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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 177597 July 16, 2008

BAI SANDRA S. A. SEMA, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN, Respondents. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 178628 PERFECTO F. MARQUEZ, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. DECISION CARPIO, J.: The Case These consolidated petitions1 seek to annul Resolution No. 7902, dated 10 May 2007, of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) treating Cotabato City as part of the legislative district of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.2 The Facts The Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution apportioned two legislative districts for the Province of Maguindanao. The first legislative district consists of Cotabato City and eight municipalities.3 Maguindanao forms part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), created under its Organic Act, Republic Act No. 6734 (RA 6734), as amended by Republic Act No. 9054 (RA 9054).4 Although under the Ordinance, Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanao’s first legislative district, it is not part of the ARMM but of Region XII, having voted against its inclusion in the ARMM in the plebiscite held in November 1989. On 28 August 2006, the ARMM’s legislature, the ARMM Regional Assembly, exercising its power to create provinces under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054,5 enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 (MMA Act 201) creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan composed of the eight municipalities in the first district of Maguindanao. MMA Act 201 provides: Section 1. The Municipalities of Barira, Buldon, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and Upi are hereby separated from the Province of Maguindanao and constituted into a distinct and independent province, which is hereby created, to be known as the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. xxxx Sec. 5. The corporate existence of this province shall commence upon the appointment by the Regional Governor or election of the governor and majority of the regular members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The incumbent elective provincial officials of the Province of Maguindanao shall continue to serve their unexpired terms in the province that they will choose or where they are residents: Provided, that where an elective position in both provinces becomes vacant as a consequence of the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, all incumbent elective provincial officials shall have preference for appointment to a higher elective vacant position and for the time being be appointed by the

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Regional Governor, and shall hold office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified in the next local elections; Provided, further, that they shall continue to receive the salaries they are receiving at the time of the approval of this Act until the new readjustment of salaries in accordance with law. Provided, furthermore, that there shall be no diminution in the number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the mother province. Except as may be provided by national law, the existing legislative district, which includes Cotabato as a part thereof, shall remain. Later, three new municipalities6 were carved out of the original nine municipalities constituting Shariff Kabunsuan, bringing its total number of municipalities to 11. Thus, what was left of Maguindanao were the municipalities constituting its second legislative district. Cotabato City, although part of Maguindanao’s first legislative district, is not part of the Province of Maguindanao. The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuan’s creation in a plebiscite held on 29 October 2006. On 6 February 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City passed Resolution No. 3999 requesting the COMELEC to "clarify the status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First District of Maguindanao into a regular province" under MMA Act 201. In answer to Cotabato City’s query, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 07-0407 on 6 March 2007 "maintaining the status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao." Resolution No. 07-0407, which adopted the recommendation of the COMELEC’s Law Department under a Memorandum dated 27 February 2007,7 provides in pertinent parts: Considering the foregoing, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to adopt the recommendation of the Law Department that pending the enactment of the appropriate law by Congress, to maintain the status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao. (Emphasis supplied) However, in preparation for the 14 May 2007 elections, the COMELEC promulgated on 29 March 2007 Resolution No. 7845 stating that Maguindanao’s first legislative district is composed only of Cotabato City because of the enactment of MMA Act 201.8 On 10 May 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7902, subject of these petitions, amending Resolution No. 07-0407 by renaming the legislative district in question as "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City (formerly First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City)."91avvphi1 In G.R. No. 177597, Sema, who was a candidate in the 14 May 2007 elections for Representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City," prayed for the nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 and the exclusion from canvassing of the votes cast in Cotabato City for that office. Sema contended that Shariff Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative in Congress under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution10 and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.11 Thus, Sema asserted that the COMELEC acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in issuing Resolution No. 7902 which maintained the status quo in Maguindanao’s first legislative district despite the COMELEC’s earlier directive in Resolution No. 7845 designating Cotabato City as the lone component of Maguindanao’s reapportioned first legislative district.12 Sema further claimed that in issuing Resolution No. 7902, the COMELEC usurped Congress’ power to create or reapportion legislative districts. In its Comment, the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), chose not to reach the merits of the case and merely contended that (1) Sema wrongly availed of the writ of certiorari to nullify COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 because the COMELEC issued the same in the exercise of its administrative, not quasi-judicial, power and (2) Sema’s prayer for the writ of prohibition in G.R. No. 177597 became moot with the proclamation of respondent Didagen P. Dilangalen (respondent Dilangalen) on 1 June 2007 as representative of the legislative district of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City. In his Comment, respondent Dilangalen countered that Sema is estopped from questioning COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 because in her certificate of candidacy filed on 29 March 2007, Sema indicated that she was seeking election as representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan including Cotabato City." Respondent Dilangalen added that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is constitutional because it did not apportion a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan or reapportion the legislative districts in

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Maguindanao but merely renamed Maguindanao’s first legislative district. Respondent Dilangalen further claimed that the COMELEC could not reapportion Maguindanao’s first legislative district to make Cotabato City its sole component unit as the power to reapportion legislative districts lies exclusively with Congress, not to mention that Cotabato City does not meet the minimum population requirement under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution for the creation of a legislative district within a city.13 Sema filed a Consolidated Reply controverting the matters raised in respondents’ Comments and reiterating her claim that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902. In the Resolution of 4 September 2007, the Court required the parties in G.R. No. 177597 to comment on the issue of whether a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. The parties submitted their compliance as follows: (1) Sema answered the issue in the affirmative on the following grounds: (a) the Court in Felwa v. Salas14stated that "when a province is created by statute, the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute — which cannot provide otherwise — nor by apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution, without a reapportionment"; (b) Section 462 of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA 7160) "affirms" the apportionment of a legislative district incident to the creation of a province; and (c) Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution mandate the apportionment of a legislative district in newly created provinces. (2) The COMELEC, again represented by the OSG, apparently abandoned its earlier stance on the propriety of issuing Resolution Nos. 07-0407 and 7902 and joined causes with Sema, contending that Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution is "self-executing." Thus, every new province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly is ipso facto entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives even in the absence of a national law; and (3) Respondent Dilangalen answered the issue in the negative on the following grounds: (a) the "province" contemplated in Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution is one that is created by an act of Congress taking into account the provisions in RA 7160 on the creation of provinces; (b) Section 3, Article IV of RA 9054 withheld from the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to enact measures relating to national elections, which encompasses the apportionment of legislative districts for members of the House of Representatives; (c) recognizing a legislative district in every province the ARMM Regional Assembly creates will lead to the disproportionate representation of the ARMM in the House of Representatives as the Regional Assembly can create provinces without regard to the requirements in Section 461 of RA 7160; and (d) Cotabato City, which has a population of less than 250,000, is not entitled to a representative in the House of Representatives. On 27 November 2007, the Court heard the parties in G.R. No. 177597 in oral arguments on the following issues: (1) whether Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, is constitutional; and (2) if in the affirmative, whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. 15 In compliance with the Resolution dated 27 November 2007, the parties in G.R. No. 177597 filed their respective Memoranda on the issues raised in the oral arguments.16 On the question of the constitutionality of Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, the parties in G.R. No. 177597 adopted the following positions: (1) Sema contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is constitutional (a) as a valid delegation by Congress to the ARMM of the power to create provinces under Section 20 (9), Article X of the Constitution granting to the autonomous regions, through their organic acts, legislative powers over "other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region" and (b) as an amendment to Section 6 of RA 7160.17 However, Sema concedes that, if taken literally, the grant in Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to "prescribe standards lower than those mandated" in RA 7160 in the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. 18 Thus, Sema proposed that Section 19 "should be construed as prohibiting the Regional Assembly from prescribing standards x x x that do not comply with the minimum criteria" under RA 7160.19

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(2) Respondent Dilangalen contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional on the following grounds: (a) the power to create provinces was not among those granted to the autonomous regions under Section 20, Article X of the Constitution and (b) the grant under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to prescribe standards lower than those mandated in Section 461 of RA 7160 on the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10, Article X of the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause; and (3) The COMELEC, through the OSG, joined causes with respondent Dilangalen (thus effectively abandoning the position the COMELEC adopted in its Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007) and contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional because (a) it contravenes Section 10 and Section 6, 20 Article X of the Constitution and (b) the power to create provinces was withheld from the autonomous regions under Section 20, Article X of the Constitution. On the question of whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province, Sema and respondent Dilangalen reiterated in their Memoranda the positions they adopted in their Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007. The COMELEC deemed it unnecessary to submit its position on this issue considering its stance that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional. The pendency of the petition in G.R. No. 178628 was disclosed during the oral arguments on 27 November 2007. Thus, in the Resolution of 19 February 2008, the Court ordered G.R. No. 178628 consolidated with G.R. No. 177597. The petition in G.R. No. 178628 echoed Sema's contention that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902 depriving the voters of Cotabato City of a representative in the House of Representatives. In its Comment to the petition in G.R. No. 178628, the COMELEC, through the OSG, maintained the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 as a temporary measure pending the enactment by Congress of the "appropriate law." The Issues The petitions raise the following issues: I. In G.R. No. 177597: (A) Preliminarily – (1) whether the writs of Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus are proper to test the constitutionality of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902; and (2) whether the proclamation of respondent Dilangalen as representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City mooted the petition in G.R. No. 177597. (B) On the merits – (1) whether Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, is constitutional; and (2) if in the affirmative, whether a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under MMA Act 201 pursuant to Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such province. II. In G.R No. 177597 and G.R No. 178628, whether COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is valid for maintaining the status quo in the first legislative district of Maguindanao (as "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City [formerly First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City]"), despite the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan out of such district (excluding Cotabato City). The Ruling of the Court

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abolished or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected."21 On the other hand."22True. the creation of a local government unit must follow the criteria fixed in the Local Government Code. however. the creation of any of the four local government units – province. merged. 7902 in the exercise of its judicial or quasi-judicial functions. municipality.5 The petitions have no merit. However. officer. the power to create barangays within their jurisdiction.23Nor is there a law which specifically enjoins the COMELEC to exclude from canvassing the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City. Congress can delegate to local legislative bodies the power to create local government units. this incidental consequence is no reason for us not to proceed with the resolution of the novel issues raised here. cities or municipalities.R. However. board. corporation. as well as the constitutionality of MMA Act 201 and Section 19. Admittedly. subject to reasonable standards and provided no conflict arises with any provision of the Constitution. it involves an inquiry into the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. and the plebiscite requirement in Section 10. The Court’s ruling in these petitions affects not only the recen tly concluded elections but also all the other succeeding elections for the office in question. On the Preliminary Matters The Writ of Prohibition is Appropriate to Test the Constitutionality of Election Laws. rules. do not justify the outright dismissal of the petition in G. and city and municipal councils. No province. Article VI of RA 9054.25 subject to compliance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code.24 Respondent Dilangalen’s Proclamation Does Not Moot the Petition There is also no merit in the claim that respondent Dilangalen’s proclamation as winner in the 14 May 2007 elections for representative of "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City" mooted this petition. one way or another. and regulations. the writ of Mandamus will issue to compel a tribunal. or barangay may be created. We rule that (1) Section 19. 7902 is valid. (2) MMA Act 201 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan is void. However. 261avvphi1 Local Gov Cases set 2 . Third." These. Rather. and (3) COMELEC Resolution No. Second. city. which provides: Sec. Article X of the Constitution. Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities. or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Congress has delegated to provincial boards. Article X of the Constitution. No. 10. the COMELEC did not issue Resolution No. municipality or barangay – must comply with three conditions. under the Local Government Code. In fact. 7902. divided. such creation must not conflict with any provision of the Constitution. city. 177597 because Sema also prayed for the issuance of the writ of Prohibition and we have long recognized this writ as proper for testing the constitutionality of election laws. the outcome of this petition. or person to perform an act "which the law specifically enjoins as a duty. Thus. Rules and Regulations The purpose of the writ of Certiorari is to correct grave abuse of discretion by "any tribunal. There is neither an express prohibition nor an express grant of authority in the Constitution for Congress to delegate to regional or local legislative bodies the power to create local government units. as well as the power of the ARMM Regional Assembly to create in the future additional provinces. This case does not concern respondent Dilangalen’s election. determines whether the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of the district of "Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City" will be included in the canvassing of ballots. there must be a plebiscite in the political units affected. board. under its plenary legislative powers. "only x x x an Act of Congress" can create provinces. On the Main Issues Whether the ARMM Regional Assembly Can Create the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan The creation of local government units is governed by Section 10. First.

Section 5 (4) empowers Congress to reapportion legislative districts. Legislative Districts are Created or Reapportioned Only by an Act of Congress Under the present Constitution. a province cannot be created without a legislative district because it will violate Section 5 (3). Article X of the Constitution is followed. as well as in past28 Constitutions. and not through a law that regional or local legislative bodies enact. regional. or a city with a population of 250. Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides. Section 5 (3). Even the creation of a city with a population of less than 250. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members. shall have at least one representative. and sectoral parties or organizations. Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Congress exercises these powers through a law that Congress itself enacts. "Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. provided Section 10. the power to create a province or city inherently involves the power to create a legislative district.000 involves the power to create a legislative district because once the city’s population reache s 250.27 In the present case.29 we held that the "power of redistricting x x x is traditionally regarded as part of the power (of Congress) to make laws. or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member x x x. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. it must also validly delegate at the same time the power to create a legislative district. In Montejo v. the power to increase the allowable membership in the House of Representatives. Article VI of the Constitution provides: SECTION 5. unless otherwise fixed by law. or each province. However. or each province. cities. There is no provision in the Constitution that conflicts with the delegation to regional legislative bodies of the power to create municipalities and barangays. the creation of provinces and cities is another matter. The threshold issue then is. municipalities and barangays conflicts with any provision of the Constitution. The allowable membership of the House of Representatives can be increased. For Congress to delegate validly the power to create a province or city. can Congress validly delegate to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create legislative districts for the House of Representatives? The answer is in the negative. a city with a population of 250. the allowable membership in the House of Representatives. as provided by law. and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. only through a national law passed by Congress." and thus is vested exclusively in Congress. Thus. xxxx (3) Each legislative district shall comprise. Article VI of the Constitution vests in Congress the power to increase. and adjacent territory. cities. and new legislative districts of Congress can be created. the power to create a province. the city automatically becomes entitled to one representative under Section 5 (3). COMELEC. "Any province that may hereafter be created. contiguous. Similarly. and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants. compact. Thus." Clearly. cities. Article VI of RA 9054. Article VI of the Constitution provides.6 Under Section 19. through a law. Congress delegated to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces. For the same reason. (4) Within three years following the return of every census. Local Gov Cases set 2 . The power to reapportion legislative districts necessarily includes the power to create legislative districts out of existing ones. and those who. municipalities and barangays within the ARMM. shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national.000 or more. Article VI of the Constitution as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. the question arises whether the delegation to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to create provinces. and to reapportion legislative districts. Section 5.000. is vested exclusively in Congress. Congress made the delegation under its plenary legislative powers because the power to create local government units is not one of the express legislative powers granted by the Constitution to regional legislative bodies.000 or more cannot also be created without a legislative district. (Emphasis supplied) Section 5 (1). who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces. requires also the power to create a legislative district. shall have at least one representative" in the House of Representatives. as far as practicable.

and its occupant. (3) Ancestral domain and natural resources. provides. The office of a district representative is maintained by national funds and the salary of its occupant is paid out of national funds. is a national official. it cannot create a legislative district whose representative is elected in national elections. On the other hand. It is a selfevident inherent limitation on the legislative powers of every local or regional legislative body that it can only create local or regional offices.7 This textual commitment to Congress of the exclusive power to create or reapportion legislative districts is logical. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. This violates Section 20." Local Gov Cases set 2 . as amended. Thus. (4) Personal. expressly or impliedly.30 Indeed. the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: (1) Administrative organization. respectively. To allow the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national office is to allow its legislative powers to operate outside the ARMM’s territorial jurisdiction.31 It would be incongruous for a regional legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national office when its legislative powers extend only to its regional territory. This is clear from the Constitution and the ARMM Organic Act. "The Regional Assembly may exercise legislative power x x x except on the following matters: x x x (k) National elections. a Member of the House of Representatives. and (9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. Article X of the Constitution which expressly limits the coverage of the Regional Assembly’s legislative powers "[w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction x x x. Article IV of RA 9054 amending the ARMM Organic Act. (8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage. The creation of the ARMM. Whenever Congress enacts a law creating a legislative district. and the grant of legislative powers to its Regional Assembly under its organic act. Section 20. and tourism development. Nothing in Section 20. x x x. Congress is a national legislature and any increase in its allowable membership or in its incumbent membership through the creation of legislative districts must be embodied in a national law. (2) Creation of sources of revenues. Article X of the Constitution provides: SECTION 20. It would be anomalous for regional or local legislative bodies to create or reapportion legislative districts for a national legislature like Congress. and property relations." Since the ARMM Regional Assembly has no legislative power to enact laws relating to national elections. the first representative is always elected in the "next national elections" from the effectivity of the law. An inferior legislative body. and it can never create a national office. Article X of the Constitution authorizes autonomous regions. Only Congress can enact such a law. cannot change the membership of the superior legislative body. to create or reapportion legislative districts for Congress. did not divest Congress of its exclusive authority to create legislative districts. Section 3. the office of a legislative district representative to Congress is a national office. created by a superior legislative body. (5) Regional urban and rural planning development. family. (7) Educational policies. (6) Economic. social.

and adjacent territory. or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it may be entitled to on the basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in paragraph (3). a representative district may come into existence: (a) indirectly. contiguous and compact territory. Section 5 of MMA Act 201 provides that: Except as may be provided by national law. but each province shall have at least one Member. Until such apportionment shall have been made. (Emphasis supplied) and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. was whether Republic Act No. First. shall remain. contends that Section 5 (3). 177597. but by operation of the Constitution. without a reapportionment. Sema. Article VI of the Constitution. recognized the exclusive nature of Congress’ power to create or reapportion legislative districts by abstaining from creating a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan. the House of Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly. as far as practicable. Each representative district shall comprise as far as practicable. or (b) by direct creation of several representative districts within a province. the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan without a legislative district is unconstitutional. The number of Members apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created or where the city. under the first method. and not otherwise. but. through the creation of a province — for "each province shall have at least one member" in the House of Representatives. which provides: Each legislative district shall comprise. a province cannot legally be created without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that "each province shall have at least one representative. the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute — which cannot provide otherwise — nor by apportionment. among others. petitioner invokes the statement in Felwa that "when a province is created by statute. whose population has so increased. which states: Any province that may hereafter be created. compact. which includes Cotabato City as a part thereof. in creating Shariff Kabunsuan. contiguous." The contention has no merit. Ifugao. is geographically located shall be correspondingly adjusted by the Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred and twenty days before the election. thus: The Constitution ordains: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than one hundred and twenty Members who shall be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants. As further support for her stance.8 The ARMM Regional Assembly itself. created on 29 October 2006. Mountain Province. or each province. the existing legislative district. (Emphasis supplied) However. and do not apply to those incidental to the creation of provinces. was unconstitutional for "creati[ng] congressional districts without the apportionment provided in the Constitution. (Emphasis supplied) serve as bases for the conclusion that the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. No. This is deducible. petitioner in G. Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution.R. 4695 (RA 4695). The issue in Felwa. from the fact that the apportionment therein alluded to refers to that which is made by an Act of Congress. The Congress shall by law make an apportionment within three years after the return of every enumeration. also. shall have at least one representative. not only from the general tenor of the provision above quoted. and Kalinga-Apayao and providing for congressional representation in the old and new provinces. The requirements concerning the apportionment of representative districts and the territory thereof refer only to the second method of creation of representative districts. is automatically entitled to one member in the House of Representatives in the 14 May 2007 elections." The Court answered in the negative. creating the provinces of Benguet." Pursuant to this Section. Local Gov Cases set 2 . who shall be elected by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts." Thus. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand.

As a matter of fact. Article VI of the Constitution which requires that "[E]ach city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand x x x. 177597 highlights the absurdity of Sema’s position that the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces: Justice Carpio: Local Gov Cases set 2 . What Felwa teaches is that the creation of a legislative district by Congress does not emanate alone from Congress’ power to reapportion legislative districts.000. if the consequence thereof were to exceed the maximum of 120 representative districts prescribed in the Constitution. (2) The proportional representation in the House of Representatives based on one representative for at least every 250. a legislative district is created by operation of the Constitution because the Constitution provides that "each province shall have at least one representative" in the House of Representatives. Thus.849. if as Sema claims MMA Act 201 apportioned a legislative district to Shariff Kabunsuan upon its creation.000 residents will be negated because the ARMM Regional Assembly need not comply with the requirement in Section 461(a)(ii) of RA 7160 that every province created must have a population of at least 250. Sema’s theory also undermines the composition and independence of the House of Representatives. when a province is created. Under Section 19. except. but by operation of the Constitution. Moreover.000. shall have at least one representative. this will leave Cotabato City as the lone component of the first legislative district of Maguindanao. from creating provinces because for a legislative body to create a province such legislative body must have the power to create legislative districts. but also from Congress’ power to create provinces which cannot be created without a legislative district. It merely prevents any other legislative body. without a reapportionment. beyond the maximum limit of 250 fixed in the Constitution (unless a national law provides otherwise). Cotabato City cannot constitute a legislative district by itself because as of the census taken in 2000. Thus.000. the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces and cities within the ARMM with or without regard to the criteria fixed in Section 461 of RA 7160." Second. the House of Representatives. or trigger the creation of. In short. However. No. without complying with the aforementioned requirements. only Congress has the power to create. with the consequent creation of additional representative districts. except Congress. comes into existence neither by authority of that statute — which cannot provide otherwise — nor by apportionment.R. only an act of Congress can trigger the creation of a legislative district by operation of the Constitution. and minimum contiguous territory of 2. namely: minimum annual income of P20. and (3) Representatives from the ARMM provinces can become the majority in the House of Representatives through the ARMM Regional Assembly’s continuous creation of provinces or cities within the ARMM. when a province is created by statute.000. To constitute Cotabato City alone as the surviving first legislative district of Maguindanao will violate Section 5 (3). territory of. it had a population of only 163. or other conditions under which a province may be created. the corresponding representative district.34 The following scenarios thus become distinct possibilities: (1) An inferior legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly can create 100 or more provinces and thus increase the membership of a superior legislative body. perhaps. This does not detract from the constitutional principle that the power to create legislative districts belongs exclusively to Congress. the new province was created merely by a regional law enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly. There is no constitutional limitation as to the time when. The following exchange during the oral arguments of the petition in G. provinces have been created or subdivided into other provinces. the Court sustained the constitutionality of RA 4695 because (1) it validly created legislative districts "indirectly" through a special law enacted by Congress creating a province and (2) the creation of the legislative districts will not result in breaching the maximum number of legislative districts provided under the 1935 Constitution. a legislative district. Here.000 square kilometers or minimum population of 250. Felwa does not apply to the present case because in Felwa the new provinces were created by anational law enacted by Congress itself. which is not the effect of the legislation under consideration.33 Article VI of RA 9054.9 Indeed.32 (Emphasis supplied) Thus.

36 (Emphasis supplied) Neither the framers of the 1987 Constitution in adopting the provisions in Article X on regional autonomy.10 So. [the] Regional Assembly of [the] ARMM can create and create x x x provinces x x x and. there should at least be 50 party-list seats available in every election in case 50 party-list candidates are proclaimed winners. Your Honor. they can have thirty-five (35) new representatives in the House of Representatives without Congress agreeing to it. they can also create one thousand (1000) new provinces. there are 21938 district representatives out of the maximum 250 seats in the House of Representatives. you mean to say [a] Local Government can create legislative district[s] and pack Congress with their own representatives [?] Atty. The reason is that the creation of a province increases the actual membership of the House of Representatives. under the correct factual circumstances. much less than the 219 incumbent district representatives. Justice Carpio: So. even before Congress can create new provinces. is that what you are saying? Atty. that is what we are saying. under your theory[?] Atty. there may be x x x [only] one hundred thousand (100. 37 nor Congress in enacting RA 9054. Thus. xxxx Justice Carpio: So. correct? Atty. not the regional assemblies. sen[d] one thousand (1000) representatives to the House of Representatives without a national law[. envisioned or intended these disastrous consequences that certainly would wreck the tri-branch system of government under our Constitution. Clearly. x x x. The Constitution empowered Congress to create or reapportion legislative districts. Section 3 of the Ordinance to the Constitution which states. This leaves only 200 seats for district representatives. the power to create or reapportion legislative districts cannot be delegated by Congress but must be exercised by Congress itself. therefore. "[A]ny province that may hereafter be created x x x shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member. the ARMM legislature can create thirty-five (35) new provinces. Incidentally. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Even the ARMM Regional Assembly recognizes this.] that is legally possible. Your Honor. is that what you are saying? That can be done. Your Honor. and they will each have one representative x x x to Congress without any national law. Vistan II: Yes. Justice Carpio: Under your theory. in the present 14th Congress. Vistan II:35 Yes. yes. Vistan II: Without law passed by Congress. Your Honor. Vistan II: Yes." refers to a province created by Congress itself through a national law. because the Constitution allows that.000) [population]. there is a need now for Congress to increase by law the allowable membership of the House. an increase that only Congress can decide. Since party-list members shall constitute 20 percent of total membership of the House.

" The Preamble of the ARMM Organic Act (RA 9054) itself states that the ARMM Government is established "within the framework of the Constitution. Article X of the Constitution. 7902 Complies with the Constitution Consequently. Thus. we rule that COMELEC Resolution No. preserving the geographic and legislative district of the First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City. Article X of the Constitution expressly provides that the legislative powers of regional assemblies are limited "[w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws. as well as Section 1 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Consequently. Article VI of Republic Act No. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Section 20. as mandated in Section 10. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of the creation of municipalities and barangays that does not comply with the criteria established in Section 461 of RA 7160. Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. We leave the resolution of this issue to an appropriate case. 7902. insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities. Resolution No. we declare VOID Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. Thus. a power only Congress can exercise under Section 5. as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. we declare Section 19. we rule that Section 19. Article X of the Constitution. 9054 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it grants to the Regional Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the power to create provinces and cities." This follows Section 15. Moreover. Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.11 It is axiomatic that organic acts of autonomous regions cannot prevail over the Constitution. WHEREFORE. because the creation of such municipalities and barangays does not involve the creation of legislative districts. we rule that MMA Act 201. is void for being contrary to Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution. In summary. is void. Article X of the Constitution which mandates that the ARMM "shall be created x x x within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines . SO ORDERED. is valid as it merely complies with Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution." The present case involves the creation of a local government unit that necessarily involves also the creation of a legislative district. Only Congress can create provinces and cities because the creation of provinces and cities necessarily includes the creation of legislative districts. 201 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. Article VI of RA 9054. enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly and creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national office like the office of a district representative of Congress because the legislative powers of the ARMM Regional Assembly operate only within its territorial jurisdiction as provided in Section 20. The ARMM Regional Assembly cannot create a province without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that every province shall have a legislative district. x x x. 7902 is VALID. we hold that COMELEC Resolution No.

CITY OF IRIGA. CITY OF SILAY. CITY OF LEGAZPI.. PROVINCE OF CEBU. CITY OF PAGADIAN... CITY OF LIGAO. CITY OF VICTORIAS. PROVINCE OF DAVAO ORIENTAL. No. 2008 LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer. CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. 177499 November 18. MUNICIPALITY OF LAMITAN. vs. CITY OF CADIZ. vs. CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS.petitioners-in-intervention. CITY OF BAIS. CITY OF PAGADIAN. PROVINCE OF ILOCOS NORTE. MUNICIPALITY OF MATI. respondents. CITY OF CADIZ. CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P.. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. CITY OF TARLAC. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. MUNICIPALITY OF BAYBAY. TREÑAS. petitioners. CITY OF TANGUB. CITY OF TACURONG. CITY OF TANGUB. SARMIENTO.. CITY OF CALAPAN. PROVINCE OF AGUSAN DEL SUR. CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS. PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL SUR. CITY OF SURIGAO. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer. PROVINCE OF BASILAN. CITY OF CAUAYAN. CITY OF ZAMBOANGA. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer. TREÑAS. CITY OF TACURONG.. 178056 November 18. MUNICIPALITY OF BAYUGAN. CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL SENEN S. MUNICIPALITY OF BORONGAN. MUNICIPALITY OF BOGO. PROVINCE OF KALINGA.. MUNICIPALITY OF TABUK. CITY OF BAYAWAN. CITY OF BATANGAS. PROVINCE OF QUEZON. MUNICIPALITY OF CARCAR. CITY OF CAUAYAN. CITY OF SANTIAGO. CITY OF VICTORIAS. CITY OF SAN FERNANDO. CITY OF CADIZ... CITY OF SANTIAGO.. petitioners vs. CITY OF SILAY.. CITY OF SANTIAGO. 2008 LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P.. CITY OF SAN FERNANDO. 176951 November 18. CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. CITY OF IRIGA.. TREÑAS.petitioners-in-intervention. CITY OF SAN CARLOS. and JERRY P. CITY OF CAUAYAN. CITY OF LEGAZPI. Local Gov Cases set 2 .petitioners-in-intervention. and CITY OF TAGUM. and JERRY P.R. CITY OF SAN FERNANDO.. No. CITY OF GINGOOG.. CITY OF TAGAYTAY. CITY OF BATANGAS... CITY OF OROQUIETA. PROVINCE OF EASTERN SAMAR. CITY OF LEGAZPI. CITY OF PAGADIAN. CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL SENEN S. SARMIENTO. CITY OF BAYAWAN. CITY OF IRIGA. CITY OF SURIGAO.. CITY OF TARLAC. and MUNICIPALITY OF EL SALVADOR. MUNICIPALITY OF CATBALOGAN. CITY OF SAN CARLOS. x .. and MUNICIPALITY OF TAYABAS. respondents.R. CITY OF SURIGAO. 2008 LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P. CITY OF LIGAO. PROVINCE OF AGUSAN DEL NORTE. MUNICIPALITY OF TANDAG. and MUNICIPALITY OF GUIHULNGAN. CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN. CITY OF CALAPAN. CITY OF GINGOOG. petitioners. CITY OF URDANETA. TREÑAS. x-----------------------------x G. CITY OF ZAMBOANGA. CITY OF ZAMBOANGA. CITY OF OROQUIETA. CITY OF SILAY. CITY OF BAYAWAN.. MUNICIPALITY OF BATAC. and CITY OF TAGUM. respondents. CITY OF TAGAYTAY. CITY OF TACURONG. CITY OF TAGAYTAY.. SARMIENTO.. CITY OF URDANETA. CITY OF BAIS. CITY OF BAIS.--x G. PROVINCE OF NEGROS ORIENTAL. CITY OF URDANETA. MISAMIS ORIENTAL. CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN. and JERRY P. TREÑAS. CITY OF CALAPAN. CITY OF GINGOOG. CITY OF TANGUB.. PROVINCE OF CEBU.12 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. CITY OF VICTORIAS. CITY OF SAN CARLOS. MUNICIPALITY OF CABADBARAN. CITY OF TARLAC. PROVINCE OF WESTERN SAMAR. CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL SENEN S. No.. CITY OF OROQUIETA.R. CITY OF BATANGAS. TREÑAS. and CITY OF TAGUM. CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS.. CITY OF LIGAO. CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN. PROVINCE OF LEYTE.

J. except that of Naga.6 After the effectivity of RA 9009. the House of Representatives approved the cityhood bills. However.5 which took effect on 30 June 2001. The rationale for the amendment was to restrain. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10. However. Congress did not act on bills converting 24 other municipalities into cities.8 which sought to exempt from the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not approved in the 11th Congress. 1 and forwarded it to the Senate for approval. City of Iloilo. the Senate again failed to approve the Joint Resolution. However. 9009 (RA 9009).12Petitioners also lament that the wholesale conversion of municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment because more cities will share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities under Section 285 of the Local Government Code. and 2. 16 municipalities filed. RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code by increasing the annual income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from P20 million to P100 million. 13 The Issues The petitions raise the following fundamental issues: 1. Article X of the Constitution. During the 12th Congress. the House of Representatives of the 12th Congress7 adopted Joint Resolution No. The Senate also approved the cityhood bills in February 2007. through their respective sponsors. The Ruling of the Court Local Gov Cases set 2 .3 Congress enacted into law 33 bills converting 33 municipalities into cities.: The Case These are consolidated petitions for prohibition1 with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines. in the words of Senator Aquilino Pimentel. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause. The 16 cityhood bills contained a common provision exempting all the 16 municipalities from the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009.13 DECISION CARPIO.9 the House of Representatives re-adopted Joint Resolution No. individual cityhood bills. The cityhood bills lapsed into law (Cityhood Laws10) on various dates from March to July 2007 without the President's signature. City of Calbayog. The Facts During the 11th Congress. "the mad rush" of municipalities to convert into cities solely to secure a larger share in the Internal Revenue Allotment despite the fact that they are incapable of fiscal independence. as well as for violation of the equal protection clause. 29. Article X of the Constitution. 29. and Jerry P. Following the advice of Senator Aquilino Pimentel. the 12th Congress ended without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No. Cebu which was passed on 7 June 2007. Treñas2 assailing the constitutionality of the subject Cityhood Laws and enjoining the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and respondent municipalities from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the Cityhood Laws. On 22 December 2006. Petitioners filed the present petitions to declare the Cityhood Laws unconstitutional for violation of Section 10. 29 as Joint Resolution No.4 Congress enacted into law Republic Act No. During the 13th Congress.11 The Cityhood Laws direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites to determine whether the voters in each respondent municipality approve of the conversion of their municipality into a city.

even if the exemption in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. of at least One hundred million pesos (P100."15 Petitioners-in-intervention. have legal standing because their Internal Revenue Allotment will be reduced if the Cityhood Laws are declared constitutional. which direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites in implementation of the Cityhood Laws. First. including the Cityhood Laws. applying the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 to the present case is a prospective. the Constitution requires that Congress shall prescribe all the criteria for the creation of a city in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. Requisites for Creation. which now provides: Section 450. Fifth. population and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices. the deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on unapproved bills or resolutions are not extrinsic aids in interpreting a law passed in the 13th Congress. Fourth. Article X of the Constitution. because RA 9009 took effect in 2001 while the cityhood bills became law more than five years later. the criteria prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Sixth. – (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has a locally generated average annual income. the intent of members of the 11th Congress to exempt certain municipalities from the coverage of RA 9009 remained an intent and was never written into Section 450 of the Local Government Code.000. and if it has either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers. as certified by the Department of Finance. solutions thereto. The Cityhood Laws violate Sections 6 and 10. not a retroactive application.16 which are existing cities. articulating and crystallizing issues affecting city government administration and securing. Seventh. or (ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150. the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6.000) inhabitants.14 We grant the petitions. Third. needing no resort to any statutory construction. Article X of the Constitution because they prevent a fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. as amended by RA 9009. The creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. Second. as certified by the National Statistics Office.000. through proper and legal means. and are thus unconstitutional. plain and unambiguous. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Treñas has legal standing because as Mayor of Iloilo City and as a taxpayer he has sufficient interest to prevent the unlawful expenditure of public funds. like the release of more Internal Revenue Allotment to political units than what the law allows. for converting a municipality into a city are clear. as certified by the Land Management Bureau. This law specifically amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Applying RA 9009 is a Prospective Application of the Law RA 9009 became effective on 30 June 2001 during the 11th Congress. 14like the Cityhood Laws. the exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. Preliminary Matters Prohibition is the proper action for testing the constitutionality of laws administered by the COMELEC. Mayor Jerry P. Petitioner League of Cities of the Philippines has legal standing because Section 499 of the Local Government Code tasks the League with the "primary purpose of ventilating.

Congress cannot write such criteria in any other law. 29. Indisputably. During the 13th Congress. is not being applied retroactively but prospectively. Thus. divided. There is only one Local Government Code. This Resolution reached the Senate. Article X of the Constitution. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. 29 filed between November and December of 2006. non-discriminatory criteria found solely in the Local Government Code . does not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement. The clear intent of the Constitution is to insure that the creation of cities and other political units must follow the same uniform. This common provision exempted each of the 16 municipalities from the income requirement ofP100 million prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. 9009.18The Constitution requires Congress to stipulate in the Local Government Code all the criteria necessary for the creation of a city.17 This basic rule has no application because RA 9009. RA 9009 increased the income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from P20 million to P100 million. city. During the 12th Congress. the 12thCongress adjourned without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No. and non-recurring income. . No other law. respondent municipalities cannot invoke the principle of non-retroactivity of laws. abolished or its boundary substantially altered.The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. merged. as amended by RA 9009. exclusive of special funds. can govern such creation. Local Gov Cases set 2 . The 13th Congress passed in December 2006 the cityhood bills which became law only in 2007. through their respective sponsors in Congress. or barangay shall be created. not even the charter of the city. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. the House of Representatives adopted Joint Resolution No. including the conversion of a municipality into a city. The creation of local government units must follow the criteria established in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. 9009. (Emphasis supplied) Thus. Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides: No province. municipality. exempting from the income requirement of P100 million in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not acted upon during the 11th Congress. like the Cityhood Laws. Congress did not act on 24 cityhood bills during the 11th Congress. These cityhood bills lapsed into law on various dates from March to July 2007 after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to sign them. However. as amended by RA 9009. (Emphasis supplied) The Constitution is clear. Thirty-three cityhood bills became law before the enactment of RA 9009. 29. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. Any derogation or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates Section 10. The criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code govern exclusively the creation of a city. transfers. as follows: Exemption from Republic Act No. a total of 57 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in Congress.15 (b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. RA 9009 became effective on 30 June 2001 or during the 11th Congress. individual cityhood bills containing a common provision. Congress passed the Cityhood Laws long after the effectivity of RA 9009. 16 of the 24 municipalities mentioned in the unapproved Joint Resolution No. Congress Must Prescribe in the Local Government Code All Criteria Section 10. Prior to the enactment of RA 9009. an earlier law to the Cityhood Laws.

prescribed by law. Article X of the Constitution provides: Local government units shall have a just share. Such exemption clearly violates Section 10. Hence. This took effect on 30 June 2001. as shown by the various deliberations on the matter during the 11th Congress. within the law's four corners. Article X of the Constitution Uniform and non-discriminatory criteria as prescribed in the Local Government Code are essential to implement a fair and equitable distribution of national taxes to all local government units. all enacted after the effectivity of RA 9009.20 Congress. 19 If the language of the law is plain. as amended by RA 9009. then courts may resort to extrinsic aids of statutory construction like the legislative history of the law. clear and unambiguous. Congress cannot prescribe such criteria or exemption from Local Gov Cases set 2 . as amended by RA 9009. courts simply apply the law according to its express terms. Article X of the Constitution. impossibility or injustice. The criteria of land area. even though their cityhood bills were pending in Congress when Congress passed RA 9009. plain and unambiguous that any municipality desiring to convert into a city must meet the increased income requirement. all other criteria being equal. as amended by RA 9009. must be strictly followed because such criteria. Cityhood Laws Violate Section 6. such exemption must be written in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. Plain and Unambiguous There can be no resort to extrinsic aids – like deliberations of Congress – if the language of the law is plain. in enacting RA 9009 to amend Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Congress could have easily included such exemption in RA 9009 but Congress did not. must all be written in the Local Government Code. Since the Cityhood Laws do not follow the income criterion in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. as determined by law. Congress did not write this intended exemption into law. including the Cityhood Laws. there is no reason to go beyond the letter of the law in applying Section 450 of the Local Government Code. (Emphasis supplied) If the criteria in creating local government units are not uniform and discriminatory. This is fatal to the cause of respondent municipalities because such exemption must appear in RA 9009 as an amendment to Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. To be valid. are material in determining the "just share" of local government units in national taxes. The 11th Congress' Intent was not Written into the Local Government Code True. there can be no fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. population and income. If a literal application of the law results in absurdity.16 RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code to increase the income requirement fromP20 million to P100 million for the creation of a city. as amended by RA 9009. Since the law is clear. does not contain any exemption from this income requirement. The Cityhood Laws. clear and unambiguous. In enacting RA 9009. However. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. not even to respondent municipalities whose cityhood bills were then pending when Congress passed RA 9009. A city with an annual income of only P20 million. from that moment the Local Government Code required that any municipality desiring to become a city must satisfy the P100 million income requirement. Courts determine the intent of the law from the literal language of the law. did not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement. they prevent the fair and just distribution of the Internal Revenue Allotment in violation of Section 6. Section 450 of the Local Government Code is Clear. Article X of the Constitution and is thus patently unconstitutional. including any exemption from such criteria. Section 6. explicitly exempt respondent municipalities from the increased income requirement in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. members of Congress discussed exempting respondent municipalities from RA 9009. in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them. contains no exemption whatsoever. Congress did not grant any exemption to respondent municipalities. should not receive the same share in national taxes as a city with an annual income of P100 million or more. The Constitution requires that the criteria for the conversion of a municipality into a city. as prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code.

Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or established by special charters in the interest of the common good and subject to the test of economic viability. Congress cannot create a city through a law that does not comply with the criteria or exemption found in the Local Government Code. have no legal significance. These hearings and deliberations cannot be used to interpret bills enacted into law in the 13th or subsequent Congresses. Calendar of Business. Section 123. Section 10 of Article X is similar to Section 16. The Unfinished Business at the end of a session shall be resumed at the commencement of the next session as if no adjournment has taken place. but may be taken by the succeeding Congress as if presented for the first time. on Unfinished Business. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Congress must prescribe all the criteria for the "formation.22 The unapproved cityhood bills filed during the 11th Congress became mere scraps of paper upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. or regulation" of private corporations in a general law applicable to all without discrimination. Rule XLIV of the Rules of the Senate. In short. Article XII of the Constitution prohibiting Congress from creating private corporations except by a general law. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Its consideration shall be resumed until it is disposed of. could be assailed on the ground of absence of a valid classification. from the filing to the approval. x x x All pending matters and proceedings shall terminate upon the expiration of one (1) Congress . organization. They do not qualify as extrinsic aids in construing laws passed by subsequent Congresses. Applicability of Equal Protection Clause If Section 450 of the Local Government Code. The members and officers of each Congress are different. 123.17 such criteria in any other law. When their respective authors re-filed the cityhood bills in 2006 during the 13th Congress. (Emphasis supplied) Thus. Unfinished Business. the criteria for such exemption could be scrutinized for possible violation of the equal protection clause. This is business being considered by the House at the time of its last adjournment. except by general law. Article X of the Constitution. organization. on Unfinished Business. The exemption is contained in the Cityhood Laws. Section 78 of the Rules of the House of Representatives. the bills had to start from square one again. or regulation of private corporations. the deliberations during the 11th Congress on the unapproved cityhood bills. if found in the Local Government Code. which are unconstitutional because such exemption must be prescribed in the Local Government Code as mandated in Section 10. as well as the deliberations during the 12th and 13th Congresses on the unapproved resolution exempting from RA 9009 certain municipalities. All the hearings and deliberations conducted during the 11th Congress on unapproved bills also became worthless upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. At the end of the term of a Congress. (Emphasis supplied) Thus. as amended by RA 9009. contained an exemption to theP100 million annual income requirement. However. as amended by RA 9009. All unapproved bills filed in one Congress become functus officio upon adjournment of that Congress and must be re-filed anew in order to be taken up in the next Congress. Deliberations of the 11th Congress on Unapproved Bills Inapplicable Congress is not a continuing body. Thus. provide for the formation. going through the legislative mill just like bills taken up for the first time. the criteria for the exemption. all Unfinished Business are deemed terminated.21 Congress cannot create a private corporation through a special law or charter. (Emphasis supplied) Similarly. states: Section 78. The Calendar of Business shall consist of the following: a. does not contain any exemption. provides: Sec. Section 16 of Article XII provides: The Congress shall not.

The pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress does not affect or determine the level of income of a municipality.24 There is no substantial distinction between municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11thCongress and municipalities that did not have pending bills. The classification must rest on substantial distinctions. even if they have bigger annual income than the 16 respondent municipalities. in the milk business. Examples are statutes licensing physicians and dentists. the U.25 where the challenged law allowed milk dealers engaged in business prior to a fixed date to sell at a price lower than that allowed to newcomers in the same business. or zoning laws which exempt existing buildings. "Exemption from Republic Act No. The exemption provision merely states. the classification in the present case must be based on substantial distinctions. The classification must apply equally to all members of the same class. In the absence of any such showing. The appellees do not intimate that the classification bears any relation to the public health or welfare generally. which apply only to those entering the profession subsequent to the passage of the act and exempt those then in practice. as amended by RA 9009. The mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress is not a material difference to distinguish one municipality from another for the purpose of the income requirement. on its face. or for the protection of.23 not limited to existing conditions only. or laws forbidding slaughterhouses within certain areas. To be valid. it is not a regulation of a business or an activity in the interest of. many municipalities would have caused the filing of their own cityhood bills. Ten Eyck. since. Even if we take into account the deliberations in the 11th Congress that municipalities with pending cityhood bills should be exempt from the P100 million income requirement. That specific condition will never happen again. and applicable to all similarly situated. such exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. In short. and 4. Supreme Court held: We are referred to a host of decisions to the effect that a regulatory law may be prospective in operation and may except from its sweep those presently engaged in the calling or activity to which it is directed. 3. rationally related to a legitimate government objective which is the purpose of the law. This requirement is illustrated in Mayflower Farms. In Mayflower. Had they been informed. The challenged provision is unlike such laws. this Court has ruled: The equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution permits a valid classification under the following conditions: 1. This violates the requirement that a valid classification must not be limited to existing conditions only.18 Even if the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. but an attempt to give an economic advantage to those engaged in a given business at an arbitrary date as against all those who enter the industry after that date. the public.S. the classification criterion − mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress − is not rationally related to the purpose of the law which is to prevent fiscally non-viable municipalities from converting into cities. cannot now convert into cities if their income is less than P100 million. there is still no valid classification to satisfy the equal protection clause. Inc. 2. v. This is not a valid classification between those entitled and those not entitled to exemption from the P100 million income requirement. Thus. 9009. These municipalities. Municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills were not informed that a pending cityhood bill in the 11th Congress would be a condition for exemption from the increased P100 million income requirement. The classification must be germane to the purpose of the law. we have no right to Local Gov Cases set 2 . The fact of pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress limits the exemption to a specific condition existing at the time of passage of RA 9009." This one sentence exemption provision contains no classification standards or guidelines differentiating the exempted municipalities from those that are not exempted. 9009 ─ The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. cognizable by law. The exemption will be based solely on the fact that the 16 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in the 11 th Congress when RA 9009 was enacted. Municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11thCongress might even have lower annual income than municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills. that the provision will discourage monopoly. but excepting existing establishments. The classification must not be limited to existing conditions only. or that it was aimed at any abuse.

Municipalities with the same income as the 16 respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities. (Emphasis supplied) In the same vein. would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. Clearly. 9404. namely: Republic Act Nos. 9394. even if it were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. 9434. 9408.19 conjure up possible situations which might justify the discrimination. 9389. Local Gov Cases set 2 . 9405. while the 16 respondent municipalities can. The classification is arbitrary and unreasonable and denies the appellant the equal protection of the law. 9398. 9392. 9409. 9435. limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities violates the requirement that the classification must apply to all similarly situated. as worded the exemption provision found in the Cityhood Laws. the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws gives the 16 municipalities a unique advantage based on an arbitrary date − the filing of their cityhood bills before the end of the 11thCongress . 9390. SO ORDERED. 9407. 9393. 9436. 9391.as against all other municipalities that want to convert into cities after the effectivity of RA 9009. Furthermore. and 9491. we GRANT the petitions and declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Cityhood Laws. WHEREFORE.

A.7 Undaunted. on both counts.502 negative votes. VICTOR F. failing to comply with Section 10.: For consideration of the Court is the Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment dated October 20. Bernal and Rene O. Navarro. petitioners. 2011 RODOLFO G. the President appointed the interim set of provincial officials who took their oath of office on January 26. the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) conducted the mandatory plebiscite for the ratification of the creation of the province under the Local Government Code (LGC).943 affirmative votes and 63. and (b) resolve their motion for reconsideration of the July 20. 2006. and would unjustly deprive the people of Surigao del Norte of a large chunk of the provincial territory. NAVARRO. during the May 14. 5 On November 10. Petitioners. 175158) challenging the constitutionality of R.A. Intervenors. we present hereunder a brief background of the relevant antecedents — On October 2. J. represented by the SENATE PRESIDENT. the President of the Republic approved into law Republic Act (R. RESOLUTION NACHURA.20 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City EN BANC G. BERNAL. merged. would perpetuate an illegal act of Congress. They pointed out that when the law was passed. Dinagat had a land area of 802. BAGUNDOL. 2010 filed by MovantIntervenors1 dated and filed on October 29. Chapter I Local Gov Cases set 2 . or barangay may be created. 9355. 2010. Title IV. representing the President of the Philippines. 2010 Resolution. To provide a clear perspective of the instant motion. 9355 (An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands). ARTURO CARLOS A. MAMERTO D. BARBERS. municipality. HON. SOL T.) No. city.6 The Court dismissed the petition on technical grounds.4 With the approval of the people from both the mother province of Surigao del Norte and the Province of Dinagat Islands (Dinagat). viz. Later.A. Victor F. GOVERNOR ROBERT ACE S. divided. HON. MEDINA. praying that the Court (a) recall the entry of judgment. MATUGAS. if uncorrected. MARGARITO M. 180050 April 12. No province. No. representing the new Province of Dinagat Islands. Senate of the Philippines. 2006. Respondents. GALANIDA. 9355 for being unconstitutional. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA. and rich resources from the area. JR. 2007 synchronized elections. 2006. SIMEON VICENTE G. — Constitution. the Dinagatnons elected their new set of provincial officials who assumed office on July 1. HON. HON. EGAY. MATUGAS. CASTRENCE.R.12 square kilometers only and a population of only 106. Their motion for reconsideration was also denied.R. abolished. Article X – Local Government Section 10. Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA). House of Representatives. vs. and RENE O.. LGC. No. Medina. as taxpayers and residents of the Province of Surigao del Norte. No. HON. LONGOS. GOVERNOR GERALDINE ECLEO VILLAROMAN. petitioners Rodolfo G. representing the mother province of Surigao del Norte. represented by the HOUSE SPEAKER. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. CESAR M. CONGRESSMAN FRANCISCO T. or its boundary substantially altered. filed before this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition (G. filed another petition for certiorari8 seeking to nullify R.2 On December 3. Article X of the Constitution and of Section 461 of the LGC. 2007. former political leaders of Surigao del Norte. and HON.3 The plebiscite yielded 69.951. No. 2007. They alleged that the creation of Dinagat as a new province.

) On February 10. "[t]he land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands" for being beyond the ambit of Article 461 of the LGC. trust funds. exclusive of special funds. 9355. WHEREAS. the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. population. one (1) for congressional seat.. No. 11 The Republic. 8670 dated 16 September 2009. respondents intend to file Motion[s] for Reconsideration on the above decision of the Supreme Court. as certified by the Department of Finance. inasmuch as such exemption is not expressly provided in the law.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided. 2010 National and Local Elections. or (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites: (i) a continuous territory of at least two thousand (2. declaring Republic Act No. (Emphasis supplied. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. vs. 461 of the Local Government Code in relation to Sec.15 Meanwhile. for purposes of the May 10. as a province. 9355 unconstitutional for failure to comply with the criteria for the creation of a province prescribed in Sec. 2010 Resolution. 8790. In December 2006 pursuant to Republic Act No. represented by the Office of the Solicitor General. Local Gov Cases set 2 . 180050 entitled "Rodolfo Navarro. 2010.10 The Decision declared R. the Court rendered its Decision9 granting the petition. as representative of the President of the Philippines.000) square kilometers. 8790 WHEREAS. and non-recurring income. the movants-intervenors filed on June 18. These motions were eventually "noted without action" by this Court in its June 29. were previously components of the First Legislative District of the Province of Surigao del Norte. (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. one (1) seat for Vice Governor. it declared the proclamation of Dinagat and the election of its officials as null and void. Dinagat Islands. transfers. and ten (10) Sangguniang Panlalawigan seats pursuant to Resolution No. The Decision likewise declared as null and void the provision on Article 9(2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the LGC (LGC-IRR). accompanied by their second motions for reconsideration. Art. 2010.21 Section 461. of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20. Dinagat Islands was. and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. 10. That. Requisites for Creation.13 the Court denied the said motions. They alleged that the COMELEC issued Resolution No. allocated one (1) seat for Governor. of the 1987 Constitution. as certified by the Lands Management Bureau.14 Unperturbed. et al. WHEREAS. et al. relevant to this case.000. No.A. and Dinagat filed their respective motions for reconsideration of the Decision. WHEREAS. the Supreme Court in G. – (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income. 2010 a Motion for Leave to Intervene and to File and to Admit Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated May 12. stating that. consisting of seven (7) municipalities." rendered a Decision. which provides— RESOLUTION NO. X. 9355 unconstitutional for failure to comply with the requirements on population and land area in the creation of a province under the LGC.R. In its Resolution12 dated May 12. Consequently. 2010. the Province of Dinagat Island[s] was created and its creation was ratified on 02 December 2006 in the Plebiscite for this purpose.000. dated 10 February 2010. the Republic and Dinagat both filed their respective motions for leave of court to admit their second motions for reconsideration.

[8] all the names of the candidates for Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members. they have a clear and strong interest in the outcome of this case inasmuch as the reversion of Dinagat as part of Local Gov Cases set 2 . the ballots for the Province of Dinagat Islands will. If the Decision becomes final and executory before the election. Likewise. and House of Representatives member and Sangguniang Panlalawigan member for the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. Member. First Legislative District. because the election will result in [a] failure to elect. the voters of the whole Province of Surigao del Norte. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. A special election for Governor. Surigao del Norte (with Dinagat Islands) will have to be conducted. Vice Governor. bear only the names of the candidates for the said position[s]. have already been configured into the system and can no longer be revised within the remaining period before the elections on May 10. vice governor. If the Decision becomes final and executory after the election. (2) names of the candidates for the aforementioned position. If the Decision is reversed. the Province of Dinagat Islands will revert to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. the Commission will postpone the elections for Governor. House of Representatives. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. for the position of Governor and Vice Governor. Dinagat Islands. c. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. (7) positions for the ten (10) Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members and. they have a legal interest in the instant case and would be directly affected by the declaration of nullity of R. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Vice Governor and Members. (3) position for Governor. in actuality. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. there are no candidates for Governor. Simply put. and candidates for Governor and Vice Governor for Surigao del Norte. Surigao del Norte. the voters of the Province of Dinagat Islands will not be able to vote for the candidates of Members. First Legislative District. the ballots for the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. as residents of Surigao del Norte and as public servants representing the interests of their constituents. House of Representatives. 2010. Conversely. Surigao del Norte.22 WHEREAS. xxxx SO ORDERED. will. because they are the duly elected officials of Surigao del Norte whose positions will be affected by the nullification of the election results in the event that the May 12. Members. First District. movantsintervenors’ election to their respective offices would necessarily be annulled since Dinagat Islands will revert to its prev ious status as part of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte and a special election will have to be conducted for governor. No. Consequently. Vice Governor. the Province of Dinagat Islands will revert to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District. House of Representatives representing the lone congressional district of Dinagat Islands. House of Representatives.A. meaning that the Province of Dinagat Islands and the Province of Surigao del Norte remain as two (2) separate provinces. Also. to declare that: a. But because of the current system configuration. 9355. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. since. First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. House of Representatives. (4) names of the candidates for the said position. Dinagat Islands. and Members. Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Member. the Commission RESOLVED. will not be able to vote for the Governor and Vice Governor. as it hereby RESOLVES. First Legislative District. Moreover. b. Surigao del Norte. Vice Governor. The result of the election will have to be nullified for the same reasons given in Item "b" above. First Legislative District (with Dinagat Islands) of Surigao del Norte. with the current system configuration. Vice Governor. voters of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. there will be no problem since the current system configuration is in line with the reconsidered Decision. NOW. for the positions of Member. Member. and Member. (6) the names of the candidates for the said position. show only candidates for the said position. and Members. THEREFORE. House of Representatives. House of Representatives. Meanwhile. Ermita is reconsidered or not. Governor. and depending on whether the Decision of the Supreme Court in Navarro vs. (5) position of the Vice Governor. the whole Province of Surigao del Norte. will. will not be able to vote for Members. bear only the names of the candidates for the said positions. First District of Surigao del Norte and Members. for the position of Governor. and Member. Dinagat Islands. House [of] Representatives. They further alleged that. Given this situation. Member. First Legislative District. the electoral data relative to the: (1) position for Member. Surigao del Norte. 2010 Resolution is not reversed.

They averred that prior to the May 10. On October 5. prior to the May 10. Even for the sake of argument that they had notice of the pendency of the case. Hence. there is no reason to treat Dinagat’s Urgent Omnibus Motion differently.16 the Court denied the Motion for Leave to Intervene and to File and to Admit Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated May 12. A special election for Governor. and Mamerto D. stating that the decision in this case had become final and executory on May 18. No. Vice Governor of Surigao del Norte and Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member of the First District of Surigao del Norte. includes the exemption from the application of the minimum land area requirement. 2010 Resolution which remained unresolved. On September 7. 2010 Resolution and the aforesaid motions for reconsideration were already noted without action by the Court. the Province of Dinagat Islands will revert to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. First Local Gov Cases set 2 . and that the appropriate time to file the said motion was before and not after the resolution of this case. Sol T. 2010 Resolution did not rule on the merits of the motion for reconsideration of the May 12. In the Resolution dated July 20. but only on the timeliness of the intended intervention. Mr. movants-intervenors raised three (3) main arguments to challenge the above Resolution. Vice Governor. The denial of their motion for leave to intervene and to admit motion for reconsideration of the May 12. In their motion for reconsideration of the May 12. they were unaware of the proceedings in this case. their motion for intervention and their motion for reconsideration of the May 12. namely: (1) that the passage of R. 2010 Resolution would attain finality. there appears nothing in the records to support the claim that this was a ploy of respondents’ legal tactician to reopen the case despite an entry of judgment. If the Decision becomes final and executory after the election. 2010 Resolution. Galanida was the Municipal Mayor of Socorro. 8790. their legal interest in this case was not yet existent. Egay. Their motion for reconsideration of this denial elaborated on movants-intervenors’ interest in this case which existed only after judgment had been rendered. was a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Second District of Surigao del Norte. Arturo Carlos A. 2010 Resolution merely stand as an initial reconsideration of the said resolution. 9355 operates as an act of Congress amending Section 461 of the LGC. the pertinent portion of the Resolution reads: c. 8790 that set this controversy into motion anew. (3) contracts will have to be invalidated. They alleged that. Rule 19 of the Rules of Court that it should be filed at any time before the rendition of judgment. As such. 2010 elections. they claim that their rights cannot be adequately pursued and protected in any other proceeding since their rights would be foreclosed if the May 12. Inasmuch as the motions for leave to admit their respective motions for reconsideration of the May 12. Justice Brion. Matugas was a simple resident of Surigao del Norte. and (3) that the Operative Fact Doctrine is applicable in the instant case. that they became possessed with legal interest in this controversy. citing several rulings17 of the Court. Jr.23 the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte will affect the latter province such that: (1) the whole administrative set-up of the province will have to be restructured. At the outset. the above motion. Member. To reiterate. To be sure.A. movants-intervenors filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the July 20. Rule 15 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court. it was only after they were elected as Governor of Surigao del Norte. it must be clarified that this Resolution delves solely on the instant Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment of movants-intervenors. it is actually COMELEC Reso lution No. Surigao del Norte. 2010. 2010. and neither on Dinagat’s Urgent Omnibus Motion. Justice Arturo D. 2010. With due deference to Mr. not on the second motions for reconsideration of the original parties. and (4) projects and other developments will have to be discontinued. which our esteemed colleague. when the intended province consists of two or more islands. (2) the services of many employees will have to be terminated. they pointed out that prior to the said elections. Brion considers as Dinagat’s third motion for reconsideration. (2) that the exemption from territorial contiguity. the Court issued an order for Entry of Judgment. House of Representatives. The result of the election will have to be nullified for the same reasons given in Item "b" above. the Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment of movants-intervenors could not be considered as a second motion for reconsideration to warrant the application of Section 3. 2010 elections. In relation to this. 2010 Resolution. respectively. pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. allowing intervention as an exception to Section 2. and that. In addition. 2010. 2010 on the ground that the allowance or disallowance of a motion to intervene is addressed to the sound discretion of the Court.18 It should be noted that this motion prays for the recall of the entry of judgment and for the resolution of their motion for reconsideration of the July 20. 2010 Resolution.

and weight of the issues involved.22 Local Gov Cases set 2 . would have the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of their cause. Along parallel lines. (Emphasis supplied. COMELEC Resolution No. is an essential part of our judicial system. the bar. 2010 is denied with finality. it is imperative that the movants-intervenors be heard on the merits of their cause. gravity." Because constitutional cases are often public actions in which the relief sought is likely to affect other persons. 8790 provides that should the decision in this case attain finality prior to the May 10. including those who would be directly affected.21 where technicalities of procedure on locus standi were brushed aside.) Indeed. and the public. Indeed. This Court had taken a liberal attitude in the case of David v.20 The second exception attends this case. it is obvious that their interest in this case then was more imaginary than real. While it may be argued that their interest in this case should have commenced upon the issuance of COMELEC Resolution No. Given their unique circumstances. First District. (2) there is an exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved. The consequences of such a decision would definitely work to their disadvantage.24 Legislative District of Surigao del Norte. Courts will decide cases. if the intervention be not entertained. movants-intervenors should not be left without any remedy before this Court simply because their interest in this case became manifest only after the case had already been decided. there is an imperative to grant the Urgent Motion to Recal l Entry of Judgment by movants-intervenors. the election of the local government officials stated therein would only have to be postponed. Surigao del Norte (with Dinagat Islands) will have to be conducted. 2010 is denied and their Motion for Leave to Intervene and to File and to Admit Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated May 12. This is because COMELEC Resolution No. a right that cries out for protection. Such decision would also violate their right to due process. one must allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. to the Court’s mind. Thus. though merely a statutory right that must comply with the requirements of the rules. which. 2010 Resolution be not reconsidered. such that courts should proceed with caution not to deprive a party of the right to question the judgment and its effects. The "moot and academic" principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts from resolving a case. if: (1) there is a grave violation of the Constitution. they have sufficiently shown that they have a personal and substantial interest in the case. such that if the May 12. 8790 spawned the peculiar circumstance of proper party interest for movants-intervenors only with the specter of the decision in the main case becoming final and executory. 2007. without even them being parties to the dispute. the movants-intervenors would be left with no other remedy as regards to the impending nullification of their election to their respective positions. For a party to have locus standi. movants-intervenors had nothing at stake in the outcome of this case. otherwise moot and academic. because the constitutional issues raised were of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance deserving the attention of the Court. More importantly. and ensure that every party-litigant. the motion for intervention should be given due course since movants-intervenors have shown their substantial legal interest in the outcome of this case. 2010 elections. 2010 Resolution of movantsintervenors is akin to the right to appeal the judgment of a case. Sangguniang Panlalawigan. the motion for intervention and the motion for reconsideration of the May 12. Undeniably. even much more than petitioners themselves. their election to their respective positions during the May 10. (3) the constitutional issue raised requires formation of controlling principles to guide the bench. a preliminary question frequently arises as to this interest in the constitutional question raised. nay. 2010 polls and its concomitant effects would all be nullified and be put to naught. and because of the novelty. rather than dismissed on account of mootness. but also of justice and equity. Given such a scenario. freed from the constraints of technicalities. We are not only a court of law. At that time. to their utmost prejudice. Macapagal-Arroyo. It should be remembered that this case was initiated upon the filing of the petition for certiorari way back on October 30. such that our position and the dire repercussions of this controversy should be weighed on the scales of justice. 8790. Thus. movants-intervenors would not have suffered any injury or adverse effect with respect to the reversion of Dinagat as part of Surigao del Norte since they would simply have remained candidates for the respective positions they have vied for and to which they have been elected. and Members. 19 It cannot be denied that movants-intervenors will suffer direct injury in the event their Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment dated October 29. and (4) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.

the provincial officials should be able to trigger off economic development which will attract immigration. the compelling concern is not only to afford the movants-intervenors the right to be heard since they would be adversely affected by the judgment in this case despite not being original parties thereto. xxxx CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL. the new province? xxxx HON. "Sorry. Now. ah. the thrust of the Constitution with respect to local autonomy and of the LGC with respect to decentralization and the attainment of national goals. In this manner. But if we are going to tie the hands of the proponents. ALFELOR. LAGUDA. i. LAGUDA." you will never be able to become a province because nobody wants to go to your place. you are now at 150 thousand or 200 thousand. It must be borne in mind that the central policy considerations in the creation of local government units are economic viability. HON. Walang problema ‘yon. A province is constituted for the purpose of administrative efficiency and delivery of basic services. are all designed to accomplish these results. after taking a long and intent look.e. it will never be able to reach the point where it could become a province simply because it will never have the economic take off for it to trigger off that economic development.25 Verily. is economic viability. Ne. double than the House version. Land area and population are functions really of the viability of the area. However. income. efficient administration. simply by telling them.23 The power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had already declared final. the primordial consideration here is the economic viability of the new local government unit. This is the clear intent of the framers of the LGC. Local Gov Cases set 2 .5. Ne. Without doubt.500 square kilometers HON. population and land area. Over and above that. The reason why we are willing to increase the income. if you disallow the particular area from being converted into a province because of the population problems in the beginning. particularly of a province. will effectively be realized. Congress. as hereafter elucidated. ‘yong land area because… CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL. Okay. ya. 3. but also to arrive at the correct interpretation of the provisions of the LGC with respect to the creation of local government units. the Court finds that the first and second arguments raised by movants-intervenors deserve affirmative consideration. our. In other words. placing emphasis on which of them should enjoy preferential consideration. Why? Because you never have any reason for economic viability. Okay. We can even have this doubled because we thought… CHAIRMAN CUENCO. in its collective wisdom. 1. the Senate version is 3. In this light. the following excerpts from congressional debates are quoted hereunder— HON. the primordial criterion in the creation of local government units.500 square meters. The criteria prescribed by the LGC. has debated on the relative weight of each of these three criteria. which will attract new investments from the private sector. Income is mandatory. and capability to deliver basic services to their constituents. ANGARA. on several occasions. the Court had. square kilometers. because we also believe that economic viability is really a minimum. population will naturally increase because there will be an immigration. LUMAUIG. In this connection.. On the merits of the motion for intervention. in fact that’s not very critical.24 In this case. This is now the concern of the local officials. we’re saying that maybe Fourteen Million Pesos is a floor area where it could pay for overhead and provide a minimum of basic services to the population. sanctioned the recall entries of judgment in light of attendant extraordinary circumstances. because you have an income level which would be the trigger point for economic development. what about land area? HON.

Okay. CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL. LAGUDA. based on the criteria prescribed in this Section. by compressing the land area and by reducing the population requirement. LAGUDA. Alfelor. precisely because they don’t have the time nor the energy anymore to do that because it’s so wide. which is to deliver basic services and to make it more efficient in administration. Right. Barangays. "this is the trigger point at which this administration can take place. then we say. subject to the limitations and requirements prescribed in this Article. we are. if we go on a minimum income level. Requisites for Creation." as pointed out by Cong. That’s the assumption. what we’re seeing now is that the administrative efficiency is no longer there precisely because the land areas that we are giving to our governors is so wide that no one man can possibly administer all of the complex machineries that are needed. LAGUDA. Now. But it was later on subdivided into provinces for purposes of administrative efficiency. – (a) Creation of barangays by the sangguniang panlalawigan shall require prior recommendation of the sangguniang bayan. As we said. when you come down to it. HON. the barangay consolidation plan can be prepared and approved by the sangguniang bayan concerned. and a province as provided both in the LGC and the LGC-IRR.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office except in cities and municipalities within Metro Manila and other metropolitan political subdivisions or in highly urbanized cities where such territory shall have a certified population of at least five thousand (5. 386. notwithstanding the above requirement. Local Gov Cases set 2 . (c) The governor or city mayor may prepare a consolidation plan for barangays. That the creation thereof shall not reduce the population of the original barangay or barangays to less than the minimum requirement prescribed herein. In the case of municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila area and other metropolitan political subdivisions. Secondly. HON. To enhance the delivery of basic services in the indigenous cultural communities. Now. a city.26 CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL. trying to follow the basic policy of why we are creating provinces. Actually. (b) The territorial jurisdiction of the new barangay shall be properly identified by metes and bounds or by more or less permanent natural boundaries. (b) New barangays in the municipalities within MMA shall be created only by Act of Congress.000) inhabitants: Provided. a barangay may be created in the indigenous cultural communities by Act of Congress upon recommendation of the LGU or LGUs where the cultural community is located. (c) Notwithstanding the population requirement.— For a Barangay: LGC: SEC. when you say "delivery of basic services. CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL. when government was instituted. viz. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. but on the assumption that the province is able to do it without being a burden to the national government. HON. That’s why we’re going into the minimum income level. The plan shall be submitted to the sangguniang panlalawigan or sangguniang panlungsod concerned for appropriate action. that’s correct. there are sections of the province which have never been visited by public officials. LGC-IRR: ARTICLE 14. there is only one central government and then everybody falls under that."25 Also worthy of note are the requisites in the creation of a barangay. – (a) A barangay may be created out of a contiguous territory which has a population of at least two thousand (2. within his territorial jurisdiction. barangays may be created in such communities by an Act of Congress. in effect. Yeah. a municipality.

000) inhabitants. (b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created municipality shall be properly identified by metes and bounds.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on the 1991 constant prices.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office. transfers. The creation of a barangay shall not reduce the population of the original barangay or barangays to less than the prescribed minimum/ (2) Land Area – which must be contiguous. or in highlyurbanized cities where such territory shall have a population of at least five thousand (5.500.500. All expenses incidental to the creation shall be borne by the petitioners. a population of at least twenty-five thousand (25. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands.00).000. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund of the municipality concerned. Existing municipal districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective set of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of this Code shall henceforth be considered regular municipalities. as certified by LMB. for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.000. That the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the municipality proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands. Municipalities. as certified by the provincial treasurer. – (a) Requisites for Creation – A municipality shall not be created unless the following requisites are present: (i) Income – An average annual income of not less than Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P2. City: Local Gov Cases set 2 . special accounts. as certified by the NSO. (d) Municipalities existing as of the date of effectivity of this Code shall continue to exist and operate as such. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. unless comprised by two (2) or more islands. population or income of the original municipality or municipalities at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. as certified by NSO. or at least Two million five hundred thousand pesos (P2. (ii) Population – which shall not be less than twenty five thousand (25.000) inhabitants. The creation of a new municipality shall not reduce the land area. and nonrecurring income. – (a) A municipality may be created if it has an average annual income. The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. and income of the original LGU or LGUs at the time of said creation to less than the prescribed minimum requirements. and a contiguous territory of at least fifty (50) square kilometers as certified by the Lands Management Bureau: Provided. Municipality: LGC: SEC. exclusive of special funds. transfers and non-recurring income. and (iii) Land area – which must be contiguous with an area of at least fifty (50) square kilometers. LGC-IRR: ARTICLE 13. exclusive of special funds.27 (d) A barangay shall not be created unless the following requisites are present: (1) Population – which shall not be less than two thousand (2. The territorial jurisdiction of a municipality sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. Requisites for Creation. The territorial jurisdiction of a barangay sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds or by more or less permanent natural boundaries. as certified by the provincial treasurer. population. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the proposed municipality is composed of one (1) or more islands. 442. except in municipalities and cities within MMA and other metropolitan political subdivisions as may be created by law.000) inhabitants.

The territorial jurisdiction of a city sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. special accounts. Provinces: LGC: SEC. Requisites for Creation. That. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed city is composed of one (1) or more islands. and income of the original LGU or LGUs at the time of said creation to less than the prescribed minimum requirements.000. for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.00) based on 1991 prices and either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. as certified by the Department of Finance. of at least Twenty million pesos (P20. – (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income.00). or land area which must be contiguous with an area of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers.000) inhabitants. as certified by the NSO. and non-recurring income. as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. The creation of a new city shall not reduce the land area. – (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income. population. as certified by LMB. and if it has either of the following requisities: (i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided. population.000.000) inhabitants. of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20.000. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. as certified by DOF. Local Gov Cases set 2 . as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided. and nonrecurring income. All expenses incidental to the creation shall be borne by the petitioners. (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250. or. 461. the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. exclusive of special funds. Cities.000. as certified by the Department of Finance. LGC-IRR: ARTICLE 11. Requisites for Creation. – (a) Requisites for creation – A city shall not be created unless the following requisites on income and either population or land area are present: (1) Income – An average annual income of not less than Twenty Million Pesos (P20. and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. and (2) Population or land area – Population which shall not be less than one hundred fifty thousand (150. That the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. population. 450. transfers. (ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150.000.28 LGC: SEC. (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. transfers. (b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.000. or. exclusive of special funds. The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund.000) square kilometers.

2. transfers. therefore. as certified by NSO. Declaration of Policy. when the exemption was expressly provided in Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands. It is.000. i. the three (3) indicators of viability and projected capacity to provide services.00) for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. population. The territorial jurisdiction of a province sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. land area is not a requisite indicator of viability. component cities. (Emphasis supplied.000) inhabitants.e. are provided for. be in order for the Court to uphold the validity of Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. with respect to the creation of barangays. The process of decentralization shall proceed from the national government to the local government units. and income of the original LGU or LGUs at the time of said creation to less than the prescribed minimum requirements. then. the inclusion was intended to correct the congressional oversight in Section 461 of the LGC – and to reflect the true legislative intent.000. In fact. and (2) Population or land area – Population which shall not be less than two hundred fifty thousand (250. with respect to the creation of municipalities. Thus. respectively. trust funds. – (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. However. But it must be pointed out that when the local government unit to be created consists of one (1) or more islands. Toward this end. – (a) Requisites for creation – A province shall not be created unless the following requisites on income and either population or land area are present: (1) Income – An average annual income of not less than Twenty Million pesos (P20. The creation of a new province shall not reduce the land area. provides— Sec. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. population. 270. but was inadvertently omitted in Section 461 (for provinces). of which paragraph (a) is pertinent to this case. special accounts. transfers. exclusive of special funds. Section 2 of the LGC. and land area.27 which read— Local Gov Cases set 2 . as certified by LMB. It would. and non-recurring income. LGC-IRR: ARTICLE 9.29 (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. considering the physical configuration of the Philippine archipelago. as certified by DOF. The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. This declaration of policy is echoed in Article 3(a) of the LGC-IRR26 and in the Whereas clauses of Administrative Order No.. or land area which must be contiguous with an area of at least two thousand (2. income. All expenses incidental to the creation shall be borne by the petitioners. logical to infer that the genuine legislative policy decision was expressed in Section 442 (for municipalities) and Section 450 (for component cities) of the LGC. the State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers. exclusive of special funds. responsibilities. This interpretation finds merit when we consider the basic policy considerations underpinning the principle of local autonomy. and nonrecurring income.) It bears scrupulous notice that from the above cited provisions. There appears neither rhyme nor reason why this exemption should apply to cities and municipalities. and provinces. but not to provinces. authority.000) square kilometers. although it is expressly stated under Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. there is a greater likelihood that islands or group of islands would form part of the land area of a newly-created province than in most cities or municipalities. Provinces. it is exempt from the land area requirement as expressly provided in Section 442 and Section 450 of the LGC if the local government unit to be created is a municipality or a component city. and resources. This exemption is absent in the enumeration of the requisites for the creation of a province under Section 461 of the LGC.

28 with respect to his… CHAIRMAN LINA. that he will incorporate this in the Local Government Code. and impractical. pursuant to Sections 450 and 442. as compared to one with a contiguous land mass. WHEREAS. Article II of the Constitution mandates that the State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments. such a very restrictive construction could trench on the equal protection clause. This was passed about two years ago and has been pending in the Senate for consideration. Okay. among others. and that is quite the concern of the respective Congressmen. and he says. Yet. And Sen. But then we did want to sponsor the bill. Moreover. of the LGC. and WHEREAS. we would like to apprise the distinguished Senator about the action taken by the House. CHIONGBIAN.30 WHEREAS. HON. This preferential option would prove more difficult and burdensome if the 2. pursuant to this declared policy. At the outset. So. Pimentel himself was just in South Cotabato and he delivered a speech that he will support this bill. WHEREAS. contiguity and minimum land area requirements for prospective local government units should be liberally construed in order to achieve the desired results. affirms. Section 533 of the Local Government Code of 1991 requires the President to convene an Oversight Committee for the purpose of formulating and issuing the appropriate rules and regulations necessary for the efficient and effective implementation of all the provisions of the said Code. which I have in writing from him. because of the vastness of the areas that were involved. the province would be made to comply with the minimum land area criterion of 2. Section 25. as it actually defeats the purpose of local autonomy and decentralization as enshrined in the Constitution. the Oversight Committee. awkward. rural progress. It becomes an impossibility for the whole Philippines to create a new province.000square-kilometer territory of a province is scattered because the islands are separated by bodies of water. Local Gov Cases set 2 . x x x Consistent with the declared policy to provide local government units genuine and meaningful local autonomy. 7160. Picture an intended province that consists of several municipalities and component cities which. and the delivery of basic services to the constituency. being the Chairman then of the Local Government. and naturally. that the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. who were more or less interested in the creation of the new provinces. This would mean that Congress has opted to assign a distinctive preference to create a province with contiguous land area over one composed of islands — and negate the greater imperative of development of self-reliant communities. otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.000 square kilometers. At any rate. Chairman Lina. even if it consists of several islands. Now. that this has been pending in the Senate for the last two years. this bill was passed by the House unanimously without any objection. This is a bill that I am not the only one involved. insofar as the constitutional provision is concerned. Can we give time to Congressman Chiongbian. including our distinguished Chairman here. And as I have said a while ago. The strict interpretation adopted by the February 10. there is nothing to stop the mother province from voting against the bill. The component cities and municipalities which consist of islands are exempt from the minimum land area requirement. Hence. also consist of islands. in themselves. has completed the formulation of the implementing rules and regulations. 2010 Decision could prove to be counter-productive. respectively. the land area requirement should be read together with territorial contiguity. if not outright absurd. Another look at the transcript of the deliberations of Congress should prove enlightening: CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. if a province is going to be created. we in the House got hold of the Senate version. I showed you the letter that he wrote. 7166. on House Bill No. I took the cudgels for the rest of the Congressmen. Republic Act No. after due deliberations and consultations with all the concerned sectors of society and consideration of the operative principles of local autonomy as provided in the Local Government Code of 1991.

not only in my province. the province cannot be created if they lose in the plebiscite. Mr. if I am in politics. I would like to read into the record the letter of Sen. And imagine those people have to travel that far and our road is not like Metropolitan Manila. we would like – because this is a unanimously approved bill in the House. and it will encourage even foreign investors. "What is holding the creation of a new province when practically you need it?" It’s not 20 or 30 kilometers from the capital town. not aware of their situation. but I can foresee what the creation of a new province will bring to these people. I think we should consider the situation seriously. let’s say. because. the development will be hampered. Now." That is the very context of the letter of the Senator. we don’t want the people who wants to create a new province. The capital town is in the North. Why is the province not willing to create another province. especially in the City of General Santos and the neighboring municipalities. Thank you and warm regards. 1989. So. Even Speaker Mitra says. but the rest of the House that are interested in this bill. Senator. As a matter of fact. if we do not approve it. On November 2. and I will not be the one to raise up and question the Conference Committee Report. Who am I to dictate on those people? I have no interest but then I am looking at the future development of these areas. of Sarangani Bay. it is the same distance. 155. they have enough resources and I feel that. So that is the problem there. Now. Local Gov Cases set 2 . I am after their welfare in the future. And besides. So. as approved by the lower House. and this will be a slap on the House. as if they are left in the devolution of powers. 7166 was incorporated in the proposed Local Government Code. not because I am interested in the province. Mr. which is pending for second reading. what will happen to Palawan? We won’t have one million people there. I do not need to be there. 1989. and they are quite interested and even the AID people are asking me. Very truly yours. because I am unaware. This was practically about a year after 7166 was approved by the House. So. Like the PAP now. Please be informed that your House No.31 So. So. So. I have seen the amendment with regards to the creation of the city to be urbanized. Senate Bill No. they are concentrating in South Cotabato. As a matter of fact. And from the West side. when it can be justified. And why should we not allow that to happen in the provinces! In other words. House Bill 7166. it is about one hundred kilometers. It will bring them prosperity. it’s incidental. and I don’t believe that it is not. because it’s the wish of the House. And I just want to manifest that insofar as the creation of the province. And if they have to travel from the last town in the eastern part of the province. the Senator wrote me: "Dear Congressman Chiongbian: We are in receipt of your letter of 17 October. we are talking about devolution of powers here. and I don’t see why. and that is provided for in the Constitution. Pimentel. dated November 2. it is about one hundred forty kilometers to the capital town. this is an approved version of the House. they can defeat the province. that’s all what I can say. subject to the plebiscite. while these other municipalities are in the East and in the West. on the basis o f the result. but the other provinces. This can be [an] irritant in the approval of the Conference Committee Report. But the province of South Cotabato has a very unique geographical territorial conglomerations. the Speaker reminded me to make sure that it takes the cudgel of the House approved version. you vote them down. Senator. and we are quite surprised that the Senate has adopted another position. One side is in the other side of the Bay. and if you look at Palawan. And they have been approaching the Speaker about this. it’s about 140 kilometers. but because the mother province will participate anyhow. That the mother province will participate in the plebiscite. it will bring them more income. And from the North side. we should put this stringent conditions to the private people of the devolution that they are seeking. there will be about three or four provinces that will comprise that island. I am not talking about other provinces. when they feel that they are far away from civilization. that’s the only bill that is involving the present Local Government Code that we are practically considering.

as far as I am concerned. That is the area of Congressman Andaya. fronting that is Ragay Gulf. I am in the twilight years of my life to serve and I would like to serve my people well. Title IV. very few governors ever tread [there] before. As I said. Title? CHAIRMAN LINA. a certain administrator or provincial governor definitely will have no sufficient time. by creating the new provinces. We will look into the legislative history of the Senate version on this matter of creation of provinces. we will look at it sympathetically from your end so that the objective that you want [to] achieve can be realized. I hope the distinguished Chairman of the Committee will appreciate the House Bill 7166. For me. Senator Pimentel could not hold on to the original version and as a result new criteria were introduced.32 That is as far as from here to Tarlac. Thank you very much. even today. That area now is infested with NPA. And on top of that. Now. So I hope the Senator will take that into account. our province is quite very big. maybe you’re acquainted with the Bondoc Peninsula of Quezon. But because of the manifestation that you just made. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. Of course. So we will look at it with sympathy. From Albay going to Ragay. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Title IV. It’s composed of four (4) congressional districts and I feel it should be five now. Kanino ‘yan? CHAIRMAN LINA. which the House has already approved because we don’t want them to throw the Conference Committee Report after we have worked that the house Bill has been. Batanes is only six. therefore. seven municipalities. CHAIRMAN LINA. you know. we will definitely. how we arrived at the Senate version and we will adopt an open mind definitely when we come into it. Congressman James. when since time immemorial. No personal or political interest here. I am sure there was an amendment. I have been pondering on the case of James. Like our case. we went over the graduate scale of the Philipppine Local Government Data as far as provinces are concerned. Book III. So.how many municipalities are there in Batanes province? CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. excuse me. we thought that in order to stimulate growth. We will review our position on the matter. That is. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. maybe provincial aid can be extended to these areas. four of us talked and conversed proposing to divide the province into two. Maybe the House version was incorporated in toto. in the other cases. I’ll look into it. But during the Batasan time. on the matter of provinces. Like in Cagayan. but maybe during the discussion. very few governors ever tread on those areas. you know. not because I am interested in my province. CHAIRMAN LINA. Batanes. they don’t have the population because that’s a part of the land of promise and people from Luzon are migrating everyday because they feel that there are more opportunities here. their amendments were introduced and. not only in my case. when we reach a book. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. we are considering a bill that has not yet been passed. especially on economic stimulation of a certain area. eight municipalities. Now. With a big or a large area of a province. There are areas then. They have the income. It is very surprising that there are provinces here which only composed of six municipalities. And there are municipalities there that are just one municipality is bigger than the province of La Union. where administrators can penetrate. drawn over board and not even considered by the Senate. Thank you for giving me this time to explain. I think we have to create certain provisions in the law where maybe we can treat it with special considerations. Tuguegarao. I believe that an area where there is physical or geographical impossibilities. if we really would like to stimulate growth. because I put myself on our province. there are six municipalities. From Ragay there is a long stretch of coastal area. Will you look at the case of --. Well. it will enhance the development of the Philippines. Ah.

To devolve powers in order for the community to have its own idea how they will stimulate growth in their respective areas. Wala dito. Seven. Siquijor? CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. tila yata mahihirapan tayo. eh. But tumaas in 1982. That is region? Camiguin has five municipalities. That is the budget in process. palagay ko we just leave it to legislation. we are going to consider this very seriously and even with sympathy because of the explanation given and we will study this very carefully. Camiguin. eh. hindi na yung composition eh. Ano tayo dito sa budget. CHAIRMAN LINA. All right. Six town. Six also. but Camiguin is composed only of five municipalities. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. Camiguin. Well. the IRA is given back to local governments. it’s composed of six. that is Region 9. not even one congressional district. Six also. stimulate the economic growth in the area or will substantial aid coming from the national government to a particular area. if the literal application of the law results in absurdity. such as the legislative history of the law. Camiguin. Kung maglalagay tayo ng set ng minimum. The land area for Camiguin is only 229 square kilometers.29 The matters raised during the said Bicameral Conference Committee meeting clearly show the manifest intention of Congress to promote development in the previously underdeveloped and uninhabited land areas by allowing them to directly share in the allocation of funds under the national budget. Usually. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. tinitingnan lang yun. CHAIRMAN LINA. Anim. achieve the same purpose? CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. impossibility. Will the creation of a province. So. Because what is really the thrust of the Local Government Code? Growth. You are entitled to. It is region? CHAIRMAN LINA. here is a province. Anyway. as you called it. can start. So if we hard fast on requirements of. we submit it to a plebiscite. mayroon sariling id[i]osyncracies eh. CHAIRMAN LINA. But we do not hold it against the province because maybe that’s one stimulant where growth can grow. then courts may resort to extrinsic aids of statutory construction. say. CHAIRMAN ALFELOR.L Seven. CHAIRMAN LINA. CHAIRMAN LINA. say. and local revenue. but the share of Siquijor is the same share with that of the province of Camarines Sur. or injustice. The population of Siquijor is only 70 thousand. as I said. to a municipality. the Constitution is very clear that in case we would like to divide. 30 Elementary is the principle that. we set a minimum for every province. in every geographical condition.33 CHAIRMAN LINA. There’s a province of Camarines Sur which have the same share with that of Camiguin and Siquijor. It should be remembered that. carved out of the existing province because of some geographical id[i]osyncracies. in Siquijor. Siquijor. Nagtataka nga ako ngayon. Pabayaan natin ang tao. having a bigger area. population. provision eh. with a population of 63 thousand. very much bigger. and the sharing is based on land area.31 or may consider the Local Gov Cases set 2 . It seems with a minimum number of towns? CHAIRMAN ALFELOR. under Sections 284 and 285 of the LGC. 20% of the area. we cannot make a generalization.

As we have held in League of Cities of the Philippines v. 2010 elections as mere fait accompli circumstances which cannot operate in favor of Dinagat’s existence as a province.34 but to legislative construction as well. now the LGC of 1991.696. allocate among the different local government units their powers. with the view to attain decentralization and countryside development. Batas Pambansa Bilang 337. This Court should not be instrumental in stunting such capacity. but unfortunately not expressly stated in Section 461 of the LGC. responsibilities.000. pursuant to Section 53332 of the LGC. the land area. The Oversight Committee evidently conducted due deliberation and consultations with all the concerned sectors of society and considered the operative principles of local autonomy as provided in the LGC when the IRR was formulated. this amounts not only to an executive construction. had to be replaced with a new law. with respect to the creation of provinces. the LGC. the bill that eventually became R. powers and functions and duties of local officials. Hence. What is more. 9355 was filed and favorably voted upon in both Chambers of Congress. to wit — Section 3. they must be seen from the perspective that Dinagat is ready and capable of becoming a province.A. the LGC was amended by way of the enactment of R. 9355. Commission on Elections35 — Local Gov Cases set 2 .A. the void or missing detail was filled in by the Oversight Committee in the LGC-IRR. But Congress. but inadvertently omitted from Section 461 with respect to the creation of provinces. As Section 533 provides. and provide for the qualifications. taking into account its average annual income ofP82. 9355 creating the Island Province of Dinagat. as certified by the Bureau of Local Government Finance. To be sure. Congress saw that the old LGC. Rather than looking at the results of the plebiscite and the May 10. is not conclusive in showing that Dinagat cannot become a province. In effect. No. especially with the inclusion of representatives from the four leagues of local government units as members of the Oversight Committee. and by necessity. entitled to great weight and respect from this Court. It was also mandated by the Constitution that a local government code shall be enacted by Congress. as expressly provided only in the LGC-IRR.33 Undoubtedly. which is more dynamic and cognizant of the needs of the Philippines as an archipelagic country. and resources. which amounted to both executive and legislative construction of the LGC. with respect to the creation of a province when it consists of one or more islands. (Emphasis supplied. it cannot be gainsaid that the inclusion by the Oversight Committee of the exemption from the land area requirement with respect to the creation of provinces consisting of one (1) or more islands was intended by Congress. particularly the chairpersons of their respective Committees on Local Government. following the exemption from the land area requirement. No.00 for the creation of a province. With three (3) members each from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.A. salaries.433. recognizing the capacity and viability of Dinagat to become a full-fledged province. Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR should be deemed incorporated in the basic law. which is four times more than the minimum requirement of P20. and referendum. initiative. The delivery of basic services to its constituents has been proven possible and sustainable. as expressly stated under Sections 442 and 450 of the LGC. can only be found as an express provision in the LGC-IRR. the Oversight Committee did not just arbitrarily and whimsically insert such an exemption in Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. 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. No. Such acts of both Chambers of Congress definitively show the clear legislative intent to incorporate into the LGC that exemption from the land area requirement. Pursuant to this principle.000. and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.23 at the time of its creation. This accounts for the exemption from the land area requirement of local government units composed of one or more islands. pursuant to its plenary legislative powers. term. 9355. Further. while considered as an indicator of viability of a local government unit. enacted R. and this intent was echoed through an express provision in the LGC-IRR. Thereby.A. appointment and removal. It is well to remember that the LGC-IRR was formulated by the Oversight Committee consisting of members of both the Executive and Legislative departments. with respect to the creation of municipalities and cities. Congress breathed flesh and blood into that exemption in Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR and transformed it into law when it enacted R.34 implementing rules and regulations and pertinent executive issuances in the nature of executive and/or legislative construction. which. No. thereby ensuring compliance with the principles of local autonomy as defined under the Constitution.) These State policies are the very reason for the enactment of the LGC. the many details to implement the LGC had already been put in place. the Oversight Committee shall formulate and issue the appropriate rules and regulations necessary for the efficient and effective implementation of any and all provisions of this Code. which Congress understood to be impractical and not too urgent to immediately translate into direct amendments to the LGC. With the formulation of the LGC-IRR. election.

Towards this end. To doubt is to sustain. a co-equal branch of government. 2010 Resolution. The May 12.35 Ratio legis est anima. "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands. not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. the Court resolved to: 1. 2010. The provision in Article 9(2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating. A statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. Local Gov Cases set 2 . or a clear conflict with. SO ORDERED. Consequently. that which is within the intent of the lawmaker is as much within the statute as if within the letter. 3. 2010. 9355 (An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands) is declared as VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL. 2010 Resolution is RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE. courts ought to reject assaults against the validity of statutes. it behooves the Court to have at once one principle in mind: the presumption of constitutionality of statutes. GRANT the Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated May 12. which enjoins the three great departments of the government to accord a becoming courtesy for each other’s acts. the theory in context being that the law is the product of earnest studies by Congress to ensure that no constitutional prescription or concept is infringed. the Constitution. No pronouncement as to costs. and 4. GRANT the Urgent Motion to Recall Entry of Judgment by movants-intervenors. an unequivocal breach of. before a law duly challenged is nullified. WHEREFORE. for what is within the spirit is within the statute although it is not within its letter. barring of course their clear unconstitutionality. courts ought not to interpret and should not accept an interpretation that would defeat the intent of the law and its legislators. This presumption finds its roots in the tri-partite system of government and the corollary separation of powers. RECONSIDER and SET ASIDE the July 20. Withal. and the proclamation of the Province of Dinagat Islands and the election of the officials thereof are declared VALID. and that which is within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. So as it is exhorted to pass on a challenge against the validity of an act of Congress. 2010. and GRANT the Motion for Leave to Intervene and to File and to Admit Intervenors’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated July 20. The spirit rather than the letter of the law. Accordingly. Put a bit differently. dated and filed on October 29. and not to interfere inordinately with the exercise by one of its official functions. 2. The petition is DISMISSED. and that which is within the letter of the statute is not within the statute unless within the intent of the lawmakers. must be demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no doubt in the mind of the Court. Republic Act No." is declared VALID.

HON. AFIADO. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE. THE HONORABLE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF ISABELA. ATTY. Vice-Governor.A. Sec. ANTONIO CHUA. 8528 was enacted. intervenor. — The voters of the City of Santiago shall be qualified to vote in the elections of the Provincial Governor. CABUYADAO. Section 51 of Republic Act No. 7720 is hereby amended deleting the entire section and in its stead substitute the following: Sec. viz. Republic Act No. BALTAZAR PICIO. 1999 JOSE C. 7720 which converted the municipality of Santiago. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: Sec. the people of Santiago ratified R. in his capacity as Provincial Treasurer. Among others. 2. respondents. GIORGIDI B.R.: This is a petition for a writ of prohibition with prayer for preliminary injunction assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act No. MANUEL H. vs.: AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED 7720 — AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY OF SANTIAGO INTO AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. in his capacity as Governor of Isabela. BENJAMIN G. 51. HON. It amended R. On July 4. MIRANDA. Section 2 of Republic Act No. in his capacity as Provincial Administrator. J. Republic Act No. Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and other elective Local Gov Cases set 2 . which shall comprise of the present territory of the Municipality of Santiago.A. Isabela into an independent component city was signed into law. HON. THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT. 1994. and MR. 133064 September 16. Election of Provincial Governor. BABARAN and ANDRES R.1 On February 14. 8528 converting the city of Santiago. DY. Isabela from an independent component city to a component city. Vice-Governor. DIRIGE. HON. in his capacity as Secretary of Budget. 1. AGGABAO. petitioners. MARIANO V. and any Elective Provincial Position for the Province of Isabela. No. EPIMACO VELASCO. it changed the status of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city. Isabela. 7720. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ. In his capacity as Executive Secretary. The City of Santiago. 7720 is hereby amended by deleting the words "an independent" thereon so that said Section will read as follows: Sec. 2. ALFREDO S. No. in his capacity as Secretary of Local Government. No. Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members. — The Municipality of Santiago shall be converted into a component city to be known as the City of Santiago. hereinafter referred to as the City. On May 5.36 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. 1998. PUNO. The territorial jurisdiction of the City shall be within the present metes and bounds of the Municipality of Santiago. 7720 in a plebiscite. 1994.

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provincial positions of the Province of Isabela, and any such qualified voter can be a candidate for such provincial positions and any elective provincial office. Sec. 3. Repealing Clause. — All existing laws or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. Sec. 4. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect upon its approval. Approved. Petitioners assail the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528. 2 They alleged as ground the lack of provision in R.A. No. 8528 submitting the law for ratification by the people of Santiago City in a proper plebiscite. Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago at the time of the filing of the petition at bar. Petitioner Afiado is the President of the Liga ng mga Barangay ng Santiago City. Petitioners Dirige, Cabuyadao and Babaran are residents of Santiago City. In their Comment, respondent provincial officials of Isabela defended the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8528. They assailed the standing of petitioners to file the petition at bar. They also contend that the petition raises a political question over which this Court lacks jurisdiction. Another Comment was filed by the Solicitor General for the respondent public officials. The Solicitor General also contends that petitioners are not real parties in interest. More importantly, it is contended that R.A. No. 8528 merely reclassified Santiago City from an independent component city to a component city. It allegedly did not involve any "creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units," hence, a plebiscite of the people of Santiago is unnecessary. A third Comment similar in tone was submitted by intervenor Giorgidi B. Aggabao, 3 a member of the provincial board of Isabela. 4 He contended that both the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991 do not require a plebiscite "to approve a law that merely allowed qualified voters of a city to vote in provincial elections. The rules implementing the Local Government Code cannot require a plebiscite. He also urged that petitioners lacked locus standi. Petitioners filed a Reply to meet the arguments of the respondents and the intervenor. They defended their standing. They also stressed the changes that would visit the city of Santiago as a result of its reclassification. We find merit in the petition. First. The challenge to the locus standi of petitioners cannot succeed. It is now an ancient rule that the constitutionality of law can be challenged by one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its enforcement. 5Petitioner Miranda was the mayor of Santiago City when he filed the present petition in his own right as mayor and not on behalf of the city, hence, he did not need the consent of the city council of Santiago. It is also indubitable that the change of status of the city of Santiago from independent component city to a mere component city will affect his powers as mayor, as will be shown hereafter. The injury that he would sustain from the enforcement of R.A. No. 8528 is direct and immediate and not a mere generalized grievance shared with the people of Santiago City. Similarly, the standing of the other petitioners rests on a firm foundation. They are residents and voters in the city of Santiago. They have the right to be heard in the conversion of their city thru a plebiscite to be conducted by the COMELEC. The denial of this right in R.A. No. 8528 gives them proper standing to strike the law as unconstitutional.1âwphi1.nêt Second. The plea that this court back off from assuming jurisdiction over the petition at bar on the ground that it involves a political question has to be brushed aside. This plea has long lost its appeal especially in light of Section 1 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution which defines judicial power as including "the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government." To be sure, the cut between a political and justiciable issue has been made by this Court in many cases and need no longer mystify us. In Tañada v. Cuenco, 6 we held: xxx xxx xxx

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The term "political question" connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers "to those questions which under the Constitution are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. In Casibang v. Aquino, 7 we defined a justiciable issue as follows: A purely justiciable issue implies a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or omission violative of such right, and a remedy granted and sanctioned by law, for said breach of right. Clearly, the petition at bar presents a justiciable issue. Petitioners claim that under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution they have a right to approve or disapprove R.A. No. 8528 in a plebiscite before it can be enforced. It ought to be self-evident that whether or not petitioners have the said right is a legal not a political question. For whether or not laws passed by Congress comply with the requirements of the Constitution pose questions that this Court alone can decide. The proposition that this Court is the ultimate arbiter of the meaning and nuances of the Constitution need not be the subject of a prolix explanation. Third. The threshold issue is whether R.A. No. 8528 is unconstitutional for its failure to provide that the conversion of the city of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city should be submitted to its people in a proper plebiscite. We hold that the Constitution requires a plebiscite. Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides: No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, or divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. This constitutional requirement is reiterrated in Section 10, Chapter 2 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160), thus: Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. The power to create, divide, merge, abolish or substantially alter boundaries of local government units belongs to Congress. 8 This power is part of the larger power to enact laws which the Constitution vested in Congress. 9 The exercise of the power must be in accord with the mandate of the Constitution. In the case at bar, the issue is whether the downgrading of Santiago City from an independent component city to a mere component city requires the approval of the people of Santiago City in a plebiscite. The resolution of the issue depends on whether or not the downgrading falls within the meaning of creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of municipalities per Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. A close analysis of the said constitutional provision will reveal that the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units involve a common denominator — material change in the political and economic rights of the local government units directly affected as well as the people therein. It is precisely for this reason that the Constitution requires the approval of the people "in the political units directly affected." It is not difficult to appreciate the rationale of this constitutional requirement. The 1987 Constitution, more than any of our previous Constitutions, gave more reality to the sovereignty of our people for it was borne out of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Its Section 10, Article X addressed the undesirable practice in the past whereby local government units were created, abolished, merged or divided on the basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare of the people. Thus, the consent of the people of the local government unit directly affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to any exercise of legislative power creating, dividing, abolishing, merging or altering the boundaries of local government units. It is one instance where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that affects them — direct democracy of the people as opposed to democracy thru people's representatives. This plebiscite requirement is also in accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more autonomy to local government units. The changes that will result from the downgrading of the city of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city are many and cannot be characterized as insubstantial. For one, the independence of the city as a political unit will be

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diminished. The city mayor will be placed under the administrative supervision of the provincial governor. The resolutions and ordinances of the city council of Santiago will have to be reviewed by the Provincial Board of Isabela. Taxes that will be collected by the city will now have to be shared with the province. Petitioners pointed out these far reaching changes on the life of the people of the city of Santiago, viz.: 10 Although RESPONDENTS would like to make it appear that R.A. No. 8528 had "merely re-classified" Santiago City from an independent component city into a component city, the effect when challenged ( sic) the Act were operational would be, actually, that of conversion. Consequently, there would besubstantial changes in the political culture and administrative responsibilities of Santiago City, and the Province of Isabela. Santiago City from an independent component city will revert to the Province of Isabela, geographically, politically, and administratively. Thus, the territorial land area of Santiago City will be added to the land area comprising the province of Isabela. This will be to the benefit or advantage of the Provincial Government of Isabela on account of the subsequent increase of its share from the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the National Government (Section 285, R.A. No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991). The IRA is based on land area and population of local government units, provinces included. The nature or kinds, and magnitude of the taxes collected by the City Government, and which taxes shall accrue solely to the City Government, will be redefined (Section 151, R.A. No. 7160), and may be shared with the province such as taxes on sand, gravel and other quarry resources (Section 138, R.A. No. 7160), professional taxes (Section 139, R.A. No. 7160), or amusement taxes (Section 140, R.A. No. 7160). The Provincial Government will allocate operating funds for the City. Inarguably, there would be a (sic) diminished funds for the local operations of the City Government because of reduced shares of the IRA in accordance with the schedule set forth by Section 285 of R.A. No. 7160. The City Government's share in the proceeds in the development and utilization of national wealth shall be diluted since certain portions shall accrue to the Provincial Government (Section 292, R.A. No. 7160). The registered voters of Santiago City will vote for and can be voted as provincial officials (Section 451 and 452 [c], R.A. No. 7160). The City Mayor will now be under the administrative supervision of the Provincial Governor who is tasked by law to ensure that every component city and municipality within the territorial jurisdiction of the province acts within the scope of its prescribed powers and functions (Section 29 and 465 (b) (2) (i), R.A. No. 7160), and to review (Section 30, R.A. No. 7160) all executive orders submitted by the former (Section 455 (b) (1) (xii), R.A. No. 7160) and (R)eportorial requirements with respect to the local governance and state of affairs of the city (Section 455 (b) (1) (xx), R.A. No. 7160). Elective city officials will also be effectively under the control of the Provincial Governor (Section 63, R.A. No. 7160). Such will be the great change in the state of the political autonomy of what is now Santiago City where by virtue of R.A. No. 7720, it is the Office of the President which has supervisory authority over it as an independent component city (Section 25, R.A. No. 7160; Section 4 (ARTICLE X), 1987 Constitution). The resolutions and ordinances adopted and approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod will be subject to the review of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Sections 56, 468, (a) (1) (i), 468 (a) (2) (vii), and 469 (c) (4), R.A. No. 7160). Likewise, the decisions in administrative cases by the former could be appealed and acted upon by the latter (Section 67 R.A. No. 7160). It is markworthy that when R.A. No. 7720 upgraded the status of Santiago City from a municipality to an independent component city, it required the approval of its people thru a plebiscite called for the purpose. There is neither rhyme nor reason why this plebiscite should not be called to determine the will of the people of Santiago City when R.A. No. 8528 downgrades the status of their city. Indeed, there is more reason to consult the people when a law substantially diminishes their right. Rule II, Article 6, paragraph (f) (1) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code is in accord with the Constitution when it provides that: (f) Plebiscite — (1) no creation, conversion, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of LGUS shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the LGU or LGUs affected. The plebiscite shall be conducted by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) within one hundred twenty (120) days from the effectivity of the law or ordinance prescribing such action, unless said law or ordinance fixes another date.

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40
xxx xxx xxx The rules cover all conversions, whether upward or downward in character, so long as they result in a material change in the local government unit directly affected, especially a change in the political and economic rights of its people. A word on the dissenting opinions of our esteemed brethren. Mr. Justice Buena justifies R.A. No. 8528 on the ground that Congress has the power to amend the charter of Santiago City. This power of amendment, however, is limited by Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. Quite clearly, when an amendment of a law involves the creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units directly affected is mandatory. He also contends that the amendment merely caused a transitionin the status of Santiago as a city. Allegedly, it is a transition because no new city was created nor was a former city dissolved by R.A. No. 8528. As discussed above, the spirit of Section 10, Article X of the Constitution calls for the people of the local government unit directly affected to vote in a plebiscite whenever there is a material change in their rights and responsibilities. They may call the downgrading of Santiago to a component city as a mere transition but they cannot blink away from the fact that the transition will radically change its physical and political configuration as well as the rights and responsibilities of its people. On the other hand, our esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Mendoza, posits the theory that " only if the classification involves changes in income, population, and land area of the local government unit is there a need for such changes to be approved by the people . . . ." With due respect, such an interpretation runs against the letter and spirit of Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution which, to repeat, states: "No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." It is clear that the Constitution imposes two conditions — first, the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundary of a local government unit must meet the criteria fixed by the Local Government Code on income, population and land area and second, the law must be approved by the people "by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." In accord with the Constitution, sections 7, 8, and 9 of the Local Government Code fixed the said criteria and they involve requirements on income, population and land area. These requirements, however, are imposed to help assure the economic viability of the local government unit concerned. They were not imposed to determine the necessity for a plebiscite of the people. Indeed, the Local Government Code does not state that there will be no more plebiscite after its requirements on income, population and land area have been satisfied. On the contrary, section 10, Chapter 2 of the Code provides: "No creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes casts in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly affected. Said plebiscite shall be conducted by the COMELEC within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the effectivity of the law or ordinance effecting such action, unless said law or ordinance fixes another date. 11 Senator Aquilino Pimentel, the principal author of the Local Government Code of 1991, opines that the plebiscite is absolute and mandatory. 12 It cannot be overstressed that the said two requirements of the Constitution have different purposes. The criteria fixed by the Local Government Code on income, population and land area are designed to achieve an economic purpose. They are to be based on verified indicators, hence, section 7, Chapter 2 of the Local Government Code requires that these "indicators shall be attested by the Department of Finance, the National Statistics Office, and the Lands Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources." In contrast, the people's plebiscite is required to achieve a political purpose — to use the people's voice as a check against the pernicious political practice of gerrymandering. There is no better check against this excess committed by the political representatives of the people themselves than the exercise of direct people power. As well-observed by one commentator, as the creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries are ". . . basic to local government, it is also imperative that these acts be done not only by Congress but also be approved by the inhabitants of the locality concerned. . . . By giving the inhabitants a hand in their approval, the provision will also eliminate the old practice of gerrymandering and minimize legislative action designed for the benefit of a few politicians. Hence, it promotes the autonomy of local government units." 13 The records show that the downgrading of Santiago City was opposed by certain segments of its people. In the debates in Congress, it was noted that at the time R.A. No. 8528 was proposed, Santiago City has been converted to an independent component city barely two and a half (2 1/2) years ago and the conversion was approved by a majority of 14,000 votes. Some legislators expressed surprise for the sudden move to downgrade the status of Santiago City as there had been no significant

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viz. NO. 8729. SPONSORSHIP SPEECH OF SENATOR SOTTO Mr. There was an attempt on the part of the Committee on Local Government to submit the downgrading of Santiago City to its people via a plebiscite. the motion is approved. Mr. House Bill No. Senator Sotto is recognized. Raval]. 8729 — City of Santiago Senator Tatad. The City of Santiago is geographically located within. and is physically an integral part of the Province of Isabela. it is completely detached and separate from the said province as a local political unit. Abaya as its principal author. 8729.A.B. is a simple measure which merely seeks to convert the City of Santiago into a component city of the Province of Isabela. House Bill No. The people of Santiago City were aware that they gave up that privilege when they voted to be independent from the province of Isabela. The amendment to this effect was about to be voted upon when a recess was called. The President. The only reason given for the downgrading is to enable the people of the city to aspire for the leadership of the province. The Acting Secretary [Atty. President. the Secretary will read only the title of the bill without prejudice to inserting in the Record the whole text thereof. Mr. which was introduced in the House by Congressman Antonio M. Is there any objection? [Silence] there being none. As an independent component city.: 14 BILL ON SECOND READING H." We quote the debates. No. After the recess. Local Gov Cases set 2 . 8729 as reported out under Committee Report No. The President. No. With the permission of the Body. entitled: AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF R. Consideration of House Bill No.B. 8729 is now in order. the City of Santiago is an "island in the provincial milieu. President.41 change in its socio-economic-political status. the alleged reason is unconvincing for it is the essence of an independent component city that its people can no longer participate or be voted for in the election of officials of the province. 7720 ENTITLED "AN ACT CONVERTING THE MUNICIPALITY OF SANTIAGO INTO AN INDEPENDENT COMPONENT CITY TO BE KNOWN AS THE CITY OF SANTIAGO The following is the full text of H. President. for the sponsorship. 971. I move that we consider House Bill No. To say the least. To use the language of the Explanatory Note of the proposed bill. however. the chairman of the Committee announced the withdrawal of the amendment "after a very enlightening conversion with the elders of the Body. I ask that the distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Local Government be recognized. 8729 Insert Senator Tatad.

42 The residents of the city no longer participate in the elections. Mr. Senator Tatad. it is my pleasure. on the other hand. recommending approval. Senator Roco. therefore. to present for consideration of this august Body Committee Report No. one way or the other. The President. 971 of the Committee on Local Government. I move that we now consider the committee amendments. which is very far away from Santiago City. Hence. nor are they qualified to run for any elective positions in the Province of Isabela. What is the pleasure of Senator Roco? Senator Roco. May I move for a reconsideration of my motion. the proposed bill to convert the City of Santiago into a component city of Isabela. the period of interpellations is closed. President. of House Bill No. The Majority Leader is recognized. which power and authority are now exercised by the Office of the President. the City of Santiago is affected. Senator Roco. is no longer vested with the power and authority of general supervision over the city and its officials. 8729. Will the distinguished gentlemen yield for some questions? Senator Sotto. Mr. President. and is benefited by its progress and development. The President. Mr. the motion is approved. may I ask for a reconsideration of the ruling on the motion to close the period of interpellations just to be able to ask a few questions? Senator Tatad. by the happenings in the said province. Willingly. Mr. President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. Mr. Mr. President. Thank you. Mr. with our proposed committee amendment. The President. Is there any objection to the reconsideration of the closing of the period of interpellations? [Silence] There being none. The President. Senator Roco is recognized. President. President. I moved (sic) that we close the period of interpellations. President. The Province of Isabela. Senator Tatad. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Being geographically located within the Province of Isabela.

The power and authority is now being exercised by the Office of the President and it is quite far from the City of Santiago. together with the Chairman of the Committee on Local Government. President. All I wanted to say.43 Senator Roco. to be very frank about it. that was a very important point raised by Senator Roco. President. we were with the sponsors when we approved this bill to make Santiago a City. Mr. But now if it is their request. the officials of the province said during the public hearing that they are no longer vested with the power and authority of general supervision over the city. on the manifestation of the Chairman. Senator Roco. Senator Sotto. then so be it. I did want it on record. President. President — because the two of us had special pictures (sic) in the city — is that I thought it should be put on record that we have supported originally the proposal to make it an independent city. there has been a change of political will. Senator Sotto. At that time. But if there has been a change of political will. President. then. That was about two and a half years ago. Mr. Mr. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Mr. Thank you. I think there was a majority of 14. and maybe we owe it to those who voted for that charter some degree of respect. President. only because I was a co-author and a co-sponsor. Mr. Senator Roco. however. I want some explanation on what happened between then and now that has made us decided that the City of Santiago should cease to be independent and should now become a component city. I remember it was the cry of the city that it be "independent. and I will have to place it on the Record of the Senate that the reason why we are proposing a committee amendment is that." Now we are deleting that word "independent. let it be so. there was an objection on the part of the local officials and those who oppose it by incorporating a plebiscite in this bill. That was the solution." Mr. for the Record. In the public hearing. we also gathered that there is a clamor from some sectors that they want to participate in the provincial elections. Mr. Because there were some sectors in the City of Santiago who were opposing the reclassification or reconversion of the city into a component city. President.000 who approved the charter. I did not mean to delay this. originally.

President. Mr. President. This bill was sponsored by the congressman of that district who represents a constituency. it is obvious that this bill is being passed in order that the additional territory be added to the election of the provincial officials of the province of Isabela. President. President. I am not aware of it. Senator Sotto. Senator Alvarez. is this for the benefit of any particular politician. Mr. President. President. As a born inbred citizen of this city. the ones who will benefit from this are the citizens of Santiago who will now be enfranchised in the provincial electoral process. Senator Alvarez. This is one of the prime reasons why this amendment is being put forward. This opposition was placed on records during the committee hearings. As a matter of fact. Yes. there is a resolution passed by the Sanggunian on January 30. Senator Drilon. Mr. Mr. if we open up the election of the city to the provincial leadership. because the provincial leadership will then campaign in a bigger territory. Senator Sotto. The President. Mr. the Senator from Bicol. Mr. President. Senator Drilon. Senator Alvarez is recognized. The question I would like to raise — and I would like to recall the statement of our Minority Leader — is that. Mr. one of the amendments is that a plebiscite be conducted before the law takes effect. Mr. Mr. further to the interpellation of our good friend.44 Thank you. President. those who signed the resolution were not the whole of the council. Will the gentleman yield for a few questions. as mentioned by the good sponsor. Senator Drilon. Now. If it is. on the matter of the opinion of the citizens of Santiago City. at this time we should not be passing it for a particular politician. And that is the reason why. it will not be to the benefit of the provincial leadership. In this particular case. President. With the permission of the two gentlemen on the Floor. the voice of the district. Local Gov Cases set 2 . While it is true that there may have been a resolution by the city council. 1997 opposing the conversion of Santiago from an independent city. and whose children will have the opportunity to grow into provincial leadership. may I share some information.

the representative of Congressman Abaya was insisting that this is not a conversion. Because we would like not only to give the other people of Santiago a chance or be enfranchised as far as the leadership of the province is concerned. Mr. To them. President. the reason why I am raising this question is that. whose voice must be heard. Two-and-a-half years after. Local Gov Cases set 2 . The Majority Leader is recognized. Mr. as Senator Roco said. in considering which interest is paramount. the key word here is "conversion". President. we are changing the rule. divided. 10. as we do give account to many of the legislations coming from the House on local issues. President. 11. President. abolished. The word "conversion" appears in that provision wherein we must call a plebiscite. city. That is how the members of the committee felt. or its boundary substantially altered. Secs. or barangay may be created. Mr. Let the people decide. Senator Alvarez. and we are converting it into a component city. just two and-a-half years ago we passed a bill which indeed disenfranchized — if we want to use that phrase — the citizens of the City of Santiago in the matter of the provincial election. Thank you very much. Senator Tatad. instead of the political leaders of Isabela deciding for them. No province. Senator Sotto. 12 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides as follows: Sec. In the original charter. Mr. That is why we have proposed an amendment to this. 10. The President. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. and this is to incorporate a plebiscite in as much as there is no provision on incorporating a plebiscite. the citizens of the City of Santiago participated in a plebiscite in order to approve the conversion of the city into an independent city. the Constitution does not require that the change from an independent to a component city be subjected to a plebiscite. Senator Drilon. We are amending a bill that converts. merged. President. This change from an independent city into a component city is none of those enumerated. But it is clear in the bill. the law which has been crafted here in accordance with the rules should be given account. this is the best compromise. this is merely a reclassification. President. So the proposal coming from the House is in adherence to this constitutional mandate which does not require a plebiscite. Mr. and if we have to fathom the interest of the people.45 I think. but also we will give a chance to those who are opposing it. I believe that the only way to resolve this issue raised by Senator Roco is again to subject this issue to another plebiscite as part of the provision of this proposed bill and as will be proposed by the Committee Chairman as an amendment. During the public hearing. municipality. Mr.

The President.m. President. PLEBISCITE. May I ask for a one-minute suspension of the session. after line 13. It was 7:54 p.46 Senator Tatad. Senator Enrile. President. SECTION 49 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. President. RESUMPTION OF SESSION At 7:57 p. Senator Enrile is recognized. Mr. Senator Tatad. The session is resumed. Senator Sotto. The President. Mr. as follows: Sec 3. The President. 7720 IS HEREBY AMENDED BY DELETING THE ENTIRE SECTION AND IN ITS STEAD SUBSTITUTE THE FOLLOWING: Sec. Is there any objection? Senator Enrile. The President. the session was resumed. Mr. President. Local Gov Cases set 2 . The President. [There was none]. 49. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS SHALL CONDUCT AND SUPERVISE SUCH PLEBISCITE. the motion is approved. insert a new Section 3. The session is suspended for a few minutes if there is no objection. On page 2. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none the motion is approved. The President. I think we can move to close the period of interpellations. I object to this committee amendment..m. — THE CONVERSION OF THE CITY OF SANTIAGO INTO A COMPONENT CITY OF THE PROVINCE OF ISABELA SHALL TAKE EFFECT UPON THE RETIFICATION OF THIS ACT BY A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF SAID CITY IN A PLEBISCITE WHICH SHALL BE HELD FOR THE PURPOSE WITHIN SIXTY (60) DAYS FROM THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. I move that we now consider the committee amendments. SUSPENSION OF SESSION Senator Tatad. At this point. Senator Sotto is recognized. Mr.

President. after a very enlightening conversation with the elders of the Body. So. The President. How could we extricate the town from the province? But I would like to thank the gentleman. I move that the period of committee amendments be closed. Whatever he may have said. unless the issue is really a matter of life and death and of national importance.47 Senator Sotto. President. President. Mr. May I put on record. I have suddenly become his great fan for the evening. may I express my deepest appreciation for the statement of the gentleman from Ilocos and Laguna. The President. and also the Chairman of the Committee. I need not remind them. At least for now. Mr. Mr. The amendment is withdrawn. President. Senator Maceda. accommodate the request of the Senator from Isabela as we have done on matters affecting the district of other senators. Mr. There being no committee amendments. Mr. Senator Alvarez. senatorial courtesy demands that we. The town is the gem of the province. President. that I campaigned against the cityhood of Santiago not because I do not want it to be a city but because it had disenfranchised the young men of my city from aspiring for the leadership of the province. President. The President. as much as possible. Thank you anyway. the feeling is not mutual. I withdraw my amendment. Senator Maceda. The President. President. The Majority Leader is recognized. The President. Shall we amend the title of this bill by removing the word "independent" preceding "component city"? Local Gov Cases set 2 . with due respect to the Senator from Isabela — I am no great fan of the Senator from Isabela — but it so happens that this is a local bill affecting not only his province but his own city where he is a resident and registered voter. Senator Alvarez is recognized. We wish to thank the sponsor for the withdrawal of the amendment. Senator Maceda is recognized. Mr. President. Senator Alvarez. Mr. Senator Tatad. Mr. President. Mr. Senator Tatad.

Mr. No. viz: The scenario. 1986. Aye. Unless there are any individual amendments. NO. Chief Justice Teehankee cited the illicit political purpose behind its enactment. a new set of government officials headed by Governor Armando Gustilo was Local Gov Cases set 2 . The transparent purpose is unmistakably so that the new Governor and other officials shall by then have been installed in office. I move that we vote on Second Reading on House Bill No. v. As many as are in favor of the bill. [Silences] House Bill No. The President. Senator Tatad." Thus. The President. Negros del Norte was set up and proclaimed by President Marcos as in existence. as petitioners urgently asserted. In his concurring opinion striking down the law as unconstitutional. we shall now vote on Second Reading on House Bill No. APPROVAL OF H. Several Members. There is all the reason to listen to the voice of the people of the city via a plebiscite. 15 BP 885 was enacted partitioning the province of Negros Occidental without consulting its people in a plebiscite. As many as are against the bill. ready to function for purposes of the election for President and Vice-President. The President. was "to have the creation of the new Province a fait accompli by the time elections are held on February 7. the plebiscite was held. 8729 is "An Act Amending Certain Sections of Republic Act 7720". The main title of this House Bill No. 8729 ON SECOND READING Senator Tatad. The President. So. President. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. In the case of Tan. I do not think that we should amend that anymore. the motion is approved.B. What is the pending motion? Will the gentleman kindly state the motion? Senator Tatad.48 Senator Sotto. We are merely citing the title. say nay. say aye. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. COMELEC. Mr. the period of individual amendments is closed. et al. I move that we close the period of committee amendments. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none. the petitioners reported after the event: "With indecent haste. 8279 is approved on Second Reading. President. I move that we close the period of individual amendments. 8729. 8729. The debates cannot but raise some quizzical eyebrows on the real purpose for the downgrading of the city of Santiago. The title is the title of Republic Act 7720.

SO ORDERED. It is for this reason that I vote in favor of this bill. Senator Pimentel explained: 18 . Consequently. this bill merely. In fact. . The bill under consideration. grossly contravenes and disregards the mandate of Article XI. all the implementing acts complained of. is a component city. diminish the powers and prerogatives already enjoyed by the City of San Carlos. Pangasinan 17 whose charters were amended to allow their people to vote and be voted upon in the election of officials of the province to which their city belongs without submitting the amendment to a plebiscite. and. because the whole is affected by its proposed division and substantial alteration of its boundary. Hinigaran. What happened in Negros del Norte during the elections — the unashamed use of naked power and resources — contributed in no small way to arousing "people's power" and steel the ordinary citizen to perform deeds of courage and patriotism that makes one proud to be a Filipino today. To limit the plebiscite to only the voters of the areas to be partitioned and seceded from the province is as absurd and illogical as allowing only the secessionists to vote for the secession that they demanded against the wishes of the majority and to nullify the basic principle of majority rule. 16 and the City of San Carlos. . the political machinery was in place to deliver the "solid North" to ex-President Marcos. They cite the City of Oroquieta. It was Senator Pimentel who also sponsored the bill 19 allowing qualified voters of the city of Oroquieta to vote in provincial elections of the province of Misamis Occidental. Valladoid. when the case of San Carlos City was under consideration by the Senate. Isabela. the City of San Carlos as of now. Himamaylan. Mr. The rest is history. comprise the units affected. the plebiscite. not merely those of the proposed new province. In his sponsorship speech. merely empowers the voters of San Carlos to vote in the elections of provincial officials. . as we said earlier. The said two cities then were not independent component cities unlike the city of Santiago. he explained that the right to vote being given to the people of Oroquieta City was consistent with its status as a component city. President.49 appointed. Thus. viz. the cities of Oroquieta and San Carlos are not similarly situated as the city of Santiago. Kabankalan. 8528 is declared unconstitutional and the writ of prohibition is hereby issued commanding the respondents to desist from implementing said law. Hinoba-an and Sipalay and Candoni). 20 Indeed. the proclamation of a new province of Negros del Norte and the appointment of its officials are equally void. San Enrique. ." It is plain that all the cities and municipalities of the province of Negros Occidental. Murcia. The two cities were chartered but were not independent component cities for both were not highly urbanized cities which alone were considered independent cities at that time. the power to vote in provincial elections. It follows that the voters of the whole and entire province of Negros Occidental have to participate and give their approval in the plebiscite.. without in any way changing the character of its being a component city. in any way. grants the voters of the city. IN VIEW WHEREOF. The challenged Act is manifestly void and unconstitutional. former Senator Neptali Gonzales pointed out the need to remedy the anomalous situation then obtaining ". The limited holding of the plebiscite only in the areas of the proposed new province (as provided by Section 4 of the Act) to the exclusion of the voters of the remaining areas of the integral province of Negros Occidental (namely. where voters of one component city cannot vote simply because their charters so provide. by the time the elections were held on February 7. Misamis Occidental." 21 Thus. Justice Mendoza and Mr. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Ilog. the three cities of Bacolod. the petition is granted. section 3 of the then prevailing 1973 Constitution that no province may be created or divided or its boundary substantially altered without "the approval of a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units affected. Moises Padilla. Bago and La Carlota and the Municipalities of Las Castellana. Cauayan. With due respect. during the debates. Senator Pimentel. Mr. 1986. There is no intention whatsoever to downgrade the status of the City of San Carlos and there is no showing whatsoever that the enactment of this bill will. It is not a highly urbanized city. Congress amended other charters of component cities prohibiting their people from voting in provincial elections. Therefore. Republic Act No. Pontevedra. Justice Buena also cite two instances when allegedly independent component cities were downgraded into component cities without need of a plebiscite.

and b) The said law will in effect amend the Constitution. Samson. No. No. QUISUMBING. Sections 7. as to furnishing a copy of the Quezon City Council of barangay resolution. Petitioner bases his petition on the following grounds: a) R. respectively. Quezon City. and land area. in his capacity as the Executive Secretary. population. Petitioner particularly cites its hearings held on October 3 and 27. is clear from the minutes of the public hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Local Government on the proposed charter of the City of Novaliches. would not be adversely affected by the creation of the City of Novaliches.: On February 23. Respondents pray that the present petition be dismissed for lack of merit. Likewise. as to the requirements of income. 1998. is now before the Court challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No.A. J. No. however.1âwphi1.A. They claimed he failed to substantiate said allegations with convincing proof. petitioner. 11(a) and 450(a). seat of government. respondents stated that the petition itself is devoid of any pertinent document supporting petitioner's claim that R.R. he argues. and its Implementing Rules as provided in Article 11(b)(1) and (2). Petitioner Moises S.A. Further. Petitioner also seeks to enjoin the Executive Secretary from ordering the implementation of R. in terms of income. on the hearings held by the appropriate Committee in the House of Representatives.A.A. 8535. 8535. Local Gov Cases set 2 . COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. SAMSON. HON. 8535. incumbent councilor of the first district of Quezon City. 1997. 1 Petitioner asserts that certifications as to income. and the Department of Budget and Management from disbursing funds for said plebiscite. 8535. and the DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET. He is silent. Lastly. and land area were not presented to Congress during the deliberations that led to the passage of R. through a motion we duly noted.nêt In their Comment. 8535 failed to conform to the criteria established by the Local Government Code particularly. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE. respondents argued that petitioner had the burden of proof to overcome the legal presumption that Congress considered all the legal requirements under the Local Government Code of 1991 in passing R. the COMELEC from holding a plebiscite for the creation of the City of Novaliches. population. vs. respondents. creating the City of Novaliches out of 15 barangays of Quezon City. population and land area. traversed all the allegations of petitioner.50 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. This. 1999 MOISES S. 8535 is unconstitutional. petitioner points out that there is no certification attesting to the fact that the mother local government unit. he prays for the issuance of a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. President Fidel V. In their memorandum. 133076 September 22. Ramos signed into law Republic Act No. respondents through the Office of the Solicitor General. 8535. and no adverse effect to being a city of Quezon City.

The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund.A. 8535. that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom. transfers. 2 we had occasion to stress that: All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality.000.00). as expected of the local government unit concerned. one who attacks a statute. or land area which must be contiguous with an area of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers. justice. and the challenger must negate all possible bases. for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. the National Statistics Office (NSO). (b) Population. 5 A person asserting the contrary has the burden of proving his allegations clearly and unmistakably. to wit: (a) Income.000) inhabitants. — It must be contiguous. and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. Having this in mind. and non recurring income. and the Land Management Bureau (LMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). as certified by DOF. it will be upheld. — As a general rule. — (a) Requisites for creation — A city shall not be created unless the following requisites on income and either population or land area are present: (1) Income — an average annual income of not less than Twenty Million Pesos (P20.000. 3 Every statute is presumed valid. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. to provide for all essential government facilities and services and special functions commensurate with the size of its population. exclusive of special funds. 7. we now proceed to examine whether or not petitioner was able to successfully overcome the presumption of validity accorded R. the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Code provide in Article 11: Art. The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed city is composed of one (1) or Local Gov Cases set 2 . as certified by LMB. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union. and sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace. and (2) Population or land area — Population which shall not be less than one hundred fifty thousand (150. Cities. as certified by the NSO. Corollarily. Compliance with the foregoing indicators shall be attested to by the Department of Finance (DOF). the creation of a local government unit or its conversion from one level to another level shall be based on verifiable indicators of viability and projected capacity to provide services. policy. properly identified by metes and bounds with technical descriptions.51 In Victoriano v. that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute. unless it comprises two or more islands or is separated by a local government unit independent of the others. that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional. 4 Every law is presumed to have passed through regular congressional processes. — It must be sufficient. and (c) Land Area. special accounts. Creation and Conversion. alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt. based on acceptable standards. The Local Government Code of 1991 provides under Section 7: Sec. 11. or expediency of a statute. No. — It shall be determined as the total number of inhabitants within the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit concerned.

8535 failed to specify the seat of government of the proposed City of Novaliches as required under Section 11(a) of the Local Government Code: Sec.000 required by the Implementing Rules. the representatives present did not also submit written certifications. Note that under the Implementing Rules. present during the public hearings held by the Senate Committee on Local Government were resource persons from the different government offices like National Statistics Office. Compliance with either requirement. 1997. and income of the original LGU or LGUs at the time of said creation to less than the prescribed minimum requirements. and Department of Budget. petitioner failed to show that. land area and income of the proposed city. Judicial notice may also be taken that Novaliches is now highly urbanized. Petitioner did not present any proof. No.000. as respondents urge. Petitioner argues that no certifications attesting compliance with the foregoing requirements were submitted to Congress. written certifications are required to be attached to the petition for the creation of a city.A. All expenses incidental to the creation shall be borne by the petitioners. Their affirmation as well as their oath as witnesses in open session of either the Senate or the House of Representatives give even greater solemnity than a certification submitted to either chamber routinely. and other relevant considerations shall be taken into account. aside from officials of Quezon City itself. — (a) The law or ordinance creating or merging local government units shall specify the seat of government from where governmental and corporate service shall be delivered. and Facilities. that these requirements were met appropriately in the passage of the assailed legislative act. Land Management Bureau. given these figures. is sufficient. citing in particular public hearings held by the Senate Committee on Local Government. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Liban. No. The territorial jurisdiction of a city sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. the proposed city must comply with requirements as regards income and populationor land area. We are thus constrained to presume. that no certifications were submitted to the House Committee on Local Government. and Management. Its principal sponsor is Cong.000. But respondents reply that in the hearings. Petitioner. accessibility. had complied with all the requisites therefor. to be submitted by interested municipalities or barangays to Congress in the form of a resolution. Selection and Transfer of Local Government Site. development and economic progress. on October 3 and 27. and Finance Officials were present along with other officers armed with official statistics and reference materials. particularly by the Local Government Committee headed by Senator Sotto. Bureau of Local Government Finance. Dante Liban of Quezon City. Offices. we note that the bill that eventually became R. 8 This figure is more than the 150. 7 Under the Local Government Code.00 for the immediately preceding two years.310.26. However. drainage and sanitation.952. Allegations. however. Petitioner then argues that R. since under the Local Government Code. 8535 originated in the House of Representatives. based on the bill of Cong. Moreover. as is the usual practice in this regard.A. population. DILG. The representative from the Bureau of Local Government Finance estimated the combined average annual income of the 13 barangays 6 for the years 1995 and 1996 to be around P26. The presumption stands that the law passed by Congress.52 more islands. Other than the income requirement. Their official statements could serve the same purpose contemplated by law requiring certificates. factors relating to geographical centrality. aside from the oral declarations during the public hearings. in addition to income. without more. the proposed city must have the requisite number of inhabitants or land area. 11. Moreover. availability of transportation and communication facilities. The creation of a new city shall not reduce the land area. a proposed city must have an average annual income of only at least P20. they spoke and shed light on population.128. In selecting said site. did not even bother to present a copy of said petition if only to prove that it was without the written certifications attached as required by law. In their official capacity. Petitioner avers that the oral manifestation made by the representatives of government offices is not enough certification. cannot substitute for proof. There is no need to consider the land area. The representative from the NSO estimated the population in the barangays that would comprise the proposed City of Novaliches to be around 347. but only allegations. the DBM.

from the foregoing considerations. a reading of R. No. 8535 as petitioner makes it to be. the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. 8535 will readily show that it does not provide for a seat of government. which applies to the proposed City of Novaliches by virtue of Section 54 of R. if true. is not as fatal to the validity of R. cities. The fact that he did not raise any adverse issue during the public hearings on R. petitioner again failed to present any concrete evidence on this point. 8535.A. No.A. Mayor Mathay would be the first person to protest any development that might prove detrimental to Quezon City. 12. That the Quezon City Council was not furnished a copy of the petition of concerned barangays calling for the creation of the City of Novaliches. is to inform the City Council of the move to create another city and to enable it to formulate its comments and recommendations on said petition. However.A. "from where governmental and corporate service shall be delivered. such site can very well also be the seat of government." 10 With regard to the alleged adverse effect on Quezon City by the creation of the City of Novaliches. No. The Quezon City Council members are obviously aware of the petition. Moreover. Clearly. For said Code already provides as follows: Sec. local government unit or government-owned or-controlled corporation concerned shall bear the expenses for the construction of its buildings and facilities in the government center. The National Government. 8535. No.A. including petitioner. all persons concerned will obviously have the opportunity to raise those issues even before they vote on the principal question of the cityhood of Novaliches.A. this omission.. While Section 12 speaks of the site of government centers. was present during the deliberations of the Senate Committee on Local Government. or branches of the National Government.A. or government-owned or-controlled corporations may.A. to our mind. in the plebiscite as contemplated on R. WHEREFORE. 8535. and municipalities shall endeavor to establish a government center where offices. Government Centers. agencies. be located. will also not render invalid R. petitioner has failed to present clear and convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality being enjoyed by R. The proposed creation of the City of Novaliches will in no way result in a prohibited amendment of the Constitution. The evident purpose of this requirement. stressing instead his concern on the matter of inclusion of all Quezon City voters in the plebiscite that would decide the fate of the City of Novaliches. In designating such a center. as far as practicable. local government units. As chief executive of Quezon City. No. and made no mention of anything concerning such adverse effects. Jr. No. The matter has been widely publicized in the mass media. contrary to petitioner's contention. Surely members of the Quezon City Council. Nor did he succeed to convince the Court with substantial and persuasive legal reasons for us to grant the reliefs he seeks. Too literal a reading of the ordinance in or appendix of the Constitution will only result in its erroneous interpretation. Local Gov Cases set 2 . the local government unit concerned shall take into account the existing facilities of national and local agencies and offices which may serve as the government center as contemplated under this Section. — Provinces.nêt SO ORDERED. found in the Implementing Rules. We agree with respondents that under Section 12 of the Local Government Code. Nowhere does it provide that Metro Manila shall forever be composed of only 17 cities and municipalities as claimed by petitioner. Quezon City Mayor Ismael Mathay. 8535. 9 the City of Novaliches can still establish a seat of government after its creation. 8535.53 Indeed. is indicative of the non-existence of such negative issues. The ordinance appended to the Constitution merely apportions the seats of the House of Representatives to the different legislative districts in the country. could not now be heard to claim they have not known of the contents of the barangays' petition to create the City of Novaliches.1âwphi1.

"An Act Converting the Municipality of Santiago into an Independent Component City to be Known as the City of Santiago. DIRIGE. 7720. the Senate Committee on Local Government conducted public hearings on SB No. HON. CELSO CALEON and HON. HON. Also. 8817. with the recommendation that it be approved without amendment. CASIANO S. Santiago Respicio and Faustino Dy. 7720: On April 18. petitioners. in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of Santiago and HON. 8817 was transmitted to the Senate. in his capacity as Municipal Administrator. with amendments. petitioners assail the validity of Republic Act No. 1993. Undisputed is the following chronicle of the metamorphosis of House Bill No." was filed in the House of Representatives with Representative Antonio Abaya as principal author. 1243.. HON. MEDINA." was filed in the Senate. JOSE MIRANDA. SOLOMON D. SENATOR JOSE D. This was just after the House of Representatives had conducted its first public hearing on HB No. 1993. a counterpart of HB No. Rodolfo Albano. HB No. 1994. Senate Bill No. TEOFISTO T. on December 9. On March 1. JR. THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT. 1993. Meanwhile. SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ. The committee submitted to the House a favorable report. 1996 SENATOR HEHERSON T. HON. 8817 into Republic Act No. petitioners claim that the Municipality of Santiago has not met the minimum average annual income required under Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991 in order to be converted into a component city. 1994. On May 19. HB No. MR. ARTEMIO ALVAREZ. HON. LINA. 1993. MR. NELIA NATIVIDAD. ALIPON. taking into consideration Local Gov Cases set 2 . Isabela into an Independent Component City to be known as the City of Santiago. CHARITO MANUFAY. MAYLEM. in his capacity as Executive Secretary. 8817. GUINGONA. It was introduced by Senator Vicente Sotto III.: Of main concern to the petitioners is whether Republic Act No. 1994.R. in his capacity as Municipal Treasurer. DECISION HERMOSISIMA. 8817 were conducted by the House Committee on Local Government. respondents. HON. November 28. GONZAGA. entitled. entitled "An Act Converting the Municipality of Santiago into an Independent Component City to be known as the City of Santiago. HB No. RAFAEL ALUNAN.. JESUS P. and December 1. 378 on HB No. 1243." mainly because the Act allegedly did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as mandated by Section 24. On January 28.54 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. 8817 was transmitted to the Senate. ABEL MUSNGI. public hearings on HB No. as principal sponsor. HON. JR. Other sponsors included Representatives Ciriaco Alfelor. ALFREDO S. vs. HON. June 1. PETER DE JESUS. 1993. on May 19. HON. is constitutionally infirm. in his capacity as Secretary of Budget. MR. and ATTY. 8817. J. 1993. 7720. 8817. 1993. Indeed. On February 23. MR. No. 1993.. 8817 was passed by the House of Representatives on Second Reading and was approved on Third Reading on December 17. NICASIO B. 1993. HON. in his capacity as Secretary of Local Government. "An Act Converting the Municipality of Santiago. 118303 January 31. LEONORA C. in this Petition for Prohibition with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction. SANTOS. entitled. just recently passed by Congress and signed by the President into law. 1993. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Local Government and the House Committee on Appropriations on May 5. BAUTISTA. VICTORINO MIRANDA. On December 13. DANILO VERGARA. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. JR. or a little less than a month after HB No.. JR. ALVAREZ. the said committee submitted Committee Report No. in their capacity as SANGGUNIANG BAYAN MEMBERS. RODRIGO L.

949. On March 3. increase or decrease.974.000. Republic Act No.163. On March 22. its own version of HB No.570.00 P 26.560. 1243.043. Petitioners asseverate that the IRAs are not actually income but transfers and/or budgetary aid from the national government and that they fluctuate. The question as to the validity of Republic Act No.106.109. Committee Report No.1 Such income must be duly certified by the Department of Finance.47 based on the 1991 constant prices. 7720 hinges on the following twin issues: (I) Whether or not the Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs) are to be included in the computation of the average annual income of a municipality for purposes of its conversion into an independent component city. land and equal sharing. after deducting the IRAs. In this regard. 1994.47 =============== P 20.219.379. 7720 can be said to have originated in the House of Representatives.109. petitioners claim that Santiago's income is far below the aforesaid Twenty Million Pesos average annual income requirement. upon being apprised of the action of the Senate. and (II) Whether or not. which indicates Santiago's average annual income to be P20. Senator Heherson T. the average annual income arrived at would only be P13. 8817 was on all fours with SB No. have an average annual income of at least Twenty Million Pesos for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. I The annual income of a local government unit includes the IRAs Petitioners claim that Santiago could not qualify into a component city because its average annual income for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices falls below the required annual income of Twenty Million Pesos (P20. it must. 1994. approved the amendments proposed by the Senate.730.581.55 the reality that H. indicated his approval thereto by signing said report as member of the Committee on Local Government. The enrolled bill.057. 1994. considering that the Senate passed SB No. we hold that petitioners asseverations are untenable because Internal Revenue Allotments form part of the income of Local Government Units. depending on factors like population.000. the House of Representatives. was signed by the Chief Executive on May 5. 7720. 1243.97. It is true that for a municipality to be converted into a component city.94 P 13. No.120. 1994. Thus. submitted to the President on April 12. 378 was passed by the Senate on Second Reading and was approved on Third Reading on March 14. a great majority of the registered voters of Santiago voted in favor of the conversion of Santiago into a city.87 P 41.B. 1994. 8817. among others.00) for its conversion into a city. The certification issued by the Bureau of Local Government Finance of the Department of Finance. petitioners having computed Santiago's average annual income in the following manner: Total income (at 1991 constant prices) for 1991 Total income (at 1991 constant prices) for 1992 Total income for 1991 and 1992 Minus: IRAs for 1991 and 1992 Total income for 1991 and 1992 Average Annual Income P 15. When a plebiscite on the Act was held on July 13.07 P 21. Local Gov Cases set 2 .94 By dividing the total income of Santiago for calendar years 1991 and 1992. Alvarez.560. 1994 as Republic Act No. is allegedly not accurate as the Internal Revenue Allotments were not excluded from the computation. one of the herein petitioners.

the governing statute. enabling especially the peripheral local government units to develop not only at their own pace and discretion but also with their own resources and assets. This is as it should be. in turn.4 the local government unit is autonomous in the sense that it is given more powers. nil is there a basis. grants. cities and municipalities from regular sources of the Local General Fund including the internal revenue allotment and other shares provided for in Sections 284.7 Availment of such resources is effectuated through the vesting in every local government unit of (1) the right to create and broaden its own source of revenue. its instrumentalities and government-owned-or-controlled corporations". loan proceeds.56 Resolution of the controversy regarding compliance by the Municipality of Santiago with the aforecited income requirement hinges on a correlative and contextual explication of the meaning of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) vis-a-vis the notion of income of a local government unit and the principles of local autonomy and decentralization underlying the institutionalization and intensified empowerment of the local government system. unless such construction is clearly shown to be in sharp conflict with the Constitution. the Department of Finance did after including the IRAs in its computation of said average annual income. Section 450 (c) of the Local Government Code provides that "the average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. For instance. More extensive operations. but not intended.14 Such order. 290 and 291 of the Code. 8 The funds generated from local taxes.11 They thus constitute income which the local government can invariably rely upon as the source of much needed funds. authority." To reiterate. The IRAs regularly and automatically accrue to the local treasury without need of any further action on the part of the local government unit. is thereby deconcentrated. 10 The IRAs are items of income because they form part of the gross accretion of the funds of the local government unit. 35-9313 correctly encapsulizes the full import of the above disquisition when it defined ANNUAL INCOME to be "revenues and receipts realized by provinces. constituting executive or contemporaneous construction of a statute by an administrative agency charged with the task of interpreting and applying the same. but exclusive of non-recurring receipts. too. the vesting of duty. The practical side to development through a decentralized local government system certainly concerns the matter of financial resources. is entitled to full respect and should be accorded great weight by the courts. financial assistance. Understandably.12 Thus. such as other national aids. that the municipality had an average annual income of at least Twenty Million Pesos for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. recurring item of income. IRAs and national wealth utilization proceeds accrue to the general fund of the local government and are used to finance its operations subject to specified modes of spending the same as provided for in the Local Government Code and its implementing rules and regulations.9 As such. the IRAs and the share in the national wealth utilization proceeds are considered items of income. exclusive of special funds.3 Remaining to be an intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation. and non-recurring income.5 Power which used to be highly centralized in Manila. since IRAs have a technical definition and meaning all its own as used in the Local Government Code that unequivocally makes it distinct from special funds or transfers referred to when the Code speaks of "funding support from the national government. Furthermore. within its territorial boundaries. since income is defined in the Local Government Code to be all revenues and receipts collected or received forming the gross accretions of funds of the local government unit. responsibility and accountability in every local government unit is accompanied with a provision for reasonably adequate resources to discharge its powers and effectively carry out its functions.15 II Local Gov Cases set 2 . responsibilities and resources. (2) the right to be allocated a just share in national taxes. With its broadened powers and increased responsibilities. among others. or other laws. if any. For purposes of converting the Municipality of Santiago into a city. IRAs are a regular. transfers. entail more expenses. and similar others" (Emphasis ours). sales of fixed assets. such share being in the form of internal revenue allotments (IRAs). which budget should reflect the estimates of the income of the local government unit. to be an imperium in imperio. to classify the same as a special fund or transfer. the Department of Finance certified. Department of Finance Order No. for purposes of budget preparation. a local government unit must now operate on a much wider scale. This. not less than twenty percent (20%) of the IRAs must be set aside for local development projects. and (3) the right to be given its equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth. among others. however. A Local Government Unit is a political subdivision of the State which is constituted by law and possessed of substantial control over its own affairs.

we explained: . 8817. 8817 was filed in the House of Representatives first before SB No. it is not the law — but the revenue bill — which is required by the Constitution to "originate exclusively" in the House of Representatives. 1243. because a bill originating in the House may undergo such extensive changes in the Senate that the result may be a rewriting of the whole. of the 1987 Constitution is perceptible under the circumstances attending the instant controversy. 1630 was passed not in substitution of H. by constitutional prescription. or tax bills. 1243 was filed in the Senate. . No. the claim of petitioners that Republic Act No. The filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House. as a result of the Senate action. 1243. No. it would seem petitioners admit is an amendment by substitution). To begin with. 11197] into consideration" in enacting S. already approved on the Third Reading. the Senate held in abeyance any action on SB No. the members of the House can be expected to be more sensitive to the local needs and problems. from the House of Representatives. 11197 but of another Senate bill (S. Secretary of Finance. 8817 was thus precursive not only of the said Act in question but also of SB No. . 1129) earlier filed and that what the Senate did was merely to "take [H. 8817 should. In either case the result are two bills on the same subject. . 11197 up to the enacting clause and then writing its own version following the enacting clause (which. tariff. HB No. is nonetheless constitutionally required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives. To insist that a revenue statute — and not only the bill which initiated the legislative process culminating in the enactment of the law — must substantially be the same as the House bill would be to deny the Senate's power not only to "concur with amendments" but also to "propose amendments. . Indeed. bills authorizing an increase of the public debt. 1994. the senators. 8817. No. 7720. is untenable because it cannot be denied that HB No. for as long as the Senate does not act thereupon until it receives the House bill. 8817 was filed on April 18. 18 III Local Gov Cases set 2 . HB No. which. are expected to approach the same problems from the national perspective. xxx xxx xxx It is insisted. the Senate Committee on Local Government conducted public hearings on SB No. On the other hand. Nor does the Constitution prohibit the filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House. We have already addressed this issue in the case of Tolentino vs. 7720 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives because a bill of the same import. was the bill that initiated the legislative process that culminated in the enactment of Republic Act No. private bills and bills of local application must come from the House of Representatives on the theory that. that S. 8817 was already approved on Third Reading and duly transmitted to the Senate when the Senate Committee on Local Government conducted its public hearing on HB No. 1993 while SB No. . . 1993. and. Furthermore. Petitioners themselves cannot disavow their own admission that HB No. It is important to emphasize this. on the other hand. 1993 and transmitted to the Senate on January 28. . 1243 until it received HB No. 8817. on the matter of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law. as a revenue bill. Article VI. 1243. Both views are thereby made to bear on the enactment of such laws. does not contravene the constitutional requirement that a bill of local application should originate in the House of Representatives. There is really no difference between the Senate preserving H. 8817 was approved on the Third Reading on December 17. No. separately presenting a bill of its own on the same subject matter.57 In the enactment of RA No.16 originate exclusively in the House of Representatives. what the Constitution simply means is that the initiative for filing revenue. 7720. a distinct bill may be produced.17 There. however. Clearly. a little less than a month thereafter. SB No. was passed in the Senate. elected as they are from the districts. No violation of Section 24. so long as action by the Senate as a body is withheld pending receipt of the House bill. 1630. Thus. The filing of HB No. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution Although a bill of local application like HB No. who are elected at large. No." It would be to violate the coequality of legislative power of the two houses of Congress and in fact make the House superior to the Senate. 1243 was filed on May 19. . there was compliance with Section 24. petitioners themselves acknowledge that HB No. 1994. or on February 23. No.

for RA No. 7720 to be nullified. WHEREFORE.20 Those who petition this court to declare a law to be unconstitutional must clearly and fully establish the basis that will justify such a declaration. 7720. in other words. Taking into consideration the justification of our stand on the immediately preceding ground raised by petitioners to challenge the constitutionality of RA No. inevitable. their petition must fail. SO ORDERED. therefore. not merely a doubtful and equivocal one. it must be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. including RA No. The dismissal of this petition is. otherwise. the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit with costs against petitioners. the Court stands on the holding that petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption. the grounds for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality It is a well-entrenched jurisprudential rule that on the side of every law lies the presumption of constitutionality. Local Gov Cases set 2 .19Consequently.58 Every law. 7720.

The others are residents of Ibayo Ususan.. Ricardo Pascual. Bautista.R. petitioners. No.. 7854 as unconstitutional. 7854 attempts to alter or restart the "three consecutive term" limit for local elective officials. 7854 is unconstitutional for: (a) it increased the legislative district of Makati only by special law (the Charter in violation of the constitutional provision requiring a general reapportionment law to be passed by Congress within three (3) years following the return of every census. Section 51 of R. No. the population of Makati stands at only 450. in violation of Section 8. Ligaya S. in relation to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code.A. R.A. vs. G.A. 51. OSMEÑA. Florante Alba. 7854 as unconstitutional.59 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. respondents. Metro Manila. Jr. Article X and Section 7.R. Section 2 of R. et al. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Valentina Pitalvero. is a resident of Makati.. 1995 JUANITO MARIANO. 7854 did not properly identify the land area or territorial jurisdiction of Makati by metes and bounds. AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI. Of the petitioners. vs. and (c) the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with Section 5 (3). No. Article VI of the Constitution. JR. (b) the increase in legislative district was not expressed in the title of the bill. JEJOMAR BINAY. in violation of Section 10. J. 2. Article VI of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census). and 52 of R. THE MUNICIPAL TREASURER. Section 52 of R.A. No. HON. 118627 March 7.: At bench are two (2) petitions assailing certain provisions of Republic Act No. and Perfecto Alba. Local Gov Cases set 2 . only Mariano. Teresita Tibay. Frankie Cruz. Taguig. with technical descriptions.000.R. 118577 March 7. THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI. Article X of the Constitution. "An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Makati. MUNICIPAL TREASURER. respondents. Jr. Suing as taxpayers." 1 G. No. It was filed by petitioners Juanito Mariano. AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI.A. 7854 is entitled. HON. 1995 JOHN R. No. 7854 on the following grounds: 1. No. Teresita Abang. 3. R. No.A. Rufino Caldoza. petitioner. JEJOMAR BINAY. Camilo Santos. No. THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI. PUNO. 118577 involves a petition for prohibition and declaratory relief. they assail as unconstitutional sections 2. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS.

7854. — The Municipality of Makati shall be converted into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of Makati. 7854 delineated the land areas of the proposed city of Makati. 3 We take judicial notice of the fact that Congress has also refrained from using the metes and bounds description of land areas of other local government units with unsettled boundary disputes.A. legislators felt that the dispute should be left to the courts to decide. Petitioner assails section 52 of R. the territorial dispute between the municipalities of Makati and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was under court litigation. 7854. We find no merit in the petitions." The deliberations of Congress will reveal that there is a legitimate reason why the land area of the proposed City of Makati was not defined by metes and bounds. Osmeña as senator. the city's land area "shall comprise the present territory of the municipality. and. any uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will prejudice the people's welfare. subtract. No. we cannot perceive how this evil can be brought about by the description made in section 2 of R. They did not want to foreclose the dispute by making a legislative finding of fact which could decide the issue.: "the territorial jurisdiction of newly created or converted cities should be described by meted and bounds.A. divide.A. taxpayer. 7854 is unconstitutional.60 G. with technical descriptions. We sustain the submission of the Solicitor General in this regard. and concerned citizen. In the cases at bench.R. It can legitimately exercise powers of government only within the limits. No. We note that said delineation did not change even by an inch the land area previously covered by Makati as a municipality. The City of Makati. No. At the time of the consideration of R. by the City of Manila.R. No. Congress maintained the existing boundaries of the proposed City of Makati but as an act of fairness. with technical descriptions" — was made in order to provide a means by which the area Local Gov Cases set 2 . 4 We hold that the existence of a boundary dispute does not per se present an insurmountable difficulty which will prevent Congress from defining with reasonable certitude the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. No. Petitioners have not demonstrated that the delineation of the land area of the proposed City of Makati will cause confusion as to its boundaries. its acts are ultra vires. No. (Emphasis supplied) In G. which shall comprise the present territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan Manila Area over which it has jurisdiction bounded on the northeast by Pasig River and beyond by the City of Mandaluyong and the Municipality of Pasig. it is beyond cavil that the requirement stated therein. viz. with technical descriptions. No. The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. with technical descriptions. viz.A. The foregoing provision shall be without prejudice to the resolution by the appropriate agency or forum of existing boundary disputes or cases involving questions of territorial jurisdiction between the City of Makati and the adjoining local government units. made them subject to the ultimate resolution by the courts. This would have ensued if they defined the land area of the proposed city by its exact metes and bounds. Given the facts of the cases at bench. hereinafter referred to as the City. Section 2 did not add. 2. 118577.: Going now to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code. 2 The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be overemphasized. In language that cannot be any clearer. on the southeast by the municipalities of Pateros and Taguig. on the southwest by the City of Pasay and the Municipality of Taguig. petitioners claim that this delineation violates sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code which require that the area of a local government unit should be made by metes and bounds with technical descriptions. on the northwest. Needless to state. or multiply the established land area of Makati.A. we are not prepared to hold that section 2 of R. Considering these peculiar circumstances. section 2 stated that. I Section 2. thus: Sec. 7854 as unconstitutional on the same grounds as aforestated. Out of a becoming sense of respect to co-equal department of government. 118627 was filed by the petitioner John H. This is the evil sought to avoided by the Local Government Code in requiring that the land area of a local government unit must be spelled out in metes and bounds. Article I of R.

although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute. shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Courts will not follow the letter of the statute when to do so would depart from the true intent of the legislature or would otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. the requirement on metes and bounds was meant merely as tool in the establishment of local government units. 7854. The term of office of elective local officials. No. at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. section 51 of R.R. 56 Phil. They argue that by providing that the new city shall acquire a new corporate existence.. elective local officials. by referring to common boundaries with neighboring municipalities. 7854 on the mere ground that no cadastral type of description was used in the law would serve the letter but defeat the spirit of the Code. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. Cuenco. Petitioners stress that under these provisions. No. as petitioners seem to imply.A. so long as the territorial jurisdiction of a city may be reasonably ascertained. means that laws have ends to achieve. 7.A. No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. 118577 also assail the constitutionality of section 51. 103 Phil. Certainly. Section 51 states: Sec. This could not be the intendment of the law. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 1051. It seeks to make local governments more responsive to the needs of their constituents while at the same time serving as a vital cog in national development. It is not an end in itself. for purposes of interpretation. No. (Torres v. Hidalgo v. They contend that this section collides with section 8. 33 SCRA 1105). it may be concluded that the legislative intent behind the law has been sufficiently served. 8. No. To invalidate R. Legislation is an active instrument of government. The new city will acquire a new corporate existence.61 of said cities may be reasonably ascertained. II Petitioners in G. unless otherwise provided by law. Too well settled is the rule that laws must be enforced when ascertained. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. 141. Officials of the City of Makati. 51. The same rule must indubitably apply to the case at bar. 72 SCRA 520). Ergo. Tañada v. To require such description in the law as a condition sine qua non for its validity would be to defeat the very purpose which the Local Government Code to seeks to serve. — The represent elective officials of the Municipality of Makati shall continue as the officials of the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers and functions until such time that a new election is held and the duly elected officials shall have already qualified and assume their offices: Provided. The manifest intent of the Code is to empower local government units and to give them their rightful due. which. It then becomes a case of the master serving the slave. In other words. except barangay officials. Article VI of the Constitution which provide: Sec. and statutes should be so construed as not to defeat but to carry out such ends and purposes (Bocolbo v. including Members of the House of Representative. The appointive officials and employees of the City shall likewise continues exercising their functions and duties and they shall be automatically absorbed by the city government of the City of Makati. Article X of R. then. instead of the other way around. Congress did not intends that laws creating new cities must contain therein detailed technical descriptions similar to those appearing in Torrens titles. which shall be determined by law. Limjap. Article X and section 7.A. Hidalgo. have a term of three (3) years and are prohibited from serving for more than three (3) consecutive terms. 7854 restarts the term of the present municipal Local Gov Cases set 2 . i.. as in this case.e. Estanislao. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin.

other than a general reapportionment of the law. Article VI 12 of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census). 52. The requirements before a litigant can challenge the constitutionality of a law are well delineated. 11 Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of subtraction. Worse. i. Even granting that the population of Makati as of the 1990 census stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450. he can still run for the same position in 1998 and seek another three-year consecutive term since his previous three-year consecutive term as municipal mayor would not be counted. 14 Local Gov Cases set 2 . Abalos. to hold that reapportionment can only be made through a general apportionment law.000). petitioners conclude that said section 51 has been conveniently crafted to suit the political ambitions of respondent Mayor Binay. would create an inequitable situation where a new city or province created by Congress will be denied legislative representation for an indeterminate period of time. Section 52 of the Charter provides: Sec. In fact. 7854 and providing for an increase in Makati's legislative district. The petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events.000) shall have at least one representative. as per the 1990 census. No. Article X of R. (2) the addition of a legislative district is not expressed in the title of the bill 7 and (3) Makati's population. 7166 as implemented by the Commission on Elections to commence at the next national elections to be held after the effectivity of this Act. they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction. 10 The intolerable situations will deprive the people of a new city or province a particle of their sovereignty. petitioners point that section 51 favors the incumbent Makati Mayor. Henceforth. barangays Magallanes. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. — Upon its conversion into a highly-urbanized city. unless otherwise fixed by law. In particular. with a review of all the legislative districts allotted to each local government unit nationwide. 5 Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. 7854. This is its exactly what was done by Congress in enacting R. that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is unconstitutional for: (1) reapportionment 6cannot made by a special law.. Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen. Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with section 5(3).000).A. Legislative Districts. No. (emphasis supplied) They contend. III Finally. the Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its membership by passing a law.000). No. we ruled that reapportionment of legislative districts may be made through a special law. and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself. They further argue that should Mayor Binay decide to run and eventually win as city mayor in the coming elections. stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450.000). that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections. Moreover. Thus. petitioners in the two (2) cases at bench assail the constitutionality of section 52. It is indivisible. 13 Said section provides. who has already served for two (2) consecutive terms.62 elective officials of Makati and disregards the terms previously served by them. (2) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party. Makati shall thereafter have at least two (2) legislative districts that shall initially correspond to the two (2) existing districts created under Section 3(a) of Republic Act.e. We cannot entertain this challenge to the constitutionality of section 51. It must be forever whole or it is not sovereignty. the population of Makati stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450. that a city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand (250. The Constitution 9 clearly provides that Congress shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) members. (3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity. such as in the charter of a new city. section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides that a city whose population has increased to more than two hundred fifty thousand (250. petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to an actual case or controversy. inter alia. that he would be re-elected in said elections. 8 In said case.A. These issues have been laid to rest in the recent case of Tobias v.000) shall be entitled to at least one congressional representative. its legislative district may still be increased since it has met the minimum population requirement of two hundred fifty thousand (250. As thus worded. They are: 1) there must be an actual case or controversy. respondent Jejomar Binay. Dasmariñas and Forbes shall be with the first district. and that he would seek re-election for the same position in the 1998 elections. in lieu of Barangay Guadalupe-Viejo which shall form part of the second district.

In the same case of Tobias v. Local Gov Cases set 2 . the petitions are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit No costs. SO ORDERED. fully index. or completely catalogue all its details. Hence." WHEREFORE.63 Finally. To be sure. Abalos. we reiterated the policy of the Court favoring a liberal construction of the "one title-one subject" rule so as not to impede legislation. we ruled that "it should be sufficient compliance if the title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are germane to such general subject. with Constitution does not command that the title of a law should exactly mirror.. op cit. we do not find merit in petitioners' contention that the creation of an additional legislative district in Makati should have been expressly stated in the title of the bill.

On December 17. that: 1.A. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Article X of the Constitution) which requires that only "a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city". The creation of Sorsogon City by merging two municipalities violates Section 450(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 (in relation to Section 10. 8806. Francis Joseph G. 146319 October 26.R. Cawaling.4 Invoking his right as a resident and taxpayer of the former Municipality of Sorsogon. 2001 BENJAMIN E. or on January 4. the Plebiscite City Board of Canvassers (PCBC) proclaimed3 the creation of the City of Sorsogon as having been ratified and approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite. in violation of Section 54 thereof. vs.R. 8806 which created the City of Sorsogon and the validity of the plebiscite conducted pursuant thereto. And Appropriating Funds Therefor. 2001. former President Joseph E.A. PROVINCE OF SORSOGON. and Local Gov Cases set 2 . Escudero. JR. No. contending. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT. respondents. MUNICIPALITY OF SORSOGON. No. Benjamin E. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Article X of the Constitution. x---------------------------------------------------------x G.64 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. respondents. filed on January 2. No. The December 16. No. vs. petitioner. 8806. petitioner instituted another petition (G. No. 2001 BENJAMIN E. SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.A. 2001 the present petition for certiorari (G. and B.R." 1 Pursuant to Section 10. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. 2000.R.: Before us are two (2) separate petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 146342 October 26. Respondent COMELEC failed to observe the legal requirement of twenty (20) day extensive information campaign in the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon before conducting the plebiscite. Estrada signed into law R. Two days after filing the said action. JR. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT. CAWALING.. and Rep.2 the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). No. 146319) seeking the annulment of the plebiscite on the following grounds: A. On August 16. on December 16. 146342).. 2000. an "Act Creating The City Of Sorsogon By Merging The Municipalities Of Bacon And Sorsogon In The Province Of Sorsogon. Jr. J. CAWALING. MUNICIPALITY OF BACON. 2000. in essence. 2000 plebiscite was conducted beyond the required 120-day period from the approval of R. conducted a plebiscite in the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon and submitted the matter for ratification. 8806 for being unconstitutional. this time for prohibition seeking to enjoin the further implementation of R. petitioner.

8806 has done. exclusive of specific funds." not by merging two municipalities. No. This contention is devoid of merit.9 In other words the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt.5 Significantly. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. population.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. or barangay may be created. That.11 Petitioner initially reject R. and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.A. the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. R. Since then. abolished. merged. or its boundary substantially altered. may declare a law. (b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. as what R. No province. municipality. the (a) creation of the City of Sorsogon and the (b) abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon.A.R No. namely. 8806. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands.000. divided. Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. Article X of the Constitution which provides.inter alia: "SECTION 10. has passed careful scrutiny to ensure that it is in accord with the fundamental law. specifically during the May 14. and non-recurring income.A. R." (Emphasis ours) The criteria for the creation of a city is prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (the Code). No. thus: "SECTION 450. No. — (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income. No.A.A. 8806 complied with the criteria set by the Code as to income. however. the City Government of Sorsogon has been regularly discharging its corporate and political powers pursuant to its charter. What he is assailing is its mode of creation. during the pendency of these cases. the present petitions which were later consolidated. city.000) inhabitants. population and land area. 8806 in G. thereby violating the "one subject-one bill" rule prescribed by Section 26(1). as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. transfers. He contends that under Section 450(a) of the Code." (Emphasis ours) Petitioner is not concerned whether the creation of Sorsogon City through R. 146342. a component city may be created only by converting "a municipality or a cluster of barangays. or portions thereof.A.8 This Court.65 2. Hence. 2001 elections. Local Gov Cases set 2 . No. and if it has either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers. being the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive. not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided.10 for to doubt is to sustain. 8806 contains two (2) subjects. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands.7 The theory is that every law.000. No. Requisites for Creation. 8806 because it violates Section 10. unconstitutional where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. as certified by the Department of Finance.6 This presumption is rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate departments of the Government a becoming courtesy for each other's acts. We shall first delve on petitioner's constitutional challenge against R. Article VI of the Constitution. the newly-created Sorsogon City had the first election of its officials. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. of at least Twenty million (P20. or (ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150.

It is well-settled that the "one title-one subject" rule does not require the Congress to employ in the title of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror. "14 Next.A. or land area of the local government unit or units concerned to less than the minimum requirements prescribed in this Code: Provided. While the title of the Act sufficiently informs the public about the creation of Sorsogon City. this Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical construction of the rule "so as not to cripple or impede legislation.12 this Court. Electoral Commission." cannot be said to exclude the incidental effect of abolishing the two municipalities. quoted earlier and which petitioner cited in support of his posture. made it clear that "the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom. the creation of the City of Sorsogon. justice or expediency of legislation. scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. Article X of the Constitution. we are allowed only "to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. there is only one subject embraced in the title of the law. . That such division shall not reduce the income.A. Otherwise put. nor can it be considered to have deprived the public of fair information on this consequence. 8806 actually embraces two principal subjects which are: (1) the creation of the City of Sorsogon.15 The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is comprehensive enough as to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect. The abolition/cessation of the corporate existence of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon due to their merger is not a subject separate and distinct from the creation of Sorsogon City. the creation of an entirely new local government unit through a division or a merger of existing local government units is recognized under the Constitution. This argument goes into the wisdom of R. Thus. Hence. In Angara v. further.17 Moreover. and Appropriating Funds Therefor. natural and inevitable consequence of the merger. The argument is far from persuasive. Such abolition/cessation was but the logical." (Emphasis ours) Petitioner contends that R. "An Act Creating the City of Sorsogon by Merging the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in the Province of Sorsogon. The phrase "A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city" is not a criterion but simply one of the modes by which a city may be created. Laurel. the persons interested are informed of the nature. 8806.A. we hold that petitioner has failed to present clear and convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality of R. to wit: "SECTION 26 (1). Local Gov Cases set 2 . Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. Article VI of the Constitution."13 and "may not annul an act of the political departments simply because we feel it is unwise or impractical. the title of the law. through Justice Jose P. Section 10. in any case. and (2) the abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon. No.16 and where.66 Petitioner's constricted reading of Section 450(a) of the Code is erroneous. . No. municipality or barangay in accordance with the criteria established by the Code. 8806. petitioner claims that no such information has been provided on the abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon. . Petitioner further submits that."18 Consequently. allows the merger of local government units to create a province city. Division and Merger. a matter which we are not competent to rule. Contrary to petitioner's assertion. it is the necessary means by which the City of Sorsogon was created.A. fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein." In the exercise of judicial power. population." (Emphasis ours) Verily. there is no "compelling" reason for merging the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in order to create the City of Sorsogon considering that the Municipality of Sorsogon alone already qualifies to be upgraded to a component city. provided that such merger or division shall comply with the requirements prescribed by the Code. — Division and merger of existing local government units shall comply with the same requirements herein prescribed for their creation: Provided. That the income classification of the original local government unit or units shall not fall below its current income classification prior to such division. 8806 since it contravenes the "one subject-one bill" rule enunciated in Section 26 (1). however. . No. as here. Section 8 of the Code distinctly provides: "SECTION 8. that is. petitioner assails R. No.

2000. x x x . This Code shall take effect one year after such publication. the publication of the law was completed on September 1.67 We now turn to G. 2000. that the clause 'unless it is otherwise provided' refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself. both on the original petition and on the instant motion. the December 16. 2000 based on the date of the effectivity of the Act. not from its approval. Section 65 of the Act states: "SECTION 65. No. 8806 should be conducted within 120 days from the "approval" of said Act per express provision of its Section 54. Plebiscite. 2000 plebiscite was conducted one (1) day late from the expiration of the 120-day period after theapproval of the Act." (Emphasis ours) Quite plainly. This 120day period having expired without a plebiscite being conducted. Then on September 01. which should be read together with Section 65 (effectivity of the Act) thereof. 2000. the Act itself expired and could no longer be ratified and approved in the plebiscite held on December 16. 2000 by former President Joseph E. 2000 issue of TODAY a newspaper of general circulation. The COMELEC is correct. it was published in a newspaper of local circulation in the Province of Sorsogon. — The City of Sorsogon shall acquire corporate existence upon the ratification of its creation by a majority of the votes cast by the qualified voters in a plebiscite to be conducted in the present municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon within one hundred twenty (120) days from the approval of this Act. Consequently. unless it is otherwise provided.19 it could only schedule the plebiscite after the Act took effect. In addition. Tuvera.R. according to the COMELEC. Plebiscite Requirement. which date. The COMELEC argues that since publication is indispensable for the effectivity of a law. citing the landmark case of Tañada vs. Thus. the COMELEC concludes. After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties. the word "approval" in Section 54 of R. or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly affected. Effectivity. should be the reckoning point in determining the 120-day period within which to conduct the plebiscite.A. which cannot in any event be omitted. While the same provision allows a law or ordinance to fix "another date" for conducting a plebiscite. Estrada. This Local Gov Cases set 2 . Thus. still such date must be reckoned from the date of the effectivity of the law. In its comment. 2000. merger. Section 10 of the Code provides: "SECTION 10.A." The law was first published in the August 25. 8806. 2000) when the law had not yet been published. and so hold. we have come to the conclusion. No. petitioner claims. not from the date of its approval (August 16. Petitioner asserts that the plebiscite required by R. division. No." (Emphasis ours) The Act was approved on August 16. the COMELEC asserts that it scheduled the plebiscite on December 16. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette. Such plebiscite shall be conducted by the Commission on Elections within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the effectivity of the law or ordinance affecting such action. viz: "SECTION 54. 146319 wherein petitioner assails the validity of the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC for the ratification of the creation of Sorsogon City. 2000 plebiscite was well within the 120-day period from the effectivity of the law on September 1. — This Act shall take effect upon its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general and local circulation. — No creation. unless said law or ordinance fixes another date. abolition. This construction is in accord with the fundamental rule that all provisions of the laws relating to the same subject should be read together and reconciled to avoid inconsistency or repugnancy to established jurisprudence. the last sentence of Section 10 mandates that the plebiscite shall be conducted within 120 days from the date of the effectivity of the law. As we stated in Tañada: "ARTICLE 2. Thus. the December 16. could only mean "effectivity" as used and contemplated in Section 10 of the Code.

Consequently. Lastly. or on any other date. petitioner alleges that the COMELEC failed to conduct an extensive information campaign on the proposed Sorsogon cityhood 20 days prior to the scheduled plebiscite as required by Article 11 (b. However. Costs against petitioner. WHEREFORE.ii). SO ORDERED. which scenario is precisely abhorred in Tañada. we sustain the presumption20 that the COMELEC regularly performed or complied with its duty under the law in conducting the plebiscite. Local Gov Cases set 2 .4. the instant petitions are DISMISSED for lack of merit. without its previous publication. no proof whatsoever was presented by petitioner to substantiate his allegation." (Emphasis supplied) To give Section 54 a literal and strict interpretation would in effect make the Act effective even before its publication. Rule II of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Code.68 clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective immediately upon approval.

NICODEMO T. Republic Act No. entitled "An Act Reapportioning the Composition of the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative Districts in the Province of Camarines Sur and Thereby Creating a New Legislative District From Such Reapportionment.69 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. In this original action. Aquino III and Mayor Jesse Robredo. the said law created an additional legislative district for the Province of Camarines Sur by reconfiguring the existing first and second legislative districts of the province. 2010 SENATOR BENIGNO SIMEON C. It took effect on 31 October 2009. the Province of Camarines Sur was estimated to have a population of 1. taxpayers and citizens.070 Local Gov Cases set 2 . or fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Manila Standard.304 2nd District Gainza Milaor Naga Pili Ocampo 3rd District Caramoan Garchitorena Goa Lagonoy Presentacion 4th District Iriga Baao Balatan Bato 474. AQUINO III and MAYOR JESSE ROBREDO. DECISION PEREZ.693. Prior to Republic Act No. Respondents. 9716. 9716. 9716. TAGLE. ARMANDO VELASCO. No.R. 2distributed among four (4) legislative districts in this wise: District 1st District Municipalities/Cities Del Gallego Ragay Lupi Sipocot Cabusao Libmanan Minalabac Pamplona Pasacao San Fernando Canaman Camaligan Magarao Bombon Calabanga Sangay San Jose Tigaon Tinamba Siruma Buhi Bula Nabua Population 417. 4264. LUCENITO N.899 372. RENE V. MELO and its Commissioners.1 In substance." Petitioners consequently pray that the respondent Commission on Elections be restrained from making any issuances and from taking any steps relative to the implementation of Republic Act No. 9716 originated from House Bill No.548 429.: This case comes before this Court by way of a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.R. 189793 April 7. J. ELIAS R. and was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 12 October 2009. as public officers. YUSOPH AND GREGORIO LARRAZABAL. SARMIENTO. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS represented by its Chairman JOSE A. seek the nullification as unconstitutional of Republic Act No. a newspaper of general circulation. petitioners Senator Benigno Simeon C. Petitioners. FERRER. vs.821.

000 is required by the Constitution for such new district. Petitioners contend that the reapportionment introduced by Republic Act No. His co-petitioner. The factual recitals by both parties of the origins of the bill that became the law show that. neither did the representatives of the former third and fourth districts of the province. No other local executive joined the two.043 372. marked by public hearings on the sentiments and position of the local officials of Camarines Sur on the creation of a new congressional district.000 or only 176.6 The provision reads: Article VI Section 5. 9716 is a well-milled legislation.000) for the creation of a legislative district.548 429. and San Fernando were combined with the second district municipalities of Milaor and Gainza to form a new second legislative district. runs afoul of the explicit constitutional standard that requires a minimum population of two hundred fifty thousand (250. which was a part of the former second district from which the municipalities of Gainza and Milaor were taken for inclusion in the new second district. 4264 until its approval by the Senate on a vote of thirteen (13) in favor and two (2) against. The following table3 illustrates the reapportionment made by Republic Act No. is the Mayor of Naga City. (1) x x x x Local Gov Cases set 2 . the first district municipalities of Libmanan. Minalabac.383. 9716.777 3rd District (formerly 2nd District) Naga Pili Ocampo Canaman 4th District (formerly 3rd District) Caramoan Garchitorena Goa Lagonoy Presentacion 5th District (formerly 4th District) Iriga Baao Balatan Bato 439.383 2nd District 276. the first and second districts of Camarines Sur were reconfigured in order to create an additional legislative district for the province. 9716.70 Following the enactment of Republic Act No. 9716: District 1st District Municipalities/Cities Del Gallego Ragay Lupi Sipocot Cabusao Libmanan Minalabac Pamplona Pasacao San Fernando Gainza Milaor Camaligan Magarao Bombon Calabanga Sangay San Jose Tigaon Tinamba Siruma Buhi Bula Nabua Population 176. from the filing of House Bill No. Robredo.5 The petitioners claim that the reconfiguration by Republic Act No. 9716 of the first and second districts of Camarines Sur is unconstitutional. Pamplona. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution as basis for the cited 250. now before us. as well as argumentation and debate on the issue. Petitioners rely on Section 5(3). because the proposed first district will end up with a population of less than 250. Hence.4 Petitioner Aquino III was one of two senators who voted against the approval of the Bill by the Senate.000 minimum population standard. the process progressed step by step. concerning the stand of the oppositors of the bill that a population of at least 250. Pasacao.070 Republic Act No.

In support of their theory. Republic Act 9716 is unconstitutional because the newly apportioned first district of Camarines Sur failed to meet the population requirement for the creation of the legislative district as explicitly provided in Article VI. shall have at least one representative. the petitioners point to what they claim is the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to adopt a population minimum of 250. compact. the 250. or each province. provided each resulting district will represent a population of at least 250. unless otherwise fixed by law. (2) x x x x (3) Each legislative district shall comprise.Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. cities and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants. as far as practicable.000) for the year 1986. as far as practicable. the reapportionment must be stricken down as invalid for non-compliance with the minimum population requirement.10 According to the petitioners. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. Paragraphs (1) and (3) of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended thereto.000 in order to be valid. compact. Republic Act 9716 violates the principle of proportional representation as provided in Article VI. Section 5 paragraphs (1). On the other hand.9 The petitioners argue that when the Constitutional Commission fixed the original number of district seats in the House of Representatives to two hundred (200). and adjacent territory. save in the case of a newly created province.000 population requirement found in Section 5(3). in the same manner that the Constitutional Commission did in the original apportionment.000.000 population threshold. and adjacent territory. (3) and (4) of the Constitution.11 Thus. and 2. (4) x x x x (Emphasis supplied). the submission is that: 1. regional and sectoral parties or organizations.000 inhabitants. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members. and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio.12 The provision subject of this case states: Article VI Section 5. Thus did the petitioners claim that in reapportioning legislative districts independently from the creation of a province. Local Gov Cases set 2 . the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.000 in the creation of additional legislative seats. contiguous.7 The petitioners theorize that.000 figure appearing in the above-cited provision is the minimum population requirement for the creation of a legislative district. shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national. Section 5. and those who. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is actually based on the population constant used by the Constitutional Commission in distributing the initial 200 legislative seats. shall have at least one representative. contiguous. The petitioners posit that the 250. 55 million people represented by 200 district representatives translates to roughly 250. Congress is bound to observe a 250. each legislative district created by Congress must be supported by a minimum population of at least 250. or each province.8 Under this view. they took into account the projected national population of fifty five million (55. existing legislative districts may be reapportioned and severed to form new districts. (4) Within three years following the return of every census. if the reapportionment would result in the creation of a legislative seat representing a populace of less than 250. who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces.71 (2) x x x x (3) Each legislative district shall comprise. Verbatim.000 people for every one (1) representative. as provided by law.000.

The respondents assert that by choosing to avail themselves of the remedies of Certiorari and Prohibition. The petitioners could have availed themselves of another plain.000 minimum population is only a requirement for the creation of a legislative district in a city. the same could have been ventilated through a petition for declaratory relief. whether exercising judicial. and second. not original jurisdiction. they were not acting as a judicial or quasi-judicial body. 9716. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. but argue that a plain and simple reading of the questioned provision will show that the same has no application with respect to the creation of legislative districts in provinces. The Supreme Court has. 9716. need a direct focus of the arguments on their content and substance. Respondents maintain that in implementing Republic Act No. The Jaworski case ratiocinates: Granting arguendo that the present action cannot be properly treated as a petition for prohibition.13 Rather. the 250. One cannot deny that the issues raised herein have potentially pervasive influence on the social and moral well being of this nation. This is in accordance with the well-entrenched principle that rules of procedure are not inflexible tools designed to hinder or delay.72 On the other hand. 9716.1avvphi1 2. We first pass upon the threshold issues. 15 Hence. The remedy of Certiorari and Prohibition must be directed against a tribunal. The respondents concede the existence of a 250. the petitioners have committed a fatal procedural lapse. Considering that the main thrust of the instant petition is the declaration of unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. Republic Act No. tempered the application of procedural rules. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. but Local Gov Cases set 2 . the respondents argue that the petitioners are guilty of two (2) fatal technical defects: first. The respondents. the respondents call attention to an apparent distinction between cities and provinces drawn by Section 5(3). 14 as well as relaxed the requirement of locus standi whenever confronted with an important issue of overreaching significance to society. hence. should be sustained as a perfectly valid reapportionment law. by reason of constitutional importance. the petitioners have no locus standi to question the constitutionality of Republic Act No. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)16 and Jaworski v. The instant petition is bereft of any allegation that the respondents had acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. officer or person. petitioners committed an error in choosing to assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 3.000 population condition. through the Office of the Solicitor General. nor were they engaging in the performance of a ministerial act. or is in danger of sustaining any substantial injury as a result of the implementation of Republic Act No. or ministerial functions. the respondents. and took original cognizance of cases raising issues of paramount public importance. PAGCOR. board. which only creates an additional legislative district within the province of Camarines Sur. This Court has paved the way away from procedural debates when confronted with issues that.17this Court sanctioned momentary deviation from the principle of the hierarchy of courts. 9716. or with grave abuse of discretion. 9716. specially the youth. on more than one occasion. In sum. seek the dismissal of the present petition based on procedural and substantive grounds. the respondents deny the existence of a fixed population requirement for the reapportionment of districts in provinces. On substantive matters. quasi-judicial. therefore. On procedural matters. The respondents cite the following reasons: 1. their proper and just determination is an imperative need. in Del Mar v. The respondents likewise allege that the petitioners had failed to show that they had sustained. 9716. 9716 via the remedy of Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Therefore. over which the Supreme Court has only appellate. the transcendental importance of the issues involved in this case warrants that we set aside the technical defects and take primary jurisdiction over the petition at bar. conclude that the petitioners lack the required legal standing to question the constitutionality of Republic Act No.

000. 7854. Section 5(3) of the Constitution requires a 250.21 just to name a few. We go directly to the determination of whether or not a population of 250.22 this Court held that in cases of transcendental importance.23 Given the weight of the issue raised in the instant petition. Article VI of the Constitution. considering that Makati had a total population of only 450. in turn. (Emphasis supplied) Anent the locus standi requirement.18 Tatad v.000. succinctly provides: "Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. because the resulting districts would be supported by a population of less than 250. 7854 created an additional legislative district for Makati. the cases must be settled promptly and definitely. shall have at least one representative. Jr. The beaten path must be taken. the standing requirements may be relaxed.000 in order to be similarly entitled. the issue presented was the constitutionality of Republic Act No. Public Estates Authority20 and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v.27 In Mariano. We deny the petition. The second sentence of Section 5(3). with nothing mentioned about population. which was the law that converted the Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized City. must always be eschewed. coupled with what they perceive to be the intent of the framers of the Constitution to adopt a minimum population of 250." to wit: Local Gov Cases set 2 . Guingona.000 minimum population is only required for a city. that absence of direct injury on the part of the party seeking judicial review may be excused when the latter is able to craft an issue of transcendental importance. When there is neither a violation of a specific provision of the Constitution nor any proof showing that there is such a violation. Gonzales. the presumption of constitutionality will prevail and the law must be upheld. This liberal stance has been echoed in the more recent decision on Chavez v. We start with the basics. which at that time was a lone district.73 to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. In Lim v. or each province.19 Chavez v. Executive Secretary. For while a province is entitled to at least a representative.25 There is no specific provision in the Constitution that fixes a 250.000 for each legislative district. but not so for a province. The 250. 24Before a law may be declared unconstitutional by this Court. To doubt is to sustain. Executive Secretary.000 minimum population only for a city to be entitled to a representative. The Supreme Court sustained the constitutionality of the law and the validity of the newly created district. Article VI of the Constitution. Any law duly enacted by Congress carries with it the presumption of constitutionality.000 minimum population that must compose a legislative district. COMELEC. As already mentioned. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. a city must first meet a population minimum of 250. Their strict and rigid application. Zamora. the petitioners rely on the second sentence of Section 5(3). rather than promote substantial justice. 26 Plainly read. v. The petitioners in that case argued that the creation of an additional district would violate Section 5(3). and so. Republic Act No. the subject of interpretation by this Court in Mariano. there must be a clear showing that a specific provision of the fundamental law has been violated or transgressed. the foregoing principles must apply. which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate." The provision draws a plain and clear distinction between the entitlement of a city to a district on one hand. As it happened. but not for a province. and the entitlement of a province to a district on the other.000 is an indispensable constitutional requirement for the creation of a new legislative district in a province. explaining the operation of the Constitutional phrase "each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. this Court has already uniformly ruled in Kilosbayan v. The use by the subject provision of a comma to separate the phrase "each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand" from the phrase "or each province" point to no other conclusion than that the 250.000 minimum population requirement for legislative districts in cities was.

city. From its journal.000).000) square kilometers. several determinants. through the use of the population benchmark. Simply put. that a city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand (250. so many districts have been apportioned. should not be applied to additional districts in provinces. in the determination of the precise district within the province to which. In other words.000 to be entitled to an additional district. Section 461 of the Local Government Code states: Requisites for Creation. if an additional legislative district created within a city is not required to represent a population of at least 250.000. Thus. neither should such be needed for an additional district in a province. or (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250. And. proceeded to form an ordinance that would be appended to the final document. the requirement of 250. but is merely an alternative addition to the indispensable income requirement. There is no reason why the Mariano case.28(Emphasis supplied) The Mariano case limited the application of the 250. The Ordinance is captioned "APPORTIONING THE SEATS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES TO THE DIFFERENT LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS IN PROVINCES AND CITIES AND THE METROPOLITAN MANILA AREA. population as a factor was not the sole. The 200 seats were distributed by the Constitutional Commission in this manner: first. its legislative district may still be increased since it has met the minimum population requirement of two hundred fifty thousand (250. Even granting that the population of Makati as of the 1990 census stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450. Notably.000) shall be entitled to at least one congressional representative. Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides that a city whose population has increased to more than two hundred fifty thousand (250.000." Such records would show that the 250. whys.000 inhabitants was not taken as an absolute minimum for one legislative district. which corresponded to the original number of district representatives. of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20. Article VI of the Constitution requires a city to have a minimum population of 250. the remaining seats were then redistributed among the provinces. and wherefores of the population requirement of "at least two hundred fifty thousand" may be gleaned from the records of the Constitutional Commission which. the population of Makati stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450. The whats. Simply discernible too is the fact that. Said section provides.74 Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with section 5(3). Indeed. the requirement of population is not an indispensable requirement.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office. or Metropolitan Manila should have. Article VI of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census). one (1) seat each was given to the seventy-three (73) provinces and the ten (10) cities with a population of at least 250. Mariano. inter alia. – (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income. In fact.000 in order to be valid.000).000.29 we can see that the Constitutional Commission originally divided the entire country into two hundred (200) districts. as certified by the Lands Management Bureau.000 minimum population requirement for cities only to its initial legislative district. by virtue of and upon creation. is entitled to at least a legislative district. as certified by the Department of Finance. which involves the creation of an additional district within a city.000) shall have at least one representative. cities and Metropolitan Manila.000 to be entitled to a representative. population had to be the determinant.though it was among. Even then. is but a reflection of the pertinent ideas that ran through the deliberations on the words and meaning of Section 5 of Article VI. cities and the Metropolitan Area "in accordance with the number of their inhabitants on the basis of a uniform and progressive Local Gov Cases set 2 . the population figure was used to determine how many districts a province. Apropos for discussion is the provision of the Local Government Code on the creation of a province which. while Section 5(3). it does not have to increase its population by another 250.000 population benchmark was used for the 1986 nationwide apportionment of legislative districts among provinces.30 second. upon framing the provisions of Section 5 of Article VI.000). for the purpose.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2. it would turn out. considering moreover that a province is entitled to an initial seat by the mere fact of its creation and regardless of its population. closer to the point herein at issue.

Davide explained that the Committee took into account the standards set in Section 5 of the Article on the Legislative Department. 107 of the Constitutional Commission narrates: INTERPELLATION OF MR. Batarasa. Mr. apportioned among provinces and cities with a population of at least 250. Quezon.358 including the City of Puerto Princesa. Bacolod. Differentiated from this. Thus was the number of seats computed for each province and city. He then queried whether population was the only factor considered by the Committee in redistricting. He stated that the First District has a greater area than the Second District. the determination of the districts within the province had to consider "all protests and complaints formally received" which. adjacent and contiguous. Replying thereto. He also pointed out that there are more potential candidates in the north and therefore if Puerto Princesa City and the towns of Cuyo and Coron are lumped together. Nolledo stated that Puerto Princesa has a population of 75. and 2) the legislative district must be compact. He proposed. Mr. xxxx Thereupon. (Emphasis supplied).33 "PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF MR. Mr."31 Commissioner Davide. He requested that the COMELEC staff study said proposal. He added that Cuyo and Coron are very important towns in the northern part of Palawan and. who later became a Member and then Chief Justice of the Court. Taking into account the mandate that each city with at least 250. in turn. Nolledo pointed out that the last factor was not met when Puerto Princesa was included with the northern towns. Narra. Brooke’s Point. Iloilo. there would be less candidates in the south. Davao and Zamboanga. with the 1980 official enumeration as the point of reckoning. its inclusion with the northern towns would result in a combined population of 265. Journal No. Mr. that Puerto Princesa be included in the Second District in order to satisfy the contiguity requirement in the Constitution considering that said City is nearer the southern towns comprising the Second District. most of whose inhabitants are not interested in politics.000 for the south. Nolledo inquired on the reason for including Puerto Princesa in the northern towns when it was more affinity with the southern town of Aborlan. This projection indicates that our population is more or less 56 million. The population is based on the 1986 projection. Quezon and Marcos. the records show. Caloocan. Cuyo was the capital of Palawan before its transfer to Puerto Princesa. in fact. Cebu. namely: 1) the legislative seats should be apportioned among the provinces and cities and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with their inhabitants on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. we then proceed[ed] to increase whenever appropriate the number of seats for the provinces and cities in accordance with the number of their inhabitants on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. He then inquired what is the distance between Puerto Princesa from San Vicente. which are the Cities of Manila. we first allotted one seat for each of the 73 provinces. dealt with determinants other than population as already mentioned. NOLLEDO: Mr. Palawan is a case in point. Davide stated that the proposal would be considered during the period of amendments. Cagayan de Oro. He then suggested that Puerto Princesa be included in the south or the Second District.000 as against only 186. 000 and the Metropolitan Area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. explained this in his sponsorship remark32 for the Ordinance to be appended to the 1987 Constitution: Commissioner Davide: The ordinance fixes at 200 the number of legislative seats which are. Thereafter. while the Second District has a total population of 186.480 and based on the apportionment. and each one for all cities with a population of at least 250.75 ratio. NOLLEDO On the districting of Palawan. Mr. Pasay. however.733. 000. Nolledo pointed out that it was explained in the interpellations that District I has a total population of 265. Local Gov Cases set 2 . 000 inhabitants and each province shall have at least one representative.

The Journal further narrates: At this juncture. Tublay. the Body approved the apportionment and districting of Region I. the amendment was approved by the Body. Regalado stated that in the formulation of the Committee. the venue and situs of many government offices and functions.35 Quite emphatically. Davide accepted Mr. Mr. Upon inquiry of the Chair whether he is insisting on his amendment.149. Mr. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Regalado admitted that the regular population of Baguio may be lower during certain times of the year. Mr. the First District would only have a total population of 190. REGALADO Mr. there being no objection. The Second District shall comprise of Baguio City alone. Davide adverted to Director de Lima’s statement that unless Tuba and Baguio City are united. There being no objection. transactions and offices that are also there. Baguio City and Tuba are placed in one district. Davide. Mr. by itself. Nolledo explained that with the proposed transfer of Puerto Princesa City to the Second District. there being no objection. the Body approved the reconsideration of the earlier approval of the apportionment and districting of Region I. Mr. on motion of Mr. have its own constituency and Tuba could be transferred to the Second District together with Itogon. Regalado was put to a vote. Benguet and Baguio are another reference point. Davide informed that in view of the approval of the amendment.76 In reply to Mr. Davide. Mr.000 while the Second District would have 262. There being no objection on the part of the Members the same was approved by the Body. Benguet with Baguio City will have two seats. Davide. He stated that the Committee would submit the matter to the Body. APPROVAL OF THE APPORTIONMENT AND DISTRICTING OF PALAWAN There being no other amendment. Bokod.000 population figure. therefore. Tuba could be divorced from Baguio City so that it could. Bakun.34 The districting of Palawan disregarded the 250.213. It was decided by the importance of the towns and the city that eventually composed the districts. REMARKS OF MR. Monsod’s query. Kabayan. however. population was explicitly removed as a factor. Nolledo’s proposal to insert Puerto Princesa City before the Municipality of Aborlan. but the transient population would increase the population substantially and. On motion of Mr. Regalado made a reservation with the Committee for the possible reopening of the approval of Region I with respect to Benguet and Baguio City. Kibungan. the amendment of Mr. The First District shall comprise of the municipalities of Mankayan. particularly Benguet. Buguias. perhaps as a special consideration for Baguio because it is the summer capital of the Philippines. for purposes of business and professional transactions. and there would be no substantial changes. Thereafter. pointed out that the population of Baguio City is only 141. Sablan. Mr. He stated that he was toying with the idea that. La Trinidad. Tuba will be isolated from the rest of Benguet as the place can only be reached by passing through Baguio City. not to speak of the official business matters. Davide. it is beyond question that population-wise. Atok. Regalado stated that the Body should have a say on the matter and that the considerations he had given are not on the demographic aspects but on the fact that Baguio City is the summer capital. the apportionment and districting for the province of Palawan was approved by the Body. Itogon and Tuba. Kapangan. Mr. on motion of Mr. Baguio would more than qualify. Davide informed the Body that Mr. there being no objection. With 14 Members voting in favor and none against.

The Constitution.000 used by the Constitutional Commission in nationally apportioning legislative districts among provinces and cities ─ entitled to two (2) districts in addition to the four (4) that it was given in the 1986 apportionment. with each district having a city: one district "supposed to be a fishing area.000 as insisted upon by the petitioners. a rice growing area. Significantly. among the matters discussed were "political stability and common interest among the people in the area" and the possibility of "chaos and disunity" considering the "accepted regional. all that the Constitution requires is that every legislative district should comprise. 2. the petition find support."36 In the districting of Maguindanao. compact and adjacent territory. Commissioner Maambong proposed that they should "balance the area and population. Section 5 of Article VI as clearly written allows and does not prohibit an additional district for the Province of Camarines Sur."37 For Laguna.383 and not 250. nay. such as that provided for in Republic Act No. were: (a) the dialects spoken in the grouped municipalities. (Emphasis supplied). 3. The factors mentioned during the deliberations on House Bill No. The foregoing reading and review lead to a clear lesson. The Province of Camarines Sur. This 2008 pronouncement is fresh reasoning against the uncompromising stand of petitioner that an additional provincial legislative district. 9786. (c) the natural division separating the municipality subject of the discussion from the reconfigured District One. and (d) the balancing of the areas of the three districts resulting from the redistricting of Districts One and Two. which does not have at least a 250. contiguous. it was mentioned that municipalities in the highland should not be grouped with the towns in the lowland. we stated in Bagabuyo v. Article VI of the Constitution can. petitioner Aquino concedes this point. however.821 in 2007 is ─ based on the formula and constant number of 250. (b) the size of the original groupings compared to that of the regrouped municipalities. another a vegetable and fruit area.000 is a constitutional sine qua non for the formation of an additional legislative district in a province. as far as practicable. political. And the formulation of the Ordinance in the implementation of the provision. with an estimated population of 1. and more importantly based on the final districting in the Ordinance on considerations other than population. Translated in the terms of the present case: 1. 4264.41 Local Gov Cases set 2 . traditional and sectoral leaders. these figures show a disparity in the population sizes of the districts. COMELEC39 that: x x x Undeniably.000 population is not allowed by the Constitution. refutes the contention that a population of 250.693. To ensure quality representation through commonality of interests and ease of access by the representative to the constituents. the reapportionment or the recomposition of the first and second legislative districts in the Province of Camarines Sur that resulted in the creation of a new legislative district is valid even if the population of the new district is 176. For Cebu. Based on the pith and pitch of the exchanges on the Ordinance on the protests and complaints against strict conformity with the population standard." because such consideration "fosters common interests in line with the standard of compactness. and the third.40 In other words. does not require mathematical exactitude or rigid equality as a standard in gauging equality of representation. even the Ordinance itself.77 It may be additionally mentioned that the province of Cavite was divided into districts based on the distribution of its three cities. Neither in the text nor in the essence of Section 5. x x x. whose population growth has increased beyond the 1986 numbers."38 Consistent with Mariano and with the framer deliberations on district apportionment.

78 Each of such factors and in relation to the others considered together.1avvphi1 WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. much less grave abuse of discretion. Local Gov Cases set 2 . Republic Act No. the petition is hereby DISMISSED. we do not say that in the reapportionment of the first and second legislative districts of Camarines Sur. Our ruling is that population is not the only factor but is just one of several other factors in the composition of the additional district. with the increased population of the erstwhile Districts One and Two. the number of inhabitants in the resulting additional district should not be considered. 9716 entitled "An Act Reapportioning the Composition of the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative Districts in the Province of Camarines Sur and Thereby Creating a New Legislative District From Such Reapportionment" is a VALID LAW. To be clear about our judgment. 9716. so very clearly given form in the Constitutional debates on the exact issue presented by this petition. Such settlement is in accord with both the text of the Constitution and the spirit of the letter. point to the utter absence of abuse of discretion. 42 that would warrant the invalidation of Republic Act No.

Escalante. SEC. Section 3 of our Constitution. Magalona. 1986 PATRICIO TAN. on December 23. 6. it is expressly mandated that— See. 5. Manapla. abolished.79 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. CONCHITA MINAYA. north and east. VIRGILIO GASTON. Cadiz. A plebiscite shall be conducted in the proposed new province which are the areas affected within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the approval of this Act. ALAMPAY. 2. EMILY JISON. HAGAD. SEC. No. No province. 885 is unconstitutional and it is not in complete accord with the Local Government Code as in Article XI. municipality or barrio may be created. Victorias. was scheduled for January 3. are hereby separated from the province to be known as the Province of Negros del Norte.R. This Act shall takeeffect upon its approval. SEC. the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San Carlos on the south and the territorial limits of the northern portion to the Island of Negros on the west.95 square kilometers more or less. The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of the City of Silay. the expenses for which shall be charged to local funds. ALBERTO LACSON. The Commission on Elections shall conduct and supervise the plebiscite herein provided. Taboso. Gamboa & Hofileña Law Office for petitioners. TERESITA ESTACIO. divided. FE HOFILENA. merged. 23-24) Petitioners contend that Batas Pambansa Blg. 3. J. who are residents of the Province of Negros Occidental. 1985. 1985. pursuant to and in implementation of the aforesaid law. DESIDERIO DEFERIA. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and THE PROVINCIAL TREASURER OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL. filed with this Court a case for Prohibition for the purpose of stopping respondents Commission on Elections from conducting the plebiscite which. Said law provides: SECTION 1. SEC. comprising a territory of 4.019.R. which took effect on December 3. SERGIO HILADO.(Rollo. pp. 1986.: Prompted by the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 4. The seat of government of the new province shall be the City of Cadiz. E.respondents. Petitioners herein. Local Gov Cases set 2 . The Cities of Silay. 73155 July 11. FELIX FERRER. SEC. city. 885-An Act Creating a New Province in the Island of Negros to be known as the Province of Negros del Norte. After the ratification of the creation of the Province of Negros del Norte by a majority of the votes cast in such plebiscite. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code. and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units affected. and San Carlos and the municipalities of Calatrava. JUAN M. Sagay. and Salvador Benedicto. or its boundary substantially altered. ROMEO GAMBOA. all in the northern portion of the Island of Negros. vs. the President of the Philippines shall appoint the first officials of the province. NIEVES LOPEZ AND CECILIA MAGSAYSAY. 3. petitioners. in the various cities and municipalities therein.

Sagay. 1985 and filed with the Court on January 2. The average estimated annual income shall include the income alloted for both the general and infrastructural funds. on January 7. exclusive of trust funds.'"At the same time. public respondents. Acting on the petition. A province may be created if it has a territory of at least three thousand five hundred square kilometers. not to file a motion to dismiss. filed their Comment. 1986) was submitted by former Senator Ambrosio Padilla. Finding that the exclusion and non-participation of the voters of the Province of Negros Occidental other than those living within the territory of the new province of Negros del Norte to be not in accordance with the Constitution.B. to desist from ordering the release of any local funds to answer for expenses incurred in the holding of such plebiscite until ordered by the Court. Said motion was granted in Our resolution of January 2.80 Section 197 of the Local Government Code enumerates the conditions which must exist to provide the legal basis for the creation of a provincial unit and these requisites are: SEC. Acknowledging in their supplemental petition that supervening events rendered moot the prayer in their initial petition that the plebiscite scheduled for January 3. Local Gov Cases set 2 . 1986. directed to the respondent Commission on Elections. Escalante. of not less than ten million pesos for the last three consecutive years. nevertheless. 1986. Victorias. the Court. Magalona and Don Salvador Benedicto. 1986 resolved. and its creation shall not reduce the population and income of the mother province or provinces at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements under this section.. on January 14. a supplemental pleading was filed by petitioners on January 4. Petitioners further prayed that the respondent COMELEC hold in abeyance the issuance of any official proclamation of the results of the aforestated plebiscite. to schedule the holding of another plebiscite at which all the qualified voters of the entire Province of Negros Occidental as now existing shall participate. 9-10). petitioners plead. Manapla. 197. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two or more islands. p. that. (Rollo. 1986 as scheduled but that there are still serious issues raised in the instant case affecting the legality. 1986 has no legal effect. 6) Due to the constraints brought about by the supervening Christmas holidays during which the Court was in recess and unable to timely consider the petition. E..-Batas Pambansa 885. During the pendency of this case. namely: the Cities of Silay. averring therein that the plebiscite sought to be restrained by them was held on January 3. petitioners found need to change the prayer of their petition "to the end that the constitutional issues which they have raised in the action will be ventilated and given final resolution. to require respondents to comment. an average estimated annual income. being a patent legal nullity. 1986. a population of at least five hundred thousand persons. and the municipalities of Calatrava. represented by the Office of the Solicitor General. without giving due course to the same. that a writ of mandamus be issued. at the same time making pronouncement that the plebiscite held on January 3. 1986. The plebiscite was confined only to the inhabitants of the territory of Negros del N•rte. transfers and nonrecurring income. arguing therein that the challenged statute. Complying with said resolution. (Rollo pp. a writ of Prohibition be issued. be enjoined. Requisites for Creation. Cadiz. directed to Respondent Commission on Elections to desist from issuing official proclamation of the results of the plebiscite held on January 3. Taboso. 1986. directed to the respondent Provincial Treasurer. Because of the exclusions of the voters from the rest of the province of Negros Occidental. as well as on the supplemental petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction with prayer for restraining order. a motion that he be allowed to appear as amicus curiae in this case (dated December 27. and San Carlos. they asked that the effects of the plebiscite which they sought to stop be suspended until the Supreme Court shall have rendered its decision on the very fundamental and far-reaching questions that petitioners have brought out. as certified by the Ministry of Finance. And that a similar writ of Prohibition be issued. constitutionality and validity of such exercise which should properly be passed upon and resolved by this Court.

not that which will destroy. however. de not fall within the meaning and scope of the term "unit or units affected". . should be excluded in the plebiscite. On this reasoning. et al.81 should be accorded the presumption of legality. would only be about 2.D. Thus. commends itself for acceptance. Adherence to such philosophy compels the conclusion that when there are indications that the inhabitants of several barangays are inclined to separate from a parent municipality they should be allowed to do so. 2." Local Gov Cases set 2 . That is not to abide by the fundamental principle of the Constitution to promote local autonomy. On these considerations.95 square kilometers.734 were in favor of the creation of Negros del Norte and 30. 3. as referred to in Section 3 of Art. As a final argument. the former is to be preferred. A new municipal corporation will come into existence.. Respondents also maintain that the requisites under the Local Government Code (P. the appointments of the officials of said province created were announced.R. It is much more persuasive. They should be left alone then to decide for themselves. That which will save. To rule as this Tribunal does is to follow an accepted principle of constitutional construction.856. and they alone. it is in accordance with the settled doctrine that between two possible constructions.. the basic presumption all these years is one of validity.56 square kilometers and which evidently would be lesser than the minimum area prescribed by the governing statute. It is they. March 2.400 were against it. who are not from the barangays to be separated. the corresponding certificate of canvass indicated that out of 195. (G. one avoiding a finding of unconstitutionality and the other yielding such a result. respondents stress the fact that following the proclamation of Negros del Norte province. that in ascertaining the meaning of a particular provision that may give rise to doubts. the preference being for smaller units. Respondents submit that said ruling in the aforecited case applies equally with force in the case at bar. invoking and citing the case of Governor Zosimo Paredes versus the Honorable Executive Secretary to the President.this is one of those cases where the discretion of the Court is allowed considerable leeway. 885 creating said new province plainly declares that the territorial boundaries of Negros del Norte comprise an area of 4. respondents urge that this case should be dismissed for having been rendered moot and academic as the creation of the new province is now a "fait accompli. Petitioners insist that the area which would comprise the new province of Negros del Norte. respondents maintain that Batas Pambansa Blg. There is indeed an element of ambiguity in the use of the expression 'unit or units affected'. to contend as respondents do that the acceptable construction is for those voters.. 885 does not violate the Constitution. To allow other voters to participate will not yield a true expression of their will. For one thing. and they constitute the majority. Respondents state that the powers of the Batasang-Pambansa to enact the assailed law is beyond question.019. Respondents. 164. Admittedly. It is plausible to assert as petitioners do that when certain Barangays are separated from a parent municipality to form a new one. 1986. in this regard. they submit that this case has now become moot and academic with the proclamation of the new Province of Negros del Norte.500 square kilometers as so prescribed in the Local Government Code for a new province to be created has not been satisfied. Respondents argue that the remaining cities and municipalities of the Province of Negros Occidental not included in the area of the new Province of Negros del Norte. that as a result thereof. Its birth will be a matter of choice-their choice. the Chairman of the Board of Canvassers proclaimed the new province which shall be known as "Negros del Norte". Respondents discredit petitioners' allegations that the requisite area of 3. That certainly will be so if they vote against it for selfish reasons. . Furthermore. the intent of the framers and of the people may be gleaned from provisions in pari materia.. New responsibilities will be assumed. No. particularly the pronouncements therein. They may even frustrate it. more or less. respondents insist that instant petition has been rendered moot and academic considering that a plebiscite has been already conducted on January 3. categorical and undeniable demonstration of the supposed infringement of the Constitution. After all. They claim that Batas Pambansa Big. all the voters therein are affected. They submit that the said law is not void on its face and that the petition does not show a clear. hereunder quoted: 1.134 total votes cast in said plebiscite. XI of our Constitution. What is more logical than to ascertain their will in a plebiscite called for that purpose. New burdens will be imposed. 885 does not infringe the Constitution because the requisites of the Local Government Code have been complied with. 55628. who shall constitute the new unit. 337) for the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte have all been duly complied with. point out and stress that Section 2 of Batas Pambansa Blg. and because "the affirmative votes cast represented a majority of the total votes cast in said plebiscite. 1984 (128 SCRA 61).

... it was therein certified as follows: xxx xxx xxx This is to certify that the following cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental have the land area as indicated hereunder based on the Special Report No............. 1975 and 1980 by the National Census and Statistics Office...656 hectares more or less.................214................ containing an area of 285... The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of the City of Silay... 3.......... Ramirez of the Province of Negros Occidental.... the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San Carlos on the south and the territorial limits of the northern portion of the Island of Negros on the West...... comprising a territory of 4........ The Cities of Silay.. 3644 which led to the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg.113.................133..........019..... it expressly declared in Sec.............. Land Area and Density: 1970..95 square kilometers more or less........... in Parliamentary Bill No... and San Carlos and the municipalities of Calatrava.... However.3 3..... 885 and the creation of the new Province of Negros del Norte. and Salvador Benedicto.... Sagay ..... Manapla. Equally accepted by the parties is the fact that under the certification issued by Provincial Treasurer Julian L. the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San Carlos on the South and the natural boundaries of the northern portion of the Island of Negros on the West. nor was required to disburse any public funds in connection with the plebiscite held on January 3... Escalante... pp..B.. Victorias... Manapla.. North and East....... 1986 as so disclosed in the Comment to the Petition filed by the respondent Provincial Treasurer of Negros Occidental dated January 20............ Firstly..........5 6....6 Local Gov Cases set 2 ........516...82 In resolving this case. 1985. 1...... Victorias.. Secondly. E......389..... the following: SEC......... Population.................... Magalona.... 2.. E..... Manila.8 2...... there is no disagreement that the Provincial Treasurer of the Province of Negros Occidental has not disbursed.. Philippines 1980............... Thus......... 3644 was very quickly enacted into Batas Pambansa Blg.. The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of the City of Silay.. dated July 16........... the boundaries of the new Province of Negros del Norte were defined therein and its boundaries then stated to be as follows: SECTION 1....112...) 1.9 5.. Cadiz City ..... Km....... Magalona........... when said Parliamentary Bill No. Silay City .. the prayer of the petitioners that said Provincial Treasurer be directed by this Court to desist from ordering the release of any public funds on account of such plebiscite should not longer deserve further consideration.... SEC. (Emphasis supplied)... all in the northern portion of the Island of Negros.... 36-37)....... Toboso...... North and East. 2 of the aforementioned Parliamentary Bill.....9 4.............. 1986 (Rollo.. 885..R........ it will be useful to note and emphasize the facts which appear to be agreed to by the parties herein or stand unchallenged......... are hereby separated from the Province of Negros Occidental and constituted into a new province to be known as the Province of Negros del Norte...... Sagay. Land Area (Sq............. Cadiz....................

the fact that such plebiscite had been held and a new province proclaimed and its officials appointed....... Patricio Y............ p... the case before Us cannot truly be viewed as already moot and academic. After the ratification of the creation of the Province of Negros del Norte by a majority of the votes cast in such plebiscite....2 square kilometers. illegality attaches to its creation.. when Batas Pambansa Blg........ 1975 and 1980 of the National Census and Statistics Office.0 8..9 square kilometers (Exh... as there has been fait accompli then this Court should passively accept and accede to the prevailing situation is an unacceptable suggestion........ Magalona. No controversion has been made by respondent with respect to the allegations of petitioners that the original provision in the draft legislation...4 9..... Victorias. In this instance. Parliamentary Bill No..... one of the component units of the new province.... Don Salvador Benedicto..123.. "C" of Petition.... Negros Occidental....451...... p.. Rollo.. Negros Occidental..83 7.....5 10... it is an uncontradicted fact that the area comprising Don Salvador municipality. RAMIREZ Provincial Treasurer (Exh.. 3644.. Rollo. The statute.. representing the total land area of the Cities of Silay..504.......765............. ART XI thereof. 4. Considering that the legality of the plebiscite itself is challenged for non-compliance with constitutional requisites..........2 square kilometers. was derived from the City of San Carlos and from the Municipality of Calatrava.... However. contemplates a plebiscite that would be held in the unit or units affected by the creation of the new province as a result of the consequent division of and substantial alteration of the boundaries of the existing province............. Rollo....... One-fourth of this total land area of Murcia that was added to the portions derived from the land area of Calatrava... San Carlos City..124. 885 was enacted. This area of 80. Land Area and Density: 1970.. (SGD... 90)......... San Carlos and Cadiz and the Municipalities of E..... Escalante........ Dismissal of the instant petition.. as modified..3 11........ Manila (see Exhibit "C". will result in approximately an area of only 2. Continuation of the existence of this newly proclaimed province which petitioners strongly profess to have been illegally born........R.... Negros Occidental is only 322. the President shall appoint the first officials of the new province.....) JULIAN L............... Philippines 1980.... Manapla........... reads: SEC. It is significant to note the uncontroverted submission of petitioners that the total land area of the entire municipality of Murcia.... there was a significant change in the above provision...... "D". if indeed. Tan for whatever purpose it may serve him.685.. Petitioners submit that Sec............ Taboso and Calatrava..... A plebiscite shall be conducted in the areas affected within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the approval of this Act. as respondents so propose is a proposition Local Gov Cases set 2 ..4 square kilometers using as basis the Special Report... Toboso..." It is this legislative determination limiting the plebiscite exclusively to the cities and towns which would comprise the new province that is assailed by the petitioners as violative of the provisions of our Constitution. only 80. Sagay. the commission of that error should not provide the very excuse for perpetuation of such wrong.........2 square kilometers if then added to 2. 90)..... 3.... Negros Occidental and San Carlos City (Negros Occidental) would constitute. (not available) This certification is issued upon the request of Dr. Escalante ..... provides that the requisite plebiscite "shall be conducted in the proposed new province which are the areas affected................ deserves to be inquired into by this Tribunal so that.. Population.. 91).... p..... Calatrava.... and added thereto was a portion of about one-fourth the land area of the town of Murcia.. therefore. Although in the above certification it is stated that the land area of the relatively new municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto is not available... For this Court to yield to the respondents' urging that............. the voters in the remaining areas of the province of Negros Occidental should have been allowed to participate in the questioned plebiscite.......

Respondents' submission will create a dangerous precedent. Plain and simple logic will demonstrate than that two political units would be affected. are most enlightening and provoking but are factual issues the Court cannot properly pass upon in this case. nevertheless. It is thus inescapable to conclude that the boundaries of the existing province of Negros Occidental would necessarily be substantially altered by the division of its existing boundaries in order that there can be created the proposed new province of Negros del Norte.84 fraught with mischief.P. which being brief and for convenience. municipality or barrio may be created. The other affected entity would be composed of those in the area subtracted from the mother province to constitute the proposed province of Negros del Norte. 885. respected and complied with. be this so. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code. divided. Mention by petitioners of the unexplained changes or differences in the proposed Parliamentary Bill No. The alleged good intentions cannot prevail and overrule the cardinal precept that what our Constitution categorically directs to be done or imposes as a requirement must first be observed. Petitioners' discussion regarding the motives behind the enactment of B. still has the duty and right to correct and rectify the wrong brought to its attention. It can be plainly seen that the aforecited constitutional provision makes it imperative that there be first obtained "the approval of a majority of votes in the plebiscite in the unit or units affected" whenever a province is created. 885 to say the least. the Court. The first would be the parent province of Negros Occidental because its boundaries would be substantially altered. merge. It is illogical to ask that this Tribunal be blind and deaf to protests on the ground that what is already done is done. create. this might tempt again those who strut about in the corridors of power to recklessly and with ulterior motives. No one should be allowed to pay homage to a supposed fundamental policy intended to guarantee and promote autonomy of local government units but at the same time transgress. 3. divide and/or alter the boundaries of political subdivisions. We again quote: SEC. confident that this Court will abstain from entertaining future challenges to their acts if they manage to bring about a fait accompli. Should this Court decline now to perform its duty of interpreting and indicating what the law is and should be. the reference to news articles regarding the questionable conduct of the said plebiscite held on January 3. The principal point raised by the petitioners is not the wisdom and motive in enacting the law but the infringement of the Constitution which is a proper subject of judicial inquiry. done by whatever branch of our government. ignore and disregard what the Constitution commands in Article XI Section 3 thereof. No amount of rhetorical flourishes can justify exclusion of the parent province in the plebiscite because of an alleged intent on the part of the authors and implementors of the challenged statute to carry out what is claimed to be a mandate to guarantee and promote autonomy of local government units. either brazenly or stealthily. city. merged abolished. Blg. We find no way to reconcile the holding of a plebiscite that should conform to said constitutional requirement but eliminates the participation of either of these two component political units. even if such acts would violate the Constitution and the prevailing statutes of our land. On the merits of the case. In the light of the facts and circumstances alluded to by petitioners as attending to the unusually rapid creation of the instant province of Negros del Norte after a swiftly scheduled plebiscite. the swift and surreptitious manner of passage and approval of said law. and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units affected. No province. Respondents would be no different from one who hurries to pray at the temple but then spits at the Idol therein. divided or merged and there is substantial alteration of the boundaries. or its boundary substantially altered. 1986. all serve as interesting reading but are not the decisive matters which should be reckoned in the resolution of this case. To such untenable argument the reply would be that. this Tribunal has the duty to repudiate and discourage the commission of acts which run counter to the mandate of our fundamental law. 3644 and the enacted Batas Pambansa Blg. Section 3 of the Constitution. We find no merit in the submission of the respondents that the petition should be dismissed because the motive and wisdom in enacting the law may not be challenged by petitioners. Local Gov Cases set 2 . the abrupt scheduling of the plebiscite. This Court gives notice that it will not look with favor upon those who may be hereafter inclined to ram through all sorts of legislative measures and then implement the same with indecent haste. Aside from the simpler factual issue relative to the land area of the new province of Negros del Norte. the more significant and pivotal issue in the present case revolves around in the interpretation and application in the case at bar of Article XI.

Understandably. few and lesser problems are involved. It did not resolve the question of how the pertinent provision of the Constitution should be correctly interpreted..R. It is a well accepted rule that "in ascertaining the meaning of a particular provision that may give rise to doubts. invoked by respondents. Lopez. I see no ambiguity in the Constitutional provision.. No. In said case relating to a plebiscite held to ratify the creation of a new municipality from existing barangays. as petitioners do. L-56022. Jr." As this draft legislation speaks of "areas. The economy of the parent province as well as that of the new province will be inevitably affected.85 What the Court considers the only significant submissions lending a little support to respondents' case is their reliance on the rulings and pronouncements made by this Court in the case of Governor Zosimo Paredes versus The Honorable Executive Secretary to the President. even this consideration no longer retains persuasive value. We find very lucidly expressed the strong dissenting view of Justice Vicente Abad Santos. .768. 55628. may be gleaned from the provisions in pari materia. et al.. all the voters therein are affected. therefore." what was contemplated evidently are plurality of areas to participate in the plebiscite. that when certain Barangays are separated from a parent municipality to form a new one. what was involved was a division of a barangay which is the smallest political unit in the Local Government Code. Whatever be the case. The environmental facts in the case before Us readily disclose that the subject matter under consideration is of greater magnitude with concomitant multifarious complicated problems. This assumption will be consistent with the requirements set forth in the Constitution. versus the Honorable Commission on Elections. a distinguished member of this Court. 1985. XI of the Constitution. 3644 which proposed the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte recites in Sec. The reasons in the mentioned cases invoked by respondents herein were formerly considered acceptable because of the views then taken that local autonomy would be better promoted However. In the analogous case of Emilio C. His dissenting opinion served as a useful guideline in the instant case. This dissenting opinion of Justice Vicente Abad Santos is the— forerunner of the ruling which We now consider applicable to the case at bar. The ruling in the aforestated case of Paredes vs. It becomes easy to realize that the consequent effects cf the division of the parent province necessarily will affect all the people living in the separate areas of Negros Occidental and the proposed province of Negros del Norte.4 square kilometers from the land area of an existing province whose boundaries will be consequently substantially altered. highly significant are the prefatory statements therein stating that said case is "one of those cases where the discretion of the Court is allowed considerable leeway" and that "there is indeed an element of ambiguity in the use of the expression unit or units affected. this Court upheld the legality of the plebiscite which was participated in exclusively by the people of the barangay that would constitute the new municipality.. Local Gov Cases set 2 . when the Constitution speaks of "the unit or units affected" it means all of the people of the municipality if the municipality is to be divided such as in the case at bar or an of the people of two or more municipalities if there be a merger. In the case at bar. creation of a new province relates to the largest political unit contemplated in Section 3. 136 SCRA 633. et al. those to be included in such plebiscite would be the people living in the area of the proposed new province and those living in the parent province. May 31. What is. In the earlier case. Opportunity to re-examine the views formerly held in said cases is now afforded the present Court. The Honorable Executive Secretary. Executive Secretary. this dissent was reiterated by Justice Abad Santos as he therein assailed as suffering from a constitutional infirmity a referendum which did not include all the people of Bulacan and Rizal. This will result in the removal of approximately 2. G. March 2." Parliamentary Bill No. 1984 (128 SCRA 6). the intent of the framers and of the people. Art. (supra) should not be taken as a doctrinal or compelling precedent when it is acknowledged therein that "it is plausible to assert. Logically. either or both of these political groups will be affected and they are." The ruling rendered in said case was based on a claimed prerogative of the Court then to exercise its discretion on the matter. This Court is not unmindful of this solitary case alluded to by respondents." It is relevant and most proper to mention that in the aforecited case of Paredes vs. To form the new province of Negros del Norte no less than three cities and eight municipalities will be subtracted from the parent province of Negros Occidental. as he therein voiced his opinion. the unit or units referred to in Section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution which must be included in the plebiscite contemplated therein. however. which We hereunder quote: 2. either for the better or for the worse. 4 thereof that "the plebiscite shall be conducted in the areas affected within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the approval of this Act. when such referendum was intended to ascertain if the people of said provinces were willing to give up some of their towns to Metropolitan Manila.

Rather." We agree with the petitioners that in the case of Negros what was involved was a division. dated January 4. it is prayed for by petitioners that a writ of mandamus be issued. not to mention the other adverse economic effects it might suffer. 1986 as null and void and violative of the provisions of Sec. Article XI of the Constitution. a separation. a substantial alteration of boundary. this tactic will be tainted with illegality. Local Gov Cases set 2 . it is the petitioners' case that deserve to be favored. Such additional statement serves no useful purpose for the same is misleading. It is now time for this Court to set aside the equivocations and the indecisive pronouncements in the adverted case of Paredes vs. et al.— Indeed. We now state that the ruling in the two mentioned cases sanctioning the exclusion of the voters belonging to an existing political unit from which the new political unit will be derived. The Court is not. the contrary is true. 3644 was enacted into Batas Pambansa Blg. They must have entertained apprehensions that by holding the plebiscite only in the areas of the new proposed province. thereby ignoring the evident reality that there are other people necessarily affected. In their supplemental petition. erroneous and far from truth. In the mind of the Court. In the language of petitioners.656 hectares and it will lose seven of the fifteen sugar mills which contribute to the economy of the whole province. As contended by petitioners. (supra). the existing territory and political subdivision known as Negros Occidental has to be partitioned and dismembered. 'divided'. Such cases necessarily will involve existing unit or units abolished and definitely the boundary being substantially altered. "to create Negros del Norte. What was involved was no 'birth' but "amputation. because We find no legal basis to do so. the Honorable Executive Secretary. as Sec. The remaining portion of the parent province is as much an area affected. With constitutional infirmity attaching to the subject Batas Pambansa Big. It is also Our considered view that even hypothetically assuming that the merits of this case can depend on the mere discretion that this Court may exercise. A Province maybe created where an existing province is divided or two provinces merged.86 We fail to find any legal basis for the unexplained change made when Parliamentary Bill No. The Court is prepared to declare the said plebiscite held on January 3. however. 1986. The substantial alteration of the boundaries of the parent province. 1986 has no legal effect for being a patent nullity. to schedule the holding of another plebiscite at which all the qualified voters of the entire province of Negros Occidental as now existing shall participate and that this Court make a pronouncement that the plebiscite held on January 3. is hereby abandoned. the terms 'created'. the change made by those responsible for the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. from participating in the plebiscite conducted for the purpose of determining the formation of another new political unit. therefore. 885 and also because the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte is not in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code. as well as the municipality of Victorias. Cadiz. No controversion has been made regarding petitioners' assertion that the areas of the Province of Negros Occidental will be diminished by about 285. disposed to direct the conduct of a new plebiscite. 885 betrays their own misgivings. eloquently argue the points raised by the petitioners. It would thus be inaccurate to state that where an existing political unit is divided or its boundary substantially altered." We are not disposed to agree that by mere legislative fiat the unit or units affected referred in the fundamental law can be diminished or restricted by the Batasang Pambansa to cities and municipalities comprising the new province. only some and not all the voters in the whole unit which suffers dismemberment or substantial alteration of its boundary are affected. 3 of Article XI of the Constitution anticipates. and consequently. nevertheless. In anticipation of a possible strong challenge to the legality of such a plebiscite there was. Petitioners have averred without contradiction that after the creation of Negros del Norte. 3. directing the respondent Commission on Elections. For the reasons already here express. as the Constitution provides. 'merged'. the province of Negros Occidental would be deprived of the long established Cities of Silay. 885 so that it is now provided in said enabling law that the plebiscite "shall be conducted in the proposed new province which are the areas affected. 'abolished' as used in the constitutional provision do not contemplate distinct situation isolated from the mutually exclusive to each other. and San Carlos. deliberately added in the enacted statute a self-serving phrase that the new province constitutes the area affected. the factual and legal basis for the creation of such new province which should justify the holding of another plebiscite does not exist.

Local Gov Cases set 2 . text. be only about 2. (such as La Union province) can be said to have a larger territory than a land-locked province (such as Ifugao or Benguet) whose land area manifestly exceeds the province first mentioned. There would arise no need for the legislators to use the word contiguous if they had intended that the term "territory" embrace not only land area but also territorial waters. (c) near. Hutchings. This assertion is made to negate the proofs submitted. more or less.87 Whatever claim it has to validity and whatever recognition has been gained by the new province of Negros del Norte because of the appointment of the officials thereof. pp.500 square kilometers.95 square kilometers. before the Regional Trial Court of Negros (del Norte). 19 and 91). A construction based on a forced or artificial meaning of its words and out of harmony of the statutory scheme is not to be favored (Helvering vs. Its existence should be put to an end as quickly as possible. or adjacent (Webster's New World Dictionary.. docketed as Civil Case No.S. Respondents insist that when Section 197 of the Local Government Code speaks of the territory of the province to be created and requires that such territory be at least 3. p. (b) touching along all or most of one side. as in the above sentence. That Negros del Norte is but a legal fiction should be announced. what need not be "contiguous" is the "territory" the physical mass of land area.000. 307). Said sentence states that the "territory need not be contiguous. The plain meaning in the language in a statute is the safest guide to follow in construing the statute. Such an interpretation is strained. disclosing that the land area of the new province cannot be more than 3. emphasis supplied).L. The words and phrases used in a statute should be given the meaning intended by the legislature (82 C. Rollo.. The distinction between "territory" and "land area" which respondents make is an artificial or strained construction of the disputed provision whereby the words of the statute are arrested from their plain and obvious meaning and made to bear an entirely different meaning to justify an absurd or unjust result.000. distribution and transfer of funds by the parent province to the new province. p. at most. Allegations have been made that the enactment of the questioned state was marred by "dirty tricks". Therefore. 909). 43.. p. clearly reflects that "territory" as therein used. It is of course claimed by the respondents in their Comment to the exhibits submitted by the petitioners (Exhs. 2d. 169-C.856 square kilometers. what is contemplated is not only the land area but also the land and water over which the said province has jurisdiction and control. The last sentence of the first paragraph of Section 197 is most revealing. The meaning of particular terms in a statute may be ascertained by reference to words associated with or related to them in the statute (Animal Rescue League vs. Ed. C and D. Assessors." Contiguous means (a) in physical contact. As has been manifested. 138 A. 636)..019.. As so stated therein the "territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two or more islands. and fallacious. It would be rather preposterous to maintain that a province with a small land area but which has a long. for the immediate allocation. is only used when it describes physical contact. when employed as an adjective. 3644 "in secret haste" pursuant to sinister designs to achieve "pure and simple gerrymandering. The final nail that puts to rest whatever pretension there is to the legality of the province of Negros del Norte is the significant fact that this created province does not even satisfy the area requirement prescribed in Section 197 of the Local Government Code. p. the parent province of Negros del Norte has been impleaded as the defendant in a suit filed by the new Province of Negros del Norte. in the context of the sentence above. narrow. 664). "that recent happenings more than amply demonstrate that far from guaranteeing its autonomy it (Negros del Norte) has become the fiefdom of a local strongman" (Rollo. p.00. It is even the submission of the respondents that in this regard the marginal sea within the three mile limit should be considered in determining the extent of the territory of the new province. must now be erased. in an amount claimed to be at least P10. taking into account government statistics relative to the total area of the cities and municipalities constituting Negros del Norte.500 square kilometers because its land area would. or a touching of sides of two solid masses of matter. 110). 1972 Ed. as earlier discussed.J. in the introduction and passing of Parliamentary Bill No. extended coast line. has reference only to the mass of land area and excludes the waters over which the political unit exercises control. It can be safely concluded that the word territory in the first paragraph of Section 197 is meant to be synonymous with "land area" only." The use of the word territory in this particular provision of the Local Government Code and in the very last sentence thereof. 85 L. 63 p. if only to settle the complications currently attending to its creation.R. that the new province has a territory of 4. The sense in which the words are used furnished the rule of construction (In re Winton Lumber Co. "Contiguous". p. incorrect.

Commendable is the patriotism displayed by them in daring to institute this case in order to preserve the continued existence of their historic province. WHEREFORE. The proclamation of the new province of Negros del Norte. as well as the appointment of the officials thereof are also declared null and void. No proper challenge on those grounds can also be made by petitioners in this proceeding. on the electorate and the power of a vigilant people. Local Gov Cases set 2 . They were inspired undoubtedly by their faithful commitment to our Constitution which they wish to be respected and obeyed. Petitioners herein deserve and should receive the gratitude of the people of the Province of Negros Occidental and even by our Nation. Repudiation of improper or unwise actions taken by tools of a political machinery rests ultimately. A happy destiny for our Nation is assured as long as among our people there would be exemplary citizens such as the petitioners herein. they valiantly and unfalteringly pursued a worthy cause. SO ORDERED. Despite the setbacks and the hardships which petitioners aver confronted them. Batas Pambansa Blg.88 It is not for this Court to affirm or reject such matters not only because the merits of this case can be resolved without need of ascertaining the real motives and wisdom in the making of the questioned law. Neither may this Court venture to guess the motives or wisdom in the exercise of legislative powers. 885 is hereby declared unconstitutional. as recent events have shown.