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EN BANC

The result of the conference, consultations and dialogues would hopefully chart the autonomous
governments of the two regions as envisioned and may prod the President to constitute
immediately the Regional Consultative Commission as mandated by the
Commission.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

G.R. No. 80391 February 28, 1989


SULTAN ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA, Petitioner, vs. CONTE MANGELIN, SALIC ALI, SALINDATO
ALI, PILIMPINAS CONDING, ACMAD TOMAWIS, GERRY TOMAWIS, JESUS ORTIZ, ANTONIO
DELA FUENTE, DIEGO PALOMARES, JR., RAUL DAGALANGIT, and BIMBO
SINSUAT, Respondents.
Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioner petitioner.chanrobles virtual law
library
Makabangkit B. Lanto for respondents.
SARMIENTO, J.:
The acts of the Sangguniang Pampook of Region XII are assailed in this petition. The antecedent
facts are as follows:
1. On September 24, 1986, petitioner Sultan Alimbusar Limbona was appointed as a member of the
Sangguniang Pampook, Regional Autonomous Government, Region XII, representing Lanao del
Sur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
2. On March 12, 1987 petitioner was elected Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly or
Batasang Pampook of Central Mindanao (Assembly for
brevity).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
3. Said Assembly is composed of eighteen (18) members. Two of said members, respondents
Acmad Tomawis and Pakil Dagalangit, filed on March 23, 1987 with the Commission on Elections
their respective certificates of candidacy in the May 11, 1987 congressional elections for the district
of Lanao del Sur but they later withdrew from the aforesaid election and thereafter resumed again
their positions as members of the Assembly.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
4. On October 21, 1987 Congressman Datu Guimid Matalam, Chairman of the Committee on
Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives, invited Mr. Xavier Razul, Pampook Speaker of
Region XI, Zamboanga City and the petitioner in his capacity as Speaker of the Assembly, Region
XII, in a letter which reads:

You are requested to invite some members of the Pampook Assembly of your respective assembly
on November 1 to 15, 1987, with venue at the Congress of the Philippines. Your presence,
unstinted support and cooperation is (sic) indispensable.
5. Consistent with the said invitation, petitioner sent a telegram to Acting Secretary Johnny
Alimbuyao of the Assembly to wire all Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November as
"our presence in the house committee hearing of Congress take (sic) precedence over any pending
business in batasang pampook ... ." chanrobles virtual law library
6. In compliance with the aforesaid instruction of the petitioner, Acting Secretary Alimbuyao sent to
the members of the Assembly the following telegram:
TRANSMITTING FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE TELEGRAM RECEIVED FROM
SPEAKER LIMBONA QUOTE CONGRESSMAN JIMMY MATALAM CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE
COMMITTEE ON MUSLIM AFFAIRS REQUESTED ME TO ASSIST SAID COMMITTEE IN THE
DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSED AUTONOMY ORGANIC NOV. 1ST TO 15. HENCE WERE
ALL ASSEMBLYMEN THAT THERE SHALL BE NO SESSION IN NOVEMBER AS OUR
PRESENCE IN THE HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING OF CONGRESS TAKE PRECEDENCE
OVER ANY PENDING BUSINESS IN BATASANG PAMPOOK OF MATALAM FOLLOWS
UNQUOTE REGARDS.
7. On November 2, 1987, the Assembly held session in defiance of petitioner's advice, with the
following assemblymen present:
1. Sali, Salic chanrobles virtual law library
2. Conding, Pilipinas (sic)chanrobles virtual law library
3. Dagalangit, Rakil chanrobles virtual law library
4. Dela Fuente, Antoniochanrobles virtual law library
5. Mangelen, Contechanrobles virtual law library

The Committee on Muslim Affairs well undertake consultations and dialogues with local government
officials, civic, religious organizations and traditional leaders on the recent and present political
developments and other issues affecting Regions IX and XII.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library

6. Ortiz, Jesus chanrobles virtual law library


7. Palomares, Diego chanrobles virtual law library

2
8. Sinsuat, Bimbochanrobles virtual law library
9. Tomawis, Acmad chanrobles virtual law library
10. Tomawis, Jerry
After declaring the presence of a quorum, the Speaker Pro-Tempore was authorized to preside in
the session. On Motion to 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 of the Assembly resumed with the following Assemblymen present:
1. Mangelen Conte-Presiding Officer chanrobles virtual law library

HON. DAGALANGIT: Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of the House, with the presence of our
colleagues who have come to 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 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 the session
last November 2, 1987 be reconfirmed in today's session.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
HON. SALIC ALI: I second the motions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
PRESIDING OFFICER: Any comment or objections on the two motions presented? Me chair hears
none and the said motions are approved. ...chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

2. Ali Salic chanrobles virtual law library

Twelve (12) members voted in favor of the motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant; one
abstained and none voted against. 1

3. Ali Salindatu chanrobles virtual law library

Accordingly, the petitioner prays for judgment as follows: chanrobles virtual law library

4. Aratuc, Malik chanrobles virtual law library


5. Cajelo, Rene chanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays that-chanrobles virtual law library

6. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) chanrobles virtual law library

(a) This Petition be given due course; chanrobles virtual law library

7. Dagalangit, Rakil chanrobles virtual law library

(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
thereafter; chanrobles virtual law library

8. Dela Fuente, Antonio chanrobles virtual law library


9. Ortiz, Jesus chanroble

(c) After hearing, judgment be rendered declaring the proceedings held by respondents of their
session on November 2, 1987 as null and void; chanrobles virtual law library

10 Palomares, Diego chanrobles virtual law library


11. Quijano, Jesus chanrobles virtual law library

(d) Holding the election of petitioner as Speaker of said Legislative Assembly or Batasan Pampook,
Region XII held on March 12, 1987 valid and subsisting, andchanrobles virtual law library

12. Sinsuat, Bimbo chanrobles virtual law library

(e) Making the injunction permanent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

13. Tomawis, Acmad chanrobles virtual law library

Petitioner likewise prays for such other relief as may be just and equitable. 2

14. Tomawis, Jerry

Pending further proceedings, this Court, on January 19, 1988, received a resolution filed by the
Sangguniang Pampook, "EXPECTING ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA FROM MEMBERSHIP OF THE
SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK AUTONOMOUS REGION XII," 3 on the grounds, among other things,
that the petitioner "had caused to be prepared and signed by him paying [sic] the salaries and
emoluments of Odin Abdula, who was considered resigned after filing his Certificate of Candidacy

An excerpt from the debates and proceeding of said session reads: chanrobles virtual law library

3
for Congressmen for the First District of Maguindanao in the last May 11, elections. . . 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 Abdula his salaries and emoluments
without authority from the Assembly . . . constituted a usurpation of the power of the
Assembly," 5 that the petitioner "had recently caused withdrawal of so much amount of cash from
the Assembly resulting to the non-payment of the salaries and emoluments of some Assembly
[sic]," 6and that he had "filed a case before the Supreme Court against some members of the
Assembly on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assembly," 7 for
which the respondents now submit that the petition had become "moot and academic". 8 chanrobles
virtual law library
The first question, evidently, is whether or not the expulsion of the petitioner (pending litigation) has
made the case moot and academic.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We do not agree that the case has been rendered moot and academic by reason 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 will not make it
academic.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On the ground of the immutable principle of due process alone, we hold that the expulsion in
question is of no force and effect. In the first place, there is no showing that the Sanggunian had
conducted an investigation, and whether or not the petitioner 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 records is an admission by the Assembly (at least, the respondents) that
"since November, 1987 up to this writing, the petitioner has not set foot at the Sangguniang
Pampook." 9 "To be sure, the private respondents aver that "[t]he Assemblymen, in a conciliatory
gesture, wanted him to come to Cotabato City," 10 but that was "so that their differences could be
threshed out and settled." 11 Certainly, that avowed wanting or desire to thresh out and settle, no
matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a substitute for the notice and hearing contemplated by
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
While we have held that due process, as the term is known in administrative law, does not
absolutely require notice and that a party need only be given the opportunity to be heard, 12 it does
not appear herein that the petitioner had, to begin with, been 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 accusations that cannot warrant expulsion.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
In the second place, (the resolution) appears strongly to be a bare act of vendetta by 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 [having been filed] [by the petitioner]
before the Supreme Court . . . on question which should have been resolved within the confines of
the Assemblyman act which some members claimed unnecessarily and unduly assails their
integrity and character as representative of the people" 13 an act that cannot possibly justify
expulsion. Access to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Constitution, 14and, unless the recourse

amounts to malicious prosecution, no one may be punished for seeking redress in the
courts.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
We therefore order reinstatement, with the caution that should the past acts of the petitioner indeed
warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined, should it still be so minded, to commence proper
proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary requirements of due process. And while it is
within the discretion of the members of the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues, their acts
are nonetheless subject to the moderating band of this Court in the event that such discretion is
exercised with grave abuse.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
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 down their acts. We come,
therefore, to the second issue: Are the so-called 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-government given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII?
chanrobles virtual law library
The autonomous governments of Mindanao were organized in Regions IX and XII by 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 framework of the national sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines and its Constitution," 17 with legislative and
executive machinery to exercise the powers and responsibilities 18 specified
therein.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
It requires the autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal administrative matters
for the respective regions," 19 except to "act on matters which are within the jurisdiction and
competence of the National Government," 20 "which include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) National defense and security;chanrobles virtual law library
(2) Foreign relations; chanrobles virtual law library
(3) Foreign trade; chanrobles virtual law library
(4) Currency, monetary affairs, foreign exchange, banking and quasi-banking, and external
borrowing, chanrobles virtual law library
(5) Disposition, exploration, development, exploitation or utilization of all natural
resources; chanrobles virtual law library
(6) Air and sea transportchanrobles virtual law library
(7) Postal matters and telecommunications;chanrobles virtual law library

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(8) Customs and quarantine; chanrobles virtual law library
(9) Immigration and deportation; chanrobles virtual law library

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 ,and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. 29 chanrobles virtual law library

(10) Citizenship and naturalization; chanrobles virtual law library

Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. 30

(11) National economic, social and educational planning; and chanrobles virtual law library

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

(12) General auditing. 21

See. 15. Mere shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao 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 within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. 31

In relation to the central government, it provides that "[t]he President shall have the power of
general supervision and control over the Autonomous Regions ..." 22chanrobles virtual law library
Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of 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 and accountable," 23 "and ensure their fullest development as
self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national
development and social progress." 24 At the same time, it relieves the central government of the
burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The President
exercises "general supervision" 25 over them, but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered
according to law." 26 He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their
judgments with his own. 27 chanrobles virtual law library
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power 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 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 constituency. 28chanrobles virtual law library

An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. (1987), art. X,
sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and accepted principles on the
effects and limits of "autonomy." On the other hand, an autonomous government of the former class
is, as we noted, under the supervision of the national government acting through the President (and
the Department of Local Government). 32 If the Sangguniang Pampook (of Region XII), then, is
autonomous in the latter sense, its acts are, debatably beyond the domain of this Court in perhaps
the same way that the internal acts, say, of the Congress of the Philippines are beyond our
jurisdiction. But if it is autonomous in the former category only, it comes unarguably under our
jurisdiction. An examination of the very Presidential Decree 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
and control over Autonomous Regions." 33 In the second place, the Sangguniang Pampook, their
legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative services, thus:
SEC. 7. Powers of the Sangguniang Pampook. The Sangguniang Pampook shall exercise local
legislative powers over regional affairs within the framework of national development plans, policies
and goals, in the following areas:chanrobles virtual law library
(1) Organization of regional administrative system; chanrobles virtual law library

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 administration is a
question foreign to this petition, since what is involved herein is a 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 controversy in fact exists. We will resolve it at the proper time and in the
proper case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Under the 1987 Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy in these two senses, thus:

(2) Economic, social and cultural development of the Autonomous Region;chanrobles virtual law
library
(3) Agricultural, commercial and industrial programs for the Autonomous Region; chanrobles virtual
law library
(4) Infrastructure development for the Autonomous Region; chanrobles virtual law library
(5) Urban and rural planning for the Autonomous Region;chanrobles virtual law library

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(6) Taxation and other revenue-raising measures as provided for in this Decree; chanrobles virtual
law library
(7) Maintenance, operation and administration of schools established by the Autonomous
Region; chanrobles virtual law library
(8) Establishment, operation and maintenance of health, welfare and other social services,
programs and facilities; chanrobles virtual law library
(9) Preservation and development of customs, traditions, languages and culture indigenous to the
Autonomous Region; and chanrobles virtual law library

But while this opinion is in accord with the respondents' own, we still invalidate the twin sessions in
question, since at the time the petitioner called the "recess," it was not a settled matter whether or
not he could. 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 not appear that the respondents
called his attention to this mistake. What appears is 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 uphold the "recess" called on the ground of good
faith.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
It does not appear to us, moreover, that the petitioner had resorted to the aforesaid "recess" in
order to forestall the Assembly from bringing about his ouster. This is not apparent from the
pleadings before us. We are convinced that the invitation was what precipitated it.c

(10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law,including the enactment of such measures as
may be necessary for the promotion of the general welfare of the people in the Autonomous
Region.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

nroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The President shall exercise such powers as may be necessary to assure that enactment and acts
of the Sangguniang Pampook and the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook are in compliance with
this Decree, national legislation, policies, plans and
programs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

In holding that the "recess" in question is valid, we are not to be taken as establishing a precedent,
since, as we said, a recess can not be validly declared without a session having been first opened.
In upholding the petitioner herein, we are not giving him acarte blanche to order recesses in the
future in violation of the Rules, or otherwise to prevent the lawful meetings
thereof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Sangguniang Pampook shall maintain liaison with the Batasang Pambansa.34chanrobles
Hence, we assume jurisdiction. And if we can make an inquiry in the validity of the expulsion in
question, with more reason can we review the petitioner's removal as
Speaker.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Neither are we, by this disposition, discouraging the Sanggunian from reorganizing 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. 39chanrobles virtual law library

Briefly, the petitioner assails the legality of his ouster as Speaker on the grounds that: (1) the
Sanggunian, in convening on November 2 and 5, 1987 (for the sole purpose of declaring the office
of the Speaker vacant), did so in violation of the Rules of the Sangguniang Pampook since the
Assembly was then on recess; and (2) assuming that it was valid, his ouster was ineffective
nevertheless for lack of quorum.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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


quorum.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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, "[s]essions shall not be suspended or
adjourned except by direction of the 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
effective November 1 through 15, 1987 is the "recess of short intervals" referred to; 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 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 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 opens under the
same Rules. 38Hence, there can be no recess to speak of that could possibly interrupt any session.

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.cSO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 91649 May 14, 1991

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ATTORNEYS HUMBERTO BASCO, EDILBERTO BALCE, SOCRATES MARANAN AND
LORENZO SANCHEZ,petitioners,
vs.
PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENTS AND GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR), respondent.
H.B. Basco & Associates for petitioners.
Valmonte Law Offices collaborating counsel for petitioners.
Aguirre, Laborte and Capule for respondent PAGCOR.

11, 12 and 13 of Article II, Sec. 1 of Article VIII and Section 3 (2) of Article XIV, of the present
Constitution (p. 3, Second Amended Petition; p. 21, Rollo).
The procedural issue is whether petitioners, as taxpayers and practicing lawyers (petitioner Basco
being also the Chairman of the Committee on Laws of the City Council of Manila), can question and
seek the annulment of PD 1869 on the alleged grounds mentioned above.
The Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created by virtue of P.D.
1067-A dated January 1, 1977 and was granted a franchise under P.D. 1067-B also dated January
1, 1977 "to establish, operate and maintain gambling casinos on land or water within the territorial
jurisdiction of the Philippines." Its operation was originally conducted in the well known floating
casino "Philippine Tourist." The operation was considered a success for it proved to be a potential
source of revenue to fund infrastructure and socio-economic projects, thus, P.D. 1399 was passed
on June 2, 1978 for PAGCOR to fully attain this objective.

PARAS, J.:p
A TV ad proudly announces:

Subsequently, on July 11, 1983, PAGCOR was created under P.D. 1869 to enable the Government
to regulate and centralize all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by law,
under the following declared policy

"The new PAGCOR responding through responsible gaming."


But the petitioners think otherwise, that is why, they filed the instant petition seeking to annul the
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter PD 1869, because it is
allegedly contrary to morals, public policy and order, and because

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the


State to centralize and integrate all games of chance not heretofore authorized
by existing franchises or permitted by law in order to attain the following
objectives:

A. It constitutes a waiver of a right prejudicial to a third person with a right


recognized by law. It waived the Manila City government's right to impose
taxes and license fees, which is recognized by law;

(a) To centralize and integrate the right and authority to operate and conduct
games of chance into one corporate entity to be controlled, administered and
supervised by the Government.

B. For the same reason stated in the immediately preceding paragraph, the
law has intruded into the local government's right to impose local taxes and
license fees. This, in contravention of the constitutionally enshrined principle of
local autonomy;

(b) To establish and operate clubs and casinos, for amusement and recreation,
including sports gaming pools, (basketball, football, lotteries, etc.) and such
other forms of amusement and recreation including games of chance, which
may be allowed by law within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and
which will: (1) generate sources of additional revenue to fund infrastructure and
socio-civic projects, such as flood control programs, beautification, sewerage
and sewage projects, Tulungan ng Bayan Centers, Nutritional Programs,
Population Control and such other essential public services; (2) create
recreation and integrated facilities which will expand and improve the country's
existing tourist attractions; and (3) minimize, if not totally eradicate, all the evils,
malpractices and corruptions that are normally prevalent on the conduct and
operation of gambling clubs and casinos without direct government
involvement. (Section 1, P.D. 1869)

C. It violates the equal protection clause of the constitution in that it legalizes


PAGCOR conducted gambling, while most other forms of gambling are
outlawed, together with prostitution, drug trafficking and other vices;
D. It violates the avowed trend of the Cory government away from monopolistic
and crony economy, and toward free enterprise and privatization. (p. 2,
Amended Petition; p. 7, Rollo)
In their Second Amended Petition, petitioners also claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the declared
national policy of the "new restored democracy" and the people's will as expressed in the 1987
Constitution. The decree is said to have a "gambling objective" and therefore is contrary to Sections

To attain these objectives PAGCOR is given territorial jurisdiction all over the Philippines. Under its
Charter's repealing clause, all laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, inconsistent
therewith, are accordingly repealed, amended or modified.

7
It is reported that PAGCOR is the third largest source of government revenue, next to the Bureau of
Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs. In 1989 alone, PAGCOR earned P3.43 Billion, and
directly remitted to the National Government a total of P2.5 Billion in form of franchise tax,
government's income share, the President's Social Fund and Host Cities' share. In addition,
PAGCOR sponsored other socio-cultural and charitable projects on its own or in cooperation with
various governmental agencies, and other private associations and organizations. In its 3 1/2 years
of operation under the present administration, PAGCOR remitted to the government a total of P6.2
Billion. As of December 31, 1989, PAGCOR was employing 4,494 employees in its nine (9) casinos
nationwide, directly supporting the livelihood of Four Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-Four (4,494)
families.
But the petitioners, are questioning the validity of P.D. No. 1869. They allege that the same is "null
and void" for being "contrary to morals, public policy and public order," monopolistic and tends
toward "crony economy", and is violative of the equal protection clause and local autonomy as well
as for running counter to the state policies enunciated in Sections 11 (Personal Dignity and Human
Rights), 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II, Section 1 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and
Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution.
This challenge to P.D. No. 1869 deserves a searching and thorough scrutiny and the most
deliberate consideration by the Court, involving as it does the exercise of what has been described
as "the highest and most delicate function which belongs to the judicial department of the
government." (State v. Manuel, 20 N.C. 144; Lozano v. Martinez, 146 SCRA 323).
As We enter upon the task of passing on the validity of an act of a co-equal and coordinate branch
of the government We need not be reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply ingrained in our
jurisprudence, that a statute is presumed to be valid. Every presumption must be indulged in favor
of its constitutionality. This is not to say that We approach Our task with diffidence or timidity. Where
it is clear that the legislature or the executive for that matter, has over-stepped the limits of its
authority under the constitution, We should not hesitate to wield the axe and let it fall heavily, as fall
it must, on the offending statute (Lozano v. Martinez, supra).
In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al, 59 SCRA 54, the Court thru Mr. Justice
Zaldivar underscored the
. . . thoroughly established principle which must be followed in all cases where
questions of constitutionality as obtain in the instant cases are involved. All
presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a
statute alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a
reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it
unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports
the statute, it will be upheld and the challenger must negate all possible basis;
that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy or
expediency of a statute and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in
favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. (Danner v. Hass,
194 N.W. 2nd 534, 539; Spurbeck v. Statton, 106 N.W. 2nd 660, 663; 59 SCRA
66; see also e.g. Salas v. Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734, 739 [1970]; Peralta v.

Commission on Elections, 82 SCRA 30, 55 [1978]; and Heirs of Ordona v.


Reyes, 125 SCRA 220, 241-242 [1983] cited in Citizens Alliance for Consumer
Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 521, 540)
Of course, there is first, the procedural issue. The respondents are questioning the legal personality
of petitioners to file the instant petition.
Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the
Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of
government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they
have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of
procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition. (Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa
Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 371)
With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in the
cases before us, We hold that the same is satisfied by the petitioners and
intervenors because each of them has sustained or is in danger of sustaining
an immediate injury as a result of the acts or measures complained of. And
even if, strictly speaking they are not covered by the definition, it is still within
the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the
impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions
raised.
In the first Emergency Powers Cases, ordinary citizens and taxpayers were
allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by
President Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general
interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection
that they were not proper parties and ruled that "the transcendental importance
to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and
definitely, brushing aside, if we must technicalities of procedure." We have
since then applied the exception in many other cases. (Association of Small
Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA
343).
Having disposed of the procedural issue, We will now discuss the substantive issues raised.
Gambling in all its forms, unless allowed by law, is generally prohibited. But the prohibition of
gambling does not mean that the Government cannot regulate it in the exercise of its police power.
The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has been defined as the "state
authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote
the general welfare." (Edu v. Ericta, 35 SCRA 481, 487) As defined, it consists of (1) an imposition
or restraint upon liberty or property, (2) in order to foster the common good. It is not capable of an
exact definition but has been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all-

8
comprehensive embrace. (Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. v. Drilon, 163 SCRA
386).
Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it
could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and
circumstances thus assuming the greatest benefits. (Edu v. Ericta, supra)
It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not owe its origin to the
charter. Along with the taxing power and eminent domain, it is inborn in the very fact of statehood
and sovereignty. It is a fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to perform the most
vital functions of governance. Marshall, to whom the expression has been credited, refers to it
succinctly as the plenary power of the state "to govern its citizens". (Tribe, American Constitutional
Law, 323, 1978). The police power of the State is a power co-extensive with self-protection and is
most aptly termed the "law of overwhelming necessity." (Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39
Phil. 660, 708) It is "the most essential, insistent, and illimitable of powers." (Smith Bell & Co. v.
National, 40 Phil. 136) It is a dynamic force that enables the state to meet the agencies of the
winds of change.
What was the reason behind the enactment of P.D. 1869?
P.D. 1869 was enacted pursuant to the policy of the government to "regulate and centralize thru an
appropriate institution all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by law"
(1st whereas clause, PD 1869). As was subsequently proved, regulating and centralizing gambling
operations in one corporate entity the PAGCOR, was beneficial not just to the Government but to
society in general. It is a reliable source of much needed revenue for the cash strapped
Government. It provided funds for social impact projects and subjected gambling to "close scrutiny,
regulation, supervision and control of the Government" (4th Whereas Clause, PD 1869). With the
creation of PAGCOR and the direct intervention of the Government, the evil practices and
corruptions that go with gambling will be minimized if not totally eradicated. Public welfare, then,
lies at the bottom of the enactment of PD 1896.
Petitioners contend that P.D. 1869 constitutes a waiver of the right of the City of Manila to impose
taxes and legal fees; that the exemption clause in P.D. 1869 is violative of the principle of local
autonomy. They must be referring to Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 which exempts PAGCOR, as
the franchise holder from paying any "tax of any kind or form, income or otherwise, as well as fees,
charges or levies of whatever nature, whether National or Local."
(2) Income and other taxes. a) Franchise Holder: No tax of any kind or form,
income or otherwise as well as fees, charges or levies of whatever nature,
whether National or Local, shall be assessed and collected under this
franchise from the Corporation; nor shall any form or tax or charge attach in
any way to the earnings of the Corporation, except a franchise tax of five (5%)
percent of the gross revenues or earnings derived by the Corporation from its
operations under this franchise. Such tax shall be due and payable quarterly to
the National Government and shall be in lieu of all kinds of taxes, levies, fees

or assessments of any kind, nature or description, levied, established or


collected by any municipal, provincial or national government authority (Section
13 [2]).
Their contention stated hereinabove is without merit for the following reasons:
(a) The City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has no inherent right to impose taxes
(Icard v. City of Baguio, 83 Phil. 870; City of Iloilo v. Villanueva, 105 Phil. 337; Santos v. Municipality
of Caloocan, 7 SCRA 643). Thus, "the Charter or statute must plainly show an intent to confer that
power or the municipality cannot assume it" (Medina v. City of Baguio, 12 SCRA 62). Its "power to
tax" therefore must always yield to a legislative act which is superior having been passed upon by
the state itself which has the "inherent power to tax" (Bernas, the Revised [1973] Philippine
Constitution, Vol. 1, 1983 ed. p. 445).
(b) The Charter of the City of Manila is subject to control by Congress. It should be stressed that
"municipal corporations are mere creatures of Congress" (Unson v. Lacson, G.R. No. 7909,
January 18, 1957) which has the power to "create and abolish municipal corporations" due to its
"general legislative powers" (Asuncion v. Yriantes, 28 Phil. 67; Merdanillo v. Orandia, 5 SCRA 541).
Congress, therefore, has the power of control over Local governments (Hebron v. Reyes, G.R. No.
9124, July 2, 1950). And if Congress can grant the City of Manila the power to tax certain matters, it
can also provide for exemptions or even take back the power.
(c) The City of Manila's power to impose license fees on gambling, has long been revoked. As early
as 1975, the power of local governments to regulate gambling thru the grant of "franchise, licenses
or permits" was withdrawn by P.D. No. 771 and was vested exclusively on the National
Government, thus:
Sec. 1. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the authority of
chartered cities and other local governments to issue license, permit or other
form of franchise to operate, maintain and establish horse and dog race tracks,
jai-alai and other forms of gambling is hereby revoked.
Sec. 2. Hereafter, all permits or franchises to operate, maintain and establish,
horse and dog race tracks, jai-alai and other forms of gambling shall be issued
by the national government upon proper application and verification of the
qualification of the applicant . . .
Therefore, only the National Government has the power to issue "licenses or permits" for the
operation of gambling. Necessarily, the power to demand or collect license fees which is a
consequence of the issuance of "licenses or permits" is no longer vested in the City of Manila.
(d) Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the National Government.
PAGCOR is a government owned or controlled corporation with an original charter, PD 1869. All of
its shares of stocks are owned by the National Government. In addition to its corporate powers
(Sec. 3, Title II, PD 1869) it also exercises regulatory powers thus:

9
Sec. 9. Regulatory Power. The Corporation shall maintain a Registry of the
affiliated entities, and shall exercise all the powers, authority and the
responsibilities vested in the Securities and Exchange Commission over such
affiliating entities mentioned under the preceding section, including, but not
limited to amendments of Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, changes in
corporate term, structure, capitalization and other matters concerning the
operation of the affiliated entities, the provisions of the Corporation Code of the
Philippines to the contrary notwithstanding, except only with respect to original
incorporation.
PAGCOR has a dual role, to operate and to regulate gambling casinos. The latter role is
governmental, which places it in the category of an agency or instrumentality of the Government.
Being an instrumentality of the Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from local
taxes. Otherwise, its operation might be burdened, impeded or subjected to control by a mere Local
government.
The states have no power by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden
or in any manner control the operation of constitutional laws enacted by
Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the federal government.
(MC Culloch v. Marland, 4 Wheat 316, 4 L Ed. 579)
This doctrine emanates from the "supremacy" of the National Government over local governments.

guidelines and limitation as the congress may provide, consistent with the
basic policy on local autonomy. Such taxes, fees and charges shall accrue
exclusively to the local government. (emphasis supplied)
The power of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always subject to "limitations" which
Congress may provide by law. Since PD 1869 remains an "operative" law until "amended, repealed
or revoked" (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause" remains as an exception
to the exercise of the power of local governments to impose taxes and fees. It cannot therefore be
violative but rather is consistent with the principle of local autonomy.
Besides, the principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution simply means
"decentralization" (III Records of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, pp. 435-436, as cited in
Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, First Ed., 1988, p. 374). It does
not make local governments sovereign within the state or an "imperium in imperio."
Local Government has been described as a political subdivision of a nation or
state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs. In
a unitary system of government, such as the government under the Philippine
Constitution, local governments can only be an intra sovereign subdivision of
one sovereign nation, it cannot be an imperium in imperio. Local government in
such a system can only mean a measure of decentralization of the function of
government. (emphasis supplied)

Justice Holmes, speaking for the Supreme Court, made reference to the entire
absence of power on the part of the States to touch, in that way (taxation) at
least, the instrumentalities of the United States (Johnson v. Maryland, 254 US
51) and it can be agreed that no state or political subdivision can regulate a
federal instrumentality in such a way as to prevent it from consummating its
federal responsibilities, or even to seriously burden it in the accomplishment of
them. (Antieau, Modern Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, p. 140, emphasis supplied)

As to what state powers should be "decentralized" and what may be delegated to local government
units remains a matter of policy, which concerns wisdom. It is therefore a political question.
(Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 539).

Otherwise, mere creatures of the State can defeat National policies thru extermination of what local
authorities may perceive to be undesirable activities or enterprise using the power to tax as "a tool
for regulation" (U.S. v. Sanchez, 340 US 42).

As gambling is usually an offense against the State, legislative grant or


express charter power is generally necessary to empower the local corporation
to deal with the subject. . . . In the absence of express grant of power to
enact, ordinance provisions on this subject which are inconsistent with the
state laws are void. (Ligan v. Gadsden, Ala App. 107 So. 733 Ex-Parte
Solomon, 9, Cals. 440, 27 PAC 757 following in re Ah You, 88 Cal. 99, 25 PAC
974, 22 Am St. Rep. 280, 11 LRA 480, as cited in Mc Quinllan Vol. 3 Ibid, p.
548, emphasis supplied)

The power to tax which was called by Justice Marshall as the "power to destroy" (Mc Culloch v.
Maryland, supra) cannot be allowed to defeat an instrumentality or creation of the very entity which
has the inherent power to wield it.
(e) Petitioners also argue that the Local Autonomy Clause of the Constitution will be violated by
P.D. 1869. This is a pointless argument. Article X of the 1987 Constitution (on Local Autonomy)
provides:
Sec. 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own
source of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and other charges subject to such

What is settled is that the matter of regulating, taxing or otherwise dealing with gambling is a State
concern and hence, it is the sole prerogative of the State to retain it or delegate it to local
governments.

Petitioners next contend that P.D. 1869 violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution,
because "it legalized PAGCOR conducted gambling, while most gambling are outlawed together
with prostitution, drug trafficking and other vices" (p. 82, Rollo).

10
We, likewise, find no valid ground to sustain this contention. The petitioners' posture ignores the
well-accepted meaning of the clause "equal protection of the laws." The clause does not preclude
classification of individuals who may be accorded different treatment under the law as long as the
classification is not unreasonable or arbitrary (Itchong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155). A law does
not have to operate in equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to Article III, Section 1
of the Constitution (DECS v. San Diego, G.R. No. 89572, December 21, 1989).
The "equal protection clause" does not prohibit the Legislature from establishing classes of
individuals or objects upon which different rules shall operate (Laurel v. Misa, 43 O.G. 2847). The
Constitution does not require situations which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as
though they were the same (Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827).
Just how P.D. 1869 in legalizing gambling conducted by PAGCOR is violative of the equal
protection is not clearly explained in the petition. The mere fact that some gambling activities like
cockfighting (P.D 449) horse racing (R.A. 306 as amended by RA 983), sweepstakes, lotteries and
races (RA 1169 as amended by B.P. 42) are legalized under certain conditions, while others are
prohibited, does not render the applicable laws, P.D. 1869 for one, unconstitutional.
If the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be overthrown
because there are other instances to which it might have been applied.
(Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827)
The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not mean that all
occupations called by the same name must be treated the same way; the state
may do what it can to prevent which is deemed as evil and stop short of those
cases in which harm to the few concerned is not less than the harm to the
public that would insure if the rule laid down were made mathematically exact.
(Dominican Hotel v. Arizona, 249 US 2651).
Anent petitioners' claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the "avowed trend of the Cory Government
away from monopolies and crony economy and toward free enterprise and privatization" suffice it to
state that this is not a ground for this Court to nullify P.D. 1869. If, indeed, PD 1869 runs counter to
the government's policies then it is for the Executive Department to recommend to Congress its
repeal or amendment.
The judiciary does not settle policy issues. The Court can only declare what the
law is and not what the law should be. Under our system of government, policy
issues are within the domain of the political branches of government and of the
people themselves as the repository of all state power. (Valmonte v. Belmonte,
Jr., 170 SCRA 256).
On the issue of "monopoly," however, the Constitution provides that:

Sec. 19. The State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when public interest
so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition shall be
allowed. (Art. XII, National Economy and Patrimony)
It should be noted that, as the provision is worded, monopolies are not necessarily prohibited by
the Constitution. The state must still decide whether public interest demands that monopolies be
regulated or prohibited. Again, this is a matter of policy for the Legislature to decide.
On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personality Dignity) 12 (Family) and
13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational
Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely
statements of principles and, policies. As such, they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law
should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.
In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be selfexecuting principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They were
rather directives addressed to the executive and the legislature. If the
executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the articles the
available remedy was not judicial or political. The electorate could express their
displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the
language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2)
Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality (Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil.
387; Salas v. Jarencio, 48 SCRA 734; Peralta v. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30; Abbas v. Comelec, 179
SCRA 287). Therefore, for PD 1869 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful and equivocal one. In other words,
the grounds for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. (Peralta v. Comelec, supra)
Those who petition this Court to declare a law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional must clearly
establish the basis for such a declaration. Otherwise, their petition must fail. Based on the grounds
raised by petitioners to challenge the constitutionality of P.D. 1869, the Court finds that petitioners
have failed to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of this petition is therefore, inevitable. But
as to whether P.D. 1869 remains a wise legislation considering the issues of "morality, monopoly,
trend to free enterprise, privatization as well as the state principles on social justice, role of youth
and educational values" being raised, is up for Congress to determine.
As this Court held in Citizens' Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162
SCRA 521
Presidential Decree No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137 has, in
any case, in its favor the presumption of validity and constitutionality which
petitioners Valmonte and the KMU have not overturned. Petitioners have not
undertaken to identify the provisions in the Constitution which they claim to
have been violated by that statute. This Court, however, is not compelled to
speculate and to imagine how the assailed legislation may possibly offend
some provision of the Constitution. The Court notes, further, in this respect that

11
petitioners have in the main put in question the wisdom, justice and
expediency of the establishment of the OPSF, issues which are not properly
addressed to this Court and which this Court may not constitutionally pass
upon. Those issues should be addressed rather to the political departments of
government: the President and the Congress.
Parenthetically, We wish to state that gambling is generally immoral, and this is precisely so when
the gambling resorted to is excessive. This excessiveness necessarily depends not only on the
financial resources of the gambler and his family but also on his mental, social, and spiritual outlook
on life. However, the mere fact that some persons may have lost their material fortunes, mental
control, physical health, or even their lives does not necessarily mean that the same are directly
attributable to gambling. Gambling may have been the antecedent,but certainly not necessarily the
cause. For the same consequences could have been preceded by an overdose of food, drink,
exercise, work, and even sex.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.SO ORDERED.

KIDA V SENATE
On June 30, 2011, Republic Act (RA) No. 10153, entitled An Act Providing for the Synchronization
of the Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the National and
Local Elections and for Other Purposes was enacted. The law reset the ARMM elections from the
8th of August 2011, to the second Monday of May 2013 and every three (3) years thereafter, to
coincide with the countrys regular national and local elections. The law as well granted the
President the power to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) for the Office of the Regional Governor,
the Regional Vice-Governor, and the Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly, who shall
perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013
elections shall have qualified and assumed office.
Even before its formal passage, the bills that became RA No. 10153 already spawned petitions
against their validity; House Bill No. 4146 and Senate Bill No. 2756 were challenged in petitions
filed with this Court. These petitions multiplied after RA No. 10153 was passed.
Factual Antecedents
The State, through Sections 15 to 22, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, mandated the creation of
autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Section 15 states:
Section 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao 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 within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as
well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
Section 18 of the Article, on the other hand, directed Congress to enact an organic act for these
autonomous regions to concretely carry into effect the granted autonomy.
Section 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 list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The organic act shall
define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and
legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political

units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family and property
law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.
The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes
cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces,
cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous
region.
On August 1, 1989 or two years after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution, Congress acted
through Republic Act (RA) No. 6734 entitled An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. A plebiscite was held on November 6, 1990 as required
by Section 18(2), Article X of RA No. 6734, thus fully establishing the Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The initially assenting provinces were Lanaodel Sur, Maguindanao,
Sulu and Tawi-tawi. RA No. 6734 scheduled the first regular elections for the regional officials of
the ARMM on a date not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after its ratification.
RA No. 9054 (entitled An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 6734, entitled An Act
Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as Amended) was the next legislative
act passed. This law provided further refinement in the basic ARMM structure first defined in the
original organic act, and reset the regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second
Monday of September 2001.
Congress passed the next law affecting ARMM RA No. 9140[1] - on June 22, 2001. This law reset
the first regular elections originally scheduled under RA No. 9054, toNovember 26, 2001. It
likewise set the plebiscite to ratify RA No. 9054 to not later than August 15, 2001.
RA No. 9054 was ratified in a plebiscite held on August 14, 2001.
The province of Basilan and Marawi City voted to join ARMM on the same date.
RA No. 9333[2] was subsequently passed by Congress to reset the ARMM regional elections to the
2nd Monday of August 2005, and on the same date every 3 years thereafter. Unlike RA No. 6734
and RA No. 9054, RA No. 9333 was not ratified in a plebiscite.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333, the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8,
2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of
candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. But on June 30, 2011, RA No. 10153 was
enacted, resetting the ARMM elections to May 2013, to coincide with the regular national and local
elections of the country.
RA No. 10153 originated in the House of Representatives as House Bill (HB) No. 4146, seeking the
postponement of the ARMM elections scheduled on August 8, 2011. On March 22, 2011, the House
of Representatives passed HB No. 4146, with one hundred ninety one (191) Members voting in its
favor.
After the Senate received HB No. 4146, it adopted its own version, Senate Bill No. 2756 (SB No.
2756), on June 6, 2011. Thirteen (13) Senators voted favorably for its passage. On June 7, 2011,
the House of Representative concurred with the Senate amendments, and on June 30, 2011, the
President signed RA No. 10153 into law.
As mentioned, the early challenge to RA No. 10153 came through a petition filed with this Court
G.R. No. 196271[3] - assailing the constitutionality of both HB No. 4146 and SB No. 2756, and
challenging the validity of RA No. 9333 as well for non-compliance with the constitutional plebiscite
requirement. Thereafter, petitioner BasariMapupuno in G.R. No. 196305 filed another petition[4] also
assailing the validity of RA No. 9333.

12
With the enactment into law of RA No. 10153, the COMELEC stopped its preparations for the
ARMM elections. The law gave rise as well to the filing of the following petitions against its
constitutionality:
a) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition[5] filed by Rep. EdcelLagman as a member of
the House of Representatives against Paquito Ochoa, Jr. (in his capacity as the Executive
Secretary) and the COMELEC, docketed as G.R. No. 197221;
b) Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition[6] filed by Atty. Romulo Macalintal as a
taxpayer against the COMELEC, docketed as G.R. No. 197282;
c) Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus, Injunction and Preliminary Injunction[7] filed by
Louis Barok Biraogo against the COMELEC and Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr.,
docketed as G.R. No. 197392; and
d) Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus[8] filed by Jacinto Paras as a member of the
House of Representatives against Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. and the COMELEC,
docketed as G.R. No. 197454.
Petitioners AlamarimCentiTillah and DatuCasanConding Cana as registered voters from the
ARMM, with the PartidoDemokratiko Pilipino Lakasng Bayan (a political party with candidates in the
ARMM regional elections scheduled for August 8, 2011), also filed a Petition for Prohibition and
Mandamus[9] against the COMELEC, docketed asG.R. No. 197280, to assail the constitutionality of
RA No. 9140, RA No. 9333 and RA No. 10153.
Subsequently, Anak Mindanao Party-List, Minority Rights Forum Philippines, Inc. and
Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement filed their own Motion for Leave to Admit their Motion for
Intervention and Comment-in-Intervention dated July 18, 2011. On July 26, 2011, the Court granted
the motion. In the same Resolution, the Court ordered the consolidation of all the petitions relating
to the constitutionality of HB No. 4146, SB No. 2756, RA No. 9333, and RA No. 10153.
Oral arguments were held on August 9, 2011 and August 16, 2011. Thereafter, the parties
were instructed to submit their respective memoranda within twenty (20) days.
On September 13, 2011, the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the
implementation of RA No. 10153 and ordering the incumbent elective officials of ARMM to continue
to perform their functions should these cases not be decided by the end of their term on September
30, 2011.
The Arguments
The petitioners assailing RA No. 9140, RA No. 9333 and RA No. 10153 assert that these
laws amend RA No. 9054 and thus, have to comply with the supermajority vote and plebiscite
requirements prescribed under Sections 1 and 3, Article XVII of RA No. 9094 in order to become
effective.
The petitions assailing RA No. 10153 further maintain that it is unconstitutional for its failure
to comply with the three-reading requirement of Section 26(2), Article VI of the Constitution. Also
cited as grounds are the alleged violations of the right of suffrage of the people of ARMM, as well
as the failure to adhere to the elective and representative character of the executive and
legislative departments of the ARMM. Lastly, the petitioners challenged the grant to the President of
the power to appoint OICs to undertake the functions of the elective ARMM officials until the
officials elected under the May 2013 regular elections shall have assumed office. Corrolarily, they
also argue that the power of appointment also gave the President the power of control over the
ARMM, in complete violation of Section 16, Article X of the Constitution.
The Issues
From the parties submissions, the following issues were recognized and argued by the
parties in the oral arguments of August 9 and 16, 2011:

I.
Whether the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections
II. Whether the passage of RA No. 10153 violates Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987
Constitution
III. Whether the passage of RA No. 10153 requires a supermajority vote and plebiscite
A. Does the postponement of the ARMM regular elections constitute an amendment to
Section 7, Article XVIII of RA No. 9054?
B. Does the requirement of a supermajority vote for amendments or revisions to RA No.
9054 violate Section 1 and Section 16(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the corollary
doctrine on irrepealable laws?
C. Does the requirement of a plebiscite apply only in the creation of autonomous
regions under paragraph 2, Section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution?
IV.
Whether RA No. 10153 violates the autonomy granted to the ARMM
V. Whether the grant of the power to appoint OICs violates:
A. Section 15, Article X of the 1987 Constitution
B. Section 16, Article X of the 1987 Constitution
C. Section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution
VI. Whether the proposal to hold special elections is constitutional and legal.
We shall discuss these issues in the order they are presented above.
OUR RULING
We resolve to DISMISS the petitions and thereby UPHOLD the constitutionality of RA No. 10153 in
toto.
I. Synchronization as a recognized constitutional mandate
The respondent Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) argues that the Constitution mandates
synchronization, and in support of this position, cites Sections 1, 2 and 5, Article XVIII (Transitory
Provisions) of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
Section 1. The first elections of Members of the Congress under this Constitution shall be held on
the second Monday of May, 1987.
The first local elections shall be held on a date to be determined by the President, which may be
simultaneous with the election of the Members of the Congress. It shall include the election of all
Members of the city or municipal councils in the Metropolitan Manila area.
Section 2. The Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and the local officials first
elected under this Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992.
Of the Senators elected in the election in 1992, the first twelve obtaining the highest number of
votes shall serve for six year and the remaining twelve for three years.
Xxx
Section 5. The six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice President elected in the February
7, 1986 election is, for purposes of synchronization of elections, hereby extended to noon of June
30, 1992.
The first regular elections for President and Vice-President under this Constitution shall be held on
the second Monday of May, 1992.
We agree with this position.
While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local
elections, the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions
(Article XVIII) of the Constitution,[10] which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission,
by deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought to attain
synchronization of elections.
The objective behind setting a common termination date for all elective officials, done among others
through the shortening the terms of the twelve winning senators with the least number of votes, is
to synchronize the holding of all future elections whether national or local to once every three

13
years.This intention finds full support in the discussions during the Constitutional Commission
deliberations.
These Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of the Transitory Provisions
of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional mandate to hold synchronized
national and local elections, starting the second Monday of May, 1992 and for all the following
elections.
This Court was not left behind in recognizing the synchronization of the national and local elections
as a constitutional mandate. In Osmea v. Commission on Elections,[14] we explained
It is clear from the aforequoted provisions of the 1987 Constitution that the terms of office of
Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, the local officials, the President and the VicePresident have been synchronized to end on the same hour, date and year noon of June 30,
1992.
It is likewise evident from the wording of the above-mentioned Sections that the term
of synchronization is used synonymously as the phrase holding simultaneously since this is the
precise intent in terminating their Office Tenure on the same day or occasion. This common
termination date will synchronize future elections to once every three years (Bernas, the
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, p. 605).
That the election for Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and the local officials
(under Sec. 2, Art. XVIII) will have to be synchronized with the election for President and Vice
President (under Sec. 5, Art. XVIII) is likewise evident from the x xx records of the proceedings in
the Constitutional Commission. [Emphasis supplied.]
Although called regional elections, the ARMM elections should be included among the elections to
be synchronized as it is a local election based on the wording and structure of the Constitution.
A basic rule in constitutional construction is that the words used should be understood in the sense
that they have in common use and given their ordinary meaning, except when technical terms are
employed, in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. As this Court explained
in People v. Derilo, [a]s the Constitution is not primarily a lawyers document, its language should
be understood in the sense that it may have in common. Its words should be given their ordinary
meaning except where technical terms are employed.
Understood in its ordinary sense, the word local refers to something that primarily serves
the needs of a particular limited district, often a community or minor political subdivision. Regional
elections in the ARMM for the positions of governor, vice-governor and regional assembly
representatives obviously fall within this classification, since they pertain to the elected officials who
will serve within the limited region of ARMM.
From the perspective of the Constitution, autonomous regions are considered one of the forms of
local governments, as evident from Article X of the Constitution entitled Local
Government. Autonomous regions are established and discussed under Sections 15 to 21 of this
Article the article wholly devoted to Local Government. That an autonomous region is considered
a form of local government is also reflected in Section 1, Article X of the Constitution, which
provides:
Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the
provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim
Mindanao, and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.
Thus, we find the contention that the synchronization mandated by the Constitution does not
include the regional elections of the ARMM unmeritorious. We shall refer to synchronization in the
course of our discussions below, as this concept permeates the consideration of the various issues
posed in this case and must be recalled time and again for its complete resolution.

II. The Presidents Certification on the Urgency of RA No. 10153


The petitioners in G.R. No. 197280 also challenge the validity of RA No. 10153 for its alleged failure
to comply with Section 26(2), Article VI of the Constitutionwhich provides that before bills passed by
either the House or the Senate can become laws, they must pass through three readings on
separate days. The exception is when the President certifies to the necessity of the bills immediate
enactment.
The Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, explained the effect of the Presidents certification
of necessity in the following manner:
The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of
reading the bill on separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity
of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated conditions before
a bill can become a law: [i] the bill has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been
printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is finally approved.
Xxx
That upon the certification of a bill by the President, the requirement of three readings on separate
days and of printing and distribution can be dispensed with is supported by the weight of legislative
practice. For example, the bill defining the certiorari jurisdiction of this Court which, in consolidation
with the Senate version, became Republic Act No. 5440, was passed on second and third readings
in the House of Representatives on the same day [May 14, 1968] after the bill had been certified by
the President as urgent.
In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the
ARMM elections with the national and local elections.Following our Tolentino ruling, the Presidents
certification exempted both the House and the Senate from having to comply with the three
separate readings requirement.
On the follow-up contention that no necessity existed for the immediate enactment of these bills
since there was no public calamity or emergency that had to be met, again we hark back to our
ruling in Tolentino:
The sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or declaration of
martial law Art.VII, Section 18, or the existence of a national emergency justifying the delegation of
extraordinary powers to the President under Art. VI, Section 23(2) is subject to judicial review
because basic rights of individuals may be of hazard. But the factual basis of presidential
certification of bills, which involves doing away with procedural requirements designed to insure
that bills are duly considered by members of Congress, certainly should elicit a different standard of
review. [Emphasis supplied.]
The House of Representatives and the Senate in the exercise of their legislative discretion gave
full recognition to the Presidents certification and promptly enacted RA No. 10153. Under the
circumstances, nothing short of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the two houses of
Congress can justify our intrusion under our power of judicial review.
The petitioners, however, failed to provide us with any cause or justification for this course of
action. Hence, while the judicial department and this Court are not bound by the acceptance of the
President's certification by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, prudent exercise of
our powers and respect due our co-equal branches of government in matters committed to them by
the Constitution, caution a stay of the judicial hand.[22]
In any case, despite the Presidents certification, the two-fold purpose that underlies the
requirement for three readings on separate days of every bill must always be observed to enable
our legislators and other parties interested in pending bills to intelligently respond to

14
them. Specifically, the purpose with respect to Members of Congress is: (1) to inform the
legislators of the matters they shall vote on and (2) to give them notice that a measure is in
progress through the enactment process.
We find, based on the records of the deliberations on the law, that both advocates and the
opponents of the proposed measure had sufficient opportunities to present their views. In this light,
no reason exists to nullify RA No. 10153 on the cited ground.
III. A. RA No. 9333 and RA No. 10153 are not amendments to RA No. 9054
The effectivity of RA No. 9333 and RA No. 10153 has also been challenged because they did not
comply with Sections 1 and 3, Article XVII of RA No. 9054 in amending this law. These provisions
require:
Section 1. Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, this Organic Act may be
reamended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the
Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately.
Section 3. Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when
approved by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose, which shall be held
not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment
or revision.
We find no merit in this contention
In the first place, neither RA No. 9333 nor RA No. 10153 amends RA No. 9054. As an examination
of these laws will show, RA No. 9054 only provides for the schedule of the first ARMM elections
and does not fix the date of the regular elections. A need therefore existed for the Congress to fix
the date of the subsequent ARMM regular elections, which it did by enacting RA No. 9333 and
thereafter, RA No. 10153. Obviously, these subsequent laws RA No. 9333 and RA No.
10153 cannot be considered amendments to RA No. 9054 as they did not change or revise any
provision in the latter law; they merely filled in a gap in RA No. 9054 or supplemented the law by
providing the date of the subsequent regular elections.
This view that Congress thought it best to leave the determination of the date of succeeding
ARMM elections to legislative discretion finds support in ARMMs recent history.
To recall, RA No. 10153 is not the first law passed that rescheduled the ARMM elections. The First
Organic Act RA No. 6734 not only did not fix the date of the subsequent elections; it did not
even fix the specific date of the first ARMM elections,leaving the date to be fixed in another
legislative enactment. Consequently, RA No. 7647,RA No. 8176,[ RA No. 8746,[ RA No. 8753,and
RA No. 9012 were all enacted by Congress to fix the dates of the ARMM elections. Since these
laws did not change or modify any part or provision of RA No. 6734, they were not amendments to
this latter law. Consequently, there was no need to submit them to any plebiscite for ratification.
The Second Organic Act RA No. 9054 which lapsed into law on March 31, 2001, provided that
the first elections would be held on the second Monday of September 2001. Thereafter, Congress
passed RA No. 9140[30] to reset the date of the ARMM elections. Significantly, while RA No. 9140
also scheduled the plebiscite for the ratification of the Second Organic Act (RA No. 9054), the new
date of the ARMM regional elections fixed in RA No. 9140 was not among the provisions ratified in
the plebiscite held to approve RA No. 9054. Thereafter, Congress passed RA No. 9333, which
further reset the date of the ARMM regional elections. Again, this law was not ratified through a
plebiscite.
From these legislative actions, we see the clear intention of Congress to treat the laws which fix the
date of the subsequent ARMM elections as separate and distinct from the Organic Acts. Congress
only acted consistently with this intent when it passed RA No. 10153 without requiring compliance
with the amendment prerequisites embodied in Section 1 and Section 3, Article XVII of RA No.
9054.

III. B. Supermajority voting requirement unconstitutional for giving RA No. 9054 the
character of an irrepealable law
Even assuming that RA No. 9333 and RA No. 10153 did in fact amend RA No. 9054, the
supermajority (2/3) voting requirement required under Section 1, Article XVII of RA No. 9054has to
be struck down for giving RA No. 9054 the character of an irrepealable law by requiring more than
what the Constitution demands.
Section 16(2), Article VI of the Constitution provides that a majority of each House shall constitute
a quorum to do business. In other words, as long as majority of the members of the House of
Representatives or the Senate are present, these bodies have the quorum needed to conduct
business and hold session. Within a quorum, a vote of majority is generally sufficient to enact laws
or approve acts.
In contrast, Section 1, Article XVII of RA No. 9054 requires a vote of no less than two-thirds (2/3) of
the Members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, voting separately, in order to
effectively amend RA No. 9054. Clearly, this 2/3 voting requirement is higher than what the
Constitution requires for the passage of bills, and served to restrain the plenary powers of
Congress to amend, revise or repeal the laws it had passed. The Courts pronouncement in City of
Davao v. GSIS[33] on this subject best explains the basis and reason for the unconstitutionality:
Moreover, it would be noxious anathema to democratic principles for a legislative body to have the
ability to bind the actions of future legislative body, considering that both assemblies are regarded
with equal footing, exercising as they do the same plenary powers. Perpetual infallibility is not one
of the attributes desired in a legislative body, and a legislature which attempts to forestall future
amendments or repeals of its enactments labors under delusions of omniscience.
xxx
A state legislature has a plenary law-making power over all subjects, whether pertaining to persons
or things, within its territorial jurisdiction, either to introduce new laws or repeal the old, unless
prohibited expressly or by implication by the federal constitution or limited or restrained by its own.
It cannot bind itself or its successors by enacting irrepealable laws except when so restrained.
Every legislative body may modify or abolish the acts passed by itself or its predecessors. This
power of repeal may be exercised at the same session at which the original act was passed; and
even while a bill is in its progress and before it becomes a law. This legislature cannot bind a future
legislature to a particular mode of repeal. It cannot declare in advance the intent of subsequent
legislatures or the effect of subsequent legislation upon existing statutes.
Thus, while a supermajority is not a total ban against a repeal, it is a limitation in excess of what the
Constitution requires on the passage of bills and is constitutionally obnoxious because it
significantly constricts the future legislators room for action and flexibility.
III. C. Section 3, Article XVII of RA No. 9054 excessively enlarged the plebiscite requirement found
in Section 18, Article X of the Constitution
The requirements of RA No. 9054 not only required an unwarranted supermajority, but enlarged as
well the plebiscite requirement, as embodied in its Section 3, Article XVII of that Act. As we did on
the supermajority requirement, we find the enlargement of the plebiscite requirement required
under Section 18, Article X of the Constitution to be excessive to point of absurdity and, hence, a
violation of the Constitution.
Section 18, Article X of the Constitution states that the plebiscite is required only for the creation of
autonomous regions and for determining which provinces, cities and geographic areas will be
included in the autonomous regions. While the settled rule is that amendments to the Organic Act
have to comply with the plebiscite requirement in order to become effective,[35] questions on the

15
extent of the matters requiring ratification may unavoidably arise because of the seemingly general
terms of the Constitution and the obvious absurdity that would result if a plebiscite were to be
required for every statutory amendment.
Section 18, Article X of the Constitution plainly states that The creation of the autonomous region
shall be effective when approved by the majority of the votes case by the constituent units in a
plebiscite called for the purpose. With these wordings as standard, we interpret the requirement to
mean that only amendments to, or revisions of, the Organic Act constitutionally-essential to the
creation of autonomous regions i.e., those aspects specifically mentioned in the Constitution
which Congress must provide for in the Organic Act require ratification through a
plebiscite. These amendments to the Organic Act are those that relate to: (a) the basic structure of
the regional government; (b) the regions judicial system, i.e., the special courts with personal,
family, and property law jurisdiction; and, (c) the grant and extent of the legislative powers
constitutionally conceded to the regional government under Section 20, Article X of the
Constitution.[36]
The date of the ARMM elections does not fall under any of the matters that the Constitution
specifically mandated Congress to provide for in the Organic Act. Therefore, even assuming that
the supermajority votes and the plebiscite requirements are valid, any change in the date of
elections cannot be construed as a substantial amendment of the Organic Act that would require
compliance with these requirements.
IV. The synchronization issue
As we discussed above, synchronization of national and local elections is a constitutional mandate
that Congress must provide for and this synchronization must include the ARMM elections. On this
point, an existing law in fact already exists RA No. 7166 as the forerunner of the current RA No.
10153. RA No. 7166 already provides for the synchronization of local elections with the national
and congressional elections. Thus, what RA No. 10153 provides is an old matter for local
governments (with the exception of barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan elections where the terms
are not constitutionally provided) and is technically a reiteration of what is already reflected in the
law, given that regional elections are in reality local elections by express constitutional recognition.
[37]

To achieve synchronization, Congress necessarily has to reconcile the schedule of the ARMMs
regular elections (which should have been held in August 2011 based on RA No. 9333) with the
fixed schedule of the national and local elections (fixed by RA No. 7166 to be held in May 2013).
During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to
resolve this problem. These options are: (1) to allow the elective officials in the ARMM to remain in
office in a hold over capacity, pursuant to Section 7(1), Article VII of RA No. 9054, until those
elected in the synchronized elections assume office;[38](2) to hold special elections in the ARMM,
with the terms of those elected to expire when those elected in the synchronized elections assume
office; or (3) to authorize the President to appoint OICs, pursuant to Section 3 of RA No. 10153,
also until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office.
As will be abundantly clear in the discussion below, Congress, in choosing to grant the President
the power to appoint OICs, chose the correct option and passed RA No. 10153 as a completely
valid law.
V. The Constitutionality of RA No. 10153
A. Basic Underlying Premises
To fully appreciate the available options, certain underlying material premises must be fully
understood. The first is the extent of the powers of Congress to legislate; thesecond is the
constitutional mandate for the synchronization of elections; and the third is on the concept of
autonomy as recognized and established under the 1987 Constitution.

The grant of legislative power to Congress is broad, general and comprehensive.[39] The legislative
body possesses plenary power for all purposes of civil government.[40] Any power, deemed to be
legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution
has lodged it elsewhere.[41] Except as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly,
legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to all matters of general concern or common
interest
The constitutional limitations on legislative power are either express or implied. The express
limitations are generally provided in some provisions of the Declaration of Principles and State
Policies (Article 2) and in the provisions Bill of Rights (Article 3). Other constitutional provisions
(such as the initiative and referendum clause of Article 6, Sections 1 and 32, and the autonomy
provisions of Article X) provide their own express limitations. The implied limitations are found in
the evident purpose which was in view and the circumstances and historical events which led to the
enactment of the particular provision as a part of organic law
The constitutional provisions on autonomy specifically, Sections 15 to 21 of Article X of the
Constitution constitute express limitations on legislative power as they define autonomy, its
requirements and its parameters, thus limiting what is otherwise the unlimited power of Congress to
legislate on the governance of the autonomous region.
Of particular relevance to the issues of the present case are the limitations posed by the prescribed
basic structure of government i.e., that the government must have an executive department and a
legislative assembly, both of which must be elective and representative of the constituent political
units; national government, too, must not encroach on the legislative powers granted under Section
20, Article X. Conversely and as expressly reflected in Section 17, Article X, all powers and
functions not granted by this Constitution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in
the National Government.
The totality of Sections 15 to 21 of Article X should likewise serve as a standard that Congress
must observe in dealing with legislation touching on the affairs of the autonomous regions. The
terms of these sections leave no doubt on what the Constitution intends the idea of self-rule or
self-government, in particular, the power to legislate on a wide array of social, economic and
administrative matters. But equally clear under these provisions are the permeating principles of
national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic, as expressed in the above-quoted
Section 17 and in Section 15. In other words, the Constitution and the supporting jurisprudence, as
they now stand, reject the notion of imperium etimperioin the relationship between the national and
the regional governments.
In relation with synchronization, both autonomy and the synchronization of national and local
elections are recognized and established constitutional mandates, with one being as compelling as
the other. If their compelling force differs at all, the difference is in their coverage; synchronization
operates on and affects the whole country, while regional autonomy as the term suggests
directly carries a narrower regional effect although its national effect cannot be discounted.
These underlying basic concepts characterize the powers and limitations of Congress when it acted
on RA No. 10153. To succinctly describe the legal situation that faced Congress then, its decision
to synchronize the regional elections with the national, congressional and all other local elections
(save for barangay and sangguniangkabataan elections) left it with the problem of how to provide
the ARMM with governance in the intervening period between the expiration of the term of those
elected in August 2008 and the assumption to office twenty-one (21) months away of those who
will win in the synchronized elections on May 13, 2013.

16
The problem, in other words, was for interim measures for this period, consistent with the terms of
the Constitution and its established supporting jurisprudence, and with the respect due to the
concept of autonomy. Interim measures, to be sure, is not a strange phenomenon in the Philippine
legal landscape. The Constitutions Transitory Provisions themselves collectively provide measures
for transition from the old constitution to the new and for the introduction of new concepts. As
previously mentioned, the adjustment of elective terms and of elections towards the goal of
synchronization first transpired under the Transitory Provisions. The adjustments, however, failed
to look far enough or deeply enough, particularly into the problems that synchronizing regional
autonomous elections would entail; thus, the present problem is with us today.
The creation of local government units also represents instances when interim measures are
required. In the creation of Quezon del Sur and Dinagat Islands, the creating statutes authorized
the President to appoint an interim governor, vice-governor and members of
the sangguniangpanlalawigan although these positions are essentially elective in character; the
appointive officials were to serve until a new set of provincial officials shall have been elected and
qualified.[50] A similar authority to appoint is provided in the transition of a local government from a
sub-province to a province.
In all these, the need for interim measures is dictated by necessity; out-of-the-way arrangements
and approaches were adopted or used in order to adjust to the goal or objective in sight in a
manner that does not do violence to the Constitution and to reasonably accepted norms. Under
these limitations, the choice of measures was a question of wisdom left to congressional
discretion.
To return to the underlying basic concepts, these concepts shall serve as the guideposts and
markers in our discussion of the options available to Congress to address the problems brought
about by the synchronization of the ARMM elections, properly understood as interim measures that
Congress had to provide. The proper understanding of the options as interim measures assume
prime materiality as it is under these terms that the passage of RA No. 10153 should be measured,
i.e., given the constitutional objective of synchronization that cannot legally be faulted, did
Congress gravely abuse its discretion or violate the Constitution when it addressed through RA No.
10153 the concomitant problems that the adjustment of elections necessarily brought with it?
B. Holdover Option is Unconstitutional
We rule out the first option holdover for those who were elected in executive and legislative
positions in the ARMM during the 2008-2011 term as an option that Congress could have chosen
because a holdover violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This provision states:
Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which
shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. [emphases ours]
Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and bound by the three-year term
limit prescribed by the Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover. As this Court
put in Osmea v. COMELEC:[
It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they shall hold
over until their successors are elected and qualified where the constitution has in effect or by clear
implication prescribed the term and when the Constitution fixes the day on which the official term
shall begin, there is no legislative authority to continue the office beyond that period, even though
the successors fail to qualify within the time.
In American Jurisprudence it has been stated as follows:

It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to fill an
office the term of which is limited by the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the
period as limited by the Constitution. [Emphasis ours.]
Independently of the Osmea ruling, the primacy of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land
dictates that where the Constitution has itself made a determination or given its mandate, then the
matters so determined or mandated should be respected until the Constitution itself is changed by
amendment or repeal through the applicable constitutional process. A necessary corollary is that
none of the three branches of government can deviate from the constitutional mandate except only
as the Constitution itself may allow.[53] If at all, Congress may only pass legislation filing in details to
fully operationalize the constitutional command or to implement it by legislation if it is non-selfexecuting; this Court, on the other hand, may only interpret the mandate if an interpretation is
appropriate and called for.[54]
In the case of the terms of local officials, their term has been fixed clearly and unequivocally,
allowing no room for any implementing legislation with respect to the fixed term itself and no
vagueness that would allow an interpretation from this Court. Thus, the term of three years for local
officials should stay at three (3) years as fixed by the Constitution and cannot be extended by
holdover by Congress.
If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by
Congress, the net result is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the
new term. This view like the extension of the elective term is constitutionally infirm because
Congress cannot do indirectly what it cannot do directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively
extend the term of the incumbents. Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done
indirectly, then all laws would be illusory.[55] Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively
appoint the occupant of the position for the new term. This is effectively an act of appointment by
Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional appointment power of the
President.[56] Hence, holdover whichever way it is viewed is a constitutionally infirm option that
Congress could not have undertaken.
Jurisprudence, of course, is not without examples of cases where the question of holdover
was brought before, and given the imprimatur of approval by, this Court. The present case though
differs significantly from past cases with contrary rulings, particularly from Sambarani v. COMELEC,
[57]
Adap v. Comelec,[58] and Montesclaros v. Comelec,[59] where the Court ruled that the elective
officials could hold on to their positions in a hold over capacity.
All these past cases refer to elective barangay or sangguniangkabataan officials whose terms of
office are not explicitly provided for in the Constitution; the present case, on the other hand,
refers to local elective officials the ARMM Governor, the ARMM Vice-Governor, and the members
of the Regional Legislative Assembly whose terms fall within the three-year term limit set by
Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. Because of their constitutionally limited term, Congress
cannot legislate an extension beyond the term for which they were originally elected.
Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and there had been statutory basis for
it (namely Section 7, Article VII of RA No. 9054) in the past,[60] we have to remember that the rule of
holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the
contrary exists; it cannot apply where such contrary intent is evident. [61]
Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of suppressing
the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this provision. The
deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise
of its plenary legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or

17
expediency of legislation,[62] except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of
discretion results.
C. The COMELEC has no authority to order special elections
Another option proposed by the petitioner in G.R. No. 197282 is for this Court to compel
COMELEC to immediately conduct special elections pursuant to Section 5 and 6 of Batas
PambansaBilang (BP) 881.
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature, as evident from, and
exemplified by, the following provisions of the Constitution:
Section 8, Article VI, applicable to the legislature, provides:
Section 8. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the Senators and the
Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. [Emphasis
ours]
Section 4(3), Article VII, with the same tenor but applicable solely to the President and VicePresident, states:
xxxx
Section 4. xxx Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election for President and VicePresident shall be held on the second Monday of May. [Emphasis ours]
while Section 3, Article X, on local government, provides:
Section 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for xxx the
qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties
of local officials[.] [Emphases ours]
These provisions support the conclusion that no elections may be held on any other date for the
positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local officials, except when so
provided by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress may
have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the details in the execution of
that power.[63]
Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011
elections and setting another date May 13, 2011 for regional elections synchronized with the
presidential, congressional and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itself has made a
policy decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom thatit shall not call special elections as an
adjustment measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections.
After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by
ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. This Court, particularly, cannot
make this call without thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating. To be
sure, the Court is not without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being
unconstitutional or for having been exercised in grave abuse of discretion.[64] But our power rests
on very narrow ground and is merely to annul a contravening act of Congress; it is not to supplant
the decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress itself should have done in the exercise of
its legislative powers. Thus, contrary to what the petition in G.R. No. 197282 urges, we cannot
compel COMELEC to call for special elections.

Furthermore, we have to bear in mind that the constitutional power of the COMELEC, in contrast
with the power of Congress to call for, and to set the date of, elections, is limited to enforcing and
administering all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. [65] Statutorily,
COMELEC has no power to call for the holding of special elections unless pursuant to a specific
statutory grant. True, Congress did grant, via Sections 5 and 6 of BP 881, COMELEC with the
power to postpone elections to another date. However, this power is limited to, and can only be
exercised within, the specific terms and circumstances provided for in the law. We quote:
Section 5. Postponement of election. - When for any serious cause such
as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure,
and other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election
should become impossible in any political subdivision, the Commission, motuproprio or upon a
verified petition by any interested party, and after due notice and hearing, whereby all interested
parties are afforded equal opportunity to be heard, shall postpone the election therein to a date
which should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted
in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause for such
postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect.
Section 6.Failure of election. - If, on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other
analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed, or had
been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and
during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass
thereof, such election results in a failure to elect, and in any of such cases the failure or suspension
of election would affect the result of the election, the Commission shall, on the basis of a verified
petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing, call for the holding or continuation
of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close
to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later
than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the
election or failure to elect. [Emphasis ours]
A close reading of Section 5 of BP 881 reveals that it is meant to address instances where elections
have already been scheduled to take place but have to be postponedbecause of (a) violence, (b)
terrorism, (c) loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, (d) force majeure, and (e)
other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election
should become impossible in any political subdivision. Under the principle of ejusdem generis, the
term analogous causes will be restricted to those unforeseen or unexpected events that prevent
the holding of the scheduled elections. These analogous causes are further defined by the phrase
of such nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election should become impossible.
Similarly, Section 6 of BP 881 applies only to those situations where elections have already been
scheduled but do not take place because of (a) force majeure, (b)violence, (c) terrorism, (d) fraud,
or (e) other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date
fixed, or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the
voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or
canvass thereof, such election results in a failure to elect. As in Section 5 of BP 881, Section 6
addresses instances where the elections do not occur or had to be suspended because
of unexpectedand unforeseen circumstances.
In the present case, the postponement of the ARMM elections is by law i.e., by congressional
policy and is pursuant to the constitutional mandate of synchronization of national and local
elections. By no stretch of the imagination can these reasons be given the same character as the
circumstances contemplated by Section 5 or Section 6 of BP 881, which all pertain to extralegal
causes that obstruct the holding of elections. Courts, to be sure, cannot enlarge the scope of a

18
statute under the guise of interpretation, nor include situations not provided nor intended by the
lawmakers.[66] Clearly, neither Section 5 nor Section 6 of BP 881 can apply to the present case and
this Court has absolutely no legal basis to compel the COMELEC to hold special elections.

appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of
departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. [emphasis ours]
This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. These are:

D. The Court has no power to shorten the terms of elective officials


Even assuming that it is legally permissible for the Court to compel the COMELEC to hold special
elections, no legal basis likewise exists to rule that the newly elected ARMM officials shall hold
office only until the ARMM officials elected in the synchronized elections shall have assumed
office.
In the first place, the Court is not empowered to adjust the terms of elective officials. Based on the
Constitution, the power to fix the term of office of elective officials, which can be exercised only in
the case of barangay officials,[67] is specifically given to Congress. Even Congress itself may be
denied such power, as shown when the Constitution shortened the terms of twelve Senators
obtaining the least votes,[68] and extended the terms of the President and the Vice-President[69] in
order to synchronize elections; Congress was not granted this same power. The settled rule is that
terms fixed by the Constitution cannot be changed by mere statute. [70] More particularly, not even
Congress and certainly not this Court, has the authority to fix the terms of elective local officials in
the ARMM for less, or more, than the constitutionally mandated three years[71] as this tinkering
would directly contravene Section 8, Article X of the Constitution as we ruled in Osmena.
Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a
holdover, the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years
that the Constitution itself commands. This is what will happen a term of less than two years if
a call for special elections shall prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved, the result is at
the cost of a violation of an express provision of the Constitution.
Neither we nor Congress can opt to shorten the tenure of those officials to be elected in the ARMM
elections instead of acting on their term (where the term means the time during which the officer
may claim to hold office as of right and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall
succeed one another, while the tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually
holds the office).[72] As with the fixing of the elective term, neither Congress nor the Court has any
legal basis to shorten the tenure of elective ARMM officials. They would commit an unconstitutional
act and gravely abuse their discretion if they do so.
E. The Presidents Power to Appoint OICs
The above considerations leave only Congress chosen interim measure RA No. 10153 and the
appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period
pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law as the only measure that Congress can make. This
choice itself, however, should be examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity.
At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the limitations on or
qualifications to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or
qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized.[73] The appointing power is embodied
in Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, which states:
Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on
Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public
ministers and consuls or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and
other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all
other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and
those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the

First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls;
officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other
officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution;
Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by
law;
Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President
alone.[74]
Since the Presidents authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153, it falls under the third
group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution. Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis.
If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under Section
3 of RA No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and
legislative officials to be elective and representative of the constituent political units. This
requirement indeed is an express limitation whose non-observance in the assailed law leaves the
appointment of OICs constitutionally defective.
After fully examining the issue, we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent
than real and becomes very real only if RA No. 10153 were to bemistakenly read as a law that
changes the elective and representative character of ARMM positions. RA No. 10153, however,
does not in any way amend what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054) sets outs in terms of
structure of governance. What RA No. 10153 in fact only does is to appoint officers-in-charge for
the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional
Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials
duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office. This power is far
different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the abbreviated term ending on the assumption
to office of the officials elected in the May 2013 elections.
As we have already established in our discussion of the supermajority and plebiscite requirements,
the legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No. 9054. RA No. 10153, in fact, provides
only for synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile
prevail. And this is how RA No. 10153 should be read in the manner it was written and based on
its unambiguous facial terms.[75] Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an
interim measure responding to the adjustments that the synchronization requires.
Thus, the appropriate question to ask is whether the interim measure is an unreasonable move for
Congress to adopt, given the legal situation that the synchronization unavoidably brought with it. In
more concrete terms and based on the above considerations, given the plain unconstitutionality of
providing for a holdover and the unavailability of constitutional possibilities for lengthening or
shortening the term of the elected ARMM officials, is the choice of the Presidents power to appoint
for a fixed and specific period as an interim measure, and as allowed under Section 16, Article VII
of the Constitution an unconstitutional or unreasonable choice for Congress to make?

19
Admittedly, the grant of the power to the President under other situations or where the power of
appointment would extend beyond the adjustment period for synchronization would be to foster a
government that is not democratic and republican. For then, the peoples right to choose the
leaders to govern them may be said to besystemically withdrawn to the point of fostering an
undemocratic regime. This is the grant that would frontally breach the elective and representative
governance requirement of Section 18, Article X of the Constitution.
But this conclusion would not be true under the very limited circumstances contemplated in RA No.
10153 where the period is fixed and, more importantly, the terms of governance both under
Section 18, Article X of the Constitution and RA No. 9054 will not systemically be touched nor
affected at all. To repeat what has previously been said, RA No. 9054 will govern unchanged and
continuously, with full effect in accordance with the Constitution, save only for the interim and
temporary measures that synchronization of elections requires.
Viewed from another perspective, synchronization will temporarily disrupt the election process in a
local community, the ARMM, as well as the communitys choice of leaders, but this will take place
under a situation of necessity and as an interim measure in the manner that interim measures have
been adopted and used in the creation of local government units[76] and the adjustments of subprovinces to the status of provinces.[77] These measures, too, are used in light of the wider national
demand for the synchronization of elections (considered vis--vis the regional interests
involved). The adoption of these measures, in other words, is no different from the exercise by
Congress of the inherent police power of the State, where one of the essential tests is the
reasonableness of the interim measure taken in light of the given circumstances.
Furthermore, the representative character of the chosen leaders need not necessarily be affected
by the appointment of OICs as this requirement is really a function of the appointment process; only
the elective aspect shall be supplanted by the appointment of OICs. In this regard, RA No. 10153
significantly seeks to address concerns arising from the appointments by providing, under Sections
3, 4 and 5 of the assailed law, concrete terms in the Appointment of OIC, the Manner and
Procedure of Appointing OICs, and their Qualifications.
Based on these considerations, we hold that RA No. 10153 viewed in its proper context is a law
that is not violative of the Constitution (specifically, its autonomy provisions), and one that is
reasonable as well under the circumstances.
VI. Other Constitutional Concerns

Given that the incumbent ARMM elective officials cannot continue to act in a holdover capacity
upon the expiration of their terms, and this Court cannot compel the COMELEC to conduct special
elections, the Court now has to deal with the dilemma of a vacuum in governance in the ARMM.
To emphasize the dire situation a vacuum brings, it should not be forgotten that a period of 21
months or close to 2 years intervenes from the time that the incumbent ARMM elective officials
terms expired and the time the new ARMM elective officials begin their terms in 2013. As the
lessons of our Mindanao history past and current teach us, many developments, some of them
critical and adverse, can transpire in the countrys Muslim areas in this span of time in the way they
transpired in the past.[78] Thus, it would be reckless to assume that the presence of an acting
ARMM Governor, an acting Vice-Governor and a fully functioning Regional Legislative Assembly
can be done away with even temporarily. To our mind, the appointment of OICs under the present
circumstances is an absolute necessity.
Significantly, the grant to the President of the power to appoint OICs to undertake the functions of
the elective members of the Regional Legislative Assembly is neither novel nor innovative. We
hark back to our earlier pronouncement in Menzon v. Petilla, etc., et al.:[79]
It may be noted that under Commonwealth Act No. 588 and the Revised Administrative Code of
1987, the President is empowered to make temporary appointments in certain public offices, in
case of any vacancy that may occur. Albeit both laws deal only with the filling of vacancies in
appointive positions. However, in the absence of any contrary provision in the Local Government
Code and in the best interest of public service, we see no cogent reason why the procedure thus
outlined by the two laws may not be similarly applied in the present case. The respondents contend
that the provincial board is the correct appointing power. This argument has no merit. As between
the President who has supervision over local governments as provided by law and the members of
the board who are junior to the vice-governor, we have no problem ruling in favor of the President,
until the law provides otherwise.
A vacancy creates an anomalous situation and finds no approbation under the law for it deprives
the constituents of their right of representation and governance in their own local government.
In a republican form of government, the majority rules through their chosen few, and if one of them
is incapacitated or absent, etc., the management of governmental affairs is, to that extent, may be
hampered. Necessarily, there will be a consequent delay in the delivery of basic services to the
people of Leyte if the Governor or the Vice-Governor is missing.[80](Emphasis ours.)

Outside of the above concerns, it has been argued during the oral arguments that upholding the
constitutionality of RA No. 10153 would set a dangerous precedent of giving the President the
power to cancel elections anywhere in the country, thus allowing him to replace elective officials
with OICs.
This claim apparently misunderstands that an across-the-board cancellation of elections is a matter
for Congress, not for the President, to address. It is a power that falls within the powers of
Congress in the exercise of its legislative powers. Even Congress, as discussed above, is limited
in what it can legislatively undertake with respect to elections.

As in Menzon, leaving the positions of ARMM Governor, Vice Governor, and members of the
Regional Legislative Assembly vacant for 21 months, or almost 2 years, would clearly cause
disruptions and delays in the delivery of basic services to the people, in the proper management of
the affairs of the regional government, and in responding to critical developments that may arise.
When viewed in this context, allowing the President in the exercise of his constitutionallyrecognized appointment power to appoint OICs is, in our judgment, a reasonable measure to take.

If RA No. 10153 cancelled the regular August 2011 elections, it was for a very specific and limited
purpose the synchronization of elections. It was a temporary means to a lasting end the
synchronization of elections. Thus, RA No. 10153 and the support that the Court gives this
legislation are likewise clear and specific, and cannot be transferred or applied to any other cause
for the cancellation of elections. Any other localized cancellation of elections and call for special
elections can occur only in accordance with the power already delegated by Congress to the
COMELEC, as above discussed.

It is further argued that while synchronization may be constitutionally mandated, it cannot be used
to defeat or to impede the autonomy that the Constitution granted to the ARMM. Phrased in this
manner, one would presume that there exists a conflict between two recognized Constitutional
mandates synchronization and regional autonomy such that it is necessary to choose one over
the other.

B. Autonomy in the ARMM

We find this to be an erroneous approach that violates a basic principle in constitutional


construction utmagisvaleat quam pereat: that the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole,

20
[81]

and one mandate should not be given importance over the other except where the primacy of
one over the other is clear.[82] We refer to the Courts declaration in Ang-Angco v. Castillo, et al.,
[83]
thus:
A provision of the constitution should not be construed in isolation from the rest. Rather, the
constitution must be interpreted as a whole, and apparently, conflicting provisions should be
reconciled and harmonized in a manner that may give to all of them full force and effect. [Emphasis
supplied.]
Synchronization is an interest that is as constitutionally entrenched as regional autonomy. They are
interests that this Court should reconcile and give effect to, in the way that Congress did in RA No.
10153 which provides the measure to transit to synchronized regional elections with the least
disturbance on the interests that must be respected. Particularly, regional autonomy will be
respected instead of being sidelined, as the law does not in any way alter, change or modify its
governing features, except in a very temporary manner and only as necessitated by the attendant
circumstances.
Elsewhere, it has also been argued that the ARMM elections should not be synchronized
with the national and local elections in order to maintain the autonomy of the ARMM and insulate its
own electoral processes from the rough and tumble of nationwide and local elections. This
argument leaves us far from convinced of its merits.
As heretofore mentioned and discussed, while autonomous regions are granted political autonomy,
the framers of the Constitution never equated autonomy with independence. The ARMM as a
regional entity thus continues to operate within the larger framework of the State and is still subject
to the national policies set by the national government, save only for those specific areas reserved
by the Constitution for regional autonomous determination. As reflected during the constitutional
deliberations of the provisions on autonomous regions:
Mr. Bennagen. xxx We do not see here a complete separation from the central government, but
rather an efficient working relationship between the autonomous region and the central
government. We see this as an effective partnership, not a separation.
Mr. Romulo. Therefore, complete autonomy is not really thought of as complete independence.
Mr. Ople. We define it as a measure of self-government within the larger political framework of the
nation.[84] [Emphasis supplied.]
This exchange of course is fully and expressly reflected in the above-quoted Section 17, Article X of
the Constitution, and by the express reservation under Section 1 of the same Article that autonomy
shall be within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as the
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
Interestingly, the framers of the Constitution initially proposed to remove Section 17 of Article X,
believing it to be unnecessary in light of the enumeration of powers granted to autonomous regions
in Section 20, Article X of the Constitution. Upon further reflection, the framers decided to reinstate
the provision in order to make it clear, once and for all, that these are the limits of the powers of
the autonomous government. Those not enumerated are actually to be exercised by the national
government[.][85] Of note is the Courts pronouncement in Pimentel, Jr. v. Hon. Aguirre[86] which we
quote:
Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy, the national government has not completely
relinquished all its powers over local governments, including autonomous regions. Only
administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political subdivisions. The purpose of the

delegation is to make governance more directly responsive and effective at the local levels. In turn,
economic, political and social development at the smaller political units are expected to propel
social and economic growth and development. But to enable the country to develop as a whole,
the programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a common
national goal. Thus, policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the President and
Congress. [Emphasis ours.]
In other words, the autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be invoked to defeat national policies
and concerns. Since the synchronization of elections is not just a regional concern but a national
one, the ARMM is subject to it; the regional autonomy granted to the ARMM cannot be used to
exempt the region from having to act in accordance with a national policy mandated by no less than
the Constitution.
Conclusion
Congress acted within its powers and pursuant to a constitutional mandate the synchronization of
national and local elections when it enacted RA No. 10153. This Court cannot question the
manner by which Congress undertook this task; the Judiciary does not and cannot pass upon
questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation.[87] As judges, we can only interpret and
apply the law and, despite our doubts about its wisdom, cannot repeal or amend it. [88]
Nor can the Court presume to dictate the means by which Congress should address what is
essentially a legislative problem. It is not within the Courts power to enlarge or abridge laws;
otherwise, the Court will be guilty of usurping the exclusive prerogative of Congress.[89] The
petitioners, in asking this Court to compel COMELEC to hold special elections despite its lack of
authority to do so, are essentially asking us to venture into the realm of judicial legislation, which is
abhorrent to one of the most basic principles of a republican and democratic government the
separation of powers.
The petitioners allege, too, that we should act because Congress acted with grave abuse of
discretion in enacting RA No. 10153. Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of the law as where
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.[90]
We find that Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, acted strictly within its constitutional mandate.
Given an array of choices, it acted within due constitutional bounds and with marked
reasonableness in light of the necessary adjustments that synchronization demands. Congress,
therefore, cannot be accused of any evasion of a positive duty or of a refusal to perform its
duty. We thus find no reason to accord merit to the petitioners claims of grave abuse of discretion.
On the general claim that RA No. 10153 is unconstitutional, we can only reiterate the established
rule that every statute is presumed valid.[91] Congress, thus, has in its favor the presumption of
constitutionality of its acts, and the party challenging the validity of a statute has the onerous task of
rebutting this presumption.[92] Any reasonable doubt about the validity of the law should be resolved
in favor of its constitutionality.[93] As this Court declared in Garcia v. Executive Secretary:[94]
The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume that the acts of
the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing to the
contrary. To doubt is to sustain. This presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers
which enjoins upon each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments.
The theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines, a law has been
carefully studied and determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally
enacted.[95] [Emphasis ours.]

21

Given the failure of the petitioners to rebut the presumption of constitutionality in favor of RA No.
10153, we must support and confirm its validity.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DISMISS the consolidated petitions assailing the validity
of RA No. 10153 for lack of merit, and UPHOLD the constitutionality of this law. We
likewise LIFT the temporary restraining order we issued in our Resolution of September 13,
2011. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

This Circular shall take effect immediately.


Acting on the DBM directive, the Mandaue City Auditor issued notices of disallowance to herein
petitioners, namely, Honorable RTC Judges Mercedes G. Dadole, Ulric R. Caete, Agustin R.
Vestil, Honorable MTC Judges TemistoclesM. Boholst, Vicente C. Fanilag and Wilfredo A. Dagatan,
in excess of the amount authorized by LBC 55. Beginning October, 1994, the additional monthly
allowances of the petitioner judges were reduced to P1,000 each. They were also asked to
reimburse the amount they received in excess of P1,000 from April to September, 1994.
The petitioner judges filed with the Office of the City Auditor a protest against the notices of
disallowance. But the City Auditor treated the protest as a motion for reconsideration and indorsed
the same to the COA Regional Office No. 7. In turn, the COA Regional Office referred the motion to
the head office with a recommendation that the same be denied.
On September 21, 1995, respondent COA rendered a decision denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration. The COA held that:

[G.R. No. 125350. December 3, 2002]


HON. RTC JUDGES MERCEDES G. DADOLE (Executive Judge, Branch 28), ULRIC R.
CAETE (Presiding Judge, Branch 25), AGUSTINE R. VESTIL (Presiding Judge, Branch 56),
HON. MTC JUDGES TEMISTOCLES M. BOHOLST (Presiding Judge, Branch 1), VICENTE C.
FANILAG (Judge Designate, Branch 2), and WILFREDO A. DAGATAN (Presiding Judge,
Branch 3), all of Mandaue City, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT,respondent.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 64 to annul the decision[1] and resolution[2], dated
September 21, 1995 and May 28, 1996, respectively, of the respondent Commission on Audit
(COA) affirming the notices of the Mandaue City Auditor which diminished the monthly additional
allowances received by the petitioner judges of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) stationed in Mandaue City.
The undisputed facts are as follows:
In 1986, the RTC and MTC judges of Mandaue City started receiving monthly allowances
of P1,260 each through the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by the
SangguniangPanlungsod of the said city. In 1991, Mandaue City increased the amount to P1,500
for each judge.
On March 15, 1994, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued the disputed Local
Budget Circular No. 55 (LBC 55) which provided that:
xxx
xxx
xxx
2.3.2. In the light of the authority granted to the local government units under the Local Government
Code to provide for additional allowances and other benefits to national government officials and
employees assigned in their locality, such additional allowances in the form of honorarium at rates
not exceeding P1,000.00 in provinces and cities and P700.00 in municipalities may be
granted subject to the following conditions:
a) That the grant is not mandatory on the part of the LGUs;
b) That all contractual and statutory obligations of the LGU including the implementation
of R.A. 6758 shall have been fully provided in the budget;
c) That the budgetary requirements/limitations under Section 324 and 325 of R.A. 7160
should be satisfied and/or complied with; and
d) That the LGU has fully implemented the devolution of functions/personnel in
accordance with R.A. 7160.[3] (italics supplied)
xxx
xxx
xxx
The said circular likewise provided for its immediate effectivity without need of publication:
5.0 EFFECTIVITY

The issue to be resolved in the instant appeal is whether or not the City Ordinance of
Mandaue which provides a higher rate of allowances to the appellant judges may prevail over that
fixed by the DBM under Local Budget Circular No. 55 dated March 15, 1994.
xxx xxx
xxx
Applying the foregoing doctrine, appropriation ordinance of local government units is subject to the
organizational, budgetary and compensation policies of budgetary authorities (COA 5th Ind., dated
March 17, 1994 re: Province of Antique; COA letter dated May 17, 1994 re: Request of Hon.
Renato Leviste, Cong. 1st Dist. Oriental Mindoro). In this regard, attention is invited to
Administrative Order No. 42 issued on March 3, 1993 by the President of the Philippines clarifying
the role of DBM in the compensation and classification of local government positions under RA No.
7160 vis-avis the provisions of RA No. 6758 in view of the abolition of the JCLGPA. Section 1 of
said Administrative Order provides that:
Section 1. The Department of Budget and Management as the lead administrator of RA
No. 6758 shall, through its Compensation and Position Classification Bureau, continue to have the
following responsibilities in connection with the implementation of the Local Government Code of
1991:
a) Provide guidelines on the classification of local government positions and on the
specific rates of pay therefore;
b) Provide criteria and guidelines for the grant of all allowances and additional forms of
compensation to local government employees; xxx. (underscoring supplied)
To operationalize the aforecited presidential directive, DBM issued LBC No. 55, dated March 15,
1994, whose effectivity clause provides that:
xxx
xxx
xxx
5.0 EFFECTIVITY
This Circular shall take effect immediately.
It is a well-settled rule that implementing rules and regulations promulgated by administrative or
executive officer in accordance with, and as authorized by law, has the force and effect of law or
partake the nature of a statute (Victorias Milling Co., Inc., vs. Social Security Commission, 114 Phil.
555, cited in Agpalos Statutory Construction, 2nd Ed. P. 16; Justice Cruzs Phil. Political Law, 1984
Ed., p. 103; Espanol vs. Phil Veterans Administration, 137 SCRA 314; Antique Sawmills Inc. vs.
Tayco, 17 SCRA 316).
xxx
xxx
xxx
There being no statutory basis to grant additional allowance to judges in excess of P1,000.00
chargeable against the local government units where they are stationed, this Commission finds no
substantial grounds or cogent reason to disturb the decision of the City Auditor, Mandaue City,

22
disallowing in audit the allowances in question. Accordingly, the above-captioned appeal of the
MTC and RTC Judges of Mandaue City, insofar as the same is not covered by Circular Letter No.
91-7, is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
xxx
xxx
xxx[4]
On November 27, 1995, Executive Judge Mercedes Gozo-Dadole, for and in behalf of the
petitioner judges, filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the COA. In a resolution dated
May 28, 1996, the COA denied the motion.
Hence, this petition for certiorari by the petitioner judges, submitting the following questions for
resolution:
I
HAS THE CITY OF MANDAUE STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS TO PROVIDE
ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCES AND OTHER BENEFITS TO JUDGES STATIONED IN AND
ASSIGNED TO THE CITY?
II
CAN AN ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR OR GUIDELINE SUCH AS LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR
NO. 55 RENDER INOPERATIVE THE POWER OF THE LEGISLATIVE BODY OF A CITY BY
SETTING A LIMIT TO THE EXTENT OF THE EXERCISE OF SUCH POWER?
III
HAS THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT CORRECTLY INTERPRETED LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR
NO. 55 TO INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY IN FIXING THE CEILING OF ADDITIONAL
ALLOWANCES AND BENEFITS TO BE PROVIDED TO JUDGES STATIONED IN AND ASSIGNED
TO MANDAUE CITY BY THE CITY GOVERNMENT AT P1,000.00 PER MONTH
NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THEY HAVE BEEN RECEIVING ALLOWANCES OF P1,500.00
MONTHLY FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS?
IV
IS LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. 55 DATED MARCH 15, 1994 ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT VALID AND ENFORCEABLE CONSIDERING
THAT IT WAS NOT DULY PUBLISHED IN ACCODANCE WITH LAW?[5]
Petitioner judges argue that LBC 55 is void for infringing on the local autonomy of Mandaue City by
dictating a uniform amount that a local government unit can disburse as additional allowances to
judges stationed therein. They maintain that said circular is not supported by any law and therefore
goes beyond the supervisory powers of the President. They further allege that said circular is void
for lack of publication.
On the other hand, the yearly appropriation ordinance providing for additional allowances to judges
is allowed by Section 458, par. (a)(1)[xi], of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government
Code of 1991, which provides that:
Sec. 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniangpanlungsod, as the
legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for
the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code and in the
proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this Code,
and shall:
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city
government, and in this connection, shall:
xxx xxx
xxx
(xi) When the finances of the city government allow, provide for additional allowances and other
benefits to judges, prosecutors, public elementary and high school teachers, and other national
government officials stationed in or assigned to the city; (italics supplied)
Instead of filing a comment on behalf of respondent COA, the Solicitor General filed a manifestation
supporting the position of the petitioner judges. The Solicitor General argues that (1) DBM only
enjoys the power to review and determine whether the disbursements of funds were made in
accordance with the ordinance passed by a local government unit while (2) the COA has no more
than auditorial visitation powers over local government units pursuant to Section 348 of RA 7160

which provides for the power to inspect at any time the financial accounts of local government
units.
Moreover, the Solicitor General opines that the DBM and the respondent are only authorized under
RA 7160 to promulgate a Budget Operations Manual for local government units, to improve and
systematize methods, techniques and procedures employed in budget preparation, authorization,
execution and accountability pursuant to Section 354 of RA 7160. The Solicitor General points out
that LBC 55 was not exercised under any of the aforementioned provisions.
Respondent COA, on the other hand, insists that the constitutional and statutory authority of a city
government to provide allowances to judges stationed therein is not absolute. Congress may set
limitations on the exercise of autonomy. It is for the President, through the DBM, to check whether
these legislative limitations are being followed by the local government units.
One such law imposing a limitation on a local government units autonomy is Section 458, par. (a)
(1) [xi], of RA 7160, which authorizes the disbursement of additional allowances and other benefits
to judges subject to the condition that the finances of the city government should allow the same.
Thus, DBM is merely enforcing the condition of the law when it sets a uniform maximum amount for
the additional allowances that a city government can release to judges stationed therein.
Assuming arguendo that LBC 55 is void, respondent COA maintains that the provisions of the
yearly approved ordinance granting additional allowances to judges are still prohibited by the
appropriation laws passed by Congress every year. COA argues that Mandaue City gets the funds
for the said additional allowances of judges from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). But the
General Appropriations Acts of 1994 and 1995 do not mention the disbursement of additional
allowances to judges as one of the allowable uses of the IRA. Hence, the provisions of said
ordinance granting additional allowances, taken from the IRA, to herein petitioner judges are void
for being contrary to law.
To resolve the instant petition, there are two issues that we must address: (1) whether LBC 55 of
the DBM is void for going beyond the supervisory powers of the President and for not having been
published and (2) whether the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by the City of Mandaue that
provides for additional allowances to judges contravenes the annual appropriation laws enacted by
Congress.
We rule in favor of the petitioner judges.
On the first issue, we declare LBC 55 to be null and void.
We recognize that, although our Constitution[6] guarantees autonomy to local government units, the
exercise of local autonomy remains subject to the power of control by Congress and the power of
supervision by the President. Section 4 of Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides
that:
Sec. 4.
The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local
governments. x xx
In Pimentel vs. Aguirre[7], we defined the supervisory power of the President and distinguished it
from the power of control exercised by Congress. Thus:
This provision (Section 4 of Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution) has been interpreted to
exclude the power of control. In Mondano v. Silvosa,[i][5] the Court contrasted the President's power
of supervision over local government officials with that of his power of control over executive
officials of the national government. It was emphasized that the two terms -- supervision and
control -- differed in meaning and extent. The Court distinguished them as follows:

23
"x xx In administrative law, supervision means overseeing 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 as prescribed by law to make them perform their
duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set
aside what a subordinate officer ha[s] done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for that of the latter."[ii][6]
In Taule v. Santos,[iii][7] we further stated that the Chief Executive wielded no more authority than that
of checking whether local governments or their officials were performing their duties as provided by
the fundamental law and by statutes. He cannot interfere with local governments, so long as they
act within the scope of their 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 body,"[iv][8] we said.
In a more recent case, Drilon v. Lim,[v][9] the difference between control and 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 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, but only to conform
to such rules. They may not prescribe their own manner of execution of the act. They have no
discretion on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed.
Under our present system of government, executive power is vested in the President. [vi][10] The
members of the Cabinet and other executive officials are merely alter egos. As such, they are
subject to the power of control of the President, at whose will and behest they can be removed from
office; or their actions and decisions changed, suspended or reversed.[vii][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 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.
Clearly then, the President can only interfere in the affairs and activities of a local government unit if
he or she finds that the latter has acted contrary to law. This is the scope of the Presidents
supervisory powers over local government units. Hence, the President or any of his or her alter
egos cannot interfere in local affairs as long as the concerned local government unit acts within the
parameters of the law and the Constitution. Any directive therefore by the President or any of his or
her alter egos seeking to alter the wisdom of a law-conforming judgment on local affairs of a local
government unit is a patent nullity because it violates the principle of local autonomy and
separation of powers of the executive and legislative departments in governing municipal
corporations.
Does LBC 55 go beyond the law it seeks to implement? Yes.
LBC 55 provides that the additional monthly allowances to be given by a local government unit
should not exceed P1,000 in provinces and cities and P700 in municipalities. Section 458, par. (a)
(1)(xi), of RA 7160, the law that supposedly serves as the legal basis of LBC 55, allows the grant of
additional allowances to judges when the finances of the city government allow. The said
provision does not authorize setting a definite maximum limit to the additional allowances granted
to judges. Thus, we need not belabor the point that the finances of a city government may allow the
grant of additional allowances higher than P1,000 if the revenues of the said city government
exceed its annual expenditures. Thus, to illustrate, a city government with locally generated annual
revenues of P40 million and expenditures of P35 million can afford to grant additional allowances of
more than P1,000 each to, say, ten judges inasmuch as the finances of the city can afford it.

Setting a uniform amount for the grant of additional allowances is an inappropriate way of enforcing
the criterion found in Section 458, par. (a)(1)(xi), of RA 7160. The DBM over-stepped its power of
supervision over local government units by imposing a prohibition that did not correspond with the
law it sought to implement. In other words, the prohibitory nature of the circular had no legal basis.
Furthermore, LBC 55 is void on account of its lack of publication, in violation of our ruling in Taada
vs. Tuvera[8] where we held that:
xxx. Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or
implement existing law pursuant to a valid delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel
of an administrative agency and the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of
the so-called letters of instruction issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or
guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.
Respondent COA claims that publication is not required for LBC 55 inasmuch as it is merely an
interpretative regulation applicable to the personnel of an LGU. We disagree. In De Jesus vs.
Commission on Audit[9] where we dealt with the same issue, this Court declared void, for lack of
publication, a DBM circular that disallowed payment of allowances and other additional
compensation to government officials and employees. In refuting respondent COAs argument that
said circular was merely an internal regulation, we ruled that:
On the need for publication of subject DBM-CCC No. 10, we rule in the affirmative. Following the
doctrine enunciated in Taada v. Tuvera, publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
general circulation in the Philippines is required since DBM-CCC No. 10 is in the nature of an
administrative circular the purpose of which is to enforce or implement an existing law. Stated
differently, to be effective and enforceable, DBM-CCC No. 10 must go through the requisite
publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.
In the present case under scrutiny, it is decisively clear that DBM-CCC No. 10, which completely
disallows payment of allowances and other additional compensation to government officials and
employees, starting November 1, 1989, is not a mere interpretative or internal regulation. It is
something more than that. And why not, when it tends to deprive government workers of their
allowance and additional compensation sorely needed to keep body and soul together. At the very
least, before the said circular under attack may be permitted to substantially reduce their income,
the government officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the
publication of subject circular in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines to the end that they be given amplest opportunity to voice out whatever opposition
they may have, and to ventilate their stance on the matter. This approach is more in keeping with
democratic precepts and rudiments of fairness and transparency. (emphasis supplied)
In Philippine International Trading Corporation vs. Commission on Audit[10], we again declared the
same circular as void, for lack of publication, despite the fact that it was re-issued and then
submitted for publication. Emphasizing the importance of publication to the effectivity of a
regulation, we therein held that:
It has come to our knowledge that DBM-CCC No. 10 has been re-issued in its entirety and
submitted for publication in the Official Gazette per letter to the National Printing Office dated March
9, 1999. Would the subsequent publication thereof cure the defect and retroact to the time that the
above-mentioned items were disallowed in audit?
The answer is in the negative, precisely for the reason that publication is required as a condition
precedent to the effectivity of a law to inform the public of the contents of the law or rules and
regulations before their rights and interests are affected by the same. From the time the COA
disallowed the expenses in audit up to the filing of herein petition the subject circular remained in

24
legal limbo due to its non-publication. As was stated in Taada v. Tuvera, prior publication of laws
before they become effective cannot be dispensed with, for the reason that it would deny the public
knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern it.[11]
We now resolve the second issue of whether the yearly appropriation ordinance enacted by
Mandaue City providing for fixed allowances for judges contravenes any law and should therefore
be struck down as null and void.
According to respondent COA, even if LBC 55 were void, the ordinances enacted by Mandaue City
granting additional allowances to the petitioner judges would still (be) bereft of legal basis for want
of a lawful source of funds considering that the IRA cannot be used for such purposes.
Respondent COA showed that Mandaue Citys funds consisted of locally generated revenues and
the IRA. From 1989 to 1995, Mandaue Citys yearly expenditures exceeded its locally generated
revenues, thus resulting in a deficit. During all those years, it was the IRA that enabled Mandaue
City to incur a surplus. Respondent avers that Mandaue City used its IRA to pay for said additional
allowances and this violated paragraph 2 of the Special Provisions, page 1060, of RA 7845 (The
General Appropriations Act of 1995)[12] and paragraph 3 of the Special Provision, page 1225, of RA
7663 (The General Appropriations Act of 1994)[13] which specifically identified the objects of
expenditure of the IRA. Nowhere in said provisions of the two budgetary laws does it say that the
IRA can be used for additional allowances of judges. Respondent COA thus argues that the
provisions in the ordinance providing for such disbursement are against the law, considering that
the grant of the subject allowances is not within the specified use allowed by the aforesaid yearly
appropriations acts.
We disagree.
Respondent COA failed to prove that Mandaue City used the IRA to spend for the additional
allowances of the judges. There was no evidence submitted by COA showing the breakdown of the
expenses of the city government and the funds used for said expenses. All the COA presented
were the amounts expended, the locally generated revenues, the deficit, the surplus and the IRA
received each year. Aside from these items, no data or figures were presented to show that
Mandaue City deducted the subject allowances from the IRA. In other words, just because
Mandaue Citys locally generated revenues were not enough to cover its expenditures, this did not
mean that the additional allowances of petitioner judges were taken from the IRA and not from the
citys own revenues.
Moreover, the DBM neither conducted a formal review nor ordered a disapproval of Mandaue Citys
appropriation ordinances, in accordance with the procedure outlined by Sections 326 and 327 of
RA 7160 which provide that:
Section 326.Review of Appropriation Ordinances of Provinces, Highly Urbanized Cities,
Independent Component Cities, and Municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area. The
Department of Budget and Management shall review ordinances authorizing the annual or
supplemental appropriations of provinces, highly-urbanized cities, independent component cities,
and municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area in accordance with the immediately
succeeding Section.
Section 327. Review of Appropriation Ordinances of Component Cities and Municipalities.- The
sangguninangpanlalawigan shall review the ordinance authorizing annual or supplemental
appropriations of component cities and municipalities in the same manner and within the same
period prescribed for the review of other ordinances.
If within ninety (90) days from receipt of copies of such ordinance, the sangguniangpanlalawigan
takes no action thereon, the same shall be deemed to have been reviewed in accordance with law
and shall continue to be in full force and effect. (emphasis supplied)

Within 90 days from receipt of the copies of the appropriation ordinance, the DBM should have
taken positive action. Otherwise, such ordinance was deemed to have been properly reviewed and
deemed to have taken effect. Inasmuch as, in the instant case, the DBM did not follow the
appropriate procedure for reviewing the subject ordinance of Mandaue City and allowed the 90-day
period to lapse, it can no longer question the legality of the provisions in the said ordinance
granting additional allowances to judges stationed in the said city.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED, and the assailed decision and resolution, dated
September 21, 1995 and May 28, 1996, respectively, of the Commission on Audit are hereby set
aside.No costs.SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 130775. September 27, 2004]

THE NATIONAL LIGA NG MGA BARANGAY, represented by ALEX L. DAVID in his capacity as
National President and for his own Person, President ALEX L. DAVID, petitioners,
vs. HON. VICTORIA ISABEL A. PAREDES, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 124, Caloocan City, and THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR and LOCAL
GOVERNMENT, represented the HON. SECRETARY ROBERT Z. BARBERS and
MANUEL A. RAYOS, respondents.

[G.R. No. 131939. September 27, 2004]

LEANDRO YANGOT, BONIFACIO LACWASAN and BONY TACIO, petitioners, vs. DILG
Secretary ROBERT Z. BARBERS and DILG Undersecretary MANUEL
SANCHEZ, respondents.
DECISION
Tinga, J.:
At bottom, the present petition inquires into the essential nature of the Liga ng mga
Barangay and questions the extent of the power of Secretary of the Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG), as alter ego of the President. More immediately, the petition disputes
the validity of the appointment of the DILG as the interim caretaker of the Liga ng mga Barangay.
On 11 June 1997, private respondent Manuel A. Rayos [as petitioner therein], Punong
Barangay of Barangay 52, District II, Zone 5, District II, Caloocan City, filed a petition for prohibition
and mandamus, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order
and damages before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan, [1] alleging that respondent therein

25
Alex L. David [now petitioner], Punong Barangay of Barangay 77, Zone 7, Caloocan City and then
president of the Liga Chapter of Caloocan City and of the Liga ng mga Barangay National Chapter,
committed certain irregularities in the notice, venue and conduct of the proposed synchronized Liga
ng mga Barangay elections in 1997. According to the petition, the irregularities consisted of the
following: (1) the publication of the notice in the Manila Bulletin but without notifying in writing the
individual punong barangays of Caloocan City;[2] (2) the Notice of Meeting dated 08 June 1997 for
the Liga Chapter of Caloocan City did not specify whether the meeting scheduled on 14 June 1997
was to be held at 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m., and worse, the meeting was to be held in Lingayen,
Pangasinan;[3] and (3) the deadline for the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy having been set at
5:00 p.m. of the third day prior to the above election day, or on 11 June 1997, [4] Rayos failed to
meet said deadline since he was not able to obtain a certified true copy of the COMELEC
Certificate of Canvas and Proclamation of Winning Candidate, which were needed to be a
delegate, to vote and be voted for in the Liga election. On 13 June 1997, the Executive Judge
issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), effective for seventy-two (72) hours, enjoining the
holding of the general membership and election meeting of Liga Chapter of Caloocan City on 14
June 1975.[5]
However, the TRO was allegedly not properly served on herein petitioner David, and so the
election for the officers of the Liga-Caloocan was held as scheduled.[6] Petitioner David was
proclaimed President of the Liga-Caloocan, and thereafter took his oath and assumed the position
of ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan.
On 17 July 1997, respondent Rayos filed a second petition, this time for quo warranto,
mandamus and prohibition, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary
restraining order and damages, against David, Nancy Quimpo, Presiding Officer of
the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan City, and Secretary Barbers.[7] Rayos alleged that he
was elected President of the Liga Caloocan Chapter in the elections held on 14 June 1997 by the
members of the Caloocan Chapter pursuant to their Resolution/Petition No. 001-97. [8] On 18 July
1997, the presiding judge granted the TRO, enjoining therein respondents David, Quimpo and
Secretary Barbers from proceeding with the synchronized elections for the Provincial and
Metropolitan Chapters of theLiga scheduled on 19 July 1997, but only for the purpose of
maintaining the status quo and effective for a period not exceeding seventy-two (72) hours.[9]
Eventually, on 18 July 1997, at petitioner Davids instance, Special Civil Action (SCA) No. C512 pending before Branch 126 was consolidated with SCA No. C-508 pending before Branch 124.

Municipal and City Chapter elections of the Liga ng mga Barangay; (4) improper issuance of
confirmations of the elected Liga Chapter officers by petitioner David and the National Liga Board;
(5) the need for the DILG to provide remedies measured in view of the confusion and chaos
sweeping the Liga ng mga Barangay and the incapacity of the National Liga Board to address
the problems properly.
On 31 July 1997, petitioner David opposed the DILGs Urgent Motion, claiming that the DILG,
being a respondent in the case, is not allowed to seek any sanction against a co-respondent like
David, such as by filing a cross-claim, without first seeking leave of court. [13] He also alleged that
the DILGs request to be appointed interim caretaker constitutes undue interference in the internal
affairs of the Liga, since the Liga is not subject to DILG control and supervision.[14]
Three (3) days after filing its Urgent Motion, on 28 July 1997, and before it was acted upon by
the lower court, the DILG through then Undersecretary Manuel Sanchez, issued Memorandum
Circular No. 97-176.[15] It cited the reported violations of the Liga ng mga Barangay Constitution and
By-Laws by David and widespread chaos and confusion among local government officials as to
who were the qualified ex-officio Liga members in their respective sangunians.[16] Pending the
appointment of the DILG as the Interim Caretaker of the Liga ng mga Barangay by the court and
until the officers and board members of the national Liga Chapter have been elected and have
assumed office, the Memorandum Circular directed all provincial governors, vice governors, city
mayors, city vice mayors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan and panlungsod, DILG
regional directors and other concerned officers, as follows:
1. All concerned are directed not to recognize and/or honor any Liga Presidents of the Provincial
and Metropolitan Chapters as ex-officio members of the sanggunian concerned until further notice
from the Courts or this Department;
2. All concerned are directed to disregard any pronouncement and/or directive issued by Mr. Alex
David on any issue or matter relating to the affairs of the Liga ng mga Barangay until further notice
from the Courts or this Department.[17]
On 04 August 1997, public respondent Judge Victoria Isabel A. Paredes issued the assailed
order,[18] the pertinent portions of which read, thus:

[10]

Before the consolidation of the cases, on 25 July 1997, the DILG through respondent
Secretary Barbers, filed in SCA No. C-512 an Urgent Motion,[11] invoking the Presidents power of
general supervision over all local government units and seeking the following reliefs:
WHEREFORE, in the interest of the much-needed delivery of basic services to the people, the
maintenance of public order and to further protect the interests of the forty-one thousand barangays
all over the country, herein respondent respectfully prays:
a) That the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), pursuant to its
delegated power of general supervision, be appointed as the Interim Caretaker to
manage and administer the affairs of the Liga, until such time that the new set of
National Liga Officers shall have been duly elected and assumed office; ... [12]
The prayer for injunctive reliefs was anchored on the following grounds: (1) the DILG
Secretary exercises the power of general supervision over all government units by virtue of
Administrative Order No. 267 dated 18 February 1992; (2) the Liga ng mga Barangay is a
government organization; (3) undue interference by some local elective officials during the

The authority of the DILG to exercise general supervisory jurisdiction over local government units,
including the different leagues created under the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) finds
basis in Administrative Order No. 267 dated February 18, 1992. Specifically, Section 1 (a) of the
said Administrative Order provides a broad premise for the supervisory power of the
DILG. Administratively, the DILGs supervision has been tacitly recognized by the local barangays,
municipalities, cities and provinces as shown by the evidences presented by respondent David
himself (See Annexes A to C). The fact that the DILG has sought to refer the matters therein to
the National Liga Board/Directorate does not ipso facto mean that it has lost jurisdiction to act
directly therein. Jurisdiction is conferred by law and cannot be claimed or lost through agreements
or inaction by individuals. What respondent David may term as interference should caretakership
be allowed, this Court would rather view as a necessary and desirable corollary to the exercise of
supervision.[19]
Political motivations must not preclude, hamper, or obstruct the delivery of basic services and the
perquisites of public service. In this case, the fact of confusion arising from conflicting
appointments, non-action, and uninformed or wavering decisions of the incumbent National Liga
Board/Directorate, having been satisfactorily established, cannot simply be brushed aside as being
politically motivated or arising therefrom. It is incumbent, therefore, that the DILG exercise a more

26
active role in the supervision of the affairs and operations of the National Liga Board/ Directorate at
least until such time that the regular National Liga Board/Directorate may have been elected,
qualified and assumed office.[20]
xxx
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Urgent Motion of the DILG for appointment as interim
caretaker, until such time that the regularly elected National Liga Board of Directors shall have
qualified and assumed office, to manage and administer the affairs of the National Liga Board, is
hereby GRANTED.[21]
On 11 August 1997, petitioner David filed an urgent motion for the reconsideration of the
assailed order and to declare respondent Secretary Barbers in contempt of Court. [22] David claimed
that the 04 August 1997 order divested the duly elected members of the Board of Directors of
the Liga National Directorate of their positions without due process of law. He also wanted
Secretary Barbers declared in contempt for having issued, through his Undersecretary,
Memorandum Circular No. 97-176, even before respondent judge issued the questioned order, in
mockery of the justice system. He implied that Secretary Barbers knew about respondent judges
questioned order even before it was promulgated.[23]
On 11 August 1997, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular No. 97-193, [24] providing
supplemental guidelines for the 1997 synchronized elections of the provincial and metropolitan
chapters and for the election of the national chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay. The
Memorandum Circular set the synchronized elections for the provincial and metropolitan chapters
on 23 August 1997 and for the national chapter on 06 September 1997.
On 12 August 1997, the DILG issued a Certificate of Appointment [25] in favor of respondent
Rayos as president of the Liga ng mga Barangay of Caloocan City. The appointment purportedly
served
as
Rayoss
legal
basis
for ex-officio membership
in
the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Caloocan City and to qualify and participate in the forthcoming National Chapter
Election of theLiga ng mga Barangay.[26]
On 23 August 1997, the DILG conducted the synchronized elections of Provincial and
Metropolitan Liga Chapters. Thereafter, on 06 September 1997, the National Liga Chapter held its
election of officers and board of directors, wherein James Marty L. Lim was elected as President of
the National Liga.[27]
On 01 October 1997, public respondent judge denied Davids motion for reconsideration,
ruling that there was no factual or legal basis to reconsider the appointment of the DILG as
interim caretaker of the National Liga Board and to cite Secretary Barbers in contempt of court.[29]
[28]

On 10 October 1997, petitioners filed the instant Petition for Certiorari[30] under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, seeking to annul public respondent judges orders of 04 August 1997 and 01
October 1997. They dispute the latters opinion on the power of supervision of the President under
the Constitution, through the DILG over local governments, which is the same as that of the DILGs
as shown by its application of the power on the Liga ng mga Barangay. Specifically, they claim that
the public respondent judges designation of the DILG as interim caretaker and the acts which the
DILG sought to implement pursuant to its designation as such are beyond the scope of the Chief
Executives power of supervision.
To support the petition, petitioners argue that under Administrative Order No. 267, Series of
1992, the power of general supervision of the President over local government units does not apply
to the Liga and its various chapters precisely because the Liga is not a local government unit,
contrary to the stance of the respondents.[31]

Section 507 of the Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160) [32] provides that
the Liga shall be governed by its own Constitution and By-laws. Petitioners posit that the duly
elected officers and directors of the National Liga elected in 1994 had a vested right to their
positions and could only be removed therefrom for cause by affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of
the entire membership pursuant to the Liga Constitution and By-Laws, and not by mere issuances
of the DILG, even if bolstered by the dubious authorization of respondent judge. [33] Thus, petitioners
claim that the questioned order divested the then incumbent officers and directors of the Liga of
their right to their respective offices without due process of law.
Assuming the Liga could be subsumed under the term local governments, over which the
President, through the DILG Secretary, has the power of supervision, [34] petitioners point out that
still there is no legal or constitutional basis for the appointment of the DILG as interim caretaker.
[35]
They stress that the actions contemplated by the DILG as interim caretaker go beyond
supervision, as what it had sought and obtained was authority to alter, modify, nullify or set aside
the actions of the Liga Board of Directors and even to substitute its judgment over that of the latter
which are all clearly one of control. [36] Petitioners question the appointment of Rayos as LigaCaloocan President since at that time petitioner David was occupying that position which was still
the subject of the quo warranto proceedings Rayos himself had instituted.[37] Petitioners likewise
claim that DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-193, providing supplemental guidelines for the
synchronized elections of the Liga, replaced the implementing rules adopted by the Liga pursuant
to its Constitution and By-laws.[38] In fact, even before its appointment as interim caretaker, DILG
specifically enjoined all heads of government units from recognizing petitioner David and/or
honoring any of his pronouncements relating to the Liga.[39]
Petitioners rely on decision in Taule v. Santos,[40] which, they claim, already passed upon the
extent of authority of the then Secretary of Local Government over the katipunan ng mga
barangay or the barangay councils, as it specifically ruled that the Secretary [of Local
Government] has no authority to pass upon the validity or regularity of the election of officers of the
katipunan.[41]
For his part, respondent Rayos avers that since the Secretary of the DILG supervises the
acts of local officials by ensuring that they act within the scope of their prescribed powers and
functions and since members of the various leagues, such as the Liga in this case, are themselves
officials of local government units, it follows that the Liga members are subject to the power of
supervision of the DILG.[42] He adds that as the DILGs management and administration of
the Liga affairs was limited only to the conduct of the elections, its actions were consistent with its
rule-making power and power of supervision under existing laws. [43] He asserts that in assailing the
appointment of the DILG as interim caretaker, petitioners failed to cite any provision of positive law
in support of their stance. Thus, he adds, if a law is silent, obscure or insufficient, a judge may
apply a rule he sees fit to resolve the issue, as long as the rule chosen is in harmony with general
interest, order, morals and public policy,[44] in consonance with Article 9 of the Civil Code.[45]
On the other hand, it is quite significant that the Solicitor General has shared petitioners
position. He states that the DILGs act of managing and administering the affairs of the
National LigaBoard are not merely acts of supervision but plain manifestations of control and direct
takeover of the functions of the National Liga Board,[46] going beyond the limits of the power of
general supervision of the President over local governments. [47] Moreover, while the Liga may be
deemed a government organization, it is not strictly a local government unit over which the DILG
has supervisory power.[48]
Meanwhile, on 24 September 1998, James Marty L. Lim, the newly elected President of the
National Liga, filed a Motion for Leave to File Comment in Intervention,[49] with his Comment in
Intervention attached,[50] invoking the validity of the DILGs actions relative to the conduct of
the Liga elections.[51] In addition, he sought the dismissal of the instant petition on the following
grounds: (1) the issue of validity or invalidity of the questioned order has been rendered moot and

27
academic by the election of Liga officers; (2) the turn-over of the administration and management
of Liga affairs to the Liga officers; and (3) the recognition and acceptance by the members of
the Liga nationwide.[52]
In the interim, another petition, this time for Prohibition with Prayer for a Temporary
Restraining Order, [53] was filed by several presidents of Liga Chapters, praying that this Court
declare the DILG Secretary and Undersecretary are not vested with any constitutional or legal
power to exercise control or even supervision over the National Liga ng mga Barangay, nor to take
over the functions of its officers or suspend its constitution; and declare void any and all acts
committed by respondents therein in connection with their caretakership of the Liga.[54] The petition
was consolidated with G.R. No. 130775, but it was eventually dismissed because the petitioners
failed to submit an affidavit of service and proof of service of the petition.[55]
Meanwhile, on 01 December 1998, petitioner David died and was substituted by his legal
representatives.[56]
Petitioners have raised a number of issues.[57] Integrated and simplified, these issues boil
down to the question of whether or not respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in
appointing the DILG as interim caretaker to administer and manage the affairs of the
National Liga Board, per its order dated 04 August 1997. [58] In turn, the resolution of the question of
grave abuse of discretion entails a couple of definitive issues, namely: (1) whether the Liga ng
mga Barangay is a government organization that is subject to the DILG Secretarys power of
supervision over local governments as the alter ego of the President, and (2) whether the
respondent Judges designation of the DILG as interim caretaker of the Liga has invested the DILG
with control over the Liga and whether DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-176, issued before it
was designated as such interim caretaker, and DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 and other
acts which the DILG made in its capacity as interim caretaker of the Liga, involve supervision or
control of the Liga.
However, the Court should first address the question of mootness which intervenor Lim
raised because, according to him, during the pendency of the present petition a general election
was held; the new set of officers and directors had assumed their positions; and that supervening
events the DILG had turned-over the management and administration of the Liga to
new Liga officers and directors.[59] Respondent Rayos has joined him in this regard. [60] Forthwith, the
Court declares that these supervening events have not rendered the instant petition moot, nor
removed it from the jurisdiction of this Court.
This case transcends the elections ordered and conducted by the DILG as interim caretaker
of the Liga and the Liga officers and directors who were elected to replace petitioner David and the
former officers. At the core of the petition is the validity of the DILGs caretakership of
the Liga and the official acts of the DILG as such caretaker which exceeded the bounds of
supervision and were exercise of control. At stake in this case is the realization of the
constitutionally ensconced principle of local government autonomy;[61] the statutory objective to
enhance the capabilities of barangays and municipalities by providing them opportunities to
participate actively in the implementation of national programs and projects; [62] and the promotion
of the avowed aim to ensure the independence and non-partisanship of the Liga ng mga
Barangay. The mantle of local autonomy would be eviscerated and remain an empty buzzword if
unconstitutional, illegal and unwarranted intrusions in the affairs of the local governments are
tolerated and left unchecked.
Indeed, it is the declared policy of the State that its territorial and political subdivisions should
enjoy genuine meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as selfreliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. [63] In
the case of De Leon v. Esguerra,[64] the Court ruled that even barangays are meant to possess

genuine and meaningful local autonomy so that they may develop fully as self-reliant communities.
[65]

Furthermore, well-entrenched is the rule that courts will decide a question otherwise moot
and academic if it is capable of repetition, yet evading review. [66] For the question of whether the
DILG may validly be appointed as interim caretaker, or assume a similar position and perform acts
pursuant thereto, is likely to resurrect again, and yet the question may not be decided before the
actual assumption, or the termination of said assumption even.
So too, dismissing the petition on the ground of mootness could lead to the wrong impression
that the challenged order and issuances are valid. Verily, that does not appear to be the correct
conclusion to make since by applying opposite precedents to the issues the outcome points to
invalidating the assailed order and memorandum circulars.
The resolution of the issues of whether the Liga ng mga Barangay is subject to DILG
supervision, and whether the questioned caretakership order of the respondent judge and the
challenged issuances and acts of the DILG constitute control in derogation of the Constitution,
necessitates a brief overview of the barangay, as the lowest LGU, and the Liga, as a vehicle of
governance and coordination.
As the basic political unit, the barangay serves as the primary planning and implementing unit
of government policies, plans, programs, projects and activities in the community, and as a forum
wherein the collective views of the people may be expressed, crystallized and considered, and
where disputes may be amicably settled.[67]
On the other hand, the Liga ng mga Barangay[68] is the organization of all barangays, the
primary purpose of which is the determination of the representation of the Liga in the sanggunians,
and the ventilation, articulation, and crystallization of issues affecting barangay government
administration and securing solutions thereto, through proper and legal means. [69] The Liga ng mga
Barangay shall have chapters at the municipal, city and provincial and metropolitan political
subdivision levels.[70] The municipal and city chapters of the Liga are composed of
the barangayrepresentatives from the municipality or city concerned. The presidents of the
municipal and city chapters of the Liga form the provincial or metropolitan political subdivision
chapters of the Liga. The presidents of the chapters of the Liga in highly urbanized cities, provinces
and the Metro Manila area and other metropolitan political subdivisions constitute the National Liga
ng mga Barangay.[71]
As conceptualized in the Local Government Code, the barangay is positioned to influence
and direct the development of the entire country. This was heralded by the adoption of the bottomto-top approach process of development which requires the development plans of the barangay to
be considered in the development plans of the municipality, city or province, [72] whose plans in turn
are to be taken into account by the central government [73] in its plans for the development of the
entire country.[74] The Liga is the vehicle assigned to make this new development approach
materialize and produce results.
The presidents of the Liga at the municipal, city and provincial levels, automatically
become ex-officio members
of
the Sangguniang
Bayan,
Sangguniang
Panlungsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan, respectively. They shall serve as such only during
their term of office as presidents of the Liga chapters, which in no case shall be beyond the term of
office of the sanggunianconcerned.[75]
The Liga ng mga Barangay has one principal aim, namely: to promote the development
of barangays and secure the general welfare of their inhabitants. [76] In line with this, the Liga is
granted the following functions and duties:

28
a) Give priority to programs designed for the total development of the barangays and in
consonance with the policies, programs and projects of the national government;

Sec. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments.

b) Assist in the education of barangay residents for peoples participation in local


government administration in order to promote untied and concerted action to
achieve country-wide development goals;

The 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions uniformly differentiate the Presidents power of
supervision over local governments and his power of control of the executive departments bureaus
and offices.[81] Similar to the counterpart provisions in the earlier Constitutions, the provision in the
1987 Constitution provision has been interpreted to exclude the power of control.[82]

c) Supplement the efforts of government in creating gainful employment within the


barangay;
d) Adopt measures to promote the welfare of barangay officials;
e) Serve as forum of the barangays in order to forge linkages with government and
non-governmental organizations and thereby promote the social, economic and
political well-being of the barangays; and
f) Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties and functions which will
bring about stronger ties between barangays and promote the welfare of the
barangay inhabitants.[77]
The Ligas are primarily governed by the provisions of the Local Government Code. However,
they are empowered to make their own constitution and by-laws to govern their operations. Sec.
507 of the Code provides:
Sec. 507. Constitution and By-Laws of the Liga and the Leagues. - All other matters not herein
otherwise provided for affecting the internal organization of the leagues of local government units
shall be governed by their respective constitution and by-laws which are hereby made suppletory to
the provision of this Chapter: Provided, That said Constitution and By-laws shall always conform to
the provision of the Constitution and existing laws.

In the early case of Mondano v. Silvosa, et al.,[83] this Court defined supervision as
overseeing, or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their
duties, and to take such action as prescribed by law to compel his subordinates to perform their
duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set
aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for that of the latter.[84] In Taule v. Santos,[85] the Court held that the
Constitution permits the President to wield no more authority than that of checking whether a local
government or its officers perform their duties as provided by statutory enactments. [86] 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 body.[87]
The case of Drilon v. Lim[88] clearly defined the extent of supervisory power, thus:
The 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 replace them. If the
rules are not observed, he may order the work done or re-done but only to conform to the
prescribed rules. He may not prescribe his own manner for the doing of the act. He has no
judgment on this matter except to see that the rules are followed[89]
In Section 4, Article X of the Constitution applicable to the Liga
Barangay? Otherwise put, is the Liga legally susceptible to DILG suspension?

ng

mga

Pursuant to the Local Government Code, the Liga ng mga Barangay adopted its own
Constitution and By-Laws. It provides that the corporate powers of the Liga, expressed or implied,
shall be vested in the board of directors of each level of the Liga which shall:

This question was resolved in Bito-Onon v. Fernandez,[90] where the Court ruled that the
Presidents power of the general supervision, as exercised therein by the DILG Secretary as
his alter ego, extends to the Liga ng mga Barangay.

a) Have jurisdiction over all officers, directors and committees of the said Liga; including the power
of appointment, assignment and delegation;

Does the Presidents power of general supervision extend to the liga ng mga barangay, which is not
a local government unit?

b) Have general management of the business, property, and funds of said Liga;

We rule in the affirmative. In Opinion No. 41, Series of 1995, the Department of Justice ruled that
the liga ng mga barangay is a government organization, being an 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 Code defines the liga ng mga barangay as an
organization of all barangays for the primary purpose of determining the representation of the liga
in the sanggunians, and for ventilating, articulating and crystallizing issues affecting barangay
government administration and securing, through proper and legal means, solutions thereto. [91]

c) Prepare and approve a budget showing anticipated receipts and expenditures for the year,
including the plans or schemes for funding purposes; and
d) Have the power to suspend or remove from office any officer or member of the said board on
grounds cited and in the manner provided in hereinunder provisions. [78]
The National Liga Board of Directors promulgated the rules for the conduct of
its Ligas general elections.[79] And, as early as 28 April 1997, the Liga National Chapter had already
scheduled its general elections on 14 June 1997.[80]
The controlling provision on the issues at hand is Section 4, Article X of the Constitution,
which reads in part:

The rationale for making the Liga subject to DILG supervision is quite evident, whether from
the perspectives of logic or of practicality. The Liga is an aggroupment of barangays which are in
turn represented therein by their respective punong barangays. The representatives of the Liga sit
in an ex officio capacity at the municipal, city and provincial sanggunians. As such, they enjoy all
the powers and discharge all the functions of regular municipal councilors, city councilors or
provincial board members, as the case may be. Thus, the Liga is the vehicle through which
thebarangay participates in the enactment of ordinances and formulation of policies at all the

29
legislative local levels higher than the sangguniang barangay, at the same time serving as the
mechanism for the bottom-to-top approach of development.
In the case at bar, even before the respondent Judge designated the DILG
as interim caretaker of the Liga, on 28 July 1997, it issued Memorandum Circular No. 97-176,
directing local government officials not to recognize David as the National Liga President and his
pronouncements relating to the affairs of the Liga. Not only was the action premature, it even
smacked of superciliousness and injudiciousness. The DILG is the topmost government agency
which maintains coordination with, and exercises supervision over local government units and its
multi-level leagues. As such, it should be forthright, circumspect and supportive in its dealings with
the Ligas especially the Liga ng mga Barangay. The indispensable role played by the latter in the
development of the barangays and the promotion of the welfare of the inhabitants thereof deserve
no less than the full support and respect of the other agencies of government. As the Court held in
the case of San Juan v. Civil Service Commission,[92] our national officials should not only comply
with the constitutional provisions on local autonomy but should also appreciate the spirit of liberty
upon which these provisions are based.[93]
When the respondent judge eventually appointed the DILG as interim caretaker to manage
and administer the affairs of the Liga, she effectively removed the management from the
NationalLiga Board and vested control of the Liga on the DILG. Even a cursory glance at the
DILGs prayer for appointment as interim caretaker of the Liga to manage and administer the
affairs of the Liga, until such time that the new set of National Liga officers shall have been duly
elected and assumed office reveals that what the DILG wanted was to take control over the Liga.
Even if said caretakership was contemplated to last for a limited time, or only until a new set of
officers assume office, the fact remains that it was a conferment of control in derogation of the
Constitution.
With his Department already appointed as interim caretaker of the Liga, Secretary Barbers
nullified the results of the Liga elections and promulgated DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-193
dated 11 August 1997, where he laid down the supplemental guidelines for the 1997 synchronized
elections of the provincial and metropolitan chapters and for the election of the national chapter of
the Liga ng mga Barangay; scheduled dates for the new provincial, metropolitan and national
chapter elections; and appointed respondent Rayos as president of Liga-Caloocan Chapter.
These acts of the DILG went beyond the sphere of general supervision and constituted direct
interference with the political affairs, not only of the Liga, but more importantly, of the barangay as
an institution. The election of Liga officers is part of the Ligas internal organization, for which the
latter has already provided guidelines. In succession, the DILG assumed stewardship and
jurisdiction over the Liga affairs, issued supplemental guidelines for the election, and nullified the
effects of the Liga-conducted elections. Clearly, what the DILG wielded was the power of control
which even the President does not have.
Furthermore, the DILG assumed control when it appointed respondent Rayos as president of
the Liga-Caloocan Chapter prior to the newly scheduled general Liga elections, although petitioner
Davids term had not yet expired. The DILG substituted its choice, who was Rayos, over the choice
of majority of the punong barangay of Caloocan, who was the incumbent President, petitioner
David. The latter was elected and had in fact been sitting as an ex-officio member of
the sangguniang panlungsod in accordance with the Liga Constitution and By-Laws. Yet, the DILG
extended the appointment to respondent Rayos although it was aware that the position was the
subject of a quo warranto proceeding instituted by Rayos himself, thereby preempting the outcome
of that case. It was bad enough that the DILG assumed the power of control, it was worse when it
made use of the power with evident bias and partiality.
As the entity exercising supervision over the Liga ng mga Barangay, the DILGs authority
over the Liga is limited to seeing to it that the rules are followed, but it cannot lay down such rules

itself, nor does it have the discretion to modify or replace them. In this particular case, the most
that the DILG could do was review the acts of the incumbent officers of the Liga in the conduct of
the elections to determine if they committed any violation of the Ligas Constitution and By-laws and
its implementing rules. If the National Liga Board and its officers had violated Liga rules, the DILG
should have ordered the Liga to conduct another election in accordance with the Ligas own rules,
but not in obeisance to DILG-dictated guidelines. Neither had the DILG the authority to remove the
incumbent officers of the Liga and replace them, even temporarily, with unelected Liga officers.
Like the local government units, the Liga ng mga Barangay is not subject to control by the
Chief Executive or his alter ego.
In the Bito-Onon[94] case, this Court held that DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-193, insofar
as it authorized the filing of a petition for review of the decision of the Board of Election Supervisors
(BES) with the regular courts in a post-proclamation electoral protest, involved the exercise of
control as it in effect amended the guidelines already promulgated by the Liga. The decision reads
in part:
xxx. Officers in control, lay down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, it is
discretionary on his part to order the act undone or redone by his subordinate or he may even
decide to do it himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. Supervising officers merely see
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 replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the work done or
re-done to conform for to the prescribed rules. He cannot prescribe his own manner the doing of
the act.
xxx
xxx. The amendment of the GUIDELINES is more than an exercise of the power of supervision but
is an exercise of the power of control, which the President does not have over the LIGA. Although
the DILG is given the power to prescribe rules, regulations and other issuances, the Administrative
Code limits its authority to merely monitoring compliance by local government units of such
issuances. To monitor means to watch, observe or check and is compatible with the power of
supervision of the DILG Secretary over local governments, which is limited to checking
whether the local government unit concerned or the officers thereof perform their duties as per
statutory enactments. 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.[95]
In Taule,[96] the Court ruled that the Secretary of Local Government had no authority to pass
upon the validity or regularity of the election of officers of katipunan ng mga barangay or barangay
councils. In that case, a protest was lodged before the Secretary of Local Government regarding
several irregularities in, and seeking the nullification of, the election of officers of the Federation of
Associations of Barangay Councils (FABC) of Catanduanes. Then Local Government Secretary
Luis Santos issued a resolution nullifying the election of officers and ordered a new one to be
conducted. The Court ruled:
Construing the constitutional limitation on the power of general supervision of the President over
local governments, We hold that respondent Secretary has no authority to pass upon the validity or
regularity of the officers of the katipunan. To allow respondent Secretary to do so will give him
more power than the law or the Constitution grants. It will in effect give him control over local
government officials for it will permit him to interfere in a purely democratic and non-partisan
activity aimed at strengthening the barangay as the basic component of local governments so that
the ultimate goal of fullest autonomy may be achieved. In fact, his order that the new elections to

30
be conducted be presided by the Regional Director is a clear and direct interference by the
Department with the political affairs of the barangays which is not permitted by the limitation of
presidential power to general supervision over local governments.[97]
All given, the Court is convinced that the assailed order was issued with grave abuse of
discretion while the acts of the respondent Secretary, including DILG Memorandum Circulars No.
97-176 and No. 97-193, are unconstitutional and ultra vires, as they all entailed the conferment or
exercise of control a power which is denied by the Constitution even to the President.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Order of the Regional Trial Court dated 04
August 1997 is SET ASIDE for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction. DILG Memorandum Circulars No. 97-176 and No. 97-193, are declared
VOID for being unconstitutional and ultra vires.
No pronouncements as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 79956 January 29, 1990


CORDILLERA BROAD COALITION, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.
G.R. No. 82217 January 29, 1990
LILIA YARANON and BONA BAUTISTA, assisted by their spouses, BRAULIO D. YARANON
and DEMETRIO D. BAUTISTA, JR., respectively; JAMES BRETT and SINAI C. HAMADA,
petitioners,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, HON. CATALINO MACARAIG, Executive Secretary, HON.
VICENTE JAYME, Secretary of Finance, HON. GUILLERMO N. CARAGUE, Secretary of
Budget and Management, and HON. ROSALINA S. CAJUCOM, OIC National Treasurer,
respondents.
CORTES, J.:
In these consolidated petitions, the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 220, dated 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 the creation of' the autonomous
region in the Cordilleras conditional on the approval of the act through a plebiscite.
Relative to the creation of autonomous regions, the constitution, in Article X, provides:
AUTONOMOUS REGIONS

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 list of nominees from multi-sectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the
basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative
assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The
organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family and property law
jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.
The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majority of the votes
cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces,
cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous
region.
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.
Sec. 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and
national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over:
(1) Administrative organization;
(2) Creation of sources of revenues;
(3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;
(4) Personal, family and property relations;
(5) Regional urban and rural planning development;
(6) Economic, social and tourism development ;
(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 general welfare of the
people of the region.
Sec. 21. The preservation of peace and order within the regions shall be the responsibility of the
local police agencies which shall be organized, maintained, supervised, and utilized in accordance
with applicable laws. The defense and security of the regions shall be the responsibility of the
National Government.
A study of E.O. No. 220 would be incomplete Wi
thout reference to its historical background.
In April 1986, just after the EDSA Revolution, Fr. Conrado M. Balweg, S.V.D., broke off on
ideological grounds from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm the
New People's Army. (NPA).

SEC. 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that
laws are faithfully executed.

After President Aquino was installed into office by People Power, she advocated a policy of national
reconciliation. She called on all revolutionary forces to a peace dialogue. The CPLA heeded this
call of the President. After the preliminary negotiations, President Aquino and some members of her
Cabinet flew to Mt. Data in the Mountain Province on September 13, 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 cessation of hostilities (WHEREAS No. 7, E.O. 220).
The parties arrived at an agreement in principle: the Cordillera people shall not undertake their
demands through armed and violent struggle but by peaceful means, such as political negotiations.
The negotiations shall be a continuing process until the demands of the Cordillera people shall
have been substantially granted.

Sec. 17. All powers, functions, and responsibilities not granted Constitution or by law to the
autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Government.

On March 27, 1987, Ambassador Pelaez [Acting as Chief Negotiator of the government], in
pursuance of the September 13, 1986 agreement, flew to the Mansion House, Baguio City, and

Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao 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 within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.

31
signed with Fr. Balweg (as Chairman of the Cordillera panel) a joint agreement, paragraphs 2 and 3
of which state:
Par. 2- Work together in drafting an Executive Order to create a preparatory body that
could perform policy-making and administrative functions and undertake consultations and studies
leading to a draft organic act for the Cordilleras.
Par. 3- Have representatives from the Cordillera panel join the study group of the R.P.
Panel in drafting the Executive Order.
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.
On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino signed the joint draft into law, known now as E.O.
220. [Rejoinder G.R. No. 82217, pp. 2-3].
Executive Order No. 220, issued by the President in the exercise of her legislative powers under
Art. XVIII, sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution, created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) ,
which covers the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province and
the City of Baguio [secs. 1 and 2]. It was 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 to coordinate the planning and implementation of programs and services in the
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 region [sec. 5]. It shall also
monitor the implementation of all ongoing national and local government projects in the region [sec.
20]. The CAR shall have a Cordillera 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 Board shall exist until such time as the autonomous regional government
is established and organized [sec. 17].
Explaining the rationale for the issuance of E.O. No. 220, its last "Whereas" clause provides:
WHEREAS, pending the convening of the first Congress and the enactment 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
Cordilleras to suit it to the existing political realities therein and the Government's legitimate
concerns in the areas, without attempting to pre-empt the constitutional duty of the first Congress to
undertake the creation of an autonomous region on a permanent basis.
During the pendency of this case, Republic Act No. 6766 entitled "An Act Providing for an Organic
Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region," was enacted and signed into law. The Act recognizes
the CAR and the offices and agencies created under E.O. No. 220 and its transitory nature is
reinforced in Art. XXI of R.A. No. 6766, to wit:
SEC. 3. The Cordillera Executive Board, the Cordillera Region Assembly as well as all
offices and agencies created under Execute Order No. 220 shall cease to exist immediately upon
the ratification of this Organic Act.
All funds, properties and assets of the Cordillera Executive Board and the Cordillera Regional
Assembly shall automatically be transferred to the Cordillera Autonomous Government.
I
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 constitutionality. Thus, in any
challenge to the constitutionality of a statute, the burden of clearly and unequivocally proving its
unconstitutionality always rests upon the challenger. Conversely, failure to so prove will necessarily
defeat the challenge.
We shall be guided by these principles in considering these consolidated petitions.

In these cases, petitioners principally argue that by issuing E.O. No. 220 the President, in the
exercise of her legislative powers prior to the convening of the first Congress under the 1987
Constitution, has virtually pre-empted Congress from its mandated task of enacting an organic act
and created an autonomous region in the Cordilleras. We have carefully studied the Constitution
and E.O. No. 220 and we have come to the conclusion that petitioners' assertions are unfounded.
Events subsequent to the issuance of E.O. No. 220 also bear out this conclusion.
1. A reading of E.O. No. 220 will easily reveal that what it actually envisions is the consolidation and
coordination of the delivery of services of line departments and agencies of the National
Government in the areas covered by the administrative region as a step preparatory to the grant of
autonomy to the Cordilleras. It does not 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 of an autonomous region. In short, it prepares the ground for
autonomy. This does not necessarily conflict with the provisions of the Constitution on autonomous
regions, as we shall show later.
The Constitution outlines a complex procedure for the creation of an autonomous region in the
Cordilleras. A regional consultative commission shall first be created. The President shall then
appoint the members of a regional consultative commission from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The commission shall assist the Congress in preparing the organic act for the
autonomous region. The organic act shall be passed by the first Congress under the 1987
Constitution within eighteen months from the time of its organization and enacted into law.
Thereafter there shall be held a plebiscite for the approval of the organic act [Art. X, sec. 18]. Only
then, after its approval in the plebiscite, shall the autonomous region be created.
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 some measures to address the
urgent needs of the Cordilleras in the meantime that the organic act had not yet been passed and
the autonomous region created. These measures we find in E.O. No. 220. The steps taken by the
President are obviously perceived by petitioners, particularly petitioner Yaranon who views E.O. No.
220 as 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 we have seen earlier, they
do not.
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 Cordilleras" [Petition, G.R.
No. 79956, p. 25].
The Constitution provides for a basic structure of government in the autonomous region composed
of an elective executive and legislature and special courts with personal, family and property law
jurisdiction [Art. X, sec. 18]. Using this as a guide, 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 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 priority projects
and development programs [sec. 9]. To serve as an implementing body, it created the Cordillera
Executive Board composed of the Mayor of Baguio City, provincial governors and representatives
of the Cordillera Bodong Administration, ethno-linguistic groups and non-governmental
organizations as regular members and all regional directors of the line departments of the National
Government as ex-officiomembers and headed by an Executive Director [secs. 10 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 constitute the mechanism for an "umbrella"
that brings together the existing local governments, the agencies of the National Government, the
ethno-linguistic groups or tribes, and non-governmental organizations in a concerted effort to spur
development in the Cordilleras.

32

The creation of the CAR for purposes of administrative coordination is underscored by the mandate
of E.O. No. 220 for the President and appropriate national departments and agencies to make
available sources of funds for priority development programs 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 National Government to assist the CAR [sec. 24].
3. Subsequent to the issuance of E.O. No. 220, the Congress, after it was convened, enacted
Republic Act No. 6658 which created the Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission. The
President then appointed its members. The commission prepared a draft organic act which became
the basis for the deliberations of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The result was
Republic Act No. 6766, the organic act for the Cordillera autonomous region, which was signed into
law on October 23, 1989. A plebiscite for the approval of the organic act, to be conducted shortly,
shall complete the process outlined in the Constitution.
In the meantime, E.O. No. 220 had been in force and effect for more than two years and we find
that, despite E.O. No. 220, the autonomous region in the Cordilleras is still to be created, showing
the lack of basis of petitioners' assertion. Events have shown that petitioners' fear that E.O. No. 220
was a "shortcut" for the creation of the autonomous region in the Cordilleras was totally unfounded.
Clearly, petitioners' principal challenge has failed.
II
A collateral issue raised by petitioners is the nature of the CAR: whether or not it is a territorial and
political subdivision. The Constitution provides in Article X:
Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the
provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim
Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.
xxxxxxxxx
Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or
its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local
government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
political units directly affected.
We have seen earlier that the CAR is not the autonomous region in the Cordilleras 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.
After carefully considering the provisions of E.O. No. 220, we find that it did not create a new
territorial and political subdivision or merge existing ones into a larger subdivision.
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 municipalities.
Neither is it vested with the powers that are normally granted to public 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 CAR was created primarily
to coordinate the planning and implementation of programs and services in the covered
areas.

The creation of administrative regions for the purpose of expediting the delivery of services is
nothing new. The Integrated Reorganization Plan of 1972, which was made as part of the law of the
land by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1, established eleven (11) regions, later increased to
twelve (12), with definite regional centers and required departments and agencies of the
Executive Branch of the National Government to set up field offices therein. The functions of the
regional 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 the regional areas;
(2) to provide economical, efficient and effective service to the people in the area; (3) to coordinate
with regional offices of other departments, bureaus and agencies in the area; (4) to coordinate with
local government units in the area; and (5) to perform such other functions as may be provided by
law. [See Part II, chap. III, art. 1, of the Reorganization Plan].
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 CAR requires the
participation not only of the line departments and agencies of the National Government but also the
local governments, ethno-linguistic groups and non-governmental organizations in bringing about
the desired objectives and the appropriation of funds solely for that purpose.
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 indispensable
participation of the line departments of the National Government, the CAR may be
considered more than anything else as a regional coordinating agency of the National
Government, similar to the regional development councils which the President may
create under the Constitution [Art. X, sec. 14]. These councils are "composed of local
government officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and
representatives from non-governmental organizations within 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 considered as a more sophisticated version of the
regional development council.

III
Finally, petitioners incidentally argue that the creation of the CAR contravened the constitutional
guarantee of the local autonomy for the provinces (Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and
Mountain Province) and city (Baguio City) which compose the CAR.
We find first a need to clear up petitioners' apparent misconception of the concept of local
autonomy.
It must be clarified that the constitutional guarantee of local autonomy in the Constitution [Art. X,
sec. 2] refers to the administrative autonomy of local government 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 is not unique to the 1987 Constitution, it being
guaranteed also under the 1973 Constitution [Art. II, sec. 10]. And while there was no express
guarantee under the 1935 Constitution, the Congress enacted the Local Autonomy Act (R.A. No.
2264) and the Decentralization Act (R.A. No. 5185), which ushered the irreversible march towards
further enlargement of local autonomy in the country [Villegas v. Subido, supra.]
On the other hand, the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras,
which is peculiar to the 1987 Constitution contemplates the grant of political autonomy and not just
administrative autonomy these regions. Thus, the provision in the Constitution for an autonomous
regional government with a basic structure consisting of an executive department and a legislative
assembly and special courts with personal, family and property law jurisdiction in each of the
autonomous regions [Art. X, sec. 18].
As we have said earlier, the CAR is a mere transitory coordinating agency that would prepare the
stage for political autonomy for the Cordilleras. It fills in the resulting gap 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.

33

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 overemphasized 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.

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
becomefunctusoficio. 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.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 132988. July 19, 2000]
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL JR., petitioner, vs. Hon. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE in his capacity as
Executive Secretary, Hon. EMILIA BONCODIN in her capacity as Secretary of the Department
of Budget and Management, respondents.
ROBERTO PAGDANGANAN, intervenor.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The Constitution vests the President with the power of supervision, not control, over local
government units (LGUs). Such power enables him to see to it that LGUs and their officials
execute their tasks in accordance with law. While he may issue advisories and seek their
cooperation in solving economic difficulties, he cannot prevent them from performing their tasks
and using available resources to achieve their 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.
The Case

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 units to reduce their
expenditures by 25 percent of their authorized regular appropriations for non-personal services;
and (2) to enjoin respondents from implementing Section 4 of the Order, which withholds a portion
of their internal revenue allotments.
On November 17, 1998, Roberto Pagdanganan, through Counsel Alberto C. Agra, 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, intervenor was the provincial

governor of Bulacan, national president of the League of 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 and Petition.
The Facts and the Arguments

On December 27, 1997, the President of the Philippines issued AO 372. Its full text, with emphasis
on the assailed provisions, is as follows:
"ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372
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 stability and sustain
the country's growth momentum;
WHEREAS, it is imperative that all government agencies adopt cash management measures to
match expenditures with available resources;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, 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:
SECTION 1. All government departments and agencies, including state universities and colleges,
government-owned and controlled corporations and local governments units will identify and
implement measures in FY 1998 that will reduce total expenditures for the year by at least 25% of
authorized regular appropriations for non-personal services items, along the following suggested
areas:
1. Continued implementation of the streamlining policy on organization and staffing by deferring
action on the following:
a.
Operationalization of new agencies;
b.
Expansion of organizational units and/or creation of positions;
c.
Filling of positions; and
d.
Hiring of additional/new consultants, contractual and casual personnel, regardless
of funding source.
2. Suspension of the following activities:
a.
Implementation of new capital/infrastructure projects, except those which have
already been contracted out;
b.
Acquisition of new equipment and motor vehicles;
c.
All foreign travels of government personnel, except those associated with
scholarships and trainings funded by grants;
d.
Attendance in conferences abroad where the cost is charged to the government
except those clearly essential to Philippine commitments in the international field as may be
determined by the Cabinet;
e.
Conduct of trainings/workshops/seminars, except those conducted by government
training institutions and agencies in the performance of their regular functions and those that are
funded by grants;
f.
Conduct of cultural and social celebrations and sports activities, except those
associated with the Philippine Centennial celebration and those involving regular
competitions/events;
g.
Grant of honoraria, except in cases where it constitutes the only source of
compensation from government received by the person concerned;
h.
Publications, media advertisements and related items, except those required by
law or those already being undertaken on a regular basis;
i.
Grant of new/additional benefits to employees, except those expressly and
specifically authorized by law; and
j.
Donations, contributions, grants and gifts, except those given by institutions to
victims of calamities.
3. Suspension of all tax expenditure subsidies to all GOCCs and LGUs

34
4. Reduction in the volume of consumption of fuel, water, office supplies, electricity and other
utilities
5. Deferment of projects that are encountering significant implementation problems
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 costsavings, provided the 25% minimum savings under Section 1 is complied with.

percent of their internal revenue allotments, are valid exercises of the President's power of general
supervision over local governments.
Additionally, the Court deliberated on the question whether petitioner had the locus standi to bring
this suit, despite respondents' failure to raise the issue.[4] However, the intervention of Roberto
Pagdanganan has rendered academic any further discussion on this matter.
The Court's Ruling

The Petition is partly meritorious.


SECTION 3. A report on the estimated savings generated from these measures shall be
submitted to the Office of the President, through the Department of Budget and Management, on a
quarterly basis using the attached format.
SECTION 4. Pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development Budget
Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation, the amount equivalent to 10% of the
internal revenue allotment to local government units shall be withheld.
SECTION 5. The Development Budget Coordination Committee shall conduct a monthly
review of the fiscal position of the National Government and if necessary, shall recommend to the
President the imposition of additional reserves or the lifting of previously imposed reserves.
SECTION 6. This Administrative Order shall take effect January 1, 1998 and shall
remain valid for the entire year unless otherwise lifted.
DONE in the City of Manila, this 27th day of December, in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred
and ninety-seven."
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 internal revenue allotment
(IRA) to be withheld from the LGUs.
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 the power of
general supervision over LGUs, consistent with the principle of local autonomy. Petitioner further
argues that the directive to withhold ten percent (10%) of 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.
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 devaluation" and constituted
merely an exercise of the President's power of supervision 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 of 10 percent of the LGUs IRA does not violate the statutory prohibition on the
imposition of any lien or holdback on their revenue shares, because such withholding is "temporary
in nature pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development Coordination Committee of
the emerging fiscal situation."
The Issues

The Petition[3] submits the following issues for the Court's resolution:
"A. Whether or not the president committed grave abuse of discretion [in] ordering all
LGUS to adopt a 25% cost reduction program in violation of the LGU[']S fiscal autonomy
"B.
Whether or not the president committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering
the withholding of 10% of the LGU[']S IRA"
In sum, the main issue is whether (a) Section 1 of AO 372, insofar as it "directs" LGUs to reduce
their expenditures by 25 percent; and (b) Section 4 of the same issuance, which withholds 10

Main Issue:
Validity of AO 372
Insofar as LGUs Are Concerned

Before resolving the main issue, we deem it important and appropriate to define certain crucial
concepts: (1) the scope of the President's power of general supervision over local governments
and (2) the extent of the local governments' autonomy.
Scope of President's Power of Supervision Over LGUs

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:
"Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local
governments. x xx"
This provision has been interpreted to exclude the power of control. In Mondano v. Silvosa,[5] the
Court contrasted the President's power of supervision over local government officials with that of
his power of control over executive officials of the national government. It was emphasized that the
two terms -- supervision and control -- differed in meaning and extent. The Court distinguished
them as follows:
"x xx In administrative law, supervision means overseeing 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 as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on
the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a
subordinate officer ha[s] done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the
former for that of the latter."[6]
In Taule v. Santos,[7] we further stated that the Chief Executive wieled no more authority than that of
checking whether local governments or their officials were performing their duties as provided by
the fundamental law and by statutes. He cannot interfere with local governments, so long as they
act within the scope of their 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 body,"[8] we said.
In a more recent case, Drilon v. Lim,[9] the difference between control and 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 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, but only to conform
to such rules. They may not prescribe their own manner of execution of the act. They have no
discretion on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed.
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 egos. As such, they are
subject to the power of control of the President, at whose will and behest they can be removed from
office; or their actions and decisions changed, suspended or reversed.[11] In contrast, the heads of
political subdivisions are elected by the people. Their sovereign powers emanate from the

35
electorate, to whom they are directly accountable. By constitutional fiat, they are subject to the
Presidents 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.
Extent of Local Autonomy

Hand in hand with the constitutional restraint on the President's power over local governments is
the state policy of ensuring local autonomy.[12]
In Ganzon v. Court of Appeals,[13] we said that local autonomy signified "a more responsive and
accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization." The grant
of autonomy is intended to "break up the monopoly of the national government over the affairs of
local governments, xxx not x xx to end the relation of partnership and interdependence between
the central administration and local government units
x
xx." Paradoxically, local governments are still subject to regulation, however limited, for the
purpose of enhancing self-government.[14]
Decentralization simply means the devolution of national administration, not power, to local
governments. Local officials remain accountable to the central government as the law may provide.
[15]
The difference between decentralization of administration and that of power was explained in
detail in Limbona v. Mangelin[16] as follows:
"Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of 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 and accountable,'[17] and 'ensure their fullest development as
self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national
development and social progress.'[18] At the same time, it relieves the central government of the
burden 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 affairs are administered
according to law.'[20] He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their
judgments with his own.[21]
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the favor
of local government units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous government is
free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central
authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to 'selfimmolation,' since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the
central authorities but to its constituency."[22]
Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy, the national government has not completely
relinquished all its powers over local governments, including autonomous regions. Only
administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political subdivisions. The purpose of the
delegation is to make governance more directly responsive and effective at the local levels. In turn,
economic, political and social development at the smaller political units are expected to propel
social and economic growth and development. But to enable the country to develop as a whole,
the programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a common
national goal. Thus, policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the President and Congress. As
we stated in Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc., municipal governments are still agents of the
national government.[23]
The Nature of AO 372

Consistent with the foregoing jurisprudential precepts, let us now look into the nature of AO
372. As its preambular clauses declare, the Order was a "cash management measure" adopted by

the government "to match expenditures with available resources," which were presumably depleted
at the time due to "economic difficulties brought about by the peso
depreciation." Because of a looming financial crisis, the President deemed it necessary to "direct
all government agencies, state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled
corporations as well as local governments to reduce their total expenditures by at least 25 percent
along suggested areas mentioned in AO 372.
Under existing law, local government units, in addition to having administrative autonomy in the
exercise of their functions, enjoy fiscal autonomy as well. Fiscal autonomy means that local
governments have the power to create their own sources of revenue in addition to their equitable
share in the national taxes released by the national government, as well as the power to allocate
their resources in accordance with their own priorities. It extends to the preparation of their
budgets, and local officials in turn have to work within the constraints thereof. They are not
formulated at the national level and imposed on local governments, whether they are relevant to
local needs and resources or not. Hence, the necessity of a balancing of viewpoints and the
harmonization of proposals from both local and national officials,[24] who in any case are partners in
the attainment of national goals.
Local fiscal autonomy does not however rule out any manner of national government intervention
by way of supervision, in order to ensure that local programs, 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, coordinated and integrated social and economic policies, plans and programs [26] for the
entire country. However, under the Constitution, the formulation and the implementation of such
policies and programs are subject to "consultations with the appropriate public agencies, various
private sectors, and local government units." The President cannot do so unilaterally.
Consequently, the Local Government Code provides:[27]
"x xx [I]n the event the national government incurs an unmanaged public sector deficit, the
President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon the recommendation of [the] Secretary of
Finance, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and
Management, and subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress
and the presidents of the liga, to make 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
year x xx."
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 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 collection of
national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the current one.
Petitioner points out that respondents failed to comply with these requisites before the issuance
and the implementation of AO 372. At the very least, they did not even try to show that the national
government was suffering from an unmanageable public sector deficit. Neither did they claim
having conducted consultations with the different leagues of local governments. Without these
requisites, the President has no authority to adjust, much less to reduce, unilaterally the LGU's
internal revenue allotment.

36
The solicitor general insists, however, that AO 372 is merely directory and has been issued by the
President consistent with his power of supervision over local governments. It is intended only
to advise all government agencies and instrumentalities to undertake cost-reduction measures that
will help maintain economic stability in the country, which is facing economic difficulties. Besides, it
does not contain any sanction in case of noncompliance. Being merely an advisory, 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 power of control.
While the wordings of Section 1 of AO 372 have a rather commanding tone, and 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 general's
assurance that the directive to "identify and implement measures x xx that will reduce total
expenditures x xx by at least 25% of authorized regular appropriation" is merely advisory in
character, and does not constitute a mandatory or binding order that interferes with local
autonomy. The language used, while authoritative, does not amount to a command that emanates
from a boss to a subaltern.
Rather, the provision is merely an advisory to prevail upon local executives to recognize the need
for fiscal restraint in a period of economic difficulty. Indeed, all concerned would do well to heed the
President's call to unity, solidarity and teamwork to help alleviate the crisis. It is understood,
however, that no legal sanction may be imposed upon LGUs and their officials who do not follow
such advice. It is in this light that we sustain the solicitor general's contention in regard to Section
1.

administrative order, the determination of the scope and constitutionality of the executive action in
advance of its immediate adverse effect involves too remote and abstract an inquiry for the proper
exercise of judicial function."
This is a rather novel theory -- that people should await the implementing evil to befall on them
before they can question acts that are illegal or unconstitutional. Be it remembered that the real
issue here is whether the Constitution and the law are contravened by Section 4 of AO 372, not
whether they are violated by the acts implementing it. In the unanimous en banc case Taada v.
Angara,[33] this Court held that when an act of the legislative department is seriously alleged to have
infringed the 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 awaken judicial duty. Said the Court:
"In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the
Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the
legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the
right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. 'The question thus posed is judicial
rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the
Constitution is upheld.'[34] Once a 'controversy as to the application or interpretation of a
constitutional provision is raised before this Court xxx , it becomes a legal issue which the Court is
bound by constitutional mandate to decide.'[35]
x xx
xxx
xxx

Withholding a Part of LGUs' IRA

Section 4 of AO 372 cannot, however, be upheld. A basic feature of local fiscal autonomy is
the automatic release of the shares of LGUs in the national internal revenue. This is mandated by
no less than the Constitution.[28] The Local Government Code[29] specifies further that the release
shall be made directly to the LGU concerned within five (5) days after every quarter of the year and
"shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national government for
whatever purpose."[30] As a rule, the term "shall" is a word of command that must be given a
compulsory meaning.[31] The provision is, therefore, imperative.
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 Development Budget Coordinating
Committee of the emerging fiscal situation" in the country. Such withholding clearly contravenes
the Constitution and the law. Although temporary, it is equivalent to a holdback, which means
"something held back or withheld, often temporarily."[32] Hence, the "temporary" nature of the
retention by the national government does not matter. Any retention is prohibited.
In sum, while Section 1 of AO 372 may be upheld as an advisory effected in times 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 President was well-intentioned in issuing
his Order to withhold the LGUs IRA, but the 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 out by legal methods.
Refutation of Justice Kapunan's Dissent

Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan dissents from our Decision on the grounds that, 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 the President's authority to adjust it in case of an
unmanageable public sector deficit.
First, on prematurity. According to the Dissent, when "the conduct has not yet occurred and the
challenged construction has not yet been adopted by the agency charged with administering the

"As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases,[36] it will not shirk, digress from
or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave
abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency,
instrumentality or department of the government."
In the same vein, the Court also held in Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy:[37]
"x xx Judicial power includes not only the duty of the courts to settle actual 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 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 void."
By the same token, when an act of the President, who in our constitutional scheme is a coequal of
Congress, is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution and the laws, as in the present
case, settling the dispute becomes the duty and the responsibility of the courts.
Besides, the issue that the Petition is premature has not been raised by the parties; hence it is
deemed waived. Considerations of due process really prevents its 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 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 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.

37
Precisely, such powers referred to in the Dissent have specifically been authorized by law and have
not been challenged as violative of the Constitution. On the 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 alluded to in the Dissent are indeed authorized by law; but,
quite the opposite, Section 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 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 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 line with Section 284 of the LGC, which Justice Kapunancites. He,
however, merely glances over a specific requirement in the same provision -- that such reduction is
subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and, more
importantly, with the presidents of the leagues of local governments.
Notably, Justice Kapunan recognizes the need for "interaction between the national government
and the LGUs at the planning level," in order to ensure that "local development plans xxx 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 is why the petitioner and the intervenor (who was a
provincial governor and at the same time president of the League of
Provinces of the Philippines and chairman of the League of Leagues of Local Governments) have
protested and instituted this action. Significantly, respondents do not deny the lack of consultation.
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 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 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.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. Respondents and their successors are hereby
permanently PROHIBITED from implementing Administrative Order Nos. 372 and 43, respectively
dated December 27, 1997 and December 10, 1998, insofar as local government units are
concerned.
SO ORDERED.
DISSENTING OPINION

KAPUNAN, J.:
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 of control over the local
government units ("LGU), which he does not have, and violated the provisions of Section 6, Article
X of the Constitution, which states:
SEC. 6. Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes
which shall be automatically released to them.
and Section 286(a) of the Local Government Code, which provides:
SEC. 286. Automatic Release of Shares. - (a) The share of each local government unit
shall be released, without need of any further action, directly to the provincial, city, municipal or
barangay treasurer, as the case may be, on a quarterly basis within 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.

SEC. 284. Allotment of Internal Revenue Taxes. - Local government units shall have a
share in the national internal revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal year
preceding the current fiscal year as follows:
(a) On the first year of the effectivity of this Code, thirty percent (30%);
(b) On the second year, thirty-five (35%) percent; and
(c) On the third year and thereafter, forty percent (40%).
Provided, That in the event that the national government incurs an unmanageable public sector
deficit, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon the recommendation of
Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Interior and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and
Management, and subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of
Congress and the presidents of the liga, to make 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 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 services, be entitled to receive the
amount equivalent to the cost of devolved personal services.
x xx
The majority opinion takes the view that the withholding of ten percent (10%) of the internal
revenue allotment ("IRA") to the LGUs pending the assessment and 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-quoted provisions which mandate the "automatic" release of
the shares of the LGUs in the national internal revenue in consonance with local fiscal autonomy.
The pertinent portions of AO No. 372 are reproduced hereunder:
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372

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 stability and sustain
the countrys growth momentum;
WHEREAS, it is imperative that all government agencies adopt cash management measures to
match expenditures with available resources; NOW THEREFORE, I, 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:
SECTION 1. All government departments and agencies, including x xx local government
units will identify and implement measures in FY 1998 that will reduce total appropriations for nonpersonal services items, along the following suggested areas:
x xx
SECTION 4. Pending the assessment and evaluation by the Development Budget
Coordinating Committee of the emerging fiscal situation the amount equivalent to 10% of the
internal revenue allotment to local government units shall be withheld.
x xx
Subsequently, on December 10, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada issued Administrative Order
No. 43 (AO No. 43), amending Section 4 of AO No. 372, by reducing to five percent (5%) the IRA
to be withheld from the LGUs, thus:
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 43

The share of the LGUs in the national internal revenue taxes is defined in Section 284 of the same
Local Government Code, to wit:

AMENDING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 372 DATED 27 DECEMBER 1997 ENTITLED


"ADOPTION OF ECONOMY MEASURES IN GOVERNMENT FOR FY 1998"

38
WHEREAS, Administrative Order No. 372 dated 27 December 1997 entitled "Adoption of Economy
Measures in Government for FY 1998" was issued to address the economic difficulties brought
about by the peso devaluation in 1997;
WHEREAS, Section 4 of Administrative Order No. 372 provided that the amount equivalent to 10%
of the internal revenue allotment to local government units shall be withheld; and,
WHEREAS, there is a need to release additional funds to local government units for vital projects
and expenditures.
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 reduction of the
withheld Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local government units from ten percent to five
percent.
The five percent reduction in the IRA withheld for 1998 shall be released before 25 December
1998.
DONE in the City of Manila, this 10th day of December, in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred
and ninety eight.
With all due respect, I beg to disagree with the majority opinion.
Section 4 of AO No. 372 does not present a case ripe for adjudication. The language of Section 4
does not conclusively show that, on its face, the constitutional provision on the automatic release of
the IRA shares of the LGUs has been violated. 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 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 administering the
administrative order, the determination of the scope and constitutionality of the executive action in
advance of its immediate adverse effect 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 withheld has not yet been released, or that the Department of Budget and
Management (DBM) has refused and continues to refuse its release. In view thereof, the Court
should not decide as this case suggests an abstract proposition on constitutional issues.
The President is the chief fiscal officer of the country. He is ultimately responsible for the collection
and distribution of public money:
SECTION 3.Powers and Functions. - The Department of Budget and Management shall assist the
President in the preparation of a national resources and expenditures budget, preparation,
execution and control of the National Budget, preparation and maintenance of accounting systems
essential to the budgetary process, achievement of more economy and efficiency in the
management of government operations, administration of compensation and position classification
systems, assessment of organizational effectiveness and review and evaluation of legislative
proposals having budgetary or organizational implications. 1
In a larger context, his role as chief fiscal officer is directed towards "the nation's efforts at
economic and social upliftment"2 for which more specific economic powers are delegated. Within
statutory limits, the President can, thus, fix "tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and
wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development
program of the government,3 as he is also responsible for enlisting the country in international
economic agreements.4 More than this, to achieve "economy and efficiency in the management of
government operations," the President is empowered to create appropriation reserves,5 suspend
expenditure appropriations,6 and institute cost reduction schemes.7

As chief fiscal officer of the country, the President supervises fiscal development in the local
government units and ensures that laws are faithfully executed.8 For this reason, he can set aside
tax ordinances if he finds them contrary to the Local Government Code.9 Ordinances cannot
contravene statutes and public policy as declared by the national govemment. 10 The goal of local
economy is not to "end the relation of partnership and inter-dependence between the central
administration and local government units,"11 but to make local governments "more responsive and
accountable" [to] "ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them
more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress."12
The interaction between the national government and the local government units is mandatory at
the planning level. Local development plans must thus hew to "national policies and standards 13 as
these are integrated into the regional development plans for submission to the National Economic
Development Authority. "14 Local budget plans and goals must also be harmonized, as far as
practicable, with "national development goals and strategies in order to optimize the utilization of
resources and to avoid duplication in the use of fiscal and physical resources." 15
Section 4 of AO No. 372 was issued in the exercise by the President not only of his power of
general supervision, but also in conformity with his role as chief fiscal officer of the country in the
discharge of which he is clothed by law with certain powers to ensure the observance of
safeguards and auditing requirements, as well as the legal prerequisites in the release and use of
IRAs, taking into account the constitutional16 and statutory17 mandates.
However, the phrase "automatic release" of the LGUs' shares does not mean that the release of the
funds is mechanical, spontaneous, self-operating or reflex. IRAs must first be determined, and the
money for their payment collected.18 In this regard, 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 process and in relation to pertinent laws relating to audit and
accounting requirements. 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. The money, therefore, available for IRA release may not be existing but merely inchoate, or
a mere expectation. It is not infrequent that the Executive
Department's proposals for raising revenue in the form of proposed legislation may not be passed
by the legislature. As such, the release of IRA should not mean release of absolute amounts based
merely on mathematical computations. There must be a prior determination of what exact amount
the local government units are actually entitled in light of the economic factors which affect the
fiscal situation in the country. Foremost of 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 284 of the Local Government Code:
x xx (I)n the event that the national government incurs an unmanageable public sector deficit, the
President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon the recommendation of Secretary of
Finance, Secretary of Interior and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and Management
and subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and the
presidents of the "liga," to make 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 year.
x xx.
Under the aforecited provision, if facts reveal that the economy has sustained or will likely sustain
such "unmanageable public sector deficit," then the LGUs cannot assert absolute right of
entitlement to the full amount of forty percent (40%) share in the IRA, because the President is
authorized to make an adjustment and to reduce the amount to not less than thirty percent (30%). It
is, therefore, impractical to immediately release the full amount of the IRAs and subsequently

39
require the local government units to return at most ten percent (10%) once the President has
ascertained that there exists an unmanageable public sector deficit.
By necessary implication, the power to make necessary adjustments (including reduction) in the
IRA in case of an unmanageable public sector deficit, includes the discretion to withhold the IRAs
temporarily until such time that the determination of the actual fiscal situation is made. The test in
determining whether one power is necessarily included in a stated authority is: "The exercise of a
more absolute power necessarily includes the lesser power especially where it is needed to make
the first power effective."19 If the discretion to suspend temporarily the release of the IRA pending
such examination is withheld from the President, his authority to make the necessary IRA
adjustments brought about by the unmanageable public sector deficit would be emasculated in the
midst of serious economic crisis. In the situation conjured by the majority opinion, the money would
already have been gone even before it is determined that fiscal crisis is indeed happening.
The majority opinion overstates the requirement in Section 286 of the Local Government Code that
the IRAs "shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national
government for whatever purpose" as proof that no withholding of the release of the IRAs is
allowed albeit temporary in nature.
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 national taxes "as determined
by law" and which share shall be automatically released to them. This means that before the
LGUs share is released, there should be first a determination, which requires a process, of what is
the correct amount as dictated by existing laws. For one, the Implementing Rules of the Local
Government Code allows deductions from the IRAs, to wit:
Article 384. Automatic Release of IRA Shares of LGUs:
x xx
(c) The IRA share of LGUs shall not be subject to any lien or hold back that may be imposed by the
National Government for whatever purpose unless otherwise provided in the Code or other
applicable laws and loan contract on project agreements arising from foreign loans and
international commitments, such as premium contributions of LGUs to the Government Service
Insurance System and loans contracted by LGUs under foreign-assisted projects.
Apart from the above, other mandatory deductions are made from the IRAs prior to their release,
such as: (1) total actual cost of devolution and the cost of city-funded hospitals; 20 and (2)
compulsory contributions21 and other remittances.22 It follows, therefore, that the President can
withhold portions of IRAs in order to set-off or compensate legitimately incurred obligations and
remittances of LGUs.
Significantly, Section 286 of the Local Government Code does not make mention of the exact
amount that should be automatically released to the LGUs. The provision 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 "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 because there was no showing of an
unmanageable public sector deficit by the national government, nor was there evidence that
consultations with the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress and the presidents of the
various leagues had taken place and the corresponding recommendations of the Secretary of
Finance, Secretary of Interior and Local Government and the Budget Secretary were made.
I beg to differ. The power to determine whether there is an unmanageable public sector deficit is
lodged in the President. The President's determination, as fiscal manager of the country, of the
existence of economic difficulties which could amount to "unmanageable public sector deficit"
should be accorded respect. In fact, the withholding of the ten percent (10%) of the LGUs' share
was further justified by the 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, 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
Therefore, even assuming hypothetically that there was effectively a deduction of five percent (5%)
of the LGUs' share, which was in accordance with the President's prerogative in view of the
pronouncement of the existence of an unmanageable public sector deficit, the deduction would still
be valid in the absence of any proof that the LGUs' allotment was less than the thirty percent (30%)
limit provided for in Section 284 of the Local Government Code.
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 share which the LGUs are
rightfully entitled to on the basis of the applicable laws, particularly Section 284 of the Local
Government Code, authorizing the President to make the necessary adjustments in the IRA of
LGUs in the event of an unmanageable public sector deficit. And assuming that the said five
percent (5%) of the IRA pertaining 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%) of the national internal revenue taxes collected, without even considering the proper
deductions allowed by law.
WHEREFORE, I vote to DISMISS the petition.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
EN BANC
G.R. No. 158088 July 6, 2005
SENATOR AQUILINO PIMENTEL, JR., REP. ETTA ROSALES, PHILIPPINE COALITION FOR
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, TASK FORCE
DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES, FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF INVOLUNTARY
DISAPPEARANCES, BIANCA HACINTHA R. ROQUE, HARRISON JACOB R. ROQUE, AHMED
PAGLINAWAN, RON P. SALO,* LEAVIDES G. DOMINGO, EDGARDO CARLO VISTAN, NOEL
VILLAROMAN, CELESTE CEMBRANO, LIZA ABIERA, JAIME ARROYO, MARWIL LLASOS,
CRISTINA ATENDIDO, ISRAFEL FAGELA, and ROMEL BAGARES, Petitioners,
vs.

40
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ALBERTO ROMULO, and the DEPARTMENT
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, represented by HON. BLAS OPLE, Respondents.
DECISION
PUNO J.:
This is a petition for mandamus filed by petitioners to compel the
Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Foreign Affairs to transmit the signed copy
of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to the Senate of the Philippines for its
concurrence in accordance with Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.
The Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court which "shall have the power to
exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern xxx and
shall be complementary to the national criminal jurisdictions."1 Its jurisdiction covers the crime of
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression as defined in the
Statute.2 The Statute was opened for signature by all states in Rome on July 17, 1998 and had
remained open for signature until December 31, 2000 at the United Nations Headquarters in New
York. The Philippines signed the Statute on December 28, 2000 through Charge d AffairsEnrique
A. Manalo of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations.3 Its provisions, however, require that it be
subject to ratification, acceptance or approval of the signatory states.4
Petitioners filed the instant petition to compel the respondents the Office of the Executive
Secretary and the Department of Foreign Affairs to transmit the signed text of the treaty to the
Senate of the Philippines for ratification.
It is the theory of the petitioners that ratification of a treaty, under both domestic law and
international law, is a function of the Senate. Hence, it is the duty of the executive department to
transmit the signed copy of the Rome Statute to the Senate to allow it to exercise its discretion with
respect to ratification of treaties. Moreover, petitioners submit that the Philippines has a ministerial
duty to ratify the Rome Statute under treaty law and customary international law. Petitioners invoke
the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties enjoining the states to refrain from acts which would
defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when they have signed the treaty prior to ratification
unless they have made their intention clear not to become parties to the treaty.5
The Office of the Solicitor General, commenting for the respondents, questioned the standing of the
petitioners to file the instant suit. It also contended that the petition at bar violates the rule on
hierarchy of courts. On the substantive issue raised by petitioners, respondents argue that the
executive department has no duty to transmit the Rome Statute to the Senate for concurrence.
A petition for 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.6 We have held that to be given due course, a petition
for mandamus must have been instituted by a party aggrieved by the alleged inaction of any
tribunal, corporation, board or person which unlawfully excludes said party from the enjoyment of a

legal right. The petitioner in every case must therefore be an aggrieved party in the sense that he
possesses a clear legal right to be enforced and a direct interest in the duty or act to be
performed.7 The Court will exercise its power of judicial review only if the case is brought before it
by a party who has the legal standing to raise the constitutional or legal question. "Legal standing"
means a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will
sustain direct injury as a result of the government act that is being challenged. The term "interest" is
material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere
interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest.8
The petition at bar was filed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. who asserts his legal standing to file
the suit as member of the Senate; Congresswoman Loretta Ann Rosales, a member of the House
of Representatives and Chairperson of its Committee on Human Rights; the Philippine Coalition for
the Establishment of the International Criminal Court which is composed of individuals and
corporate entities dedicated to the Philippine ratification of the Rome Statute; the Task Force
Detainees of the Philippines, a juridical entity with the avowed purpose of promoting the cause of
human rights and human rights victims in the country; the Families of Victims of Involuntary
Disappearances, a juridical entity duly organized and existing pursuant to Philippine Laws with the
avowed purpose of promoting the cause of families and victims of human rights violations in the
country; Bianca Hacintha Roque and Harrison Jacob Roque, aged two (2) and one (1),
respectively, at the time of filing of the instant petition, and suing under the doctrine of intergenerational rights enunciated in the case of Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr.;9 and a group of fifth year
working law students from the University of the Philippines College of Law who are suing as
taxpayers.
The question in standing is whether a party has alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of
the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues
upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. 10
We find that among the petitioners, only Senator Pimentel has the legal standing to file the instant
suit. The other petitioners maintain their standing as advocates and defenders of human rights, and
as citizens of the country. They have not shown, however, that they have sustained or will sustain a
direct injury from the non-transmittal of the signed text of the Rome Statute to the Senate. Their
contention that they will be deprived of their remedies for the protection and enforcement of their
rights does not persuade. The Rome Statute is intended to complement national criminal laws and
courts. Sufficient remedies are available under our national laws to protect our citizens against
human rights violations and petitioners can always seek redress for any abuse in our domestic
courts.
As regards Senator Pimentel, it has been held that "to the extent the powers of Congress are
impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in
the exercise of the powers of that institution."11 Thus, legislators have the standing to maintain
inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in their office and are
allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they claim infringes their
prerogatives as legislators. The petition at bar invokes the power of the Senate to grant or withhold
its concurrence to a treaty entered into by the executive branch, in this case, the Rome Statute.
The petition seeks to order the executive branch to transmit the copy of the treaty to the Senate to

41
allow it to exercise such authority. Senator Pimentel, as member of the institution, certainly has the
legal standing to assert such authority of the Senate.

We disagree.

We now go to the substantive issue.

Justice Isagani Cruz, in his book on International Law, describes the treaty-making process in this
wise:

The core issue in this petition for mandamus is whether the Executive Secretary and the
Department of Foreign Affairs have a ministerial duty to transmit to the Senate the copy of the
Rome Statute signed by a member of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations even without the
signature of the President.

The usual steps in the treaty-making process are: negotiation, signature, ratification, and exchange
of the instruments of ratification. The treaty may then be submitted for registration and publication
under the U.N. Charter, although this step is not essential to the validity of the agreement as
between the parties.

We rule in the negative.

Negotiation may be undertaken directly by the head of state but he now usually assigns this task to
his authorized representatives. These representatives are provided with credentials known as full
powers, which they exhibit to the other negotiators at the start of the formal discussions. It is
standard practice for one of the parties to submit a draft of the proposed treaty which, together with
the counter-proposals, becomes the basis of the subsequent negotiations. The negotiations may be
brief or protracted, depending on the issues involved, and may even "collapse" in case the parties
are unable to come to an agreement on the points under consideration.

In our system of government, the President, being the head of state, is regarded as the sole organ
and authority in external relations and is the countrys sole representative with foreign nations.12 As
the chief architect of foreign policy, the President acts as the countrys mouthpiece with respect to
international affairs. Hence, the President is vested with the authority to deal with foreign states and
governments, extend or withhold recognition, maintain diplomatic relations, enter into treaties, and
otherwise transact the business of foreign relations.13 In the realm of treaty-making, the President
has the sole authority to negotiate with other states.
Nonetheless, while the President has the sole authority to negotiate and enter into treaties, the
Constitution provides a limitation to his power by requiring the concurrence of 2/3 of all the
members of the Senate for the validity of the treaty entered into by him. Section 21, Article VII of
the 1987 Constitution provides that "no treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective
unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate." The 1935 and the
1973 Constitution also required the concurrence by the legislature to the treaties entered into by
the executive. Section 10 (7), Article VII of the 1935 Constitution provided:
Sec. 10. (7) The President shall have the power, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the
Members of the Senate, to make treaties xxx.
Section 14 (1) Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution stated:
Sec. 14. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, no treaty shall be valid and effective
unless concurred in by a majority of all the Members of the Batasang Pambansa.
The participation of the legislative branch in the treaty-making process was deemed essential to
provide a check on the executive in the field of foreign relations.14 By requiring the concurrence of
the legislature in the treaties entered into by the President, the Constitution ensures a healthy
system of checks and balance necessary in the nations pursuit of political maturity and growth.15
In filing this petition, the petitioners interpret Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution to mean
that the power to ratify treaties belongs to the Senate.

If and when the negotiators finally decide on the terms of the treaty, the same is opened
for signature. This step is primarily intended as a means of authenticating the instrument and for
the purpose of symbolizing the good faith of the parties; but, significantly, it does not indicate the
final consent of the state in cases where ratification of the treaty is required. The document is
ordinarily signed in accordance with the alternat, that is, each of the several negotiators is allowed
to sign first on the copy which he will bring home to his own state.
Ratification, which is the next step, is the formal act by which a state confirms and accepts the
provisions of a treaty concluded by its representatives. The purpose of ratification is to enable
the contracting states to examine the treaty more closely and to give them an opportunity to
refuse to be bound by it should they find it inimical to their interests. It is for this reason that
most treaties are made subject to the scrutiny and consent of a department of the
government other than that which negotiated them.
xxx
The last step in the treaty-making process is the exchange of the instruments of ratification, which
usually also signifies the effectivity of the treaty unless a different date has been agreed upon by
the parties. Where ratification is dispensed with and no effectivity clause is embodied in the treaty,
the instrument is deemed effective upon its signature.16 [emphasis supplied]
Petitioners arguments equate the signing of the treaty by the Philippine representative with
ratification. It should be underscored that the signing of the treaty and the ratification are two
separate and distinct steps in the treaty-making process. As earlier discussed, the signature is
primarily intended as a means of authenticating the instrument and as a symbol of the good faith of
the parties. It is usually performed by the states authorized representative in the diplomatic
mission. Ratification, on the other hand, is the formal act by which a state confirms and accepts the

42
provisions of a treaty concluded by its representative. It is generally held to be an executive act,
undertaken by the head of the state or of the government.17 Thus, Executive Order No. 459 issued
by President Fidel V. Ramos on November 25, 1997 provides the guidelines in the negotiation of
international agreements and its ratification. It mandates that after the treaty has been signed by
the Philippine representative, the same shall be transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Department of Foreign Affairs shall then prepare the ratification papers and forward the signed
copy of the treaty to the President for ratification. After the President has ratified the treaty, the
Department of Foreign Affairs shall submit the same to the Senate for concurrence. Upon receipt of
the concurrence of the Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall comply with the provisions
of the treaty to render it effective. Section 7 of Executive Order No. 459 reads:
Sec. 7. Domestic Requirements for the Entry into Force of a Treaty or an Executive
Agreement. The domestic requirements for the entry into force of a treaty or an executive
agreement, or any amendment thereto, shall be as follows:
A. Executive Agreements.
i. All executive agreements shall be transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs after their
signing for the preparation of the ratification papers. The transmittal shall include the highlights of
the agreements and the benefits which will accrue to the Philippines arising from them.
ii. The Department of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to the endorsement by the concerned agency, shall
transmit the agreements to the President of the Philippines for his ratification. The original signed
instrument of ratification shall then be returned to the Department of Foreign Affairs for appropriate
action.
B. Treaties.
i. All treaties, regardless of their designation, shall comply with the requirements provided in subparagraph[s] 1 and 2, item A (Executive Agreements) of this Section. In addition, the Department of
Foreign Affairs shall submit the treaties to the Senate of the Philippines for concurrence in the
ratification by the President. A certified true copy of the treaties, in such numbers as may be
required by the Senate, together with a certified true copy of the ratification instrument, shall
accompany the submission of the treaties to the Senate.
ii. Upon receipt of the concurrence by the Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall comply
with the provision of the treaties in effecting their entry into force.
Petitioners submission that the Philippines is bound under treaty law and international law to ratify
the treaty which it has signed is without basis. The signature does not signify the final consent of
the state to the treaty. It is the ratification that binds the state to the provisions thereof. In fact, the
Rome Statute itself requires that the signature of the representatives of the states be subject to
ratification, acceptance or approval of the signatory states. Ratification is the act by which the
provisions of a treaty are formally confirmed and approved by a State. By ratifying a treaty signed in
its behalf, a state expresses its willingness to be bound by the provisions of such treaty. After the

treaty is signed by the states representative, the President, being accountable to the people, is
burdened with the responsibility and the duty to carefully study the contents of the treaty and
ensure that they are not inimical to the interest of the state and its people. Thus, the President has
the discretion even after the signing of the treaty by the Philippine representative whether or not to
ratify the same. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties does not contemplate to defeat or
even restrain this power of the head of states. If that were so, the requirement of ratification of
treaties would be pointless and futile. It has been held that a state has no legal or even moral duty
to ratify a treaty which has been signed by its plenipotentiaries.18 There is no legal obligation to
ratify a treaty, but it goes without saying that the refusal must be based on substantial grounds and
not on superficial or whimsical reasons. Otherwise, the other state would be justified in taking
offense.19
It should be emphasized that under our Constitution, the power to ratify is vested in the President,
subject to the concurrence of the Senate. The role of the Senate, however, is limited only to giving
or withholding its consent, or concurrence, to the ratification.20 Hence, it is within the authority of the
President to refuse to submit a treaty to the Senate or, having secured its consent for its ratification,
refuse to ratify it.21 Although the refusal of a state to ratify a treaty which has been signed in its
behalf is a serious step that should not be taken lightly,22 such decision is within the competence of
the President alone, which cannot be encroached by this Court via a writ ofmandamus. This Court
has no jurisdiction over actions seeking to enjoin the President in the performance of his official
duties.23 The Court, therefore, cannot issue the writ of mandamus prayed for by the petitioners as it
is beyond its jurisdiction to compel the executive branch of the government to transmit the signed
text of Rome Statute to the Senate.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 92299 April 19, 1991


REYNALDO R. SAN JUAN, petitioner,
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT and CECILIA
ALMAJOSE,respondents.
Legal Services Division for petitioner.
Sumulong, Sumulong, Paras&Abano Law Offices for private respondent.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:p
In this petition for certiorari pursuant to Section 7, Article IX (A) of the present Constitution, the
petitioner Governor of the Province of Rizal, prays for the nullification 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.
The dispositive portion of the questioned Resolution reads:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission resolved to dismiss, as it hereby
dismisses the appeal of Governor Reynaldo San Juan of Rizal. Accordingly, the approved
appointment of Ms. Cecilia Almajose as Provincial Budget Officer of Rizal, is upheld. (Rollo, p. 32)

43
The subsequent Resolution No. 90-150 reiterates CSC's position upholding the private
respondent's appointment by denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
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 Henedimadel Rosario.
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 assumed office as Acting
PBO since March 22, 1988 pursuant to a Memorandum issued by the petitioner who further
requested Director Abella to endorse the appointment of the said Ms. Dalisay Santos to the
contested position of PBO of Rizal. Ms. Dalisay Santos was then Municipal Budget Officer of
Taytay, Rizal before she discharged the functions of acting PBO.
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 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.
On August 1, 1988, DBM Undersecretary Nazario S. Cabuquit, Jr. signed the appointment papers
of the private respondent as PBO of Rizal upon the aforestated recommendation of Abella.
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 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 to submit at least three other qualified nominees who are
qualified for the position of PBO of Rizal for evaluation and processing.
On November 2, 1988, the petitioner after having been informed of the private respondent's
appointment wrote Secretary Carague protesting against the said 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 years work experience as provided in Local Budget Circular
No. 31; and that under Executive Order No. 112, it is the Provincial Governor, not the Regional
Director or a Congressman, who has the power to recommend nominees for the position of PBO.
On January 9, 1989 respondent DBM, through its Director of the Bureau of Legal & Legislative
Affairs (BLLA) Virgilio A. Afurung, issued a Memorandum ruling that the petitioner's letter-protest is
not meritorious considering that public respondent DBM validly exercised its prerogative in filling-up
the contested position since none of the petitioner's nominees met the prescribed requirements.
On January 27, 1989, the petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the BLLA ruling.
On February 28, 1989, the DBM Secretary denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
On March 27, 1989, the petitioner wrote public respondent CSC protesting against the
appointment of the private respondent and reiterating his position regarding the matter.
Subsequently, public respondent CSC issued the questioned resolutions which prompted the
petitioner to submit before us the following assignment of errors:
A. THE CSC ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE APPOINTMENT BY DBM ASSISTANT
SECRETARY CABUQUIT OF CECILIA ALMAJOSE AS PBO OF RIZAL.

B. THE CSC ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CECILIA ALMA JOSE POSSESSES ALL THE
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS.
C. THE CSC ERRED IN DECLARING THAT PETITIONER'S NOMINEES ARE NOT
QUALIFIED TO THE SUBJECT POSITION.
D. THE CSC AND THE DBM GRAVELY ABUSED THEIR DISCRETION IN NOT
ALLOWING PETITIONER TO SUBMIT NEW NOMINEES WHO COULD MEET THE REQUIRED
QUALIFICATION (Petition, pp. 7-8, Rollo, pp. 15-16)
All the assigned errors relate to the issue of whether or not the private respondent is lawfully
entitled to discharge the functions of PBO of Rizal pursuant to the appointment made by public
respondent DBM's Undersecretary upon the recommendation of then Director Abella of DBM
Region IV.
The petitioner's arguments rest on his contention that he has the sole right and privilege to
recommend the nominees to the position of PBO and that the appointee should come only from his
nominees. In support thereof, he invokes Section 1 of Executive Order No. 112 which provides that:
Sec. 1. All budget officers of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be appointed henceforth by
the Minister of Budget and Management upon recommendation of the local chief executive
concerned, subject to civil service law, rules and regulations, and they shall be placed under the
administrative control and technical supervision of the Ministry of Budget and Management.
The petitioner maintains that the appointment of the private respondent to the contested position
was made in derogation of the provision so that both the public respondents committed grave
abuse of discretion in upholding Almajose's appointment.
There is no question that under Section 1 of Executive Order No. 112 the petitioner's power to
recommend is subject to the qualifications prescribed by existing laws for the position of PBO.
Consequently, in the event that the recommendations made by the petitioner fall short of the
required standards, the appointing authority, the Minister (now Secretary) of public respondent
DBM is expected to reject the same.
In the event that the Governor recommends an unqualified person, is the Department Head free to
appoint anyone he fancies ? This is the issue before us.
Before the promulgation of Executive Order No. 112 on December 24, 1986, Batas PambansaBlg.
337, otherwise known as the Local Government Code vested upon the Governor, subject to civil
service rules and regulations, the power to appoint the PBO (Sec. 216, subparagraph (1), BP 337).
The Code further enumerated the qualifications for the position of PBO. Thus, Section 216,
subparagraph (2) of the same code states that:
(2) No person shall be appointed provincial budget officer unless he is a 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 its
equivalent, and has acquired at least five years experience in budgeting or in any related field.
The petitioner contends that since the appointing authority with respect to the Provincial Budget
Officer of Rizal was vested in him before, then, the real intent behind Executive Order No. 112 in
empowering him to recommend nominees to the 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 local chief executive concerned" must be given mandatory application in
consonance with the state policy of local autonomy as guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution under
Art. II, Sec. 25 and Art. X, Sec. 2 thereof. He further argues that his power to 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 petitioner's nominees do not meet the
qualification requirements as embodied in public respondent DBM's Local Budget Circular No. 31
dated February 9, 1988.

44
The questioned ruling is justified by the public respondent CSC as follows:
In Tecson v. Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 282 (1970), this Court stated:
As required by said E.O. No. 112, the DBM Secretary may choose from among the recommendees
of the Provincial Governor who are thus qualified and eligible for appointment to the position of the
PBO of Rizal. Notwithstanding, the recommendation of the local chief executive is merely directory
and not a condition sine qua non to the exercise by the Secretary of 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 therein, taking into consideration that said officer has been
nationalized and is directly under the control and supervision of the DBM Secretary or through his
duly authorized representative. It cannot be gainsaid that said national 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
government unit, he must be primarily the choice of the national appointing official, and the exercise
thereof must not be unduly hampered or interfered with, provided the appointee finally selected
meets the requirements for the position in accordance with prescribed Civil Service Law, Rules and
Regulations. In other words, the appointing official is not restricted or circumscribed to the list
submitted or recommended by the local chief executive in the final selection of an appointee for the
position. He may consider other nominees for the position vis a vis the nominees of the local chief
executive. (CSC Resolution No. 89-868, p. 2; Rollo, p. 31)
The issue before the Court is not limited to the validity of the appointment of one Provincial Budget
Officer. The tug of war between the Secretary of Budget and Management and the Governor of the
premier province of Rizal over a seemingly innocuous position involves the application of a most
important constitutional policy and principle, that of local autonomy. We have to obey the clear
mandate on local autonomy. Where a law is capable of two interpretations, one in favor of
centralized power in Malacaang and the other beneficial to local autonomy, the scales must be
weighed in favor of autonomy.
The exercise by local governments of meaningful power has been a national goal since the turn of
the century. And yet, inspite of constitutional provisions and, as in this case, legislation mandating
greater autonomy for local officials, national officers cannot seem to let go of centralized powers.
They deny or water down what little grants of autonomy have so far been given to municipal
corporations.
President McKinley's Instructions dated April 7, 1900 to the Second Philippine Commission ordered
the new Government "to devote their attention in the first instance to the establishment of municipal
governments in which natives of the Islands, both in the cities and rural communities, shall be
afforded the opportunity to manage their own local officers to the fullest extent of which they are
capable and 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.
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.
The 1935 Constitution had no specific article on local autonomy. However, in distinguishing
between presidential control and supervision as follows:
The President shall have control of all the executive 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. (Sec. 11, Article VII, 1935 Constitution)
the Constitution clearly limited the executive power over local governments to "general
supervision . . . as may be provided by law." The President controls the executive departments. He
has no such power over local governments. He has only supervision and that supervision is both
general and circumscribed by statute.

. . . Hebron v. Reyes, (104 Phil. 175 [1958]) with the then Justice, now Chief Justice, Concepcion
as the ponente, clarified matters. As was pointed out, the presidential competence is not even
supervision in general, but general supervision as may be provided by law. He could not thus go
beyond the applicable statutory provisions, which bind and fetter his discretion on the matter.
Moreover, as had been earlier ruled in an opinion penned by Justice Padilla in Mondano V. Silvosa,
(97 Phil. 143 [1955]) referred to by the present Chief Justice in his opinion in the Hebron case,
supervision goes no further than "overseeing 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 as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties." (Ibid, pp. 147148) Control, on the other hand, "means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set
aside what a 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 President had to abide by the then provisions of
the Revised Administrative Code on suspension and removal of municipal officials, there being no
power of control that he could rightfully exercise, the law clearly specifying the procedure by which
such disciplinary action would be taken.
Pursuant to this principle under the 1935 Constitution, legislation implementing local autonomy was
enacted. In 1959, Republic Act No. 2264, "An Act Amending the Law Governing Local
Governments by Increasing Their Autonomy and Reorganizing Local Governments" was passed. It
was followed in 1967 when Republic Act No. 5185, the Decentralization Law was enacted, giving
"further autonomous powers to local governments governments."
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:
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.
An entire article on Local Government was incorporated into the Constitution. It called for a local
government code defining more responsive and accountable local government structures. Any
creation, merger, abolition, or substantial boundary alteration cannot be done except in accordance
with the local government code and upon approval by a plebiscite. The power to create sources of
revenue and to levy taxes was specifically settled upon local governments.
The exercise of greater local autonomy is even more marked in the present Constitution.
Article II, Section 25 on State Policies provides:
Sec. 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments
The 14 sections in Article X on Local Government not only reiterate earlier doctrines but give in
greater detail the provisions making local autonomy more meaningful. Thus, Sections 2 and 3 of
Article X provide:
Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.
Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more
responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of
decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the
different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the
qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties
of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

45
When the Civil Service Commission interpreted the recommending power of the Provincial
Governor as purely directory, it went against the letter and spirit of the constitutional provisions on
local autonomy. If the DBM Secretary jealously hoards the entirety of budgetary powers and
ignores the right of local governments to develop self-reliance and resoluteness in the handling of
their own funds, the goal of meaningful local autonomy is frustrated and set back.
The right given by Local Budget Circular No. 31 which states:
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 requirements.
is ultra vires and is, accordingly, set aside. The DBM may appoint only from the list of 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 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. Under Article VIII of the Constitution, nominations for judicial positions are
made by the Judicial and Bar Council. The President makes the appointments from the list of
nominees submitted to her by the Council. She cannot apply the DBM procedure, reject all the
Council nominees, and 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 personal choice.
The public respondent's grave abuse of discretion is aggravated by the fact that Director Galvez
required the Provincial Governor to submit at least three other names of nominees better qualified
than his earlier recommendation. It was a meaningless exercise. The appointment of the private
respondent was formalized before the Governor was extended the courtesy of being informed that
his nominee had been rejected. The complete disregard of the local government's prerogative and
the smug belief that the DBM has absolute wisdom, authority, and discretion are manifest.
In his classic work "Philippine Political Law" Dean Vicente G. Sinco stated that the value of local
governments as institutions of democracy is measured by the degree of autonomy that they
enjoy. Citing Tocqueville, he stated that "local assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of free
nations. . . . A people may establish a system of free government but without the spirit of municipal
institutions, it cannot have the spirit of liberty." (Sinco, Philippine Political Law, Eleventh Edition, pp.
705-706).
Our national officials should not only comply with the constitutional provisions on local autonomy
but should also appreciate the spirit of liberty upon which these provisions are based.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned resolutions of the 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 submitted by the Provincial Governor.
SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 110120 March 16, 1994
LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON.
MANUEL JN. SERAPIO, Presiding Judge RTC, Branch 127, Caloocan City, HON. MACARIO A.
ASISTIO, JR., City Mayor of Caloocan and/or THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF
CALOOCAN, Respondents.
Alberto N. Hidalgo and Ma. Teresa T. Oledan for petitioner.chanrobles virtual law library
The City Legal Officer & Chief, Law Department for Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. and the City
Government of Caloocan.
ROMERO, J.:
The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose off the 350
tons of garbage it collects daily and the growing concern and sensitivity to a pollution-free
environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City where these tons of
garbage are dumped everyday is the hub of this controversy elevated by the protagonists to the
Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for adjudication.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
The instant case stemmed from an earlier petition filed with this Court by Laguna Lake
Development Authority (LLDA for short) docketed as G.R.
No. 107542 against the City Government of Caloocan, et al. In the Resolution of November 10,
1992, this Court referred G.R. No. 107542 to the Court of Appeals for appropriate disposition.
Docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP
No. 29449, the Court of Appeals, in a decision 1promulgated on January 29, 1993 ruled that the
LLDA has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order enjoining the dumping of
garbage in Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City. The LLDA now seeks, in this petition, a
review of the decision of the Court of Appeals.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
The facts, as disclosed in the records, are undisputed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint 2with the Laguna Lake Development Authority
seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open garbage dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City due to its harmful effects on the health of the residents and the possibility
of pollution of the water content of the surrounding area.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

46
On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring and test sampling
of the leachate 3that seeps from said dumpsite to the nearby creek which is a tributary of the
Marilao River. The LLDA Legal and Technical personnel found that the City Government of
Caloocan was maintaining an open dumpsite at the Camarin area without first securing an
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)
of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as required under Presidential Decree
No. 1586, 4and clearance from LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850, 5as amended by
Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983. 6chanrobles virtual law
library
After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA, acting on the complaint of Task
Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the water collected from the leachate and the receiving
streams could considerably affect the quality, in turn, of the receiving waters since it indicates the
presence of bacteria, other than coliform, which may have contaminated the sample during
collection or handling. 7On December 5, 1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order 8ordering
the City Government of Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors, and other
entities, to completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind of garbage and other
waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government of Caloocan. However,
sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was resumed after a meeting held in July 1992
among the City Government of Caloocan, the representatives of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and
LLDA at the Office of Environmental Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes failed to
settle the problem.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on August 14, 1992, the LLDA
issued another order reiterating the December 5, 1991, order and issued an Alias Cease and
Desist Order enjoining the City Government of Caloocan from continuing its dumping operations at
the Camarin area.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine National Police, enforced
its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all garbage dump trucks into the Tala
Estate, Camarin area being utilized as a dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on September 17, 1992 with the
LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City an
action for the declaration of nullity of the cease and desist order with prayer for the issuance of writ
of injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15598. In its complaint, the City Government of
Caloocan sought to be declared as the sole authority empowered to promote the health and safety
and enhance the right of the people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial
jurisdiction. 9chanrobles virtual law library
On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City issued a
temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from enforcing its cease and desist order.

Subsequently, the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 126 of Caloocan which, at
the time, was presided over by Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127,
the pairing judge of the recently-retired presiding judge.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
The LLDA, for its part, filed on October 2, 1992 a motion to dismiss on the ground, among others,
that under Republic Act No. 3931, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known
as the Pollution Control Law, the cease and desist order issued by it which is the subject matter of
the complaint is reviewable both upon the law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and
not by the Regional Trial Court. 10chanrobles virtual law library
On October 12, 1992 Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio issued an order consolidating Civil Case No. C15598 with Civil Case No. C-15580, an earlier case filed by the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite
entitled "Fr. John Moran, et al. vs. Hon. Macario Asistio." The LLDA, however, maintained during
the trial that the foregoing cases, being independent of each other, should have been treated
separately.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On October 16, 1992, Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, after hearing the motion to dismiss, issued in the
consolidated cases an order 11denying LLDA's motion to dismiss and granting the issuance of a writ
of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its agent and all persons acting for and on its behalf,
from enforcing or implementing its cease and desist order which prevents plaintiff City of Caloocan
from dumping garbage at the Camarin dumpsite during the pendency of this case and/or until
further orders of the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with prayer
for restraining order with the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No. 107542, seeking to nullify the
aforesaid order dated October 16, 1992 issued by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127 of
Caloocan City denying its motion to dismiss.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The Court, acting on the petition, issued a Resolution 12on November 10, 1992 referring the case to
the Court of Appeals for proper disposition and at the same time, without giving due course to the
petition, required the respondents to comment on the petition and file the same with the Court of
Appeals within ten (10) days from notice. In the meantime, the Court issued a temporary restraining
order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from it, ordering the respondents: (1)
Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, Caloocan City to
cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over the case for declaration of nullity of the cease
and desist order issued by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA); and (2) City Mayor of
Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage
at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
Respondents City Government of Caloocan and Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. filed on November
12, 1992 a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash/recall the temporary restraining order and an
urgent motion for reconsideration alleging that ". . . in view of the calamitous situation that would
arise if the respondent city government fails to collect 350 tons of garbage daily for lack of dumpsite

47
(i)t is therefore, imperative that the issue be resolved with dispatch or with sufficient leeway to allow
the respondents to find alternative solutions to this garbage problem."chanrobles virtual law library
On November 17, 1992, the Court issued a Resolution 13directing the Court of Appeals to
immediately set the case for hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the temporary
restraining order issued by the Court should be lifted and what conditions, if any, may be required if
it is to be so lifted or whether the restraining order should be maintained or converted into a
preliminary injunction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The Court of Appeals set the case for hearing on November 27, 1992, at 10:00 in the morning at
the Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, New Building, Court of Appeals. 14After the oral argument, a
conference was set on December 8, 1992 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning where the Mayor of
Caloocan City, the General Manager of LLDA, the Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized
representative and the Secretary of DILG or his duly authorized representative were required to
appear.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
It was agreed at the conference that the LLDA had until December 15, 1992 to finish its study and
review of respondent's technical plan with respect to the dumping of its garbage and in the event of
a rejection of respondent's technical plan or a failure of settlement, the parties will submit within 10
days from notice their respective memoranda on the merits of the case, after which the petition
shall be deemed submitted for resolution. 15Notwithstanding such efforts, the parties failed to settle
the dispute.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that: (1) the Regional Trial
Court has no jurisdiction on appeal to try, hear and decide the action for annulment of LLDA's
cease and desist order, including the issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction in relation thereto, since appeal therefrom is within the exclusive and appellate
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals under Section 9, par. (3), of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129; and (2)
the Laguna Lake Development Authority has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist
order under its enabling law, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive
Order
No. 927, series of 1983.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The Court of Appeals thus dismissed Civil Case No. 15598 and the preliminary injunction issued in
the said case was set aside; the cease and desist order of LLDA was likewise set aside and the
temporary restraining order enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of
Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin,
Caloocan City was lifted, subject, however, to the condition that any future dumping of garbage in
said area, shall be in conformity with the procedure and protective works contained in the proposal
attached to the records of this case and found on pages 152-160 of the Rollo, which was thereby
adopted by reference and made an integral part of the decision, until the corresponding restraining
and/or injunctive relief is granted by the proper Court upon LLDA's institution of the necessary legal
proceedings.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Hence, the Laguna Lake Development Authority filed the instant petition for review oncertiorari,
now docketed as G.R. No. 110120, with prayer that the temporary restraining order lifted by the
Court of Appeals be re-issued until after final determination by this Court of the issue on the proper
interpretation of the powers and authority of the LLDA under its enabling
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On July, 19, 1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order 16enjoining the City Mayor of
Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage
at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, effective as of this date and containing until
otherwise ordered by the Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
It is significant to note that while both parties in this case agree on the need to protect the
environment and to maintain the ecological balance of the surrounding areas of the Camarin open
dumpsite, the question as to which agency can lawfully exercise jurisdiction over the matter
remains highly open to question.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The City Government of Caloocan claims that it is within its power, as a local government unit,
pursuant to the general welfare provision of the Local Government Code, 17 to determine the effects
of the operation of the dumpsite on the ecological balance and to see that such balance is
maintained. On the basis of said contention, it questioned, from the inception of the dispute before
the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, the power and authority of the LLDA to issue a cease and
desist order enjoining the dumping of garbage in the Barangay Camarin over which the City
Government of Caloocan has territorial jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
The Court of Appeals sustained the position of the City of Caloocan on the theory that Section 7 of
Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control law, authorizing the defunct
National Pollution Control Commission to issue an ex-partecease and desist order was not
incorporated in Presidential Decree No. 813 nor in Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act No. 4850, as
amended, the LLDA is instead required "to institute the necessary legal proceeding against any
person who shall commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan or
program within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the Authority."chanrobles
virtual law library
The LLDA now assails, in this partition for review, the abovementioned ruling of the Court of
Appeals, contending that, as an administrative agency which was granted regulatory and
adjudicatory powers and functions by Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, Presidential
Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, it is invested with the power and
authority to issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Section 4 par. (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of
Executive Order No. 927 series of 1983 which provides, thus:
Sec. 4. Additional Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following powers and
functions:

48
xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library
(c) Issue orders or decisions to compel compliance with the provisions of this Executive Order and
its implementing rules and regulations only after proper notice and
hearing.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(d) Make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of pollution specifying the conditions
and the time within which such discontinuance must be
accomplished.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(e) Issue, renew, or deny permits, under such conditions as it may determine to be reasonable, for
the prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of sewage, industrial waste, or for the
installation or operation of sewage works and industrial disposal system or parts
thereof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(f) After due notice and hearing, the Authority may also revoke, suspend or modify any permit
issued under this Order whenever the same is necessary to prevent or abate
pollution.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
(g) Deputize in writing or request assistance of appropriate government agencies or
instrumentalities for the purpose of enforcing this Executive Order and its implementing rules and
regulations and the orders and decisions of the Authority.
The LLDA claims that the appellate court deliberately suppressed and totally disregarded the above
provisions of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, which granted administrative quasi-judicial
functions to LLDA on pollution abatement cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
In light of the relevant environmental protection laws cited which are applicable in this case, and the
corresponding overlapping jurisdiction of government agencies implementing these laws, the
resolution of the issue of whether or not the LLDA has the authority and power to issue an order
which, in its nature and effect was injunctive, necessarily requires a determination of the threshold
question: Does the Laguna Lake Development Authority, under its Charter and its amendatory laws,
have the authority to entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in the open dumpsite
in Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of Caloocan which is allegedly
endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the residents therein and the sanitation and quality of
the water in the area brought about by exposure to pollution caused by such open garbage
dumpsite?chanrobles virtual law library
The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that requires control, if
not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is essentially addressed to the
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR which, by virtue of Section 16 of
Executive Order No. 192, series of 1987, 18has assumed the powers and functions of the defunct
National Pollution Control Commission created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said Executive
Order, a Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR Secretary now assumes

the powers and functions of the National Pollution Control Commission with respect to adjudication
of pollution cases. 19chanrobles virtual law library
As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution Adjudication
Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides for another forum. It must be
recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized administrative agency, is specifically
mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and make effective
the declared national policy 20of promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth
of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San
Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan 21with due regard and adequate provisions for
environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of human life and ecological
systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under
such a broad grant and power and authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special charter, obviously
has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious
effects of pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In
carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among others, to pass
upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects proposed by local government
offices/agencies within the region, public corporations, and private persons or enterprises where
such plans, programs and/or projects are related to those of the LLDA for the development of the
region. 22chanrobles virtual law library
In the instant case, when the complainant Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes
Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed its letter-complaint before the LLDA, the latter's
jurisdiction under its charter was validly invoked by complainant on the basis of its allegation that
the open dumpsite project of the City Government of Caloocan in Barangay Camarin was
undertaken without a clearance from the LLDA, as required under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic
Act. No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927. While there is also an
allegation that the said project was without an Environmental Compliance Certificate from the
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR, the primary jurisdiction of the LLDA over
this case was recognized by the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR when the latter
acted as intermediary at the meeting among the representatives of the City Government of
Caloocan, Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA sometime in July 1992 to discuss the
possibility of
re-opening the open dumpsite.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the following issue:
Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and desist" order under Republic
Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of the facts presented in this case, enjoining
the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan
City.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The irresistible answer is in the affirmative.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of Caloocan to stop
dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the LLDA to have been done in
violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and other relevant environment laws, 23cannot be

49
stamped as an unauthorized exercise by the LLDA of injunctive powers. By its express terms,
Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983,
authorizes the LLDA to "make, alter or modify order requiring the discontinuance or
pollution." 24(Emphasis supplied) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the LLDA to make whatever
order may be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of protecting vital public interests"
gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of Principles and State
Policies or the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which provides:

To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power "to issue and ex-partecease and
desist order" in a language, as suggested by the City Government of Caloocan, similar to the
express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No. 984
which, admittedly was not reproduced in P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983. However, it
would be a mistake to draw therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the power to issue the
order in question when the power "to make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of
pollution" is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty of nonimpairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state "to protect and promote
the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them." 28It is to be borne in
mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma
Conference Declaration of 1978 which recognize health as a fundamental human
right. 29chanrobles virtual law library

Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a "cease and desist order" were not expressly
conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule granting such authority
need not necessarily be express. 25While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has
only such powers as are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an
administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its
express powers. 26In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter as a regulatory
and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of
the LLDA to issue a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well be
reduced to a "toothless" paper agency.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v. Court of Appeals, et
al., 27the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the power to issue an exparte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence of an establishment exceeding the
allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws of the country. The ponente, Associate Justice
Florentino P. Feliciano, declared:
Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like that here
presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated effluents
into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted
litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including
multiple and sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of course may take
several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing regulations were enacted
and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to protect the safety, health,
and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection of plant and animal life,
commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary
requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests
like those here involved, through the exercise of police power. . . .

The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical matter of
procedure under the circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its power and authority
under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and desist order issued by the LLDA
been complied with by the City Government of Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further
legal steps would have been necessary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The charter of LLDA, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, instead of conferring upon the LLDA the
means of directly enforcing such orders, has provided under its Section 4 (d) the power to institute
"necessary legal proceeding against any person who shall commence to implement or continue
implementation of any project, plan or program within the Laguna de Bay region without previous
clearance from the LLDA."chanrobles virtual law library
Clearly, said provision was designed to invest the LLDA with sufficiently broad powers in the
regulation of all projects initiated in the Laguna Lake region, whether by the government or the
private sector, insofar as the implementation of these projects is concerned. It was meant to deal
with cases which might possibly arise where decisions or orders issued pursuant to the exercise of
such broad powers may not be obeyed, resulting in the thwarting of its laudabe objective. To meet
such contingencies, then the writs of mandamus and injunction which are beyond the power of the
LLDA to issue, may be sought from the proper courts.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
Insofar as the implementation of relevant anti-pollution laws in the Laguna Lake region and its
surrounding provinces, cities and towns are concerned, the Court will not dwell further on the
related issues raised which are more appropriately addressed to an administrative agency with the
special knowledge and expertise of the LLDA.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining order issued by the Court on
July 19, 1993 enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan from
dumping their garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City is hereby made
permanent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law librarySO ORDERED.

50