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MunCorp Case Digests

MunCorp Case Digests

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Published by James Fernandez

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Published by: James Fernandez on Jun 28, 2012
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Settlement of Boundary Dispute
Petitions for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
- On June 15, 1950, Congress passed Republic Act No. 522 creating the municipality of Bontoc, formerly a barrio of themunicipality of Sogod in the province of Leyte, which shall be composed of the barrios of Bontoc, Divisoria, Onion,Pacu, Beniton, Catmon, Hilaan, Taa, Sta. Cruz, Mahayahay and their corresponding sitios.- A boundary dispute however, later arose between the municipality of Bontoc and the municipality of Sogod with thelatter claiming that the former exercised jurisdiction not only over the barrios above-mentioned but also over other ten(10) barrios allegedly belonging to Sogod.- The Provincial Board of Leyte issued Resolution No. 617 directing the holding of a plebiscite to determine whether the people in these barrios would like to remain with the municipality of Sogod or with Bontoc. The plebiscite was conductedon August 1, 1952, and the results thereof show that more votes were cast in favor of Sogod than those in favor of Bontoc.- On April 4, 1959, the Provincial Board of Leyte issued Resolution No. 519 recommending to the President of thePhilippines and/or to the Congress of the Philippines that Republic Act 522 be amended so as to include in said Actcreating the municipality of Bontoc, the following barrios claimed by Sogod which are in the heart of Bontoc but notincluded in said law, namely: Baugo, Himakilo, Esperanza, Hibagwan, Pamahawan, Mahayahay, Bunga, Da-o andMaoylab The Board also recommended that a law be enacted annexing to the municipality of Sogod the following barrioswhich are very near Sogod and are claimed by the latter but are included in the law creating Bontoc, namely: Laogawan,Taa Tuburan, Sta. Cruz and Pangi he board further recommended that the boundary line between the two municipalities be placed at Granada Creek.- On December 28, 1959, Carlos P. Garcia, then President of the Philippines, promulgated Executive Order No. 368,which approved the recommendation of the provincial board of Leyte, and reconstituted the barrios and sitios which shallcompose the municipalities of Bontoc and Sogod. The executive order also specified Granada Creek as the boundary lineseparating Bontoc and Sogod.- However the President of the Philippines sent a telegram to the Provincial Board of Southern Leyte suspending theimplementation of EO 368.- The Provincial Board of Southern Leyte passed Resolution No. 62 suspending the implementation of Executive Order 368. The Board also created a committee to conduct the holding of a plebiscite in the barrios and sitios affected byExecutive Order 368 and to finally settle the boundary dispute.- The municipality of Sogod filed two civil cases:1. Certiorari and prohibition to enjoin the provincial board and provincial governor from taking cognizance of the long pending boundary dispute between the two municipalities and to enjoin the municipality of Bontoc from exercisingterritorial jurisdiction over the barrios allegedly belonging to the municipality of Sogod.2. For recovery of taxes with receivership against the municipality of Bontoc alleging that the municipality of Bontoc,without any legal basis, exercised jurisdiction not only over the barrios enumerated in Republic Act No. 522 but also over ten (10) barrios belonging to the complainant municipality of Sogod. The complaint prayed that the municipality of Bontoc be ordered to pay Sogod one half of the total amount of taxes collected by the former from the inhabitants of theaforesaid barrios during the period from 1950 to 1959.- The trial court issued an order dismissing the two civil cases for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.MR denied.
WON the trial court gravely erred in dismissing the two cases for lack of jurisdiction.
 NO. The law vested the right to settle boundary disputes between municipalities on the provincial board pursuant toSection 2167 of the Revised Administrative Code, which reads:SEC. 2167.
 Municipal boundary disputes
. ?
 How settled ?
Disputes as to jurisdiction of municipal governments over placesor barrios shall be decided by the province boards of the provinces in which such municipalities are situated, after an
investigation at which the municipalities concerned shall be duly heard. From the decision of the provincial board appealmay be taken by the municipality aggrieved to the Secretary of the Interior (now the Office of the Executive Secretary),whose decision shall be final. Where the places or barrios in dispute are claimed by municipalities situated in different provinces, the provincial boards of the provinces concerned shall come to an agreement if possible, but, in the event of their failing to agree, an appeal shall be had to the Secretary of Interior (Executive Secretary), whose decision shall befinal. (Municipality of Hinabangan v. Municipality of Wright, 107 Phil. 394).
It is clear from the aforestated legal provision that the authority to hear and resolve municipal boundary disputes belongsto the provincial boards and not to the trial courts. The decisions of the boards are then appealable to the ExecutiveSecretary. Records in the instant case show that when petitioner municipality filed the civil actions in 1970 before the trialcourt, the provincial board of Southern Leyte had not yet conducted a plebiscite as ordered by the Executive Departmentin 1960 or rendered any order settling the dispute. Petitioner municipality should have elevated the matter of delay to thethen Secretary of Interior (now Executive Secretary) for action instead of bringing it to the trial court. Although existinglaws then vested on the provincial board the power to determine or even alter municipal boundaries, the Secretary of Interior or the Executive Department for that matter, was not precluded during that time from taking necessary steps for the speedy settlement of the boundary dispute. In
 Pelaez v. Auditor General,
 No. L-23825, December 24, 1965, 15 SCRA569, which applied Republic Act No. 2370, known as the Barrio Charter, We held that the power to fix common boundaries in order to avoid or settle conflicts of jurisdiction between adjoining municipalities may also partake of anadministrative nature that can be decided by the administrative department, involving as it does, the adoption of meansand ways to carry into effect the laws creating said municipalities.
The petitions are DISMISSED. The assailed orders of the respondent judge are AFFIRMED.
Municipality of Jimenez v Baz
FACTS: The Municipality of Sinacaban was created by EO 258 of then Pres. Quirino pursuant to Sec. 68 of the RevisedAdmin. Code. Sinacaban laid claim to several barrios based on the technical description in EO 258. The Municipality of Jimenez asserted jurisdiction based on an agreement with Sinacaban which was approved by the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental which fixed the common boundary of Sinacaban and Jimenez.The Provincial Board declared the disputed area to be part of Sinacaban. It held that the earlier resolutionapproving the agreement between the municipalities was void since the Board had no power to alter the boundaries of Sinacaban as fixed in EO 258. Jimenez filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus in the RTC of Oroquieta.Jimenez argued that the power to create municipalities is essentially legislative (as held in Pelaez v Auditor General), thenSinacaban, which was created thru and EO, had no legal personality and no right to assert a territorial claim.ISSUES:I. WON Sinacaban has juridical personality. YES.II. WON RA 7160 Sec. 442(d) is invalid since it does not conform to the constitutional and statutory requirements for theholding of plebiscites in the creation of new municipalities. NO.RATIO:I. Where a municipality created as such by EO is later impliedly recognized and its acts are accorded legal validity, itscreation can no longer be questioned. In the case of Municipality of San Narciso v Mendez, the SC laid the factors toconsider in validating the creation of a municipal corporation:1.The fact that for 30 years, the validity of the corporation has not been challenged;2.The fact that no quo warranto suit was filed to question the validity of the EO creating themunicipality; and
the fact that the municipality was later classified as a 5
class municipality, organized as part of amunicipal circuit court and considered part of a legislative district in the Constitution apportioning the seats in the House.
In this case, the following factors are present:1.Sinacaban has been in existence for 16 years when Pelaez was decided in 1965 and yet the validity oEO 258 creating it had never been questioned. It was only 40 years later that its existence was questioned.2.The State and even Jimenez recognized Sinacabans corporate existence. Ex.: AO 33, JudiciaryReorganization Act of 1980, etc.Moreover, the LGC of 1991, Sec. 442(d) provides that “municipal districts organized pursuant to presidentialissuances or executive orders and which have their respective sets of elective officials holding office at the time of theeffectivity of this Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities.” Sinacaban has attained de jure status byvirtue of the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution, apportioning legislative districts throughout the country, whichconsidered Sinacaban as part of the 2
District of Misamis Occidental.II. Sinacaban had attained de facto status at the time the 1987 Constitution took effect. It is not subject to the plebisciterequirement. It applies only to new municipalities created for the first time under the Constitution. The requirement of  plebiscite was originally contained in Art. XI, Section 3 of the previous Constitution. It cannot be applied to municipalcorporations created before, such as Sinacaban.
Municipality of Candijay, Bohol v CA (1995)
FACTS: The Municipality of Candijay claimed that the barrio of Pagahat is within its territorial jurisdiction and that it isnot a part of the Municipality of Alicia. The trial court ruled for Candijay but this was reversed by the CA. The CA foundthat the plans submitted by the two municipalities are inadequate insofar as identifying the monuments of the boundaryline between the petitioner and the Muncipality of Mabini. The CA ruled that in cases of equiponderance of evidence, thecourts must find for the defendant.The petitioner raised the ff issues before the SC:1. The CA improperly applied the rule on equiponderance of evidence;2. The respondent municipality does not have a juridical personality since it was created under a void executive order; and3. the challenged decision throws them back again to their controversy.ISSUE: WON a municipality, created under a void executive order, can be considered as not having a juridical personalityin light of the passage of the Local Government Code of 1991. NO.RATIO: The petitioner commenced its collateral attack on the juridical personality of the respondent on 19 January 1984(35 yrs after its creation in 1949) during the proceedings in this case. After presentation of evidence, Candijay asked thetrial court to bar the respondent from presenting evidence on the ground that it had no juridical personality. Candijayargued that EO 265 issued by Pres. Quirino is null and void ab initio since Sec. 68 of the RAC constituted an unduedelegation of legislative power to the Prez.The Municipality of Alicia was created by EO 265, or ten years ahead of the Municipality of San Andres, and had been in existence for 16 years when Pelaez was promulgated. Various governmental acts through the years all indicate theStates recognition and acknowledgement of its existence. Alicia must benefit from the effects of Sec. 422 (d) of the LGC
 and should be considered a regular, de jure municipality.According to Sec. 442 (d) of the LGC, municipal districts “organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executiveorders and which have their respective sets of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of the Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities.” “Curative laws, which in essence are retrospective,and aimed at giving validity to acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws, as if existing laws have beencomplied with, are validly accepted in this jurisdiction, subject to the usual qualification against impairment of vestedrights.”2

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