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ALTERNATIVE CENTER FOR ORGANIZATIONAL REFORMS (a) On the first year of the effectivity of this Code, thirty percent

AND DEVELOPMENT, INC. (ACORD) v. ZAMORA (30%);
June 8, 2005| Carpio-Morales, J. |Internal Revenue Allotment (b) On the second year, thirtyfive percent (35%); and
(c) On the third year and thereafter, forty percent (40%).
Digester: Agustin, Chrissete
 On February 16, 2000, the President approved HB No. 8374.
SUMMARY: Petitioners assailed the constitutionality of the GAA This bill became RA No. 8760, otherwise known as the General
provisions for the Year 2000 for being unconstitutional as they are Appropriations Act (GAA) for the Year 2000. It provides under
violative of the autonomy of local governments because it violates the heading “ALLOCATIONS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
the constitutional mandate in Art X, Sec. 6 which provides that the UNITS” that the IRA for local government units shall amount
LGUs’ just share in the national government taxes shall be to P111,778,000,000
automatically released. The provisions made the release of IRA  In another part of the GAA, under “UNPROGRAMMED
contingent on whether revenue collections could meet the revenue FUND,” it is provided that an amount of P10,000,000,000 (P10
targets originally submitted by the President. The Court ruled in Billion), apart from the P111,778,000,000 mentioned above,
favor of petitioners. shall be used to fund the IRA, which amount shall be released
DOCTRINE: Article X, Section 6 of the Constitution enjoins both only when the original revenue targets submitted by the
the legislative and executive branches of government. It mandates President to Congress can be realized based on a quarterly
that (1) the LGUs shall have a “just share” in the national taxes; assessment to be conducted by certain committees which the
(2) the “just share” shall be determined by law; and (3) the “just GAA specifies, namely, the Development Budget Coordinating
share” shall be automatically released to the LGUs. Committee, the Committee on Finance of the Senate, and the
Committee on Appropriations of the HOR.
As the Constitution lays upon the executive the duty to
 Thus, while the GAA appropriates P111,778,000,000 of IRA as
automatically release the just share of local governments in the
national taxes, so it enjoins the legislature not to pass laws that Programmed Fund, it appropriates a separate amount of P10
might prevent the executive from performing this duty. To hold Billion of IRA under the classification of Unprogrammed Fund,
that the executive branch may disregard constitutional provisions the latter amount to be released only upon the occurrence of
which define its duties, provided it has the backing of statute, is the condition stated in the GAA.
virtually to make the Constitution amendable by statute—a  On August 22, 2000, a number of NGOs and people’s
proposition which is patently absurd. organizations, along with three barangay officials filed with
this Court the petition at bar, for Certiorari, Prohibition and
(FUN FACT/WARNING: Sir is the counsel for the petitioners in this Mandamus With Application for TRO, against respondents then
case.) Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, then DBM Secretary
Benjamin Diokno, then National Treasurer Leonor Magtolis-
Briones, and the COA, challenging the constitutionality of
FACTS:
abovequoted provision of XXXVII (ALLOCATIONS TO LOCAL
 Pursuant to Section 22, Article VII of the Constitution, then
GOVERNMENT UNITS) referred to by petitioners as Section
President Estrada submitted the National Expenditures
1, XXXVII (A), and LIV (UNPROGRAMMED FUND) Special
Program for Fiscal Year 2000.
Provisions 1 and 4 of the GAA (the GAA provisions).
 In the said Program, the President proposed an Internal
Revenue Allotment (IRA) in the amount of P121,778,000,000 PETITIONERS: Section 1, XXXVII (A) AND LIV, Special Provisions
following the formula provided for in Section 284 of the LGC, 1 AND 4, of the Year 2000 GAA are null and void for being
viz.: unconstitutional
SECTION 284. Allotment of Internal Revenue Taxes.—Local
government units shall have a share in the national internal  As they violate the autonomy of local governments by
revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal year unlawfully reducing by P10 Billion the IRA due to the local
preceding the current fiscal year as follows: governments and withholding the release of such amount by
placing the same under “unprogrammed funds.” This violates

CA: While the requirement of the certificate of IRA. the constitutional mandate in Art. that the LGUs’ just “true and correct of our personal knowledge or based on share in the national taxes shall be automatically released to authentic records” as required under Rule 7. it being impressed with public interest. yet evading review. petitioners Adelino C. documents. RESPONDENTS:  Improperly executed. e. 4. invalid reduction and withholding of the local governments’ COURT: IRA  Indeed. Lastly. Punong Barangay Isabel Mendez. Edu) foundation of our local governance system which is essential to RESPONDENTS: the efficient operation of the government and the development  The same verifications were signed by persons who were not of the nation. the petition is GRANTED. As this Court held in Santos Intervention which adopted the petitioners’ arguments. namely.  The Year 2000 GAA’s reduction of the IRA undermines the (Decano v. Sec.. “In fact. X. Romulo wherein GAA provisions were to be strictly applied. and Punong LIV Special Provisions 1 and 4 of the Year 2000 GAA are hereby Barangay Carolina Romanos.  The statement “to the best of my knowledge are true and  As they violate the autonomy of local governments by placing correct” referring to the allegations in the petition does not P10 Billion of the IRA due to the local governments. ROC them. as part of the nonforum shopping is mandatory. COURT: Secs. Both of v. 284. authorized by the incorporated cause oriented groups which  The Congress and the Executive acted with GADLAEJ as they they claim to represent.” It constitutes and practically. signing and delivery of which were accepted by the Court. within the control of the central authorities. CA. unsigned pleading. XXXVII and Lavador. technical rules of procedure should be certifications against forumshopping – YES used to promote.g. this only by specifically authorized individuals. and 286.” Court shall nonetheless proceed to resolve the issues raised in  Nonetheless. Rodas) “unprogrammed funds” constitutes an undue delegation of  Petty technicality deserves scant consideration where the legislative power to the respondents. which cannot be which are not disputed at all by respondents. there would remain among the relating to the IRA were likewise challenged) multigrouppetitioners the individuals who validly executed verifications in their own names. (Also. the present petition cannot be treated as an the present case. as cited in the case of of corporate entities must present the requisite authorization Province of Batangas v. not frustrate justice. funds” constitutes an amendment of the LGC. requirements must not be interpreted too literally and thus defeat the objective of preventing the undesirable practice of Whether the petition contains proper verifications and forumshopping. Sec. hence. information and belief. only duly authorized natural persons may execute verifications in behalf of juridical entities such as petitioners  The Province of Batangas and Nueva Ecija filed a motions for NGOs and people’s organizations. Imperfections of done in a GAA and which purpose was not reflected in the title form and technicalities of procedure are to be disregarded of the Year 2000 GAA except where substantial rights would otherwise be prejudiced. declared unconstitutional insofar as they set apart a portion of the  Shipside Inc v. effectively mean mere “knowledge. the Petition should be treated transgressed the Constitution and the LGC’s prohibition on any as an unsigned pleading. 18. nonetheless the UNPROGRAMMED FUND. specifically. physical actions. They merely state that the allegations of Whether petitioners have the requisite standing to file this the Petition are “true of our knowledge and belief” instead of suit – YES . For even if the rule that representatives capable of repetition. question at issue is one purely of law and there is no need of  As the placing of P10 billion of the IRA under “unprogrammed delving into the veracity of the allegations in the petition. 6. substantial compliance with the requirement of section 6 of  As the placing of P10 Billion Pesos of the IRA under Rule 7 (Madrigal vs. It also violates the local government code. RULING: WHEREFORE. may be performed on behalf of the corporate entity  Although the effectivity of the Year 2000 GAA has ceased. in the amount of P10 Billion.

 The task of the committees related merely to the conduct of the  Art X. shared a common assumption that the entity which COURT: would execute the automatic release of internal revenue  The GAA provisions being challenged were not to be was the executive department. To hold Whether the questioned provisions violate the constitutional that the executive branch may disregard constitutional injunction that the just share of local governments in the provisions which define its duties. as determined by PETITIONERS: law. Instead of reading “Local government units shall have a just share.e. proffer that the committees mentioned in the Commissioner Nolledo in the deliberations of the ConCom on GAA provisions. Section 6 of the Constitution provides:  If indeed the framers intended to allow the enactment of SECTION 6. automatically release the just share of local governments in the Enriquez) national taxes. Section 6 of the Constitution would automatically released to them. is virtually to make the Constitution amendable by YES statute—a proposition which is patently absurd. particularly the DBM and the National Treasurer. namely. should instead have the proper wording of the constitutional provision.RESPONDENTS:  The GAA violated this constitutional mandate when it made the  It is the LGUs—each having a separate juridical entity—which release of IRA contingent on whether revenue collections could stand to be injured. the same does not RESPONDENTS: prevent the legislature from imposing conditions upon the  Petitioners have no cause of action against them as they claim release of the IRA. so it enjoins the legislature not to pass laws that might prevent the executive from performing this duty. Article X. the legislature from authorizing the executive branch to Since the present controversy centers on the proper manner of withhold the same. then Article X. the impleaded respondents are the proper essentially means that the President or any member of the parties to this suit. in the national taxes which shall be automatic. In the words of respondents.  The subsequent intervention of the provinces of Batangas and RESPONDENTS: Nueva Ecija which have adopted the arguments of petitioners. legislature but to the executive. to have no responsibility with respect to the mandate of the  They cite the exchange between Commissioner Davide and GAA provisions. provided it has the backing national taxes or the IRA shall be automatically released – of statute. they been impleaded. COURT: rather than making the release automatic. Executive Department cannot unilaterally. 6 merely prevents the executive branch of the quarterly assessment required in the provisions... provisions. implemented solely by the committees specifically mentioned o Davide referred to the national government as the therein. meet the revenue targets originally submitted by the President. statutes making the release of IRA conditional instead of as determined by law. Local government units shall have a just share. without the  In earlier petitions likewise involving the constitutionality of backing of statute. withhold the release of the IRA. the COURT: therein respondent officials were the same as those in the  As the Constitution lays upon the executive the duty to present case (e. 6. and not in the government from “unilaterally” withholding the IRA. hence. Nolledo alluded to the Budget Officer. “This releasing the IRA. clearly under the executive branch. Sec. and o Davide and Nolledo held different views with regard to Committee on Appropriations of the HOR. X Committee. Committee on Finance of the Senate.” provisions of previous GAAs which this Court granted. i. in the national taxes which shall be automatically released . Guingona v.g. who is branch. have been worded differently. they were also to be implemented by the executive Similarly. but not actual release of the IRA which is the duty of the executive. Art. Carague and PHILCONSA v. the Development Budget Coordinating Sec.  The above constitutional provision is addressed not to the made the question of standing academic. for they being in the nature of appropriations entity that collects and remits internal revenue.

Cuenco] implication is that Congress is not authorized by the  The validity of the legislative acts assailed in the present case Constitution to hinder or impede the automatic release should. like or suggestive of an automaton.” or. This Court ruled that such . Romulo: When parsed. determined by law. to interpret the term automatic release in such a National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998. is mandated by said constitutional local governments determined by law should be released to provision to ensure that the just share of local them as a matter of course. under Article X. Aguirre. so the intervenor withhold the IRA in certain circumstances. constitutionality of certain provisos of the GAAs for FY o Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines 1999. Section 6 and declared them unconstitutional mechanical. x x x” —a ruling which presupposes that the legislature. Section 6 of of the IRA. the word “automatically” is defined as “in an with the guidelines issued by said committee. shall have a “just share” in the national taxes. This automatic manner: without thought or conscious Court measured the challenged legislative acts against intention. 2000. released only upon a finding of the Oversight Committee mechanical. as executive branch and not the legislature. connotes something Article X. as  Doctrine of contemporaneous construction is more restricted determined by law.” to matters committed by the constitution itself to the discretion  Since. contemporaneous or practical just share of local governments is qualified by the words “as construction is not necessarily binding upon the courts. of a reflex nature.” and that “except as Congress may provide.” thus. therefore. the executive withheld (1995). in the national taxes which shall be COURT: [automatically] released to them as provided by law. withhold its release pending an event which is not even released. such interpretation is not them as provided by law. o “Local government units shall have a just share.  The following statutory provisions (Section 70 of the Philippine  Additionally. Article 383(c) of the IRR of the LGC) the release of the IRA pending an assessment very similar to provide that the legislature authorized the executive branch to the one provided in the GAA. and 2001 which set up the Local “automatic” as “involuntary either wholly or to a major Government Service Equalization Fund (LGSEF). the automatic Province of Batangas posits: release requirement in the Constitution constrains only the o “Local government units shall have a just share. like  While “automatic release” implies that the just share of the the executive.” [Tañada v.  While statutes and implementing rules are entitled to great o “Local government units shall have a just share in the weight in constitutional construction as indicators of national taxes which shall be [automatically] released to contemporaneous interpretation. even in determined by law. to them. (2) the “just Romulo which is analogous in many respects to the one at bar. broad manner would be inconsistent with the ruling in Section 531(e) of the LGC. The extent so that any activity of the will is largely LGSEF was a portion of the IRA which was to be negligible. be assessed in light of Article X. the petitioner therein challenged the shall be automatically released to the LGUs. the Constitution. only the of some other department. share” shall be determined by law. Rule XXXII. the plain a doubtful case. it would be just as much as the executive branch was presumed in the readily seen that this provision mandates that (1) the LGUs ruling of this Court in the case of The Province of Batangas v. To rule that the term “automatic release” contemplates such conditional release would be to strip the RESPONDENTS: term “automatic” of all meaning. on the other governments in the national taxes are automatically hand. Section 6 of the Constitution. In the said case. the GAA provisions. and Section 10 of Republic Act 7924 Pimentel v.” and not the release thereof. spontaneous and perfunctory. without volition. Thus. and (3) the “just share” o In Batangas. certain of occurring. Section 6 of the Constitution did bind the legislative  Province of Batangas v.” on Devolution that the LGU concerned had complied Further. in the national taxes which shall be as applied to the interpretation of constitutional provisions automatically released to them subject to exceptions than when applied to statutory provisions.” it would have read as follows.  Article X.” or necessarily binding or conclusive on the courts.” Being “automatic.

 There is no substantial difference between the withholding of FELLOWSHIP FOR ORGANIZING ENDEAVORS (FORGE). ALTERNATIBONG LINGAP PANLIGAL (SALIGAN). notwithstanding. That in the event that the national government be made on a quarterly basis depending on the actual incurs an unmanageable public sector deficit. CAMARINES SUR NGOPO DEVELOPMENT NETWORK. Verily. As NAGA CITY PEOPLE’S COUNCIL (NCPC). the legislative and executive branches of government. (FLAGG). the President of collections of national internal revenue taxes for the quarter of the Philippines is hereby authorized. laudable purposes current fiscal year: Provided. must local government units but in no case shall the allotment be be echoed: “[T]he rule of law requires that even the best less than thirty percent (30%) of the collection of national intentions must be carried out within the parameters of internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the the Constitution and the law. DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN RURAL AREAS (PHILDHRRA). in her capacity as National Treasurer. not the executive. ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE CENTER. INC. ADELINO C. petitioners. KAISAHAN PARA SA KAUNLARAN NG KANAYUNAN AT REPORMANG PANSAKAHAN (KAISAHAN). withholding contravened the constitutional mandate of an (BMFI).. BALAY MINDANAW FOUNDATION. 284 of the LGC (See Notes). however. URBAN LAND REFORM TASK FORCE (ULRTF). (CPAG). Article X. in his capacity as Secretary. FOUNDATION FOR IRA involved in Pimentel and that in the present case. CENTER FOR PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE automatic release. is “if the national internal revenue collections for DIOKNO. INC. INC.). the legislative is barred from withholding the release of the PILIPINA. (ANG KILUSAN NG KABABAIHANG PILIPINO). INC. LAVADOR. PHILIPPINE PARTNERSHIP FOR THE Hence. This Court recognizes that the passage of the subject to consultation with the presiding officers of both GAA provisions by Congress was motivated by the laudable Houses of Congress and the presidents of the “liga. LGC: collections for the current fiscal year. preceding third fiscal year. and  A final word. as held RONALDO ZAMORA. the ruling in Pimentel remains applicable. . (ELAC). the current fiscal year is less than 40% of the collections of the and the COMMISSION ON AUDIT. upon the recommendation the current fiscal year. INC. in which case what should be automatically released shall be a proportionate amount of the  Sec. in addition to the thirty percent (30%) internal revenue allotment which shall include the cost of devolved functions for essential NOTES: public services. exception to mandatory automatic release of the IRA is. under the same constitutional provision. Department of Budget and Management. be entitled to receive the amount equivalent to  Full case Title: the cost of devolved personal services. The distinction MANGGAGAGAWANG KABABAIHANG MITHI AY PAGLAYA (MAKALAYA). PUNONG BARANGAY ISABEL  In light of Sec. as in Pimentel. PHILIPPINE ECUMENICAL ACTION FOR COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION. except LOCAL AUTONOMY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE.” of Secretary of Finance. HON. SENTRO NG IRA. INC. BENJAMIN in Batangas. (PEACE FOUNDATION. That in the first year of must be carried out by legal methods. the only possible MENDEZ. respondents. INC. NGOPO COUNCIL OF CAMARINES explained above. vs. the same provision relied upon in Pimentel—enjoins both (NPCCS). the local government units shall. which has OF POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE (IPG). INC. (PDFI). BARRIOS.” The pronouncement in Pimentel. HON. INC. HON. Section 6 of the Constitution— SUR FOR COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT. LEONOR MAGTOLISBRIONES. (CADENET). INC.” the effectivity of this Code. 284. PUNONG BARANGAY CAROLINA ROMANOS. authorized the withholding of the IRA. Secretary of Interior and Local Government and Secretary of Budget and Management. ALTERNATIVE CENTER FOR ORGANIZATIONAL REFORMS AND DEVELOPMENT. INSTITUTE that here it is the legislature.” to make intent to “lower the budget deficit in line with prudent fiscal the necessary adjustments in the internal revenue allotment of management. INC. in his capacity as Executive Secretary. further. PAILIG DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION. (ACORD). The adjustment may even Provided.