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52. Ramos vs CA G.R. No. 99425.

March 3, 1997

Facts:
Petitioners filed a petition before the court for the Declaration of Nullity of Municipal Ordinances No. 91
(1976) and No. 7 (1990) and the contract of lease over a commercial arcade to be constructed in the
municipality of Baliuag, Bulacan.
The Provincial Fiscal and the Provincial Attorney, Oliviano D. Regalado, filed an Answer in behalf of
respondent municipality of Baliuag.
At the pre-trial conference, Atty. Roberto B. Romanillos appeared, manifesting that he was counsel for
respondent municipality. Provincial Attorney Oliviano D. Regalado appeared as collaborating counsel of
Atty. Romanillos. The Provincial Fiscal did not appear.
During the hearing, Petitioners questioned the personality of Atty. Romanillos to appear as counsel of the
respondent municipality.
Atty. Romanillos and Atty. Regalado filed a joint motion stating that Atty. Romanillos was withdrawing as
counsel and that Atty. Regalado is adopting the entire proceedings participated in/undertaken by Atty.
Romanillos.
The RTC denied petitioners' motion to disqualify Atty. Romanillos as counsel for respondent municipality
and to declare null and void the proceedings participated in by Atty. Romanillos. The RTC granted Atty.
Regalado's motion 'to formally adopt the entire proceedings including the formal offer of evidence'.
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by RTC.
Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and denied the motion for reconsideration.

Issue: Who is authorized to represent a municipality in its lawsuits?


Ruling:
Only the provincial fiscal and the municipal attorney can represent a province or municipality in their
lawsuits.
In the case of Municipality of Pililia, Rizal vs CA, the SC ruled that private attorneys cannot represent a
province or municipality in lawsuits.
Sec 1683 of the Revised Administrative Code complemented by Section 3, Republic Act No. 2264, the
Local Autonomy Law provides that only the provincial fiscal and the municipal attorney can represent a
province or municipality in their lawsuits. The provision is mandatory. The municipality's authority to
employ a private lawyer is expressly limited only to situations where the provincial fiscal is disqualified to
represent it. In this case, the provincial fiscal is not disqualified to represent the municipality.
This is anchored on the principle that only accountable public officers may act for and in behalf of public
entities and that public funds should not be expended to hire private lawyers.