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Power of LGUs approval from the President granting additional benefits to

its personnel.
THE PROVINCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL vs. THE COMMISSIONERS, o Further, Section 468(a)(1)(viii)11 of Republic Act No. 7160
COMMISSION ON AUDIT (RA 7160) or the Local Government Code of 1991 has to be
G.R. No. 182574; September 28, 2010; CARPIO, J. harmonized with Section 1212 of RA 6758.
o The insurance benefits from Philam Care, a private
Facts insurance company, was a duplication of the benefits
provided to employees under the Medicare program which
21 December 1994 - the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros is mandated by law.
Occidental passed Resolution No. 720-A4 allocating P4,000,000 of Motion for Reconsideration: denied
its retained earnings for the hospitalization and health care
insurance benefits of 1,949 officials and employees of the province. Issues/Holding/Ratio
Petitioner Province of Negros Occidental and Philam Care entered
into a Group Health Care Agreement involving a total payment of WON COA committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the disallowance of
P3,760,000 P3,760,000 for premium paid by the Province of Negros Occidental to its 1,949
23 January 1997 the Provincial Auditor issued Notice of officials and employees? YES. COA erred. Court rules in favor of the Petitioners.
Suspension No. 97-001-1015 suspending the premium payment
because of lack of approval from the Office of the President (OP) as Petitioner:
provided under Administrative Order No. 1036 (AO 103), and that 1. The payment of the insurance premium was paid from an allocation
the premium payment violated Republic Act No. 6758 (Salary of its retained earnings pursuant to a valid appropriation ordinance.
Standardization Law). 2. Such enactment was a clear exercise of its express powers under
President Joseph E. Estrada directed the COA to lift the suspension the principle of local fiscal autonomy which includes the power of
but only in the amount of P100,000. Local Government Units (LGUs) to allocate their resources in
The Provincial Auditor ignored the directive of the President and accordance with their own priorities.
instead issued Notice of Disallowance 3. While it is true that LGUs are only agents of the national
Petitioner appealed the disallowance to the COA. government and local autonomy simply means decentralization, it
COA affirmed the Provincial Auditors Notice of Disallowance is equally true that an LGU has fiscal control over its own revenues
o COA: under AO 103, no government entity, including a derived solely from its own tax base.
local government unit, is exempt from securing prior Respondents:
1. Although LGUs are afforded local fiscal autonomy, LGUs are still bound offices and government-owned and controlled corporations under
by RA 6758 and their actions are subject to the scrutiny of the the Executive branch.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and applicable auditing 2. (SYLLABUS TOPIC) In other words, AO 103 must be observed by
rules and regulations enforced by the COA government offices under the Presidents control as mandated by
2. The grant of additional compensation, like the hospitalization and Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution which states:
health care insurance benefits in the present case, must have prior
Presidential approval to conform with the state policy on salary Section 17. The President shall have control of all executive departments,
standardization for government workers. bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.
3. (Implied) Based on Section 2 of AO 103, 1 the President enjoined all
heads of government offices and agencies from granting productivity On the other hand, the President merely exercises general supervision over
incentive benefits or any and all similar forms of allowances and LGUs under Section 4, Article X of the Constitution:
benefits without the Presidents prior approval.
Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over
Court: local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and
1. From a close reading of the provisions of AO 103, petitioner did not municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component
violate the rule of prior approval from the President since Section barangays shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the
2 states that the prohibition applies only to "government scope of their prescribed powers and functions.
offices/agencies, including government-owned and/or controlled
corporations, as well as their respective governing boards." 3. The President may only point out that rules have not been followed
Nowhere is it indicated in Section 2 that the prohibition also but the President cannot lay down the rules, neither does he have
applies to LGUs. The requirement then of prior approval from the the discretion to modify or replace the rules. Thus, the grant of
President under AO 103 is applicable only to departments, bureaus, additional compensation like hospitalization and health care
insurance benefits in the present case does not need the approval
of the President to be valid.
4. Also, while it is true that LGUs are still bound by RA 6758, the COA
1 SECTION 2. All heads of government offices/agencies, including
did not clearly establish that the medical care benefits given by the
government owned and/or controlled corporations, as well as their respective
governing boards are hereby enjoined and prohibited from authorizing/granting government at the time under Presidential Decree No. 151917
Productivity Incentive Benefits or any and all forms of allowances/benefits were sufficient to cover the needs of government employees
without prior approval and authorization via Administrative Order by the Office especially those employed by LGUs.
of the President.
5. Petitioner correctly relied on the Civil Service Commissions (CSC) (1) declare as unconstitutional Section 17(b)(3)(iii) of R.A. 7160 (Local
Memorandum Circular No. 33 (CSC MC No. 33), wherein all Government Code) and Section 24 of R.A. 7076 (People's Small-Scale Mining Act
government offices including LGUs were directed to provide a of 1991);
health program for government employees, which included (2) prohibit and bar respondents from exercising control over provinces; and
hospitalization services and annual mental, medical-physical (3) declare as illegal the DENR Secretarys nullification, voiding and cancellation
examinations. of the Small-Scale Mining permits issued by the Provincial Governor of Bulacan.
6. The CSC, through CSC MC No. 33, as well as the President, through
AO 402 (which expanded protection), recognized the deficiency of THE PARTIES
the state of health care and medical services implemented at the Petitioner: League of Provinces - a duly organized league of local governments
time. Thus, consistent with the state policy of local autonomy as incorporated under the Local Government Code; it is composed of 81 provincial
guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution, under Section 25, Article II20 governments, including the Province of Bulacan; it states that its petition is a
and Section 2, Article X,21 and the Local Government Code of collective action of all provinces through the Leauge, as a favorable ruling will
1991,22 we declare that the grant and release of the hospitalization benefit all provinces and all local governments
and health care insurance benefits given to petitioners officials and Respondent: DENR and DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes
employees were validly enacted through an ordinance passed by Other parties:
petitioners Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Golden Falcon Mineral Exploration Corporation (Golden Falcon) applicant
for a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA); filed before
Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Regional Office No. III (MGB-RO);
LEAGUE OF PROVINCES OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DENR and Secretary application was denied twice
GR. No. 175368 Mercado, Cruz, Cruz and Sembrano (MCCS) applicants for Quarry Permit;
April 11, 2013 filed before the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office
(PENRO) of Bulacan
Topic: General Supervision of Local Governments & Autonomous Regions - Art. X, Atlantic Mines and Trading Corporation (AMTC) applicant for Exploration
Sec. 4 & 16 Permit; filed before the PENRO of Bulacan

THE FACTS
NATURE OF THE CASE Golden Falcon applied for FTAA before the MGB-RO
Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, praying that the Court order
the following:
April 29, 1998 - MGB-RO denied Golden Falcons application for FTAA on for PENRO of Bulacan recommended to the Governor the approval of said
failure to secure the required area clearances from the Forest Management applications.
Sector and Lands Management Sector of the DENR-RO. Eventually, the Governor issued the small-scale mining permits.
Golden Falcon appealed the denial with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau- AMTC appealed to the DENR Secretary
Central Office (MGB-CO) The DENR Secretary decided in favor of the AMTC and nullified and
February 10, 2004 - pending Golden Falcon's appeal to the MGB-CO, MCCS cancelled the governors issuance of small-scale mining permits. It agreed
filed with the PENRO of Bulacan their applications for quarry permit with DENR-MGB Director Ramos that the area was open to mining location
covering the same area subject of Golden Falcon's FTAA application. only on August 11, 2004 (15 days after the MGB-CO denial). Hence, the
July 16, 2004 MGB-CO finally denied Golden Falcons appeal applications for quarry permit filed on February 10, 2004 were null as these
September 13, 2004 - AMTC filed with the PENRO of Bulacan an application were filed when the area was still closed to mining location. On the other
for exploration permit covering the same subject area. hand, AMTC filed its application when the area was already open to other
Confusion of rights resulted from the overlapping applications of AMTC and mining applicants, hence, its application was valid. The small-scale mining
the persons applying for quarry permits the contention was the date the permits were also issued in violation of Section 4 of R.A. No. 7076 and
area of Golden Falcons application became open to other permit beyond the authority of the Governor pursuant to Sec. 43 of RA 7942
applications from other parties because the area was never proclaimed to be under the small-scale mining
October 19, 2004 - upon query by MGB-RO Director Cabantog, DENR-MGB program.
Director Ramos stated that the denial of Golden Falcons application became
final on August 11, 2004, or fifteen days after Golden Falcon received the
order of denial of its application. Hence, the area of Golden Falcons
application became open to permit applications only on that date. THE ISSUES
Subsequently, the Provincial Legal Officer of Bulacan issued a legal opinion 1. Whether DENRs act of nullifying the small-scale mining permits amounts to
on the issue, stating that the subject area became open for new executive control, not merely supervision and usurps the devolved powers of all
applications on the date of the first denial on April 29, 1998 (MGB-ROs provinces, as the DENR Secretary substituted the judgment of the Provincial
order of denial), as MGB-COs order of denial on July 16, 2004 was a mere Governor of Bulacan.
reaffirmation of the MGB-ROs April 29 order; hence, the reckoning period 2. Whether or not Section 17, b(3)(III) of the Local Government Code and Section
should be April 29. 24 of the Small-Scale Mining Act, which confer upon DENR and the DENR
Based on this legal opinion, MGB-RO Director Cabantog endorsed the Secretary the power of control are unconstitutional, as the Constitution states
applications for quarry permit, now apparently converted to applications that the President (and Exec Depts) has the power of supervision only, not
for small-scale mining permit, to the Governor of Bulacan. control over acts of LGUs
mining law by the provincial government is subject to the supervision,
control and review of the DENR. The LGC did not fully devolve to the
provincial government the enforcement of the small-scale mining law.
THE RULING: RA 7076 or the Peoples Small-Scale Mining program was established to be
DENR Secs act was valid and authorized pursuant to its power of review under implemented by the DENR Secretary in coordination with other government
the RA 7076 and its IRR; Assailed statutes did not overcome the presumption of agencies (Section 4, RA 7076). Section 24 of the law makes the Provincial/
constitutionality, hence, are not unconstitutional. Mining Regulatory Board under the direct supervision and control of the
Control of the DENR/DENR Secretary over small-scale mining in the Secretary, its powers and functions subject to review by the same.
provinces is granted by three statutes: (1) R.A. 7061 or The Local Under Section 123 of DENR AO No. 23, small-scale mining applications
Government Code of 1991; (2) R.A. 7076 or the People's Small Scale Mining should be filed with the PMRB and the permits shall be issued by the
Act of 1991; and (3) R.A. No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. provincial governor, for applications outside the mineral reservations.
Control - the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a DENR Administrative Order No. 34 (1992) which contains the IRR of RA 7076
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his/her duties and to likewise provides that the DENR Secretary shall exercise direct supervision
substitute the judgment of the former for the latter and control over the Peoples Small-Scale Mining Program, and that the
Supervision - the power of a superior officer to see to it that lower officers Provincial/City Mining Regulatory Boards (PMRB) powers and functions shall
perform their function in accordance with law. be subject to review by the DENR Secretary. DENR Administrative Order No.
The Constitutional guarantee of local autonomy in the Article X, Sec. 2 of the 96-40 or the Revised IRR of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 provides that
Constitution refers to the administrative autonomy of the LGUs or the applications for Small-Scale Mining Permits shall be filed with the Provincial
decentralization of government authority. It does not make local Governor/City Mayor through their respective Mining Regulatory Boards for
governments within the State. Administrative autonomy may involve areas outside the Mineral Reservations, and further, that the LGUs in
devolution of powers, but it is still subject to limitations, like following coordination with the Bureau/Regional Offices shall approve applications for
national policies or standards and those provided by the Local Government small-scale mining, sand and gravel, quarry xxx and gravel permits not
Code, as the structuring of LGUs and the allocation of exceeding 5 hectares.
powers/responsibilities/resources among the LGUs and local officials are
placed by the Constitution to Congress under Article X Section 3. Petitioners contention that the aforementioned laws and rules did not
It is the DENR which is in charge of carrying out the States constitutional confer upon DENR and DENR Secretary the power to reverse, abrogate,
mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development and nullify, void, cancel the permits issued by the Provincial Governor or small-
autilization of the countrrys natural resources, pursuant to the provisions of scale mining contracts entered into by the Board are without merit because
Section 17, b(3)(III) of the LGC. Hence, the enforcement of the small-scale the DENR Secretary was granted the power of review in the PMRBs
resolution of disputes under Sec. 24 of RA 7076 and Section 22 of its IRR.
The decision of the DENR Secretary to nullify and cancel the Governors City of General Santos v. Commission on Audit 723 SCRA 77
issuance of permits emanated from its power of review under RA 7076 ad
its IRR. Its power to review and decide on the validity of the issuance of the Doctrine: In order to be able to deliver more effective and efficient
Small-Scale Mining Permits by the Provincial Governor is a quasi-judicial services, the law allows local government units the power to reorganize. In
function which involves the determination of what the law is and what the doing so, they should be given leeway to entice their employees to avail of
legal rights of the contending parties are, with respect to the matter in severance benefits that the local government can afford. However, local
controversy and on the basis thereof and the facts obtaining, the government units may not provide such when it amounts to a
adjudication of their respective rights. supplementary retirement benefit scheme.
The DENR Secretary exercises quasi-judicial function under RA 7076 and its
IRR to the extent necessary in settling disputes, conflicts, or litigations over
conflicting claims. This quasi-judicial power of the DENR can neither be Facts:
equated with substitution of judgment of the Provincial Governor in Ordinance No. 08, series of 2009, was enacted by the city of
issuing Small-Scale Mining Permits nor control over the said act of the General Santos on August 13, 2009. It is entitled An Ordinance Establishing the
Provincial Governor as it is a determination of the rights of the AMTC over GenSan Scheme on Early Retirement for Valued Employees Security (GenSan
conflicting claims based on the law. SERVES).
In Beltran v. Secretary of Health, the Court held that every law has in its Ordinance No. 08, series of 2009, was passed together with its
favor the presumption of constitutionality. For a law to be nullified, it must implementing rules and regulations, designed "to entice those employees who
be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. were unproductive due to health reasons to avail of the incentives being offered
The ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. In this therein by way of early retirement package."
case, the grounds raised by the petitioner to challenge the constitutionality The ordinance, as amended, provides that qualified employees
of Sec. 17 b(3)(iii) of the LGC and Section 24 of RA 7076 has failed to below sixty (60) years of age but not less than fifty (50) years and sickly
overcome the constitutionality of the said provisions of the law. employees below fifty (50) years of age but not less than forty (40) years
separation benefits for sickly employees who have not yet reached retirement
Hence, the petition was dismissed for lack of merit. age. Below is the contentious provision:
o Section 6. GenSan SERVES Post-Retirement Incentives Upon
availment of early retirement, a qualified employee shall enjoy the following in
addition to the above incentives:
(a) Cash gift of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) for the sickly employees; DANNYVERGARA, Petitioners, v. THE CITY MAYOR OF BAGUIO
(b) Lifetime free medical consultation at
General Santos City Hospital; Doctrine: While respondents make much ado of petitioners lack of building
(c) Annual aid in the maximum amount of Five permits, it should be underscored that under Presidential Decree No. 1096,
Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00), if admitted at otherwise known as the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP),
General Santos City Hospital; and the mere fact that a structure is constructed without a building permit, as
(d) 14 karat gold ring as a token. well as non-compliance with work stoppage order, without more, will not
COA contested the ordinance saying that it is supplementary retirement call for a summary demolition
benefit, and therefore invalid.
Issue: Is Ordinance 8 invalid? Facts:
Respondent filed a complaint for demolition,before the City
Held: Only Sec. 6 of Ordinance 8 is valid. Engineers Office of Baguio City (City Engineers Office), questioning the ongoing
The text of Sec. 6 of the ordinance indicates its purpose of encouraging construction of a residential structure and garage extension by petitioners on a
employees, especially those who are unproductive due to health reasons, to avail parcel of land.
of the program even before they reach the compulsory retirement age. Section 6 Upon investigation, the City Engineers Office found out that
provides for a form of severance pay to those who availed of GenSan SERVES, the construction had no building permit.
which was executed in good faith. The City Mayor directed the CITY DEMOLITION TEAM to
We should not be misled by the use of the term "retirement" in Section 6 in SUMMARILY DEMOLISH the aforesaid structures of Atty. Leoncio Alangdeo,
determining the nature of the benefits it provides. Labels are not determinative Arthur Verceles and/or Danny Vergara in accordance with Section 3[,] par.
of substantive content. It is the purpose behind these incentives, as read from 2.5(a) of the implementing rules and regulations governing summary eviction
the text of the ordinance and as inferred from the effect of the ordinance as jointly issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and
applied, which must govern. the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council pursuant to Section
Furthermore, the benefits under GenSan SERVES were only given to a select 44, [A]rticle XII of [Republic Act (RA) No. 7279].
fewthe sickly and unproductive due to health reasons. Certainly, this negates RTC enjoined the citys order. CA reversed RTC.
the position that the benefits provide for supplementary retirement benefits that Issue: Was the summary demolition valid?
augment existing retirement laws. Held: NO.

Almadeo v. City Mayor of Baguio 761 SCRA 272 DO No. 532 states on its face that it was issued in accordance with Section 3,
Note full case title: LEONCIO ALANGDEO, ARTHUR VERCELES, AND paragraph 2.5 (a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) Governing
Summary Eviction (Summary Eviction IRR), to wit: squatters35or members of squatting syndicates shall be subject of summary
SECTION 3. Procedures and Guidelines eviction:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
2.0 Issuance of Summary Eviction Not SECTION 2. Coverage The following shall be subject for summary
xxxx2.5 In the Issuance of notice, the following shall be strictly eviction:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
observed:LawlibraryofCRAlaw 1.0 New squatter families whose structures were built after the effectivity of
a. For on-going construction, no notice shall be served.Dismantling of the RA7279; and
structures shall be immediately enforced by the LGU or the concerned agency to 2.0 Squatter families identified by the LGU in cooperation with the Presidential
demolish. Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and
To note, the Summary Eviction IRR was issued pursuant to Section 28, Article VII accredited Urban Poor [O]rganization (UPO) as professional squatters or
of RA 7279, which equally provides for the situations wherein eviction or members of squatting syndicates as defined in the Act.
demolition is allowed as crafted exceptions to the moratorium on eviction under Under the Summary Eviction IRR, the term summary eviction has been defined
Section 44, Article XII33 of the same lawanRoblesVirtualawlibrary as the immediate dismantling of new illegal structures by the local government
Sec. 28. Eviction and Demolition. Eviction or demolition as a practice shall be units or government agency authorized to [demolish] in coordination with the
discouraged. Eviction or demolition, however, may be allowed under the affected urban poor organizations without providing the structure owner(s) any
following situations:LawlibraryofCRAlaw benefits of the Urban
(a) When persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad Development and Housing Program.36 Meanwhile, the terms new squatter,
tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public professional squatters,and squatting syndicates have been respectively
places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds; defined as follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
(b) When government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to New squatter refers to individual groups who occupy land without the express
be implemented; or consent of the landowner after March 28, 1992. Their structures shall be
(c) When there is a court order for eviction and demolition. dismantled and appropriate charges shall be filed against them by the proper
xxxx authorities if they refuse to vacate the premises.37
This Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Housing and Professional squatters refers to individuals or groups who occupy lands
Urban Development Coordinating Council shall jointly promulgate the necessary without the express consent of the landowner and who have sufficient income
rules and regulations to carry out the above provision. (Emphases supplied) for legitimate housing. The term shall also apply to persons who have previously
Section 2 of the Summary Eviction IRR provides that only new squatter34 been awarded homelots or housing units by the Government but who sold,
families whose structures were built after the effectivity of RA 7279, otherwise leased or transferred the same to settle illegally in the same place or in another
known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, and squatter urban area, and non-bona fide occupants and intruders of lands reserved for
families identified by the local government unit (LGU) as professional socialized housing. The term shall not apply to individuals or groups who simply
rent land and housing from professional squatters or squatting syndicates. the Office of the City Mayor. They have to undergo the appropriate proceeding
Squatting syndicates refers to groups of persons engaged in the business of as set out in the NBCP and its IRR or avail of the proper judicial process to
squatter housing for profit or gain.39 recover the subject property from petitioners. In pursuing said recourse, it would
In this case, petitioners cannot be considered as new squatters, since, although also not be amiss for the parties to await the final resolution of any pending case
their structures were built after March 28, 1992, they or their predecessors-in- involving the subject property between petitioners and Ernesto, before the
interest had occupied, and were claimants of the subject property long before appropriate government agencies, in order to avoid any further complication on
the said date.Neither have they been identified by the LGU as professional the matter.
squatters nor members of a squatting syndicate. Thus, since petitioners do not
fall under the coverage of the said IRR, the issuance of DO No. 05 had no legal
basis at the onset. G.R. No. 171873 July 9, 2010
More significantly, none of the three (3) situations enumerated under Section 28, MUNICIPALITY OF TIWI, represented by Hon. Mayor JAIME C. VILLANUEVA and
Article VII of RA 7279 as above-cited, when eviction or demolition is allowed, the SANGGUNIANG BAYAN of TIWI, Petitioners, vs. ANTONIO B. BETITO,
have been shown to be present in the case at bar. Specifically, it was not shown Respondent.
that the structures are in danger areas or public areas, such as a sidewalk, road, DEL CASTILLO, J.
park, or playground; that a government infrastructure project is about to be
implemented; and that there is a court order for demolition or eviction. Doctrine: Under the Local Government Code, the mayor is required to secure
Therefore, the issuance by the City Mayor of an order for the summary prior authorization from the local legislative council before entering into a
demolition of petitioners structures finds no basis in the said law permitting contract in behalf of the local government.
summary demolition or eviction.
While respondents make much ado of petitioners lack of building permits, it Facts:
should be underscored that under Presidential Decree No. 1096, otherwise This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the CAs
known as the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP), the mere fact October 19, 2005 Decision which affirmed the March 3, 2001 Partial Decision of
that a structure is constructed without a building permit, as well as non- the RTC of Quezon City and the March 10, 2006 Resolution denying petitioners
compliance with work stoppage order, without more, will not call for a summary motion for reconsideration.
demolition, but subjects the violator to an administrative fine under Section 212, On June 4, 1990, this Court issued a Decision in the case of National Power
Chapter II of the NBCP, or a criminal case under Section 213 of the same law. Corporation v. Province of Albay finding, among others, the NPC liable for unpaid
As a final note, the Court exhorts that absent compliance with the laws allowing real estate taxes from June 11, 1984 to March 10, 1987 on its properties located
for summary eviction, respondents cannot resort to the procedural shortcut of in Albay. These properties consisted of geothermal plants in the Municipality of
ousting petitioners by the simple expedient of a summary demolition order from Tiwi and substations in the Municipality of Daraga. Previously, the said properties
were sold at an auction sale conducted by Albay to satisfy NPCs tax liabilities. As the recovery of their rightful share in the aforesaid realty taxes. Thereafter,
the sole bidder at the auction, Albay acquired ownership over said properties. Mayor Corral sought the services of respondent Atty. Betito (respondent) and
On July 29, 1992, the NPC, through its then President Pablo Malixi and Albay, Atty. Lawenko. As a result, on January 25, 1993, Mayor Corral, representing Tiwi,
represented by then Governor Romeo R. Salalima, entered into a MOA where and respondent and Atty. Lawenko entered into a Contract of Legal Services
the former agreed to settle its tax liabilities estimated at P214,845,104.76. The (subject contract). The subject contract provided, among others, that respondent
MOA provided, among others, that: (1) the actual amount collectible from NPC and Atty. Lawenko would receive a 10% contingent fee on whatever amount of
will have to be recomputed/revalidated; (2) NPC shall make an initial payment of realty taxes that would be recovered by Tiwi through their efforts.
P17,763,000.00 upon signing of the agreement; (3) the balance of the On December 3, 1992, the Office of the President, through then Chief
recomputed/ revalidated amount (less the aforesaid initial payment), shall be Presidential Legal Counsel Antonio T. Carpio, opined that the MOA entered into
paid in 24 equal monthly installments to commence in September 1992; and (4) by NPC and Albay merely recognized and established NPCs realty taxes. He
ownership over the auctioned properties shall revert to NPC upon satisfaction of further clarified that the sharing scheme and those entitled to the payments to
the tax liabilities. be made by NPC under the MOA should be that provided under the law, and
On August 3, 1992, then Mayor Naomi C. Corral of Tiwi formally requested since Tiwi is entitled to share in said realty taxes, NPC may remit such share
Governor Salalima to remit the rightful tax shares of Tiwi and its barangays directly to Tiwi.
where the NPCs properties were located relative to the payments already made Because of this opinion, NPC President Malixi, through a letter dated December
by NPC to Albay. On even date, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi passed Resolution 9, 1992, informed Mayor Corral and Governor Salalima that starting with the
No. 12-92 requesting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay to hold a joint January 1993 installment, NPC will directly pay Tiwi its share in the payments
session for the purpose of discussing the distribution of the NPC payments. under the MOA. As of December 9, 1992, payments made by NPC to Albay
On August 10, 1992, Governor Salalima replied that the request cannot be reached P40,724,471.74.
granted as the initial payment amounting to P17,763,000.00 was only an On December 19, 1992, in an apparent reaction to NPCs Decision to directly
earnest money and that the total amount to be collected from the NPC was remit to Tiwi its share in the payments made and still to be made pursuant to the
still being validated. MOA, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay passed Ordinance No. 09- 92,
Due to the brewing misunderstanding between Tiwi and the concerned which, among others: (1) authorized the Provincial Treasurer upon the direction
barangays on the one hand, and Albay on the other, and so as not to be caught in of the Provincial Governor to sell the real properties (acquired by Albay at the
the middle of the controversy, NPC requested a clarification from the Office of auction sale) at a public auction, and to cause the immediate transfer thereof to
the President as to the scope and extent of the shares of the local government the winning bidder; and (2) declared as forfeited in favor of Albay, all the
units in the real estate tax collections. payments already made by NPC under the MOA.
On August 30, 1992, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi passed Resolution No. 15-92 In this case, the Court held, among others, that the elective officials of Albay are
authorizing Mayor Corral to hire a lawyer to represent Tiwi and its barangays in administratively liable for abuse of authority due to their unjustified refusal to
remit the rightful share of Tiwi in the subject realty taxes. National Power Corporation v. Province of Albay as per Resolution No. 15-92. For
The present controversy arose when respondent sought to enforce the Contract these reasons, the subject contract is void, unenforceable, unconscionable and
of Legal Services after rendering the aforementioned legal services which unreasonable. Petitioners further claim that they are not aware of the cases
allegedly benefited Tiwi. In his Complaint for sum of money against Tiwi, which respondent allegedly handled on behalf of Tiwi since these cases involved
represented by then Mayor Patricia Gutierrez, Vice Mayor Vicente Tomas Vera officials of the previous administration; that some of these cases were actually
III, Sangguniang Bayan Members Rosana Parcia, Nerissa Cotara, Raul Corral, handled by the Office of the Solicitor General; and that these were personal
Orlando Lew Velasco, Liberato Ulysses Pacis, Lorenzo Carlet, Bernardo Costo, cases of said officials. In addition, the Contract of Legal Services was not ratified
Jaime Villanueva, Benneth Templado and Municipal Treasurer Emma Cordovales by the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi in order to become effective. Petitioners also
(collectively petitioners), respondent claims that he handled numerous cases raise the defense that the realty taxes were recovered by virtue of the opinion
which resulted to the recovery of Tiwis share in the realty taxes. As a result of rendered by then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Antonio T. Carpio and not
these efforts, Tiwi was able to collect the amount of P110,985,181.83 and through the efforts of respondent.
another P35,594,480.00 from the NPC as well as other amounts which will be As to the amount of P110,985,181.83 in realty taxes, the same was received by
proven during the trial. Under the Contract of Legal Services, respondent is Albay and not Tiwi while the amount of P35,594,480.00 is part of the share of
entitled to 10% of whatever amount that would be collected from the NPC. Tiwi in the utilization of the national wealth. Furthermore, in a Commission on
However, despite repeated demands for the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi to pass Audit (COA) Memorandum dated January 15, 1996, the COA ruled that the
an appropriate ordinance for the payment of his attorneys fees, the former authority to pass upon the reasonableness of the attorneys fees claimed by
refused to pass the ordinance and to pay what is justly owed him. Respondent respondent lies with the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi. Pursuant to this
prayed that Tiwi be ordered to pay P11,000,000.00 in attorneys fees and 10% of memorandum, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi passed Resolution No. 27-98
the other amounts to be determined during trial plus interest and damages; that which declared the subject contract invalid. Petitioners also allege that the
the Sangguniang Bayan be ordered to pass the necessary appropriation contract is grossly disadvantageous to Tiwi and that respondent is guilty of laches
ordinance; that the municipal treasurer surrender all the receipts of payments because he lodged the present complaint long after the death of Mayor Corral;
made by the NPC to Tiwi from January 1993 to December 1996 for the and that the amount collected from NPC has already been spent by Tiwi.
examination of the court; and that Tiwi pay P500,000.00 as attorneys fees. RTC - rendered a partial judgment on the pleadings in favor of respondent
In their Answer, petitioners admitted that the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi passed ordering the defendant Municipality of Tiwi, Albay to pay the plaintiff the sum of
Resolution No. 15-92 but denied that said resolution authorized then Mayor P14,657,966.18 plus interest at the legal rate from the filing of the complaint
Corral to enter into the subject contract. In particular, Mayor Corral exceeded until payment is fully delivered to the plaintiff; and, for this purpose, the
her authority when she bound Tiwi to a gargantuan amount equivalent to 10% of defendant Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi, represented by the co-defendants
the amount of realty taxes recovered from NPC. Further, the legal services under officials, shall adopt and approve the necessary appropriation ordinance.
the subject contract should have been limited to the execution of the decision in The trial court held that petitioners answer to the complaint failed to tender an
issue, thus, partial judgment on the pleadings is proper. It noted that petitioners The appellate court found nothing objectionable in the stipulated contingent fee
did not specifically deny under oath the actionable documents in this case, of 10% as this was voluntarily agreed upon by the parties and allowed under
particularly, the Contract of Legal Services and Resolution No. 15- 92. existing jurisprudence.
Consequently, the genuineness and due execution of these documents are Petitioners Arguments
deemed admitted pursuant to Section 8, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. Thus, the Petitioners claim that their answer raised factual issues and defenses which
authority of Mayor Corral to enter into the subject contract was deemed merited a full-blown trial. In their answer, they asserted that the 10% contingent
established. fee is unreasonable, unconscionable and unfounded considering that respondent
The authority given to Mayor Corral to hire a lawyer was not only for the did not render any legal service which accrued to the benefit of Tiwi. The
purpose of executing the decision in National Power Corporation v. Province of Contract of Legal Services specifically provided that for the attorneys fees to
Albay but extended to representing the interest of Tiwi in other cases as well. accrue, respondents legal services should result to the recovery of Tiwis claims
Further, the said resolution did not impose as a condition precedent the against Albay and NPC. It is, thus, incumbent upon respondent to prove in a trial
ratification of the subject contract by the Sangguniang Bayan in order to render it on the merits that his legal efforts resulted to the collection of the realty taxes in
effective. Lastly, the trial court ruled that the answer admitted, through a favor of Tiwi. Petitioners belittle as mere messengerial service the legal services
negative pregnant, that Tiwi was paid the amounts of P110,985,181.83 and rendered by respondent on the ground that what remained to be done was the
P35,594,480.00, hence, respondent is entitled to 10% thereof as attorneys fees execution of the judgment of this Court in National Power Corporation v.
under the terms of the subject contract. Province of Albay and the opinion of then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
CA - affirmed the Decision of the trial court. Antonio T. Carpio.
The appellate court agreed with the trial court that the genuineness and due In their answer, petitioners also questioned the authority of Mayor Corral to
execution of the Contract of Legal Services and Resolution No. 15-92 was enter into the subject contract providing for a 10% contingent fee because the
impliedly admitted by petitioners because of their failure to make a verified provisions of Resolution No. 15-92 do not grant her such power. In addition,
specific denial thereof. Further, the answer filed by the petitioners admitted under the said contract, Tiwi was made liable for legal services outside of those
the material averments of the complaint concerning Tiwis liability under the related to the satisfaction of the judgment in National Power Corporation v.
subject contract and its receipt from the NPC of a total of P146,579,661.84 as Province of Albay. These stipulations are void and unenforceable. Hence, any
realty taxes. Petitioners cannot claim that the subject contract required claim of respondent must be based on quantum meruit which should be
ratification because this is not a requisite for the enforceability of a contract threshed out during a full-blown trial.
against a local government unit under the express terms of the contract and the Finally, petitioners argue that respondent cannot capitalize on the admission of
provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC). Also, petitioners are estopped the genuineness and due execution of the subject contract because this merely
from questioning the enforceability of the contract after having collected and means that the signature of the party is authentic and the execution of the
enjoyed the benefits derived therefrom. contract complied with the formal solemnities. This does not extend to the
documents substantive validity and efficacy. that a 10% attorneys fees of the amount recoverable is reasonable.
Respondents Arguments Issue:
Respondent counters that the Contract of Legal Services was not limited to the Whether or not Mayor Corral authorized to enter into the contract of Legal
NPC case but to other services done pursuant to said contract. Thus, the Services.
attorneys fees should cover these services as well. He also stresses that despite Ruling:
this Courts ruling in National Power Corporation v. Province of Albay and the Yes. Pursuant to Section 444(b)(1)(vi) of the LGC, the municipal mayor is required
opinion of then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Antonio T. Carpio, Governor to secure the prior authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan before entering into
Salalima and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay stubbornly resisted and a contract on behalf of the municipality. In the instant case, the Sangguniang
disobeyed the same. Consequently, respondent prosecuted and defended on Bayan of Tiwi unanimously passed Resolution No. 15-92 authorizing Mayor Corral
behalf of Tiwi several administrative and court cases involving the elective to hire a lawyer of her choice to represent the interest of Tiwi in the execution of
officials of Albay to compel the latter to comply with the aforesaid issuances. He this Courts
also filed a civil case to prevent the NPC from remitting Tiwis share in the realty Decision in National Power Corporation v. Province of Albay. The above- quoted
taxes directly to Albay. authority necessarily carried with it the power to negotiate, execute and sign on
Respondent adds that he also acted as counsel for Mayor Corral after Governor behalf of Tiwi the Contract of Legal Services. On its face, and there is no
Salalima and his allies sought to remove Mayor Corral in retaliation to the allegation to the contrary, this prior authorization appears to have been given by
administrative cases that she (Mayor Corral) previously filed against Governor the council in good faith to the end of expeditiously safeguarding the rights of
Salalima for the latters failure to remit Tiwis share in the realty taxes. These Tiwi. Under the particular circumstances of this case, there is, thus, nothing
administrative cases reached this Court in Salalima v. Guingona, Jr. where objectionable to this manner of prior authorization. Prescinding therefrom,
respondent appears as the counsel of record of Mayor Corral and the other local petitioners next contention that the subject contract should first be ratified in
officials of Tiwi. The filing and handling of these cases belies petitioners claim order to become enforceable as against Tiwi must necessarily fail. As correctly
that what respondent did for Tiwi was a mere messengerial service. held by the CA, the law speaks of prior authorization and not ratification with
Respondent also argues that the Contract of Legal Services is valid and respect to the power of the local chief executive to enter into a contract on
enforceable due to petitioners failure to specifically deny the same under oath behalf of the local government unit.
in their Answer. Moreover, the law does not require that the subject contract be The petition is meritorious.
ratified by the Sangguniang Bayan in order to become enforceable. Instead, the It was erroneous for the trial court to rule that the genuineness and due
law merely requires that the Sangguniang Bayan authorize the mayor to enter execution of the Contract of Legal Services was impliedly admitted by petitioners
into contracts as was done here through Resolution No. 15-92. for failure to make a sworn specific denial thereof as required by Section 8,[17]
Last, the 10% attorneys fees in the subject contract is reasonable, more so Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. This rule is not applicable when the adverse party
because the fee is contingent in nature. In a long line of cases, it has been ruled does not appear to be a party to the instrument. In the instant case, the subject
contract was executed between respondent and Atty. Lawenko, on the one acts of the Council prior to Resolution No. 21.
hand, and Tiwi, represented by Mayor Corral, on the other. None of the Prescinding therefrom, petitioners next contention that the subject contract
petitioners, who are the incumbent elective and appointive officials of Tiwi as of should first be ratified in order to become enforceable as against Tiwi must
the filing of the Complaint, were parties to said contract. We shall, thus, proceed necessarily fail. As correctly held by the CA, the law speaks of prior authorization
from the premise that the genuineness and due execution of the Contract of and not ratification with respect to the power of the local chief executive to
Legal Services has already been established. enter into a contract on behalf of the local government unit. This authority, as
Mayor Corral was authorized to enter into the Contract of Legal Services discussed above, was granted by the Sangguniang Bayan to Mayor Corral as per
The municipal mayor is required to secure the prior authorization of the Resolution No. 15-92.
Sangguniang Bayan before entering into a contract on behalf of the municipality. The scope of the legal services contemplated in Resolution No. 15-92 was limited
In the instant case, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi unanimously passed to the execution of the decision in National Power Corporation v. Province of
Resolution No. 15-92 authorizing Mayor Corral to hire a lawyer of her choice to Albay.
represent the interest of Tiwi in the execution of this Courts Decision in National The wording of Resolution No. 15-92 is clear. Its title and whereas clauses,
Power Corporation v. Province of Albay. previously quoted above, indicate that the hiring of a lawyer was for the sole
The above-quoted authority necessarily carried with it the power to negotiate, purpose of executing the judgment in National Power Corporation v. Province of
execute and sign on behalf of Tiwi the Contract of Legal Services. That the Albay, that is, to allow Tiwi to recover its rightful share in the unpaid realty taxes
authorization did not set the terms and conditions of the compensation signifies of NPC. In his Complaint, respondent admits that he was furnished and read a
that the council empowered Mayor Corral to reach a mutually agreeable copy of the said resolution before he entered into the subject contract. He
arrangement with the lawyer of her choice subject, of course, to the general cannot now feign ignorance of the limitations of the authority of Mayor Corral to
limitation that the contracts stipulations should not be contrary to law, morals, enter into the subject contract and the purpose for which his services were
good customs, public order or public policy, and, considering that this is a employed.
contract of legal services, to the added restriction that the agreed attorneys fees We cannot accept respondents strained reading of Resolution No. 15-92 in that
must not be unreasonable and unconscionable. On its face, the phrase to represent the interest of the Municipality of Tiwi and its
and there is no allegation to the contrary, this prior authorization appears to Barangays is taken to mean such other matters not related to the execution of
have been given by the council in good faith to the end of expeditiously the decision in National Power Corporation v. Province of Albay. It could not
safeguarding the rights of Tiwi. Under the particular circumstances of this case, have been the intention of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tiwi to authorize the hiring
there is, thus, nothing objectionable to this manner of prior authorization. of a lawyer to perform general legal services because this duty devolves upon the
The Court is thus satisfied that it was in fact the Council's intention, which it municipal legal officer. The council sought the services of a lawyer because the
expressed in clear language, to confer on the Mayor ample discretion to execute dispute was between the municipality (Tiwi) and province (Albay) so much so
a "negotiated contract" with any interested party, without regard to any official that it f ell under the exception provided in Section 481(b)(3)(i)[27] of the LGC
which permits a local government unit to employ the services of a special legal requested clarification regarding the right of the municipalities concerned to
officer. Thus, the provisions of paragraph 4 of the Contract of Legal Services to share in the realty tax delinquencies. But this fact does not detract from the
the contrary notwithstanding, the basis of respondents compensation should be administrative liability of the petitioners. Notably, when the NPC advised the
limited to the services he rendered Province of Albay on 9 December 1992 that starting with the January 1993
which reasonably contributed to the recovery of Tiwis share in the subject realty installment it would pay directly to the Municipality of Tiwi by applying the
taxes. sharing scheme provided by law, the petitioners passed on 19 December 1992 an
In sum, the allegations and admissions in the pleadings are sufficient to rule that ordinance declaring as forfeited in favor of the Province all the payments made
Mayor Corral was duly authorized to enter into the Contract of Legal Services. by the NPC under the MOA and authorizing the sale of the NPC properties at
However, the legal services contemplated therein, which are properly public auction. This actuation of the petitioners reveals all the more their
compensable, are limited to such services which reasonably contributed to the intention to deprive the municipalities concerned of their shares in the NPC
recovery of Tiwis rightful share in the unpaid realty taxes of NPC. Paragraph 4 of payments.
the Contract of Legal Services, insofar as it covers legal services outside of this To recap, the following are deemed resolved based on the allegations and
purpose, is therefore unenforceable. admissions in the pleadings: (1) then Mayor Corral was authorized to enter into
The issue of the reasonable legal fees due to respondent still needs to be the Contract of Legal Services, (2) the legal services contemplated in Resolution
resolved in a trial on the merits. No. 15-92 was limited to such services which reasonably
The subject contract stipulated that respondents 10% fee shall be based on contributed to the recovery of Tiwis rightful share in the unpaid realty taxes of
whatever amount or payment collected from the National Power Corporation NPC, and (3) paragraph 4 of the Contract of Legal Services, insofar as it covers
(NPC) as a result of the legal service rendered by [respondent]. As will be services outside of this purpose, is unenforceable. Upon the other hand, the
discussed hereunder, the extent and significance of respondents legal services issue of the reasonable legal fees due to respondent still needs to be resolved in
that reasonably contributed to the recovery of Tiwis share as well as the amount a trial on the merits with the following integral sub-issues: (1) the
of realty taxes recovered by Tiwi arising from these alleged services requires a reasonableness of the 10% contingent fee given that the recovery of Tiwis share
full-blown trial. was not solely attributable to the legal services rendered by respondent, (2) the
The main source of respondents claim for attorneys fees lies with respect to nature, extent of legal work, and significance of the cases allegedly handled by
several administrative and court cases that he allegedly prosecuted and respondent which reasonably contributed, directly or indirectly, to the recovery
defended on behalf of Tiwi against the elective officials of Albay in order to of Tiwis share, and (3) the relative benefit derived by Tiwi from the services
compel the latter to remit the rightful share of Tiwi in the unpaid realty taxes. rendered by respondent. In addition, we should note here that the amount of
The Municipalities of Tiwi and Daraga and the National Government eventually reasonable attorneys fees finally determined by the trial court should be
received their respective shares, which were paid directly to them by the NPC without legal interest in line with well-settled jurisprudence.
pursuant to the directive of the Office of the President issued after the NPC As earlier noted, this case was filed with the trial court in 1999, however, we are
constrained to remand this case for further proceedings because the subject he also became the Presiding Of cer of the SPM and, at the same time, the head
partial judgment on the pleadings was clearly not proper under the premises. of the Sanggunian Secretariat. Vicencio, representing the City Government of
To end, justice and fairness require that the issue of the reasonable attorneys Malabon City, entered into Contracts for Consultancy Services. After the signing
fees due to respondent be ventilated in a trial on the merits amidst the of their respective contracts, the three consultants rendered consultancy
contentious assertions by both parties because in the end, neither party must be services to the SPM. Thereafter, the three consultants were correspondingly paid
allowed to unjustly enrich himself at the expense of the other. for their services pursuant to the contracts therefor. However, an Audit
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The October 19, 2005 Decision and March Observation Memorandum (AOM) was issued disallowing the amount for being
10, 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 79057 are an improper disbursement. Aggrieved by the disallowance, Vicencio appealed it
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. This case is REMANDED to the trial court for further to the Adjudication and Settlement Board (ASB) of the Commission on Audit
proceedings to determine the reasonable amount of attorneys fees which (COA) which subsequently denied it.
respondent is entitled to in accordance with the guidelines set in this Decision.
ISSUE:

Whether or not the Commission on Audit committed serious errors and grave
ARNOLD VICENCIO v. HON. HEYNALOO A. VILLAR, et al. G.R. No. 182069, 3 July abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction when it af rmed
2012, EN BANC (Sereno, J.) ASBs decision relative to the disallowance of disbursements concerning the
services rendered by hired consultants for the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng
The mandate of the Commission on Audit is to observe the policy that Malabon
government funds and property should be fully protected and conserved; and
that irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant expenditures or uses of such HELD:
funds and property should be prevented.
Under Section 456 of R.A. 7160, or the Local Government Code, there is no
The City Council or the Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Malabon (SPM), presided by inherent authority on the part of the city vice-mayor to enter into contracts on
Hon. Benjamin Galauran, then acting Vice-Mayor, adopted and approved City behalf of the local government unit, unlike that provided for the city mayor.
Ordinance No. 15-2003, entitled An Ordinance Granting Authority to the City Thus, the authority of the vice-mayor to enter into contracts on behalf of the city
Vice-Mayor, Hon. Jay Jay Yambao, to Negotiate and Enter into Contract for was strictly circumscribed by the ordinance granting it. Ordinance No. 15-2003
Consultancy Services for Consultants in the Sanggunian Secretariat Tasked to speci cally authorized Vice-Mayor Yambao to enter into contracts for consultancy
Function in their Respective Areas of Concern. services. As this is not a power or duty given under the law to the Of ce of the
Vice-Mayor, Ordinance No. 15-2003 cannot be construed as a continuing
Arnold Vicencio was elected City Vice-Mayor of Malabon. By virtue of this of ce, authority for any person who enters the Of ce of the Vice-Mayor to enter into
subsequent, albeit similar, contracts. under the General Welfare Clause of the Local Government Code;[14] that the
ordinance, being based on a valid classification, was consistent with the Equal
The COAs assailed Decision was made in faithful compliance with its mandate Protection Clause; that aerial spraying was distinct from other methods of
and in judicious exercise of its general audit power as conferred on it by the pesticides application because it exposed the residents to a higher degree of
Constitution. The COA was merely ful lling its mandate in observing the policy health risk caused by aerial drift;[15] and that the ordinance enjoyed the
that government funds and property should be fully protected and conserved; presumption of constitutionality, and could be invalidated only upon a clear
and that irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant expenditures or uses of showing that it had violated the Constitution.
such funds and property should be prevented. Thus, no grave abuse of discretion On January 9, 2009, the CA promulgated its assailed decision reversing the
may be imputed to the COA. judgment of the RTC.[22] It declared Section 5 of Ordinance No. 0309-07 as void
and unconstitutional for being unreasonable and oppressive;
WILFREDO MOSQUEDA v. PILIPINO BANANA GROWERS & EXPORTERS The CA did not see any established relation between the purpose of protecting
ASSOCIATION, GR No. 189185, 2016-08-16 the public and the environment against the harmful effects of aerial spraying, on
one hand, and the imposition of the ban against aerial spraying of all forms of
Facts: substances, on the other.
After several committee hearings and consultations with various stakeholders, Issues:
the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao City enacted Ordinance No. 0309, Series whether or not Ordinance No. 0309-07 is unconstitutional on due process and
of 2007, to impose a ban against aerial spraying as an agricultural practice by all equal protection grounds for being unreasonable and oppressive, and an invalid
agricultural entities within Davao City exercise of police power: (a) in imposing a ban on aerial spraying as an
The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA) and two of agricultural practice in Davao City under Section 5; (b) in decreeing a 3-month
its members, namely: Davao Fruits Corporation and Lapanday Agricultural and transition-period to shift to other modes of pesticide application under Section 5;
Development Corporation (PBGEA, et al.), filed their petition in the RTC to and (c) in requiring the maintenance of the 30-meter buffer zone under Section 6
challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance thereof in all agricultural lands in Davao City.
They alleged that the ordinance exemplified the unreasonable exercise of police Ruling:
power; violated the equal protection clause; amounted to the confiscation of The Sangguniang Bayan of Davao Cityenacted Ordinance No. 0309-07under its
property without due process of law; and lacked publication pursuant] to Section corporate powers... the right to a balanced and healthful ecology under Section
511[6] of Republic Act No. 7160 16 is an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational implications.
It is under this milieu that the questioned ordinance should be appreciated.
On September 22, 2007, after trial, the RTC rendered judgment declaring Advancing the interests of the residents who are vulnerable to the alleged health
Ordinance No. 0309-07 valid and constitutional risks due to their exposure to pesticide drift justifies the motivation behind the
The RTC opined that the City of Davao had validly exercised police power[13]
enactment of the ordinance. The City of Davao has the authority to enact pieces serves a legitimate public purpose, and it employs means that are reasonably
of legislation that will promote the general welfare, specifically the health of its necessary to achieve that purpose without unduly oppressing the individuals
constituents. Such authority should not be construed, however, as a valid license regulated, the ordinance must survive a due process challenge.
for the City of Davao to enact any ordinance it deems fit to discharge its The required civil works for the conversion to truck-mounted boom spraying
mandate. A thin but well-defined line separates authority to enact legislations alone will consume considerable time and financial resources given the
from the method of accomplishing the same. topography and geographical features of the plantations.[117] As such, the
conversion could not be completed within the short timeframe of three months.
Ordinance No. 0309-07 violates the Due Process Clause Requiring the respondents and other affected individuals to comply with the
A valid ordinance must not only be enacted within the corporate powers of the consequences of the ban within the three-month period under pain of penalty
local government and passed according to the procedure prescribed by law.[108] like fine, imprisonment and even cancellation of business permits would
In order to declare it as a valid piece of local legislation, it must also comply with definitely be oppressive as to constitute abuse of police power.
the following substantive requirements, namely: (1) it must not contravene the The respondents posit that the requirement of maintaining a buffer zone under
Constitution or any statute; (2) it must be fair, not oppressive; (3) it must not be Section 6 of the ordinance violates due process for being confiscatory; and that
partial or discriminatory; (4) it must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5) it the imposition unduly deprives all agricultural landowners within Davao City of
must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) it must not be the beneficial use of their property that amounts to taking without just
unreasonable.[109]In the State's exercise of police power, the property rights of compensation.
individuals may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfill the The position of the respondents is untenable.
objectives of the Government.[110] A local government unit is considered to In City of Manila v. Laguio, Jr.,[118] we have thoroughly explained that taking
have properly exercised its police powers only if it satisfies the following only becomes confiscatory if it substantially divests the owner of the beneficial
requisites, to wit: (1) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from use of its property
those of a particular class, require the interference of the State; and (2) the Ordinance No. 0309-07 violates the Equal Protection Clause
means employed are reasonably necessary for the attainment of the object The constitutional right to equal protection requires that all persons or things
sought to be accomplished and not unduly oppressive.[111] The first similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and
requirement refers to the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution; the responsibilities imposed. It requires public bodies and institutions to treat
second, to the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.[112]Substantive due similarly situated individuals in a similar manner. The guaranty equal protection
process requires that a valid ordinance must have a sufficient justification for the secures every person within the State's jurisdiction against intentional and
Government's action.[113] This means that in exercising police power the local arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or
government unit must not arbitrarily, whimsically or despotically enact the by its improper execution through the State's duly constituted authorities. The
ordinance regardless of its salutary purpose. So long as the ordinance realistically concept of equal justice under the law demands that the State governs
impartially, and not to draw distinctions between individuals solely on that the ordinance seeks to achieve.[142] In the process, the ordinance suffers
differences that are irrelevant to the legitimate governmental objective. from being "underinclusive" because the classification does not include all
Equal treatment neither requires universal application of laws to all persons or individuals tainted with the same mischief that the law seeks to eliminate.[143] A
things without distinction,[120] nor intends to prohibit legislation by limiting the classification that is drastically underinclusive with respect to the purpose or end
object to which it is directed or by the territory in which it is to operate.[121] The appears as an irrational means to the legislative end because it poorly serves the
guaranty of equal protection envisions equality among equals determined intended purpose of the law.
according to a valid classification.[122] If the groupings are characterized by WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the consolidated petitions for review on
substantial distinctions that make real differences, one class may be treated and certiorari for their lack of merit; AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on January 9,
regulated differently from another.[123] In other word, a valid classification must 2009 in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 01389-MIN. declaring Ordinance No. 0309-07
be: (1) based on substantial distinctions; (2) germane to the purposes of the law; UNCONSTITUTIONAL;
(3) not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) equally applicable to all
members of the class. Principles:
In our view, the petitioners correctly argue that the rational basis approach Constitutional Law... the right to a balanced and healthful ecology under Section
appropriately applies herein. Under the rational basis test, we shall: (1) discern 16 is an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational implications.
the reasonable relationship between the means and the purpose of the Political Law... taking only becomes confiscatory if it substantially divests the
ordinance; and (2) examine whether the means or the prohibition against aerial owner of the beneficial use of its property
spraying is based on a substantial or reasonable distinction. A reasonable
classification includes all persons or things similarly situated with respect to the OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs. CA and BARRIGA
purpose of the law. G.R. No. 172224. January 26, 2011
Davao City justifies the prohibition against aerial spraying by insisting that the
occurrence of drift causes inconvenience and harm to the residents and
degrades the environment. Given this justification, does the ordinance satisfy the Facts:
requirement that the classification must rest on substantial distinction?We
answer in the negative. Sometime in 2000, Sonia Q. Pua, a Municipal Councilor of Carmen, Cebu, filed a
The occurrence of pesticide drift is not limited to aerial spraying but results from complaint with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas, alleging
the conduct of any mode of pesticide application. Even manual spraying or truck- thatMayorVirgilio E. Villamor, Municipal TreasurerBontia, and respondent
mounted boom spraying produces drift that may bring about the same Municipal AccountantBarriga, entered into several irregular and anomalous
inconvenience, discomfort and alleged health risks to the community and to the transactions in their official capacity.
environment.[141] A ban against aerial spraying does not weed out the harm
In a Decision dated 28 August 2002, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Republic Act No. 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989 gives parties the right to
Visayas found Barriga guilty of misconduct and imposed on her the penalty of six appeal then such right also generally carries with it the right to stay these
months suspension from the service. decisions pending appeal. Thus, the CA concluded that the acts of petitioner
cannot be permitted nor tolerated.
Upon review, petitioner Office of the Ombudsman modified the decision and
found Barriga guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and Pursuant to the CAs Resolution dated 16 June 2005, the municipal mayor of
imposed on her the penalty of suspension for one year.Barriga filed a motion for Carmen, Cebu reinstated Barriga as municipal accountant.
reconsideration which petitioner denied.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration and raised the issue of finality of
Later, in an Order dated 13 November 2002, petitioner directed the municipal the Ombudsmans Decision dated 28 August 2002. The motion was denied by the
mayor of Carmen, Cebu to implement the decision dated 28 August 2002. CA. Hence, this petition.

Barriga filed a petition for review with the CA which denied the petition for lack
of merit.Barriga then elevated the case to the Supreme Court which also denied Issue:
the petition. MR and second MR was likewise denied.
Whether the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in nullifying the
After a month, petitioner, through the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for orders of the Office of the Ombudsman to the municipal mayor of Carmen, Cebu
Visayas, again directed the municipal mayor of Carmen, Cebu to implement the for the immediate implementation of the penalty of suspension from service of
Order dated 13 November 2002. respondent Barriga even though the case was pending on appeal.

Barriga made a request that the implementation of the penalty of one-year


suspension be held in abeyance pending the issuance of the entry of judgment Held:
by this Supreme Court. The request was denied by petitioner.
Yes. Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 7, as amended by
However, Barriga, in order to delay the implementation of her suspension from Administrative Order No. 17, states:
service elevated the case once again to the CA. The CA in rendering a favorable
decision in favor of Barriga nullified the Ombudsmans orders from implementing Section 7. Finality and execution of decision.- Where the respondent is absolved
its decision. CA said that the immediate implementation of petitioners Order of the charge, and in case of conviction where the penalty imposed is public
dated 13 November 2002 was premature pending resolution of the appeal. Since censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one month, or a fine
equivalent to one month salary, the decision shall be final, executory and the Ombudsman v. Court of Appeals and Macabulos, we held that decisions of
unappealable. In all other cases, the decision may be appealed to the Court of the Ombudsman are immediately executory even pending appeal in the CA.
Appeals on a verified petition for review under the requirements and conditions
set forth in Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, within fifteen (15) days from receipt of Thus, the Ombudsmans order imposing on Barriga the penalty of suspension
the written Notice of the Decision or Order denying the Motion for from office for one year without pay is immediately executory even pending
Reconsideration. appeal in the Court of Appeals.

An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory. In case the penalty
is suspension or removal and the respondent wins such appeal, he shall be Petition granted. The Resolutions dated 20 February 2006 and 16 June 2005 of
considered as having been under preventive suspension and shall be paid the the Court of Appeals in were set aside. The modified Order dated 28 August 2002
salary and such other emoluments that he did not receive by reason of the of the Office of the Ombudsman suspending Dinah C. Barriga from government
suspension or removal. service for one year without pay was reinstated. Since Dinah C. Barriga already
partially served her suspension from government service, the Municipal Mayor
A decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases shall be of Carmen, Cebu wasdirected to implement with dispatch the remaining balance
executed as a matter of course. The Office of the Ombudsman shall ensure that of number of days of suspension from office not yet served by Barriga.
the decision shall be strictly enforced and properly implemented. The refusal or
failure by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Office of
the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine, or censure shall be a ground
for disciplinary action against said officer.

It is clear from the provision that when a public official has been found guilty of
an administrative charge by the Office of the Ombudsman and the penalty
imposed is suspension for more than a month, an appeal may be made to the
CA. However, such appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory and
the implementation of the decision follows as a matter of course.

The CA is incorrect. The provision in the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman is clear that an appeal by a public official from a decision meted out
by the Ombudsman shall not stop the decision from being executory. In Office of