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GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T. SANTOS, respondents. G.R. No. 93746 August 5,1991 MARY ANN RIVERA ARTIEDA, petitioner, vs. HON. LUIS SANTOS, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Local Government, NICANOR M. PATRICIO, in his capacity as Chief, Legal Service of the Department of Local Government and SALVADOR CABALUNA JR., respondents. G.R. No. 95245 August 5,1991 RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T. SANTOS, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Local Government, respondents. SARMIENTO, J.:p The petitioners take common issue on the power of the President (acting through the Secretary of Local Government), to suspend and/or remove local officials. The petitioners are the Mayor of Iloilo City (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) and a member of the Sangguniang Panglunsod thereof (G.R. No. 93746), respectively. The petitions of Mayor Ganzon originated from a series of administrative complaints, ten in number, filed against him by various city officials sometime in 1988, on various charges, among them, abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct, intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution, and arbitrary detention. 1 The personalities involved are Joceleehn Cabaluna, a clerk at the city health office; Salvador Cabaluna, her husband; Dr. Felicidad Ortigoza, Assistant City Health Officer; Mansueto Malabor, Vice-‐Mayor; Rolando Dabao, Dan Dalido, German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Pefia Redondo members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod; and
a utility worker in the office of the Public Services. that when she filed her vacation leave. Office of Iloilo City charged that due to political reasons. whose duties are alien to the complainant's duties and functions. 2 We quote: xxx xxx xxx In her verified complaint (Annex A). together with his security men. Without an office. The petitioner's act are pure harassments aimed at luring her away from her permanent position or force her to resign. Larry Ong and Eduardo Pefia Pedondo are members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of the City of Iloilo. On the other hand. she claims that the petitioner handpicked her to perform task not befitting her position as Assistant City Health Officer of Iloilo City. In the case of Dra. the petitioner. she was given the run-‐around treatment in the approval of her leave in connivance with Dr. German Gonzales. Mansuelo Malabor is the duly elected Vice-‐Mayor of Iloilo City and complainants Rolando Dabao. forcefully drove them away from Plaza Libertad. a clerk assigned to the City Health. Rosa 0.Pancho Erbite. having supported the rival candidate. the petitioner. that her salary was withheld without cause since April 1. To make matters worse. whose key to his office was unceremoniously and without previous notice. However. Cabaluna. The Vice-‐Mayor and the other complainants sympathized with him and decided to do the same. Rodolfo Villegas and that she was the object of a well-‐engineered trumped-‐up charge in an administrative complaint filed by Dr. the petitioner City Mayor. Councilor Ong had to hold office at Plaza Libertad. using as an excuse the exigency of the service and the interest of the public. led the firemen using a firetruck in dozing water to the people and the bystanders. Caram. Felicidad Ortigoza. Mrs. has been detailed to take her place. a barangay tanod. Rodolfo Villegas (Annex B). 1988. together with its fully-‐ armed security men. taken by petitioner. Dan Dalido. However. before the group could reach the area. Their complaint arose out from the case where Councilor Larry Ong. . pulled her out from rightful office where her qualifications are best suited and assigned her to a work that should be the function of a non-‐career service employee. Councilor Ong denounced the petitioner's actuations the following day in the radio station and decided to hold office at the Freedom Grandstand at Iloilo City and there were so many people who gathered to witness the incident. The complaints against the Mayor are set forth in the opinion of the respondent Court of Appeals. Mrs. that her office was padlocked without any explanation or justification.
Erbite was arrested and detained at the City Jail of Iloilo City upon orders of petitioner. appointed by former mayor Rosa O.1988.1988 in the same venue-‐ Iloilo City. Marino Bermudez had to come all the way from Manila for the two-‐day hearings but was actually held only on June 20. the respondent issued a preventive suspension order on August 11.1988 in view of the inability and unpreparedness of petitioner's counsel. In these hearings which were held in Mala the petitioner testified in Adm.1988 for a period of sixty (60) days. he was allegedly mauled by other detainees thereby causing injuries He was released only the following day. 26. a barangay tanod. . Atty. 3 The Mayor thereafter answered 4 and the cases were shortly set for hearing. including the petitioner. 1988. petitioner's counsel cross-‐examined the complainants and their witnesses. the complainants and petitioner were present. Caram. without the benefit of charges filed against him and no warrant of arrest was issued. On March 13. C-‐10298 and 10299. On September 26. 1988 and the petitioner again asked for a postponement to September 26. The petitioner sought for a postponement which was denied. The petitioner asked for a postponement before the scheduled date of hearing and was represented by counsel.Another administrative case was filed by Pancho Erbite. Then the next investigation was set on September 21. 1988 to last until October 11. In jail. were sent to the parties (Annex L) and the parties received them. the hearing officers denied the motion to postpone. Case No. Notices. 27. in view of the fact that the parties were notified by telegrams of the scheduled hearings (Annex M). together with their respective counsel. Atty. through telegrams. 1988 at the Regional Office of the Department of Local Government in Iloilo City. Nonetheless. In the said hearings. The opinion of the Court of Appeals also set forth the succeeding events: xxx xxx xxx The initial hearing in the Cabaluna and Ortigoza cases were set for hearing on June 20-‐21. Salvador Quebral and Atty. 1988. The next hearings were re-‐set to July 25. Finding probable grounds and reasons. Again. The hearing officers. the petitioner attempted to delay the proceedings and moved for a postponement under the excuse that he had just hired his counsel. Samuel Castro.
In the meantime. 1988 which was granted. The motion was denied and the petitioner was given up to December 14. SP No. 1988. 1988. a petition for prohibition. On October 10.) . 20736 of the Court of Appeals. 1990. the investigation was set to December 13 to 15. on May 3. 1988 hearing to November 7 to 11. and hence.1988. The petitioner sought for another postponement on the ground that his witnesses were sick or cannot attend the investigation due to lack of transportation. Iloilo City. Interior) in the Regional Trial Court. petitioner's counsel. the third time in twenty months. the parties failed to come to terms and after the parties were notified of the hearing. Undaunted. However. 1988 to present his evidence. However. 1988. 5 Amidst the two successive suspensions. where he succeeded in obtaining a writ of preliminary injunction.R. Petitioner reiterated his motion to change venue and moved for postponement anew. petitioner's counsel insisted on his motion for postponement and the hearing officers gave petitioner up to December 15. 16417. the parties and counsel were present. 1988 to present his evidence. 6 (Malabor it is to be noted. the petitioner failed to present evidence and the cases were considered submitted for resolution. the respondent Secretary issued another order. 1988. he instituted CA-‐G. The counsel discussed a proposal to take the deposition of witnesses in Iloilo City so the hearing was indefinitely postponed. he is interested in seeing Mayor Ganzon ousted. in the respondent Court of Appeals. Meanwhile. At the hearing on November 7.The investigation was continued regarding the Malabor case and the complainants testified including their witnesses. The second preventive suspension was not enforced. On December 14. The petitioner was able to obtain a restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction in the Regional Trial Court.R. On December 15. Original moved for a postponement of the October 24. Presently. Mayor Ganzon commenced CA-‐G. preventively suspending Mayor Ganzon for another sixty days. is one of the complainants. and designating meantime Vice-‐Mayor Mansueto Malabor as acting mayor. 1988 for another sixty (60) days. a prima facie evidence was found to exist in the arbitrary detention case filed by Pancho Erbite so the respondent ordered the petitioner's second preventive suspension dated October 11. the motion for change of venue as denied due to lack of funds. Branch 33 of Iloilo City. Atty. SP No. an action for prohibition. Mayor Ganzon instituted an action for prohibition against the respondent Secretary of Local Government (now.
1989. Mayor Ganzon. 20736. but the Secretary rejected his request. 1991. On July 5. SP No. In our Resolutions of January 15. to this Court. of any authority to suspend and remove local officials.R. barring the respondent Secretary from implementing the suspension orders. 93252 and 95245) is that the Secretary of Local Government is devoid. an argument reiterated by the petitioner Mary Ann Rivera Artieda (G. prejudicial and hostile" towards him 7 arising from his (Mayor Ganzon's) alleged refusal to join the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party 8 and the running political rivalry they maintained in the last congressional and local elections. it issued a Resolution certifying the petition of Mary Ann Artieda. SP No. the records do not show very clearly in what manner the Mayor might have been deprived of his rights by the respondent Secretary. 16417. we consolidated all three cases. the latter proceeded with the hearing and meted out two more suspension orders of the aforementioned cases. 17 Mayor Ganzon's primary argument (G. 13 He states that he asked for postponement on "valid and justifiable" 14 grounds. As to Mayor Ganzon's charges of denial of due process. had denied him due process of law and that the respondent Secretary had been "biased. Mayor Ganzon claims as a preliminary (GR No. among them. 9 and his alleged refusal to operate a lottery in Iloilo City. 93746). Nos. The Mayor has failed furthermore to substantiate his say-‐so's that Secretary Santos had attempted to seduce him to join the administration party and to operate a lottery in .R. 1990.1990. we gave due course thereto. and restraining the enforcement of the Court of Appeals' two decisions. claims). 11 notwithstanding which. In a Resolution dated January 24.R. On June 26. in any event. we issued a Temporary Restraining Order. In our Resolution of November 29. dismissing CA-‐G. 10 He also alleges that he requested the Secretary to lift his suspension since it had come ninety days prior to an election (the barangay elections of November 14. that he was suffering from a heart ailment which required confinement. that the Department of Local Government in hearing the ten cases against him.R. considering furthermore that "political feud" has often been a good excuse in contesting complaints. 93252).On September 7. the Court of Appeals rendered judgment. it likewise promulgated a decision. 1990. that his "vital" 15 witness was also hospitalized 16but that the latter unduly denied his request. we can not take his word for it the way we would have under less political circumstances. dismissing CA-‐G. who had been similary charged by the respondent Secretary. His claims that he and Secretary Luis-‐Santos were (are) political rivals and that his "persecution" was politically motivated are pure speculation and although the latter does not appear to have denied these contentions (as he. No. 1990. 12 He likewise contends that he sought to bring the cases to Iloilo City (they were held in Manila) in order to reduce the costs of proceeding. 1988).
and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions. bureaus. It is a view. we are not convinced that the Secretary has been guilty of a grave abuse of discretion. can suspend and/or remove local officials. Secretary Santos. finally. no ill motive can be ascribed to him. postponements are a matter of discretion on the part of the hearing officer. as the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions did. as judicial admissions as he would have us accept them 18 for the same reasons above-‐stated and furthermore. the Court is afraid that he has not given any compelling reason why we should overturn the Court of Appeals. that finds support in the debates of the Constitutional Commission. so they contend. exercise general supervision over all . Again. We come to the core question: Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government. the Court finds the question to be moot and academic since we have in fact restrained the Secretary from further hearing the complaints against the petitioners. the Constitution is meant. 337. Besides. 19 As to his request. 22 It modifies a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution. 10. as the President's alter ego.Iloilo City. The Court can not say. we can not accept them. The President shall have control of all the executive departments. to exercise the power of suspension and/or removal over local officials. because his say so's were never corroborated by independent testimonies. and based on Mayor Ganzon's above story. first. to strengthen self-‐rule by local government units and second. although the Secretary failed to rebut his allegations. that Secretary Santos' actuations deprived Mayor Ganzon of due process of law. which found no convincing reason to overrule Secretary Santos in denying his requests. 4. by deleting the phrase 21 as may be provided by law to strip the President of the power of control over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. is presumed to be performing his duties regularly and in the absence of contrary evidence. in pursuing an official function. The provision in question reads as follows: Sec. under these circumstances. As to Mayor Ganzon's contention that he had requested the respondent Secretary to defer the hearing on account of the ninety-‐day ban prescribed by Section 62 of Batas Blg. It is the petitioners' argument that the 1987 Constitution 20 no longer allows the President. According to both petitioners. As a responsible public official. at face value. or offices. which we quote: Sec. much more. for postponements.
or the sanggunian concerned. and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. the preventive suspension shall be lifted. No investigation shall be held within ninety days immediately prior to an election. — Within seven days after the complaint is filed. 63. preventive suspension shall not extend beyond sixty days after the start of said suspension. no law may provide for it any longer. (2) Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the issues are joined. since: (1) the power of the President is "provided by law" and (2) hence. the time of the delay shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension. and no preventive suspension shall be imposed with the said period. when the gravity of the offense so warrants. It is to be noted that in meting out the suspensions under question. 24 Sec. 25 . Preventive Suspension. when the evidence of culpability is strong. by the provincial governor if the respondent is an elective municipal official. we quote: Sec. Notice of Hearing. as their argument goes. the suspended official shall be deemed reinstated in office without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him until its termination. the Secretary of Local Government acted in consonance with the specific legal provisions of Batas Blg. or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official. and commence the hearing and investigation of the case within ten days after receipt of such answer of the respondent. — (1) Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official.Local governments as may be provided by law. 337. (3) At the expiration of sixty days. when there is reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of. as the case may be. However ' if the delay in the proceedings of the case is due to his fault. 23 The petitioners submit that the deletion (of "as may be provided by law") is significant. the Minister of local Government. shall require the respondent to submit his verified answer within seven days from receipt of said complaint. or when the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. If preventive suspension has been imposed prior to the aforesaid period. neglect or request. 62. In all cases. the Local Government Code.
the Constitution places the local government under the general supervision of the Executive. however. albeit the legislative responsibility under the Constitution and as the "supervision clause" itself suggest-‐is to wean local government units from over-‐dependence on the central government. 27 a local tax law. 28 income distribution legislation. It is also noteworthy that in spite of autonomy. allocate among the different local government units their powers. It is our opinion that the omission (of "as may be provided by law") signifies nothing more than to underscore local governments' autonomy from congress and to break Congress' "control" over local government affairs. although Jefferson is said to have compared municipal corporations euphemistically to "small republics. It is noteworthy that under the Charter. "local autonomy" is not instantly self-‐executing. 3. though not control. 29 and a national representation law. the charter did not intend to divest the legislature of its right or the President of her prerogative as conferred by existing legislation to provide administrative sanctions against local officials. for the sake of local autonomy. salaries. as the Court understands it. but subject to. suspend. after all. to deprive the legislature of all authority over municipal corporations. and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. among other things. delegate its exercise to the President." 26 Autonomy. and provide for the qualifications. intend. which suggest that Congress may exercise removal powers. Autonomy does not.The issue. and/or remove local officials? (2) Has the Constitution repealed Sections 62 and 63 of the Local Government Code? (3) What is the significance of the change in the constitutional language? It is the considered opinion of the Court that notwithstanding the change in the constitutional language. It is noteworthy finally. in deleting the phrase "as may be provided by law" intend to divest the President of the power to investigate. discipline. 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. Thus: Sec. election. consists of three questions: (1) Did the 1987 Constitution. powers and functions and duties of local officials. that the Charter allows Congress to include in the local government code provisions for removal of local officials. the passage of a local government code. and as the existing Local Government Code has done. appointment and removal. The Constitution did not. 30 and measures 31 designed to realize autonomy at the local level. in the constitutional sense. initiative. 32 . concerning discipline. responsibilities and resources. and referendum. as in the federal governments of the United States of America (or Brazil or Germany). is subject to the guiding star. term. contemplate making mini-‐states out of local government units. of the legislature. in particular.
Thus in that case the Court has made the following digression: "In administration 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. "supervision" is not incompatible with disciplinary authority as this Court has held. the objective of the framers to strengthen local autonomy by severing congressional control of its affairs. control and supervision." 36 "Supervision" on the other hand means "overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. although it is a lesser power than "altering". Gaz... No. "investigating" is not inconsistent with "overseeing". Control. 2884. 35 xxx xxx xxx "Control" has been defined as "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 test of the latter. are two different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. the deletion of "as may be provided by law" was meant to stress. It is a mistaken impression because legally. this Court had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms. 6 p. . 34 thus: xxx xxx xxx It is true that in the case of Mondano vs. The . as postulated in Section 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code. 37 As we held. like the power of local legislation. The petitioners are under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere supervisory powers.. Silvosa. and insofar as existing legislation authorizes the President (through the Secretary of Local Government) to proceed against local officials administratively. sub silencio. 38 however. as observed by the Court of Appeals. however.As hereinabove indicated. on the other hand. 51 Off. which supposedly excludes the power of investigation. the Constitution contains no prohibition. which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. 33 The Constitution did nothing more. and denied her control. means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of 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." But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of supervision of the President over local government officials does not include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires.
" 44 However." 43 a rule we reiterated in Hebron. and he may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board. 46 In Mondano. Silvosa. The Congress has expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to "receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty. except on appeal from a decision of the corresponding provincial board. 42 In Lacson. Reyes. but because no law allowed her to exercise disciplinary authority. the same must be deemed mandatory and adhered to strictly. Pelaez v. ... Lacson v. when the procedure for the suspension of an officer is specified by law. and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude... 45 In Hebron we stated: Accordingly." Section 86 of the Revised Administration Code adds nothing to the power of supervision to be exercised by the Department Head over the administration of . "he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board. and Mondano. corruption or other form of maladministration of office.. this Court said that the President enjoyed no control powers but only supervision "as may be provided by law. . Roque." And if the charges are serious. a fourth one. we stated that the President "may not . Auditor General. 40 and Mondano v. Thus. suspend an elective official of a regular municipality or take any disciplinary action against him.. then such additional power must be deemed to have been abrogated by Section 110(l). 39 Hebron v. furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail. in the absence of express or clear provision to the contrary-‐which does not et with respect to municipal officers . If it be construed that it does and such additional power is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by section 79(c) of the Revised Administrative Code.. the Court held: . 47 . In Pelaez. municipalities . Article VII of the Constitution. neither Lacson nor Hebron nor Mondano categorically banned the Chief Executive from exercising acts of disciplinary authority because she did not exercise control powers. if in his opinion the charge by one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question. according to Lacson: The contention that the President has inherent power to remove or suspend municipal officers is without doubt not well taken. 41 and possibly. . Removal and suspension of public officers are always controlled by the particular law applicable and its proper construction subject to constitutional limitations.impression is apparently exacerbated by the Court's pronouncements in at least three cases.. oppression.
The Court believes that the deliberations are by themselves inconclusive. Thus: Now. local autonomy means "a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization. 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. 52 As the Constitution itself declares. we stated that the President can not impose disciplinary measures on local officials except on appeal from the provincial board pursuant to the Administrative Code. because although Commissioner Jose Nolledo would exclude the power of removal from the President. Kayanan. As we observed in one case. to "liberate the local governments from the imperialism of Manila." Autonomy. to enhance self-‐ government. is not meant to end the relation of partnership and inter-‐ dependence between the central administration and local government units. As we said. The Charter has not taken such a radical step. and for no other purpose than precisely. But in those cases ii which the law gave him the power. "supervision" and "removal" are not incompatible terms and one may stand with the other notwithstanding the stronger expression of local autonomy under the new Charter. Local governments. autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. 49 The Court does not believe that the petitioners can rightfully point to the debates of the Constitutional Commission to defeat the President's powers." 53 The Constitution as we observed. as in Ganzon v." and "ensure their fullest development as self-‐reliant . found little difficulty in sustaining him. however. 51 The Court is consequently reluctant to say that the new Constitution has repealed the Local Government Code. Batas Blg. 37. 337 is still in force and effect. to user in a regime of federalism. in those case that this Court denied the President the power (to suspend/remove) it was not because we did not think that the President can not exercise it on account of his limited power. 48 Thus.xxx xxx xxx In Pelaez. Batas Blg. 50 Commissioner Blas Ople would not. however limited. but because the law lodged the power elsewhere. albeit paradoxically. are subject to regulation. 54 decentralization means devolution of national administration but not power to the local levels. or otherwise. We have indeed held that in spite of the approval of the Charter. under the Constitution. does nothing more than to break up the monopoly of the national government over the affairs of local governments and as put by political adherents. the Court.
According to a constitutional author. the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency. Were it not for this information and the suspension decreed by the Sandiganbayan according to the Anti-‐Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." since in that event. is the fact that since the Mayor is facing ten administrative charges. in the event that all ten cases yield prima facie findings. he would have been all this while in the full discharge of his functions as such municipal mayor. Its continuance. any of them could. The Court is not of course tolerating misfeasance in public office (assuming that Mayor Ganzon is guilty of misfeasance) but it is certainly another question to make him serve 600 days of suspension. if there be a criminal action. on the other hand. 1983. For even if thereafter he were acquitted. to suspend him out of office." At the same time.communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress." He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own. in the meanwhile his right to hold office had been nullified. He was elected precisely to do so. there would be in such a case an injustice suffered by him. criminally. involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous. but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law. Ms culpability must be established. There is injustice inflicted likewise on the people of Lianga They were . as in this instance. What bothers the Court. Clearly. Petitioner is a duly elected municipal mayor of Lianga. be proceeded against administratively or. for an unreasonable length of time raises a due process question. A preventive suspension may be justified. he has been unable to. As we held: 56 2. Decentralization of power. which is effectively. In either case. it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. however. it is a basic assumption of the electoral process implicit in the right of suffrage that the people are entitled to the services of elective officials of their choice. The President exercises "general supervision" over them. Surigao del Sur. His term of office does not expire until 1986. the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. decentralization of power amounts to "self-‐immolation. the Mayor is in fact facing the possibility of 600 days of suspension. As of October 26. Moreover. of course. and what indeed looms very large. Nor is he the only victim. In that case. he is entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence. 55 The successive sixty-‐day suspensions imposed on Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon is albeit another matter. For misfeasance or malfeasance.
his suspension permanent. to . wiped out his tenure considerably. it may be imposed for no more than sixty days. The sole objective of a suspension. 62 which is to say that it need not be exactly sixty days long if a shorter period is otherwise sufficient. yet it is hardly any argument to inflict on Mayor Ganzon successive suspensions when apparently. 58 and so also. As we held. imposing 600 days of suspension which is not a remote possibility Mayor Ganzon is to all intents and purposes. the accused (the respondent) enjoys a presumption of innocence unless and until found guilty. In that sense. It is to avoid such an unconstitutional application that the order of suspension should be lifted. Under the Local Government Code. The Court is not to be mistaken for obstructing the efforts of the respondent Secretary to see that justice is done in Iloilo City. In both cases. 63 a longer suspension is unjust and unreasonable. to all intents and purposes. and which is also to say that it ought to be lifted if prosecutors have achieved their purpose in a shorter span. Suspension is not a penalty and is not unlike preventive imprisonment in which the accused is held to insure his presence at the trial. it can not exceed sixty days. to paraphrase Justice Cardozo. the length of his suspension would have. and we might add. if any. for the above reasons. What is intriguing is that the respondent Secretary has been cracking down. 61 It is a means. Worse. the protracted continuance of this preventive suspension had outrun the bounds of reason and resulted in sheer oppression. in fact. 59 is simply "to prevent the accused from hampering the normal cause of the investigation with his influence and authority over possible witnesses" 60 or to keep him off "the records and other evidence. any absolution will be for naught because needless to say. because it is out of the ordinary to have a vacancy in local government. against an erring local official. nothing less than tyranny. to make him spend the rest of his term in inactivity. the respondent Secretary has had sufficient time to gather the necessary evidence to build a case against the Mayor without suspending him a day longer. 57 The plain truth is that this Court has been ill at ease with suspensions. as we have held. It is also to make. to mete out punishment in spite of the fact that the Mayor's guilt has not been proven. As we observed earlier. and no more. by the time he is reinstated. so to speak.deprived of the services of the man they had elected to serve as mayor. on the Mayor piecemeal apparently. It is also. A denial of due process is thus quite manifest. Suspension finally is temporary and as the Local Government Code provides. to assist prosecutors in firming up a case.
by law. yet we are of the opinion that the Secretary of Interior is exercising that power oppressively. with a grave abuse of discretion. if warranted. 3. The Court is aware that only the third suspension is under questions. and needless to say.pin him down ten times the pain. and in the manner set forth therein. when he. subject to Mayor Ganzon's usual remedies of appeal. we are precluding the Secretary from meting out further suspensions based on those remaining complaints. upon the finality of this Decision. notwithstanding findings of prima facie evidence. 2. not of power. We are therefore allowing Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon to suffer the duration of his third suspension and lifting. The Court is simply foreclosing what appears to us as a concerted effort of the State to perpetuate an arbitrary act. . As we said. Insofar as the seven remaining charges are concerned. The new Constitution does not prescribe federalism. The fact remains. and meanwhile. and that any talk of future suspensions is in fact premature. we can not tolerate such a state of affairs. that Mayor Ganzon has been made to serve a total of 120 days of suspension and the possibility of sixty days more is arguably around the corner (which amounts to a violation of the Local Government Code which brings to light a pattern of suspensions intended to suspend the Mayor the rest of his natural tenure. the latter may. 4. or certiorari. the respondent Secretary. involves a mere decentralization of administration. judicial or administrative. The change in constitutional language (with respect to the supervision clause) was meant but to deny legislative control over local governments. "investigation" does not signify "control" (which the President does not have). 5. it did not exempt the latter from legislative regulations provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy. impose disciplinary action against local officials. in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner the law may provide. Local autonomy. under the Constitution. through the Secretary of Interior from exercising a legal power. Since local governments remain accountable to the national authority. we are urging the Department of Local Government. We reiterate that we are not precluding the President. could have pursued a consolidated effort. the Temporary Restraining Order earlier issued. to undertake steps to expedite the same. "Supervision" and "investigation" are not inconsistent terms. for the purpose. however. In resume the Court is laying down the following rules: 1.
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. 63(3)] b) that if during. The suspensions of the petitioners are AFFIRMED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued is LIFTED. is AFFIRMED. the petitions are DISMISSED. . provided: a) that delays in the investigation of those charges "due to his fault. WHEREFORE. 1988. neglect or request. Section 63 of the Local Government Code. may serve the suspension so far ordered. provided that the petitioner. Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon. (2). (the time of the delay) shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension. Mary Ann Rivera Artieda. The petitioner. The sixty-‐day suspension against the petitioner. sec. or after the expiration of. Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon. if warranted under subpar. The Secretary of Interior is ORDERED to consolidate all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. his previous suspension shall not be a bar to his being preventively suspended again.6. [Supra. the petitioner commits another or other crimes and abuses for which proper charges are filed against him by the aggrieved party or parties. his preventive suspension. premises considered. No costs. SO ORDERED. but may no longer be suspended for the offenses he was charged originally.
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