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CASE DIGESTS

IN
PUBLIC CORPORATIONS LAW
(Atty. Lapid)

Submitted by:
Dean Ace A. Pamaran

1. Espiritu vs. Melgar (1992)

Facts: Three similar complaints were filed with the DILG, Office of the Provincial Governor,
and Office of the President, accusing Mayor Melgar of physically assaulting and arresting
complainant without any reason. Sangguniang Panlalawigan, after evaluation, passed a
resolution recommending the Provincial Governor to preventively suspend him pending the
administrative case so Mayor Melgar was suspended by Governor Espiritu. Melgar filed petition
with RTC which enjoined the Governor from implementing the order of suspension.

Held: RTC has no jurisdiction to enjoin the governor from preventively suspending the mayor.
Clearly, under Sec63 of the (old) LGC, the provincial governor of Oriental Mindoro is
authorized by law to preventively suspend the municipal mayor of Naujan at anytime after the
issues had been joined and any of the following grounds were shown to exist: (1) When there is
reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of; (2)
When the evidence of culpability is strong; (3) When the gravity of the offense so warrants; or
(4) 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. The rationale of preventive
suspension is so that the respondent may not hamper the normal course of the investigation
through the use of his influence and authority over possible witnesses (Lacson vs. Roque, 92
Phil. 456).
Also, Melgar failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Since respondent mayor believed
that his preventive suspension was unjustified and politically motivated, he should have sought
relief first from the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, not from the courts. However,
once the 60-day preventive suspension has been served, the official is deemed reinstated in office
without prejudice to the continuation of the administrative investigation of the charges against
him.

2. Bunye vs. Escareal (1993)

Facts: Petitioners Municipal Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilors questions the resolution
suspending them from office for 90 days pending their trial for violation of Sec3(3) of the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
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Held: Suspension of petitioners was proper. Sec13 of RA3019 unequivocally provides that the
accused public official “shall be suspended from office” while the criminal prosecution is
pending in court. Under Gonzaga case, such suspension is mandatory. It is not violative of the
Constitution as it is not a penalty. It is mandatory as soon as the validity of the information is
determined. There is no merit in the contention that their admission of the acts constituting the
offense charged against them eliminates apprehension that they might tamper with the records. It
is not for the petitioners to say that their admissions are all the evidence that the prosecution will
need to hold up its case against them. The prosecution must be given the opportunity to gather
and prepare the facts for trial under conditions which would ensure non intervention and non-
interference for 90 days from petitioner’s camp.
The fear that the government will be paralyzed by their suspension is remote. There are 8
councilors left who can meet as the Sangguniang Bayan. The President or his alter ego, the
Secretary of Interior and Local Government will know how to deal with the problem of filling up
the temporarily vacant positions in accordance with the provisions of the LGC.

3. Garcia vs. COMELEC (1993)

Facts: On July1993, some mayors, vice-mayors and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of 12
municipalities of Bataan province met and constituted themselves into a Preparatory Recall
Assembly (PRA) in the Bagac town plaza to initiate the recall election of Governor Garcia
(elected governor of Bataan in May, 1992 elections) for “loss of confidence”. COMELEC
scheduled recall elections. Governor Garcia asserts the unconstitutionality of Sec70, LGC.

Held: Sec70 of LGC is constitutional. The presumption of validity rests on the respect due to the
wisdom, integrity, and the patriotism of the legislative, by which the law is passed, and the Chief
Executive, by whom the law is approved. Garcia does not point to any constitutional provision
that will sustain their contention – for surely, there is nothing in there that will remotely suggest
that the people have the “sole and exclusive right to decide on whether to initiate a recall
proceeding.”
The Constitution did not provide for any mode of initiating recall elections. It did not
prohibit the adoption of multiple modes of initiating recall elections. The mandate given by Sec3
of Art X of the Constitution is for Congress to “enact a LGC which shall provide for a more
responsive and accountable local government structure through a system of decentralization with
effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum xxx”
Congress was clearly given the power to choose the effective mechanisms of recall as its
discernment dictates. Power given was to select which among the means and methods of
initiating recall elections are effective to carry out the judgment of the electorate, and it was not
straight jacketed to one particular mechanism of initiating recall elections.
The Constitution requires only that the mechanisms chosen (one or many) be effective.
Congress deemed it wise to enact the alternative mode to supplement the former mode by direct
action, and the Court cannot supplant this judgment by Congress in respect of the principle of
separation of powers. Choice may be erroneous but the remedy against a bad law is to seek its
amendment or repeal by the legislative.
Initiation by the PRAC is also initiation by the people, albeit done indirectly through their
representatives this act by the people through their elected representatives is not constitutionally
impermissible as seen in the task of drafting the Constitution which is delegated to their
representatives (either by constitutional convention or as a congressional constituent assembly).
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Initiation of recall process is a lesser act and there is no rhyme or reason why it cannot be
entrusted to and exercised by the elected representatives of the people.
PRA resolution of recall is not the recall itself. The PRA resolution merely starts the
process
– only a part of the process, and not the whole. This is self-evident because a PRA resolution of
recall that is not submitted to the COMELEC for validation will not recall its subject officials.
Likewise, a PRA resolution of recall that is rejected by the people in the election called for the
purpose bears no effect whatsoever. The initiatory resolution merely sets the stage for the official
concerned to appear before the tribunal of the people so he can justify why he should be allowed
to continue in office. Before the people render their sovereign judgment, the official concerned
remains in office but his right to continue in office is subject to question. This is clear in Sec72,
LGC which explicitly states that “the recall of an elective local official shall be effective only
upon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving the
highest number of votes cast during the election on recall.”
The fear expressed is that the members of PRAC may inject political color in their
decision as they may initiate recall proceedings only against their political opponents especially
those belonging to the minority. Careful reading of the law will show that it does not give an
asymmetrical treatment to locally elected officials belonging to the political minority. The
politically neutral composition of the PRA under Sec70(b) where all mayors, vice-mayors,
sanggunian members of municipality and component cities are made members of the PRA at the
provincial level-its membership is not apportioned to political parties – no significance is given
to the political affiliation of its members. PRA at the provincial level includes all the elected
officials in the province concerned- considering their number, the greater probability is that no
one political party can control its majority.
Sec. 69, LGC provides that the only ground to recall is loss of confidence of the people.
The members of PRAC are there not in representation of their political parties but as
representatives of the peoples. By necessary implication, loss of confidence cannot be premised
on mere differences in political party affiliation. The Constitution even encourages multi-party
system to nurture the democratic system. Fear that a PRA may be dominated by a political party
and that it may use its power to initiate the recall of officials of opposite political persuasions is
not a ground to strike down the law as unconstitutional.
Moreover, law instituted safeguards to assure that the initiation of the recall process by a
PRA will not be corrupted by extraneous influences. Its diverse and distinct composition
guarantees that all the sectors of the electorate province shall be heard. Following are required
for the validity of resolution: (1) Notice to all members is a condition sine qua non to the validity
of its proceedings; (2) Law also requires a qualified majority of all the PRA members to convene
in session and in a public place; (3) Also, the recall resolution by majority must be adopted
during its session called for the purpose.
Furthermore, it cannot be claimed that the PRA members voted along narrow political
lines. Neither COMELEC nor SC made a judicial inquiry as to the reason that led the members
of the said recall assembly to cast a vote against Garcia. Pimentel in his book stressed that the
substantive content of a vote of lack of confidence is beyond any inquiry – a political question
(as held in Evardone vs COMELEC)The proposal will still be passed upon by the sovereign
electorate of Bataan – yet to be expressed. It is premature to conclude that the will has been
subverted. If electorate re-elects him, the proposal to recall is rejected. If they do not, then he has
lost the confidence of the people which he once enjoyed

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[Conclusion: The alternative mode of initiating recall proceedings thru a PRA is an innovative
attempt by Congress to remove impediments to the effective exercise by the people of their
sovereign power to check the performance of their elected officials. The power to determine this
mode was specifically given to Congress and is not proscribed by the Constitution.]
[SC Resolution: The requirement of notice is mandatory for it is indispensable in determining
the collective wisdom of the members of PRA. Its non-observance is fatal to the validity of the
resolution to recall Garcia as Governor of Bataan.
The due process clause of the Constitution requiring notice as an element of fairness is
inviolable and should always be considered as part and parcel of every law in case of its silence.
Need for notice to all members of PRA is also imperative for these members represent the
different sectors of the electorate. Resolution to recall should articulate the majority will of the
members of the assembly but the majority will can be genuinely determined only after all the
members have been given a fair opportunity to express the will of their constituents. In accord
with the SC Resolution, Notice of Session was again sent to the members of PRAC.]

4. Paras vs. COMELEC (1996)

Facts: Petition for recall of Paras as Punong Barangay (elected last 1994 regular barangay
elections) was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. COMELEC approved the petition
and scheduled the petition signing on October14, 1995 and set the recall election on Nov13,
1995.At least 29.30% of registered voters signed the petition (above the required 25%). Paras
opposed so recall election was deferred by COMELEC to Dec16, 1995.COMELEC rescheduled
recall election on Jan13, 1996.

Held: There can still be a recall election even with the four (4) months that separate the recall
election from the upcoming SK elections. Evident intent of Sec74 of LGC is to subject an
elective local official to recall election once during his term of office. Paragraph (b) construed
together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective official may be
subject of a recall election, that is, during the 2nd year of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to
Paras’ interpretation of the phrase regular local election to include the SK election will unduly
circumscribe the novel provision of the LGC on recall, a mode of removal of public officers by
initiation of the people before the end of his term.
If the SK election were to be deemed within the purview of the phrase “regular local
election” (to be held every 3years from May1996), then no recall election can be conducted
rendering inutile the recall provision of the LGC. It is a basic precept of statutory construction
that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution. Interpretation of Sec74(b),
LGC should not be in conflict with the constitutional mandate of Sec3, Art X to “enact a LGC
which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted
through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and
referendum xxx”
Recall election is potentially disruptive of the normal working of the LGU necessitating
additional expenses, hence the prohibition against the conduct of recall election 1year
immediately preceding the regular local election. The proscription is due to the proximity of the
next regular election for the office of the local elective official concerned. Electorate could
choose the official’s replacement in the said election who certainly has a longer tenure in office
than a successor elected through a recall election. Therefore, it would be more in keeping with
the intent of the recall provision of the Code to construe regular local election as one referring to
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an election where the office held by the local elective official sought to be recalled will be
contested and be filled by the electorate. However, recall is no longer possible in the case at bar
because of the limitation under Sec74(b) – the next regular election involving the barangay office
concerned is barely 7months away (scheduled on May1997).

[Davide Concurring Opinion: SK election is not a regular local election for purposes of recall
under Sec74, LGC. The term “regular local election” must be confined to the regular election of
local elective officials, as distinguished from the regular election of national officials (President,
VP, Senators and Congressmen).The officials enumerated under footnote are the only local
elective officials deemed recognized by Sec2 par (2) of Art IX-C of Constitution (COMELEC’s
power and exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to elections, returns, and
qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction
over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by RTCs of general jurisdiction,
or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction).
A regular election (local or national) can only refer to an election participated in by those
who possess the right of suffrage, are not otherwise disqualified by law, and who are registered
voters. One of the requirements for exercise of suffrage under Sec1, Art V of the Constitution is
that the person must be at least 18years of age, and one requisite before he can vote is that he be
a registered voter pursuant to the rules on registration prescribed in the Omnibus Election Code
(Sec113-118). Under the law, SK includes the youth with ages ranging from 15-21 (Sec424,
LGC). Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election – those
from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular
election. SK is nothing more than a youth organization. Although fully recognized in LGC and
vested with certain powers and functions, its elective officials have not attained the status of
local elective officials.

5. Flores vs. Drilon (1993)

Facts: Mayor Gordon of Olongapo City was appointed Chairman/CEO of the SBMA pursuant to
RA7277 “Bases Conversion & Development Act of 1992” which provides that- The President
shall appoint a professional manager as administrator of the Subic Authority with a
compensation to be determined by the Board subject to the approval of the Secretary of Budget,
who shall be the ex officio chairman of the Board and who shall serve as the chief executive
officer of the Subic Authority: Provided, however, That for the first year of its operations from
the effectivity of this Act, the mayor of the City of Olongapo shall be appointed as the chairman
and chief executive officer of the Subic Authority. Petitioners filed an original petition before the
SC, challenging the constitutionality of the proviso above.

Held: The proviso violates the constitutional proscription against appointment or designation of
elective officials to other government posts. The proscription is an affirmation that a public
office is a full-time job. A public officer should be precluded from dissipating his efforts…
among too many positions of responsibility, which may result in inefficiency. Section 94 of LGC
which permits the appointment of a local elective official to another post if so allowed by law or
by the primary functions of his office is untenable. No legislative act can prevail over the
Constitution. This view ignores the clear-cut difference in the wording between the two
paragraphs of Section 7 Art. IX-B, w/c distinction was purposely sought by the drafters of the
Constitution.
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Holding of multiple offices by an appointive official is permitted when allowed by law or
by the primary functions of his position is more stringent. It does not provide any exception to
the rule against appointment or designation of an elective official to other government posts
except as particularly recognized in the Constitution itself, such as: President, as head of the
Economic and Planning Agency; Vice-President, who may be appointed as Cabinet member;
Congressman, who may be designated ex officio member of the Judicial & Bar Council. The
exemption allowed to appointive officials can’t be extended to elective officials.
The contention that SBMA posts are merely ex officio to the position of Mayor of
Olongapo City, hence, an excepted circumstance citing Civil Liberties v Exec Secretary where
the Court held that the prohibition in Section 13 Art. VII of the Constitution doesn’t apply to
additional duties & functions required by the primary functions of the official concerned, who
are to perform them in an ex officio capacity… is also untenable.
Congress did not contemplate making the SBMA posts as ex officio or automatically
attached to the Office of the Mayor of Olongapo City w/o need of appointment. The phrase
“shall be appointed” shows the intent to make the posts appointive. In the Senate deliberations,
Sen. Saguisag suggested that they make the post ex officio so as not to contravene Section 7
paragrap 1 of Art. IX-B of the Constitution, but Congress decided to have the controversy
resolved by the courts instead. That the proviso is NOT a legislative encroachment on the
appointing authority of the President…The power of appointment necessarily carries the
discretion of whom to appoint. When Congress clothes the President with the power to appoint
an officer, it cannot at the same time limit the choice of the President to only one candidate, even
on the pretext of prescribing qualifications of the officer (as in this case, where the qualifications
prescribed can only be met by one individual). Such enactment eliminates the discretion of the
appointing power [and encroaches upon his power of appointment].

[Solution: Since the ineligibility of an elective official for appointment remains all throughout
his tenure or during his incumbency, Gordon may resign first from his elective post to cast off
the constitutionally-attached disqualification.]
[Conclusion: Gordon’s appointment pursuant to an unconstitutional legislative act is null &
void. He however remains Mayor of Olongapo City. His acts as SBMA Chair/CEO are not
necessarily null and void. He may be considered a de facto officer, whose acts will hold valid in
so far as they involve the interests of the public and third persons. Also, all emoluments received
by Gordon pursuant to his appointment may be retained by him.]

6. Salalima vs. Guingona (1996)

Facts: Petitioners, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay, seek to annul and set
aside Administrative Order 153, signed by the President and by public respondent Executive
Secretary Teofisto Guingona, approving the finding of fact and recommendations of the Ad Hoc
Committee and holding petitioners administratively liable. The order meted out on each
petitioner penalties of suspension of different durations, to be served successively but not to go
beyond their respective unexpired terms in accordance with Section 66 (b) of LGC. Petitioners
argued that the order is an oppressive and capricious exercise of executive power.
Held: Section 66 (b) of LGC provides that the penalty of suspension shall not exceed the
unexpired term of the respondent or a period of six (6) months for every Administrative Offense,
nor shall said penalty be a bar to the candidacy of the respondent so suspended as long as he
meet the qualifications for the office. An administrative offense means every act or conduct or
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omission which amounts to, or constitutes, any of the grounds for disciplinary action. In the case
at bar, there is no grave abuse of discretion in imposing the penalty of suspension, although the
aggregate thereof exceeded the six months and the unexpired portion of the petitioners' term of
office. The fact remains that the suspension imposed for each administrative offense did not
exceed six months and there was an express provision that the successive service of suspension
should not exceed the unexpired portion of the petitioners' term. The suspension does not amount
to petitioners' removal from office.
However, the petitioners cannot be administratively liable. This is so because public
officials cannot be subject to disciplinary action for administrative misconduct committed during
a prior term. The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present
term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their
officers. When the people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with
knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregard or forgave his faults or misconduct,
if he had been guilty of any. The Court cannot practically overrule the will of the people.
The liabilities of the petitioners who signed Resolution 129 authorizing petitioner
Salalima to enter into the retainer contract in question who were reelected in the 1992 elections
are condoned. This is, however, without prejudice to the institution of appropriate civil and
criminal cases.

7. Malinao vs. Reyes (1996)

Facts: Malinao filed an administrative case against Mayor Red for abuse of authority and denial
of due process with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque. On August 12, 1994,
members of the Sanggunian, by a vote of 5 to 3, found Red guilty, vote signed only by presiding
chairman. On September 5, the Sanggunian, voting 7 to 2, acquitted Red of the charges against
him. This vote was embodied in a Decision which was signed by all the members. Malinao
argued that the First Sanggunian Decision had already become final and executory for failure of
Red to appeal. The issue is whether or not the second Decision is valid.
Held: Yes, the second decision of acquittal is valid. In any case, this issue is already moot and
academic as a result of the expiration of Red’s term during which the act complained of was
allegedly committed, and further proceedings are barred by his reelection. [Sec 66(b) LGC].
Reelection abates any administrative disciplinary proceedings against the local elective official.

[Under Sec. 66 (b) of the LGC, the penalty of suspension cannot exceed the unexpired term of
the official and any administrative disciplinary proceeding against said official is abated if in the
meantime he is re-elected because such re-election is a condonation of whatever misconduct he
might have committed during his previous term. In order to render a decision in an
administrative case involving elected local officials, the decision of the Sanggunian must be in
writing, stating clearly the facts and the reasons for such a decision.]

8. Garcia vs. Mojica (1999)

Facts: Garcia, as Cebu City mayor, signed a contract with F.E. Zuellig for supply of asphalt to
the city. Contract covers the period 1998-2001 which was to commence on September1998 when
the first delivery should have been made by Zuellig.March1999, news reports came out
regarding alleged anomalous purchase of asphalt by Cebu City, through the contract signed by
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Garcia – which prompted Office of Ombudsman (Visayas) to conduct an inquiry. Preventive
suspension order was issued by the Office of the Ombudsman. Garcia assails validity of the
order.

Held: There can be no question as to the power and authority of respondent Deputy Ombudsman
Mojica to issue an order of preventive suspension against an official like Garcia – to prevent that
official from using his office to intimidate or influence witnesses or to tamper with records that
might be vital to the prosecution of the case against him. However, the said office cannot hold
him administratively liable for acts committed prior to his present term of office. It has
repeatedly held in a number of cases that a reelected local official may not be held
administratively accountable for misconduct committed during his prior term of office. The
rationale is that when the electorate put him back into office, it is presumed that it did so with
full knowledge of his life and character, including his past misconduct. If, armed with such
knowledge, it still reelects him, then such reelection is considered a condonation of his past
misdeeds.
That the people voted for an official with knowledge of his character is presumed,
precisely to eliminate the need to determine, in factual terms, the extent of this knowledge. Such
an undertaking is impossible. Rulings on the matter do not distinguish the precise timing or
period when the misconduct was committed, reckoned from the date of the official’s reelection,
except that it must be prior to said date.

[Salalima case applies – that sound 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. In the case at bar, Garcia
cannot anymore be held administrative liable for an act done during his previous term (his
signing of contract with Zuellig).]

9. Javellana vs. DILG

Facts: This petition for review on certiorari involves the right of a public official to engage in
the practice of his profession while employed in the Government. Attorney Erwin B. Javellana
was an elected City Councilor of Bago City, Negros Occidental. City Engineer Ernesto C.
Divinagracia filed Administrative Case No. C-10-90 against Javellana for: (1) violation of
Department of Local Government (DLG) Memorandum Circular No. 80-38 dated June 10, 1980
in relation to DLG Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 and of Section 7, paragraph b, No. 2 of
Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees," and (2) for oppression, misconduct and abuse of authority.
Divinagracia's complaint alleged that Javellana, an incumbent member of the City Council or
Sanggunian Panglungsod of Bago City, and a lawyer by profession, has continuously engaged in
the practice of law without securing authority for that purpose from the Regional Director,
Department of Local Government, as required by DLG Memorandum Circular No. 80-38 in
relation to DLG Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 of the same department.
On the other hand, Javellana filed a Motion to Dismiss the administrative case against
him on the ground mainly that DLG Memorandum Circulars Nos. 80-38 and 90-81 are
unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has the sole and exclusive authority to regulate the
practice of law.
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Held: Petitioner's contention that Section 90 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and DLG
Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII, Section 5 of the Constitution is
completely off tangent. Neither the statute nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme Court's
power and authority to prescribe rules on the practice of law. The Local Government Code and
DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 simply prescribe rules of conduct for public officials to
avoid conflicts of interest between the discharge of their public duties and the private practice of
their profession, in those instances where the law allows it.
Section 90 of the Local Government Code does not discriminate against lawyers and
doctors. It applies to all provincial and municipal officials in the professions or engaged in any
occupation. Section 90 explicitly provides that sanggunian members "may practice their
professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools expect during session hours." If there
are some prohibitions that apply particularly to lawyers, it is because of all the professions, the
practice of law is more likely than others to relate to, or affect, the area of public service.

10. Rabuco vs. Villegas

Facts: The "dominant and inextricable issue" at bar, as correctly perceived by the appellate court
is the constitutionality of Republic Act 3120 whereby Congress converted the lot in question
together with another lot in San Andres, Malate "which are reserved as communal property" into
"disposable or alienable lands of the State to be placed under the administration and disposal of
the Land Tenure Administration" for subdivision into small lots not exceeding 120 square meters
per lot for sale on installment basis to the tenants or bona fide occupants thereof and expressly
prohibited ejectment and demolition of petitioners' homes under section 2 of the Act as quoted in
the appellate court's certification resolution.

Held: If the Act is invalid and unconstitutional for constituting deprivation of property without
due process of law and without just compensation as contended by respondents city officials,
then the trial court's refusal to enjoin ejectment and demolition of petitioners' houses may be
upheld. Otherwise, petitioners' right under the Act to continue possession and occupation of the
premises and to the lifting and dismissal of the order of demolition issued against them must be
enforced and the trial court's judgment must be set aside.
Respondents city officials' contention that the Act must be stricken down as
unconstitutional for depriving the city of Manila of the lots in question and providing for their
sale in subdivided small lots to bona fide occupants or tenants without payment of just
compensation is untenable and without basis, since the lots in question are manifestly owned by
the city in its public and governmental capacity and are therefore public property over which
Congress had absolute control as distinguished from patrimonial property owned by it in its
private or proprietary capacity of which it could not be deprived without due process and
without just compensation.
Here, Republic Act 3120 expressly declared that the properties were "reserved as
communal property" and ordered their conversion into "disposable and alienable lands of the
State" for sale in small lots to the bona fide occupants thereof. It is established doctrine that the
act of classifying State property calls for the exercise of wide discretionary legislative power
which will not be interfered with by the courts.
Since the challenge of respondents city officials against the constitutionality of Republic
Act 3120 must fail as the City was not deprived thereby of anything it owns by acquisition with
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its private or corporate funds either under the due process clause or under the eminent domain
provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of said Act must be enforced and petitioners are
entitled to the injunction as prayed for implementing the Act's prohibition against their ejectment
and demolition of their houses.
The Court holds that the Acts in question were intended to implement the social justice
policy of the Constitution and the government program of land for the landless and that they
were not "intended to expropriate the property involved but merely to confirm its character as
communal land of the State and to make it available for disposition by the National Government:
...The subdivision of the land and conveyane of the resulting subdivision lots to the
occupants by Congressional authorization does not operate as an exercise of the power of
eminent domain without just compensation in violation of Section 1, subsection (2), Article III of
the Constitution, but simply as a manifestation of its right and power to deal with state
property."

11. Torio vs. Fontanilla (1978)

Facts: The Municipal Council of Malasiqui managed the celebration of the town fiesta of the
municipality. They ordered a stage to be constructed foa a zarzuela. As the stage was not strong
enough, it collapsed during the zarzuela and the deceased was pinned to death. The Municipality
argued that that since it was performing a governmental function in managing the celebration of
the fiesta, it is not liable for damages.

Held: The celebration a town fiesta is an undertaking in the exercise of a municipality's


government proprietary character thus the municipality is liable.
The powers of a municipality are twofold in character — public, governmental, or
political on the one hand, and corporate, private, or proprietary on the other. Governmental
powers are those exercised by the corporation in administering the powers of the state and
promoting the public welfare and they include the legislative, judicial, public, and political.
Municipal powers on the other hand are exercised for the special benefit and advantage of the
community and include those which are ministerial, private and corporate.
In the CAB, Section 2282 of the Chapter on Municipal Law of the Revised
Administrative Code simply gives authority to the municipality to celebrate a yearly fiesta but it
does not impose upon it a duty to observe one. Holding a fiesta even if the purpose is to
commemorate a religious or historical event of the town is in essence an act for the special
benefit of the community and not for the general welfare of the public performed in pursuance of
a policy of the state. The mere fact that the celebration, as claimed, was not to secure profit or
gain but merely to provide entertainment to the town inhabitants is not a conclusive test. For
instance, the maintenance of parks is not a source of income for the town, nonetheless it is
private undertaking as distinguished from the maintenance of public schools, jails, and the like
which are for public service. Easily, no governmental or public policy of the state is involved in
the celebration of a town fiesta. Since the injury was caused respect to the municipality’s
proprietary functions, the settled rule is that a municipal corporation can be held liable to third
persons ex contractu or ex delicto if found negligent, which the CA found and held that there was
negligence.
The municipality acting through its municipal council appointed Macaraeg as chairman
of the subcommittee on entertainment and in charge of the construction of the "zarzuela" stage.
Macaraeg acted merely as an agent of the Municipality. Under the doctrine of respondent
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superior mentioned petitioner is responsible or liable for the negligence of its agent acting within
his assigned tasks.
". . . when it is sought to render a municipal corporation liable for the act of servants or
agents, a cardinal inquiry is, whether they are the servants or agents of the corporation. If the
corporation appoints or elects them, can control them in the discharge of their duties, can
continue or remove them, can hold them responsible for the manner in which they discharge their
trust, and if those duties relate to the exercise of corporate powers, and are for the peculiar
benefit of the corporation in its local or special interest, they may justly be regarded as its agents
or servants, and the maxim of respondent superior applies." (Dillon on Municipal Corporations,
5th Ed., Vol. IV, p. 2879)

12. Garcia vs. COMELEC (1993)

Facts: On July,1993 some mayors, vice-mayors and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of 12
municipalities of Bataan province met and constituted themselves into a Preparatory Recall
Assembly (PRA) in the Bagac town plaza to initiate the recall election of Governor
Garcia,elected governor of Bataan in May, 1992 elections, for “loss of confidence”. COMELEC
scheduled recall elections. Governor Garcia asserts the unconstitutionality of Section 70 of the
Local Government Code. The issue is whether or not Section 70 of the Local Government Code
is unconstitutional?

Held: Section 70 of LGC is constitutional. The presumption of validity rests on the respect due
to the wisdom, integrity, and the patriotism of the legislative, by which the law is passed, and the
Chief Executive, by whom the law is approved. Garcia et al, do not point to any constitutional
provision that will sustain their contention – for surely, there is nothing in there that will
remotely suggest that the people have the “sole and exclusive right to decide on whether to
initiate a recall proceeding.” The Constitution did not provide for any mode of initiating recall
elections. It did not prohibit the adoption of multiple modes of initiating recall elections.
Mandate given by Sec3 of ArtX of the Constitution is for Congress to “enact a LGC which shall
provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure through a system of
decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum.”
The Congress was clearly given the power to choose the effective mechanisms of recall
as its discernment dictates. The power given was to select which among the means and methods
of initiating recall elections are effective to carry out the judgment of the electorate, and it was
not straightjacketed to one particular mechanism of initiating recall elections. The Constitution
requires only that the mechanisms chosen be effective. The choice may be erroneous but the
remedy against a bad law is to seek its amendment or repeal by the legislative.
The requirement of notice is mandatory for it is indispensable in determining the
collective wisdom of the members of PRA. Its non-observance is fatal to the validity of the
resolution to recall Garcia as Governor of Bataan. The due process clause of the Constitution
requiring notice as an element of fairness is inviolable and should always be considered as part
and parcel of every law in case of its silence. Resolution to recall should articulate the majority
will of the members of the assembly but the majority will can be genuinely determined only after
all the members have been given a fair opportunity to express the will of their constituents
Initiation by the PRAC is also initiation by the people, albeit done indirectly through their
representatives, this act by the people through their elected representatives is not constitutionally
impermissible as seen in the task of drafting the Constitution which is delegated to their
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representatives (either by constitutional convention or as a congressional constituent assembly).
Initiation of recall process is a lesser act and there is no rhyme or reason why it cannot be
entrusted to and exercised by the elected representatives of the people. PRA resolution of recall
is not the recall itself. The PRA resolution merely starts the process – only a part of the process,
and not the whole. This is self-evident because a PRA resolution of recall that is not submitted to
the COMELEC for validation will not recall its subject officials.

13. Paras vs. COMELEC (1996)

Facts: Petition for recall of Paras as Punong Barangay (elected last 1994 regular barangay
elections) was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. COMELEC approved the petition
and scheduled the petition signing on October14, 1995 and set the recall election on Nov13,
1995.
At least 29.30% of registered voters signed the petition (above the required 25%). Paras
opposed so recall election was deferred by COMELEC to Dec16, 1995. COMELEC rescheduled
recall election on Jan13, 1996.

Held: There can still be a recall election even with the 4months that separate the recall election
from the upcoming SK elections. Evident intent of Sec74 of LGC9 is to subject an elective local
official to recall election once during
his term of office. Paragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the
period when such elective official may be subject of a recall election, that is, during the 2nd year
of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to Paras’ interpretation of the phrase regular local
election to include the SK election will unduly circumscribe the novel provision of the LGC on
recall, a mode of removal of public officers by initiation of the people before the end of his term.
If the SK election were to be deemed within the purview of the phrase “regular local
election” (to be held every 3years from May1996), then no recall election can be conducted
rendering inutile the recall provision of the LGC.
It is a basic precept of stat con that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the
Constitution. Interpretation of Sec74(b), LGC should not be in conflict with Consti mandate of
Sec3, ArtX to “enact a LGC which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local
gov structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall,
initiative, and referendum”
Recall election is potentially disruptive of the normal working of the LGU necessitating
additional expenses, hence the prohibition against the conduct of recall election 1year
immediately preceding the regular local election. The proscription is due to the proximity of the
next regular election for the office of the local elective official concerned.
Electorate could choose the official’s replacement in the said election who certainly has a
longer tenure in office than a successor elected through a recall election. Therefore, it would be
more in keeping with the intent of the recall provision of the Code to construe regular local
election as one referring to an election where the office held by the local elective official sought
to be recalled will be contested and be filled by the electorate. However, recall is no longer
possible in CAB because of the limitation under Sec74(b) – the next regular election involving
the barangay office concerned is barely 7months away (scheduled on May1997).

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14. Viola vs. Alunan III (1997)

Facts: Cesar G. Viola, filed petition for prohibition challenging the validity of Art. III, §§1-2 of
the Revised Implementing Rules and Guidelines for the General Elections of the Liga ng mga
Barangay Officers in so far as they provide for the election of first, second and third vice
presidents and for auditors for the National Liga ng mga Barangay and its chapters. The issue is
whether or not Section 1-2 of the Implementing Rules are valid?

Held: The creation of the additional positions is authorized by §493 of LGC which in fact
requires — and not merely authorizes — the board of directors to "create such other positions as
it may deem necessary for the management of the chapter" and belies petitioner's claim that §493
limits the officers of a chapter to the president, VP, 5 members of the board of directors,
secretary, and treasurer. Also, the creation of these positions was actually made in the
constitution and by-laws of the Liga ng mga Barangay adopted by the 1st Barangay National
Assembly. Congress can delegate the power to create positions such as these. Section493
embodies a fairly intelligible standard “deemed necessary for the management of the chapters,".
There is no undue delegation of power by Congress. SC decisions have upheld the validity of
reorganization statutes authorizing the President of the Philippines to create, abolish or merge
offices in the executive department.

15. Victoria vs. Comelec (1994)

Facts: The basic question is how the ranking of SP members should be computed for the purpose
of succession. Petitioner argue that the ranking of the SP members should not only be based on
the number of votes obtained in relation to the total number of registered voters, but also on the
number of voters in the district who actually voted therein (which will result in petitioner
Victoria ranking first)

Held: Sec 44 of Local Gpvernment Code last paragraph provides: "For purposes of succession as
provided in this Chapter, ranking in the sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the
proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidates to the total number of registered voters
in each district in the immediately preceding local election." The law is clear that the ranking in
the SP shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of the votes obtained by each winning
candidate to the total number of registered voters of each district. It does not mention anything
about factoring the numbers of voters who actually voted.

16. Cruz vs. Paras

Facts: The municipal corporation of Bocaue, Bulacan prohibits the exercise of a lawful trade, the
operation of night clubs, and the pursuit of a lawful occupation, such as clubs employing
hostesses. It is contended that the ordinance assailed as invalid is tainted with a nullity, the
municipality being devoid of power to prohibit a lawful business, occupation or calling,
petitioners at the same time alleging that their rights to due process and equal protection of the
laws were violated as the license previously given to them was in effect withdrawn without
judicial hearing. The issue is whether or not a municipal corporation can prohibit the exercise of

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a lawful trade, the operation of night clubs, and the pursuit of a lawful occupation, such as clubs
employing hostesses?

Held: It is clear that municipal corporations cannot prohibit the operation of night clubs. They
may be regulated but not prevented from carrying on their business. All that petitioners would
have to do is to apply once more for licenses to operate night clubs. A refusal to grant licenses,
because no businesses could legally open, would be subject to judicial correction. That is to
comply with the legislative will to allow the operation and continued existence of night clubs
subject to appropriate regulations. In the meanwhile, to compel petitioners to close their
establishments, the necessary result of an affirmance, would amount to no more than a temporary
termination of their business.

17. Masikip vs. City of Pasig

Facts: The City of Pasig notified petitioner of its intention to expropriate a 1,500 square meter
portion of her property to be used for the sports development and recreational activities of the
residents of barangay Caniogan. This was pursuant to Ordinance No. 42 enacted by the then
Sangguniang Bayan of Pasig. Respondent wrote another letter to petitioner, but this time the
purpose was allegedly in line with the program of the municipal government to provide land
opportunities to deserving poor sectors of our community is constitutional, invalid, and
oppressive, as the are of her lot is neither sufficient nor suitable to provide land opportunities to
deserving poor sectors of our community. Respondent reiterated that the purpose of the
expropriated of petitioner’s property is to provide sports and recreational facilities to its poor
residents.

Held: The power of eminent domain is subject only to Constitutional limitations. Local
government have no inherent power of eminent domain and may exercise it only when expressly
authorized by statute.The right to take private property for public purposes necesaarily originates
from the necessity and the taking must be limited to such necessity. Applying this standard, the
Supreme Court hold that respondent City of Pasig has failed to establish that there is a genuine
necessity to expropriate petitioner’s property. The necessity has not been shown, especially
considering that there exists an alternative facility for sports development and community
recreation in the area, which is the Rainforest park, available to all residents of Pasig City,
including those of Caniogan.

18. Ong vs. Alegre

Facts: Private respondent and Petitioner were candidates who filed certificates of candidacy for
mayor of San Vicente, Camarines Norte. Ong was then the incumbent mayor. Alegre filed with
the COMELEC Provincial Office a Petition to Disqualify Ong. The petition was predicated on
the three-consecutive term-rule, Ong having, according to Alegre, ran in the May 1995, May
1998, and May 2001 mayoralty elections and have assumed office as mayor and discharged the
duties thereof for 3 consecutive full terms corresponding to those elections. Ong alleged that he
could not be considered as having served as mayor from 1998 to 2001 because he was not duly
elected to the post; he merely assumed office as a presumptive winner.

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Held: For the three-term limit for elective local government officials to apply, two conditions or
requisites must concur, to wit: 1) that the official concerned has been elected for three 3
consecutive terms in the same local government post, and; 2) that he has fully served 3
consecutive terms.
Such assumption of office constitutes, for Ong, service for the full term, and should be
counted as a full term served in contemplation of the 3-term limit prescribed by the constitutional
and statutory provisions, barring local elective officials from being elected and serving for more
than 3 consecutive term for the same position. Being a presumptive winner did not make him
less than a duly duly elected mayor. His proclamation as the duly elected mayor in the 1998
mayoralty election coupled by his assumption of office and his continuous exercise of the
functions thereof from start to finish of the term, should legally be taken as service for a full term
in contemplation of the 3-term rule.

19. Ortigas & Co. vs. Feati Bank & Tust Co. (1979)

Facts: When Ortigas and Co. sold two lots in highways Hills, Mandaluyong, Rizal, the original
buyers agreed to the stipulations that the lots shall be used exlclusively for residential purposes.
Subsequently, however, on February 4, 1960, the municipal council of Mandaluyong passed
Resolution No.27 declaring the area whwre the lots were located as a commercial and industrial
zone. Two years later, the defendant bank acquired the lots and in 1963 commenced the
construction of a commercial building. Ortigas and Co. filed action to enjoin construction. The
issue is which shall prevail – the restrictive covenant in the purchase agreement or the municipal
ordinance?

Held: Resolution no.27 was a legitimate exercise of police power “the most essential, insistent,
and illimitable of powers” and in a sense, the greatest and most powerful attribute of
government. The Court reiterated the PLDT ruling that police power “is elastic and must be
responsive to various social conditions; it is not confined with narrow circumscriptions of
precedents resting on past conditions; it must follow the legal progress of a democratic way of
life.” It took notice of the commercial and industrial development along E. delos Santos Avenue
and found the resolution a valid exercise of police power.
On the non-impairment of contracts issue, the Court found the resolution a “legitimate
response to a felt public need. The non-impairment clause may not bar the municipality’s
exercise of police power. The Court also reiterated the Phil-Am Life vs. Auditor General ruling
that not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix obligations as between the
parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as
a postulate of the legal order.

20. Lumbuan vs. Ronquillo

Facts: Petitioner is the registered owner of a lot located in Tondo, Manila. She leased it to
respondent Ronquillo for a period of 3 years. Respondent violated the agreement and despite
repeated verbal and written demands, the respondent refused to pay the arrears and vacate the
leased premises. Petitioner referred the matter to the Barangay Chairman’s office but the parties
failed to arrive at a settlement. The petitioner filed a case for Unlawful Detainer in the MeTC of
Manila, said court rendered its decision against respondent. Upon appeal RTC rendered its
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decision setting aside MeTC’s decision. RTC directed the parties to go baack to the Lupon
Chairman or Punong Barangay for further proceedings and to comply strictly with the condition
that should the parties fail to reach an amicable settlement, the entire records of the case will be
remanded to MeTC of Manila. Respondent sought relief from the Court of Appeals through a
petition for review. The appellate court ruled that when a complaint is prematurely instituted, as
when the mandatory mediation and conciliation in the barangar level had not been complied
with, the court should dismiss the case and not just remand the records to the court of origin so
that the parties may go through the prerequisite proceedings. The issue is whether or not the
Court of appeals gravely erred in dismissing the complaint for the alleged failure of the parties to
comply with the mandatory mediation and conciliation proceedings in the barangay level?

Held: The primordial objective of the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules is to reduce the number
of court litigations and prevents the deterioration of the quality of justice which has been brought
about by the indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts. To attain this objective, Section 412(a)
of Republic Act 7160 requires the parties to undergo a conciliation process before the Lupon
Chairman as the precondition to filing a complaint in court. Here the Lupon Chairman and
Secretary signed the certificate to file action stating that no settlement was reached by the parties.
While admittedly no Pangkat was constitutes, it was not denied that the parties met at the office
of the Barangay Chairman for possible settlement. The efforts of the Barangay Chairman,
however, proved futile as no agreement was reached. Although no Pangkat was formed, in our
mind, the was substantial compliance with the law. It is noteworthy that under the aforequoted
provision, the confrontation before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat is sufficient compliance
with the precondition for filing the case in court. This is true notwithstanding the mandate of
Section 410b should be construed together with Section 412, as well as the circumstances
obtaining in and peculiar to the case. On this score, it is significant that the Barangay Chariman
or Punong Barangay is herself the Chaiman of the Lupon under the Local Government Code.

21. Parayno vs. Jovellanos

Facts: Petitioner was the owner of a gasoline station in Calisiao, Pangasinan. In 1989,some
residents of Calisiao petitioned the Sangguniang Bayan of said municipality for the closure or
transfer of the station to another location. Upon the advice of the Municipal Engineer, the
sangguniang Bayan recommended to the Mayor the closure or transfer of location of the said
gasoline filling station. The issue is whether or not the closure or transfer of her gasoline station
by the municipality was a valid exercise of its police powers?

Held: The Municipality invalidly used its police powers in ordering the closure or transfer of
petitioner’s gasoline station. A local government is considered to have properly exercised its
police powers only when the following requisites are met; 10 the interest of the public generally,
as distinguished from those of a particular class, require the interference of the State and 20 the
means employed are reasonably necessary for the attainment of the object sought to be
accomplished and not unduly oppressive.

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22. Atienza vs. CA

Facts: M/V ACE was a mortgaged to Far East Bank and Trust Company but was released
therefrom on September 27, 1994 when petitioner sold it to privae resppndent Eulugio. It was the
latter who settled the loan with FEBTC. Sometime later, petitioner, notwithstanding the fact that
he had sold the vessel to private respondent, sought to transfer its homeport from from Manila to
Batangas province. The records do not show how he was able to do it but petitioner succeeded in
registering the vessel in his name with the Fifth Coast Guard District in Batangas City. Petitioner
went to Batangas Maritime Regional Office and asked for the issuance by MARINA of the
vessel’s Philippine Coast Guard certificate. He claimed that the certificates issued in Manila had
been lost. When petitioner’s misrepresentation regarding the loss of the certificate was
discovered a case was filed against him. MARINA issued an order directing him to show cause
why he should be subjected to punitive action. Petitioner was found guilty of misrepresentation
and was imposed an administrative fine.

Held: The findings of MARINA are to be accorded great weight since MARINA is the
government agency entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under its special and
technical expertise. The exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter
that can be discharged by it, being the government agency concerned. MARINA held petitioner
liable under Memorandum Circular No.50-A. Memorandun Circular 109, which deals
specifically with misrepresentations relating to vessel registration, licensing and documentation,
did not alter or modify that finding of culpability but only provided for a lower fine, that is, from
P25,000 to p10,000. Since, Memorandum Circular No.109 was more favourable to petitioner,
MARINA applied it retroactively to him.

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