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Cesar Guillergan, et al v Rodolfo Ganzon (Mayor of Iloilo City), Municpal Board of Iloilo, City Treasurer and City of Iloilo

Facts: Petitioners (market sweepers whove worked from 9-25 years) together with 13 other laborers (slaughterhouse laborers and market cleaners) and/or employees of the City filed a suit against the citys mayor, treasurer and veterinarian to compel them to reinstate petitioners to their positions from which they had been allegedly separated or dismissed illegally. Respondents answered that the mayor had the right to remove petitioners from service because they were not civil service eligible and were paid on a daily basis. Judgement was for petitioners and it became final and executory. Petitioners were ordered reinstated, however, their items were not included in the budget approved by the Municipal Board in fiscal year 1960-61. They went to the Secretary of Finance who advised them that the issue could only be determined by the courts. Hence, petitioners instituted the present action for mandamus to compel respondents to restore the items, to reinstate them and to pay their salaries during their separation from service. Respondents, in their answer, alleged that the abolition of said positions were for reasons of economy and to meet the elementary education program of the city. Also that the city was contemplating to place the cleaning under contract with private individuals. The lower court found for petitioners and said that respondents allegation are devices conceived in order to smoke screen the real cause of the elimination of the items, which is political exigency. Respondents thus appealed to SC. Issue: W/N the lower court erred in holding the city jointly liable with the respondents for the back salaries of petitioners. NO. Respondents contend: municipal corporations enjoy the same immunity as the state in the administration of strictly governmental functions, unless expressly made liable by statute, and that pursuant to Section 4 of the Charter of Iloilo City (Commonwealth Act No. 1581, as amended) Held and ratio:




To begin, Charter of Iloilo City (Sec. 3 of Commonwealth Act No. 158), expressly provides that the City of Iloilo may sue and be sued; the operation of a market, in the cleaning of which petitioners herein are engaged, is not strictly a governmental function; In many cases, Court held that municipal corporations may be held liable for the back pay or wages of employees or laborers illegally separated from the service, including those involving primarily governmental functions, such as those of policemen.


The City shall not be liable for damages or injuries to persons or

property arising from the failure of the Municipal Board, or any City Officer, to enforce the provisions of this Charter, or any other law or ordinance, or from negligence on their part while carrying out or enforcing said provisions.