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Natural Resources and Environmental Law
Bukidnon State University | College of Law




HON. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., in his capacity as Mayor of the City of Manila,

G.R. No. 156052 March 7, 2007

The Supreme Court affirmed the authority of Manila City to issue and enforces an
Ordinance reclassifying certain areas within the city. The reclassification adversely
affected the oil companies, which are now forced to relocate their oil terminals in


On November 20, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila enacted

Ordinance No. 8027 and Atienza passed it the following day. Ordinance No. 8027
reclassified the area described therein from industrial to commercial and directed the
owners and operators of businesses disallowed under Section 1 to cease and desist
from operating their businesses within six months from the date of effectivity of the
ordinance. These were the Pandacan oil depots of Shell and Caltex.

But the city of Manila and the DOE entered into an MOU which only scaled down
the property covered by the depots and did not stop their operations. In the same
resolution, the Sanggunian declared that the MOU was effective only for a period of six
months starting July 25, 2002. It was extended to 2003.

Petitioners filed for mandamus in SC urging the city to implement Ordinance

8027. Respondents defense is that Ordinance No. 8027 has been superseded by the
MOU and the resolutions and that the MOU was more of a guideline to 8027.


1. Whether respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027
and order the removal of the Pandacan Terminals, and

2. Whether the June 26, 2002 MOU and the resolutions ratifying it can amend or repeal
Ordinance No. 8027

Held: Yes to both, Petition granted


1. Rule 65, Section 316 of the Rules of Court- mandamus may be filed when any
tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an
act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station.
The petitioner should have a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the
Natural Resources and Environmental Law
Bukidnon State University | College of Law

performance of the act and it must be the clear and imperative duty of respondent to do
the act required to be done.

Mandamus will not issue to enforce a right, or to compel compliance with a duty, which
is questionable or over which a substantial doubt exists. Unless the right to the relief
sought is unclouded, mandamus will not issue. When a mandamus proceeding
concerns a public right and its object is to compel a public duty, the people who are
interested in the execution of the laws are regarded as the real parties in interest and
they need not show any specific interest. Petitioners are citizens of manila and thus
have a direct interest in the ordinances.

On the other hand, the Local Government Code imposes upon respondent the duty, as
city mayor, to "enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the city.
"One of these is Ordinance No. 8027. As the chief executive of the city, he has the duty
to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 as long as it has not been repealed by the Sanggunian
or annulled by the courts. He has no other choice. It is his ministerial duty to do so.

Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

These officers cannot refuse to perform their duty on the ground of an alleged invalidity
of the statute imposing the duty. The reason for this is obvious. It might seriously hinder
the transaction of public business if these officers were to be permitted in all cases to
question the constitutionality of statutes and ordinances imposing duties upon them and
which have not judicially been declared unconstitutional. Officers of the government
from the highest to the lowest are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.

2. Need not resolve this issue. Assuming that the terms of the MOU were
inconsistent with Ordinance No. 8027, the resolutions which ratified it and made it
binding on the City of Manila expressly gave it full force and effect only until April 30,