General Powers and Attributes of LGU
- In an action for declaratory relief assailing the validity of a municipal tax ordinance, the court, in deciding that the ordinance is void, is authorized to require a refund oftaxes paid there under without the necessity of converting the proceeding into an ordinary action there having been no alleged violation yet.
- A fixed tax denominatd as a “police inspection fee” of P0.30 per sack of cassava starch shipped out of the municipality is VOID where it is not for public purpose, just and uniform because the police do nothing but count the number of cassava sacks shipped out.
- Inspection fee should not be excessive and confiscatory
- The power to regulate as an exercise of police power does not include the power to impose fees for revenue purposes.
- Fees for purely regulatory purposes must be no more sufficient to cover the actual cost of inspection and examination as nearly as the same can be estimated.
Magtajas vs Pryce Properties, Inc, GR No. 111097, July 20, 1994
- Tests of a valid ordinance – to be valid, it must conform to the following substantive requirements
- It must not contravene the Constitution or any statute.
- It must not be unfair or oppressive.
- It must not be partial or discriminatory.
- It must not prohibit but regulate trade.
- It must not be unreasonable.
- It must be general and consistent with public policy.
- MNEMONIC: CUP PUG
- The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious as municipal governments are ONLY AGENTS of the national government and that the delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter.
- Implied repeals – it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing of such intention.
- A contravention of a law is not necessarily a contravention of the constitution.
Tatel vs Municipality of Virac, GR No. 40243, March 11, 1992
- Municipal corporations are agencies of the State for the promotion and maintenance of local self-government and as such are endowed with police power in order to effectively accomplish and carry out the declared objects of their creation.
- Role of a local agency unit and tests of a valid ordinance was discussed here as well.
City of Cebu vs CA, GR No. 109173, July 5, 1996
- A Local Government Unit may, through its Chief Executive and acting pursuant to an ordinance, exercise the power of eminent domain x x x provided, however, that the power of eminent domain may not be exercised unless a valid and efinite offer has been previously made to the owner and as such offer was not accepted.
- RA 7160, Section 19. Eminent Domain
- General Rule: Upon payment of just compensation
- Provided, however – a valid and definite offer has been made previously to the owner.
- Provided, further – LGU may immediately take possession of the property upon filing of the expropriation proceedings AND upon making a deposity with the propert court of at least 15% of the fair market value of the property to be expropriated.
- Provided, finally – Such amount shall be determined by the proper court, based on the fair market value at the time of the taking of the property.
Dacanay vs Asistio, Jr., 208 SCRA 404
- The right of the public to use the city streets may not be bargained away through a contract.
- Executive Order may not infringe upon vested right of the public to use city streets for the purpose they were intended to serve.
Macasiano vs. Diokno, Gr No. 97764, August 10, 1992
- Properties of the local government which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress.
- Properties of public dominion devoted to public use and made available to the public in general are outside the commerce of men and cannot be disposed of or leased by the LGU to private persons.
- Roads and streets which are available to the public in general and ordinarily used for vehicular traffic are still considered public property devoted to public use.
Erwin Javellana vs DILG, GR No. 102549
- Court accords great respect to the decisions and/or actions of administrative authorities. Why? Because it is presumed that they are knowledgeable and expertise in the enforcement of laws and regulations entrusted to their jurisdiction.
- It is prohibited for a government official to engage in private practice of his profession IF such practice would represent interests adverse to the government.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) vs. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. 328 SCRA 836
- Police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty.
- Police power is lodged primarily in Congress which may delegate the power to the President and administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or LGU.
- Local government is a political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs.
- Police power is delegated to LGU. This delegation is known as the general welfare clause.
- LGUs exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies.
- Sangguniang Panlalawigan -> Provincial government
- Sangguniang Panlungsod -> City government
- Sangguniang Bayan -> Municipal government
- Sangguniang Barangay -> Barangay
- Above legislative bodies has the power to enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of their jurisdiction and its inhabitants and in the proper exercise of corporate powers of the same.
- Nothing was found in RA 7924 which grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power.
- MMDA is not a political unit of government unlike with Metro Manila Council which has the power to promulgate administrative rules and regulations in the implementation of MMDA’s functions.
- MMDA is not a LGU or public corporation endowed with legislative power. It is not even a ‘special metropolitan political subdivision’ as contemplated in Constitution, Sec 11, Art X.
- The creation of special metropolitan political subdivision requires the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in political units directly affected.
- The Chairman of MMDS is not even an official elected by the people, but appointed by the President with rank and privileges of a cabinet member.
- Unlike MMC, MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of the community.
Lina vs Dizon Pano (GR 129093) – This statute remains valid today. While lotto is clearly a game of chance, the national government deems it wise and proper to permit it. Hence, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna, a local government unit, cannot issue a resolution or an ordinance that would seek to prohibit permits. Stated otherwise, what the national legislature expressly allows by law, such as lotto, a provincial board may not disallow by ordinance or resolution.
In our system of government, the power of local government units to legislate and enact ordinances and resolutions is merely a delegated power coming from Congress.
Chus, Sr. vs Benilda Estate Corporation – A cause of action is defined as an act or omission by which a party violates a right of another.6 The test of the sufficiency of the facts found in a petition as constituting a cause of action is whether or not, admitting the facts alleged, the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer thereof.7
Alvarez vs Guingona – In this regard, we hold that petitioners’ asseverations are untenable because Internal Revenue Allotments form part of the income of Local Government Units.
It is true that for a municipality to be converted into a component city, it must, among others, have an average annual income of at least Twenty Million Pesos for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.1 Such income must be duly certified by the Department of Finance.2
Resolution of the controversy regarding compliance by the Municipality of Santiago with the aforecited income requirement hinges on a correlative and contextual explication of the meaning of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) vis-a-vis the notion of income of a local government unit and the principles of local autonomy and decentralization underlying the institutionalization and intensified empowerment of the local government system.
A Local Government Unit is a political subdivision of the State which is constituted by law and possessed of substantial control over its own affairs.3Remaining to be an intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation, but not intended, however, to be an imperium in imperio,4 the local government unit is autonomous in the sense that it is given more powers, authority, responsibilities and resources.5 Power which used to be highly centralized in Manila, is thereby deconcentrated, enabling especially the peripheral local government units to develop not only at their own pace and discretion but also with their oWn resources and assets.6
The practical side to development through a decentralized local government system certainly concerns the matter of financial resources. With its broadened powers and increased responsibilities, a local government unit must now operate on a much wider scale. More extensive operations, in turn, entail more expenses. Understandably, the vesting of duty, responsibility and accountability in every local government unit is accompanied with a provision for reasonably adequate resources to discharge its powers and effectively carry out its functions.7 Availment of such resources is effectuated through the vesting in every local government unit of (1) the right to create and broaden its own source of revenue; (2) the right to be allocated a just share in national taxes, such share being in the form of internal revenue allotments (IRAs); and (3) the right to be given its equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth, if any, within its territorial boundaries.8.
Cordillera Broad Coalition vs CA (GR 79956) – 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.
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
Batangas CATV Inc vs CA (GR 138810) – Under cover of the General Welfare Clause as provided in this section, Local Government Units can perform just about any power that will benefit their constituencies. Thus, local government units can exercise powers that are: (1) expressly granted; (2) necessarily implied from the power that is expressly granted; (3) necessary, appropriate or incidental for its efficient and effective governance; and (4) essential to the promotion of the general welfare of their inhabitants. (Pimentel, The Local Government Code of 1991, p. 46)
The grant of regulatory power to the NTC is easily understandable. CATV system is not a mere local concern. The complexities that characterize this new technology demand that it be regulated by a specialized agency. This is particularly true in the area of rate-fixing. Rate fixing involves a series of technical operations. Consequently, on the hands of the regulatory body lies the ample discretion in the choice of such rational processes as might be appropriate to the solution of its highly complicated and technical problems. Considering that the CATV industry is so technical a field, we believe that the NTC, a specialized agency, is in a better position than the LGU, to regulate it.
Speaking for the Court in the leading case of United States vs. Abendan, Justice Moreland said: “An ordinance enacted by virtue of the general welfare clause is valid, unless it contravenes the fundamental law of the Philippine Islands, or an Act of the Philippine Legislature, or unless it is against public policy, or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial, discriminating, or in derogation of common right.” In De la Cruz vs. Paraz, we laid the general rule “that ordinances passed by virtue of the implied power found in the general welfare clause must be reasonable, consonant with the general powers and purposes of the corporation, and not inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.”
League of Cities of the Philippines vs COMELEC (GR 176951, 177499, 178056) – we should not be restricted by technical rules of procedure at the expense of the transcendental interest of justice and equity. While it is true that litigation must end, even at the expense of errors in judgment, it is nobler rather for this Court of last resort, as vanguard of truth, to toil in order to dispel apprehensions and doubt, as the following pronouncement of this Court instructs:
The right and power of judicial tribunals to declare whether enactments of the legislature exceed the constitutional limitations and are invalid has always been considered a grave responsibility, as well as a solemn duty. The courts invariably give the most careful consideration to questions involving the interpretation and application of the Constitution, and approach constitutional questions with great deliberation, exercising their power in this respect with the greatest possible caution and even reluctance; and they should never declare a statute void, unless its invalidity is, in their judgment, beyond reasonable doubt. To justify a court in pronouncing a legislative act unconstitutional, or a provision of a state constitution to be in contravention of the Constitution x x x, the case must be so clear to be free from doubt, and the conflict of the statute with the constitution must be irreconcilable, because it is but a decent respect to the wisdom, the integrity, and the patriotism of the legislative body by which any law is passed to presume in favor of its validity until the contrary is shown beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, in no doubtful case will the judiciary pronounce a legislative act to be contrary to the constitution. To doubt the constitutionality of a law is to resolve the doubt in favor of its validity.
- Palafox vs Province of Ilocos Norte – Municipality is not liable if it performs governmental functions except if there is a law permitting it.
- Torio vs Fontanilla – Municipality is liable if it performs in proprietary functions (i.e. holding a town fiesta) and therefore liable to third persons under the law of contracts or torts.
- Province of Cebu vs IAC – The doctrine of implied municipal liability has been said to apply to all cases where money or other property of a party is received under such circumstances that the general law, independent of express contract implies an obligation upon the municipality to do justice with respect to the same.”
- Osmena vs COA (GR 98355) – Quantum Meruit is based on justice and equity, to compensate a property or benefit received if restitution is equitable and if such action involves no violation, frustration or opposition to public policy.
- Osmena vs COA (GR 110045) – That the City of Cebu complied with the relevant formalities contemplated by law can hardly be doubted. The compromise agreement was submitted to its legislative council, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, which approved it conformably with its established rules and procedure, particularly the stipulation for the payment of P30,000.00 to the de la Cerna family. Neither may it be disputed that since, as a municipal corporation, Cebu City has the power to sue and be sued, 17 it has the authority to settle or compromise suits, 18 as well as the obligation to pay just and valid claims against it.
- Ramos vs CA (GR 99425) – Private attorneys cannot represent a province or municipality in lawsuits. Law allows a private counsel to be hired by a municipality only when the municipality is an adverse party in a case involving the provincial government or another municipality or city within the province. Only accountable public officers may act for and in behalf of public entities and that public funds should not be expanded to hire private lawyers.
Qualifications & Election of Elective Local Officials
- Borja Jr. vs COMELEC (GR 133495) – In both the Constitution and the Local Government Code, the three-term limitation refers to the term of office for which the local official was elected. It made no reference to succession to an office to which he was not elected. In the case before the Commission, respondent Capco was not elected to the position of Mayor in the January 18, 1988 local elections. He succeeded to such office by operation of law and served for the unexpired term of his predecessor. Consequently, such succession into office is not counted as one (1) term for purposes of the computation of the three-term limitation under the Constitution and the Local Government Code. The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply.
- Romualdez vs RTC (GR 104960) – In election cases, the Court treats domicile and residence as synonymous terms, thus: “(t)he term “residence” as used in the election law is synonymous with “domicile”, which imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.”
- Rodriguez vs COMELEC (GR 120099) – Art. 73. Disqualifications. — The following persons shall be disqualified from running for any elective local position; (e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad. Fugitive from justice refers to a person who has been convicted by final judgment. (Emphasis supplied).
- Frivaldo vs COMELEC (257 SCRA 727) – the Local Government Code speaks of “Qualifications” of “ELECTIVE OFFICIALS,” not of candidates. In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is to be presumed that the law-making body intended right and justice to prevail.
Vacancies and Succession
- Farinas vs Barba (GR 116763) – Where there is no political party to make a nomination, the Sanggunian, where the vacancy occurs, must be considered the appropriate authority for making the recommendation, by analogy to vacancies created in the Sangguniang Barangay whose members are by law prohibited from having any party affiliation.
- Victoria vs COMELEC (GR 109005) – The ranking in the Sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of the votes obtained by each winning candidate of the total number of registered voters who actually voted. In such a case, the Court has no recourse but to merely apply the law. The courts may not speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words
- Gamboa Jr. vs Aguirre (GR 134213) – Being the Acting Governor, the Vice-Governor cannot continue to simultaneously exercise the duties of the latter office, since the nature of the duties of the provincial Governor call for a full-time occupant to discharge them. 19 Such is not only consistent with but also appears to be the clear rationale of the new Code wherein the policy of performing dual functions in both offices has already been abandoned. To repeat, the creation of a temporary vacancy in the office of the Governor creates a corresponding temporary vacancy in the office of the Vice-Governor whenever the latter acts as Governor by virtue of such temporary vacancy.
- Magtajas vs Pryce Properties Inc (GR 111097) – The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious. Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the national lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.
- Moday vs CA (GR 107916) – The limitations on the power of eminent domain are that the use must be public, compensation must be made and due process of law must be
observed. 22 The Supreme Court, taking cognizance of such issues as the adequacy of compensation, necessity of the taking and the public use character or the purpose of the taking, 23 has ruled that the necessity of exercising eminent domain must be genuine and of a public character. 24 Government may not capriciously choose what private property should be taken.
- SJS vs Atienza, Jr. (GR 156052) – Ordinance No. 8027 was enacted right after the Philippines, along with the rest of the world, witnessed the horror of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The objective of the ordinance is to protect the residents of Manila from the catastrophic devastation that will surely occur in case of a terrorist attack on the Pandacan Terminals. No reason exists why such a protective measure should be delayed.
- Salalima et al vs Guingona (GR 11589-92) – We agree with the petitioners that Governor Salalima could no longer be held administratively liable in O.P. Case No. 5450 in connection with the negotiated contract entered into on 6 March 1992 with RYU Construction for additional rehabilitation work at the Tabaco Public Market. Nor could the petitioners be held administratively liable in O.P. Case No. 5469 for the execution in November 1989 of the retainer contract with Atty. Jesus Cornago and the Cortes and Reyna Law Firm. This is so because public officials cannot be subject to disciplinary action for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term. The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. Such a rule is not only founded on the theory that an official’s reelection expresses the sovereign will of the electorate to forgive or condone any act or omission constituting a ground for administrative discipline which was committed during his previous term. We may add that sound public policy dictates it. To rule otherwise would open the floodgates to exacerbating endless partisan contests between the reelected official and his political enemies, who may not stop to hound the former during his new term with administrative cases for acts, alleged to have been committed during his previous term. His second term may thus be devoted to defending himself in the said cases to the detriment of public service. This doctrine of forgiveness or condonation cannot, however, apply to criminal acts which the reelected official may have committed during his previous term.
- The City of Angeles, Hon. Antonio Abad Santos vs CA (GR 97882) – But the end never justifies the means, and however laudable the purpose of the construction in question, this Court cannot and will not countenance an outright and continuing violation of the laws of the land, especially when committed by public officials.I
In theory, the cost of such demolition, and the reimbursement of the public funds expended in the construction thereof, should be borne by the officials of the City Angeles who ordered and directed such construction. This Court has time and again ruled that public officials are not immune from damages in their personal capacities arising from acts done in bad faith. Otherwise stated, a public official may be liable in his personal capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act done with malice and in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction. 20 Indisputably, said public officials acted beyond the scope of their authority and jurisdiction and with evident bad faith. However, as noted by the trial court 21, the petitioners mayor and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Angeles City were sued only in their official capacities, hence, they could not be held personally liable without first giving them their day in court. Prevailing jurisprudence 22 holding that public officials are personally liable for damages arising from illegal acts done in bad faith are premised on said officials having been sued both in their official and personal capacities.
- Angabung vs COMELEC (GR 126576) – In the instant case, this court is confronted with a procedure that is unabashedly repugnant to the applicable law and no less such to the spirit underlying that law. Private respondent who is a lawyer, knows that Section 69 (d) of the Local Government Code plainly provides that recall is validly initiated by a petition of 25% of the total number of registered voters. Notwithstanding such awareness, private respondent proceeded to file the petition for recall with only herself as the filer and initiator. She claims in her petition that she has, together with many others in Tumauini, Isabela, lost confidence in the leadership of petitioner. But the petition does not bear the names of all these other citizens of Tumauini who have reportedly also become anxious to oust petitioner from the post of mayor. There is no doubt that private respondent is truly earnest in her cause, and the very fact that she affixed her name in the petition shows that she claims responsibility for the seeming affront to petitioner’s continuance in office. But the same cannot be said of all the other people whom private respondent claims to have sentiments similar to hers. While the people are vested with the power to recall their elected officials, the same power is accompanied by the concomitant responsibility to see through all the consequences of the exercise of such power, including rising above anonymity, confronting the official sought to be recalled, his family, his friends, and his supporters, and seeing the recall election to its ultimate end. The procedure of allowing just one person to file the initiatory recall petition and then setting a date for the signing of the petition, which amounts to inviting and courting the public which may have not, in the first place, even entertained any displeasure in the performance of the official sought to be recalled, is not only violative of statutory law but also tainted with an attempt to go around the law. We can not and must not, under any and all circumstances, countenance a circumvention of the explicit 25% minimum voter requirement in the initiation of the recall process.
- Malonzo vs COMELEC (GR 127066) – The Minutes of the session of the Preparatory Assembly indicated that there was a session held. Attendees constitute the majority of all the members of the Preparatory Assembly, as we shall later on establish. Rules of procedure, simple they may be were formulated. Deliberations were conducted on the main issue, which was that of petitioner’s recall. The members were given the opportunity to articulate on their resolve about the matter. More importantly, their sentiments were expressed through their votes signified by their signatures and thumbmarks affixed to the Resolution. No proof was adduced by Petitioner to substantiate his claim that the signatures appearing thereon represented a cause other than that of adopting the resolution. The law on recall did not prescribe an elaborate proceeding. Neither did it demand a specific procedure. What is fundamental is compliance with the provision that there should be a session called for the purpose of initiating recall proceedings, attended by a majority of all the members of the preparatory recall assembly, in a public place and that the resolution resulting from such assembly be adopted by a majority of all the PRA members.
Human Resources and Development
- Javellana vs DILG (GR 102549) – In the first place, complaints against public officers and employees relating or incidental to the performance of their duties are necessarily impressed with public interest for by express constitutional mandate, a public office is a public trust. The complaint for illegal dismissal filed by Javiero and Catapang against City Engineer Divinagracia is in effect a complaint against the City Government of Bago City, their real employer, of which petitioner Javellana is a councilman. Hence, judgment against City Engineer Divinagracia would actually be a judgment against the City Government. By serving as counsel for the complaining employees and assisting them to prosecute their claims against City Engineer Divinagracia, the petitioner violated Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 (in relation to Section 7[b-2] of RA 6713) prohibiting a government official from engaging in the private practice of his profession, if such practice would represent interests adverse to the government.
- Tobias vs Hon. Benjamin Abalos (GR 114783) – Anent the first issue, we agree with the observation of the Solicitor General that the statutory conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city with a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand indubitably ordains compliance with the “one city-one representative” proviso in the Constitution:
. . . Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative” (Article VI, Section 5(3), Constitution).
Hence, it is in compliance with the aforestated constitutional mandate that the creation of a separate congressional district for the City of Mandaluyong is decreed under Article VIII, Section 49 of R.A. No. 7675.
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