdback that may be imposed by the national government for whatever
upheld.'[34] Once a 'controversy as to the application or interpretation of a
purpose."[30] As a rule, the term "shall" is a word of command that must be given a
constitutional provision is raised before this Court x x x , it becomes a legal issue
compulsory meaning.[31] The provision is, therefore, imperative.
which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide.'[35]
Section 4 of AO 372, however, orders the withholding, effective January 1, 1998,
of 10 percent of the LGUs' IRA "pending the assessment and evaluation by the xxxxxxxxx
Development Budget Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation" in the
country. Such withholding clearly contravenes the Constitution and the law. Although
"As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases,[36] it will not
temporary, it is equivalent to a holdback, which means "something held back or
shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution
withheld, often temporarily."[32] Hence, the "temporary" nature of the retention by the
in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate
national government does not matter. Any retention is prohibited.
cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the
In sum, while Section 1 of AO 372 may be upheld as an advisory effected in times government."
of national crisis, Section 4 thereof has no color of validity at all. The latter provision
effectively encroaches on the fiscal autonomy of local governments. Concededly, the In the same vein, the Court also held in Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of
President was well-intentioned in issuing his Order to withhold the LGUs IRA, but the Energy:[37]
rule of law requires that even the best intentions must be carried out within the
parameters of the Constitution and the law.Verily, laudable purposes must be carried
"x x x Judicial power includes not only the duty of the courts to settle actual
out by legal methods.
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but also
the duty to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
Refutation of Justice Kapunan's Dissent of government. The courts, as guardians of the Constitution, have the inherent
authority to determine whether a statute enacted by the legislature transcends the
limit imposed by the fundamental law. Where the statute violates the Constitution, it is
not only the right but the duty of the judiciary to declare such act unconstitutional and WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. Respondents and their successors are
void." hereby permanently PROHIBITED from implementing Administrative Order Nos. 372
and 43, respectively dated December 27, 1997 and December 10, 1998, insofar as
By the same token, when an act of the President, who in our constitutional scheme local government units are concerned.
is a coequal of Congress, is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution and the SO ORDERED.
laws, as in the present case, settling the dispute becomes the duty and the
responsibility of the courts. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Pardo,
Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Besides, the issue that the Petition is premature has not been raised by the Kapunan, J., see dissenting opinion.
parties; hence it is deemed waived. Considerations of due process really prevents its Purisima, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., join J. Kapunan in his dissenting opinion.
use against a party that has not been given sufficient notice of its presentation, and
thus has not been given the opportunity to refute it.[38]
Second, on the President's power as chief fiscal officer of the country. Justice DISSENTING OPINION
Kapunan posits that Section 4 of AO 372 conforms with the President's role as chief
fiscal officer, who allegedly "is clothed by law with certain powers to ensure the
observance of safeguards and auditing requirements, as well as the legal prerequisites
KAPUNAN, J.:
in the release and use of IRAs, taking into account the constitutional and statutory
mandates."[39] He cites instances when the President may lawfully intervene in the fiscal
affairs of LGUs. In striking down as unconstitutional and illegal Section 4 of Administrative Order
No. 372 ("AO No. 372"), the majority opinion posits that the President exercised power
Precisely, such powers referred to in the Dissent have specifically been of control over the local government units ("LGU), which he does not have, and violated
authorized by law and have not been challenged as violative of the Constitution.On the the provisions of Section 6, Article X of the Constitution, which states:
other hand, Section 4 of AO 372, as explained earlier, contravenes explicit provisions
of the Local Government Code (LGC) and the Constitution. In other words, the acts
SEC. 6. Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the
alluded to in the Dissent are indeed authorized by law; but, quite the opposite, Section
national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.
4 of AO 372 is bereft of any legal or constitutional basis.
Third, on the President's authority to adjust the IRA of LGUs in case of an and Section 286(a) of the Local Government Code, which provides:
unmanageable public sector deficit. It must be emphasized that in striking down Section
4 of AO 372, this Court is not ruling out any form of reduction in the IRAs of
SEC. 286. Automatic Release of Shares. - (a) The share of each local government
LGUs. Indeed, as the President may make necessary adjustments in case of an
unmanageable public sector deficit, as stated in the main part of this Decision, and in unit shall be released, without need of any further action, directly to the provincial,
line with Section 284 of the LGC, which Justice Kapunan cites. He, however, merely city, municipal or barangay treasurer, as the case may be, on a quarterly basis within
glances over a specific requirement in the same provision -- that such reduction is five (5) days after the end of each quarter, and which shall not be subject to any lien
or holdback that may be imposed by the national government for whatever purpose.
subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and, more
importantly, with the presidents of the leagues of local governments.
The share of the LGUs in the national internal revenue taxes is defined in Section
Notably, Justice Kapunan recognizes the need for "interaction between the 284 of the same Local Government Code, to wit:
national government and the LGUs at the planning level," in order to ensure that "local
development plans x x x hew to national policies and standards." The problem is that
no such interaction or consultation was ever held prior to the issuance of AO 372. This SEC. 284. Allotment of Internal Revenue Taxes. - Local government units shall have
is why the petitioner and the intervenor (who was a provincial governor and at the same a share in the national internal revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal
time president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines and chairman of the year preceding the current fiscal year as follows:
League of Leagues of Local Governments) have protested and instituted this
action. Significantly, respondents do not deny the lack of consultation. (a) On the first year of the effectivity of this Code, thirty percent (30%);

In addition, Justice Kapunan cites Section 287 [40] of the LGC as impliedly
authorizing the President to withhold the IRA of an LGU, pending its compliance with (b) On the second year, thirty-five (35%) percent; and
certain requirements. Even a cursory reading of the provision reveals that it is totally
inapplicable to the issue at bar. It directs LGUs to appropriate in their annual budgets (c) On the third year and thereafter, forty percent (40%).
20 percent of their respective IRAs for development projects. It speaks of no positive
power granted the President to priorly withhold any amount. Not at all.
Provided, That in the event that the national government incurs an unmanageable xxx
public sector deficit, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon the
recommendation of Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Subsequently, on December 10, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada issued
and Secretary of Budget and Management, and subject to consultation with the Administrative Order No. 43 (AO No. 43), amending Section 4 of AO No. 372, by
presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and the presidents of the liga, to make reducing to five percent (5%) the IRA to be withheld from the LGUs, thus:
the necessary adjustments in the internal revenue allotment of local government units
but in no case shall the allotment be less than thirty percent (30%) of the collection of
national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 43
year: Provided, further, That in the first year of the effectivity of this Code, the local
government units shall, in addition to the thirty percent (30%) internal revenue
allotment which shall include the cost of devolved functions for essential public
AMENDING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372 DATED 27 DECEMBER 1997
services, be entitled to receive the amount equivalent to the cost of devolved personal
services. ENTITLED "ADOPTION OF ECONOMY MEASURES IN GOVERNMENT FOR FY
1998"

xxx
WHEREAS, Administrative Order No. 372 dated 27 December 1997 entitled
The majority opinion takes the view that the withholding of ten percent (10%) of "Adoption of Economy Measures in Government for FY 1998" was issued to address
the internal revenue allotment ("IRA") to the LGUs pending the assessment and the economic difficulties brought about by the peso devaluation in 1997;
evaluation by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal
situation as called for in Section 4 of AO No. 372 transgresses against the above- WHEREAS, Section 4 of Administrative Order No. 372 provided that the amount
quoted provisions which mandate the "automatic" release of the shares of the LGUs in equivalent to 10% of the internal revenue allotment to local government units shall be
the national internal revenue in consonance with local fiscal autonomy. The pertinent withheld; and,
portions of AO No. 372 are reproduced hereunder:
WHEREAS, there is a need to release additional funds to local government units for
vital projects and expenditures.
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, President of the Republic of


the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order the
ADOPTION OF ECONOMY MEASURES IN GOVERNMENT FOR FY 1998 reduction of the withheld Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local government units
from ten percent to five percent.
WHEREAS, the current economic difficulties brought about by the peso depreciation
requires continued prudence in government fiscal management to maintain economic The five percent reduction in the IRA withheld for 1998 shall be released before 25
stability and sustain the countrys growth momentum; December 1998.

WHEREAS, it is imperative that all government agencies adopt cash management DONE in the City of Manila, this 10th day of December, in the year of our Lord,
measures to match expenditures with available resources; NOW THEREFORE, I, nineteen hundred and ninety eight.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the
powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and direct: With all due respect, I beg to disagree with the majority opinion.

SECTION 1. All government departments and agencies, including x x x local Section 4 of AO No. 372 does not present a case ripe for adjudication. The
government units will identify and implement measures in FY 1998 that will reduce language of Section 4 does not conclusively show that, on its face, the constitutional
total appropriations for non-personal services items, along the following suggested provision on the automatic release of the IRA shares of the LGUs has been violated.
areas: Section 4, as worded, expresses the idea that the withholding is merely temporary
which fact alone would not merit an outright conclusion of its unconstitutionality,
especially in light of the reasonable presumption that administrative agencies act in
xxx conformity with the law and the Constitution. Where the conduct has not yet occurred
and the challenged construction has not yet been adopted by the agency charged with
SECTION 4. Pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development Budget administering the administrative order, the determination of the scope and
Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation the amount equivalent to constitutionality of the executive action in advance of its immediate adverse effect
10% of the internal revenue allotment to local government units shall be withheld. involves too remote and abstract an inquiry for the proper exercise of judicial function.
Petitioners have not shown that the alleged 5% IRA share of LGUs that was temporarily However, the phrase "automatic release" of the LGUs' shares does not mean that
withheld has not yet been released, or that the Department of Budget and Management the release of the funds is mechanical, spontaneous, self-operating or reflex. IRAs must
(DBM) has refused and continues to refuse its release. In view thereof, the Court should first be determined, and the money for their payment collected. 18 In this regard,
not decide as this case suggests an abstract proposition on constitutional issues. administrative documentations are also undertaken to ascertain their availability, limits
and extent. The phrase, thus, should be used in the context of the whole budgetary
The President is the chief fiscal officer of the country. He is ultimately responsible process and in relation to pertinent laws relating to audit and accounting requirements.
for the collection and distribution of public money: In the workings of the budget for the fiscal year, appropriations for expenditures are
supported by existing funds in the national coffers and by proposals for revenue raising.
SECTION 3. Powers and Functions. - The Department of Budget and Management The money, therefore, available for IRA release may not be existing but merely
shall assist the President in the preparation of a national resources and expenditures inchoate, or a mere expectation. It is not infrequent that the Executive Department's
budget, preparation, execution and control of the National Budget, preparation and proposals for raising revenue in the form of proposed legislation may not be passed by
maintenance of accounting systems essential to the budgetary process, achievement the legislature. As such, the release of IRA should not mean release of absolute
of more economy and efficiency in the management of government operations, amounts based merely on mathematical computations. There must be a prior
administration of compensation and position classification systems, assessment of determination of what exact amount the local government units are actually entitled in
organizational effectiveness and review and evaluation of legislative proposals having light of the economic factors which affect the fiscal situation in the country. Foremost of
budgetary or organizational implications.1 these is where, due to an unmanageable public sector deficit, the President may make
the necessary adjustments in the IRA of LGUs. Thus, as expressly provided in Article
In a larger context, his role as chief fiscal officer is directed towards "the nation's efforts 284 of the Local Government Code:
at economic and social upliftment"2 for which more specific economic powers are x x x (I)n the event that the national government incurs an unmanageable
delegated. Within statutory limits, the President can, thus, fix "tariff rates, import and public sector deficit, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized,
export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the upon the recommendation of Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Interior
framework of the national development program of the government, 3 as he is also and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and Management and
responsible for enlisting the country in international economic agreements.4 More than subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of
this, to achieve "economy and efficiency in the management of government Congress and the presidents of the "liga," to make the necessary
operations," the President is empowered to create appropriation reserves,5 suspend adjustments in the internal revenue allotment of local government units
expenditure appropriations,6 and institute cost reduction schemes.7 but in no case shall the allotment be less than thirty percent (30%) of the
As chief fiscal officer of the country, the President supervises fiscal development collection of national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year
in the local government units and ensures that laws are faithfully executed.8 For this preceding the current fiscal year. x x x.
reason, he can set aside tax ordinances if he finds them contrary to the Local Under the aforecited provision, if facts reveal that the economy has sustained or
Government Code.9 Ordinances cannot contravene statutes and public policy as will likely sustain such "unmanageable public sector deficit," then the LGUs cannot
declared by the national govemment.10 The goal of local economy is not to "end the assert absolute right of entitlement to the full amount of forty percent (40%) share in
relation of partnership and inter-dependence between the central administration and the IRA, because the President is authorized to make an adjustment and to reduce the
local government units,"11 but to make local governments "more responsive and amount to not less than thirty percent (30%). It is, therefore, impractical to immediately
accountable" [to] "ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and release the full amount of the IRAs and subsequently require the local government units
make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social to return at most ten percent (10%) once the President has ascertained that there exists
progress."12 an unmanageable public sector deficit.
The interaction between the national government and the local government units By necessary implication, the power to make necessary adjustments (including
is mandatory at the planning level. Local development plans must thus hew to "national reduction) in the IRA in case of an unmanageable public sector deficit, includes the
policies and standards13 as these are integrated into the regional development plans discretion to withhold the IRAs temporarily until such time that the determination of the
for submission to the National Economic Development Authority. "14 Local budget plans actual fiscal situation is made. The test in determining whether one power is necessarily
and goals must also be harmonized, as far as practicable, with "national development included in a stated authority is: "The exercise of a more absolute power necessarily
goals and strategies in order to optimize the utilization of resources and to avoid includes the lesser power especially where it is needed to make the first power
duplication in the use of fiscal and physical resources."15 effective."19 If the discretion to suspend temporarily the release of the IRA pending such
Section 4 of AO No. 372 was issued in the exercise by the President not only of examination is withheld from the President, his authority to make the necessary IRA
his power of general supervision, but also in conformity with his role as chief fiscal adjustments brought about by the unmanageable public sector deficit would be
officer of the country in the discharge of which he is clothed by law with certain powers emasculated in the midst of serious economic crisis. In the situation conjured by the
to ensure the observance of safeguards and auditing requirements, as well as the legal majority opinion, the money would already have been gone even before it is determined
prerequisites in the release and use of IRAs, taking into account the constitutional 16 and that fiscal crisis is indeed happening.
statutory17 mandates.
The majority opinion overstates the requirement in Section 286 of the Local because there was no showing of an unmanageable public sector deficit by the national
Government Code that the IRAs "shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may government, nor was there evidence that consultations with the presiding officers of
be imposed by the national government for whatever purpose" as proof that no both Houses of Congress and the presidents of the various leagues had taken place
withholding of the release of the IRAs is allowed albeit temporary in nature. and the corresponding recommendations of the Secretary of Finance, Secretary of
Interior and Local Government and the Budget Secretary were made.
It is worthy to note that this provision does not appear in the Constitution. Section
6, Art X of the Constitution merely directs that LGUs "shall have a just share" in the I beg to differ. The power to determine whether there is an unmanageable public
national taxes "as determined by law" and which share shall be automatically released sector deficit is lodged in the President. The President's determination, as fiscal
to them. This means that before the LGUs share is released, there should be first a manager of the country, of the existence of economic difficulties which could amount to
determination, which requires a process, of what is the correct amount as dictated by "unmanageable public sector deficit" should be accorded respect. In fact, the
existing laws. For one, the Implementing Rules of the Local Government Code allows withholding of the ten percent (10%) of the LGUs' share was further justified by the
deductions from the IRAs, to wit: current economic difficulties brought about by the peso depreciation as shown by one
of the "WHEREASES" of AO No. 372.23 In the absence of any showing to the contrary,
Article 384. Automatic Release of IRA Shares of LGUs: it is presumed that the President had made prior consultations with the officials thus
mentioned and had acted upon the recommendations of the Secretaries of Finance,
Interior and Local Government and Budget.24
xxx
Therefore, even assuming hypothetically that there was effectively a deduction of
(c) The IRA share of LGUs shall not be subject to any lien or hold back that may five percent (5%) of the LGUs' share, which was in accordance with the President's
be imposed by the National Government for whatever purpose unless otherwise prerogative in view of the pronouncement of the existence of an unmanageable public
provided in the Code or other applicable laws and loan contract on project sector deficit, the deduction would still be valid in the absence of any proof that the
agreements arising from foreign loans and international commitments, such as LGUs' allotment was less than the thirty percent (30%) limit provided for in Section 284
premium contributions of LGUs to the Government Service Insurance System of the Local Government Code.
and loans contracted by LGUs under foreign-assisted projects. In resume, the withholding of the amount equivalent to five percent (5%) of the
IRA to the LGUs was temporary pending determination by the Executive of the actual
Apart from the above, other mandatory deductions are made from the IRAs prior share which the LGUs are rightfully entitled to on the basis of the applicable laws,
to their release, such as: (1) total actual cost of devolution and the cost of city-funded particularly Section 284 of the Local Government Code, authorizing the President to
hospitals;20 and (2) compulsory contributions21 and other remittances.22 It follows, make the necessary adjustments in the IRA of LGUs in the event of an unmanageable
therefore, that the President can withhold portions of IRAs in order to set-off or public sector deficit. And assuming that the said five percent (5%) of the IRA pertaining
compensate legitimately incurred obligations and remittances of LGUs. to the 1998 Fiscal Year has been permanently withheld, there is no showing that the
amount actually released to the LGUs that same year was less than thirty percent (30%)
Significantly, Section 286 of the Local Government Code does not make mention of the national internal revenue taxes collected, without even considering the proper
of the exact amount that should be automatically released to the LGUs. The provision deductions allowed by law.
does not mandate that the entire 40% share mentioned in Section 284 shall be
released. It merely provides that the "share" of each LGU shall be released and which WHEREFORE, I vote to DISMISS the petition.
"shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national
government for whatever purpose." The provision on automatic release of IRA share
should, thus, be read together with Section 284, including the proviso on adjustment or
reduction of IRAs, as well as other relevant laws. It may happen that the share of the
LGUs may amount to the full forty percent (40%) or the reduced amount of thirty percent
(30%) as adjusted without any law being violated. In other words, all that Section 286
requires is the automatic release of the amount that the LGUs are rightfully and
legally entitled to, which, as the same section provides, should not be less than thirty
percent (30%) of the collection of the national revenue taxes. So that even if five percent
(5%) or ten percent (10%) is either temporarily or permanently withheld, but the
minimum of thirty percent (30%) allotment for the LGUs is released pursuant to the
President's authority to make the necessary adjustment in the LGUS' share, there is
still full compliance with the requirements of the automatic release of the LGUs' share.
Finally, the majority insists that the withholding of ten percent (10%) or five percent
(5%) of the IRAs could not have been done pursuant to the power of the President to
adjust or reduce such shares under Section 284 of the Local Government Code
SEC. 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous
Republic of the Philippines regions to ensure that laws are faithfully executed.
SUPREME COURT
Manila Sec. 17. All powers, functions, and responsibilities not granted Constitution
or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National
EN BANC Government.

G.R. No. 79956 January 29, 1990 Sec. 18. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous
region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative
commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a
CORDILLERA BROAD COALITION, petitioner, list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the
vs. basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent. department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and
representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall
G.R. No. 82217 January 29, 1990 likewise provide for special courts with personal, family and property law
jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national
LILIA YARANON and BONA BAUTISTA, assisted by their spouses, BRAULIO D. laws.
YARANON and DEMETRIO D. BAUTISTA, JR., respectively; JAMES BRETT and
SINAI C. HAMADA, petitioners, The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by
vs. majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the
THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, HON. CATALINO MACARAIG, Executive purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting
Secretary, HON. VICENTE JAYME, Secretary of Finance, HON. GUILLERMO N. favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region.
CARAGUE, Secretary of Budget and Management, and HON. ROSALINA S.
CAJUCOM, OIC National Treasurer, respondents. Sec. 19. The first Congress elected under this Constitution shall, within
eighteen months from the time of organization of both Houses, pass the
organic acts for the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the
Cordilleras.

CORTES, J.: Sec. 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this
Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall
In these consolidated petitions, the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 220, dated provide for legislative powers over:
July 15, 1987, which created the (Cordillera Administrative Region, is assailed on the
primary ground that it pre-empts the enactment of an organic act by the Congress and (1) Administrative organization;
the creation of' the autonomous region in the Cordilleras conditional on the approval
of the act through a plebiscite. (2) Creation of sources of revenues;

Relative to the creation of autonomous regions, the constitution, in Article X, provides: (3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;

AUTONOMOUS REGIONS (4) Personal, family and property relations;

Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao (5) Regional urban and rural planning development;
and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and
geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural
heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics (6) Economic, social and tourism development ;
within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well
as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. (7) Educational policies;

(8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and


(9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino signed the joint draft into
general welfare of the people of the region. law, known now as E.O. 220. [Rejoinder G.R. No. 82217, pp. 2-3].

Sec. 21. The preservation of peace and order within the regions shall be the Executive Order No. 220, issued by the President in the exercise of her legislative
responsibility of the local police agencies which shall be organized, powers under Art. XVIII, sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution, created the Cordillera
maintained, supervised, and utilized in accordance with applicable laws. The Administrative Region (CAR) , which covers the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao,
defense and security of the regions shall be the responsibility of the National Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province and the City of Baguio [secs. 1 and 2]. It was
Government. created to accelerate economic and social growth in the region and to prepare for the
establishment of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras [sec. 3]. Its main function is
A study of E.O. No. 220 would be incomplete Without reference to its historical to coordinate the planning and implementation of programs and services in the
background. region, particularly, to coordinate with the local government units as well as with the
executive departments of the National Government in the supervision of field offices
and in identifying, planning, monitoring, and accepting projects and activities in the
In April 1986, just after the EDSA Revolution, Fr. Conrado M. Balweg, region [sec. 5]. It shall also monitor the implementation of all ongoing national and
S.V.D., broke off on ideological grounds from the Communist Party of the local government projects in the region [sec. 20]. The CAR shall have a Cordillera
Philippines (CPP) and its military arm the New People's Army. (NPA). Regional Assembly as a policy-formulating body and a Cordillera Executive Board as
an implementing arm [secs. 7, 8 and 10]. The CAR and the Assembly and Executive
After President Aquino was installed into office by People Power, she Board shall exist until such time as the autonomous regional government is
advocated a policy of national reconciliation. She called on all revolutionary established and organized [sec. 17].
forces to a peace dialogue. The CPLA heeded this call of the President.
After the preliminary negotiations, President Aquino and some members of Explaining the rationale for the issuance of E.O. No. 220, its last "Whereas" clause
her Cabinet flew to Mt. Data in the Mountain Province on September 13, provides:
1986 and signed with Fr. Conrado M. Balweg (As Commander of the CPLA
and Ama Mario Yag-ao (as President of Cordillera Bodong Administration,
the civil government of the CPLA a ceasefire agreement that signified the WHEREAS, pending the convening of the first Congress and the enactment
cessation of hostilities (WHEREAS No. 7, E.O. 220). of the organic act for a Cordillera autonomous region, there is an urgent
need, in the interest of national security and public order, for the President to
reorganize immediately the existing administrative structure in the
The parties arrived at an agreement in principle: the Cordillera people shall Cordilleras to suit it to the existing political realities therein and the
not undertake their demands through armed and violent struggle but by Government's legitimate concerns in the areas, without attempting to pre-
peaceful means, such as political negotiations. The negotiations shall be a empt the constitutional duty of the first Congress to undertake the creation of
continuing process until the demands of the Cordillera people shall have an autonomous region on a permanent basis.
been substantially granted.
During the pendency of this case, Republic Act No. 6766 entitled "An Act Providing
On March 27, 1987, Ambassador Pelaez [Acting as Chief Negotiator of the for an Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region," was enacted and signed
government], in pursuance of the September 13, 1986 agreement, flew to into law. The Act recognizes the CAR and the offices and agencies created under
the Mansion House, Baguio City, and signed with Fr. Balweg (as Chairman E.O. No. 220 and its transitory nature is reinforced in Art. XXI of R.A. No. 6766, to wit:
of the Cordillera panel) a joint agreement, paragraphs 2 and 3 of which state:
SEC. 3. The Cordillera Executive Board, the Cordillera Region Assembly as
Par. 2- Work together in drafting an Executive Order to create a preparatory well as all offices and agencies created under Execute Order No. 220 shall
body that could perform policy-making and administrative functions and cease to exist immediately upon the ratification of this Organic Act.
undertake consultations and studies leading to a draft organic act for the
Cordilleras.
All funds, properties and assets of the Cordillera Executive Board and the
Cordillera Regional Assembly shall automatically be transferred to the
Par. 3- Have representatives from the Cordillera panel join the study group Cordillera Autonomous Government.
of the R.P. Panel in drafting the Executive Order.
I
Pursuant to the above joint agreement, E.O. 220 was drafted by a panel of
the Philippine government and of the representatives of the Cordillera
people. It is well-settled in our jurisprudence that respect for the inherent and stated powers
and prerogatives of the law-making body, as well as faithful adherence to the principle
of separation of powers, require that its enactment be accorded the presumption of The Constitution provides for a basic structure of government in the autonomous
constitutionality. Thus, in any challenge to the constitutionality of a statute, the burden region composed of an elective executive and legislature and special courts with
of clearly and unequivocally proving its unconstitutionality always rests upon the personal, family and property law jurisdiction [Art. X, sec. 18]. Using this as a guide,
challenger. Conversely, failure to so prove will necessarily defeat the challenge. we find that E.O. No. 220 did not establish an autonomous regional government. It
created a region, covering a specified area, for administrative purposes with the main
We shall be guided by these principles in considering these consolidated petitions. objective of coordinating the planning and implementation of programs and services
[secs. 2 and 5]. To determine policy, it created a representative assembly, to convene
yearly only for a five-day regular session, tasked with, among others, identifying
In these cases, petitioners principally argue that by issuing E.O. No. 220 the priority projects and development programs [sec. 9]. To serve as an implementing
President, in the exercise of her legislative powers prior to the convening of the first body, it created the Cordillera Executive Board composed of the Mayor of Baguio
Congress under the 1987 Constitution, has virtually pre-empted Congress from its City, provincial governors and representatives of the Cordillera Bodong
mandated task of enacting an organic act and created an autonomous region in the Administration, ethno-linguistic groups and non-governmental organizations as
Cordilleras. We have carefully studied the Constitution and E.O. No. 220 and we have regular members and all regional directors of the line departments of the National
come to the conclusion that petitioners' assertions are unfounded. Events subsequent Government as ex-officio members and headed by an Executive Director [secs. 10
to the issuance of E.O. No. 220 also bear out this conclusion. and 11]. The bodies created by E.O. No. 220 do not supplant the existing local
governmental structure, nor are they autonomous government agencies. They merely
1. A reading of E.O. No. 220 will easily reveal that what it actually envisions is the constitute the mechanism for an "umbrella" that brings together the existing local
consolidation and coordination of the delivery of services of line departments and governments, the agencies of the National Government, the ethno-linguistic groups or
agencies of the National Government in the areas covered by the administrative tribes, and non-governmental organizations in a concerted effort to spur development
region as a step preparatory to the grant of autonomy to the Cordilleras. It does not in the Cordilleras.
create the autonomous region contemplated in the Constitution. It merely provides for
transitory measures in anticipation of the enactment of an organic act and the creation The creation of the CAR for purposes of administrative coordination is underscored by
of an autonomous region. In short, it prepares the ground for autonomy. This does not the mandate of E.O. No. 220 for the President and appropriate national departments
necessarily conflict with the provisions of the Constitution on autonomous regions, as and agencies to make available sources of funds for priority development programs
we shall show later. and projects recommended by the CAR [sec. 21] and the power given to the
President to call upon the appropriate executive departments and agencies of the
The Constitution outlines a complex procedure for the creation of an autonomous National Government to assist the CAR [sec. 24].
region in the Cordilleras. A regional consultative commission shall first be created.
The President shall then appoint the members of a regional consultative commission 3. Subsequent to the issuance of E.O. No. 220, the Congress, after it was convened,
from a list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. The commission shall assist the enacted Republic Act No. 6658 which created the Cordillera Regional Consultative
Congress in preparing the organic act for the autonomous region. The organic act Commission. The President then appointed its members. The commission prepared a
shall be passed by the first Congress under the 1987 Constitution within eighteen draft organic act which became the basis for the deliberations of the Senate and the
months from the time of its organization and enacted into law. Thereafter there shall House of Representatives. The result was Republic Act No. 6766, the organic act for
be held a plebiscite for the approval of the organic act [Art. X, sec. 18]. Only then, the Cordillera autonomous region, which was signed into law on October 23, 1989. A
after its approval in the plebiscite, shall the autonomous region be created. plebiscite for the approval of the organic act, to be conducted shortly, shall complete
the process outlined in the Constitution.
Undoubtedly, all of these will take time. The President, in 1987 still exercising
legislative powers, as the first Congress had not yet convened, saw it fit to provide for In the meantime, E.O. No. 220 had been in force and effect for more than two years
some measures to address the urgent needs of the Cordilleras in the meantime that and we find that, despite E.O. No. 220, the autonomous region in the Cordilleras is
the organic act had not yet been passed and the autonomous region created. These still to be created, showing the lack of basis of petitioners' assertion. Events have
measures we find in E.O. No. 220. The steps taken by the President are obviously shown that petitioners' fear that E.O. No. 220 was a "shortcut" for the creation of the
perceived by petitioners, particularly petitioner Yaranon who views E.O. No. 220 as autonomous region in the Cordilleras was totally unfounded.
capitulation to the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA) of Balweg, as unsound,
but the Court cannot inquire into the wisdom of the measures taken by the President,
We can only inquire into whether or not the measures violate the Constitution. But as Clearly, petitioners' principal challenge has failed.
we have seen earlier, they do not.
II
2. Moreover, the transitory nature of the CAR does not necessarily mean that it is, as
petitioner Cordillera Broad Coalition asserts, "the interim autonomous region in the A collateral issue raised by petitioners is the nature of the CAR: whether or not it is a
Cordilleras" [Petition, G.R. No. 79956, p. 25]. territorial and political subdivision. The Constitution provides in Article X:
Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the non-governmental organizations in bringing about the desired objectives and the
Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There appropriation of funds solely for that purpose.
shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as
hereinafter provided. 2. Then, considering the control and supervision exercised by the President over the
CAR and the offices created under E.O. No. 220, and considering further the
xxx xxx xxx indispensable participation of the line departments of the National Government, the
CAR may be considered more than anything else as a regional coordinating agency
Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, of the National Government, similar to the regional development councils which the
divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in President may create under the Constitution [Art. X, sec. 14]. These councils are
accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and "composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other
subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the government offices, and representatives from non-governmental organizations within
political units directly affected. the region for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy
of the units therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and
development of the units in the region." [Ibid.] In this wise, the CAR may be
We have seen earlier that the CAR is not the autonomous region in the Cordilleras considered as a more sophisticated version of the regional development council.
contemplated by the Constitution, Thus, we now address petitioners' assertion that E.
0. No. 220 contravenes the Constitution by creating a new territorial and political
subdivision. III

After carefully considering the provisions of E.O. No. 220, we find that it did not create Finally, petitioners incidentally argue that the creation of the CAR contravened the
a new territorial and political subdivision or merge existing ones into a larger constitutional guarantee of the local autonomy for the provinces (Abra, Benguet,
subdivision. Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province) and city (Baguio City) which
compose the CAR.
1. Firstly, the CAR is not a public corporation or a territorial and political subdivision. It
does not have a separate juridical personality, unlike provinces, cities and We find first a need to clear up petitioners' apparent misconception of the concept of
municipalities. Neither is it vested with the powers that are normally granted to public local autonomy.
corporations, e.g. the power to sue and be sued, the power to own and dispose of
property, the power to create its own sources of revenue, etc. As stated earlier, the It must be clarified that the constitutional guarantee of local autonomy in the
CAR was created primarily to coordinate the planning and implementation of Constitution [Art. X, sec. 2] refers to the administrative autonomy of local government
programs and services in the covered areas. units or, cast in more technical language, the decentralization of government authority
[Villegas v. Subido, G.R. No. L-31004, January 8, 1971, 37 SCRA 1]. Local autonomy
The creation of administrative regions for the purpose of expediting the delivery of is not unique to the 1987 Constitution, it being guaranteed also under the 1973
services is nothing new.1wphi1 The Integrated Reorganization Plan of 1972, which Constitution [Art. II, sec. 10]. And while there was no express guarantee under the
was made as part of the law of the land by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1, 1935 Constitution, the Congress enacted the Local Autonomy Act (R.A. No. 2264)
established eleven (11) regions, later increased to twelve (12), with definite regional and the Decentralization Act (R.A. No. 5185), which ushered the irreversible march
centers and required departments and agencies of the Executive Branch of the towards further enlargement of local autonomy in the country [Villegas v.
National Government to set up field offices therein. The functions of the regional Subido, supra.]
offices to be established pursuant to the Reorganization Plan are: (1) to implement
laws, policies, plans, programs, rules and regulations of the department or agency in On the other hand, the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the
the regional areas; (2) to provide economical, efficient and effective service to the Cordilleras, which is peculiar to the 1987 Constitution contemplates the grant
people in the area; (3) to coordinate with regional offices of other departments, of political autonomy and not just administrative autonomy these regions. Thus, the
bureaus and agencies in the area; (4) to coordinate with local government units in the provision in the Constitution for an autonomous regional government with a basic
area; and (5) to perform such other functions as may be provided by law. [See Part II, structure consisting of an executive department and a legislative assembly and
chap. III, art. 1, of the Reorganization Plan]. special courts with personal, family and property law jurisdiction in each of the
autonomous regions [Art. X, sec. 18].
We can readily see that the CAR is in the same genre as the administrative regions
created under the Reorganization Plan, albeit under E.O. No. 220 the operation of the As we have said earlier, the CAR is a mere transitory coordinating agency that would
CAR requires the participation not only of the line departments and agencies of the prepare the stage for political autonomy for the Cordilleras. It fills in the resulting gap
National Government but also the local governments, ethno-linguistic groups and in the process of transforming a group of adjacent territorial and political subdivisions
already enjoying local or administrative autonomy into an autonomous region vested
with political autonomy.

Anent petitioners' objection, we note the obvious failure to show how the creation of
the CAR has actually diminished the local autonomy of the covered provinces and
city. It cannot be over-emphasized that pure speculation and a resort to probabilities
are insufficient to cause the invalidation of E.O. No. 220.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla,


Bidin, Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:

I concur in the result because with the enactments of Republic Acts No. 6658 and No.
6766, the questioned Executive Order No. 220 has been superseded. The basic
issues have become moot and academic. The Cordillera Regional Consultative
Commission and the Cordillera Autonomous Region have taken over the functions of
the Cordillera Administrative Region. The latter office has become functus oficio.
Moreover, there can be no question about the validity of its acts because if it is not de
jure, at the very least it is a de facto office.

I make these observations because I have grave doubts about the authority of the
President to create such an office as the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) by
mere executive fiat. The office has to be created by statute. To me, the functions of
CAR go beyond ordinary planning and preparation for the real office. In fact,
Congress had to pass Republic Act 6658 for this purpose. CAR was an agency which
accelerated economic and social growth in the Cordilleras, coordinated the
implementation of programs, accepted projects and activities in the Cordilleras, and
discharged basic administrative functions. It was a de facto agency whose acts are
valid but not a de jure or fully valid creation.
Region XI, Zamboanga City and the petitioner in his capacity as
Republic of the Philippines Speaker of the Assembly, Region XII, in a letter which reads:
SUPREME COURT
Manila The Committee on Muslim Affairs well undertake
consultations and dialogues with local
EN BANC government officials, civic, religious organizations
and traditional leaders on the recent and present
political developments and other issues affecting
G.R. No. 80391 February 28, 1989 Regions IX and XII.

SULTAN ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA, petitioner, The result of the conference, consultations and
vs. dialogues would hopefully chart the autonomous
CONTE MANGELIN, SALIC ALI, SALINDATO ALI, PILIMPINAS CONDING, governments of the two regions as envisioned
ACMAD TOMAWIS, GERRY TOMAWIS, JESUS ORTIZ, ANTONIO DELA FUENTE, and may prod the President to constitute
DIEGO PALOMARES, JR., RAUL DAGALANGIT, and BIMBO immediately the Regional Consultative
SINSUAT, respondents. Commission as mandated by the Commission.

Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioner petitioner. You are requested to invite some members of the
Pampook Assembly of your respective assembly
Makabangkit B. Lanto for respondents. on November 1 to 15, 1987, with venue at the
Congress of the Philippines. Your presence,
unstinted support and cooperation is (sic)
indispensable.

SARMIENTO, J.:
5. Consistent with the said invitation, petitioner sent a telegram to
Acting Secretary Johnny Alimbuyao of the Assembly to wire all
The acts of the Sangguniang Pampook of Region XII are assailed in this petition. The Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November as "our
antecedent facts are as follows: presence in the house committee hearing of Congress take (sic)
precedence over any pending business in batasang pampook ... ."
1. On September 24, 1986, petitioner Sultan Alimbusar Limbona
was appointed as a member of the Sangguniang Pampook, 6. In compliance with the aforesaid instruction of the petitioner,
Regional Autonomous Government, Region XII, representing Lanao Acting Secretary Alimbuyao sent to the members of the Assembly
del Sur. the following telegram:

2. On March 12, 1987 petitioner was elected Speaker of the TRANSMITTING FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Regional Legislative Assembly or Batasang Pampook of Central AND GUIDANCE TELEGRAM RECEIVED
Mindanao (Assembly for brevity). FROM SPEAKER LIMBONA QUOTE
CONGRESSMAN JIMMY MATALAM
3. Said Assembly is composed of eighteen (18) members. Two of CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON
said members, respondents Acmad Tomawis and Pakil Dagalangit, MUSLIM AFFAIRS REQUESTED ME TO
filed on March 23, 1987 with the Commission on Elections their ASSIST SAID COMMITTEE IN THE
respective certificates of candidacy in the May 11, 1987 DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSED
congressional elections for the district of Lanao del Sur but they AUTONOMY ORGANIC NOV. 1ST TO 15.
later withdrew from the aforesaid election and thereafter resumed HENCE WERE ALL ASSEMBLYMEN THAT
again their positions as members of the Assembly. THERE SHALL BE NO SESSION IN
NOVEMBER AS OUR PRESENCE IN THE
HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING OF
4. On October 21, 1987 Congressman Datu Guimid Matalam,
CONGRESS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ANY
Chairman of the Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of
PENDING BUSINESS IN BATASANG
Representatives, invited Mr. Xavier Razul, Pampook Speaker of
PAMPOOK OF MATALAM FOLLOWS 7. Dagalangit, Rakil
UNQUOTE REGARDS.
8. Dela Fuente, Antonio
7. On November 2, 1987, the Assembly held session in defiance of
petitioner's advice, with the following assemblymen present: 9. Ortiz, Jesus

1. Sali, Salic 10 Palomares, Diego

2. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) 11. Quijano, Jesus

3. Dagalangit, Rakil 12. Sinsuat, Bimbo

4. Dela Fuente, Antonio 13. Tomawis, Acmad

5. Mangelen, Conte 14. Tomawis, Jerry

6. Ortiz, Jesus An excerpt from the debates and proceeding of said session reads:

7. Palomares, Diego HON. DAGALANGIT: Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of the


House, with the presence of our colleagues who have come to
8. Sinsuat, Bimbo attend the session today, I move to call the names of the new
comers in order for them to cast their votes on the previous motion
9. Tomawis, Acmad to declare the position of the Speaker vacant. But before doing so, I
move also that the designation of the Speaker Pro Tempore as the
Presiding Officer and Mr. Johnny Evangelists as Acting Secretary in
10. Tomawis, Jerry the session last November 2, 1987 be reconfirmed in today's
session.
After declaring the presence of a quorum, the Speaker Pro-
Tempore was authorized to preside in the session. On Motion to HON. SALIC ALI: I second the motions.
declare the seat of the Speaker vacant, all Assemblymen in
attendance voted in the affirmative, hence, the chair declared said
seat of the Speaker vacant. 8. On November 5, 1987, the session PRESIDING OFFICER: Any comment or objections on the two
of the Assembly resumed with the following Assemblymen present: motions presented? Me chair hears none and the said motions are
approved. ...
1. Mangelen Conte-Presiding Officer
Twelve (12) members voted in favor of the motion to declare the
seat of the Speaker vacant; one abstained and none voted
2. Ali Salic against. 1

3. Ali Salindatu Accordingly, the petitioner prays for judgment as follows:

4. Aratuc, Malik WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays that-

5. Cajelo, Rene (a) This Petition be given due course;

6. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) (b) Pending hearing, a restraining order or writ of preliminary
injunction be issued enjoining respondents from proceeding with
their session to be held on November 5, 1987, and on any day Pampook." 9 "To be sure, the private respondents aver that "[t]he Assemblymen, in a
thereafter; conciliatory gesture, wanted him to come to Cotabato City," 10 but that was "so that
their differences could be threshed out and settled." 11Certainly, that avowed wanting
(c) After hearing, judgment be rendered declaring the proceedings or desire to thresh out and settle, no matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a
held by respondents of their session on November 2, 1987 as null substitute for the notice and hearing contemplated by law.
and void;
While we have held that due process, as the term is known in administrative law,
(d) Holding the election of petitioner as Speaker of said Legislative does not absolutely require notice and that a party need only be given the opportunity
Assembly or Batasan Pampook, Region XII held on March 12, 1987 to be heard, 12 it does not appear herein that the petitioner had, to begin with, been
valid and subsisting, and made aware that he had in fact stood charged of graft and corruption before his
collegues. It cannot be said therefore that he was accorded any opportunity to rebut
their accusations. As it stands, then, the charges now levelled amount to mere
(e) Making the injunction permanent. accusations that cannot warrant expulsion.

Petitioner likewise prays for such other relief as may be just and In the second place, (the resolution) appears strongly to be a bare act of vendetta by
equitable. 2 the other Assemblymen against the petitioner arising from what the former perceive to
be abduracy on the part of the latter. Indeed, it (the resolution) speaks of "a case
Pending further proceedings, this Court, on January 19, 1988, received a resolution [having been filed] [by the petitioner] before the Supreme Court . . . on question which
filed by the Sangguniang Pampook, "EXPECTING ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA FROM should have been resolved within the confines of the Assemblyman act which some
MEMBERSHIP OF THE SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK AUTONOMOUS REGION members claimed unnecessarily and unduly assails their integrity and character as
XII," 3 on the grounds, among other things, that the petitioner "had caused to be representative of the people" 13 an act that cannot possibly justify expulsion. Access
prepared and signed by him paying [sic] the salaries and emoluments of Odin Abdula, to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Constitution, 14 and, unless the recourse
who was considered resigned after filing his Certificate of Candidacy for amounts to malicious prosecution, no one may be punished for seeking redress in the
Congressmen for the First District of Maguindanao in the last May 11, elections. . . courts.
and nothing in the record of the Assembly will show that any request for reinstatement
by Abdula was ever made . . ." 4 and that "such action of Mr. Lim bona in paying We therefore order reinstatement, with the caution that should the past acts of the
Abdula his salaries and emoluments without authority from the Assembly . . . petitioner indeed warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined, should it still be so
constituted a usurpation of the power of the Assembly," 5 that the petitioner "had minded, to commence proper proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary
recently caused withdrawal of so much amount of cash from the Assembly resulting to requirements of due process. And while it is within the discretion of the members of
the non-payment of the salaries and emoluments of some Assembly [sic]," 6 and that the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues, their acts are nonetheless subject to
he had "filed a case before the Supreme Court against some members of the the moderating band of this Court in the event that such discretion is exercised with
Assembly on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the grave abuse.
Assembly," 7 for which the respondents now submit that the petition had become
"moot and academic". 8
It is, to be sure, said that precisely because the Sangguniang Pampook(s) are
"autonomous," the courts may not rightfully intervene in their affairs, much less strike
The first question, evidently, is whether or not the expulsion of the petitioner (pending down their acts. We come, therefore, to the second issue: Are the so-called
litigation) has made the case moot and academic. autonomous governments of Mindanao, as they are now constituted, subject to the
jurisdiction of the national courts? In other words, what is the extent of self-
We do not agree that the case has been rendered moot and academic by reason government given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII?
simply of the expulsion resolution so issued. For, if the petitioner's expulsion was
done purposely to make this petition moot and academic, and to preempt the Court, it The autonomous governments of Mindanao were organized in Regions IX and XII by
will not make it academic. Presidential Decree No. 1618 15 promulgated on July 25, 1979. Among other things,
the Decree established "internal autonomy" 16 in the two regions "[w]ithin the
On the ground of the immutable principle of due process alone, we hold that the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the
expulsion in question is of no force and effect. In the first place, there is no showing Philippines and its Constitution," 17 with legislative and executive machinery to
that the Sanggunian had conducted an investigation, and whether or not the petitioner exercise the powers and responsibilities 18specified therein.
had been heard in his defense, assuming that there was an investigation, or
otherwise given the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, what appears in the It requires the autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal
records is an admission by the Assembly (at least, the respondents) that "since administrative matters for the respective regions," 19 except to "act on matters which
November, 1987 up to this writing, the petitioner has not set foot at the Sangguniang
20
are within the jurisdiction and competence of the National Government," "which Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power
include, but are not limited to, the following: in the favor of local governments units declare to be autonomous . In that case, the
autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with
(1) National defense and security; minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a constitutional author,
decentralization of power amounts to "self-immolation," since in that event, the
autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its
(2) Foreign relations; constituency. 28

(3) Foreign trade; But the question of whether or not the grant of autonomy Muslim Mindanao under the
1987 Constitution involves, truly, an effort to decentralize power rather than mere
(4) Currency, monetary affairs, foreign exchange, banking and administration is a question foreign to this petition, since what is involved herein is a
quasi-banking, and external borrowing, local government unit constituted prior to the ratification of the present Constitution.
Hence, the Court will not resolve that controversy now, in this case, since no
(5) Disposition, exploration, development, exploitation or utilization controversy in fact exists. We will resolve it at the proper time and in the proper case.
of all natural resources;
Under the 1987 Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy in these two
(6) Air and sea transport senses, thus:

(7) Postal matters and telecommunications; Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of
the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and
barangays. Here shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao
(8) Customs and quarantine; ,and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. 29

(9) Immigration and deportation; Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local
autonomy. 30
(10) Citizenship and naturalization;
xxx xxx xxx
(11) National economic, social and educational planning; and
See. 15. Mere shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim
(12) General auditing. 21 Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities,
municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and
distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social
In relation to the central government, it provides that "[t]he President shall have the
structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework
power of general supervision and control over the Autonomous Regions ..." 22
of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial
integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. 31
Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of
power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government
An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST.
delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base
(1987), art. X, sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and
of government power and in the process to make local governments "more
accepted principles on the effects and limits of "autonomy." On the other hand, an
responsive and accountable," 23 "and ensure their fullest development as self-reliant
autonomous government of the former class is, as we noted, under the supervision of
communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national
the national government acting through the President (and the Department of Local
development and social progress." 24 At the same time, it relieves the central
Government). 32 If the Sangguniang Pampook (of Region XII), then, is autonomous in
government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on
the latter sense, its acts are, debatably beyond the domain of this Court in perhaps
national concerns. The President exercises "general supervision" 25 over them, but
the same way that the internal acts, say, of the Congress of the Philippines are
only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." 26 He has no
beyond our jurisdiction. But if it is autonomous in the former category only, it comes
control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his
unarguably under our jurisdiction. An examination of the very Presidential Decree
own. 27
creating the autonomous governments of Mindanao persuades us that they were
never meant to exercise autonomy in the second sense, that is, in which the central
government commits an act of self-immolation. Presidential Decree No. 1618, in the
first place, mandates that "[t]he President shall have the power of general supervision Hence, we assume jurisdiction. And if we can make an inquiry in the validity of the
and control over Autonomous Regions."33 In the second place, the Sangguniang expulsion in question, with more reason can we review the petitioner's removal as
Pampook, their legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative services, Speaker.
thus:
Briefly, the petitioner assails the legality of his ouster as Speaker on the grounds that:
SEC. 7. Powers of the Sangguniang Pampook. The Sangguniang (1) the Sanggunian, in convening on November 2 and 5, 1987 (for the sole purpose of
Pampook shall exercise local legislative powers over regional declaring the office of the Speaker vacant), did so in violation of the Rules of the
affairs within the framework of national development plans, policies Sangguniang Pampook since the Assembly was then on recess; and (2) assuming
and goals, in the following areas: that it was valid, his ouster was ineffective nevertheless for lack of quorum.

(1) Organization of regional administrative system; Upon the facts presented, we hold that the November 2 and 5, 1987 sessions were
invalid. It is true that under Section 31 of the Region XII Sanggunian Rules,
(2) Economic, social and cultural development of the Autonomous "[s]essions shall not be suspended or adjourned except by direction of the
Region; Sangguniang Pampook," 35 but it provides likewise that "the Speaker may, on [sic] his
discretion, declare a recess of "short intervals." 36 Of course, there is disagreement
between the protagonists as to whether or not the recess called by the petitioner
(3) Agricultural, commercial and industrial programs for the effective November 1 through 15, 1987 is the "recess of short intervals" referred to;
Autonomous Region; the petitioner says that it is while the respondents insist that, to all intents and
purposes, it was an adjournment and that "recess" as used by their Rules only refers
(4) Infrastructure development for the Autonomous Region; to "a recess when arguments get heated up so that protagonists in a debate can talk
things out informally and obviate dissenssion [sic] and disunity. 37 The Court agrees
(5) Urban and rural planning for the Autonomous Region; with the respondents on this regard, since clearly, the Rules speak of "short intervals."
Secondly, the Court likewise agrees that the Speaker could not have validly called a
recess since the Assembly had yet to convene on November 1, the date session
(6) Taxation and other revenue-raising measures as provided for in opens under the same Rules. 38 Hence, there can be no recess to speak of that could
this Decree; possibly interrupt any session. But while this opinion is in accord with the
respondents' own, we still invalidate the twin sessions in question, since at the time
(7) Maintenance, operation and administration of schools the petitioner called the "recess," it was not a settled matter whether or not he could.
established by the Autonomous Region; do so. In the second place, the invitation tendered by the Committee on Muslim
Affairs of the House of Representatives provided a plausible reason for the
intermission sought. Thirdly, assuming that a valid recess could not be called, it does
(8) Establishment, operation and maintenance of health, welfare
not appear that the respondents called his attention to this mistake. What appears is
and other social services, programs and facilities;
that instead, they opened the sessions themselves behind his back in an apparent act
of mutiny. Under the circumstances, we find equity on his side. For this reason, we
(9) Preservation and development of customs, traditions, languages uphold the "recess" called on the ground of good faith.
and culture indigenous to the Autonomous Region; and
It does not appear to us, moreover, that the petitioner had resorted to the aforesaid
(10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law,including the "recess" in order to forestall the Assembly from bringing about his ouster. This is not
enactment of such measures as may be necessary for the apparent from the pleadings before us. We are convinced that the invitation was what
promotion of the general welfare of the people in the Autonomous precipitated it.
Region.
In holding that the "recess" in question is valid, we are not to be taken as establishing
The President shall exercise such powers as may be necessary to a precedent, since, as we said, a recess can not be validly declared without a session
assure that enactment and acts of the Sangguniang Pampook and having been first opened. In upholding the petitioner herein, we are not giving him
the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook are in compliance with this a carte blanche to order recesses in the future in violation of the Rules, or otherwise
Decree, national legislation, policies, plans and programs. to prevent the lawful meetings thereof.

The Sangguniang Pampook shall maintain liaison with the Neither are we, by this disposition, discouraging the Sanggunian from reorganizing
Batasang Pambansa. 34 itself pursuant to its lawful prerogatives. Certainly, it can do so at the proper time. In
the event that be petitioner should initiate obstructive moves, the Court is certain that
it is armed with enough coercive remedies to thwart them. 39

In view hereof, we find no need in dwelling on the issue of quorum.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Sangguniang


Pampook, Region XII, is ENJOINED to (1) REINSTATE the petitioner as Member,
Sangguniang Pampook, Region XII; and (2) REINSTATE him as Speaker thereof. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC therefore, the executive department of the national government, in the exercise of its
general supervision over local governments, may conduct investigations with a view
[G.R. No. L-9124. July 28, 1958.] to determining whether municipal officials are guilty of acts or omissions warranting
the administrative action referred to in Sections 2188 to 2191 aforesaid, as a means
BERNARDO HEBRON, Petitioner, v. EULALIO D. REYES, Respondent. only to determine whether the provincial governor and the provincial board should
take such action, and the Executive may take appropriate measures to compel the
E. A. Beltran for Petitioner. provincial governor and the provincial board to take said action, if the same is
warranted, and they failed to do so. However, the Executive may not deprive the
Roxas & Sarmiento for Respondent. provincial governor and the provincial board of the power to exercise the authority
conferred upon them in sections 2188 to 2190 of the Revised Administrative Code.
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, Assistant Solicitor General Jose G. Bautista
and Solicitor Troadio T. Quiazon, Jr. for Respondent. 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; UNQUALIFIED AUTHORITY TO ORDER INVESTIGATION; NOT
APPLICABLE TO MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS. It is true that under Section
Vicente G. Sinco and Enrique M. Fernando as amici curiae. 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code, the President is granted an unqualified
authority to order, when in his opinion, the good of the public service so requires, an
investigation of any conduct of any person in the government service, and in
SYLLABUS connection therewith, to designate the official committee or person by whom such
investigation shall be conducted, but this power of the President is given in addition to
his general supervisory authority. It follows that the application of those powers to
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; LOCAL GOVERNMENTS; SUSPENSION AND municipal corporations insofar as they may appear to sanction the assumption by
REMOVAL OF OFFICERS; IN WHOM VESTED; PROCEDURE MANDATORY AND the Executive of the functions of provincial governors and provincial boards, under
EXCLUSIVE. In conferring on the Chief Executive the power to remove, section 64 said sections 2188 to 2190 would contravene the constitutional provision restricting
(6) of the Revised Administrative Code specifically enjoins that the said power be the authority of the President over local governments to "general supervision." The
exercised conformably to law, which means that removals must be accomplished only foregoing considerations are equally applicable to paragraph (b) of said section 64.
for any of the causes and in the fashion prescribed by law. Sections 2188 to 2191 of
the Revised Administrative Code outline the procedure for the suspension and 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION LIMITING THE AUTHORITY OF
removal of municipal officers. Said sections vest on the Provincial Governor and the THE PRESIDENT OVER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS APPLIES TO CORPORATE AND
Provincial Board the original jurisdiction to conduct investigations of complaints POLITICAL POWERS. In the Philippines, the constitutional provision limiting the
against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of authority of the President over local governments to general supervision is unqualified
maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving and, hence, it applies to all powers of municipal corporations, corporate and political
moral turpitude. In the absence of express or clear provision to the contrary which alike. In fact, there was no need of specifically qualifying the constitutional powers of
does not exist with respect to municipal officers the procedure is mandatory and the President as regards the corporate functions of local governments, inasmuch as
exclusive. the Executive never had any control over said functions. What is more, the same are
not, and never have been, under the control even of Congress, for, in the exercise of
2. ID.; ID.; SUPERVISION AND CONTROL BY THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE corporate, non- governmental or non-political functions, municipal corporations stand
ADMINISTRATIVE CODE; CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATION OF POWER. While practically on the same level, vis-a-viz the National Government or the State as
under Section 79(c) of the Revised Administrative Code, the Department Head, as private corporations. Consequently, the aforesaid reduction of the powers of the
agent of the President, has direct control and supervision over all bureaus and offices President from "control" of the national executive offices to "general supervision" over
under his jurisdiction, which include local governments (section 86, Revised local governments, could have had no other purpose than to affect his authority with
Administrative Code), this authority of the Executive has been constricted in the regard precisely to political functions.
Constitution, which maintains the presidential control of all the executive departments,
bureaus and offices, but limits the powers of the executive over local government to 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; AUTHORITY TO REMOVE VESTED IN EXECUTIVE MERELY
general supervision, and this only as may be provided by law. If general supervision APPELLATE IN CHARACTER. In the case of Villena v. The Secretary of the
over all local government is to be construed as the same power granted to the Interior, 67 Phil., 451, this Court cited section 2191 of the Revised Administrative
Department Head in Section 79(c)of the Revised Administrative Code, then there Code as the source of the power of the Executive to suspend and remove municipal
would be no longer distinction between the power of control and that of supervision. In officials. The majority opinion said that, if the President could, in the manner
Administrative Law supervision means the power of an officer to see that subordinate prescribed by law, remove a municipal officials. It would be a legal incongruity if he
officers perform their duties and if the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former were to be devoid of the lesser power of suspension. And the incongruity would be
may take such action as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. more patent if, possessed of the power both to suspend and to remove a provincial
Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify, official (section 2078, Administrative Code), the President were to be without the
or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and power to suspend a municipal official. However, the aforecited section 2191 deals
to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter. Under the present law, with such power of suspension and removal, on appeal from a decision of the
Provincial Board, in proceedings held under sections 2188 to 2190 of the said Code. By authority of the President:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Nowhere in the decision of the Court was anything said on the question whether said
appellate authority implies a grant of original power to suspend, either without an (Sgd.) FRED RUIZ CASTRO
appeal from said decision of the Provincial Board, or without any proceedings before
said Board, calling for the exercise of its disciplinary functions under said provisions of Executive Secretary
the Revised Administrative Code. In other words, the Court passed this question sub
silentio. Hence, the decision in Villena v. Secretary of the Interior (supra) does not Mr. BERNARDO HEBRON
come within the purview of the rule of stare decisis, insofar as the aforesaid question
is concerned, and, as regards the same, neither binds this Court nor bars it from Municipal Mayor Carmona,
passing thereon.
Cavite"

DECISION (Record, pp. 1-2)

Thereupon, respondent Eulalio D. Reyes acted as mayor of Carmona and the


CONCEPCION, J.: Provincial Fiscal of Cavite investigated the charges referred to in the above-quoted
letter. After holding hearings in connection with said charges, the provincial fiscal
submitted his report thereon on July 15, 1954. Since then the matter has been
This is a quo warranto case involving the Office of Mayor of the Municipality of pending in the Office of the President for decision. Inasmuch as the same did not
Carmona, Province of Cavite. appear to be forthcoming, and the term of petitioner, who remained suspended, was
about to expire, on May 13, 1955, he instituted the present action for quo warranto,
In the general elections held in 1951, petitioner Bernardo Hebron, a member of the upon the ground that respondent was illegally holding the Office of Mayor of
Liberal Party, and respondent Eulalio D. Reyes, of the Nacionalista Party, were Carmona, and had unlawfully refused and still refused to surrender said office to
elected mayor and vice-mayor, respectively, of said municipality, for a term of four (4) petitioner, who claimed to be entitled thereto.
years, beginning from January 1, 1952, on which date they presumably assumed the
aforementioned offices. Petitioner discharged the duties and functions of mayor Respondent and the Solicitor General, who was allowed to intervene, filed their
continuously until May 22 or 24, 1954, when he received the following respective answers admitting substantially the main allegations of fact in petitioners
communication:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph complaint, but denying the alleged illegality of petitioners suspension and alleging
that respondent was holding the office of the mayor in compliance with a valid and
"OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES lawful order of the President. Owing to the nature and importance of the issue thus
raised, Dean Vicente G. Sinco of the College of Law, University of the Philippines,
Manila, May 14, 1954 and Professor Enrique M. Fernando, were allowed to intervene as amici curiae. At the
hearing of this case, the parties, as well as the Solicitor General and said amici
"S I R :chanrob1es virtual 1aw library curiae, appeared and argued extensively. Subsequently, they filed their respective
memoranda, and, on September 2, 1955, the case became submitted for decision.
Please be advised that the President has decided for the good of the public service, The case could not be disposed of, however, before the close of said year, because
to assume directly the investigation to the administrative charges against you for the members of this Court could not, within the unexpired portion thereof, reach an
alleged oppression, grave abuse of authority and serious misconduct in office, and agreement on the decision thereon. Although the term of office of petitioner herein
has designated the Provincial Fiscal of that province as Special Investigator of the expired on December 31, 1955, his claim to the Office of Mayor of Carmona, Cavite,
said charges. Copy of his designation is enclosed for your information. has not thereby become entirely moot, as regards such rights as may have accrued to
him prior thereto. For this reason, and, also, because the question of law posed in the
In view of the serious nature of the aforementioned charges against you, and in order pleadings, concerns a vital feature of the relations between the national government
to promote a fair and impartial investigation thereof, you are hereby suspended from and the local governments, and the Court has been led to believe that the parties,
office, effective immediately, your suspension, to last until the final termination of the specially the executive department, are earnestly interested in a clear-cut settlement
administrative proceedings against you aforementioned. In this connection, please be of said question, for the same will, otherwise, continue to be a constant source of
advised that the Vice-Mayor has been directed to assume the office of Acting Mayor friction, disputes and litigations to the detriment of the smooth operation of the
during the period of your suspension, in accordance with the provisions of Section Government and of the welfare of the people, the members of this Court deem it
2195 of the Revised Administrative Code. The Provincial Governor and the Special necessary to express their view thereon, after taking ample time to consider and
Investigator have been advised hereof. discuss full every conceivable aspect thereof.

Respectfully, The issue is whether a municipal mayor, not charged with disloyalty to the Republic of
the Philippines, may be removed or suspended directly by the President of the
Philippines, regardless of the procedure set forth in sections 2188 to 2191 of the than ten days from the date the accused is furnished or has sent to him a copy of the
Revised Administrative Code. charges, unless the suspended official shall, on sufficient grounds, request an
extension of time to prepare his defense.
1. At the outset, it should be noted that, referring to local elective officers, we held, in
Lacson v. Roque (92 Phil., 456; 49 Off. Gaz., 93, 98), that the President has no "The preventive suspension of a municipal officer shall not be for more than thirty
"inherent power to remove or suspend" them. In said case, we declared, days. At the expiration of the thirty days, the suspended officer shall be reinstated in
also:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph office without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him until their
completion, unless the delay in the decision of the case is due to the fault, neglect, or
". . . Removal and suspension of public officers are always controlled by the particular request of the accused, in which case the time of the delay shall not be counted in
law applicable and its proper construction subject to constitutional limitation. . . . computing the time of the suspension: Provided, That the suspension of the accused
may continue after the expiration of the thirty days above mentioned in case of
x x x conviction until the Secretary of the Interior shall otherwise direct or the case shall
finally be decided by said Secretary."cralaw virtua1aw library

"There is neither statutory nor constitutional provision granting the President "SEC. 2190. Action by provincial board. If, upon due consideration, the provincial
sweeping authority to remove municipal officials. By article VII, section 10, paragraph board shall adjudge that the charges are not sustained, the proceedings shall be
(1) of the Constitution the President shall . . . exercise general supervision over all dismissed; if it shall adjudge that the accused has been guilty of misconduct which
local governments, but supervision does not contemplate control. (People v. Brophy, would be sufficiently punished by reprimand or further reprimand. It shall direct the
120 P., 2nd., 946; 49 Cal. App., 2nd., 15.) Far from implying control or power to provincial governor to deliver such reprimand in pursuance of its judgment; and in
remove the Presidents supervisory authority over municipal affairs is qualified by the either case the official, if suspended, shall be reinstated.
proviso as may be provided by law, a clear indication of constitutional intention that
the provisions was not to be self-executing but requires legislative implementation. "If in the opinion of the board the case is one requiring more severe discipline, and in
And the limitation does not stop here. It is significant to note that section 64(b) of the case of appeal, it shall without unnecessary delay forward to the Secretary of the
Revised Administrative Code in conferring on the Chief Executive power to remove Interior, within eight days after the date of the decision of the provincial board,
specifically enjoins that the said power should be exercised conformably to law, which certified copies of the record in the case, including the charges, the evidence, and the
we assume to mean that removals must be accomplished only for any of the causes findings of the board, to which shall be added the recommendation of the board as to
and in the fashion prescribed by law and the procedure."cralaw virtua1aw library whether the official ought to be suspended, further suspended, or finally dismissed
from office; and in such case the board may exercise its direction to reinstate the
What are "the causes and . . . the fashion . . . and the procedure" prescribed by law official, if suspended.
for the suspension of elective municipal officials? The aforementioned sections 2188
to 2191 of the Revised Administrative Code read:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "The trial of a suspended municipal official and the proceedings incident thereto shall
be given preference over the current and routine business of the board."cralaw
"SEC. 2188. Supervisory authority of provincial governor over municipal officers. virtua1aw library
The provincial governor shall receive and investigate complaints made under oath
against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of SEC. 2191. Action by Secretary of the Interior. Upon receiving the papers in any
maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving such proceedings, the Secretary of the Interior shall review the case without
moral turpitude. For minor delinquency, he may reprimand the offender; and if a more unnecessary delay and shall make such order for the reinstatement, dismissal,
severe punishment seems to be desirable, he shall submit written charges touching suspension, or further suspension of the official, as the facts shall warrant and shall
the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused render his final decision upon the matter within thirty days after the date on which the
either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such case suspend the officer case was received. Disciplinary suspension made upon order of the Secretary of the
(not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his opinion the Interior shall be without pay. No final dismissal hereinunder shall take effect until
charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question. Where recommended by the Department Head and approved by the President of the
suspension is thus effected the written charges against the officer shall be filed with Philippines."cralaw virtua1aw library
the board within five days."cralaw virtua1aw library
As regards the effect of these provisions, suffice it for us to quote the opinion of Mr.
SEC. 2189. Trial of municipal officer by provincial board. When written charges are Justice Tuason - former Secretary of Justice in the case of Villena v. Roque (93
preferred by a provincial governor against a municipal officer, the provincial board Phil., 363, decided on June 19, 1953), referring, particularly, to said section 2190 of
shall, at its next meeting, regular or special, set a day, hour, and place for the trial of the Revised Administrative Code:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
the same and notify the respondent thereof; and at the time and place appointed, the
board shall proceed to hear and investigate the truth or falsity of said charges, giving "By all canons of statutory construction and, I might say with apology, common sense,
the accused official full opportunity to be heard in his defense. The hearing shall occur the preceding sections should control in the field of investigations of charges against,
as soon as may be practicable, and in case suspension has been effected, not later and suspension of, municipal officials. The minuteness and care, in three long
paragraphs, with which the procedure in such investigations and suspensions is forwarded to the Executive Secretary since July 15, 1954. Yet, the administrative
outlined, clearly manifests a purpose to exclude other modes of proceeding by other decision on the charges against petitioner was not rendered, either before the filing of
authorities under general statutes, and not to make the operation of said provisions the complaint herein, on May 13, 1955, or before the expiration of petitioners term of
depend upon the mercy and sufferance of higher authorities. To contend that these by office, on December 31, 1955. Manifestly, petitioners continued, indefinite
their broad and unspecified powers can also investigate such charges and order the suspension can not be reconciled with the letter and spirit of the aforementioned
temporary suspension of the erring officials indefinitely is to defy all concepts of the provisions of the Revised Administrative Code.
solemnity of legislative pronouncements and to set back the march of local self-
government which it has been the constant policy of the legislative branch and of the 2. Respondent and the amici curiae invoke sections 79 (C) and 86 of the Revised
Constitution to promote."cralaw virtua1aw library Administrative Code, which are of the following tenor:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

Indeed, it is, likewise, well settled that laws governing the suspension or removal of "SEC. 79(C). Power of direction and supervision. The Department Head shall have
public officers, especially those chosen by the direct vote of the people, must be direct control, direction, and supervision over all bureaus and offices under his
strictly construed in their favor 1 jurisdiction and may, any provision of existing law to the contrary notwithstanding,
repeal or modify the decisions of the chief of said bureaus or offices when advisable
Accordingly, when the procedure for the suspension of an officer is specified by law, in the public interest.
the same must be deemed mandatory and adhered to strictly, in the absence of
express or clear provision to the contrary which does not exist with respect to "The Department Head may order the investigation of any act or conduct of any
municipal officers. What is more, the language of sections 2188 to 2191 of the person in the service of any bureau or office under his Department and in connection
Revised Administrative Code leaves no room for doubt that the law - in the words of therewith may appoint a committee or designate an official or person who shall
Mr. Justice Tuason "frowns upon prolonged or indefinite suspension of local conduct such investigations, and such committee, official, or person may summon
elective officials" (Lacson v. Roque, 92 Phil., 456; 49 Off. Gaz., 93). Pursuant to said witnesses by subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, administer oath, and take
section 2188, testimony relevant to the investigation."cralaw virtua1aw library

". . .the provincial governor shall receive and investigate complaints against municipal "SEC. 86. Bureaus and offices under the Department of Interior. The Department
officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of the Interior shall have executive supervision over the administration of provinces,
of office. It provides that in case suspension has been effected, the hearing shall municipalities, chartered cities, and other local political subdivisions, except the
occur as soon as practicable, in no case later than ten days from the date the financial affairs and financial agencies thereof, . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
accused is furnished a copy of the charges, unless the suspended official on sufficient
grounds asks for an extension of time to prepare his defense. The section further Referring to these provisions, we postulated in Mondano v. Silvosa (97 Phil., 143; 51
warns that the preventive suspension shall not be for more than thirty days, and Off. Gaz., 2884, 2887):jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
ordains that at the end of that period the officer should be reinstated in office without
prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him until their completion, "The executive departments of the Government of the Philippines created and
unless the delay in the decision of the case is due to the defendants fault, neglect or organized before the approval of the Constitution continued to exist as authorized by
request and unless in case of conviction the Secretary of the Interior shall otherwise law until the Congress shall provide otherwise. Section 10, paragraph 1, Article VII, of
direct. the Constitution provides: The President shall have control of all the executive
departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all local
x x x governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully
executed. Under this constitutional provision the President has been invested with
the power of control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, but not of all
"The policy manifested by section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, which is local governments over which he has been granted only the power of general
consecrated policy in other jurisdictions whose republican institutions this country has supervision as may be provided by law. The Department head as agent of the
copied, requires speedy termination of a case in which suspension has been decreed, President has direct control and supervision over all bureaus and offices under his
not only in the interest of the immediate party but of the public in general. The jurisdiction as provided for in section 79(C) of the Revised Administrative Code, but
electorate is vitally interested, and the public good demands, that the man it has he does not have the same control of local governments as that exercised by him
elevated to office be, within the shortest time possible, separated from the service if over bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction. Likewise, his authority to order the
proven unfit and unfaithful to its trust, and restored if found innocent. Special investigation by any act or conduct of any person in the service of any bureau or
proceedings alone, unencumbered by nice technicalities of pleading, practice and office under his department is confined to bureaus or offices under his jurisdiction and
procedure, and the right of appeal, are best calculated to guarantee quick result." does not extend to local governments over which, as already stated, the President
(Lacson v. Roque, 49 Off. Gaz., 93, 103- 104, 105.) exercises only general supervision as may be provided by law. If the provisions of
Section 79(C) of the Revised Administrative Code are to be construed as conferring
In the case at bar, petitioner was suspended in May 1954. The records of the upon the corresponding department head direct control, direction, and supervision
investigation by the Provincial Fiscal of Cavite, with the report of the latter, were over all local governments and that for that reason he may order the investigation of
an official of a local government for malfeasance in office, such interpretation would subdivisions" were among the "bureaus and offices under the Department of Interior",
be contrary to the provisions of paragraph 1, section 10 Article VII, of the Constitution. according to the above-quoted section 86, the word "offices", as used in section
If general supervision over all local governments is to be construed as the same 79(C), was not deemed to include local governments, even before the adoption of the
power granted to the Department Head in section 79(C) of the Revised Administrative Constitution. Greater adherence to this view is, obviously, demanded by the provision
Code, then there would no longer be a distinction or difference between the power of of the fundamental law reducing the presidential authority over local governments,
control and that of supervision. In administrative law supervision means over seeing from "control" to mere "general supervision."cralaw virtua1aw library
or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their
duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step 3. Section 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code, likewise, relied upon by
as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, respondent and the amici curiae, provides that the President shall have authority "to
means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a order, when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires, an investigation
subordinates officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the of any action or conduct of any person in the government services and in connection
judgment of the former for that of the latter. Such is the import of the provisions of therewith, to designate the official committee or person by whom such investigation
section 79(C) of the Revised Administrative Code and 37 of Act No. 4007. The shall be conducted."cralaw virtua1aw library
Congress has expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over
municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to receive and Notwithstanding this, apparently, unqualified grant of said authority, it is obvious that
investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty, the President may not apply it to members of Congress and those of the Supreme
oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of office, and conviction by Court, in view of the principle of separation of powers, as to both, and of the
final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude. And if the charges are serious, constitutional provision on impeachment (Article IX of the Constitution), as to
he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing members of this Court. In other words, said section 64(c) cannot be construed literally
a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail, and he without violating the Constitution. Indeed, the opening paragraphs of said section 64
may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending read:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
action by the board, if in his opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of
the officer in question. Section 86 of the Revised Administrative Code adds nothing to "In addition to his general supervisory authority, the (Governor General) President of
the power of supervision to be exercised by the Department Head over the the Philippines shall have such specific powers and duties as are expressly conferred
administration of . . . municipalities . . . . If it be construed that it does and such or imposed on him by law and also, in particular, the powers and duties set forth in
additional power is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by this chapter.
section 79(C) of the Revised Administrative Code, then such additional power must
be deemed to have been abrogated by section 10(1), Article VII, of the Constitution." "Among such special powers and duties shall be:" (Emphasis ours.)
(51 Off. Gaz., pp. 2884, 2887-2888.)
Since the powers specified therein are given to the President, "in addition to his
In fact, said section 79(C) was inserted in the Administrative Code by Act No. 3535, general supervisory authority", it follows that the application of those powers to
passed by the Philippine Legislature, during the American regime, in line with section municipal corporations insofar as they may appear to sanction the assumption by
22 of the Jones Law, pursuant to which "all Executive functions of the Government the Executive of the functions of provincial governors and provincial boards, under
must be directly under the Governor General or within one of the Executive said sections 2188 to 2190 - would contravene the constitutional provision restricting
departments under the supervision and control of the Governor General." As already the authority of the President over local government to "general supervision."cralaw
stated, however, this authority of the Executive has been constricted in our virtua1aw library
Constitution, which maintains the presidential "control of all the executive
departments, bureau and offices," but limits the powers of the Executive over local 4. The foregoing considerations are equally applicable to paragraph (b) of said
governments to "supervision" of a "general," not particular, character, and this only section 64 similarly stressed by the respondent and the amici curiae
"as may be provided by law."cralaw virtua1aw library empowering the Executive:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

If said section 79(C) were fully applicable to local governments, the President who "To remove officials from office conformably to law and to declare vacant the offices
now discharges the functions of the former Secretary of the Interior could "alter or held by such removed officials. For disloyalty to the (United States), the Republic of
modify or nullify or set aside" any duly enacted municipal ordinance or resolution of a the Philippines, the (Governor-General) President of the Philippines may at any time
provincial board, or "substitute" his judgment in lieu of that of municipal councils or remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the Government of the
provincial boards. Yet, it is well settled that he cannot even disapprove any said (Philippine Islands) Philippines."cralaw virtua1aw library
ordinance or resolution, except when the same is illegal (Gabriel v. Govt of
Pampanga, 50 Phil., 686; Rodriguez v. Montinola, * 50 Off. Gaz., 4820). Thus, despite Besides, it is not claimed that petitioner falls under the second sentence of said
the "direct control" and "supervision" of every Department Head over all bureaus and provision, pursuant to which the President may "at any time remove a person from
offices under his jurisdiction, and his specific power to "repeal or modify the decisions any position of trust or authority under the Government" for "disloyalty" to our
of the . . . bureaus and offices" under his department, pursuant to said section 79(C), Republic. There is no question of "disloyalty" in the present case.
and the fact that "provinces, municipalities, chartered cities and other local political
Upon the other hand, the power of removal of the President, under the first sentence 6. The alleged authority of the Executive to suspend a municipal mayor directly,
of said paragraph 64(b), must be exercised "conformably to law", which, as regards without any opportunity on the part of the provincial governor and the provincial board
municipal officers, is found in sections 2188 to 2191 of the Revised Administrative to exercise the administrative powers of both under sections 2188 to 2190 of the
Code. Accordingly, in Lacson v. Roque, supra, we declared:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Administrative Code, cannot be adopted without conceding that said powers are
subject to repeal or suspension by the President. Obviously, this cannot, and should
"The contention that the President has inherent power to remove or suspend not, be done without legislation of the most explicit and categorical nature, and there
municipal officers is without doubt not well taken. Removal and suspension of public is none to such effect. Moreover, as stated in Mondano v. Silvosa (supra), said
officers are always controlled by the particular law applicable and its proper legislation would, effect, place local governments under the control of the Executive
construction subject to constitutional limitations. (2 McQuillens Municipal and consequently conflict with the Constitution (Article VII, section 10[1]. That such
Corporations [Revised], section 574.) So it has been declared that the governor of a would be the effect of respondents pretense, is admitted in the very answer of the
state, (who is to the state what the President is to the Republic of the Philippines) can Solicitor General, on page 5 of which he avers:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
only remove where the power is expressly given or arises by necessary implication
under the Constitution or statutes. (43 Am. Jur. 34.) "Truly impressive in the intentions of the Constitutional grant real and effective and
not a mete splendid bauble is the significant fact that
"There is neither statutory nor constitutional provision granting the President
sweeping authority to remove municipal officials. By Article VII, section 10, paragraph . . . the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention show that the grant of the
(1) of the Constitution the President shall . . . exercise general supervision over all supervisory authority to Chief Executive in this regard was in the nature of a
local governments, but supervision does not contemplate control. (People v. Brophy, compromise resulting from the conflict of views in that body, mainly between the
120 P., 2nd., 946; 49 Cal. App., 2nd., 15.) Far from implying control or power to historical view which recognizes the right of local self-government (People ex rel. Le
remove, the Presidents supervisory authority over municipal affairs is qualified by the Roy v. Hurlbut [1871], 24 MIch., 44) and the legal theory which sanctions the
proviso as may be provided by law, a clear indication of constitutional intention that possession by the state of absolute control over local governments (Booten v. Pinson,
the provision was not to be self-executing but requires legislative implementation. And L.R.A. [N.S., 1917-A], 1244; 77 W. Va., 412 [1915]). The result was the recognition of
the limitation does not stop here. It is significant to note that section 64(b) of the the power of supervision and all its implications and the rejection of what otherwise
Revised Administrative Code in conferring on the Chief Executive power to remove would be an imperium in imperio to the detriment of a strong national government.
specifically enjoins that the said power should be exercised conformably to law, which (Planas v. Gil. 67 Phil., 62, 78.)
we assume to mean that removals must be accomplished only for any of the causes
and in the fashion prescribed by law and the procedure."cralaw virtua1aw library "Such a compromise must have contemplated certain measure of control to be
attached to the power of general supervision, equivalent to the degree of local
Again, petitioner herein was suspended for more than a year and seven (7) months autonomy that may be determined by Congress, which under the aforestated
(representing over three-eighths [3/8], or almost one-half [1/2] of his full term) and, constitutional provisions, possesses final authority in applying it."cralaw virtua1aw
presumably, would have remained suspended up to the present, had his term not library
expired on December 31, 1955. In Alejandrino v. Quezon (46 Phil., 83), it was held
that the power of removal does not imply the authority to suspend for a substantial In this connection, the case of Rodriguez v. Montinola (94 Phil., 964; 50 Off. Gaz.,
period of time, which, in said case, was only one (1) year. 2 4820) is most illuminating. The issue therein was whether the Secretary of Finance
could validly disapprove a resolution of the Provincial Board of Pangasinan abolishing
5. If there is any conflict between said sections 64(b) and (c), 79(c) and 86 of the the positions of three special counsel in the province. Counsel for the Secretary of
Revised Administrative Code, on the one hand, and sections 2188 to 2191 of the Finance maintained the affirmative view invoking, among other things, Executive
same code, on the other, the latter being specific provisions, setting forth the Order No. 167 (October 8, 1938), section 2 of which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
procedure for the disciplinary action that may be taken, particularly, against municipal
officials must prevail over the former, as general provisions, dealing with the "The Department of Finance is the agency of the National Government for the
powers of the President and the department heads over the officers of the supervision and control of the financing affairs of the provincial, city and municipal
Government. 3 governments." (Italics ours.)

Such was the view adopted in Laxamana v. Baltazar (92 Phil., 32; 48 Off. Gaz., and Executive Order No. 383 (December 20, 1950) transferring the supervision and
3869). The issue therein was whether, in case of suspension of a municipal mayor, as control of the personnel and finances of provincial governments from the Secretary of
provided in section 2195 of the Revised Administrative Code, 4 or by an appointee of the Interior to the Secretary of Finance. In a unanimous decision, this Court, however.
the Provincial Governor, with the consent of the Provincial Board, pursuant to section resolved the question in the negative. Speaking for the Court, Mr. Justice Labrador
21 (a) of Republic Act No. 180 (The Revised Election Code). 5 a member of our constitutional convention lucidly stated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

It was held that, although subsequent in point of time, section 21 (a) of Republic Act "We must state frankly at the outset that the use of the word control in Executive
No. 180, should yield to said section 2195. 6 Order No. 167 finds no support or justifications either in the Constitution (which grants
the President only powers of general supervision over local governments), or in any
provision of the law. Any effect or interpretation given to said executive order not being contrary to law, or an act of maladministration, nor an act of abuse, the
premised on the use of the word control therein would be of doubtful validity. same may not be disapproved by the Secretary of Finance acting as a representative
of the President by virtue of the latters power of general supervision over the local
x x x governments" (Rodriguez v. Montinola, 94 Phil., 964 50 Off. Gaz., 4820, 4825-27;
Emphasis ours.)

"Is the supression of the position of three special counsel a financial matter falling If neither the Secretary if the Interior nor the President may disapprove a resolution of
under the supervisory power of the Secretary of Finance over provincial the Provincial Board of Pangasinan, passed within the jurisdiction thereof, because
governments? Whether or not funds are available to pay for a newly created position such approval would connote the assumption of control, which is denied by the
is evidently a financial matter; but the suppression of position is not a financial matter. Constitution, it is manifest that greater control would be wielded by said officers of the
The problem before the provincial board was, Should not the services of the three national government if they could either assume the powers vested in said provincial
special counsel be stopped and the funds appropriated for them used for other board or act in substitution thereof, such as by suspending municipal officials, without
services? This is not a financial matter. It is so only in the sense that the sum the administrative proceedings prescribed in sections 2188 to 2190 of the
appropriated for the abolished positions reverts to the general funds to be thereafter Administrative Code, before said board. As stated in People v. Brophy (120 P. [2nd
appropriated again as the provincial board may provide. Were we to consider all series], pp. 946, 953).
changes in the purposes of appropriations as financial matters, because they may
have relation to the annual appropriations, there would no form of activity involving "As will be seen from an examination of the above section of the Constitution, the
the expenditure of money that would not fall within the power of the Secretary of powers of the Attorney General are not without limitation. Manifestly, direct
Finance to approve or disapprove. Such an interpretation can not be held to be within supervision over every district attorney and sheriff and over such other law
the intendment of the executive order on the approval of the budget of the provincial enforcement officers as may be designated by law does not contemplate absolute
board. control and direction of such officials. Especially is this true as to sheriffs and district
attorneys, as the provision plainly indicates. These officials are public officers, as
"Having arrived at the conclusion that the suppression of the positions of three special distinguished from mere employees, with public duties delegated and entrusted to
counsel is not a financial matter, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Finance, them, as agents, the performance of which is an exercise of a part of the
we now proceed to examine the issue from another angle, i.e., whether the Secretary governmental functions of the particular political unit for which they, as agents, are
of Finance, as an alter ego of the President of the Philippines, may not have the active. Coulter v. Pool, 187 Cal. 181, 201 p. 121. Moreover, sheriffs and district
authority to disapproved the resolution in question under the general supervisory attorneys are officers created by the Constitution. In that connection it should be
authority given to the President of the Philippines in sub-paragraph (1), section 10, of noted that there is nothing in section 21 of article V that indicates any intention to
the Constitution. The supervisory authority of the President is limited by the phrase depart from the general scheme of state government by counties and cites and
as provided by law but there is no law in accordance with which said authority is to counties, as well as local authority in cities, as provided by sections 7 1/2, 7 1/2a, 8
be exercised. The authority must exercised, therefore, in accord with general and 8 1/2a, of Article XI. By interpreting section 21 of article V in the light of the
principles (of law). above- mentioned provisions, it is at once evident and suspension does not
contemplates control, and that sheriffs and district attorneys cannot avoid or evade
x x x the duties and responsibilities of their respective offices by permitting a substitution of
judgment. The sole exception appears to be that whenever in the opinion of the
Attorney-General any law of the State is not being adequately enforced in any county;
"The Secretary of Finance is an official of the central government, not of provincial, it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to prosecute, in which cases he shall
which are distinct and separate. If any power of general supervision is given him over have all the powers of a district attorney. But even this provision affords no excuse for
local government certainly it can not be understood to mean or to include the right to a district attorney or a sheriff to yield the general control of is office and duties to the
direct action or even to control action, as in cases of school superintendents or Attorney General." (Emphasis ours.)
supervisors within their respective districts. Such powers (of general supervision) may
include correction of violations of law, or of gross errors, abuses, offenses, or 7. The philosophy upon which our system of local government is hinged rejects the
maladministration. Unless the acts of local officials or provincial governments theory of respondent herein.
constitute maladministration, or an abuse or violation of a law, the power of general
supervision can not be exercised. In synthesis, we hold that the power of general "The starting point from which the question may be considered is article VII, section
supervision granted the President, in the absence of any express provision of law, 10, of the Constitution of the Philippines, subparagraph (1) of which provides as
may not generally be interpreted to mean that he, or his alterego, the Secretary of follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Finance, may direct the form and manner in which local officials shall perform or
comply with their duties. (1) The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or
offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may be provided
"The act of the provincial board in suppressing the positions of three special counsel by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
"It might be helpful to recall that under the Jones Law the Governor General had both not pass laws enlarging the extent of his supervisory authority to the power of control.
control and supervision over all local governments. (Section 22, Jones Law) The To do so would be assuming the right to amend the Constitution which expressly
evident aim of the members of the Constitutional Convention in introducing the limits the power of the President over local governments to general supervision.
charge, therefore, must have been to free local governments from the control
exercised by the central government, merely allowing the latter supervision over "The question then arises: How should disciplinary action be taken against a local
them. But this supervisory jurisdiction is not unlimited; it is to be exercised as may be official who might be guilty of dereliction of duty? The legal procedure in such cases
provided by law. will have to be judicial, not administrative. An action will have to be presented in court
charging the official with violation of law or neglect of his duties. The Constitution in
"At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, provincial governments had been in this respect does not establish anything novel; it merely revives the rule of law in
existence for over thirty years, and their relations with the central government had place of administrative discretion.
already been defined by law. Provincial governments were organized in the
Philippines way back in the year 1901 upon the approval of Act No. 82 by the "Local autonomy may thus be established to a limited degree. In the deliberations of
Philippine Commission was for the insular government to have only supervision and the committee on provincial and municipal governments of the Constitutional
control over local governments as may be necessary to secure and enforce faithful Convention held in Manila in 1934, there was practical unanimity of opinion among
and efficient administration by local officers. (McKinley Instruction to Philippine the delegates that provincial and municipal governments should enjoy a certain
Commission, April 7, 1900) The aim of the policy was to enable the Filipinos to degree of autonomy. The first drafts prepared by the committee on provincial and
acquire experience in the art of self government, with the end in view of later allowing municipal governments included provisions intended to protect the local governments
them to assume complete management and control of the administration of their local against the absolute control of the central government of the central government.
affairs. This policy is the one now embodied in the above quoted provision of the Some difficulty was, however, encountered in expressing objectively the necessary
Constitution." (Rodriguez v. Montinola, 94 Phil., 964, 50 Off. Gaz., 4820, 4823-4824.) provisions protective of local autonomy. This was due to the other desire of many of
(Emphasis ours.) the delegates of establishing a strong central government. Concretely the problem
was how to keep some degree of local autonomy without weakening the national
As early as April 7, 1900, President McKinley, in his Instructions to the Second government. The draft of the committee on provincial and municipal governments was
Philippine Commission, laid down the policy that our municipal governments should not considered satisfactory, and so it was not incorporated in the Constitution. But the
be "subject to the least degree of supervision and control" on the part of the national idea of giving local governments a measure of autonomy was not completely given
government; that said supervision and control should be "confined within the up. It is therefore, logical to conclude that the Constitution in limiting expressly the
narrowest limits" ; that in the distribution of powers among the governments to be power of the President over local governments to mere general supervision
organized in the Philippines, "the presumption is always to be in favor of the smaller expresses a concession to the general demand for some local autonomy. This idea of
subdivision" ; that the organization of local governments should follow "the example of a compromise or concession should serve as a guide in construing the extent of the
the distribution of powers between the states and the national government of the powers of the President over local governments.
United States; and that, accordingly, the national government "shall have no direct
administration except of matters of purely general concern."cralaw virtua1aw library "The Supreme Court of the Philippines, however, while admitting that the power of
supervision over local governments given by the Constitution to the President is not
If such were the basic principles underlying the organizations of our local coextensive with control, before the last war declared that the totality of executive
governments, at a time when the same were under the control of the Governor- powers constitutionally vested in the President and the adoption of the Presidential
General (the direct representative of the United States, which has delegated to us type of government for the Philippines gave the President a comprehensive authority
some governmental powers, to be exercised in the name of the United States), with over all local officials. This broad interpretation of Presidential powers would stultify
more reason must those principles be observed under the Constitution of the the specific limitation expressly provided in the Constitution. Fortunately, newer
Philippines, pursuant to which "sovereignty resides in the (Filipino) people and all decisions of the Courts are veering away from its early pronouncements." (Emphasis
government authority emanates from them" and the power of the President over local ours.)
governments is limited to "general supervision . . . as may be provided by law." Thus,
commenting on the executive power over municipalities, Dean Sinco, in his work on 8. It is urged that the authority of the President over our municipal corporations is not
Philippine Political Law (10th ed., pp. 695-697), expressed himself as identical to that of State Governors in the United States, for the former is the
follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Executive, with more comprehensive powers than those of the latter, who are merely
chief executives, and in Severino v. Governor General (16 Phil., 366, 386), it was
Supervisory power, when contrasted with control, is the power of mere oversight over held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
an inferior body; it does not include any restraining authority over the supervised
party. Hence, the power of general supervision over local governments should ". . . Governors of States in the Union are not the executives, but are only the chief
exclude, in the strict sense, the authority to appoint and remove local officials. executives. All States official associated with the governor, it may be said as a
general rule, are both in law and in fact, his colleagues, not his agents nor even his
"The Congress of the Philippines may pass laws which shall guide the President in subordinates. . . . They are not given him as advisers; on the contrary they are
the exercise of his power of supervision over provinces and municipalities; but it may coordinated with him. It is true that in a few of the States the governors have powers
to appoint certain high officials, but they can not removed for administrative reasons. governments, such limitation does not apply to its political affairs. To bolster up this
These are exceptions to the general rule. The duties of these officials are prescribed proposition, the following has been cited:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
by Constitutional provisions or by statute, and not by the governor. The actual
execution of a great many of the laws does not lie with the governors, but with the A municipal corporation, being recognized as an appropriate instrumentality for the
local officers who are chosen by the people in the towns and counties and bound to administration of general laws of the state within its boundaries and appointed and
the central most of the States by no real bonds of responsibility. In most of the States empowered for that purpose, thereby becomes an agent of the state for local
there is a significant distinction between the State and local officials, such as county administration and enforcement of its sovereign power. This is the governmental
and city officials over whom the governors have very little, if any, control; while in this aspect municipal corporation. In their public and governmental aspects municipal
country the Insular and provincial executive officials are bound to the Governor- corporations are referred to as arms of a state government, parts of the civil
General by strong bonds of responsibility. So we conclude that the powers, duties, government of the state, parts of the governmental machinery by which that state,
and responsibilities conferred upon the Governor-General are far more political or governmental portions of the state in which they are situated, public
comprehensive than those conferred upon State governors." (Emphasis ours.) agencies. They are not only representatives of the state, but portions of its
governmental power. They represent no sovereignty distinct from the state itself. The
Although accurate, this view is immaterial to the issue before us. The Severino case government exercised by a municipal corporation is exercised as an agency of the
referred to the authority of the American Governor-General over local governments whole public, and for all the people of the state. A municipal corporation is, within its
established in the Philippines, as an unincorporated territory or insular possession of prescribed sphere, a political power. In its governmental capacity it may command; it
the United States, which local governments had been by McKinleys Instruction is a municipal government; a public corporation. (43 C.J., 69-70)
ratified in the Philippine Bill (Act of Congress of the U.S. of July 1, 1902) and the
Jones Law (Act of Congress of the U.S. of August 29, 1916), under the "control" of The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is a term which refers to the
said officer. The case at bar deals with the authority of the President of the corporate governmental entity through which the functions of government are
Philippines, as a full sovereign state, over local governments created by Philippine exercised throughout the Philippines, including, save as the contrary appears from the
laws, enacted by representatives of the Filipinos people, who elected said context, the various arms through which political authority is made effective in the
representatives and are the ultimate repository of our sovereignty (Sec. 1, Art. II, of Philippines, whether pertaining to the central Government or to the provincial or
the Constitution), in the exercise of which they adopted and promulgated a municipal branches or other forms of local government. (art. I, Sec. 2, Rev. Adm.
Constitution, and ordained therein, that, in lieu of the power of control of the former Code; (Emphasis ours.)" (See Answer of the Solicitor General, pp. 9-10)
Governors-General, our Executive shall merely exercise "general supervision over all
local governments as may be provided by law." (Article VII, Section 10[1], of the These authorities are good law, but its implications have seemingly been
Constitution.) miscontrued, for they refer to the power of the State, exercised through its law-making
body, not the Executive. In the Philippines, the constitutional provision limiting the
Obviously, this provision vests in the President of the Republic less powers over authority of the President over the local governments to general supervision is
municipal corporations than those possessed by our former Governors-General. 7 unqualified and, hence, it applies to all powers of municipal corporations, involve the
exercise of not corporate, but political authority. Yet, admittedly, such ordinances are
9. It has, also been pointed out that municipal corporations in the United States have not repeal, modify or even disapprove said ordinances no matter how unwise
the power of "local self-government", which is not given to our political subdivisions. the same being within the powers conferred by law upon local governments.
This means simply that, whereas the former may not be deprived of their right to local
"self- government", the latter have only such autonomy, if any, as the central In fact, there was no need of specifically qualifying the constitutional powers of the
government may deem fit to grant thereto, and that said autonomy shall be under the President as regards the corporate functions of local governments, inasmuch as the
control of the national government, which may decree its increase, decrease, or even, Executive never had any control over said functions. 8 What is more, the same are
complete abolition. But, who shall exercise this power, on behalf of the State? Not the not, and never have been, under the control even of Congress, for, in the exercise of
Executive, but the Legislative department, as an incident of its authority to create or corporate, non-governmental or non-political functions, municipal corporations stand
abolish municipal corporations, and, consequently, to define its jurisdiction and practically on the same level, vis-a-vis the National Government or the State - as
functions. Hence, after noting the difference between the power of control of the private corporations. 9 Consequently, the aforesaid limitation of the powers of the
Executive, under the Constitution, Dean Sinco stated in his aboved-cited President over local governments from "control" to "general supervision", could have
work:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph had no other purpose than to affect his authority with regard with regard precisely to
political functions.
". . . It is, therefore, obvious that local governments are subject to the control of
Congress which has the authority to prescribe the procedure by which the President In Villena v. Secretary of the Interior (67 Phil., 451), the Solicitor General invoked the
may perform his constitutional power of general supervision." (Sinco, Philippine distinction between the governmental and the corporate powers of municipal
Political Law, 10th ed., p. 294; (Emphasis ours.) corporations in support of the alleged direct authority of the Secretary of the Interior to
suspend a municipal mayor. The arguments was rejected by this Court in the
10. It is next said that, although the power of general supervision of the President following language:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
imposes upon him the duty of non- interference in purely corporate affairs of local
". . . if the power of suspension of the Secretary of the Interior is to be justified on the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their
plea that the pretended power is governmental and not corporate, the result would be duties. Control, on the hand, means the power of an official to alter or modify or nullify
more disastrous. Then and thereunder, the Secretary of the Interior, in lieu of the or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and
mayor and himself make appointments to all non-elective positions in the municipal to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter." When the office of the
service, under section 2199 of the Revised Administrative Code; he could, instead of Executive Department acted, in the case at bar, lieu, or in substitution, of the
the provincial governor, fill a temporary vacancy in any municipal office under Provincial Board of Cavite, the former sought, therefore to "control" the latter. What is
subsection (a), section 2188, as amended, of the said Code; he could even directly more, instead of compelling the same to comply with its duties under section 2188 to
appoint lieutenants of barrios and wrest the authority given by section 2218 of the 2191 of the Administrative Code, the former, in effect, restrained, prevented or
Revised Administration Code to a municipal councilor. Instances may be multiplied prohibited it from performing said duties.
but it is unnecessary to go any further. Prudence, then, dictates that we should
hesitate to accept the suggestion urged upon us by the Solicitor-General, especially 13. Let us now examine the case of Villena v. The Secretary of the Interior (67 Phil.,
where we find the path indicated by him neither illumined by the light of our own 451). It involved the same Mayor of Makati, Rizal, Jose D. Villena, whom the
experience nor cemented by the recognition however limited in our own Constitution Secretary of the Interior suspended, allegedly with the authority of the President, who,
of the right of local self-government and by the actual operation and enforcement of it was claimed, has verbally expressed no objection thereto. Then Villena was advised
the laws governing provinces, chartered cities, municipalities and other political of the charges against him and of the designation of a given official to investigate the
subdivisions. It is not any in the question of wisdom of legislation but the existence of same. Thereafter notified of the date set for the hearing of the aforementioned
any such destructive authority in the law invoked by the Government that we are charges, before said official, Villena applied for a writ of prohibition to restrain the
called upon to pass and determine here." (Villena v. Sec. of the Interior, 67 Phil., 451, Secretary of the Interior and his agents from proceeding with said investigation. The
461-462.) issues raised were whether the Secretary of the Interior had authority (a) to order the
investigation and (b) to suspend Villena.
11. The case of Planas v. Gil, supra, cited in favor of respondent herein, is not in
point, for Planas was a councilor of the City of Manila, which for administrative The first question was resolved in the affirmative, upon the ground that the power of
purposes has, also, the status of province (see section 2440, Revised supervision of department heads, under section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative
Administrative Code; Republic Act No. 409 section 14). As such, it was under the Code, "implies authority to inquire into acts and conditions in order to render the
direct supervision of the Department of Interior, 10 unlike regular municipalities, such power real effective," as held in Plana v. Gil (67 Phil., 62).
as that of Carmona, Cavite, which are under the immediate supervision of the
Provincial Governor (section 2082, Revised Administrative Code). In short, sections The Court was divided on the second question. The majority of opinion, subscribed by
2188 to 2191 of the City of Manila, the charter of which contains no counterpart four (4) Justices, including its writer, used the following
thereof. language:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

12. The case of Villena v. Roque (93 Phil., 363) likewise relied upon by respondent ". . . the question, it may be admitted, is not free from difficulties. There is no clear
is substantially different from the one at bar. Administrative charges were filed, and express grant of power to the secretary to suspend a mayor of a municipality who
against Mayor Villena, with the office of the President, which referred the matter to the is under investigation. On the contrary, the power appears lodged in the provincial
Provincial Governor of Rizal, but the Provincial Board thereof failed to act on said governor by section 2188 of the Administrative Code . . .
charges for an unreasonable length of time. Under such facts it is understandable that
the power of supervision of the President was involved, either to compel action, which The fact, however, that the power of suspension is expressly granted by section 2188
the Provincial Board had the duty to take, or, in view of its obvious unwillingness to of the Administrative Code to the provincial governor does not mean that the grant is
comply therewith, to cause the charges to be investigated by somebody else, in line necessarily exclusive and precludes the Secretary of the Interior from exercising a
with the responsibility of the Executive "to take care that the laws be faithfully similar power . . .
executed."cralaw virtua1aw library
"After serious reflection, we have decided to sustain the contention of the government
In the present case, however, the Provincial Board of Cavite never had a chance to in this case on the broad proposition, albeit nor suggested, that under the presidential
investigate the charges against petitioner herein. From the very beginning, the office type of government which we have adopted and considering the departmental
of the Executive assumed authority to act on said charges. Worse still, such organization established and continued in force by paragraph 1, section 12, Article
assumption of authority was made under such conditions as to give the impression VII, of our Constitution, all executive and administrative organization are adjuncts of
that the Provincial Governor and the Provincial Board were banned from exercising the Executive Department, the heads of the various executive departments are
said authority. Frankly, we are unable to see, how the aforementioned assumption of assistance and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief
authority may be justified, either under the power of "general supervision," or under Executive is required by the Constitution or the law to act in person or in exigencies of
the duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." As held in Mondano v. the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and
Silvosa (51 Off. Gaz., 2888), in line with settled principles in administrative law, administrative functions of the chief Executive are performed by and through the
"supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that executive departments, and the acts of the secretaries of such departments,
subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fails or neglects to fulfill them, the performed and promulgated in the regular course of business, are, unless
disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive, presumptively the acts of the Chief municipal official. Here is, parenthetically, an instance where, as counsel for petitioner
Executive." (Villena v. The Secretary of the Interior, 67 Phil., 451, 459-460, 463.) admitted, the power to suspend a municipal official is not exclusive." (Id., 67 Phil.,
460; Emphasis supplied.)
Concurring in the result, Associate Justice Villareal observed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
More important still, said majority opinion and the aforementioned separate opinions
". . . The Secretary of the Interior is nowhere given the power to suspend a municipal cited section 2191 of the Revised Administration Code as the source of the power of
elective officer pending charges, and in the absence of such power he may not the Executive to suspend and remove municipal officials. However, said provision
suspend him. The power to suspend cannot be implied even from an arbitrary power deals with such power of suspension and removal on appeal from a decision of the
to remove, except where the power to remove is limited to cause; in such case, the Provincial Board in proceedings held under sections 2188 to 2190 of the said Code.
power to suspend, made use of as a disciplinary power pending charges, is regarded Nowhere in said opinions was anything said on the question whether said appellate
as included within the power of removal (46 Corpus Juris, sec. 142, page 982). authority implies a grant of original power to suspend, either without an appeal from
Provincial governors alone are expressly empowered to suspend municipal officers the said decision of the Provincial Board, or without any proceedings before said
under certain conditions by section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, and the Board calling for the exercise of its disciplinary functions under said provisions of the
President of the Philippines by section 2191, as amended, of the same Code. Though Revised Administrative Code. In other words, the Court passed this question sub
the suspension of the petitioner by the Secretary of the Interior was unauthorized, the silentio. Hence, the decision in Villena v. Secretary of the Interior (supra) does not
implied approval by the President of the Philippines validated such suspension." (Id., come within the purview of the rule of stare decisis, insofar as the aforesaid question
67 Phil., 465-466.) is concerned, and, as regards the same, neither binds this Court nor bars it from
passing thereon (McGirr v. Hamilton and Abreu, 30 Phil., 563, 568-569; U.S. v. More,
Likewise, Associate Justice Imperial concurred in the result, upon the ground 3 Cranch, 159, 172; U.S. v. Sanges, 144 U.S., 310, 319; Cross v. Burke, 146 U.S.,
that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph 82; Louisville Trust Co. v. Knott, 191 U.S., 22).

". . . (1) the President of the Philippines, under section 64 (b), and 2191 of the 14. It is but fair to note that the action of the Executive Department of our Government
Revised Administrative Code, ad the later has been amended, and section 11 (1), against petitioner herein was evidently taken in the earnest belief that public interest
Article VII, of the Constitution, is vested with the power to expel and suspend demanded and justified it and had, in all probability, been premised upon the seeming
municipal officials for grave misconduct, and it appears that the suspension was implication of some of the former decisions of this Court. However, i the words of Mr.
ordered by virtue of the authority; and (2) the Secretary of the Interior acted within the Justice Labrador, "the question before us is not one of necessity or usefulness, but
powers conferred upon him by section 79 (c), in connection with section 86, of the exclusively one of authority or prerogative" (Rodriguez v. Montinola, 50 Off. Gaz.,
Revised Administrative Code, as amended, in ordering an administrative investigation 4820, 4828). Furthermore, paraphrasing Lacson v. Roque (49 Off. Gaz., 93, 99), "it
of the charges against the petitioner, in his capacity as mayor of the municipality of may be true, as suggested, that the public interest and the proper administration of
Makati, Province of Rizal." (Id., 67 Phil., 466.) official functions would be best served" by granting the Executive original authority to
suspend a municipal mayor. However,
He dissented, however, insofar as the majority held that the acts of department
secretaries are "presumptively the case of the department secretaries are ". . . The answer to this observation is that the shortcoming is for the legislative
"presumptively the case of the executive" and that the suspension directed by the branch alone to correct by appropriate enactment. It is trite to say that we are not to
Secretary of the Interior should be considered as one "decreed by the President" pass upon the folly or wisdom of the law. As had been said in Cornejo v. Naval supra,
himself. anent identical criticisms, if the law is too narrow in scope, it is for the Legislature
rather than the courts to expand it. It is only when all other means of determining of
Then Associate Justice, later Chief Justice, Moran, similarly, dissented from the said the legislative intention fail that a court may look into the effect of the law; otherwise
view of the majority and concurred in the result. the interpretation becomes judicial legislation. (Kansas ex rel. Little v. Mitchell, 70
L.R.A., 306; Dudly v. Reynolds, 1 Kan., 285.)" (Lacson v. Roque, supra.; Emphasis
It is interesting to note that the authority of the President to suspend Mayor Villena supplied.)
was not even discussed. It was taken for granted. The reason may be gleaned from
the following passage of the majority opinion. Then again, the issue submitted for our determination has never been squarely
presented and decided. Referring to a similar situation, the Supreme Court of Illinois
". . . counsel for the petitioner admitted in the oral argument that the President of the said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Philippines may himself suspend the petitioner from office in virtue of his grater power
of removal (Section 2191, as amended, Administrative Code) to be exercised ". . . It may be frankly admitted that there are expression in some of the decisions
conformably to law. Indeed, if the President could, in the manner prescribed by law, relied upon that lend support to counsels position that the court has heretofore
remove a municipal official, it would be a legal incongruity if he were to be devoid of intimated that section 2 of the Vacation Act is unconstitutional, but in our judgment
the lesser power of suspension. And the incongruity would be more patent if, this is the firs time that the constitutionality of this act has been squarely in the record
possessed of the power both to suspend and to remove a provincial official (section and necessary for the consideration and decision of this court, and we are confronted
2078, Administrative Code), the President were to be without the power to suspend a with the proposition whether we should follow what is dicta in those cases in
construing section 2 of the Vacation Act, and thus follow an erroneous construction of of its general supervision over local governments, may conduct investigations with a
said Act. This court has said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library view to determining whether municipal officials are guilty of acts or omission
warranting the administrative action referred to in said sections, as a means only to
It is highly important that the decisions of the court affecting the right to property ascertain whether the provincial governor and the provincial board should take such
should be uniform and stable; but cases will sometimes occur in the decision of the action; that the Executive may take appropriate measures to compel the provincial
most enlightened judges where the settled rules and reasons of the law have been governor and the provincial board to take said action, if the same is warranted, and
departed from, and in such cases it becomes the duty of the court, before the error they failed to do so; that the provincial governor and the provincial board may not be
has been sanctioned by repeated decisions, to embrace the first opportunity to deprived by the Executive of the power to exercise the authority conferred upon them
pronounce the law as it is. Frink v. Darat 14 Ill. 304, 58 Am. Dec. 575. in sections 2188 to 2190 of the Revised Administrative Code; that such would be the
ffect of the assumption of those powers would further violate section 2191 of the
"The McNeer Case, supra, is a case particularly in point in support of the reasoning same code, for the authority therein vested in the Executive is merely appellate in
just given. In that case the court overruled the decision of Russel v. Rumsey, 35 Ill. character; that, said assumption of powers, in the case at bar, even exceeded those
362, which had been followed in Rose. v. Sanderson, 38 Ill. 247, and Steele v. of the Provincial Governor and Provincial Board, in whom original jurisdiction is
Gellatly, 41 Ill. 39, notwithstanding the decision in the Russel Case had stood vested by said sections 2188 to 2190, for, pursuant thereto, "the preventive
unchanged for 28 years and notwithstanding the opinion in that case squarely suspension of a municipal officer shall not be for more than 30 days" at the expiration
decided the question involved that inchoate dower, although only an expectancy, was of which, he shall have meanwhile been convicted, whereas petitioner herein was
as completely beyond legislative control as an estate. In Chicago, Danvilla & suspended "until the final determination of the proceedings" against him, regardless
Vincennes Railroad Co. v. Smith, 62 Ill. 268, 14 Am. Rep. 99, the court discussed at of the duration thereof and cause of the delay in its disposition; 11 and that so much
some length the doctrine of the stare decisis and authorities in other jurisdictions that of the rule laid down in Villena v. Secretary of the Interior (67 Phil., 451) and Villena v.
bear on that subject where a constitutional question is involved, and from that Roque (93 Phil., 363), as may be inconsistent with the foregoing views, should be
discussion we think it may be fairly said that the conclusion of the court was that the deemed, and, are hereby, reversed or modified accordingly. Wherefore, judgment is
rule of stare decisis will not prevent the courts from reviewing a constitutional question hereby rendered declaring that the suspension of herein petitioner was null and void,
where the facts in the instant case are slightly different from those in former decisions. for non-compliance with the provisions above referred to, with cost against
In Arnold v. Knoxville, 115 Tenn. 195, 90 S.W. 469, 3 L.R.A. (N.S.) 837, 5 Ann. Cas. respondent Eulalio D. Reyes. It is so ordered.
881, the court considered the same doctrine as to the necessity of recognizing to the
fullest extent and adhering to that doctrine in passing upon and construing the Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ.,
provisions of the organic law, but started that when it is clear that the court has made concur.
a mistake it it will not decline to correct it, even though it may been reasserted and
acquiesced in for a long number of years. In Paul v. Davis, 100 Ind. 422, the court Separate Opinions
said page (427):.

The law is a science of principles, and this cannot be true if a departure from principle PARAS, C.J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
can be perpetuated by a persistence in error.
In the allocation of governmental powers, our Constitution ordains that "the Executive
In Propeller Genesee Chief v. Fitsnugh, 53 U.S. (12 How.) 443, 456, 13 L. Ed. 1058, power shall be vested in a President of the Philippines." (Sec. 1, Art. VII,
the court said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Constitution). And the President is enjoined in the same Constitution to "take care that
the laws be faithfully executed." (Sec. 10, par. 1 Art. VII, Constitution.) In the same
It is the decision in the case of The Thomas Jefferson which mainly embarrasses the breath, the Constitution provides that the President shall have control of all the
court in the present inquiry. We are sensible of the great weight to which it is entitled. executive departments, bureaus, or offices, and shall exercise general supervision
But at the same time we are convinced that, if we follow it, we follow an erroneous over all local governments as may be provided by law. (Sec. 10, par. 1, Art. VII,
decision into which the control fell, when the great importance of the question as it Constitution).
now presents itself could not be foreseen; and the subject did not therefore receive
that deliberate consideration which at this time would have been given to it by the In pursuance of the Constitution, the Revised Administrative Code declares that in
eminent men who presided here when that case was decided." (Prall v. Burchartt, 132 addition to his general supervisory authority, the President shall have such specific
N.E. 280, 287-288; Italics ours.) 10 powers and duties as are expressly conferred or imposed on him by law and among
such special powers and duties shall be:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
In conclusion, we hold that, under the present law, the procedure prescribed in
sections 2188 to 2191 of the Revised Administrative Code, for the suspension and (b) To remove officials from the office conformably to law and to declare vacant the
removal of the municipal officials therein referred to, is mandatory; that, in the offices held by such removed officials. For disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines
absence of a clear and explicit provisions to the contrary, relative particularly to the President may at any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority
municipal corporations and none has been cited to us said procedure is under the Government of the Philippines Islands.
exclusive; that the executive department of the national government, in the exercise
(c) To order, when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires, an performance of duty on the part of the Mayor and is therefore not included even under
investigation of any action or the conduct of any person in the Government service, the power of supervision of the Chief Executive.
and in connection therewith to designate the official, committee, or person by whom
such investigation shall be conducted (Sec. 64, Rev. Adm. Code). I see no cogent reason for disturbing our ruling in Planas v. Gil, 67 Phil., 62; Villena v.
Sec. of Interior, 67 Phil., 451; Lacson v. Roque, 49 O.G. 93; and Villena v. Roque, 93
In reference to the maintenance to the malfeasance of any person in the Government Phil., 363, upholding the explicit supervisory authority of the President under Sec. 64
service, by virtue of Sec. 64(b) and (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, enacted in of the Revised Administrative Code to include that of ordering the investigation of
consonance with the totality of his executive power and, specifically, the power of elective municipal officials, and to remove or suspend them conformably to law.
supervision of all offices in the executive branch of the government, the President has
concurrent supervisory authority with the provincial governor to order an investigation
of charges against an elective municipal official. While the provincial governor has to
submit the charges to the Provincial Board of investigation, the President can remove
even elective municipal officials subjects to the limitation that such removal must be
conformable to law, which are that it must be for a cause provided by law,
enumerated in Sec. 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, and conducted in a
manner in conformity with due process.

Already in Planas v. Gil, 67 Phil. 62, and attempt was made to have this Court
distinguish the power of supervision and control of the President in relation to his
power to order the investigation of an elective municipal official. This Court, through
Justice Laurel, said:red:chanrobles.com.ph

"Our attention has been directed to the fact that with reference to local governments,
the Constitution speaks of general supervision which is distinct from the control given
to the President over executive department, bureaus and offices. This is correct. But,
aside from the fact that this distinction is not important insofar as the power of the
President to order the investigation is concerned, as hereinabove indicated, the
deliberations of the Constitutional Convention show that the grant of the supervisory
authority to the Chief Executive in this regard was the nature of a compromise
resulting from the conflict of views in that body, mainly between the historical view
which recognizes the right of local self-government (People ex-rel. Le Roy v. Hurlbut
(1871) 24 Mich., 44), and the legal theory which sanctions the possession by the state
of absolute control over local governments (Booten v. Pinson, LRA (NS 1917-A)
1244; 77 W. Va. 412 (1915). The result was the recognition of the power of
supervision and all its implications and the rejection of what otherwise would be an
imperium in imperio to the detriment of a strong national government. (p. 78.)

Besides, if in administrative law supervision means overseeing or the power or


authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties, and control
means the power of an officer to alter modify, nullify or set aside what a subordinate
officer has done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the
former for that of the latter (Mondano v. Silvosa, 51 Off. Gaz., 2884, 2887), how will
the foregoing distinction affect the supervisory authority of the President to cause the
investigation of the malfeasance of a municipal official relating to and affecting the
administration of his office, and directly affecting the rights and interests of the public?
If supervision and control meant by the Constitution relate to the power to oversee, or
modify, set aside or annul acts done by a subordinate officer in the performance of his
duties (Rodriguez v. Montinola, 50 Off. Gaz., 4820), the supervisory authority to
suspend and remove a subordinate official prescribed in the administrative code
refers to disciplinary action on account of his misconduct of malfeasance in office.

The act complained of in the Mondano v. Silvosa case, supra, has no reference to the
EN BANC henchmen, stormed into the broadcasting station of DYRI of Iloilo City, and with
violence and intimidation, unjustifiably and unlawfully stopped the radio-press
[G.R. No. L-11336. August 30, 1958.] interview program Peoples Forum of said station, thus, suppressing and curtailing for
about a quarter hour the complainants right to free speech, the radio stations right to
RODOLFO GANZON, Petitioner-Appellant, v. UNION C. KAYANAN, Respondent- broadcast, and the peoples right to listen to a radio-press interviews, which acts
Appellee. constitute oppression or unjust exercise of authority or power and/or grave
misconduct in office.
Divinagracia & Divinagracia, Villalobos & Villalobos and Ganzon & Ganzon
for Appellant. Count 2. That during the occurrence of the acts mentioned in Count 1, the respondent
Mayor of Iloilo City arrogantly took the law in his own hands by personally pushing
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Troadio T. Quiazon, Jr. away the microphones and hitting on the back of the neck the complainant, who is a
for Appellee. radio commentator and program director of Station DYRI of Iloilo City, and a member
of the panel of interrogators of the Peoples Forum, a public service press interview
program of said nature, constitutive of oppression and shameful misconduct in office.
SYLLABUS
Count 3. That during the occurrence of the acts above-stated in Counts 1 and 2, the
respondent Mayor of Iloilo City, in a fit of devouring fury, unrestrainedly hurled
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PUBLIC OFFICERS; PRESIDENTS POWER AND invectives at the complainant, calling the latter indecent bad-mannered, damned-no-
AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE AND REMOVE CITY OFFICIALS. Under section good-Cebuano who should evacuate to Cebu and other similar names, which verbal
64 (b) and (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, in connection with the provisions of acts constituted oppression and oral defamation, highly unbecoming of Iloilo Citys
Section 10, paragraph 1, Article VII of the Constitution, the President may remove any supposedly No. 1 public official and model citizen.
official in the government service "conformably to law" and to declare vacant the
office held by the removed official. And to this end, the President may order "an In view of the foregoing, the complainant most respectfully prays:chanrob1es virtual
investigation of any action or the conduct of any person in the Government service, 1aw library
and in connection therewith to designate the official committee, or person by whom
such investigation shall be conducted." Note that the provision refers to any official in 1. That an investigation of the administrative charges above specified be ordered by
the government service, which must necessarily include the mayor of a chartered the President of the Philippines, after which the corresponding and proper action be
city. taken against the respondent who has demonstrated his unfitness to continue
exercising governmental power; and,
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CAUSES. The position of mayor of a chartered city may be fairly
compared in category and stature with that of a provincial governor and the former, by 2. That in the interest of public welfare and safety, the respondent be immediately
analogy may also be amenable to removal and suspension for the same causes as suspended from office, so as to prevent the further misuse of authority and power
the latter, which causes, under section 2078 of the Revised Administrative Code, are: pending such investigation, particularly on witnesses to the above-specified
disloyalty, dishonesty, oppression and misconduct in office. charges."cralaw virtua1aw library

On September 13, 1956, the Executive Secretary, by authority of the President,


DECISION designated respondent to conduct the investigation of said complaint pursuant to the
provisions of Section 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code granting said
respondent all the powers given to an investigating officer by Sections 71 and 580 of
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: the same Code. On September 18, 1956, respondent served a copy of the complaint
on petitioner and set the investigation of the charges on September 20, 1956.
Petitioner, having filed a motion for postponement, respondent definitely set the
On August 25, 1956, Ernesto V. Rosales lodged a verified complaint against investigation for September 25 and 26, 1956.
petitioner with the President reading as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
On September 24, 1956, petitioner instituted in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo an
"Complainant Ernesto V. Rosales most humbly and respectfully submits to the action for prohibition with preliminary injunction questioning the authority of the
President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay for investigation and appropriate President to order his investigation and praying that respondent be enjoined to
action, the following administrative charges against the respondent Rodolfo Ganzon suspend and desist from proceeding with the investigation and that, pending decision
incumbent Mayor of Iloilo City, which charges are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library of the case on the merits, a preliminary injunction be issued against Respondent. On
September 26, 1956, the lower court declined to issue the writ and instead set the
Count 1. That on August 22, 1956 the respondent taking advantage of his public case for hearing on the merits on September 28, 1956. At the hearing, both parties
position as Mayor of Iloilo City and accompanied by his armed body-guards and agreed to admit all the facts set forth in the pleadings and submitted the case for
decision. And on October 2, 1956, the lower court rendered decision dismissing the expressly adopted by the Supreme Court in States ex rel. v. Maroney, 191 Mo. 548;
petition. His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner took the 90 S. W., 141; States v. Crandell, 269 Mo., 44; 190 S. W., 889; State v. Salval, 450,
present appeal. 2d, 995; 62 C. J., S., 947.)" (Lacson v. Roque, supra)

The issues posed by petitioner are:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph The question that now arises is: Does the President have power and authority to
investigate petitioner with a view to his removal under the above provision of the
"1. That the President of the Philippines has no authority under the Constitution or charter of Iloilo City? If so, for what causes may he authorize such investigation?
under any law to order the investigation of petitioner-appellant on the charges averred
in the administrative complaint for the purpose of suspension and/or removal. The pertinent provisions governing the power of the President over local officials, be
they provincial, city or municipal, are embodied in Section 64(b) and (c) of the
2. That the charges averred in the administrative complaint are penal in nature and Revised Administrative Code, in connection with the provisions of Section 10,
the remedies sought for are punitive and/or disciplinary in character; paragraph 1, Article VII of the Constitution. For ready reference, we will hereunder
quote said provisions:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
3. That the charges against petitioner-appellant do not allege acts constituting
disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines as provided for in Section 64(b) of the "(b) To remove officials from office conformably to law and to declare vacant the
Revised Administrative Code which is the only ground for the suspension and/or offices held by such removed officials. For disloyalty to the (United States), the
removal of an elective city mayor, and Republic of the Philippines, the (Governor-General) President of the Philippines may
at any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the
4. That granting arguendo that the grounds enumerated in Section 2078 of the Government of the (Philippine Islands) Philippines.
Revised Administrative Code for the removal of provincial officials are applicable by
analogy and/or implication to an elective city mayor, the administrative complaint in (c) To order, when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires, an
question does not allege facts constituting oppression or misconduct in office and investigation of any action or the conduct of any person in the Government service,
dishonesty, much less disloyalty."cralaw virtua1aw library and in connection therewith to designate the official, committee, or person by whom
such investigation shall be conducted.."
The present appeal involves the paramount issue of whether the President of the
Philippines has the power and authority under our Constitution and the laws at "SEC. 10. (1) The President shall have control of all the executive departments,
present in force in this jurisdiction to investigate the mayor of a city and, if found bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may
guilty, to take disciplinary action against him as the evidence and law may warrant. be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed."cralaw
virtua1aw library
At the outset, it should be stated that petitioner is the duly elected mayor of the City of
Iloilo whose charter, speaking of his removal, merely provides that he "shall hold It may clearly be inferred from the above that the President may remove any official in
office for six years unless removed" (Section 8, Commonwealth Act No. 158, as the government service "conformably to law" and to declare vacant the office held by
amended). The charter does not contain any provision as regards the procedure by the removed official. And to this end, the President may order "an investigation of any
which he may be removed. Nevertheless, as this Court has once said, "the rights, action or the conduct of any person in the Government service, and in connection
duties, and privileges of municipal officers (including city officials) do not have to be therewith to designate the official committee, or person by whom such investigation
embodied in the charter, but may be regulated by provisions of general application shall be conducted." Note that the provision refers to any official in the government
specially if these are incorporated in the same code of which the city organic law service, which must necessarily include the mayor of a chartered city. It cannot
forms a part" (Lacson v. Roque, 92 Phil., 456; 49 Off. Gaz., No. 1, pp. 93, 97). The therefore be disputed that in the particular case under consideration the President is
code herein referred to is the Revised Administrative Code. vested with the authority to order the investigation of petitioner when in his opinion the
good of the public service so requires, and such being the case, petitioner cannot now
Now, the charter of Iloilo City, as we have already stated, says that the mayor "shall contend that the designation of respondent as the official to investigate him in
hold office for six years unless removed." It does not say that he shall hold office at connection with the charges lodged against him by Rosales has been done without
the pleasure of the President unlike similar provisions appearing in other city charters. the authority of law. This of course is upon the premise that the charges involved in
The idea is to give the mayor a definite tenure of office not dependent upon the the investigation refer to those for which petitioner may be suspended or removed
pleasure of the President. If this were the case, he could be separated from the under the law, a question which we will take up later in this decision.
service regardless of the cause or motive. But when he was given a definite tenure,
the implication is that he can only be removed for cause. It is true that in the case of Mondano v. Silvosa, * 51 Off. Gaz., No. 6, p. 2884, this
Court had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by
"An inferential authority to remove at pleasure can not be deduced, since the the President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given
existence of a defined term, ipso facto, negatives such an inference, and implies a to him over executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the
contrary presumption, i.e. that the incumbent shall hold office to the end of his term two terms, control and supervision, are two different things which differ one from the
subject to removal for cause. (state ex rel Gallaghar v. Brown, 57 Mo. Ap., 203, other in meaning and extent. Thus in that case the Court made the following
digression: "In administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or Padilla and Mr. Justice Jugo, three of the Justices referred to, reason that, as the
authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter office of provincial executive is at least as important as the office of mayor of the City
fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by of Manila, the latter officer, by analogy, ought to be amenable to removal and
law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power suspension for the same causes as provincial executives, who under Section 2078 of
of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had the Revised Administrative Code, may be discharged for dishonesty, oppression, or
done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for misconduct in office, besides disloyalty."cralaw virtua1aw library
that of the latter." But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that
the power of supervision of the President over local government officials does not And Chief Justice Paras, in concurring in the foregoing opinion, made the following
include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service interesting observation:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
so requires, as postulated in Section 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code. In
fact, this matter has been clarified when, in a subsequent case, this. Court made the "It is hard and illogical to believe that, while there are express legal provisions for the
following pronouncement:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph suspension and removal of provincial governors and municipal mayors, it could have
been intended that the mayor of Manila should enjoy an over-all immunity or
"In conclusion, we hold that, under the present law, the procedure prescribed in sacrosanct position, considering that a provincial governor or municipal mayor may
sections 2188 to 2191 of the Revised Administrative Code, for the suspension and fairly be considered in parity with the city mayor insofar as they are all executive
removal of municipal officials therein referred to, is mandatory; that, in the absence of heads of political subdivisions. Counsel for petitioner calls attention to the fact that the
a clear and explicit provision to the contrary, relative particularly to municipal peculiarly elevated standard of the City of Manila and its populace might have
corporations and none has been cited to us said procedure is exclusive; that the prompted the lawmakers to exempt the city mayor from removal or suspension. Much
executive department of the national government, in the exercise of its general can be said about the desirability of making the executive head of Manila as strong
supervision over local government, may conduct investigations with a view to and independent as possible but there should not be any doubt that awareness of the
determining whether municipal officials are guilty of acts or omissions warranting the insistence of some sort of disciplinary measures has a neutralizing and deterring
administrative action referred to in said sections, as a means only to ascertain influence against any tendency toward officials misfeasance, excesses or
whether the provincial governor and the provincial board should take such action; that omission."cralaw virtua1aw library
the Executive may take appropriate measures to compel the provincial governor and
the provincial board to take said action, if the same is warranted, and they failed to do Considering that the position of mayor of a chartered city may be fairly compared in
so; that the provincial governor and the provincial board may not be deprived by the category and stature with that of a provincial governor, we are of the opinion that the
Executive of the power to exercise the authority conferred upon them in sections 2188 former, by analogy, may also be amenable to removal and suspension for the same
to 2190 of the Revised Administrative Code; that such would be the effect of the causes as the latter, which causes, under Section 2078 of the Revised Administrative
assumption of those powers by the Executive; that said assumption of powers would Code, are: disloyalty, dishonesty, oppression and misconduct in office. And
further violate section 2191 of the same Code, for the authority therein vested in the considering the allegations in the complaint to the effect that petitioner took
Executive is merely appellate in character; that, said assumption of powers, in the advantage of his public position as mayor of Iloilo City in committing the acts of
case at bar, even exceeded those of the Provincial Governor and Provincial Board, in violence and intimidation upon respondent in order to stop the radio program he was
whom original jurisdiction is vested by said sections 2188 to 2190, for, pursuant then conducting in his station thus suppressing and curtailing his right to free speech,
thereto, the preventive suspension of a municipal officer shall not be for more than we are of the opinion that said acts constitute misconduct in office for which he may
thirty (30) days, at the expiration of which he shall be reinstated, unless the delay in be ordered investigated by the President within the meaning of the law. There is
the decision of the case is due to his fault, neglect or request, or unless he shall have therefore no plausible reason to disturb the decision rendered by the lower court
meanwhile been convicted, whereas petitioner herein was suspended until the final which we find to be in accordance with law.
determination of the proceedings against him, regardless of the duration thereof and
the cause of the delay in its disposition; and that so much of the rule laid down in Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs against Appellant.
Villena v. Secretary of the Interior (67 Phil., 451) and Villena v. Roque (93 Phil., 363),
as may be inconsistent with the foregoing views, should be deemed, and, are hereby
reversed or modified accordingly." (Hebron v. Reyes, supra, p. 175; Emphasis
supplied)

The final question to be determined is: For what cause or causes may the President
order the investigation of petitioner "conformably to law?

For this, suffice it to quote hereunder what we have said in Lacson v. Roque,
supra:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Four Justices who join in this decision do not share the view that the only ground
upon which the Mayor may be expelled is disloyalty. The Chief Justice, Mr. Justice
of the sixty-day period without the Secretary of Justice acting upon
Republic of the Philippines the appeal, the aggrieved party may file appropriate proceedings
SUPREME COURT with a court of competent jurisdiction.
Manila
Pursuant thereto, the Secretary of Justice had, on appeal to him of four oil companies
EN BANC and a taxpayer, declared Ordinance No. 7794, otherwise known as the Manila
Revenue Code, null and void for non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in the
enactment of tax ordinances and for containing certain provisions contrary to law and
public policy.1

G.R. No. 112497 August 4, 1994 In a petition for certiorari filed by the City of Manila, the Regional Trial Court of Manila
revoked the Secretary's resolution and sustained the ordinance, holding inter alia that
HON. FRANKLIN M. DRILON, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF the procedural requirements had been observed. More importantly, it declared
JUSTICE, petitioner, Section 187 of the Local Government Code as unconstitutional because of its vesture
vs. in the Secretary of Justice of the power of control over local governments in violation
MAYOR ALFREDO S. LIM, VICE-MAYOR JOSE L. ATIENZA, CITY TREASURER of the policy of local autonomy mandated in the Constitution and of the specific
ANTHONY ACEVEDO, SANGGUNIANG PANGLUNSOD AND THE CITY OF provision therein conferring on the President of the Philippines only the power of
MANILA, respondents. supervision over local governments.2

The City Legal Officer for petitioner. The present petition would have us reverse that decision. The Secretary argues that
the annulled Section 187 is constitutional and that the procedural requirements for the
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for Caltex (Phils.). enactment of tax ordinances as specified in the Local Government Code had indeed
not been observed.

Joseph Lopez for Sangguniang Panglunsod of Manila.


Parenthetically, this petition was originally dismissed by the Court for non-compliance
with Circular 1-88, the Solicitor General having failed to submit a certified true copy of
L.A. Maglaya for Petron Corporation. the challenged decision.3 However, on motion for reconsideration with the required
certified true copy of the decision attached, the petition was reinstated in view of the
importance of the issues raised therein.

CRUZ, J.: We stress at the outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider the
constitutionality of Section 187, this authority being embraced in the general definition
of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion
The principal issue in this case is the constitutionality of Section 187 of the Local
of their conformity to the fundamental law. Specifically, BP 129 vests in the regional
Government Code reading as follows:
trial courts jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of the litigation is
incapable of pecuniary estimation,4 even as the accused in a criminal action has the
Procedure For Approval And Effectivity Of Tax Ordinances And right to question in his defense the constitutionality of a law he is charged with
Revenue Measures; Mandatory Public Hearings. The procedure violating and of the proceedings taken against him, particularly as they contravene the
for approval of local tax ordinances and revenue measures shall be Bill of Rights. Moreover, Article X, Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the
in accordance with the provisions of this Code: Provided, That Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts
public hearings shall be conducted for the purpose prior to the in all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or
enactment thereof; Provided, further, That any question on the executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction,
constitutionality or legality of tax ordinances or revenue measures ordinance, or regulation is in question.
may be raised on appeal within thirty (30) days from the effectivity
thereof to the Secretary of Justice who shall render a decision
In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act with the utmost
within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the appeal:
circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences of a declaration of
Provided, however, That such appeal shall not have the effect of
unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no less than on the doctrine of separation
suspending the effectivity of the ordinance and the accrual and
of powers. As the questioned act is usually the handiwork of the legislative or the
payment of the tax, fee, or charge levied therein: Provided, finally,
executive departments, or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if only out of a
That within thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision or the lapse
becoming modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of this Court in the consideration
of its validity, which is better determined after a thorough deliberation by a collegiate but only to conform to the prescribed rules. He may not prescribe his own manner for
body and with the concurrence of the majority of those who participated in its the doing of the act. He has no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the
discussion.5 rules are followed. In the opinion of the Court, Secretary Drilon did precisely this, and
no more nor less than this, and so performed an act not of control but of mere
It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is charged with the duty of supervision.
a purposeful hesitation before declaring a law unconstitutional, on the theory that the
measure was first carefully studied by the executive and the legislative departments The case of Taule v. Santos 9 cited in the decision has no application here because
and determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was the jurisdiction claimed by the Secretary of Local Governments over election contests
finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The presumption of constitutionality can be in the Katipunan ng Mga Barangay was held to belong to the Commission on
overcome only by the clearest showing that there was indeed an infraction of the Elections by constitutional provision. The conflict was over jurisdiction, not supervision
Constitution, and only when such a conclusion is reached by the required majority or control.
may the Court pronounce, in the discharge of the duty it cannot escape, that the
challenged act must be struck down. Significantly, a rule similar to Section 187 appeared in the Local Autonomy Act, which
provided in its Section 2 as follows:
In the case before us, Judge Rodolfo C. Palattao declared Section 187 of the Local
Government Code unconstitutional insofar as it empowered the Secretary of Justice A tax ordinance shall go into effect on the fifteenth day after its
to review tax ordinances and, inferentially, to annul them. He cited the familiar passage, unless the ordinance shall provide otherwise: Provided,
distinction between control and supervision, the first being "the power of an officer to however, That the Secretary of Finance shall have authority to
alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of suspend the effectivity of any ordinance within one hundred and
his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for the latter," while the second twenty days after receipt by him of a copy thereof, if, in his opinion,
is "the power of a superior officer to see to it that lower officers perform their functions the tax or fee therein levied or imposed is unjust, excessive,
in accordance with law."6 His conclusion was that the challenged section gave to the oppressive, or confiscatory, or when it is contrary to declared
Secretary the power of control and not of supervision only as vested by the national economy policy, and when the said Secretary exercises
Constitution in the President of the Philippines. This was, in his view, a violation not this authority the effectivity of such ordinance shall be suspended,
only of Article X, specifically Section 4 thereof, 7 and of Section 5 on the taxing either in part or as a whole, for a period of thirty days within which
powers of local governments,8 and the policy of local autonomy in general. period the local legislative body may either modify the tax ordinance
to meet the objections thereto, or file an appeal with a court of
We do not share that view. The lower court was rather hasty in invalidating the competent jurisdiction; otherwise, the tax ordinance or the part or
provision. parts thereof declared suspended, shall be considered as revoked.
Thereafter, the local legislative body may not reimpose the same
Section 187 authorizes the Secretary of Justice to review only the constitutionality or tax or fee until such time as the grounds for the suspension thereof
legality of the tax ordinance and, if warranted, to revoke it on either or both of these shall have ceased to exist.
grounds. When he alters or modifies or sets aside a tax ordinance, he is not also
permitted to substitute his own judgment for the judgment of the local government that That section allowed the Secretary of Finance to suspend the effectivity of a tax
enacted the measure. Secretary Drilon did set aside the Manila Revenue Code, but ordinance if, in his opinion, the tax or fee levied was unjust, excessive, oppressive or
he did not replace it with his own version of what the Code should be. He did not confiscatory. Determination of these flaws would involve the exercise
pronounce the ordinance unwise or unreasonable as a basis for its annulment. He did of judgment or discretion and not merely an examination of whether or not the
not say that in his judgment it was a bad law. What he found only was that it was requirements or limitations of the law had been observed; hence, it would smack of
illegal. All he did in reviewing the said measure was determine if the petitioners were control rather than mere supervision. That power was never questioned before this
performing their functions in accordance with law, that is, with the prescribed Court but, at any rate, the Secretary of Justice is not given the same latitude under
procedure for the enactment of tax ordinances and the grant of powers to the city Section 187. All he is permitted to do is ascertain the constitutionality or legality of the
government under the Local Government Code. As we see it, that was an act not of tax measure, without the right to declare that, in his opinion, it is unjust, excessive,
control but of mere supervision. oppressive or confiscatory. He has no discretion on this matter. In fact, Secretary
Drilon set aside the Manila Revenue Code only on two grounds, to with, the inclusion
An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, therein of certain ultra vires provisions and non-compliance with the prescribed
he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he procedure in its enactment. These grounds affected the legality, not
may even decide to do it himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. The the wisdom or reasonableness, of the tax measure.
supervisor or superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he
himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have the discretion to modify or The issue of non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in the enactment of the
replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the work done or re-done Manila Revenue Code is another matter.
In his resolution, Secretary Drilon declared that there were no written notices of public
hearings on the proposed Manila Revenue Code that were sent to interested parties
as required by Art. 276(b) of the Implementing Rules of the Local Government Code
nor were copies of the proposed ordinance published in three successive issues of a
newspaper of general circulation pursuant to Art. 276(a). No minutes were submitted
to show that the obligatory public hearings had been held. Neither were copies of the
measure as approved posted in prominent places in the city in accordance with Sec.
511(a) of the Local Government Code. Finally, the Manila Revenue Code was not
translated into Pilipino or Tagalog and disseminated among the people for their
information and guidance, conformably to Sec. 59(b) of the Code.

Judge Palattao found otherwise. He declared that all the procedural requirements had
been observed in the enactment of the Manila Revenue Code and that the City of
Manila had not been able to prove such compliance before the Secretary only
because he had given it only five days within which to gather and present to him all
the evidence (consisting of 25 exhibits) later submitted to the trial court.

To get to the bottom of this question, the Court acceded to the motion of the
respondents and called for the elevation to it of the said exhibits. We have carefully
examined every one of these exhibits and agree with the trial court that the procedural
requirements have indeed been observed. Notices of the public hearings were sent to
interested parties as evidenced by Exhibits G-1 to 17. The minutes of the hearings
are found in Exhibits M, M-1, M-2, and M-3. Exhibits B and C show that the proposed
ordinances were published in the Balita and the Manila Standard on April 21 and 25,
1993, respectively, and the approved ordinance was published in the July 3, 4, 5,
1993 issues of the Manila Standard and in the July 6, 1993 issue of Balita, as shown
by Exhibits Q, Q-1, Q-2, and Q-3.

The only exceptions are the posting of the ordinance as approved but this omission
does not affect its validity, considering that its publication in three successive issues
of a newspaper of general circulation will satisfy due process. It has also not been
shown that the text of the ordinance has been translated and disseminated, but this
requirement applies to the approval of local development plans and public investment
programs of the local government unit and not to tax ordinances.

We make no ruling on the substantive provisions of the Manila Revenue Code as their
validity has not been raised in issue in the present petition.

WHEREFORE, the judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING the challenged


decision of the Regional Trial Court insofar as it declared Section 187 of the Local
Government Code unconstitutional but AFFIRMING its finding that the procedural
requirements in the enactment of the Manila Revenue Code have been observed. No
pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
On June 22, 1999, the RTC denied Onons motion to dismiss. In its order, the RTC
THIRD DIVISION ratiocinated that the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government [2] is
vested with the power to establish and prescribe rules, regulations and other issuances
and implementing laws on the general supervision of local government units and the
promotion of local autonomy and monitor compliance thereof by said units.[3] The RTC
[G.R. No. 139813. January 31, 2001] added that DILG Circular No. 97-193 was issued by the DILG Secretary pursuant to his
rule-making power as provided for under Section 7, Chapter II, Book IV of the
Administrative Code.[4] Consequently, the RTC ruled that it had jurisdiction over the
petition for review filed by Quejada.[5]
JOELBITO-ONON, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE NELIA YAP FERNANDEZ, R.T.C. Motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid Order was denied [6] prompting the
Br. 50 Puerto Princesa City and Palawan, and ELEGIO QUEJANO, petitioner to file the present petition wherein the following issues are raised:
JR., respondents.
A. WHETHER OR NOT THE QUESTIONED PROVISION IN
MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR 97-193 WAS ISSUED BY THE DILG
DECISION SECRETARY IN EXCESS OF HIS AUTHORITY.
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: B. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED
This Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a ORDERS.[7]
temporary restraining order and writ of injunction seeks the reversal of the Order of the
Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City,[1] Branch 50 in SPL. PROC. In support of his petition, Onon argues that the Supplemental Guidelines for the
NO. 1056 entitled Elegio F. Quejano, Jr., petitioner vs. Joel Bito-Onon, et. al., 1997 Synchronized Election of the Provincial and Metropolitan Chapters and for the
respondents which denied herein petitioners motion to dismiss the Petition for Review Election of the National Chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay contradicts the
of the Resolution of the Board of Election Supervisors dated August 25, 1997 in case Implementing Rules and Guidelines for the 1997 General Elections of the Liga ng mga
number L-10-97 filed by herein private respondent with said court. Barangay Officers and Directors and is therefore invalid. Onon alleges that the Liga ng
mga Barangay (LIGA) is not a local government unit considering that a local
It appears from the records that the petitioner, Joel Bito-Onon is the duly elected government unit must have its own source of income, a certain number of population,
Barangay Chairman of Barangay Tacras, Narra, Palawan and is the Municipal Liga and a specific land area in order to exist or be created as such. Consequently, the DILG
Chapter President for the Municipality of Narra, Palawan. The private respondent, only has a limited supervisory authority over the LIGA. Moreover, Onon argues that
Elegio Quejano, Jr. on the other hand, is the duly elected Barangay Chairman of even if the DILG has supervisory authority over the LIGA, the act of the DILG in issuing
Barangay Rizal, Magsaysay, Palawan and is the Municipal Liga Chapter President for Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 or the supplemental rules and guidelines for the
the Municipality of Magsaysay, Palawan. Both Onon and Quejano were candidates for conduct of the 1997 LIGA elections had the effect of modifying, altering and nullifying
the position of Executive Vice-President in the August 23, 1997 election for the Liga ng the rules prescribed by the National Liga Board. Onon posits that the issuance of said
Barangay Provincial Chapter of the province of Palawan. Onon was proclaimed the guidelines allowing an appeal of the decision of the BES to the regular courts rather
winning candidate in the said election prompting Quejano to file a post proclamation than to the National Liga Board is no longer an exercise of supervision but an exercise
protest with the Board of Election Supervisors (BES), which was decided against him of control.[8]
on August 25, 1997.
In his comment to the petition, private respondent Quejano argues that the
Not satisfied with the decision of the BES, Quejano filed a Petition for Review of Secretary of the DILG has competent authority to issue rules and regulations like
the decision of the BES with the Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa Memorandum Circular No. 97-893. The Secretary of DILGs rule-making power is
City (RTC). On April 26, 1999, Onon filed a motion to dismiss the Petition for Review conferred by the Administrative Code. Considering that the Memorandum Circular was
raising the issue of jurisdiction. Onon claimed that the RTC had no jurisdiction to review issued pursuant to his rule making power, Quejano insists that the lower court did not
the decisions rendered by the BES in any post proclamation electoral protest in commit any reversible error when it denied Onons motion to dismiss. [9]
connection with the 1997 Liga ng mga Barangay election of officers and directors. In
his motion to dismiss, Onon claimed that the Supplemental Guidelines for the 1997 On the other hand, the public respondent represented herein by the Solicitor
Liga ng mga Barangay election issued by the DILG on August 11, 1997 in its General, filed a separate Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Comment agreeing with
Memorandum Circular No. 97-193, providing for review of decisions or resolutions of the position of petitioner Onon. The Solicitor General affirms Onons claim that in issuing
the BES by the regular courts of law is an ultra vires act and is void for being issued the questioned Memorandum Circular, the Secretary of the DILG effectively amended
without or in excess of jurisdiction, as its issuance is not a mere act of supervision but the rules and guidelines promulgated by National Liga Board. This act was no longer a
rather an exercise of control over the Ligas internal organization. mere act of supervision but one of control. The Solicitor General submits that the RTC
committed grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing the petition for review of the BES
decision filed before it for failure of the petitioner to exhaust the rightful remedy which
was to appeal to the National Liga Board.[10]
On October 27, 1999, this Court denied petitioner Onons motion for the issuance have the discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may
of restraining order for lack of merit. order the work done or re-done to conform to the prescribed rules. He cannot prescribe
his own manner for the doing of the act.[19]
After a careful review of the case, we sustain the position of the petitioner.
Does the Presidents power of general supervision extend to the liga ng mga
The resolution of the present controversy requires an examination of the barangay, which is not a local government unit?[20]
questioned provision of Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 and the Implementing Rules
and Guidelines for the 1997 General Elections of the Liga ng mga Barangay Officers We rule in the affirmative. In Opinion No. 41, Series of 1995, the Department of
and Directors (GUIDELINES). The memorandum circular reads, insofar as pertinent, Justice ruled that the liga ng mga barangay is a government organization, being an
as follows: association, federation, league or union created by law or by authority of law, whose
members are either appointed or elected government officials. The Local Government
Any post-proclamation protest must be filed with the BES within twenty-four (24) Code[21] defines the liga ng mga barangay as an organization of all barangays for the
hours from the closing of the election. The BES shall decide the same within forty- primary purpose of determining the representation of the liga in the sanggunians, and
eight (48) hours from receipt thereof. The decision of the BES shall be final and for ventilating, articulating and crystallizing issues affecting barangay government
immediately executory without prejudice to the filing of a Petition for Review with the administration and securing, through proper and legal means, solutions thereto. [22] The
regular courts of law.[11] (emphasis supplied) liga shall have chapters at the municipal, city, provincial and metropolitan political
subdivision levels. The municipal and city chapters of the liga shall be composed of the
barangay representatives of the municipal and city barangays respectively. The duly
On the other hand, the GUIDELINES provides that the BES shall have the elected presidents of the component municipal and city chapters shall constitute the
following among its duties: provincial chapter or the metropolitan political subdivision chapter. The duly elected
presidents of highly urbanized cities, provincial chapters, the Metropolitan Manila
To resolve any post-proclamation electoral protest which must be submitted in writing chapter and metropolitan political subdivision chapters shall constitute the National Liga
to this Board within twenty-four (24) hours from the close of election; provided said ng mga Barangay.[23]
Board shall render its decision within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt hereof; and
provided further that the decision must be submitted to the National Liga The liga at the municipal, city, provincial, metropolitan political subdivision, and
Headquarters within twenty-four (24) hours from the said decision. The decision of the national levels directly elect a president, a vice-president and five (5) members of the
Board of Election Supervisors in this respect shall be subject to review by the National board of directors. The board shall appoint its secretary and treasurer and create such
Liga Board the decision of which shall be final and executory.[12] (emphasis supplied) other positions as it may deem necessary for the management of the chapter. [24]
The ligas are primarily governed by the provisions of the Local Government
Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 was issued by the DILG Secretary pursuant to Code.[25] However, their respective constitution and by-laws shall govern all other
the power of general supervision of the President over all local government units which matters affecting the internal organization of the liga not otherwise provided for in the
was delegated to the DILG Secretary by virtue of Administrative Order No. 267 dated Local Government Code provided that the constitution and by-laws shall be suppletory
February 18, 1992.[13] The Presidents power of general supervision over local to the provisions of Book III, Title VI of the Local Government Code and shall always
government units is conferred upon him by the Constitution. [14] The power of conform to the provisions of the Constitution and existing laws.[26]
supervision is defined as the power of a superior officer to see to it that lower officers
perform their functions in accordance with law.[15] This is distinguished from the power Having in mind the foregoing principles, we rule that Memorandum Circular No.
of control or the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate 97-193 of the DILG insofar as it authorizes the filing a Petition for Review of the decision
officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the of the BES with the regular courts in a post proclamation electoral protest is of doubtful
former for the latter.[16] constitutionality. We agree with both the petitioner and the Solicitor General that in
authorizing the filing of the petition for review of the decision of the BES with the regular
On many occasions in the past, this court has had the opportunity to distinguish courts, the DILG Secretary in effect amended and modified the GUIDELINES
the power of supervision from the power of control. In Taule vs. Santos,[17] we held that promulgated by the National Liga Board and adopted by the LIGA which provides that
the Chief Executive wielded no more authority than that of checking whether a local the decision of the BES shall be subject to review by the National Liga Board. The
government or the officers thereof perform their duties as provided by statutory amendment of the GUIDELINES is more than an exercise of the power of supervision
enactments. He cannot interfere with local governments provided that the same or its but is an exercise of the power of control, which the President does not have over the
officers act within the scope of their authority. Supervisory power, when contrasted with LIGA. Although the DILG is given the power to prescribe rules, regulations and other
control, is the power of mere oversight over an inferior body; it does not include any issuances, the Administrative Code limits its authority to merely monitoring compliance
restraining authority over such body.[18] Officers in control lay down the rules in the by local government units of such issuances. [27] To monitor means to watch, observe
doing of an act. If they are not followed, it is discretionary on his part to order the act or check and is compatible with the power of supervision of the DILG Secretary over
undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it local governments, which is limited to checking whether the local government unit
himself.Supervision does not cover such authority. Supervising officers merely sees to concerned or the officers thereof perform their duties as per statutory
it that the rules are followed, but he himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he enactments.[28] Besides, any doubt as to the power of the DILG Secretary to interfere
with local affairs should be resolved in favor of the greater autonomy of the local
government.[29]
The public respondent judge therefore committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in not dismissing the respondents Petition
for Review for failure to exhaust all administrative remedies and for lack of jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Order of the
Regional Trial Court dated June 22, 1999 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Petition
for Review filed by the private respondent docketed as SPL. PROC. NO. 1056 is
DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
All barrios existing at the time of the passage of this Act shall come under
Republic of the Philippines the provisions hereof.
SUPREME COURT
Manila Upon petition of a majority of the voters in the areas affected, a new barrio
may be created or the name of an existing one may be changed by the
EN BANC provincial board of the province, upon recommendation of the council of the
municipality or municipalities in which the proposed barrio is stipulated. The
recommendation of the municipal council shall be embodied in a resolution
G.R. No. L-23825 December 24, 1965 approved by at least two-thirds of the entire membership of the said council:
Provided, however, That no new barrio may be created if its population is
EMMANUEL PELAEZ, petitioner, less than five hundred persons.
vs.
THE AUDITOR GENERAL, respondent. Hence, since January 1, 1960, when Republic Act No. 2370 became effective, barrios
may "not be created or their boundaries altered nor their names changed" except by
Zulueta, Gonzales, Paculdo and Associates for petitioner. Act of Congress or of the corresponding provincial board "upon petition of a majority
Office of the Solicitor General for respondent. of the voters in the areas affected" and the "recommendation of the council of the
municipality or municipalities in which the proposed barrio is situated." Petitioner
CONCEPCION, J.: argues, accordingly: "If the President, under this new law, cannot even create a
barrio, can he create a municipality which is composed of several barrios,
since barrios are units of municipalities?"
During the period from September 4 to October 29, 1964 the President of the
Philippines, purporting to act pursuant to Section 68 of the Revised Administrative
Code, issued Executive Orders Nos. 93 to 121, 124 and 126 to 129; creating thirty- Respondent answers in the affirmative, upon the theory that a new municipality can
three (33) municipalities enumerated in the margin.1 Soon after the date last be created without creating new barrios, such as, by placing old barrios under the
mentioned, or on November 10, 1964 petitioner Emmanuel Pelaez, as Vice President jurisdiction of the new municipality. This theory overlooks, however, the main import
of the Philippines and as taxpayer, instituted the present special civil action, for a writ of the petitioner's argument, which is that the statutory denial of the presidential
of prohibition with preliminary injunction, against the Auditor General, to restrain him, authority to create a new barrio implies a negation of the bigger power to create
as well as his representatives and agents, from passing in audit any expenditure of municipalities, each of which consists of several barrios. The cogency and force of
public funds in implementation of said executive orders and/or any disbursement by this argument is too obvious to be denied or even questioned. Founded upon logic
said municipalities. and experience, it cannot be offset except by a clear manifestation of the intent of
Congress to the contrary, and no such manifestation, subsequent to the passage of
Republic Act No. 2379, has been brought to our attention.
Petitioner alleges that said executive orders are null and void, upon the ground that
said Section 68 has been impliedly repealed by Republic Act No. 2370 and
constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power. Respondent maintains the Moreover, section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code, upon which the disputed
contrary view and avers that the present action is premature and that not all proper executive orders are based, provides:
parties referring to the officials of the new political subdivisions in question have
been impleaded. Subsequently, the mayors of several municipalities adversely The (Governor-General) President of the Philippines may by executive order
affected by the aforementioned executive orders because the latter have taken define the boundary, or boundaries, of any province, subprovince,
away from the former the barrios composing the new political subdivisions municipality, [township] municipal district, or other political subdivision, and
intervened in the case. Moreover, Attorneys Enrique M. Fernando and Emma increase or diminish the territory comprised therein, may divide any province
Quisumbing-Fernando were allowed to and did appear as amici curiae. into one or more subprovinces, separate any political division other than a
province, into such portions as may be required, merge any of such
The third paragraph of Section 3 of Republic Act No. 2370, reads: subdivisions or portions with another, name any new subdivision so created,
and may change the seat of government within any subdivision to such place
therein as the public welfare may require: Provided, That the authorization of
Barrios shall not be created or their boundaries altered nor their names the (Philippine Legislature) Congress of the Philippines shall first be obtained
changed except under the provisions of this Act or by Act of Congress. whenever the boundary of any province or subprovince is to be defined or
any province is to be divided into one or more subprovinces. When action by
Pursuant to the first two (2) paragraphs of the same Section 3: the (Governor-General) President of the Philippines in accordance herewith
makes necessary a change of the territory under the jurisdiction of any
administrative officer or any judicial officer, the (Governor-General) President
of the Philippines, with the recommendation and advice of the head of the Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code does not meet these well settled
Department having executive control of such officer, shall redistrict the requirements for a valid delegation of the power to fix the details in the enforcement of
territory of the several officers affected and assign such officers to the new a law. It does not enunciate any policy to be carried out or implemented by the
districts so formed. President. Neither does it give a standard sufficiently precise to avoid the evil effects
above referred to. In this connection, we do not overlook the fact that, under the last
Upon the changing of the limits of political divisions in pursuance of the clause of the first sentence of Section 68, the President:
foregoing authority, an equitable distribution of the funds and obligations of
the divisions thereby affected shall be made in such manner as may be ... may change the seat of the government within any subdivision to such
recommended by the (Insular Auditor) Auditor General and approved by the place therein as the public welfare may require.
(Governor-General) President of the Philippines.
It is apparent, however, from the language of this clause, that the phrase "as the
Respondent alleges that the power of the President to create municipalities under this public welfare may require" qualified, not the clauses preceding the one just quoted,
section does not amount to an undue delegation of legislative power, relying but only the place to which the seat of the government may be transferred. This fact
upon Municipality of Cardona vs. Municipality of Binagonan (36 Phil. 547), which, he becomes more apparent when we consider that said Section 68 was originally
claims, has settled it. Such claim is untenable, for said case involved, not the creation Section 1 of Act No. 1748,3 which provided that, "whenever in the judgment of the
of a new municipality, but a mere transfer of territory from an already Governor-General the public welfare requires, he may, by executive order," effect the
existing municipality (Cardona) to another municipality (Binagonan), likewise, changes enumerated therein (as in said section 68), including the change of the seat
existing at the time of and prior to said transfer (See Gov't of the P.I. ex rel. of the government "to such place ... as the public interest requires." The opening
Municipality of Cardona vs. Municipality, of Binagonan [34 Phil. 518, 519-5201) in statement of said Section 1 of Act No. 1748 which was not included in Section 68
consequence of the fixing and definition, pursuant to Act No. 1748, of the common of the Revised Administrative Code governed the time at which, or the conditions
boundaries of two municipalities. under which, the powers therein conferred could be exercised; whereas the last part
of the first sentence of said section referred exclusively to the place to which the seat
It is obvious, however, that, whereas the power to fix such common boundary, in of the government was to be transferred.
order to avoid or settle conflicts of jurisdiction between adjoining municipalities, may
partake of an administrative nature involving, as it does, the adoption of means At any rate, the conclusion would be the same, insofar as the case at bar is
and ways to carry into effect the law creating said municipalities the authority to concerned, even if we assumed that the phrase "as the public welfare may require," in
create municipal corporations is essentially legislative in nature. In the language of said Section 68, qualifies all other clauses thereof. It is true that in Calalang vs.
other courts, it is "strictly a legislative function" (State ex rel. Higgins vs. Aicklen, 119 Williams (70 Phil. 726) and People vs. Rosenthal (68 Phil. 328), this Court had upheld
S. 425, January 2, 1959) or "solely and exclusively the exercise of legislative power" "public welfare" and "public interest," respectively, as sufficient standards for a valid
(Udall vs. Severn, May 29, 1938, 79 P. 2d 347-349). As the Supreme Court of delegation of the authority to execute the law. But, the doctrine laid down in these
Washington has put it (Territory ex rel. Kelly vs. Stewart, February 13, 1890, 23 Pac. cases as all judicial pronouncements must be construed in relation to the
405, 409), "municipal corporations are purely the creatures of statutes." specific facts and issues involved therein, outside of which they do not constitute
precedents and have no binding effect.4 The law construed in the Calalang case
Although1a Congress may delegate to another branch of the Government the power to conferred upon the Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of
fill in the details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is Public Works and Communications, the power to issue rules and regulations
essential, to forestall a violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said law: to promote safe transitupon national roads and streets. Upon the other hand, the
(a) be complete in itself it must set forth therein the policy to be executed, carried Rosenthal case referred to the authority of the Insular Treasurer, under Act No. 2581,
out or implemented by the delegate2 and (b) fix a standard the limits of which to issue and cancel certificates or permits for the sale of speculative securities. Both
are sufficiently determinate or determinable to which the delegate must conform in cases involved grants to administrative officers of powers related to the exercise of
the performance of his functions.2a Indeed, without a statutory declaration of policy, their administrative functions, calling for the determination of questions of fact.
the delegate would in effect, make or formulate such policy, which is the essence of
every law; and, without the aforementioned standard, there would be no means to Such is not the nature of the powers dealt with in section 68. As above indicated, the
determine, with reasonable certainty, whether the delegate has acted within or creation of municipalities, is not an administrative function, but one which is
beyond the scope of his authority.2b Hence, he could thereby arrogate upon himself essentially and eminently legislative in character. The question of whether or not
the power, not only to make the law, but, also and this is worse to unmake it, by "public interest" demands the exercise of such power is not one of fact. it is "purely a
adopting measures inconsistent with the end sought to be attained by the Act of legislativequestion "(Carolina-Virginia Coastal Highway vs. Coastal Turnpike
Congress, thus nullifying the principle of separation of powers and the system of Authority, 74 S.E. 2d. 310-313, 315-318), or a political question (Udall vs. Severn, 79
checks and balances, and, consequently, undermining the very foundation of our P. 2d. 347-349). As the Supreme Court of Wisconsin has aptly characterized it, "the
Republican system. question as to whether incorporation is for the best interest of the community in any
case is emphatically a question of public policy and statecraft" (In re Village of North If the term "unfair competition" is so broad as to vest in the President a discretion that
Milwaukee, 67 N.W. 1033, 1035-1037). is "virtually unfettered." and, consequently, tantamount to a delegation of legislative
power, it is obvious that "public welfare," which has even a broader connotation, leads
For this reason, courts of justice have annulled, as constituting undue delegation of to the same result. In fact, if the validity of the delegation of powers made in Section
legislative powers, state laws granting the judicial department, the power to determine 68 were upheld, there would no longer be any legal impediment to a statutory grant of
whether certain territories should be annexed to a particular municipality (Udall vs. authority to the President to do anything which, in his opinion, may be required by
Severn, supra, 258-359); or vesting in a Commission the right to determine the plan public welfare or public interest. Such grant of authority would be a virtual abdication
and frame of government of proposed villages and what functions shall be exercised of the powers of Congress in favor of the Executive, and would bring about a total
by the same, although the powers and functions of the village are specifically limited collapse of the democratic system established by our Constitution, which it is the
by statute (In re Municipal Charters, 86 Atl. 307-308); or conferring upon courts the special duty and privilege of this Court to uphold.
authority to declare a given town or village incorporated, and designate its metes and
bounds, upon petition of a majority of the taxable inhabitants thereof, setting forth the It may not be amiss to note that the executive orders in question were issued after the
area desired to be included in such village (Territory ex rel Kelly vs. Stewart, 23 Pac. legislative bills for the creation of the municipalities involved in this case had failed to
405-409); or authorizing the territory of a town, containing a given area and pass Congress. A better proof of the fact that the issuance of said executive orders
population, to be incorporated as a town, on certain steps being taken by the entails the exercise of purely legislative functions can hardly be given.
inhabitants thereof and on certain determination by a court and subsequent vote of
the inhabitants in favor thereof, insofar as the court is allowed to determine whether Again, Section 10 (1) of Article VII of our fundamental law ordains:
the lands embraced in the petition "ought justly" to be included in the village, and
whether the interest of the inhabitants will be promoted by such incorporation, and to
enlarge and diminish the boundaries of the proposed village "as justice may require" The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus,
(In re Villages of North Milwaukee, 67 N.W. 1035-1037); or creating a Municipal or offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may
Board of Control which shall determine whether or not the laying out, construction or be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
operation of a toll road is in the "public interest" and whether the requirements of the
law had been complied with, in which case the board shall enter an order creating a The power of control under this provision implies the right of the President to interfere
municipal corporation and fixing the name of the same (Carolina-Virginia Coastal in the exercise of such discretion as may be vested by law in the officers of the
Highway vs. Coastal Turnpike Authority, 74 S.E. 2d. 310). executive departments, bureaus, or offices of the national government, as well as to
act in lieu of such officers. This power is denied by the Constitution to the Executive,
Insofar as the validity of a delegation of power by Congress to the President is insofar as local governments are concerned. With respect to the latter, the
concerned, the case of Schechter Poultry Corporation vs. U.S. (79 L. Ed. 1570) is fundamental law permits him to wield no more authority than that of checking whether
quite relevant to the one at bar. The Schechter case involved the constitutionality of said local governments or the officers thereof perform their duties as provided by
Section 3 of the National Industrial Recovery Act authorizing the President of the statutory enactments. Hence, the President cannot interfere with local governments,
United States to approve "codes of fair competition" submitted to him by one or more so long as the same or its officers act Within the scope of their authority. He may not
trade or industrial associations or corporations which "impose no inequitable enact an ordinance which the municipal council has failed or refused to pass, even if it
restrictions on admission to membership therein and are truly representative," had thereby violated a duty imposed thereto by law, although he may see to it that the
provided that such codes are not designed "to promote monopolies or to eliminate or corresponding provincial officials take appropriate disciplinary action therefor. Neither
oppress small enterprises and will not operate to discriminate against them, and will may he vote, set aside or annul an ordinance passed by said council within the scope
tend to effectuate the policy" of said Act. The Federal Supreme Court held: of its jurisdiction, no matter how patently unwise it may be. He may not even suspend
an elective official of a regular municipality or take any disciplinary action against him,
except on appeal from a decision of the corresponding provincial board. 5
To summarize and conclude upon this point: Sec. 3 of the Recovery Act is
without precedent. It supplies no standards for any trade, industry or activity.
It does not undertake to prescribe rules of conduct to be applied to particular Upon the other hand if the President could create a municipality, he could, in effect,
states of fact determined by appropriate administrative procedure. Instead of remove any of its officials, by creating a new municipality and including therein
prescribing rules of conduct, it authorizes the making of codes to prescribe the barrio in which the official concerned resides, for his office would thereby become
them. For that legislative undertaking, Sec. 3 sets up no standards, aside vacant.6 Thus, by merely brandishing the power to create a new municipality (if he
from the statement of the general aims of rehabilitation, correction and had it), without actually creating it, he could compel local officials to submit to his
expansion described in Sec. 1. In view of the scope of that broad dictation, thereby, in effect, exercising over them the power of control denied to him
declaration, and of the nature of the few restrictions that are imposed, the by the Constitution.
discretion of the President in approving or prescribing codes, and thus
enacting laws for the government of trade and industry throughout the Then, also, the power of control of the President over executive departments, bureaus
country, is virtually unfettered. We think that the code making authority thus or offices implies no more than the authority to assume directly the functions thereof
conferred is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. or to interfere in the exercise of discretion by its officials. Manifestly, such control does
not include the authority either to abolish an executive department or bureau, or to Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera and Dizon, JJ., concur.
create a new one. As a consequence, the alleged power of the President to create
municipal corporations would necessarily connote the exercise by him of an authority Zaldivar, J., took no part.
even greater than that of control which he has over the executive departments,
bureaus or offices. In other words, Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code
does not merely fail to comply with the constitutional mandate above quoted. Instead
of giving the President less power over local governments than that vested in him
over the executive departments, bureaus or offices, it reverses the process and does
the exact opposite, by conferring upon him more power over municipal corporations Separate Opinions
than that which he has over said executive departments, bureaus or offices.
BENGZON, J.P., J., concurring and dissenting:
In short, even if it did entail an undue delegation of legislative powers, as it certainly
does, said Section 68, as part of the Revised Administrative Code, approved on A sign of progress in a developing nation is the rise of new municipalities. Fostering
March 10, 1917, must be deemed repealed by the subsequent adoption of the their rapid growth has long been the aim pursued by all three branches of our
Constitution, in 1935, which is utterly incompatible and inconsistent with said statutory Government.
enactment.7

So it was that the Governor-General during the time of the Jones Law was given
There are only two (2) other points left for consideration, namely, respondent's claim authority by the Legislature (Act No. 1748) to act upon certain details with respect to
(a) that "not all the proper parties" referring to the officers of the newly created said local governments, such as fixing of boundaries, subdivisions and mergers. And
municipalities "have been impleaded in this case," and (b) that "the present petition the Supreme Court, within the framework of the Jones Law, ruled in 1917 that the
is premature." execution or implementation of such details, did not entail abdication of legislative
power (Government vs. Municipality of Binagonan, 34 Phil. 518; Municipality of
As regards the first point, suffice it to say that the records do not show, and the Cardona vs. Municipality of Binagonan, 36 Phil. 547). Subsequently, Act No. 1748's
parties do not claim, that the officers of any of said municipalities have been aforesaid statutory authorization was embodied in Section 68 of the Revised
appointed or elected and assumed office. At any rate, the Solicitor General, who has Administrative Code. And Chief Executives since then up to the present continued to
appeared on behalf of respondent Auditor General, is the officer authorized by law "to avail of said provision, time and again invoking it to issue executive orders providing
act and represent the Government of the Philippines, its offices and agents, in any for the creation of municipalities.
official investigation, proceeding or matter requiring the services of a lawyer" (Section
1661, Revised Administrative Code), and, in connection with the creation of the From September 4, 1964 to October 29, 1964 the President of the Philippines issued
aforementioned municipalities, which involves a political, not proprietary, function, executive orders to create thirty-three municipalities pursuant to Section 68 of the
said local officials, if any, are mere agents or representatives of the national Revised Administrative Code. Public funds thereby stood to be disbursed in
government. Their interest in the case at bar has, accordingly, been, in effect, duly implementation of said executive orders.
represented.8

Suing as private citizen and taxpayer, Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez filed in this
With respect to the second point, respondent alleges that he has not as yet acted on Court a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction against the Auditor General.
any of the executive order & in question and has not intimated how he would act in It seeks to restrain the respondent or any person acting in his behalf, from passing in
connection therewith. It is, however, a matter of common, public knowledge, subject audit any expenditure of public funds in implementation of the executive orders
to judicial cognizance, that the President has, for many years, issued executive orders aforementioned.
creating municipal corporations and that the same have been organized and in actual
operation, thus indicating, without peradventure of doubt, that the expenditures
incidental thereto have been sanctioned, approved or passed in audit by the General Petitioner contends that the President has no power to create a municipality by
Auditing Office and its officials. There is no reason to believe, therefore, that executive order. It is argued that Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code of
respondent would adopt a different policy as regards the new municipalities involved 1917, so far as it purports to grant any such power, is invalid or, at the least, already
in this case, in the absence of an allegation to such effect, and none has been made repealed, in light of the Philippine Constitution and Republic Act 2370 (The Barrio
by him. Charter).

WHEREFORE, the Executive Orders in question are hereby declared null and void ab Section 68 is again reproduced hereunder for convenience:
initio and the respondent permanently restrained from passing in audit any
expenditure of public funds in implementation of said Executive Orders or any SEC. 68. General authority of [Governor-General) President of the
disbursement by the municipalities above referred to. It is so ordered. Philippines to fix boundaries and make new subdivisions. The [Governor-
General] President of the Philippines may by executive order define the Under the prevailing rule in the United States and Section 68 is of American origin
boundary, or boundaries, of any province, subprovince, municipality, the provision in question would be an invalid attempt to delegate purely legislative
[township] municipal district, or other political subdivision, and increase or powers, contrary to the principle of separation of powers.
diminish the territory comprised therein, may divide any province into one or
more subprovinces, separate any political division other than a province, into It is very pertinent that Section 68 should be considered with the stream of history in
such portions as may be required, merge any of such subdivisions or mind. A proper knowledge of the past is the only adequate background for the
portions with another, name any new subdivision so created, and may present. Section 68 was adopted half a century ago. Political change, two world wars,
change the seat of government within any subdivision to such place therein the recognition of our independence and rightful place in the family of nations, have
as the public welfare may require: Provided, That the authorization of the since taken place. In 1917 the Philippines had for its Organic Act the Jones Law. And
[Philippine Legislature] Congress of the Philippines shall first be obtained under the setup ordained therein no strict separation of powers was adhered to.
whenever the boundary of any province or subprovince is to be defined or Consequently, Section 68 was not constitutionally objectionable at the time of its
any province is to be divided into one or more subprovinces. When action by enactment.
the [Governor-General] President of the Philippines in accordance herewith
makes necessary a change of the territory under the jurisdiction of any
administrative officer or any judicial officer, the [Governor-General] President The advent of the Philippine Constitution in 1935 however altered the situation. For
of the Philippines, with the recommendation and advice of the head of the not only was separation of powers strictly ordained, except only in specific instances
Department having executive control of such officer, shall redistrict the therein provided, but the power of the Chief Executive over local governments
territory of the several officers to the new districts so formed. suffered an explicit reduction.

Upon the changing of the limits of political divisions in pursuance of the Formerly, Section 21 of the Jones Law provided that the Governor-General "shall
foregoing authority, an equitable distribution of the funds and obligations of have general supervision and control of all the departments and bureaus of the
the divisions thereby affected shall be made in such manner as may be government in the Philippine Islands." Now Section 10 (1), Article VII of the Philippine
recommended by the [Insular Auditor] Auditor General and approved by the Constitution provides: "The President shall have control of all the executive
[Governor-General] President of the Philippines. departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all local
governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully
executed.
From such working I believe that power to create a municipality is included: to
"separate any political division other than a province, into such portions as may be
required, merge any such subdivisions or portions with another, name any new In short, the power of control over local governments had now been taken away from
subdivision so created." The issue, however, is whether the legislature can validly the Chief Executive. Again, to fully understand the significance of this provision, one
delegate to the Executive such power. must trace its development and growth.

The power to create a municipality is legislative in character. American authorities As early as April 7, 1900 President McKinley of the United States, in his Instructions
have therefore favored the view that it cannot be delegated; that what is delegable is to the Second Philippine Commission, laid down the policy that our municipal
not the power to create municipalities but only the power to determine the existence governments should be "subject to the least degree of supervision and control" on the
of facts under which creation of a municipality will result (37 Am. Jur. 628). part of the national government. Said supervision and control was to be confined
within the "narrowest limits" or so much only as "may be necessary to secure and
enforce faithful and efficient administration by local officers." And the national
The test is said to lie in whether the statute allows any discretion on the delegate as government "shall have no direct administration except of matters of purely general
to whether the municipal corporation should be created. If so, there is an attempted concern." (See Hebron v. Reyes, L-9158, July 28, 1958.)
delegation of legislative power and the statute is invalid (Ibid.). Now Section 68 no
doubt gives the President such discretion, since it says that the President "may by
executive order" exercise the powers therein granted. Furthermore, Section 5 of the All this had one aim, to enable the Filipinos to acquire experience in the art of self-
same Code states: government, with the end in view of later allowing them to assume complete
management and control of the administration of their local affairs. Such aim is the
policy now embodied in Section 10 (1), Article VII of the Constitution (Rodriguez v.
SEC. 5. Exercise of administrative discretion The exercise of the Montinola, 50 O.G. 4820).
permissive powers of all executive or administrative officers and bodies is
based upon discretion, and when such officer or body is given authority to do
any act but not required to do such act, the doing of the same shall be It is the evident decree of the Constitution, therefore, that the President shall have no
dependent on a sound discretion to be exercised for the good of the service power of control over local governments. Accordingly, Congress cannot by law grant
and benefit of the public, whether so expressed in the statute giving the him such power (Hebron v. Reyes, supra). And any such power formerly granted
authority or not.
under the Jones Law thereby became unavoidably inconsistent with the Philippine In thus ruling, the Court is but sustaining the fulfillment of our historic desire to be free
Constitution. and independent under a republican form of government, and exercising a function
derived from the very sovereignty that it upholds. Executive orders declared null and
It remains to examine the relation of the power to create and the power to control void.
local governments. Said relationship has already been passed upon by this Court
in Hebron v. Reyes, supra. In said case, it was ruled that the power to control is an Makalintal and Regala, JJ., concur.
incident of the power to create or abolish municipalities. Respondent's view,
therefore, that creating municipalities and controlling their local governments are "two
worlds apart," is untenable. And since as stated, the power to control local
governments can no longer be conferred on or exercised by the President, it follows
a fortiori that the power to create them, all the more cannot be so conferred or
exercised.

I am compelled to conclude, therefore, that Section 10 (1), Article VII of the


Constitution has repealed Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code as far as the
latter empowers the President to create local governments. Repeal by the
Constitution of prior statutes inconsistent with it has already been sustained in De los
Santos v. MaIlare, 87 Phil. 289. And it was there held that such repeal differs from a
declaration of unconstitutionality of a posterior legislation, so much so that only a
majority vote of the Court is needed to sustain a finding of repeal.

Since the Constitution repealed Section 68 as far back as 1935, it is academic to ask
whether Republic Act 2370 likewise has provisions in conflict with Section 68 so as to
repeal it. Suffice it to state, at any rate, that statutory prohibition on the President from
creating a barrio does not, in my opinion, warrant the inference of statutory prohibition
for creating a municipality. For although municipalities consist of barrios, there is
nothing in the statute that would preclude creation of new municipalities out of pre-
existing barrios.

It is not contrary to the logic of local autonomy to be able to create larger political units
and unable to create smaller ones. For as long ago observed in President McKinley's
Instructions to the Second Philippine Commission, greater autonomy is to be imparted
to the smaller of the two political units. The smaller the unit of local government, the
lesser is the need for the national government's intervention in its political affairs.
Furthermore, for practical reasons, local autonomy cannot be given from the top
downwards. The national government, in such a case, could still exercise power over
the supposedly autonomous unit, e.g., municipalities, by exercising it over the smaller
units that comprise them, e.g., the barrios. A realistic program of decentralization
therefore calls for autonomy from the bottom upwards, so that it is not surprising for
Congress to deny the national government some power over barrios without denying
it over municipalities. For this reason, I disagree with the majority view that because
the President could not create a barrio under Republic Act 2370, a fortiori he cannot
create a municipality.

It is my view, therefore, that the Constitution, and not Republic Act 2370, repealed
Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code's provision giving the President
authority to create local governments. And for this reason I agree with the ruling in the
majority opinion that the executive orders in question are null and void.
On November 22, 1974, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of
Republic of the Philippines jurisdiction of the lower court and lack of legal personality of the Municipality of Santo
SUPREME COURT Tomas (Ibid., pp. 18-22), which was opposed by private respondent (Ibid., pp. 23-26).
Manila On December 12, 1974, petitioner filed its reply to the opposition (Ibid., pp. 27-30),
after which respondent Judge, in an Order dated February 17, 1975, denied the
motion to dismiss (Ibid., pp. 34-36).
G.R. No. L-41322 September 29, 1988
On March 3, 1975, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Ibid., pp. 37-40), but
MUNICIPALITY OF KAPALONG, thru its Mayor, PORFIRIO F. ROYO Vice Mayor, in an Order dated March 17, 1975, the same was denied by respondent Judge and so
TOMAS D. MANZANO, Municipal Councilors VALERIANO CLARO, CARIDAD A. was the Second Motion for Reconsideration (Ibid., pp. 42-43), in an Order dated July
DORONIO FELICULO ESTRADA, GEORGE PEDRO JAIN, LIDO E. MONOY 10, 1975 (Ibid., p. 44). Hence, the instant petition (Ibid., pp. 1-10).
SALVADOR PASPE and AGUEDO ROTOL petitioners,
vs.
HON. FELIX L. MOYA, Presiding Judge of Court of First Instance of Davao, The Second Division of this Court, in a Resolution dated September 10, 1975,
Branch IX, and the MUNICIPALITY OF STO. TOMAS, thru its Mayor, ANICETO resolved to require the respondents to answer and to issue a temporary restraining
SOLIS, Vice-Mayor LEOPOLDO RECTO, Municipal Councilors DOMINGO order (Ibid., p. 49). In compliance therewith, private respondent filed its Answer on
CAGADAS, WENCESLAO CASTRO, WILDA ESPIRITU, PASTOR FERNANDEZ, October 28, 1975 (Ibid., pp. 53-57). In the Resolution dated November 3, 1975, the
MACROSQUE PIMENTEL, DOMINADOR SOLIS, JOSE TAGHOY and ALFONSO parties were required to file their respective memoranda (Ibid., p. 65). Petitioner filed
VALDEZ, and Municipal Treasurer JOSE AVENIDO, respondents. its Memorandum on December 10, 1975 (Ibid., pp. 68-76), and private respondent on
January 5, 1975 (Ibid., pp. 77-85). Petitioner raised four (4) issues, to wit:
Martin V. Delgra, Jr. for petitioners.
1. WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS LEGAL PERSONALITY TO
SUE;
Simeon N. Millan Jr. for respondent Santo Tomas.
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE MATTER OF SETTLEMENT OF BOUNDARY DISPUTE
IS A POLITICAL QUESTION;

PARAS, J.: 3. WHETHER OR NOT PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 242 SUPERSEDED


REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6128; AND
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking: (a)
the reversal (annulment) of the February 17, 1975 Order of the then Court of First 4. WHETHER OR NOT THE ACTION HAS ALREADY PRESCRIBED.
Instance of Davao denying the motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 475; and the March
17, 1975 and July 10, 1975 Orders of the same Court denying petitioner's motions for
reconsideration; and (b) the issuance of a writ of prohibition directing respondent The instant petition is impressed with merit.
Judge to desist from taking cognizance of Civil Case No. 475.
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the Municipality of Santo Tomas
From portions of the Municipality of Kapalong, President Carlos P. Garcia created legally exists.
respondent Municipality of Santo Tomas, and the latter now asserts jurisdiction over
eight (8) barrios of petitioner. For many years and on several occasions, this conflict Petitioner contends that the ruling of this Court in Pelaez v. Auditor General.
of boundaries between the two municipalities was brought, at the instance of private (15 SCRA 569) is clear that the President has no power to create municipalities.
respondent, to the Provincial Board of Davao for it to consider and decide. However, it Thus, there is no Municipality of Santo Tomas to speak of It has no right to assert, no
appears that no action was taken on the same. Private respondent then filed a cause of action, no corporate existence at all, and it must perforce remain part and
complaint with the then Court of First Instance of Davao, presided over by herein parcel of Kapalong. Based on this premise, it submits that respondent Judge should
public respondent Judge Felix L. Moya against the Municipality of Kapalong, for have dismissed the case.
settlement of the municipal boundary dispute, recovery of collected taxes and
damages, docketed therein as Civil Case No. 475. On the ground of jurisdiction, petitioner argues that the settlement of boundary
disputes is administrative in nature and should originate in the political or
On March 7, 1974, petitioner filed its Answer (Rollo, pp. 1417). administrative agencies of the government, and not in the courts whose power is
limited to judicial review on appropriate occasions (Ibid., pp. 73-74).
Rule 3, Section 1 of the Rules of Court expressly provides that only "entities
authorized by law may be patties in a civil action." Now then, as ruled in the Pelaez
case supra, the President has no power to create a municipality. Since private
respondent has no legal personality, it can not be a party to any civil action, and as
such, respondent Judge should have dismissed the case, since further proceedings
would be pointless.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is GRANTED; the Orders of


February 17, 1975, March 17, 1975 and July 10, 1975 of respondent Judge are SET
ASIDE; and Civil Case No. 475 is DISMISSED. The restraining order previously
issued by this Court is made permanent.

Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.


that "(t)he conversion of this municipal district into (a) municipality as proposed in
Republic of the Philippines House Bill No. 4864 was approved by the House of Representatives."
SUPREME COURT
Manila On 05 June 1989, the Municipality of San Narciso filed a petition for quo warranto with
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 62, in Gumaca, Quezon, against the officials of the
EN BANC Municipality of San Andres. Docketed Special Civil Action No. 2014-G, the petition
sought the declaration of nullity of Executive Order No. 353 and prayed that the
respondent local officials of the Municipality of San Andres be permanently ordered to
refrain from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices.3 Invoking
the ruling of this Court in Pelaez v. Auditor General,4 the petitioning municipality
G.R. No. 103702 December 6, 1994 contended that Executive Order No. 353, a presidential act, was a clear usurpation of
the inherent powers of the legislature and in violation of the constitutional principle of
MUNICIPALITY OF SAN NARCISO, QUEZON; MAYOR JUAN K. UY; separation of powers. Hence, petitioner municipality argued, the officials of the
COUNCILORS: DEOGRACIAS R. ARGOSINO III, BENITO T. CAPIO, EMMANUEL Municipality or Municipal District of San Andres had no right to exercise the duties
R. CORTEZ, NORMANDO MONTILLA, LEONARDO C. UY, FIDEL C. and functions of their respective offices that righfully belonged to the corresponding
AURELLANA, PEDRO C. CARABIT, LEONARDO D. AURELLANA, FABIAN M. officials of the Municipality of San Narciso.
MEDENILLA, TRINIDAD F. CORTEZ, SALVADOR M. MEDENILLA, CERELITO B.
AUREADA and FRANCISCA A. BAMBA, petitioners, In their answer, respondents asked for the dismissal of the petition, averring, by way
vs. of affirmative and special defenses, that since it was at the instance of petitioner
HON. ANTONIO V. MENDEZ, SR., Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch municipality that the Municipality of San Andres was given life with the issuance of
62, 4th Judicial Region, Gumaca, Quezon; MUNICIPALITY OF SAN ANDRES, Executive Order No. 353, it (petitioner municipality) should be deemed estopped from
QUEZON; MAYOR FRANCISCO DE LEON; COUNCILORS: FE LUPINAC, TOMAS questioning the creation of the new municipality;5 that because the Municipality of San
AVERIA, MANUEL O. OSAS, WILFREDO O. FONTANIL, ENRICO U. NADRES, Andred had been in existence since 1959, its corporate personality could no longer be
RODELITO LUZOIR, LENAC, JOSE L. CARABOT, DOMING AUSA, VIDAL assailed; and that, considering the petition to be one for quo warranto, petitioner
BANQUELES and CORAZON M. MAXIMO, respondents. municipality was not the proper party to bring the action, that prerogative being
reserved to the State acting through the Solicitor General.6
Manuel Laserna, Jr. for petitioners.
On 18 July 1991, after the parties had submitted their respective pre-trial briefs, the
Florante Pamfilo for private respondents. trial court resolved to defer action on the motion to dismiss and to deny a judgment on
the pleadings.

On 27 November 1991, the Municipality of San Andres filed anew a motion to dismiss
alleging that the case had become moot and academic with the enactment of
VITUG, J.: Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991,
which took effect on 01 January 1991. The movant municipality cited Section 442(d)
On 20 August 1959, President Carlos P. Garcia, issued, pursuant to the then Sections of the law, reading thusly:
68 and 2630 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended, Executive Order No.
353 creating the municipal district of San Andres, Quezon, by segregating from the Sec. 442. Requisites for Creation. . . .
municipality of San Narciso of the same province, the barrios of San Andres,
Mangero, Alibijaban, Pansoy, Camflora and Tala along with their respective sitios.
(d) Municipalities existing as of the date of the effectivity of this
Code shall continue to exist and operate as such. Existing
Executive Order No. 353 was issued upon the request, addressed to the President municipal districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances or
and coursed through the Provincial Board of Quezon, of the municipal council of San executive orders and which have their respective set of elective
Narciso, Quezon, in its Resolution No. 8 of 24 May 1959. 1 municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of this
Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 174, dated 05 October 1965, issued by President
Diosdado Macapagal, the municipal district of San Andres was later officially The motion was opposed by petitioner municipality, contending that the
recognized to have gained the status of a fifth class municipality beginning 01 July above provision of law was inapplicable to the Municipality of San Andres
1963 by operation of Section 2 of Republic Act No. 1515. 2 The executive order added
since the enactment referred to legally existing municipalities and not to facto municipality, they, however, contend that since the petition for quo warranto had
those whose mode of creation had been void ab initio.7 been filed prior to the passage of said law, petitioner municipality had acquired a
vested right to seek the nullification of Executive Order No. 353, and any attempt to
In its Order of 02 December 1991, the lower court8 finally dismissed the petition9 for apply Section 442 of Republic Act 7160 to the petition would perforce be violative of
lack of cause of action on what it felt was a matter that belonged to the State, adding due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
that "whatever defects (were) present in the creation of municipal districts by the
President pursuant to presidential issuances and executive orders, (were) cured by Petitioners' theory might perhaps be a point to consider had the case been
the enactment of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as Local Government Code of 1991." In seasonably brought. Executive Order No. 353 creating the municipal district of San
an order, dated 17 January 1992, the same court denied petitioner municipality's Andres was issued on 20 August 1959 but it was only after almost thirty (30) years, or
motion for reconsideration. on 05 June 1989, that the municipality of San Narciso finally decided to challenge the
legality of the executive order. In the meantime, the Municipal District, and later the
Hence, this petition "for review on certiorari." Petitioners 10 argue that in issuing the Municipality, of San Andres, began and continued to exercise the powers and
orders of 02 December 1991 and 17 January 1992, the lower court has "acted with authority of a duly created local government unit. In the same manner that the failure
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction." Petitioners of a public officer to question his ouster or the right of another to hold a position within
assert that the existence of a municipality created by a null and void presidential order a one-year period can abrogate an action belatedly filed, 19 so also, if not indeed with
may be attacked either directly or even collaterally by anyone whose interests or greatest imperativeness, must a quo warranto proceeding assailing the lawful
rights are affected, and that an unconstitutional act is not a law, creates no office and authority of a political subdivision be timely raised. 20 Public interest
is inoperative such as though its has never been passed. 11 demands it.

Petitioners consider the instant petition to be one for "review on certiorari" under Granting the Executive Order No. 353 was a complete nullity for being the result of an
Rules 42 and 45 of the Rules of Court; at the same time, however, they question the unconstitutional delegation of legislative power, the peculiar circumstances obtaining
orders of the lower court for having been issued with "grave abuse of discretion in this case hardly could offer a choice other than to consider the Municipality of San
amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction, and that there is no other plain, Andres to have at least attained a status uniquely of its own closely approximating, if
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law available to petitioners to not in fact attaining, that of a de facto municipal corporation. Conventional wisdom
correct said Orders, to protect their rights and to secure a final and definitive cannot allow it to be otherwise. Created in 1959 by virtue of Executive Order No. 353,
interpretation of the legal issues involved." 12 Evidently, then, the petitioners intend to the Municipality of San Andres had been in existence for more than six years when,
submit their case in this instance under Rule 65. We shall disregard the procedural on 24 December 1965, Pelaez v. Auditor General was promulgated. The ruling could
incongruence. have sounded the call for a similar declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive
Order No. 353 but it was not to be the case. On the contrary, certain governmental
acts all pointed to the State's recognition of the continued existence of the
The special civil action of quo warranto is a "prerogative writ by which the Municipality of San Andres. Thus, after more than five years as a municipal district,
Government can call upon any person to show by what warrant he holds a public Executive Order No. 174 classified the Municipality of San Andres as a fifth class
office or exercises a public franchise." 13 When the inquiry is focused on the legal municipality after having surpassed the income requirement laid out in Republic Act
existence of a body politic, the action is reserved to the State in a proceeding for quo No. 1515. Section 31 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
warranto or any other credit proceeding. 14 It must be brought "in the name of the Reorganization Act of 1980, constituted as municipal circuits, in the establishment of
Republic of the Philippines" 15 and commenced by the Solicitor General or the fiscal Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the country, certain municipalities that comprised the
"when directed by the President of the Philippines . . . ." 16 Such officers may, under municipal circuits organized under Administrative Order No. 33, dated 13 June 1978,
certain circumstances, bring such an action "at the request and upon the relation of issued by this Court pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 537. Under this
another person" with the permission of the court. 17 The Rules of Court also allows an administrative order, the Municipality of San Andres had been covered by the 10th
individual to commence an action for quo warranto in his own name but this initiative Municipal Circuit Court of San Francisco-San Andres for the province of Quezon.
can be done when he claims to be "entitled to a public office or position usurped or
unlawfully held or exercised by another." 18 While the quo warranto proceedings filed
below by petitioner municipality has so named only the officials of the Municipality of At the present time, all doubts on the de jure standing of the municipality must be
San Andres as respondents, it is virtually, however, a denunciation of the authority of dispelled. Under the Ordinance (adopted on 15 October 1986) apportioning the seats
the Municipality or Municipal District of San Andres to exist and to act in that capacity. of the House of Representatives, appended to the 1987 Constitution, the Municipality
of San Andres has been considered to be one of the twelve (12) municipalities
composing the Third District of the province of Quezon. Equally significant is Section
At any rate, in the interest of resolving any further doubt on the legal status of the 442(d) of the Local Government Code to the effect that municipal districts "organized
Municipality of San Andres, the Court shall delve into the merits of the petition. pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their
respective sets of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity
While petitioners would grant that the enactment of Republic Act of (the) Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities." No pretension
No. 7160 may have converted the Municipality of San Andres into a de of unconstitutionality per se of Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code is
proferred. It is doubtful whether such a pretext, even if made, would succeed. The
power to create political subdivisions is a function of the legislature. Congress did just
that when it has incorporated Section 442(d) in the Code. Curative laws, which in
essence are retrospective, 21 and aimed at giving "validity to acts done that would
have been invalid under existing laws, as if existing laws have been complied with,"
are validly accepted in this jurisdiction, subject to the usual qualification against
impairment of vested rights. 22

All considered, the de jure status of the Municipality of San Andres in the province of
Quezon must now be conceded.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. Costs against
petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
reduced the power of the Chief Executive over local governments. [9] Pelaez was
EN BANC disposed in this wise:

WHEREFORE, the Executive Orders in question are declared null and void ab
initio and the respondent permanently restrained from passing in audit any
[G.R. No. 161414. January 17, 2005] expenditure of public funds in implementation of said Executive Orders or any
disbursement by the municipalities above referred to. It is so ordered.[10]

Among the Executive Orders annulled was Executive Order No. 107 which
SULTAN OSOP B. CAMID, petitioner, vs. THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, created the Municipality of Andong. Nevertheless, the core issue presented in the
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, present petition is the continued efficacy of the judicial annulment of the Municipality of
AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO, DEPARTMENT of Andong.
FINANCE, DEPARTMENT of BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT,
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, and the CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES Petitioner Sultan Osop B. Camid (Camid) represents himself as a current resident
(HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE), respondents. of Andong,[11] suing as a private citizen and taxpayer whose locus standi is of public
and paramount interest especially to the people of the Municipality of Andong, Province
of Lanao del Sur.[12] He alleges that Andong has metamorphosed into a full-blown
DECISION municipality with a complete set of officials appointed to handle essential services for
TINGA, J.: the municipality and its constituents,[13] even though he concedes that since 1968, no
person has been appointed, elected or qualified to serve any of the elective local
government positions of Andong.[14] Nonetheless, the municipality of Andong has its
This Petition for Certiorari presents this Court with the prospect of our own high school, Bureau of Posts, a Department of Education, Culture and Sports
own Brigadoon[1]the municipality of Andong, Lanao del Surwhich like its counterpart office, and at least seventeen (17) barangay units with their own respective
in filmdom, is a town that is not supposed to exist yet is anyway insisted by some as chairmen.[15] From 1964 until 1972, according to Camid, the public officials of Andong
actually alive and thriving. Yet unlike in the movies, there is nothing mystical, ghostly have been serving their constituents through the minimal means and resources with
or anything even remotely charming about the purported existence of Andong. The least (sic) honorarium and recognition from the Office of the then former President
creation of the putative municipality was declared void ab initio by this Court four Diosdado Macapagal. Since the time of Martial Law in 1972, Andong has allegedly
decades ago, but the present petition insists that in spite of this insurmountable been getting by despite the absence of public funds, with the Interim Officials serving
obstacle Andong thrives on, and hence, its legal personality should be given judicial their constituents in their own little ways and means.[16]
affirmation. We disagree.
In support of his claim that Andong remains in existence, Camid presents to this
The factual antecedents derive from the promulgation of our ruling in Pelaez v. Court a Certification issued by the Office of the Community Environment and Natural
Auditor General[2] in 1965. As discussed therein, then President Diosdado Macapagal Resources (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
issued several Executive Orders[3] creating thirty-three (33) municipalities in Mindanao. (DENR) certifying the total land area of the Municipality of Andong, created under
Among them was Andong in Lanao del Sur which was created by virtue of Executive Executive Order No. 107 issued [last] October 1, 1964. [17] He also submits
Order No. 107.[4] a Certification issued by the Provincial Statistics Office of Marawi City concerning the
These executive orders were issued after legislative bills for the creation of population of Andong, which is pegged at fourteen thousand fifty nine (14,059) strong.
municipalities involved in that case had failed to pass Congress.[5] President Diosdado Camid also enumerates a list of governmental agencies and private groups that
Macapagal justified the creation of these municipalities citing his powers under Section allegedly recognize Andong, and notes that other municipalities have recommended to
68 of the Revised Administrative Code. Then Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez filed a the Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly for the immediate implementation of
special civil action for a writ of prohibition, alleging in main that the Executive Orders the revival or re-establishment of Andong.[18]
were null and void, Section 68 having been repealed by Republic Act No. 2370, [6] and The petition assails a Certification dated 21 November 2003, issued by the
said orders constituting an undue delegation of legislative power. [7] Bureau of Local Government Supervision of the Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG).[19] The Certification enumerates eighteen (18) municipalities
After due deliberation, the Court unanimously held that the challenged Executive
Orders were null and void. A majority of five justices, led by the ponente, Justice (later certified as existing, per DILG records. Notably, these eighteen (18) municipalities are
Chief Justice) Roberto Concepcion, ruled that Section 68 of the Revised Administrative among the thirty-three (33), along with Andong, whose creations were voided by this
Code did not meet the well-settled requirements for a valid delegation of legislative Court in Pelaez. These municipalities are Midaslip, Pitogo, Naga, and Bayog in
power to the executive branch,[8] while three justices opined that the nullity of the Zamboanga del Sur; Siayan and Pres. Manuel A. Roxas in Zamboanga del Norte;
issuances was the consequence of the enactment of the 1935 Constitution, which Magsaysay, Sta. Maria and New Corella in Davao; Badiangan and Mina in Iloilo;
Maguing in Lanao del Sur; Gloria in Oriental Mindoro; Maasim in Sarangani; Kalilangan
and Lantapan in Bukidnon; and Maco in Compostela Valley. [20]
Camid imputes grave abuse of discretion on the part of the DILG in not classifying have exercised their powers for a long period without objection on the part of the
[Andong] as a regular existing municipality and in not including said municipality in its government that although no charter is in existence, it is presumed that they were duly
records and official database as [an] existing regular municipality. [21] He characterizes incorporated in the first place and that their charters had been lost. [27] They are
such non-classification as unequal treatment to the detriment of Andong, especially in especially common in England, which, as well-worth noting, has existed as a state for
light of the current recognition given to the eighteen (18) municipalities similarly over a thousand years. The reason for the development of that rule in England is
annulled by reason of Pelaez. As appropriate relief, Camid prays that the Court annul understandable, since that country was settled long before the Roman conquest by
the DILG Certification dated 21 November 2003; direct the DILG to classify Andong as nomadic Celtic tribes, which could have hardly been expected to obtain a municipal
a regular existing municipality; all public respondents, to extend full recognition and charter in the absence of a national legal authority.
support to Andong; the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and
Management, to immediately release the internal revenue allotments of Andong; and In the United States, municipal corporations by prescription are less common, but
the public respondents, particularly the DILG, to recognize the Interim Local Officials of it has been held that when no charter or act of incorporation of a town can be found, it
Andong.[22] may be shown to have claimed and exercised the powers of a town with the knowledge
and assent of the legislature, and without objection or interruption for so long a period
Moreover, Camid insists on the continuing validity of Executive Order No. 107. He as to furnish evidence of a prescriptive right.[28]
argues that Pelaez has already been modified by supervening events consisting of
subsequent laws and jurisprudence. Particularly cited is our Decision in Municipality of What is clearly essential is a factual demonstration of the continuous exercise by
San Narciso v. Hon. Mendez,[23] wherein the Court affirmed the unique status of the the municipal corporation of its corporate powers, as well as the acquiescence thereto
municipality of San Andres in Quezon as a de facto municipal corporation.[24] Similar to by the other instrumentalities of the state. Camid does not have the opportunity to make
Andong, the municipality of San Andres was created by way of executive order, an initial factual demonstration of those circumstances before this Court. Indeed, the
precisely the manner which the Court in Pelaez had declared as unconstitutional. factual deficiencies aside, Camids plaint should have undergone the usual
Moreover, San Narcisocited, as Camid does, Section 442(d) of the Local Government administrative gauntlet and, once that was done, should have been filed first with the
Code of 1991 as basis for the current recognition of the impugned municipality. The Court of Appeals, which at least would have had the power to make the necessary
provision reads: factual determinations. Camids seeming ignorance of the principles of exhaustion of
administrative remedies and hierarchy of courts, as well as the concomitant prematurity
of the present petition, cannot be countenanced.
Section 442. Requisites for Creation. - xxx
It is also difficult to capture the sense and viability of Camids present action. The
(d) Municipalities existing as of the date of the effectivity of this Code shall continue to assailed issuance is the Certification issued by the DILG. But such Certification does
exist and operate as such. Existing municipal districts organized pursuant to not pretend to bear the authority to create or revalidate a municipality. Certainly, the
presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective sets of annulment of the Certification will really do nothing to serve Camids ultimate cause- the
elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of (the) Code recognition of Andong. Neither does the Certification even expressly refute the claim
shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities. [25] that Andong still exists, as there is nothing in the document that comments on the
present status of Andong. Perhaps the Certification is assailed before this Court if only
to present an actual issuance, rather than a long-standing habit or pattern of action that
There are several reasons why the petition must be dismissed. These can be can be annulled through the special civil action of certiorari. Still, the relation of
better discerned upon examination of the proper scope and application of Section the Certification to Camids central argument is forlornly strained.
442(d), which does not sanction the recognition of just any municipality. This point shall
be further explained further on. These disquisitions aside, the central issue remains whether a municipality whose
creation by executive fiat was previously voided by this Court may attain recognition in
Notably, as pointed out by the public respondents, through the Office of the the absence of any curative or reimplementing statute. Apparently, the question has
Solicitor General (OSG), the case is not a fit subject for the special civil actions of never been decided before, San Narciso and its kindred cases pertaining as they did
certiorari and mandamus, as it pertains to the de novo appreciation of factual to municipalities whose bases of creation were dubious yet were never judicially
questions. There is indeed no way to confirm several of Camids astonishing factual nullified. The effect of Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code on municipalities
allegations pertaining to the purported continuing operation of Andong in the decades such as Andong warrants explanation. Besides, the residents of Andong who belabor
since it was annulled by this Court. No trial court has had the opportunity to ascertain under the impression that their town still exists, much less those who may comport
the validity of these factual claims, the appreciation of which is beyond the function of themselves as the municipalitys Interim Government, would be well served by a rude
this Court since it is not a trier of facts. awakening.
The importance of proper factual ascertainment cannot be gainsaid, especially in The Court can employ a simplistic approach in resolving the substantive aspect
light of the legal principles governing the recognition of de factomunicipal corporations. of the petition, merely by pointing out that the Municipality of Andong never
It has been opined that municipal corporations may exist by prescription where it is existed.[29] Executive Order No. 107, which established Andong, was declared null and
shown that the community has claimed and exercised corporate functions, with the void ab initio in 1965 by this Court in Pelaez, along with thirty-three (33) other executive
knowledge and acquiescence of the legislature, and without interruption or objection orders. The phrase ab initio means from the beginning,[30] at first,[31] from the
for period long enough to afford title by prescription. [26] These municipal corporations
inception.[32] Pelaez was never reversed by this Court but rather it was expressly restrained its municipal officials from performing their official duties and functions.[42] It
affirmed in the cases of Municipality of San Joaquin v. Siva,[33] Municipality of Malabang cited conflicting American authorities on whether a de facto corporation can exist where
v. Benito,[34] and Municipality of Kapalong v. Moya.[35] No subsequent ruling by this the statute or charter creating it is unconstitutional.[43]But the Courts final conclusion
Court declared Pelaez as overturned or inoperative. No subsequent legislation has was unequivocal that Balabagan was not a de facto corporation.
been passed since 1965 creating a Municipality of Andong. Given these facts, there is
hardly any reason to elaborate why Andong does not exist as a duly constituted In the cases where a de facto municipal corporation was recognized as such despite
municipality. the fact that the statute creating it was later invalidated, the decisions could fairly be
This ratiocination does not admit to patent legal errors and has the additional made to rest on the consideration that there was some other valid law giving
virtue of blessed austerity. Still, its sweeping adoption may not be advisedly appropriate corporate vitality to the organization. Hence, in the case at bar, the mere fact that
in light of Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code and our ruling in Municipality Balabagan was organized at a time when the statute had not been invalidated cannot
of San Narciso, both of which admit to the possibility of de facto municipal corporations. conceivably make it a de facto corporation, as, independently of the Administrative
Code provision in question, there is no other valid statute to give color of authority to
To understand the applicability of Municipality of San Narciso and Section 442(b) its creation.[44]
of the Local Government Code to the situation of Andong, it is necessary again to
consider the ramifications of our decision in Pelaez. The Court did clarify in Malabang that the previous acts done by the municipality
The eminent legal doctrine enunciated in Pelaez was that the President was then, in the exercise of its corporate powers were not necessarily a nullity. [45]Camid devotes
and still is, not empowered to create municipalities through executive issuances. The several pages of his petition in citing this point, [46] yet the relevance of the citation is
Court therein recognized that the President has, for many years, issued executive unclear considering that Camid does not assert the validity of any corporate act of
orders creating municipal corporations, and that the same have been organized and in Andong prior to its judicial dissolution. Notwithstanding, the Court in Malabang retained
actual operation . . . .[36] However, the Court ultimately nullified only those thirty-three an emphatic attitude as to the unconstitutionality of the power of the President to create
(33) municipalities, including Andong, created during the period from 4 September to municipal corporations by way of presidential promulgations, as authorized under
29 October 1964 whose existence petitioner Vice-President Pelaez had specifically Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code.
assailed before this Court. No pronouncement was made as to the other municipalities This principle was most recently affirmed in 1988, in Municipality of Kapalong v.
which had been previously created by the President in the exercise of power the Court Moya.[47] The municipality of Santo Tomas, created by President Carlos P. Garcia, filed
deemed unlawful. a complaint against another municipality, who challenged Santo Tomass legal
Two years after Pelaez was decided, the issue again came to fore in Municipality personality to institute suit. Again, Santo Tomas had not been expressly nullified by
of San Joaquin v. Siva.[37] The Municipality of Lawigan was created by virtue of prior judicial action, yet the Court refused to recognize its legal existence. The blunt but
Executive Order No. 436 in 1961. Lawigan was not one of the municipalities ordered simple ruling: Now then, as ruled in the Pelaez case supra, the President has no power
annulled in Pelaez. A petition for prohibition was filed contesting the legality of the to create a municipality. Since [Santo Tomas] has no legal personality, it can not be a
executive order, again on the ground that Section 68 of the Revised Administrative party to any civil action.[48]
Code was unconstitutional. The trial court dismissed the petition, but the Supreme Nevertheless, when the Court decided Municipality of San Narciso[49] in 1995, it
Court reversed the ruling and entered a new decision declaring Executive Order No. indicated a shift in the jurisprudential treatment of municipalities created through
436 void ab initio. The Court reasoned without elaboration that the issue had already presidential issuances. The questioned municipality of San Andres, Quezon was
been squarely taken up and settled in Pelaez which agreed with the argument posed created on 20 August 1959 by Executive Order No. 353 issued by President Carlos P.
by the challengers to Lawigans validity.[38] Garcia. Executive Order No. 353 was not one of the thirty-three issuances annulled
In the 1969 case of Municipality of Malabang v. Benito,[39] what was challenged is by Pelaez in 1965. The legal status of the Municipality of San Andres was first
the validity of the constitution of the Municipality of Balabagan in Lanao del Sur, also challenged only in 1989, through a petition for quo warranto filed with the Regional Trial
created by an executive order,[40] and which, similar to Lawigan, was not one of the Court of Gumaca, Quezon, which did cite Pelaez as authority.[50] The RTC dismissed
municipalities annulled in Pelaez. This time, the officials of Balabagan invoked de the petition for lack of cause of action, and the petitioners therein elevated the matter
facto status as a municipal corporation in order to dissuade the Court from nullifying to this Court.
action. They alleged that its status as a de facto corporation cannot be collaterally In dismissing the petition, the Court delved in the merits of the petition, if only to
attacked but should be inquired into directly in an action for quo warranto at the resolve further doubt on the legal status of San Andres. It noted a circumstance which
instance of the State, and not by a private individual as it was in that case. In response, is not present in the case at barthat San Andres was in existence for nearly thirty (30)
the Court conceded that an inquiry into the legal existence of a municipality is reserved years before its legality was challenged. The Court did not declare the executive order
to the State in a proceeding for quo warranto, but only if the municipal corporation is creating San Andres null and void. Still, acting on the premise that the said executive
a de facto corporation.[41] order was a complete nullity, the Court noted peculiar circumstances that led to the
Ultimately, the Court refused to acknowledge Balabagan as a de conclusion that San Andres had attained the unique status of a de facto municipal
facto corporation, even though it had been organized prior to the Courts decision corporation.[51] It noted that Pelaez limited its nullificatory effect only to those executive
in Pelaez. The Court declared void the executive order creating Balabagan and orders specifically challenged therein, despite the fact that the Court then could have
very well extended the decision to invalidate San Andres as well. [52] This statement district in the Constitution apportioning the seats in the House of Representatives.
squarely contradicts Camids reading of San Narciso that the creation of San Andres, Above all, it was held that whatever doubt there might be as to the de jure character
just like Andong, had been declared a complete nullity on the same ground of of the municipality must be deemed to have been put to rest by the Local Government
unconstitutional delegation of legislative power found in Pelaez.[53] Code of 1991 (R. A. No. 7160), 442(d) of which provides that "municipal districts
organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their
The Court also considered the applicability of Section 442(d) [54] of the Local respective sets of elective officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of this
Government Code of 1991. It clarified the implication of the provision as follows: Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities."

Equally significant is Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code to the effect that Here, the same factors are present so as to confer on Sinacaban the status of at least
municipal districts "organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders a de facto municipal corporation in the sense that its legal existence has been
and which have their respective sets of elective municipal officials holding office at the recognized and acquiesced publicly and officially. Sinacaban had been in existence
time of the effectivity of (the) Code shall henceforth be considered as regular for sixteen years when Pelaez v. Auditor General was decided on December 24,
municipalities." No pretension of unconstitutionality per se of Section 442(d) of the 1965. Yet the validity of E.O. No. 258 creating it had never been questioned. Created
Local Government Code is preferred. It is doubtful whether such a pretext, even if in 1949, it was only 40 years later that its existence was questioned and only because
made, would succeed. The power to create political subdivisions is a function of it had laid claim to an area that apparently is desired for its revenue. This fact must be
the legislature. Congress did just that when it has incorporated Section 442(d) underscored because under Rule 66, 16 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto suit
in the Code. Curative laws, which in essence are retrospective, and aimed at giving against a corporation for forfeiture of its charter must be commenced within five (5)
"validity to acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws, as if existing years from the time the act complained of was done or committed. On the contrary,
laws have been complied with," are validly accepted in this jurisdiction, subject to the the State and even the Municipality of Jimenez itself have recognized Sinacaban's
usual qualification against impairment of vested rights. (Emphasis supplied) [55] corporate existence. Under Administrative Order No. 33 dated June 13, 1978 of this
Court, as reiterated by 31 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B. P. Blg. 129),
The holding in San Narciso was subsequently affirmed in Municipality of Candijay Sinacaban is constituted part of a municipal circuit for purposes of the establishment
v. Court of Appeals[56] and Municipality of Jimenez v. Baz[57] In Candijay, the juridical of Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the country. For its part, Jimenez had earlier
personality of the Municipality of Alicia, created in a 1949 executive order, was attacked recognized Sinacaban in 1950 by entering into an agreement with it regarding their
only beginning in 1984. Pelaez was again invoked in support of the challenge, but the common boundary. The agreement was embodied in Resolution No. 77 of the
Court refused to invalidate the municipality, citing San Narciso at length. The Court Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental.
noted that the situation of the Municipality of Alicia was strikingly similar to that in San
Narciso; hence, the town should likewise benefit from the effects of Section 442(d) of Indeed Sinacaban has attained de jure status by virtue of the Ordinance appended to
the Local Government Code, and should [be] considered as a regular, de the 1987 Constitution, apportioning legislative districts throughout the country, which
jure municipality. [58] considered Sinacaban part of the Second District of Misamis Occidental. Moreover,
The valid existence of Municipality of Sinacaban, created in a 1949 executive following the ruling in Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon v. Mendez, Sr., 442(d) of
order, was among the issues raised in Jimenez. The Court, through Justice Mendoza, the Local Government Code of 1991 must be deemed to have cured any defect in the
provided an expert summation of the evolution of the rule. creation of Sinacaban.[59]

The principal basis for the view that Sinacaban was not validly created as a municipal From this survey of relevant jurisprudence, we can gather the applicable
corporation is the ruling in Pelaez v. Auditor General that the creation of municipal rules. Pelaez and its offspring cases ruled that the President has no power to create
corporations is essentially a legislative matter and therefore the President was without municipalities, yet limited its nullificatory effects to the particular municipalities
power to create by executive order the Municipality of Sinacaban. The ruling in this challenged in actual cases before this Court. However, with the promulgation of the
case has been reiterated in a number of cases later decided. However, we have since Local Government Code in 1991, the legal cloud was lifted over the municipalities
held that where a municipality created as such by executive order is later impliedly similarly created by executive order but not judicially annulled. The de facto status of
recognized and its acts are accorded legal validity, its creation can no longer be such municipalities as San Andres, Alicia and Sinacaban was recognized by this Court,
questioned. In Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon v. Mendez, Sr., this Court and Section 442(b) of the Local Government Code deemed curative whatever legal
considered the following factors as having validated the creation of a municipal defects to title these municipalities had labored under.
corporation, which, like the Municipality of Sinacaban, was created by executive order Is Andong similarly entitled to recognition as a de facto municipal corporation? It
of the President before the ruling in Pelaez v. Auditor General: (1) the fact that for is not. There are eminent differences between Andong and municipalities such as San
nearly 30 years the validity of the creation of the municipality had never been Andres, Alicia and Sinacaban. Most prominent is the fact that the executive order
challenged; (2) the fact that following the ruling in Pelaez no quo warranto suit was creating Andong was expressly annulled by order of this Court in 1965. If we were to
filed to question the validity of the executive order creating such municipality; and (3) affirm Andongs de facto status by reason of its alleged continued existence despite its
the fact that the municipality was later classified as a fifth class municipality, nullification, we would in effect be condoning defiance of a valid order of this Court.
organized as part of a municipal circuit court and considered part of a legislative
Court decisions cannot obviously lose their efficacy due to the sheer defiance by the presidential issuances or executive orders which originally created them or from
parties aggrieved. Section 442(d), but from the respective legislative statutes which were enacted to revive
them.
It bears noting that based on Camids own admissions, Andong does not meet the
requisites set forth by Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code. Section 442(d) And what now of Andong and its residents? Certainly, neither Pelaez or this
requires that in order that the municipality created by executive order may receive decision has obliterated Andong into a hole on the ground. The legal effect of the
recognition, they must have their respective set of elective municipal officials holding nullification of Andong in Pelaez was to revert the constituent barrios of the voided town
office at the time of the effectivity of [the Local Government] Code. Camid admits that back into their original municipalities, namely the municipalities of Lumbatan, Butig and
Andong has never elected its municipal officers at all.[60] This incapacity ties in with the Tubaran.[67] These three municipalities subsist to this day as part of Lanao del
fact that Andong was judicially annulled in 1965. Out of obeisance to our ruling Sur,[68] and presumably continue to exercise corporate powers over the barrios which
in Pelaez, the national government ceased to recognize the existence of Andong, once belonged to Andong.
depriving it of its share of the public funds, and refusing to conduct municipal elections
for the void municipality. If there is truly a strong impulse calling for the reconstitution of Andong, the
solution is through the legislature and not judicial confirmation of void title. If indeed the
The failure to appropriate funds for Andong and the absence of elections in the residents of Andong have, all these years, been governed not by their proper municipal
municipality in the last four decades are eloquent indicia of the non-recognition by the governments but by a ragtag Interim Government, then an expedient political and
State of the existence of the town. The certifications relied upon by Camid, issued by legislative solution is perhaps necessary. Yet we can hardly sanction the retention of
the DENR-CENRO and the National Statistics Office, can hardly serve the purpose of Andongs legal personality solely on the basis of collective amnesia that may have
attesting to Andongs legal efficacy. In fact, both these certifications qualify that they allowed Andong to somehow pretend itself into existence despite its judicial dissolution.
were issued upon the request of Camid, to support the restoration or re-operation of Maybe those who insist Andong still exists prefer to remain unperturbed in their blissful
the Municipality of Andong, Lanao del Sur,[61] thus obviously conceding that the ignorance, like the inhabitants of the cave in Platos famed allegory. But the time has
municipality is at present inoperative. come for the light to seep in, and for the petitioner and like-minded persons to awaken
to legal reality.
We may likewise pay attention to the Ordinance appended to the 1987
Constitution, which had also been relied upon in Jimenez and San Narciso. This WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. Costs against
Ordinance, which apportioned the seats of the House of Representatives to the different petitioner.
legislative districts in the Philippines, enumerates the various municipalities that are
encompassed by the various legislative districts. Andong is not listed therein as among SO ORDERED.
the municipalities of Lanao del Sur, or of any other province for that matter. [62] On the
other hand, the municipalities of San Andres, Alicia and Sinacaban are mentioned in
the Ordinance as part of Quezon,[63] Bohol,[64] and Misamis Occidental[65] respectively.
How about the eighteen (18) municipalities similarly nullified in Pelaez but
certified as existing in the DILG Certification presented by Camid? The petition fails to
mention that subsequent to the ruling in Pelaez, legislation was enacted to reconstitute
these municipalities.[66] It is thus not surprising that the DILG certified the existence of
these eighteen (18) municipalities, or that these towns are among the municipalities
enumerated in the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Andong has not been
similarly reestablished through statute. Clearly then, the fact that there are valid organic
statutes passed by legislation recreating these eighteen (18) municipalities is sufficient
legal basis to accord a different legal treatment to Andong as against these eighteen
(18) other municipalities.
We thus assert the proper purview to Section 442(d) of the Local Government
Codethat it does not serve to affirm or reconstitute the judicially dissolved municipalities
such as Andong, which had been previously created by presidential issuances or
executive orders. The provision affirms the legal personalities only of those
municipalities such as San Narciso, Alicia, and Sinacaban, which may have been
created using the same infirm legal basis, yet were fortunate enough not to have been
judicially annulled. On the other hand, the municipalities judicially dissolved in cases
such as Pelaez, San Joaquin, and Malabang, remain inexistent, unless recreated
through specific legislative enactments, as done with the eighteen (18) municipalities
certified by the DILG. Those municipalities derive their legal personality not from the