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G.R. No. 176951 http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2009/december2009/176951_car...

G.R. Nos. 176951, 177499, and 178056: LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES,
et al. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al.

Promulgated:
December 21, 2009

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DISSENTING OPINION

CARPIO, J.:

A.M. No. 99-1-09-SC (dated 26 January 1999): In the Matter of Clarifying the
Rule in Resolving Motions for Reconsideration

The Court Resolved as follows:

A MOTION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF A DECISION OR RESOLUTION


OF THE COURT EN BANC OR OF A DIVISION MAY BE GRANTED UPON
A VOTE OF A MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE EN BANC OR OF A
DIVISION, AS THE CASE MAY BE, WHO ACTUALLY TOOK PART IN THE
DELIBERATION OF THE MOTION.

IF THE VOTING RESULTS IN A TIE, THE MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION IS DEEMED DENIED. (Emphasis supplied)

xxxx

[T]he reason for the rule (of immutability of final judgments) is that if, on the
application of one party, the court could change its judgment to the prejudice of
the other, it could thereafter, on application of the latter, again change the
judgment and continue this practice indefinitely. The equity of a particular
case must yield to the overmastering need of certainty and unalterability of
judicial pronouncements.

- Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, Apo Fruits Corporation v. Court of Appeals,


G.R. No. 164195, 4 December 2009

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The ponencia states that since the instant cases fall under Sec. 4(2), Art. VIII of the
Constitution, [Sec. 7, Rule 56 and the Resolution in A.M. No. 99-1-09-SC] ought to be
applied in conjunction with the prescription of the Constitution that the cases shall be decided
with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations
on the issues in the instant cases and voted thereon.

I dissent.

I.
The Rules on Tie-Vote

Section 7, Rule 56 of the Rules of Court expressly governs tie-votes in the en banc, thus:

SEC. 7. Procedure if opinion is equally divided. Where the court en banc is equally divided
in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall again be deliberated on,
and if after such deliberation no decision is reached, the original action commenced in the
court shall be dismissed; in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand
affirmed; and on all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied. (Emphasis
supplied)

This provision contemplates three possible instances where the Supreme Court en banc may
[1]
be equally divided in opinion or where the necessary majority in the votes cannot be had.

First, in actions instituted originally in the Supreme Court, if there is a tie-vote, the Court
en banc shall deliberate again. After such re-deliberation and the Court remains equally
divided, which means that no decision had been reached, the original action shall be
dismissed. In such a case, the tie-vote results in the dismissal of the action without
establishing any jurisprudential precedent.
Significantly, a deadlock vote on an original action is not novel to the Court. In fact, the
Court had experienced such a deadlock in Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural
[2] [3] [4] [5]
Resources, Badoy, Jr. v. Comelec, Antonio, Jr. v. Comelec, Agudo v. Comelec, and
[6]
People v. Lopez.

1. Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources

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In Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, petitioners Isagani Cruz and
Cesar Europa brought a suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers,
assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise
known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations. Petitioners challenged the constitutionality of the IPRA on the ground that its
provisions amount to an unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the
public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the
regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. The Court, via a Per
Curiam resolution, dismissed the petition because the Court was equally divided in opinion,
to wit:
After due deliberation on the petition, the members of the Court voted as follows:

Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion, which the Chief Justice and
Justices Bellosillo, Quisumbing, and Santiago join, sustaining the validity of the challenged provisions of
R.A. 8371. Justice Puno also filed a separate opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of the law with the
exception of Section 1, Part II, Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1998, the Rules and
Regulations Implementing the IPRA, and Section 57 of the IPRA which he contends should be interpreted as
dealing with the large-scale exploitation of natural resources and should be read in conjunction with Section
2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. On the other hand, Justice Mendoza voted to dismiss the petition
solely on the ground that it does not raise a justiciable controversy and petitioners do not have standing to
question the constitutionality of R.A. 8371.

Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. Justice Panganiban filed a separate opinion
expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b), 5, 6, 7 (a)(b), 8, and related provisions of R.A. 8371 are
unconstitutional. He reserves judgment on the constitutionality of Sections 58, 59, 65, and 66 of the law,
which he believes must await the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been violated by the
IPRA. Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a), 7, and 57 of R.A.
8371 are unconstitutional. Justices Melo, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon join in the separate
opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug.

As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was
redeliberated upon. However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly,
[7]
pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is DISMISSED.
(Emphasis supplied)

On motion for reconsideration, the Court en banc, by virtue of Section 7, Rule 56,
denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration since the members of the Court en
banc were equally divided on such motion. In a minute Resolution promulgated on 21

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September 2001, the Court stated that the members of the Court who took part in the original
deliberations on the petition find no reason to modify or in any way alter their views on the
questions raised by petitioners and reiterated in their motion for reconsideration and therefore
maintain their votes as stated in the resolution of December 6, 2000. Justice Angelina
Sandoval Gutierrez took no part on the ground that she did not participate in the deliberations
on the petition.

In short, the tie-vote on the main decision cannot invalidate the prior action of the
Legislative and Executive branches in enacting RA 8371. Moreover, the tie-vote on the
motion for reconsideration resulted in the denial of the motion for reconsideration.
Thus, RA 8371 stands as valid.

2. Badoy, Jr. v. Comelec


In Badoy, Jr. v. Comelec, petitioner Badoy, Jr. prayed that Section 12(F) of Republic Act No.
6132 or The 1971 Constitutional Convention Act be declared unconstitutional. The voting
of the Supreme Court Justices standing at five (5) votes in favor of constitutionality and five
(5) votes against, the constitutionality of the provision was deemed upheld in conformity
with Section 10, Article VIII of the Constitution then in force. The petitions were, therefore,
denied.

3. Antonio, Jr. v. Comelec

In Antonio, Jr. v. Comelec, the Supreme Court Justices were evenly divided on the issue of
whether the Comelec should have ordered, as it did, a recanvass and proclamation on the
basis of the returns of certain precincts in Batanes. Five Justices believed that such a
proclamation was a necessary precedent to a protest in the House Electoral Tribunal. Five
other Justices dissented. The Court, pursuant to the Rules of Court, ordered a rehearing
on the petition in G.R. No. L-31609 entitled Agudo v. Comelec.

4. Agudo v. Comelec

In Agudo v. Comelec, where the Court reheard G.R. No. L-31609, the equal division (5 to 5)
in the Justices opinions had persisted, thus calling for the application of Section 11, Rule 56
[8]
of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court. Accordingly, the Court ordered the dismissal of the

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petition.

5. People v. Lopez

In People v. Lopez, then Solicitor General Lorenzo M. Taada, filed in the name of the People
of the Philippines, a petition for prohibition to enjoin Associate Judge Eusebio M. Lopez
from conducting further proceedings and from otherwise taking further cognizance of
criminal cases for treason against Benigno S. Aquino (No. 3527) and against Antonio de las
Alas, and other treason cases of similar nature. After the case was firstly heard, the Justices
taking part were equally divided and no decision could be rendered; so the Court ordered a
rehearing in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 56 in relation with Section 1 of Rule 58. The
case was submitted again for deliberation and decision. The votes remained tied at 4-4. Thus,
the petition was denied.

The above-cited cases, involving actions originally commenced in the Supreme Court, clearly
demonstrate that the Court has consistently applied the Rules on tie-vote. In accordance with
[9]
such rules, the evenly divided Court directed the rehearing of those cases and when, after
the rehearings, the tie-vote persisted, the Court ordered the dismissal or denial of the
petitions.

Second, in cases appealed to the Supreme Court, Section 7 of Rule 56 explicitly provides
that if the Court en banc is still equally divided after re-deliberation, the judgment or order
appealed from shall stand affirmed. A tie-vote in cases arising under the Courts appellate
[10]
jurisdiction translates into a summary affirmance of the lower courts ruling. In short, the
tie-vote in the en banc cannot amend or reverse a prior majority action of a lower court,
whose decision stands affirmed.

Third, on all incidental matters, which include motions for reconsideration, Section 7 of
Rule 56 specifically states that if the Court en banc is evenly divided on such matters,
the petition or motion shall be denied.

To settle any doubt on how a tie-vote on a motion for reconsideration should be interpreted,
the Court en banc issued a clarificatory Resolution on 26 January 1999 in A.M. No. 99-1-09-

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SC, as follows:

A MOTION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF A DECISION OR


RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC OR OF A DIVISION MAY BE
GRANTED UPON A VOTE OF A MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE
EN BANC OR OF A DIVISION, AS THE CASE MAY BE, WHO ACTUALLY
TOOK PART IN THE DELIBERATION OF THE MOTION.

IF THE VOTING RESULTS IN A TIE, THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS DEEMED


DENIED. (Emphasis supplied)

The clear and simple language of the clarificatory en banc Resolution requires no further
explanation. If the voting of the Court en banc results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration
is deemed denied. The Courts prior majority action on the main decision stands
[11]
affirmed. This clarificatory Resolution applies to all cases heard by the Court en banc,
which includes not only cases involving the constitutionality of a law, but also, as expressly
stated in Section 4(2), Article VIII of the Constitution, all other cases which under the
Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc. In short, Section 4(2) requires a majority
vote of the Court en banc not only in cases involving the constitutionality of a law, but also in
all other cases that are heard by the Court en banc.

The principle that a multi-member judicial body such as the Supreme Court cannot, based on
[12]
a tie-vote, overrule a prior action is consistently applied in legislative bodies as well. In
the book The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, the author Alice Sturgis writes:

A tie vote on a motion means that the same number of members has voted in the affirmative as
in the negative. Since a majority vote, or more than half of the legal votes case, is required to
adopt a motion, an equal or tie vote means that the motion is lost because it has failed to
receive a majority vote. A tie vote on a motion is not a deadlock vote that must be
[13]
resolved; it is simply not a majority vote, and the motion is lost. (Emphasis supplied)

Similarly, if the Philippine Supreme Court en banc is evenly split in its opinion on a motion
for reconsideration, it is not a deadlock vote that must be resolved; it is simply not a majority
vote, and the motion for reconsideration is defeated. More importantly, the tie-vote on a
motion for reconsideration does not and cannot, in any instance and for any reason,

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supersede the prior majority vote on the main decision.

II.
The Tie-Vote on the Second Motion for Reconsideration

Section 4(2), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides:

(2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement,
or law which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, and all other cases which
under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving
the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations,
orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the
concurrence of majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations
on the issues in the case and voted thereon. (Emphasis supplied)

Under Section 4(2), Article VIII of the Constitution, the requirement of a majority vote of the
Supreme Court en banc applies not only to the constitutionality of a law, but also to the
constitutionality of treaties, executive agreements, ordinances, regulations, and all other
cases which under the Rules of Court shall be heard by the Court en banc. To repeat, any
case which is heard by the Court en banc shall be decided by a majority vote of the
Court en banc.

To insure equal protection of the law, all cases required to be heard by the Court en banc
under Section 4(2), Article VII of the Constitution must be governed by the same rules on
voting, whether on the main decision or on the motion for reconsideration. There can be no
one rule for cases involving the constitutionality of a law and another rule for all other cases.
The Constitution makes no such distinction in Section 4(2) of Article VIII. Undeniably, the
Constitution does not require that motions for reconsideration in cases involving the
constitutionality of a law shall be treated differently from motions for reconsideration in other
cases heard by the Court en banc. There is no basis for such a different treatment, and such a
different treatment would violate the equal protection of the law. Where the Constitution does
not distinguish, this Court must not create a forced and baseless distinction.
In the present cases, the voting on the main petitions was 6-5 to declare the sixteen
Cityhood Laws unconstitutional. Clearly, there was compliance with Section 4(2),
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution since a majority of the members of the Court en
banc, who actually took part in the deliberations, voted to declare unconstitutional the

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sixteen Cityhood Laws.

In the first motion for reconsideration, a majority of 7-5 voted to deny the motion for
reconsideration. Again, there was a clear majority that denied the first motion for
reconsideration. The majority of the Court en banc struck down the sixteen Cityhood Laws
twice, first, during the deliberations on the main petitions, and second, during the
deliberations on the first motion for reconsideration.

Thereafter, by deliberating on the second motion for reconsideration filed by respondents, the
Court in effect allowed the filing of a second motion for reconsideration, which is generally
prohibited under the Rules of Court. The Court en banc, voting 6-6, denied the second
motion for reconsideration in the Resolution of 28 April 2009.

The 6-6 tie-vote by the Court en banc on the second motion for reconsideration necessarily
resulted in the denial of the second motion for reconsideration. Certainly, the 6-6 tie-vote
did not overrule the prior majority en banc Decision of 18 November 2008, and the
prior majority en banc Resolution of 31 March 2009 denying reconsideration. The tie-
vote on the second motion for reconsideration is not the same as a tie-vote on the main
decision. The Court en banc need not deliberate again because in case of a tie-vote on a
second motion for reconsideration, which is an incidental matter, such motion is lost. The tie-
vote plainly signifies that there is no majority to overturn the prior 18 November 2008
Decision and 31 March 2009 Resolution, and the second motion for reconsideration must
thus be denied. Further, the tie-vote on the second motion for reconsideration did not mean
that the present cases were left undecided because there remain the Decision of 18 November
2008 and Resolution of 31 March 2009 where majority of the Court en banc concurred in
decreeing the unconstitutionality of the sixteen Cityhood Laws. In short, the 18 November
2008 Decision and 31 March 2009 Resolution, which were both reached with the
concurrence of a majority of the Court en banc, are not reconsidered but stand
[14]
affirmed. These prior majority actions of the Court en banc can only be overruled by
a new majority vote, not a tie-vote because a tie-vote cannot overrule a prior affirmative
action.

Applying Section 7, Rule 56 and the clarificatory Resolution in A.M. No. 99-1-09-SC to the

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present cases does not in any manner contravene the mandate of Section 4(2), Article VIII of
the Constitution. To repeat, the Court en banc deliberated on the petitions and, by a majority
vote of 6-5, granted the petitions and declared the sixteen Cityhood Laws unconstitutional in
the Decision of 18 November 2008. Again, by a clear majority vote of 7-5, the Court en
banc voted to deny the first motion for reconsideration. Therefore, contrary to the
ponencia, the present cases were decided with the concurrence of a majority of the
Court en banc when it declared the unconstitutionality of the sixteen Cityhood Laws,
pursuant to Section 4(2), Article VIII of the Constitution.

A.M. No. 99-1-09-SC applies to all cases heard by the Court en banc. Whether the case
involves the constitutionality of a law, ordinance or regulation, or any civil, administrative
or criminal case which under the Rules of Court must be heard en banc, the case must be
decided by a majority vote of the Court en banc as expressly required by Section 4(2), Article
VIII of the Constitution. Any tie-vote in the motion for reconsideration results in the denial of
the motion for reconsideration pursuant to A.M. No. 99-1-09-SC, which governs all cases
heard by the Court en banc.

Further, to treat the second motion for reconsideration not as an incidental matter would
certainly render inutile the distinction set forth in Section 7, Rule 56 among original actions
commenced in this Court, appeals from the judgments of lower courts, and incidental matters,
such as motions.
III.
Precedents Applying Section 7, Rule 56

[15]
In Santiago v. Comelec, involving the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 6735 (RA
6735), entitled An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and
Appropriating Funds Therefor, the Court en banc, in an 8-5 vote, held that RA 6735 is
incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as
initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. While the Court en banc did
not expressly declare RA 6735 unconstitutional, the majority of the Court en banc ruled that
RA 6735, the law governing the implementation of the initiative system, was insufficient to
amend the Constitution. The majority of the Court en banc concluded that the COMELEC
should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for
initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly

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[16]
enacted to provide for the implementation of the system. On motion for
[17]
reconsideration, the Court en banc voted 6-6-1, inevitably resulting in the denial of
the motion for reconsideration and affirmance of the prior majority action on the main
petition. In other words, the Court en bancs ruling in Santiago that RA 6735 was
inadequate to amend the Constitution, obtained via an 8-5 vote, was deemed affirmed
by a tie-vote on the motion for reconsideration. In fact, the Courts decision in Santiago
spelled the sudden death of the so-called PIRMA initiative that triggered Santiago.

The case of Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources also applies to the
present cases. Petitioners in Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8371,
otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). There, the Court
en banc was evenly divided not only on the main petition, but also on the motion for
reconsideration. In a minute Resolution promulgated on 21 September 2001, the Court
en banc, by virtue of Section 7, Rule 56, denied the petitioners motion for
reconsideration since the members of the Court en banc were equally divided on such
motion. As a result, the Per Curiam Resolution dismissing the petition stood affirmed and
the constitutionality of RA 8371 was deemed upheld.

Santiago and Cruz are squarely in point with the present cases because Santiago and
Cruz, like the present cases, indisputably involve the constitutionality of a law and a tie-
vote on the motion for reconsideration.

Applying Section 7, Rule 56, the Court en banc, instead of prolonging their disposition,
outrightly denied the motions for reconsideration in Santiago and Cruz. No rehearings and no
redeliberations were set and conducted to re-examine the motions for reconsideration. This is
precisely because such proceedings are absolutely without any basis. For this reason alone,
the second motion for reconsideration in these cases must suffer the same fate as the motions
for reconsideration in Santiago and Cruz -- it must be summarily denied pursuant to Section
7, Rule 56.

Following the ponencia, the cases of Santiago and Cruz would be deemed unresolved. Worse,
the resolutions in Santiago and Cruz denying reconsideration due to a tie-vote would be

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deemed a blatant disregard of the mandate of Section 4(2), Article VIII of the 1987
Constitution.

IV.
The Finality of the 18 November 2008 Decision

Respondents, in filing the Motion to Amend the Resolution of April 28, 2009 By Declaring
Instead that Respondents Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of March 31, 2009
and Motion for Leave to File, and To Admit Attached Second Motion for Reconsideration of
the Decision Dated November 18, 2008 Remain Unresolved and to Conduct Further
Proceedings Thereon (Motion to Amend the Resolution of April 28, 2009), mistakenly
believe that with the 6-6 vote on the second motion for reconsideration, the issue of whether
the Cityhood Laws were unconstitutional remained unresolved. In the first place, the
Motion to Amend the Resolution of April 28, 2009 is a prohibited pleading. A prohibited
pleading is a scrap of paper, and can never be placed on an equal, if not a higher,
standing than a motion for reconsideration.

There is nothing left to be resolved precisely because the tie-vote on the second motion for
reconsideration simply means that there was no majority vote to overturn the 18 November
2008 Decision, and the second motion for reconsideration is lost. The tie in the voting does
not leave the case undecided. There is still the 18 November 2008 Decision and the 31
March 2009 Resolution which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the
[18]
Court en banc to muster the necessary vote for their reconsideration. No further
proceedings, much less re-deliberations by the Court en banc, are required.

Since the second motion for reconsideration was denied, pursuant to Section 7 of Rule 56,
there is absolutely nothing which would preclude the 18 November 2008 Decision from
becoming final after fifteen (15) days from receipt by the parties of the 28 April 2009
Resolution denying the second motion for reconsideration.

The Court had explicitly directed the parties, in the 28 April 2009 Resolution, to refrain
from filing further pleadings as it would no longer entertain the same. Yet, respondents
opted to ignore and persistently defy such directive. Aside from filing the Motion to
Amend the Resolution of April 28, 2009, respondents filed three more pleadings, namely, (1)
Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of 2 June 2009, (2) Urgent Motion to Resolve

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Pending Incidents, and (3) Appeal to Honorable Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Associate
Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura to Participate in the Resolution of Respondents' Motion
for Reconsideration of the Resolution of June 2, 2009. All these pleadings, which were filed
in direct contravention of the Courts directive in the 28 April 2009 Resolution, are
prohibited and are mere scraps of paper, unworthy of the Courts attention.

Furthermore, having in fact been filed without express leave - no such leave ever having been
granted by the Court, these pleadings are mere surplusage that did not need to be acted on,
and did not give rise to any pending matter which would effectively forestall the finality of
the 18 November 2008 Decision.

Clearly, these various pleadings reflect respondents desperate attempts to further delay the
execution of the final decision in these consolidated cases. As pointed out in petitioners'
[19]
Comment Ad Cautelam, respondents, by every possible guise and conceivable stratagem,
have stubbornly and persistently sought to evade the finality of the 18 November 2008
Decision. Notably, respondents craftily phrased and titled their motions based on the Court's
last denial order or resolution, and deliberately avoided reference to the previous repeated
denials by the Court. The Court cannot countenance such dilatory tactics.

While it is perfectly fine for respondents to defend their cause with all the vigor and resources
at their command, respondents may not be allowed to persist in presenting to the Court
arguments which have already been pronounced by final judgment to be without merit and
[20]
their motions for reconsideration of that judgment which have been denied.

Litigations must end and terminate at some point. In the present cases, that point must be
reckoned after the lapse of 15 days from the date of receipt by respondents' counsel of the 28
April 2009 Resolution denying the second motion for reconsideration or on 21 May 2009, as
certified by the Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief of the Judicial Records Office. Whether
respondents understood, or simply refuse to understand, the meaning of this statement, there
is no other meaning than to consider G.R. Nos. 176951, 177499, and 178056 finally closed
and terminated on 21 May 2009.

Well-entrenched is the rule that a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and
[21]
unalterable, no longer subject to attack and cannot be modified directly or indirectly, and
[22]
the court which rendered it, including this Court, had lost jurisdiction to modify it. The
Court laid down this rule precisely (1) to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus
procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business, and; (2) to put an end to
[23]
judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is why courts exist. As
[24]
Justice Bersamin stated in Apo Fruits Corporation v. Court of Appeals:

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[T]he reason for the rule is that if, on the application of one party, the court could change its
judgment to the prejudice of the other, it could thereafter, on application of the latter, again
change the judgment and continue this practice indefinitely. The equity of a particular case
must yield to the overmastering need of certainty and unalterability of judicial
pronouncements. (Emphasis supplied)

Hence, when the 18 November 2008 Decision became final on 21 May 2009, this Court can
no longer entertain and consider further arguments or submissions from the parties respecting
the correctness of the decision, and nothing more is left to be discussed, clarified or done in
[25]
these cases.

In fact, in recognition of the finality of the 18 November 2008 Decision, the Commission on
Elections issued Resolution No. 8670, while the Department of Budget and Management
issued Local Budget Memorandum No. 61.

COMELECs Resolution No. 8670 ordained that the voters in the 16 respondent
municipalities shall vote not as cities, but as municipalities in the 10 May 2010 elections.

On the other hand, the Department of Budget and Management's Local Budget Memorandum
No. 61 set forth the Fiscal Year 2009 Final Internal Revenue Allotment Allocation of all the
legally existing cities and municipalities in the whole country and the reversion of the 16
newly-created cities to municipalities.

Moreover, House Bill No. 6303, introduced by Representatives Carmen L. Cari, Eduardo R.
Gullas, Rodolfo G. Plaza, Philip A. Pichay, Thelma Z. Almario, Wilfrido Mark M. Enverga,
Manuel S. Agyao, Sharee Ann T. Tan, Edelmiro A. Amante, Mujiv S. Hataman, Jocelyn Sy
Limkaichong, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Teodulo M. Coquilla and Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano,
sought to amend Republic Act No. 9009 by inserting the following paragraph:

THE INCOME REQUIREMENT PRESCRIBED HEREIN SHALL NOT


APPLY TO MUNICIPALITIES WHICH WERE SOUGHT TO BE
CONVERTED INTO CITIES AS EMBODIED IN BILLS FILED BEFORE
JUNE 30, 2001 AND WHOSE CHARTERS HAVE ALREADY BEEN
APPROVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
House Bill No. 6303, in proposing to amend Republic Act No. 9009 by exempting the 16
respondent municipalities from the increased income requirement under the Local
Government Code, is undoubtedly an admission that the 18 November 2008 Decision had
become final and the Cityhood Laws are indeed unconstitutional. House Bill No. 6303 is
clearly but an attempt to possibly rectify the conceded fatal defect in the Cityhood Laws.

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To repeat, the Court, by a majority vote, ruled that the 16 Cityhood Laws are unconstitutional
in its 18 November 2008 Decision. The Court, by another majority vote, denied the first
motion for reconsideration of the 18 November 2008 Decision. Then, the Court, by a split-
vote, denied the second motion for reconsideration. Contrary to respondents' perception, there
is nothing left unresolved by the Court. The 18 November 2008 Decision became final on 21
May 2009. As a consequence, it has become immutable and unalterable, no longer subject to
attack and cannot be modified directly or indirectly by this Court, which had lost jurisdiction
to alter it.

V.
Final Note

Any ruling of this Court that a tie-vote on a motion for reconsideration reverses a prior
majority vote on the main decision would wreak havoc on well-settled jurisprudence of this
Court. Such an unprecedented ruling would resurrect contentious political issues long ago
settled, such as the PIRMA initiative in Santiago and the people's initiative in Lambino.
Countless other decisions of this Court would come back to haunt it, long after such decisions
have become final and executory following the tie-votes on the motions for reconsideration
which resulted in the denial of the motions. Such a ruling would destabilize not only this
Court, but also the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government. Business transactions
made pursuant to final decisions of this Court would also unravel for another round of
litigation, dragging along innocent third parties who had relied on such prior final decisions
of this Court. This Court cannot afford to unleash such a catastrophe on the nation.

Accordingly, I vote to EXPUNGE from the records, for being prohibited pleadings, the (1)
Motion to Amend the Resolution of April 28, 2009; (2) Motion for Reconsideration of the
Resolution of June 2, 2009; (3) Urgent Motion to Resolve Pending Incidents; and (4) Appeal
to Honorable Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B.
Nachura to Participate in the Resolution of Respondents Motion for Reconsideration of the
Resolution of June 2, 2009.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

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Associate Justice

[1]
Majority means the number greater than half or more than half of any total (Perez v. Dela Cruz, 137 Phil. 393, 410 [1969],
citing Websters International Dictionary, Unabridged).
[2]
400 Phil. 904 (2000).
[3]
No. L-32546, 17 October 1970, 35 SCRA 285, 301.
[4]
143 Phil. 241, 259-260 (1970).
[5]
144 Phil. 462-463 (1970).
[6]
78 Phil. 286, 318 (1947).
[7]
Id. at 930-931.
[8]
SEC. 11. Procedure if opinion is equally divided. Where the court en banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary
majority cannot be had, the case shall be reheard, and if on re-hearing no decision is reached, the action shall be dismissed if
originally commenced in the court; in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and on all
incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied.
[9]
See also People v. Alcover, 82 Phil. 681, 692 (1949).
[10]
Michael Coenen, Original Jurisdiction Deadlocks, 118 YLJ 1003, March 2009.
[11]
In Fortich v. Corona, retired Justice Jose Melo, in his Separate Opinion on the motion for reconsideration, stated that in our
own Court En Banc, if the voting is evenly split, on a 7-7 vote, one (1) slot vacant, or with one (1) justice inhibiting or
disqualifying himself, the motion (for reconsideration) shall, of course, not be carried because that is the end of the line.
(Emphasis supplied)
[12]
See Edward A. Hartnett, Ties in the Supreme Court of the United States, 44 WMMLR 643, December 2002.
[13]
Alice Sturgis, The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Revised by the American Institute of Parliamentarians, 4th
Edition, pp. 136-137. (http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=clk1qO-dWp4C&
dq=alice+sturgis+parliamentary+procedure&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=rFwU0kuABG&
sig=MzvI6eH4M2HlNsWIu0zSdflfvSo&hl=tl&ei=lLKDSpuoNMnIkAXzqPS5Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&
resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false)
[14]
In Defensor-Santiago v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 127325, 19 March 1997, the Court, by a vote of 6-6 with one (1) justice
inhibiting himself and another justice refusing to rule on the ground that the issue was not ripe for adjudication, denied the motion
for reconsideration. The case of Lambino v. Comelec cited Defensor-Santiago v. COMELEC.
[15]
336 Phil. 848 (1997).
[16]
The dispositive portion of the decision in Santiago provides:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered

a) GRANTING the instant petition;


b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate legislation;
c) DECLARING void those parts of Resolutions No. 2300 of the Commission on Elections prescribing rules and regulations on the
conduct of initiative or amendments to the Constitution; and
d) ORDERING the Commission on Elections to forthwith DISMISS the DELFIN petition
(UND-96-037).
The Temporary Restraining Order issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against the Commission
on Elections, but is LIFTED against private respondents.
Resolution on the matter of contempt is hereby reserved.

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SO ORDERED.
[17]
The minute Resolution of 10 June 1997 pertinently states: Two members of the Court did not take part in the deliberations:
Padilla, J., who is on sick leave and who, in any case, had from the outset inhibited himself from taking part in the cases at
bar on account of his personal relationship with the attorney of one of the parties; and Torres, J., who inhibited himself
from participation in the deliberation for the reasons set forth in his separate Opinion hereto attached. x x x The remaining
Justices actually present thereafter voted on the issue of whether the motions for reconsideration should be granted or not,
with the following results: Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, and Kapunan, JJ., voted to DENY said
motions for lack of merit; and Melo, Puno, Mendoza, Francisco, Hermosisima, and Panganiban, JJ., voted to GRANT the
same. Vitug, J., maintained his opinion that the matter was not ripe for judicial adjudication.
[18]
See Fortich v. Corona, 371 Phil. 672 (1999).
[19]
Filed in compliance with the Resolution of 29 September 2009.
[20]
Ortigas & Company Ltd. Partnership v. Velasco, G.R. No. 109645, 4 March 1996, 254 SCRA 234.
[21]
Ortigas & Company Ltd. Partnership v. Velasco, G.R. No. 109645, 4 March 1996, 254 SCRA 234; Long v. Basa, G.R. Nos.
134963-64, 27 September 2001, 366 SCRA 113; Fortich v. Corona, G.R. No. 131457, 24 April 1998, 289 SCRA 624; Equatorial
Realty Development, Inc. v. Mayfair Theater, Inc., G.R. No. 136221, 12 May 2000, 332 SCRA 139; Seven Brothers Shipping
Corporation v. Oriental Assurance Corporation, G.R. No. 140613, 15 October 2002, 391 SCRA 67; Li Kim Tho v. Sanchez, 82
Phil. 776, 778 (1949); Alcantara v. Ponce, G.R. No. 131547, 15 December 2005, 478 SCRA 27; Arnedo v. Llorente, 18 Phil. 257,
262-263 (1911); Ramos v. Ramos, G.R. No. 144294, 11 March 2003; 399 SCRA 43; Social Security System v. Isip, G.R. No.
165417, 4 April 2007, 520 SCRA 310.
[22]
Ramos v. Ramos, G.R. No. 144294, 11 March 2003, 399 SCRA 43.
[23]
Ginete v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127596, 24 September 1998, 296 SCRA 36; Legarda v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
94457, 16 October 1997, 280 SCRA 642.
[24]
G.R. No. 164195, 4 December 2009.
[25]
Alcantara v. Ponce, G.R. No. 131547, 15 December 2005, 478 SCRA 27 citing Ortigas & Company Ltd. Partnership v.
Velasco, G.R. No. 109645, 4 March 1996, 254 SCRA 234.

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