PROVINCE OF CEBU vs.IAC, ATTY. GARCIA,G.R. No. 72841 January 29, 1987147 SCRA 447
On 1964, while then incumbent Governor Espina was on official business in Manila, the Vice-Gov, Almendras and 3 members of the Provincial Board enacted A Resolution donating to the City of Cebu anarea of over 380 hectares. The deed of donation was immediately executed in behalf of the Province of Cebu by Vice-Governor Almendras and accepted in behalf of the City of Cebu by Mayor Sergio Osmeña,Jr. The document of donation was prepared and notarized by a private lawyer.
The donated lots were to be sold by the City of Cebu to raise funds that would be used to finance itspublic improvement projects. Upon his return from Manila, Governor Espina disagreed with the donationand to prevent the sale of the lots, the officers and members of the Cebu Mayor's League along withsome taxpayers, including Atty. Garcia, filed a case seeking to have the donation declared illegal, null andvoid Named defendants in the suit were the City of Cebu, City Mayor Sergio Osmeña, Jr. and the Cebuprovincial officials responsible for the donation of the province-owned lots.
Subsequently, the court dismissed the Case on the ground that plaintiffs were not the real parties ininterest in the case.
After the city announced the sale of the lots, Governor Espina, engaged the services of respondentGarcia, for the annulment of the deed of donation
The Provincial Board passed a resolution authorizing the Provincial Attorney, Baguia, to enter hisappearance for the Province of Cebu and for the incumbent Governor, Vice-Governor and members of the Provincial Board in this case.
A compromise agreement was reached between the province of Cebu and the city of Cebu.
For services rendered atty, Garcia filed a Notice of Attorney's Lien, praying that his statement of claim of attorney's lien in said case be entered upon the records. To said notice, petitioner Province of Cebuopposed: the payment of attorney's fees are not allowed by law.
TC: in favor of atty garcia; on the basis of quantum meruit and fixing the amount at P30,000.00.
Both parties appealed from the decision to the Court of Appeals. THe CA upheld the TC but reduced theamount of the fees.
ISSUE: whether the governor may validly engage the services of a private lawyer and whether theprovince may be held liable to pay the fees
HELD: Collaboration of a private law firm with the fiscal and the municipal attorney is not allowed. Sec.1683 Revised Administrative Code:”The provincial fiscal shall represent the province and anymunicipality,..When the provincial fiscal is disqualified to serve any municipality or other politicalsubdivision of a province, a special attorney may be employed by its council”
The municipality's authority to employ a private lawyer is expressly limited only to situations where theprovincial fiscal is disqualified to represent it
Ratio: (1) local government should not be burdened with the expenses of hiring a private lawyer; (2) theinterests of the municipal corporation would be best protected if a government lawyer handles itslitigations.