You are on page 1of 3

RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T.

SANTOS, respondents. (August 5, 1991)

FACTS: 10 administrative complaints were filed agains Mayor Ganzon of Iloilo on various charges,
among them, abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct,
intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution, and arbitrary detention. The Secretary of Local
Government issued several suspension orders against Ganzon based on the merits of the complaints filed
against him hence Ganzon was facing about 600 days of suspension. The C.A. affirmed affirmed the said
suspension orders by the Sec. of DILG. Mayor Ganzon's primary argument is that the Secretary of Local
Government is devoid, in any event, of any authority to suspend and remove local officials.

He claimed that the 1987 Constitution no longer allows the President, as the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions
did, to exercise the power of suspension and/or removal over local officials. According to petitioners, the
Constitution is meant, first, to strengthen self-rule by local government units and second, by deleting the
phrase as may be provided by law to strip the President of the power of control over local governments. It
is a view, so they contend, that finds support in the debates of the Constitutional Commission. The
provision in question reads as follows:

Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments.
Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect
to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their
prescribed powers and functions.22

It modifies a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution, which we quote:

Sec. 10. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise
general supervision over all Local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws
be faithfully executed.23

The petitioners submit that the deletion (of "as may be provided by law") is significant, as their argument
goes, since: (1) the power of the President is "provided by law" and (2) hence, no law may provide for it
any longer.

ISSUE:

1. WON the Secretary of Local Government, as the President's alter ego, can suspend and/or
remove local officials?

Yes. The deletion of "as may be provided by law" was meant to stress, sub silencio, the objective of the
framers to strengthen local autonomy by severing congressional control of its affairs, as observed by the
Court of Appeals, like the power of local legislation.33 The Constitution did nothing more, however, and
insofar as existing legislation authorizes the President (through the Secretary of Local Government) to
proceed against local officials administratively, the Constitution contains no prohibition.

Ganzon is under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere supervisory powers,
which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her control, which allegedly embraces
disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because legally, “supervision” is not incompatible with
disciplinary authority.
The SC had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over
local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of our
government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and supervision, are two different
things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. “In administration law supervision means
overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If
the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to
make them perform their duties.
Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former
for that of the latter.” But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of
supervision of the President over local government officials does not include the power of investigation
when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires.
The Secretary of Local Government, as the alter ego of the president, in suspending Ganzon is exercising
a valid power. He however overstepped by imposing a 600 day suspension.

2. WON the successive sixty-day suspensions imposed on Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon (facing the
possibility of 600 days of suspension) by the DILG should be affirmed?

NO.

Suspension finally is temporary and as the Local Government Code provides, it may be imposed for no
more than sixty days. As we held, a longer suspension is unjust and unreasonable, and we might add,
nothing less than tyranny.Imposing 600 days of suspension which is not a remote possibility Mayor
Ganzon is to all intents and purposes, to make him spend the rest of his term in inactivity. It is also to
make, to all intents and purposes, his suspension permanent.

It is also, in fact, to mete out punishment in spite of the fact that the Mayor's guilt has not been proven.
Worse, any absolution will be for naught because needless to say, the length of his suspension would
have, by the time he is reinstated, wiped out his tenure considerably.

We are therefore allowing Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon to suffer the duration of his third suspension and
lifting, for the purpose, the TRO earlier issued. Insofar as the seven remaining charges are concerned, we
are urging the DILG, upon the finality of this Decision, to undertake steps to expedite the same, subject to
Mayor Ganzon's usual remedies of appeal, judicial or administrative, or certiorari, if warranted, and
meanwhile, we are precluding the Secretary from meting out further suspensions based on those
remaining complaints, notwithstanding findings of prima facie evidence.

IN SUM:

1. Local autonomy, under the Constitution, involves a mere decentralization of administration, not of
power, in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner the law may
provide;

2. The new Constitution does not prescribe federalism;

3. The change in constitutional language (with respect to the supervision clause) was meant but to deny
legislative control over local governments; it did not exempt the latter from legislative regulations
provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy;
4. Since local governments remain accountable to the national authority, the latter may, by law, and in the
manner set forth therein, impose disciplinary action against local officials;

5. "Supervision" and "investigation" are not inconsistent terms; "investigation" does not signify "control"
(which the President does not have);

6. The petitioner, Mayor Rodolfo Ganzon. may serve the suspension so far ordered, but may no longer be
suspended for the offenses he was charged originally