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G.R. No. 93252 Ganzon vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 93746 Artieda vs.

Santos, as Secretary of Local Government G.R. No. 95245 Ganzon vs. Court of Appeals and Santos, as Secretary of Local Government

FACTS: Petitioners assail the common issue involving the power of the President to suspend or remove local officials through the Secretary of Local Government. Petitioners Rodolfo Ganzon, Mayor of Iloilo City and Mary Ann Artieda, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Ganzons petitions originated from a number of administrative complaints filed against him by various city officials on the ground of abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct, intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution and arbitrary detention. In the complaint of Cabaluna, a clerk assigned to the City Health Office, claimed that Ganzon pulled her out from her office because she supported his rival candidate and instead appointed a utility worker to take her place. Another complainant, Dr. Ortigoza, claims that the Mayor padlocked her office without any

explanation and that he handpicked her to do a task not befitting her position as Assistant City Health Officer. On the other hand, Vice Mayor Malabor and other members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Iloilos complaint arose out of Ganzons order to take the key to Councilor Larry Ongs office. Ong was left without an office and had to hold office at Plaza Libertad. The complainants sympathized with him and did the same but fully-armed security men forcefully drove them away from Plaza Libertad. Ong denounced such actions and decided to hold office at the Freedom Grandstand. Many people gathered there but before they could reach the area, Ganzon and his security men led the firemen in dozing water to the people and bystanders. Another complainant, Erbite, a barangay tanod, claims that he was arrested and detained in the City Jail of Iloilo without the benefit of of charges filed against him. No warrant of arrest was likewise issued. He was mauled by the detainees and was only released the following day. The mayor answered and the cases were set for hearing at the Regional Office of the Department of Local Government in Iloilo. However, all in all, the petitioner asked for postponement for six times, stating that his counsel was unprepared or that his witnesses were sick or that he has just hired his counsel. In the course of the hearing of the administrative cases, respondent Secretary Santos issued against petitioner Ganzon three [3] separate orders of preventive suspension dated 11 August

1988, 11 October 1988, and 3 May 1990, each of the orders to last for a 60-day period. Petitioner assailed the validity of the said orders by filing with the Court of Appeals two [2] separate petitions for prohibition docketed CA-G. R. SP No. 16417 and CA-G. R. SP No. 20736. On 7 September 1988 and 5 July 1990, the appellate court rendered the decision in CA-G. R. SP Nos. 16417 and 20736 dismissing the petitions for lack of merit. Hence, petitioner Ganzon filed with this Court two [2] separate petitions assailing the decision in CA A TRO was issued by the SC, barring Sec. Santos from implementing the suspension orders and restraining the enforcement of the CAs decisions. All three cases were consolidated and given due course. A third order of suspension was issued by Santos before the promulgation of this decision. ISSUES: 1) Did the 1987 Constitution intend to divest the president of the power to investigate, suspend and discipline local officials by deleting the phrase, as may be provided by law in the 1987 Constitution? 2) What is the significance of the change in the constitutional language? 3) May an official be given the benefit of simultaneous service of suspension orders? HELD:

1) NO. The 1987 Constitution did not intend to divest the legislature or the President of its right to provide administrative sanctions against local officials.

The Constitution places the local government under the supervision of the Executive and allows the Congress to include in the local government code, provisions for removal of local officials, which suggests that Congress may exercise removal powers, as provided in Sec. 3 of the Local Government Code. In administration law, supervision means overseeing or the power of an officer to see that subordinate officers are performing their duties. Control is the power of an officer to alter, modify, nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute his judgment for that of the latter. INVESTIGATING IS NOT INCONSISTENT WITH OVERSEEING, although it is a lesser power than altering. In previous cases where the president was denied of the power to discipline officials, it was done only because the law lodged the power somewhere else. But in those cases where the law gave the president the power, like in Ganzon v. Kayanan, the Court found little difficulty in sustaining him.

2) The omission, in the opinion of the SC, signifies nothing more than to underscore the local governments autonomy from Congress and to break Congress control over local government affairs. The Constitution did not intend to deprive the legislature of all authority over municipal corporations concerning discipline. Autonomy does not contemplate federalism.

3) Ganzon may serve the suspension so far ordered, but may no longer be suspended for the offenses he was charged originally.

It is out of the ordinary to have a vacancy in local government. The sole objective of a suspension is to prevent the accused from hampering the normal cause of the investigation with his influence and authority over possible witnesses or to keep him off the records and other evidence. Suspension finally is temporary and as the Local Government Code provides, it may be imposed for no more than sixty days. A longer suspension is unjust and unreasonable, and we might add, nothing less than tyranny. The court observed earlier that imposing 600 days of suspension which is not a remote possibility, in the case of Ganzon, is to make him spend the rest of his term in inactivity. It is also to make his suspension permanent. The respondent Secretary has been cracking down on the Mayor piecemeal apparently, to pin him down ten times the pain, when he, the respondent Secretary, could have pursued a consolidated effort. The Court shall not tolerate this state of affairs. In resume the Court is laying down the following rules: 1. Local autonomy, under the Constitution, involves a mere decentralization of administration, not of power, in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner the law may provide; 2. The new Constitution does not prescribe federalism; 3. The change in constitutional language (with respect to the supervision clause) was meant but to deny legislative control over local governments; it did not

Preventive suspension may be justified, but its continuance for an unreasonable length of time raises a due process question. For even if he is acquitted, his right to hold office had been nullified. There would be an injustice suffered by him. Injustice is inflicted likewise on the people of Lianga who were deprived of the services of the man they elected to serve as mayor. As Justice Cardozo said, the protracted continuance of this preventive suspension had outrun the bounds of reason and resulted in sheer oppression. A denial of due process is quite manifest. It is to avoid such an unconstitutional application that the order of suspension should be lifted.

exempt the latter from legislative regulations provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy; 4. Since local governments remain accountable to the national authority, the latter may, by law, and in the manner set forth therein, impose disciplinary action against local officials; 5. "Supervision" and "investigation" are not inconsistent terms; "investigation" does not signify "control" (which the President does not have); 6. The petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon may serve the suspension so far ordered, but may no longer be suspended for the offenses he was charged originally; provided: a) that delays in the investigation of those charges "due to his fault, neglect or request, (the time of the delay) shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension. [Supra, sec. 63(3)] b) that if during, or after the expiration of, his preventive suspension, the petitioner commits another or other crimes and abuses for which proper charges are filed against him by the aggrieved party or parties, his previous suspension shall not be a bar to his being preventively suspended again, if warranted under subpar. (2), Section 63 of the Local Government Code. Petitions are DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued is LIFTED. The suspensions of the petitioners are AFFIRMED, provided that the petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, may not be made to serve

future suspensions on account of any of the remaining administrative charges pending against him for acts committed prior to August 11, 1988. The Secretary of Interior is ORDERED to consolidate all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. The sixty-day suspension against the petitioner, Mary Ann Rivera Artieda, is AFFIRMED.