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SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY et al. v.

ATIENZA

FACTS: Herein petitioners (SJS, Cabigao, Tumbokon) filed a case for mandamus (Rule 65) to compel then
Mayor Atienza to enforce Ordinance 8027, which was enacted in November 2001. Under the said
Ordinance, certain areas in Manila were reclassified from industrial to commercial area. As such, the
businesses of certain groups, including petroleum companies (Chevron, Petron and Shell are intervenors
in the case, since they were affected) became disallowed. The ordinance directed them to cease and
desist from operating in the Pandacan Terminals. Later, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was
entered into between the Dept of Energy and the oil companies, which was to be effective only for 6
months. The agreement was to the effect that there would be only a ‘scaling down’ of the Pandacan
terminals, and for this purpose, special business permits were issued to the oil companies. The MOU
was extended for a number of months. (This is why the petitioners filed a mandamus case - to compel
the Mayor to enforce the Ordinance instead). In 2007, the SC ruled that it was ministerial for the mayor
to enforce all ordinances. The 3 oil companies and the DOE filed an MR. This case is the resolution of
such MR. as it turns out, in the beginning, the 3 companies filed a complaint in the Manila RTC to have
the Ordinance annulled. The court issued a preliminary injunction, ordering the Mayor to refrain from
enforcing the Ordinance. Years after (in 2006), Ordinance 8119 known as the Manila Comprehensive
Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance was enacted. Because of this new Ordinance, the oil companies
filed new complaints to nullify it and they filed motions to withdraw their earlier complaint (the one for
nullifying the original ordinance). In effect, their argument was that the later ordinance superseded that
first one, such that it was error for the SC to rule that the Mayor should enforce the first ordinance.
(recall the SC ruling in the first paragraph of this digest) Issue: was the first Ordinance superseded by the
second one? – No. [should courts take mandatory judicial notice of local ordinances? – No] Ruling: The
2007 decision did not take into consideration the passage of the second Ordinance. The simple reason
was that the SC was never informed about this ordinance. While courts are required to take judicial
notice of the laws enacted by Congress, the rule with respect to local ordinances is different. Ordinances
are not included in the enumeration of matters covered by mandatory judicial notice under Section 1,
Rule 129 of the Rules of Court. Section 50 of RA 409provides that: “Judicial notice of ordinances. - All
courts sitting in the city shall take judicial notice of the ordinances passed by the
SangguniangPanglungsod.”However, this cannot be taken to mean that the SC, since it has its seat in the
City of Manila, should have taken steps to procure a copy of the ordinance on its own, relieving the
party of any duty to inform the Court about it. Because even where there is a statute that requires a
court to take judicial notice of municipal ordinances, a court is not required to take judicial notice of
ordinances that are not before it and to which it does not have access. The party asking the court to take
judicial notice is obligated to supply the court with the full text of the rules the party desires it to have
notice of.Counsels should take the initiative in requesting that a trial court take judicial notice of an
ordinance even where a statute requires courts to take judicial notice of local ordinances. The failure to
present the Ordinance is inexcusable