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G.R.No.L26702

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
ENBANC
G.R.No.L26702October18,1979
JUANAUGUSTOB.PRIMICIAS,plaintiffappellee,
vs.
THEMUNICIPALITYOFURDANETA,PANGASINAN,ETAL.,defendantsappellants.
AmbrosioPadillaLawOfficesforappellee.
Primicias,Castillo&Macaraegforappellants.

DECASTRO,J.:
ThemainissueinthisappealisthevalidityofOrdinanceNo.3,Seriesof1964,enactedonMarch13,1964bythe
Municipal Council of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, which was declared null and void by the Court of First Instance of
Lingayen,Pangasinan,initsdecisiondatedJune29,1966,thedispositiveportionofwhichreadsasfollows:
WHEREFORE,thisCourtrendersdecisiondeclaringOrdinanceNo,3,Seriesof1964,tobenulland
void making the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued against the defendant, Felix D.
Soriano definite and permanent and further restraining the defendants, Amadeo R. Perez, Jr.,
Lorenzo G. Suyat and Estanislao Andrada, from enforcing the said ordinance all throughout
Urdaneta and ordering the said defendants to return to the plaintiff his drivers (sic) license CIN
017644,acopyofwhichisExhibitD1,andtopaythecostsofsuit.1
Fromtheaforeciteddecision,defendantsappealedtothisCourt.Theantecedentfactsofthiscaseareasfollows:
2

On February 8, 1965, Juan Augusta B. Primacias plaintiff appellee, was driving his car within the jurisdiction of
UrdanetawhenamemberofUrdaneta'sMunicipalPoliceaskedhimtostop.Hewastold,uponstopping,thathe
had violated Municipal Ordinance No. 3, Series of 1964, "and more particularly, for overtaking a truck." The
policemanthenaskedforplaintiff'slicensewhichhesurrendered,andatemporaryoperator'spermitwasissued
tohim.Thisincidenttookplaceabout200metersawayfromaschoolbuilding,atBarrioNancamaliran,Urdaneta.
Thereafter, a criminal complaint was filed in the Municipal Court of Urdaneta against Primicias for violation of
OrdinanceNo.3,Seriesof1964.Duetotheinstitutionofthecriminalcase,plaintiffPrimiciasinitiatedanactionfor
the annulment of said ordinance with prayer for the issuance of preliminary injunction for the purpose of
restrainingdefendantsMunicipalityofUrdaneta,MayorPerez,PoliceChiefSuyat,JudgeSorianoandPatrolman
Andrada from enforcing the ordinance. The writ was issued and Judge Soriano was enjoined from further
proceedinginthecriminalcase.
After trial, the Court of First Instance rendered the questioned decision holding that the ordinance was null and
voidandhadbeenrepealedbyRepublicActNo.4136,otherwiseknownastheLandTransportationandTraffic
Code.Now,defendants,appellantsherein,allegethatthelowercourterredin:3
1.declaringthatMunicipalOrdinanceNo.3(Seriesof1964)ofUrdanetaisnullandvoid
2.requiringthemunicipalcouncilofUrdanetaintheenactmentofsaidordinancetogivemaximum
allowablespeedandtomakeclassificationofhighways
3.holdingthatsaidordinanceisinconflictwithsection35par.b(4)ofRepublicAct4136
4.requiringthatsaidordinancebeapprovedbytheLandTransportationCommissioner
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5.holdingthatsaidordinanceisnotclearanddefiniteinitsterms
6.issuingexparteawritofinjunctiontorestraintheproceedingsincriminalcaseno.3140.
Theordinanceinquestionprovides:4
SECTION1ThatthefollowingspeedlimitsforvehiculartrafficalongtheNationalHighwayandthe
ProvincialRoadswithintheterritoriallimitsofUrdanetashallbeasfollows:
a. Thru crowded streets approaching intersections at 'blind corners, passing school
zonesorthicklypopulatedareas,dulymarkedwithsignposts,themaximumspeedlimit
allowableshallbe20kph.
SECTION2Thatanypersonorpersonscaughtdrivinganymotorvehicleviolatingtheprovisionsof
thisordinanceshallbefinedP10.00forthefirstoffenseP20.00forthesecondoffenseandP30.00
forthethirdandsucceedingoffenses,theMunicipalJudgeshallrecommendthecancellationofthe
license of the offender to the Motor Vehicle's Office (MVO) or failure to pay the fine imposed, he
shallsufferasubsidiaryimprisonmentinaccordancewithlaw.
AppellantscontendthattheOrdinanceisvalid,being"patternedafterandbasedonSection53, 5par.4ofActNo.
3992, as amended (Revised Motor Vehicle Law)." In so arguing, appellants fail to note that Act No. 3992 has been
supersededbyRepublicActNo.4136,theLandTransportationand'TrafficCode,whichbecameeffectiveonJune20,1964,
aboutthreemonthsafterthequestionedordinancewasapprovedbyUrdaneta'sMunicipalCouncil.Theexplicitrepealofthe
aforesaidActisembodiedinSection63,RepublicActNo.4136,towit:

Act Numbered thirtynine hundred ninetytwo (3992) as amended, and all laws, executive orders,
ordinance, resolutions, regulations or paints thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Act are
repealed.
Bythisexpressrepeal,andthegeneralrulethatalaterlawprevailsoveranearlierlaw, 6appellantsareinerrorin
contendingthat"alaterenactmentofthelawrelatingtothesamesubjectmatterasthatofanearlierstatuteisnotsufficient
tocauseanimpliedrepealoftheoriginallaw."PursuanttoSection63,RepublicActNo.4136,theordinanceatbaristhus
placed within the ambit of Republic Act No. 4136, and not Act No. 3992. The validity of Ordinance No. 3, Series of 1964,
mustthereforebedeterminedvisavisRepublicActNo.4136,the"motherstatute"sotospeak,whichwasinforceatthe
timethecriminalcasewasbroughtagainstPrimiciasfortheviolationofthesaidordinance.

Anessentialrequisiteforavalidordinanceis,amongothers,thatis"mustnotcontravene...thestatute," 7 for it
is a "fundamental principle that municipal ordinances are inferior in status and subordinate to the laws of the state." 8
Followingthisgeneralrule,wheneverthereisaconflictbetweenanordinanceandastatute,theordinance"mustgiveway.
9

SincetheOrdinanceisaimedatregulatingtraffic,ChapterIVTrafficRules),ArticleI(SpeedLimitsandKeepingto
theRight),consistingofsections35,to38ofRepublicActNo.4136,particularlySections35,36,38containthe
provisionsmaterialtoitsvalidity.Section35(b),RepublicActNo.4136,whichtooktheplaceofSection53,par.
(4),ActNo.3992,providesrestrictionsastospeedthus:
MAXIMUMALLOWABLESPEEDS

Passengercarsand

Motortrucks

motorcycle

andbuses

1.Onopencountryroads,with

"blindcorners"notcloselybordered

byhabitation.

80km.

50km.

2.Onthroughstreetsor

perhour

perhour

boulevards,clearoftraffic,with"no

blindcorners"whensodesignated.

40km.

30km.

3.Oncityandmunicipal

perhour

perhour

streets,withlighttraffic,whennot

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designated"throughstreets."

30km.

30km.

4.Throughcrowdedstreetsap

perhour

perhour

proachingintersectionat"blindcor

ners,"passingschoolzones,passing

othervehicleswhicharestationary,or

forsimilarcircumstances.

20km.

20km.

perhour

perhour

AlookattheaforecitedsectionandSection1,par.(a)oftheOrdinanceshowsthatthelatterismoreorlessa
restatementonlyofnumber(4),par.(b),Section35.Asobservedbythetrialcourt,theOrdinance"referstoonly
oneofthefourclassificationsmentionedinparagraph(b),Section35."10limitingtheratesofspeedfor
vehicular traffic along the national highway and The provincial roads within the territorial limits of
Urdaneta to 20 kilometers per hour without regard to whether the road is an open country roads
(six),orthroughstreetsorboulevards,orcityormunicipalstreetswithlighttraffic.11
Asalsofoundcorrectlybythelowercourt,theMunicipalCouncilofUrdanetadidnotmakeanyclassificationofits
thoroughfares, contrary to the explicit requirement laid down by Section 38, Republic Act No. 4136, which
provides:
Classification of highways. Public highways shall be properly classified for traffic purposes by the
provincial board or city council having jurisdiction over them, and said provincial board, municipal
board or city council shall provide appropriate signs therefor, subject to the approval of the
Commissioner. It shall be the duty of every provincial, city and municipal secretary to certify to the
Commissioner the names, locations, and limits of all "through streets" designated as such by the
provincialboard,municipalboardorcouncil.
Underthissection,alocallegislativebodyintendingtocontroltrafficinpublichighways 12issupposedtoclassify,
first,andthenmarkthemwithpropersigns,alltobeapprovedbytheLandTransportationCommissioner.Toholdthatthe
provisionsofSection38aremandatoryissanctionedbyaruling13that

statutes which confer upon a public body or officer . . . power to perform acts which concern the
publicinterestsorrightsofindividuals,aregenerally,regardedasmandatoryalthoughthelanguage
ispermissiveonlysincetheareconstruedasimposingdutiesratherthanconferringprivileges.
TheclassificationswhichmustbebasedonSection35arenecessaryinviewofSection36whichstatesthat"no
provincial, city or municipal authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution specifying maximum
allowable speeds other than those provided in this Act." In this case, however, there is no showing that the
markingofthestreetsandareasfallingunderSection1,par.(a),OrdinanceNo.3,Seriesof1964,wasdonewith
theapprovaloftheLandTransportationCommissioner.Thus,onthisverygroundalone,theOrdinancebecomes
invalid.SinceitlackstherequirementimposedbySection38,theprovincial,city,ormunicipalboardorcouncilis
enjoinedunderSection62oftheLandTransportationandTrafficCodefrom"enactingorenforcinganyordinance
orresolutioninconflictwiththeprovisionsofthisAct."
Regardingthecontentionthatthelowercourterredinholdingthatsaid"Ordinanceisnotclearanddefiniteinits
terms."WeagreewiththeCourtaquothatwhentheMunicipalCouncilofUrdanetausedthephrase"vehicular
traffic"(Section1,Ordinance)it"didnotdistinguishbetweenpassengercarsandmotorvehiclesandmotortrucks
and buses." 14 This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that nowhere in the Ordinance is "vehicular traffic" defined.
Considering that this is a regulatory ordinance, its clearness, definiteness and certainty are all the more important so that
"anaveragemanshouldbeablewithduecare,afterreadingit,,tounderstandandascertainwhetherhewillincurapenalty
forparticularactsorcoursesofconduct."15Incomparison,Section35(b),RepublicActNo.4136onwhichSection1ofthe
Ordinancemustbebased,statedthattheratesofspeedenumeratedthereinrefertomotorvehicle, 16specifyingthespeed
for each kind of vehicle. At the same time, to avoid vagueness, Art. 11, Section 3 defines what a motor vehicle is and
passengerautomobilesare.

OntheissueofwhetherawritofinjunctioncanrestraintheproceedingsinCriminalCaseNo.3140,thegeneral
rule is that "ordinarily, criminal prosecution may not be blocked by court prohibition or injunction." 17 Exceptions
howeverareallowedinthefollowinginstances:

1.fortheorderlyadministrationofjustice
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2.topreventtheuseofthestrongarmofthelawinanoppressiveandvindictivemanner
3.toavoidmultiplicityofactions
4.toaffordadequateprotectiontoconstitutionalrights
5.inpropercases,becausethestatuterelieduponisunconstitutionalorwasheldinvalid.18
Thelocalstatuteorordinanceatbarbeinginvalid,theexceptionjustcitedobtainsinthiscase.Hence,thelower
court did not err in issuing the writ of injunction against defendants. Moreover, considering that "our law on
municipalcorporationsisinprinciplepatternedafterthatoftheUnitedStates," 19 it would not be amiss for Us to
adoptinthisinstancetherulingthattoenjointheenforcementofavoidordinance,"injunctionhasfrequentlybeensustained
inordertopreventamultiplicityofprosecutionsunderit."20

Inviewoftheforegoing,theappealeddecisionisherebyaffirmed.
SOORDERED.
Teehankee, Acting C.J., Barredo, Makasiar, Concepcion Jr., Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero, and Melencio
Herrera,JJ.,concur.
Aquino,J.,tooknopart.
Antonio,J.,isonleave.

SeparateOpinions

ABADSANTOS,J.,concurring:
The ordinance in question was in effect a speed trap for unwary motorists for which Urdaneta had become
notorious.

#SeparateOpinions
ABADSANTOS,J.,concurring:
TheordinanceinquestionwasineffectaspeedtrapforunwarymotoristsforwhichUrdanetahadbecome
notorious.
#Footnotes
1RecordonAppeal,pp.5051.
2Ibid,pp.3638.
3Rollo,pp.7677.
4Rollo,pp.3940.
5Section53enumeratedtheratesofspeedofmotorvehiclesfortheroadsclassifiedinthesaid
section.
6Enrilevs.Vinuya,37SCRA381,382(1976).
7Martin,RupertoG.PublicCorporations,1977ed.,p.140,CitingCooley'sMunicipalCorporations,
p.170,171,andU.S.v.Abendan,24Phil.165U.S.v.ChanTienco,25Phil.89,91.
8Am.Jur.2dSec.374,p.406.
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9CityofBasilanv.Hechanova,L23841,August30,1974,58SCRA711.
10RecordonAppeal,p.45.
11Ibid.,p.42.
12Art.11,Sec.30),R.A.No.4136statesthathighways"shallmeaneverypublicthoroughfarepublic
boulevard,driveway,avenue,park,alleyandcautionbutshallnotincluderoadwayupongrounds
ownedbyprivatepersons,colleges,universitiesorothersimilarinstitutions.
13Vda.deMesa,et.al.v.Mencias,etc.,et.al.,L24583,October29,1966,18SCRA533,542.
14RecordonAppeal,p.46.
15Am.Jur.2dSec.367,p.394.
16Section35(b)startswith"(s)ubjecttotheprovisionsoftheprecedingparagraph,theratesof
speedofanymotorvehicleshallnotexceedthefollowing..."
17Gorospev.Penaflorida,101Phil.892,citing43C.J.S.768,770Lavav.Gonzales,L23048,July
31,1964,11SCRA650,651Ramosv.Torres,L23454,October25,1968,25SCRA557,563.
18Ramosv.Torres,L23454,October25,1968,25SCRA557,564Hernandezv.Albano,L19272,
January25,1967,19SCRA95,96.
19HomeownersAssociationofthePhil.,Inc.v.MunicipalBoardoftheCityofManila,24SCRA856,
858(1968).
206MCQUILLIN70,(3rded.),citingamongothers,Chicagov.Collins,175ILL.445,51N.E.907,
67Am.St.Rep.224Hollandv.Baltimore,11Md186.
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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