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G.R. No. 72492 November 5, 1987

ARTURO UMBAC, petitioners,
UYPITCHING, respondents.


An attempt by the respondent Ad Hoc Committee of the respondent Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Dumaguete to punish non-members for legislative contempt was halted
by this special civil action of certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or
Restraining Order questioning the very existence of the power in that local legislative
body or in any of its committees. On November 7, 1985, this Court issued a Temporary
Restraining Order:

. . . enjoining respondents, their agents, representatives, and police and other peace
officers acting in their behalf, to refrain from compelling the attendance and testimony of
Petitioners Paterio Torres and Arturo Umbac at any and all future investigations to be
conducted by aforesaid respondents, and from issuing any contempt order if one has not
been issued yet or from executing any such contempt order if one has already been

Assailed is the validity of a subpoena dated October 25, 1985 (Annex "A", Petition) sent
by the respondent Committee to the petitioners Paterio Torres and Arturo Umbac,
Chairman of the Board of Directors and the General Manager, respectively, of petitioner
Negros Oriental II Electric Cooperative NORECO II), requiring their attendance and
testimony at the Committee's investigation on October 29, 1985. Similarly under fire is
the Order issued by the same Committee on the latter date, (Annex "D", Petition)
directing said petitioners to show cause why they should not be punished for legislative
contempt due to their failure to appear at said investigation.

The investigation to be conducted by respondent Committee was "in connection with
pending legislation related to the operations of public utilities" (Id.) in the City of
Dumaguete where petitioner NORECO II, an electric cooperative, had its principal place
of business. Specifically, the inquiry was to focus on the alleged installation and use by
the petitioner NORECO II of inefficient power lines in that city (Comment, Rollo, p. 50).
Respondent Antonio S. Ramas Uypitching, as Chairman of the Committee on Public
Utilities and Franchises and Co-Chairman of the respondent Ad Hoc Committee, signed
both the subpoena and the Order complained of. Petitioners moved to quash the
subpoena on the following grounds:

It is also the position of the respondents that the contempt power. it cannot be exercised in the investigation of matters affecting the terms and conditions of the franchise granted to NORECO II which are beyond the jurisdiction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Rollo pp. Hence this Petition for certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order. The exercise by Congress of this awesome power was questioned for the first time in the leading case of Arnault v. pp. (87 Phil. as mere creatures of law. maintain their dignity. nor the power to order the arrest of witnesses who fail to obey its subpoena. 1985 directing the petitioners Torres and Umbac to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt. in the same way that courts wield an inherent power to "enforce their authority. 29 [1950]) where this Court held that the legislative body indeed possessed the contempt power. and b. the power to punish for contempt in inquiries on matters within its jurisdiction (Rollo. Nazareno. a. the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete which. 29 [1950]). 1. the respondents assert that an inquiry into the installation or use of inefficient power lines and its effect on the power consumption cost on the part of Dumaguete residents is well-within the jurisdiction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and its committees. 944 950 [1916]. Neither the Charter of the City of Dumaguete nor the Local Government Code grants (the Sangguniang Panlungsod) any specific power to investigate alleged inefficient power lines of NORECO II. and those that may be exercised by the legislative bodies of local government unit. 46). . 716. Cloribel. It is further argued that assuming the power to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses to be lodged in said body. The power to investigate. alleged inefficient power lines to conform to standards is lodged exclusively with the National Electrification Administration. 723 [1967]. and other cases). 127 Phil. Balagtas. is necessarily implied from the powers granted the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Rollo. 87 Phil. for their part. Nazareno.g. possess delegated legislative power. 48-49). preserve their integrity. Petition) The motion to quash was denied in the assailed Order of October 29. the power has nevertheless been invoked by the legislative body as a means of preserving its authority and dignity (Arnault v. and ensure the effectiveness of the administration of justice. e. While the Constitution does not expressly vest Congress with the power to punish non- members for legislative contempt. Amault v. Petitioners contend that the respondent Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete is bereft of the power to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses. 358 [1955]). Furthermore." (Commissioner v. 97 Phil. if not expressly granted. A line should be drawn between the powers of Congress as the repository of the legislative power under the Constitution. 7-8). In re Kelly 35 Phil. and to order the improvement of. Respondents. (Annex "C". claim that inherent in the legislative functions performed by the respondent Sangguniang Panlungsod is the power to conduct investigations in aid of legislation and with it. p.

L. . 29.000. Dunn. pp. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change. 87 Phil. 358 [1955]) arising from the same factual antecedents: The principle that Congress or any of its bodies has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses is founded upon reason and policy. . (T)he power of inquiry-with process to enforce it-is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. 242) But no person can be punished for contumacy as a witness before either House.. (Anderson vs.. 377.. the name of the person to whom he gave the P440. at the same time invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination. and also that information which is volunteered is not always accurate or complete. (Kilbourn vs. a lawyer who delivered a portion of the purchase price to a representative of the vendor. The Senate adopted a resolution committing Arnault to the custody of the Sergeant at Arms and imprisoned "until he shall have purged the contempt by revealing to the Senate . Said power must be considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power. The Court held: xxx xxx xxx . Arnault petitioned for a writ of Habeas Corpus. Federal Congress which shares legislative power with the legislatures of the different states of the American union (Id. In upholding the power of Congress to punish Arnault for contumacy the Court began with a discussion of the distribution of the three powers of government under the 1935 Constitution. Balagtas. How could a legislative body obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended legislation if it cannot require and compel the disclosure of such knowledge and information..) The Court proceeded to delve deeper into the essence of the contempt power of the Philippine Congress in a subsequent decision (Arnault v. ed. 135. if it is impotent to punish a . Amault refused to reveal the Identity of said representative. 6 Wheaton 204. as wen as answer other pertinent questions in connection therewith. 50 ALR 1) The fact that the Constitution expressly gives to Congress the power to punish its Members for disorderly behaviour. Arnault. Thompson. 44-45). does not by necessary implication exclude the power to punish for contempt by any person. ed. unless his testimony is required in a matter into which that House has jurisdiction to inquire. Daugherty 273 U.ed.S. investigation. the Court proceeded to resolve the issue presented. 5 L. Nazareno. Among the witnesses called and examined by the special committee created by a Senate resolution was Jean L. During the Senate. Cognizant of the fact that the Philippines system of government under the 1935 Constitution was patterned after the American system. partly by drawing from American precedents. so some means of compulsion is essential to obtain what is needed.That case arose from the legislative inquiry into the acquisition by the Philippine Government of the Buenavista and Tambobong estates sometime in 1949. 580. 71 L. (McGrain vs. 26. and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information — which is not infrequently true — recourse must be had to others who possess it... 97 Phil." (Arnault v. Experience has shown that mere requests for such information are often unavailing..S. 43 [1950]). and partly by acknowledging the broader legislative power of the Philippine Congress as compared to the U.

and succeeded in supplying the raison d' etre of this power of Congress even in the absence of express constitutional grant. 4 of B. 97 Phil. which the framers of the fundamental law did not expressly provide for but which the then Congress has asserted essentially for self-preservation as one of three co-equal branches of the government cannot be deemed implied in the delegation of certain legislative functions to local legislative bodies. Balagtas. And how could the authority and power become complete if for every act of refusal every act of defiance. independently of the other's authority or power. the power to subpoena witnesses and the power to punish non-members for contempt. Thus. sui generis. . 337 which provides for liberal rules of interpretation in favor of local autonomy. The aforequoted pronouncements in the two Arnault cases. there is no express provision either in the 1973 Constitution or in the Local Government Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. the contempt power. They cannot be implied in the grant of legislative power. Since the existence of the contempt power in conjunction with the subpoena power in any government body inevitably poses a potential derogation of individual rights. i. the legislative body must resort to the judicial department for the appropriate remedy. 3.P. 358. To begin with. Neither can they exist as mere incidents of the performance of legislative functions. broke ground in what was then an unexplored area of jurisprudence. The exercise by the legislature of the contempt power is a matter of self-preservation as that branch of the government vested with the legislative power.e. and local legislative bodies cannot correctly claim to possess it for the same reasons that the national legislature does. The contempt power of the legislature is. 370 [1955]). L-6749. The same thing cannot be said of local legislative bodies which are creations of law. as well as the subpoena power. The power attaches not to the discharge of legislative functions per se but to the character of the legislature as one of the three independent and coordinate branches of government. compulsion of testimony and punishment . 337) granting local legislative bodies. asserts its authority and punishes contempts thereof. the contempt power and the subpoena power partake of a judicial nature. independently of the judicial branch. (Arnault v. the only possible justification for the issuance of a subpoena and for the punishment of non- members for contumacious behaviour would be for said power to be deemed implied in the statutory grant of delegated legislative power. . with the affronts committed against its authority or dignity. making each branch supreme within the real of its respective authority. 1955. because it is impotent by itself to punish or deal therewith. supra. it must have intended each department's authority to be full and complete. Whether or not the reasons for upholding the existence of said power in Congress may be applied mutatis mutandis to a questioned exercise of the power of contempt by the respondent committee of a city council is the threshold issue in the present controversy. every act of contumacy against it. defiance of its power and authority? When the framers of the Constitution adopted the principle of separation of powers. 4. Absent a constitutional or legal provision for the exercise of these powers. therefore. But. To allow local legislative bodies or administrative agencies to exercise these powers without express statutory basis would run afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. These cannot be presumed to exist in favor of the latter and must be considered as an exception to Sec. July 30.

to wit: . The power subsists notwithstanding the creation of the National Electrification Administration (NEA). Repeal of Franchise Powers of Municipal City and Provincial Governments. Rollo. There is no doubt that a city government has the power to enact ordinances regulating the installation and maintenance of electric power lines or wires within its territorial jurisdiction. That this section shall not impair or invalidate any franchise heretofore lawfully granted by such a government or repeal any other subsisting power of such governments to require that electric facilities and related properties be so located. As admitted by the respondents in their Comment. through their representatives in the legislature. Nazareno. to which body the franchise powers of local government units were transferred by Presidential Decree No. It comes evident that the inquiry would touch upon the efficiency of the electric service of NORECO II and. company. p. — The powers of municipal. Provided. its compliance with the franchise. upon or under which they may be built. buildings and grounds over. 269. 1983). are hereby repealed. the power to issue compulsory process and the power to punish for contempt. the law cannot be liberally construed to have impliedly granted such powers to local legislative bodies. Dec. 50). necessarily. constructed and operated and maintained as to be safe to the public and not to unduly interfere with the primary use of streets. The contempt power (and the subpoena power) if actually possessed. 5. have reposed these powers in all government agencies. This particular power of the city government is included in the enumeration of powers and duties of a Sangguniang Panlungsod in Section 177 of the Local Government Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. February 10. Even assuming that the respondent Sangguniang Panlungsod and the respondent Ad-Hoc Committee had the power to issue the subpoena and the order complained of. may only be exercised where the subject matter of the investigation is within the jurisdiction of the legislative body (Arnault v. Thompson).for refusal to testify. and "to hear the side of the petitioners" (Comment. as provided for in Title 34 of the Philippines Statutes or in any special law. The Ad-Hoc Committee of said legislative body has even less basis to claim that it can exercise these powers. to share these unique and awesome powers with the local legislative bodies must therefore clearly appear in pertinent legislation. 1979]). roads. city and provincial governments to grant franchises. 1978] and 1645 [October 8. Nos. the ultimate source of all government powers. citing Kilbourn v. the Sanggunian Panlungsod of Dumaguete is devoid of power to punish the petitioners Torres and Umbac for contempt. Such inquiry is beyond the jurisdiction of the respondent Sangguniang Panlungsod and the respondent committee. the investigation to be conducted by the Ad-Hoc Committee was to look into the use by NORECO II of inefficient power lines "of pre-war vintage" which the latter had acquired from the Visayan Electric Com. alleys and other public ways. 42. such issuances would still be void for being ultra vires. 337. The intention of the sovereign people. Section 42 of the Decree states: SEC. supra. There being no provision in the Local Government Code explicitly granting local legislative bodies. (This Section was not among those amended by Pres. It cannot be lightly presumed that the sovereign people. 1370 [May 2.

the difference lies in the lack of subpoena power and of the power to punish for contempt on the part of the local legislative bodies. P. WHEREFORE. SEC. — The Sangguniang Panlungsod shall: xxx xxx xxx (j) . the NEA may conduct hearings and investigations. sewers and drains. water. The proper recourse is to file a complaint with the NEA against NORECO II if there be sufficient basis therefor.D. 1985 directing herein petitioners to show cause why they should not be punished for legislative contempt for their disobedience of said subpoena. e. and the correction.: (2) to repeal and cancel any franchise if the NEA finds that the holder thereof is not then furnishing. xxx xxx xxx In the exercise of this power. regulate the digging and excavation for the laying of gas. In aid of this ordinance making power. electric. The respondent Sangguniang Panlungsod and the respondent Ad-Hoc Committee are . 47 & Sec. stringing. No. the subpoena dated October 25. is declared null and void for being ultra vires. i. repair and construction of all gas mains. 269.e. enact ordinances to regulate the installation and maintenance of electric power lines. the placing. the legislative investigations conducted by the national legislature. conduits meters and other apparatus. 269). and all structures thereunder. 1985 requiring the attendance and testimony of the petitioners at an investigation by the respondent Ad-Hoc Committee. The type of investigation which may be conducted by the Sangguniang PanLungsod does not include within its ambit an inquiry into any suspected violation by an electric cooperative of the conditions of its electric franchise. and the Order issued by the latter on October 29. Powers and Duties. the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete cannot look into an suspected failure of NORECO II to comply with the standards of electric service prescribed by law and in its franchise. 54. power. The power to inquire into the efficiency of the service supplied by electric cooperatives is within the franchising powers of the NEA under Sec. . Dec. but not the same as. They may only invite resource persons who are willing to supply information which may be relevant to the proposed ordinance. 43 of Pres. . xxx xxx xxx The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete may. prohibit the use of inefficient power lines. and other pipelines. As already discussed. 177. therefore. in order to protect the city residents from the hazards these may pose. Clearly. telegraph and telephone wires. issle subpoenas and invoke the aid of the courts in case of disobedience to its subpoenas (Sec. the building and repair of tunnels.g. condemnation of the same when dangerous or defective. and is unable to or unailling within reasonable time to furnish adequate and dependable service on an area coverage within such area. said body or any of its committees may conduct investigations similar to. installing. attaching. then.

the Sanggunian held its 4th regular session during which it issued Resolution No.without power to punish non. CODILLA. in his capacity as Provincial Auditor.: Petitioner Manuel Zamora. ARMANDO L.3 no resolution was considered. BELINDA G. On February 26.6 . Fernan. 2001. 147767 January 14. C. however. Melencio-He G. 2004 MANUEL E. Yap. respondents. No.ES.2 On February 8. JR.1 Upon the request of Governor Jose R. and the police and other peace officers from enforcing the aforesaid Order of the respondent committee is made permanent. Caballero. among other things. vs. SERAS. BASA&NTILDE.. ARAFOL. 054 declaring the entire province of Compostela Valley under a state of calamity and Resolution No. OSORIO. Inc.members for contempt. APAWAN. on behalf of the province. It appears that on February 6. DECISION CARPIO-MORALES. allow the Governor to deliver his State of the Province Address. MARIANO KINTANAR. CABALLERO. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on November 7. RAUL B. 2001 for lack of quorum. 2001. their agents and representatives. in his capacity as Provincial Treasurer. Sotto. GONZAGA. Narvasa. 2001. 075 authorizing the Governor to. ANESIO M. During the same session. the scheduled special session was reset to February 8. RANARIO. enter into a construction contract (Contract) with Allado Construction Company.R. As only seven members of the fourteen-member Sanggunian were present. 2001. seeks to invalidate all acts executed and resolutions issued by the Sanggunian during its sessions held on February 8 and 26. petitioner. 1985 enjoining said respondents. in his capacity as Provincial Administrator. ROLANDO L. GRACIANO C. GOVERNOR JOSE R. J. (the Allado Company) for the completion of Phase II of the construction of the capitol building. 2001 without the benefit of a written notice. the Sanggunian thus held a special session to. RASUL. SO ORDERED Teehankee. No costs. RUWEL PETER S. Vice-Governor Reynaldo Navarro sent a written notice of a special session on February 7. a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley (the Sanggunian). Petition is GRANTED. ZAMORA.J. the Sanggunian accepted the letter of irrevocable resignation submitted by Board Member Gemma Theresa M. ARMANDO C. CARMEN R..

Mariano J. the then presiding officer Board Member Rolando Osorio not having cast his vote. Gemma Theresa M. . March 4. and that Board Member Arafol thereafter relinquished his seat as presiding officer to Board Member Osorio who once again assumed the duties of a presiding officer. then presiding officer Osorio. by Order20 of April 24. 2001. Cuenco. 07 was taken up.15 relinquished his seat to Board Member Graciano Arafol after the six members present unanimously voted on the said resolution in the affirmative.While only eight members of the Sanggunian were present at the commencement of the session on February 26. on the other hand.7 Petitioner thus filed a petition8 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Nabunturan. the Journal of the Proceedings (Journal) and Resolution Nos. However. respondent. G.. Sotto should not be counted as member for the purpose of determining the number to constitute a quorum because she is in the United States of America.10 and the motions to declare the entire province of Compostela Valley under a state of calamity11 and to authorize the Governor to enter into the Contract with the Allado Company12 were approved. 2001. L-2821. at Compostela Valley.13 Petitioner additionally alleged that when the vote respecting Resolution No. and for lack of written notice sent to all members at least 24 hours before the holding of the special session in accordance with Section 52 (d)17 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC). et al. following which Osorio cast his vote as a member also in the affirmative.16 Petitioner furthermore challenged the validity of the special session of February 8. Gemma Theresa M. 1949. . sub-paragraph (b) [of section 53 of the Local Government Code] states and provides for compulsion of any member absent without any justifiable cause. No. 2001. 05 was taken. contended that since Board Member Sotto was in the United States19 at the time the questioned acts were executed and resolutions adopted. Branch 3 of the RTC of Nabunturan. only the remaining six members voted for the adoption thereof. This is interpreted by the Supreme Court in the case of Jose Avelino. there being only seven members of the Sanggunian in attendance. Sotto is beyond the reach of the legal processes of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and could not be arrested to compel her to attend its session. 05 and 07 showed that a total of thirteen members attended it. dismissed the petition upon the following ratiocination: . Compostela Valley against the Governor.14 that when Resolution No. thereby authorizing the Governor to enter into the Contract with Allado Company. the Sanggunian nonetheless "conducted official business without a quorum"9 as only seven of its fourteen members were actually present when the irrevocable letter of resignation of Board Member Sotto was noted. however. petitioner vs. challenging the validity of the acts of the Sanggunian on February 26. 2001 for lack of quorum.18 Respondents. alleging that while the Journal and Resolutions indicated the presence of 13 members. the actual number of Board Members then in the country was thirteen which should be the basis of the determination of a quorum.R. Quorum .

De Venecia27 and U. and its Implementing Rules. with seven (7) members of the thirteen (13) members present in constitutive of a quorum. 05 and 07. however. Pons. were not called and. (2) taking judicial notice of Board Member Sotto’s being in the United States without proof thereof. De Venecia. namely: Vice Governor Navarro and Board Members Zamora.32 no explanation was given therefor.28 Citation of these cases is misplaced. Yanong. Moreover. In Arroyo v. It does not indicate how many members were actually present when the body voted on the motions leading to the adoption of Resolution Nos. Pons. 2001 session should be conclusive on the strength of Arroyo v. Presidential Decree 181821 prohibits the issuance of a restraining order or injunction in any case involving government infrastructure projects. And they too assert that the presence of thirteen members at the February 26. and (3) ruling that to grant a Temporary Restraining Order would be in violation of P. this Court is not called upon to inquire into the Sanggunian’s compliance with its own rules.31 Six members whose names appear in attendance. should be determined on the basis of the actual number of members of the body concerned rather than upon its full membership which is fourteen (14). a law enacted by Congress. v. Rather. v. it is called upon to determine whether the Sanggunian complied with the LGC. this Court refused to inquire into allegations that the House of Representatives failed to comply with the rules of procedures which the House itself promulgated absent any showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or of the rights of private individuals.29 In the instant case. it holding that to disprove the entries in the journals. evidence must be adduced based merely upon the memory or recollection of witnesses in contrast to journals which are the acts of the Government or sovereign itself.22 (Emphases omitted) Hence. 1818. Andres and Gentugaya. In U. While the Journal and the Resolutions show that 13 members attended the session. Therefore. in this case. Cuenco23 to a controversy involving a local government unit. save for the absent Vice Governor. this Court did not go beyond the legislative journals which it found clear and explicit. x x x Moreover. the Journal of the Sanggunian is far from clear and explicit as to the presence of a quorum when the questioned acts were taken. Castillo. the present petition for Certiorari under Rule 45.S.S. . faulting the trial court for erroneously (1) applying the case of Avelino v.24 Respondents question the authority of the Court to look beyond the Journal and Resolutions of the Sanggunian25 and assert that the construction of the capitol building26 cannot be enjoined.30 the Journal shows that only six members were called by the presiding officer to vote on the motions.D.

wherein there are only seven members present and the quorum was declared Mr. it was clearly noted by petitioner. before objection Mr. That I do not want Mr. that only seven members were left: SP Member ZAMORA : Mr.) Clearly. even if that remark constituted a proper question on quorum. x x x SP Member GONZAGA : That’s only your opinion . for the record. President. President. SP Member ZAMORA : Mr. including petitioner as he had in the meantime left. President. The placing of the asterisks after the names of five members in the Resolutions is highly irregular and suspicious especially since both resolutions indicate that petitioner. I would like to invite everybody to go at my service I have a patient nga gi- pagawas na sa hospital nga i-uli na sa Awao. President.Coincidentally. SP Member ARAFOL : Objection Mr. 05 and 07 to determine who and how many participated in the consideration thereof. President that the incident of the of the State of the Province Address will be repeated Mr. SP Member ZAMORA : Okay so it’s alright for you to decide. when he asked permission to leave the session. I move to adjourn. it’s been there for one hour so I really have to go I have to carry that patient to Awao Mr.33 (Underscoring supplied) Respondents themselves admit that there were only seven members present when the motions were voted upon: 26. . in Resolutions 05 and 07. Mr. President. x x x34 (Emphasis supplied. SP Member ZAMORA : Yes but I would like to make statement first for the record. before the objection. Additionally. President he is already excused Mr. x x x [T]here is a quorum since seven is a majority of thirteen (13). the names of the Board Members who were not called upon to vote. President. whose name is also followed by asterisks. . I would like to manifest in the record that before further discussion that… SP Member GONZAGA : Mr. are followed by two asterisks (**). then remember that you’re only seven Mr. President. this Court is constrained to look into the proceedings of the Sanggunian as recorded in the Journal and not just rely on Resolution Nos. SP Member OSORIO : You are excused Honorable… SP Member ZAMORA : Okay. The seven of you. President. it is a matter of fact that there were still seven (7) members present. was present even if it is clear . President. Nevertheless. SP Member ARAFOL : No problem. President.

37 This Court fails to see the essential difference between Malaga and the instant case. which issue falls under the exception to the proscription against injunctions in cases involving infrastructure projects. On the applicability of Avelino38 to the present case: The issue in said case was whether there was a quorum in a meeting attended by only 12 of 24 senators. In Malaga. In Malaga. 2001 sessions were held. In contrast. In the present case. 1818 prohibits any court from issuing injunctions in cases involving infrastructure projects. Clearly then. Penachos. In both cases. On issues clearly outside this dimension and involving questions of law. this Court declared that although Presidential Decree No. Respondents’ other contention that the construction of the capitol building cannot be enjoined in light of Malaga v. as held in Malaga. one having been in the hospital while another was out of the country.from the Journal that he had already left the session before the Sanggunian took note of the resignation of Board Member Sotto and voted on the motions. the defect pertained to bidding. save for respondents’ allegation. the alleged defect pertains to the required number of votes necessary to authorize the Governor to enter into a construction contract. what is at issue in this case is not the propriety or the wisdom of entering into the Contract for the construction of the capitol building. which is beyond the power of this Court to enjoin. the bidding for the construction of the capitol building in which the winner was the Allado Company was not defective.40 Petitioner’s contention that the trial court cannot take judicial notice of Board Member Sotto’s . respondents stress. they adding that Resolution 07 simply authorized the Governor to formalize the Contract necessary for the full implementation of the project.36 Respondents maintain that the exception in Malaga as indicated above should not be applied in the instant case because there was therein a defect in the compliance with procedural rules on bidding.35 fails to convince. In fact it is undisputed that the leave form filed by said Board Member before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) did not mention that she was going out of the country.39 In the instant case. the presence of 12 members already constituted a quorum since the 24th member was outside the country and beyond the coercive power of the Senate. the defect in the Contract relates to the non-compliance with the mandate of a law respecting requirements before validly entering into a contract. this Court declared that courts could not be prevented from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts. there is nothing on record. but the Sanggunian’s compliance with the requirements prescribed under the LGC before it may grant the Governor authority to enter into the Contract. This Court held that although the total membership of the Senate was 24. Jr. the prohibition extends only to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. to show that Board Member Sotto was out of the country and to thereby conclude that she was outside the coercive power of the Sanggunian when the February 8 and 26.

the entire membership must be taken into account in computing the quorum of the sangguniang panlalawigan. however. but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such penalties as such House may provide. Quorum. elected and qualified" shall constitute a quorum. the court must receive evidence thereof. On this score. ." when required to constitute a quorum.43 (Emphasis supplied) The present case.42 Also. will enable the body to transact its proper business or that number which makes a lawful body and gives it power to pass upon a law or ordinance or do any valid act. the legislative body involved was the Senate and the applicable rule on quorum was that embodied in Article VI. x x x (2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business.41 With respect to disputed facts. Section 10 of the 1935 Constitution which reads: Section 10. The difference in the wordings of the Constitution and the LGC is not merely "a matter of style and writing" as respondents would argue. A court may take judicial notice of matters of public knowledge.whereabouts is thus well taken. . means the number greater than half or more than half of any total. with notice to the parties. Should a question of quorum be raised during a session. and the applicable rule respecting quorum is found in Section 53(a) of the LGC which provides: Section 53. in Avelino. the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley Province. while the intent of the legislature in qualifying the quorum requirement was to allow sanggunians to function even when not all members thereof have been proclaimed and . but is actually a matter of "meaning and intention.44 "Majority.47 And.- (a) A majority of all members of the sanggunian who have been elected and qualified shall constitute a quorum to transact official business."46 The qualification in the LGC that the majority be based on those "elected and qualified" was meant to allow sanggunians to function even when not all members thereof have been proclaimed. however. the presiding officer shall immediately proceed to call the roll of the members and thereafter announce the results. involves a local legislative body." Section 53 of the LGC is more exacting as it requires that the "majority of all members of the sanggunian . or those which are capable of unquestionable determination or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. for while the constitution merely states that "majority of each House shall constitute a quorum. the instant case is outside the application of the doctrine in Avelino. (Emphasis supplied) "Quorum" is defined as that number of members of a body which. when legally assembled in their proper places.45 In fine.

For as priorly stated. Legislation.48 A sanggunian is a collegial body.51 This Court is faced with an act clearly intended to circumvent an express prohibition under the law – a situation that will not be condoned. And all such acts cannot be given binding force and effect for they are considered unofficial acts done during an unauthorized session. The presiding officer shall vote only to break a tie. file leaves of absence in order to cripple the functioning of the sanggunian is already addressed by the grant of coercive power to a mere majority of sanggunian members present when there is no quorum. be deemed to be in compliance with Section 107(g)50 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the LGC which requires the concurrence of the approval by the majority of the members present and the existence of a quorum in order to validly enact a resolution. as acting presiding officer. Even assuming arguendo that there were indeed thirteen members present during the questioned February 26.49 When there are thirteen members present at a session. And election to. The motion to grant the Governor authority to enter into the construction contract is also deemed not approved in accordance with the law even if it received seven affirmative votes. relinquished his seat to Board Member Arafol and thereafter cast his vote as a member in favor of granting authority to the Governor. Board Member Osorio. Presiding Officer. Board Member Sotto is then deemed not resigned because there was no quorum when her letter of irrevocable resignation was noted by the Sanggunian. the vote of only six members can not. at any instance. highly questionable and are. due to the defect in the seventh vote. one or some of its members file for leave. Resolution No. as the Journal confirms. 2001 session. a local legislative body are not altered by the simple expedient of filing a leave of absence.52 The LGC clearly limits the power of presiding officers to vote only in case of a tie. more importantly. The acts of only a part of the Sanggunian done outside the parameters of the legal provisions aforementioned are legally infirm. and qualification as member of.have assumed office. after all the members of the sanggunian have assumed office. 05 declaring the entire province of Compostela Valley under state of calamity is still null and void because the motion for its approval was approved by only six members. 05 and 07 are of no legal effect. – (a) The vice-governor shall be the presiding officer of the sangguniang panlalawigan x x x. The trial court should thus have based its determination of the existence of a quorum on the total number of members of the Sanggunian without regard to the filing of a leave of absence by Board Member Sotto. the provision necessarily applies when. which is already the majority of thirteen. The fear that a majority may. for reasons of political affiliation. What should be important then is the concurrence of election to and qualification for the office. . For the same reason. which is the principal function and duty of the sanggunian. Resolution Nos. to wit: Section 49. after all six members voted in the affirmative. null and void. requires the participation of all its members so that they may not only represent the interests of their respective constituents but also help in the making of decisions by voting upon every question put upon the body.

05 and 07 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley approved on February 26. Resolution Nos. respondents. and not only of those present during the session. 1992 RODOLFO E. the vote of the majority of all members of the Sanggunian. Molina for private respondent. Lastly. Laguna and Manuel T. 2001 declaring the entire Province of Compostela Valley under a state of calamity and granting authority to the Provincial Governor to enter into a general construction agreement. Emphasis supplied. at the same time. as Acting Governor of Cagayan. LUIS SANTOS. for a resolution authorizing the governor to enter into a construction contract to be valid. Padilla for petitioner.R.) While acting as presiding officer. No.. (b) In the event of inability of the regular presiding officer to preside at a sanggunian session. . Board Member Osorio may not. and MELVIN VARGAS. (Chairman). G. Victor I. Compostela Valley dated April 24. Vitug. be allowed to exercise the rights of a regular board member including that of voting even when there is no tie to break. SO ORDERED. Even including the vote of Board Member Osorio. respectively. WHEREFORE. JJ. who was then the Acting Presiding Officer. A temporary presiding officer who merely steps into the shoes of the presiding officer could not have greater power than that possessed by the latter53 who can vote only in case of a tie. Sandoval-Gutierrez. HON. 2001 is hereby reversed and set aside. 94115 August 21. concur. the members present and constituting a quorum shall elect from among themselves a temporary presiding officer. AGUINALDO. Applying Section 468 of the LGC and Article 107 of its Implementing Rules. Resolution No. The assailed Order of the Regional Trial Court of Nabunturan. the petition is hereby GRANTED. are hereby declared null and void. Doroteo B. x x x (Italics in the original. as Secretary of the Department of Local Government. and Corona. there being fourteen members in the Sanggunian. petitioner. 07 is still invalid. vs. the approval of eight members is required to authorize the governor to enter into the Contract with the Allado Company since it involves the creation of liability for payment on the part of the local government unit. is required in accordance with Section 46854 of the LGC in relation to Article 10755 of its Implementing Rules.

otherwise known as the Local Government Code. Tuao and Lasam. Aguinaldo assails the decision of respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March 19. respondent Secretary of Local Government sent a telegram and a letter. 1989 letter requiring him to explain why should not be suspended or removed from office for disloyalty. The pertinent facts are as follows: Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan. He took his oath sometimes around March 1988. 1988. all in Cagayan. J. petitioner Rodolfo E. 1989 in reply to respondent Secretary's December 4. . On December 7. 1989. 2 On the basis thereof. was repealed by the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution. pending the outcome of the formal investigation into the charges against him. Chapter 3 and Sections 60 to 67. Chapter 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 1 Respondent Secretary considered petitioner's reply letter as his answer to the complaint of Mayor Veronico Agatep and others. petitioner denied being privy to the planning of the coup or actively participating in its execution.: In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order. choosing instead to move that respondent Secretary inhibit himself from deciding the case. Petitioner neither presented evidence nor even cross-examined the complainant's witnesses. respectively the mayors of the municipalities of Gattaran. within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof. In his letter. complainants presented testimonial and documentary evidence to prove the charges. both dated December 4. Petitioner was required to file a verified answer to the complaint. Case No. which motion was denied. 337. During the hearing conducted on the charges against petitioner. 1990. P-10437-89 dismissing him as Governor of Cagayan on the ground that the power of the Secretary of Local Government to dismiss local government official under Section 14. to petitioner requiring him to show cause why should not be suspended or remove from office for disloyalty to the Republic. against petitioner for acts the latter committed during the coup. Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep. Shortly after December 1989 coup d'etat was crushed. Article I. On January 5. respondent Secretary suspended petitioner from office for sixty (60) days from notice.NOCON. a sworn complaint for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was filed by Veronico Agatep.1990 in Adm. the Department of Local Government received a letter from petitioner dated December 29. 1989. though he admitted that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers. to serve a term of four (4) years therefrom. having been elected to said position during the local elections held on January 17.

petitioner may still be voted upon as a candidate for governor pending the final outcome of the disqualification cases with his Court. Three separate petitions for his disqualification were then filed against him. in a resolution dated May 14. G. petitioner garnered the most number of votes among the . who was then the Vice- Governor of Cagayan. 1992. Commission on Elections. Petitioner's re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has rendered the administration case pending before Us moot and academic. Installed as Governor of Cagayan in the process was respondent Melvin Vargas. entitled Rodolfo E. The commission on Elections granted the petitions by way of a resolution dated May 9. However. Consequently. petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with this Court. the resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan. issued a temporary restraining order against the Commission to cease and desist from enforcing its May 9. 1992 elections. all based on the ground that he had been removed from office by virtue of the March 19. Petitioner relies on three grounds for the allowance of the petition. the Commission ruled that inasmuch as the resolutions of the Commission becomes final and executory only after five (5) days from promulgation. 1992 resolution of the Commission on the ground that the decision of respondent Secretary has not yet attained finality and is still pending review with this Court. Aguinaldo v. We find the petition meritorious. because it is an act punishable as rebellion under the Revised Penal Code. seeking to nullify the resolution of the Commission ordering his disqualification. namely: (1) that the power of respondent Secretary to suspend or remove local government official under Section 60. 337 was repealed by the 1987 Constitution. The Court. and not be a mere preponderance of evidence.Thereafter. a resolution was issued in the aforementioned case granting petition and annulling the May 9.R. Nos. While this case was pending before this Court. Blg. 1992. As petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections. 1992. acting upon a "Motion to Clarify" filed by petitioner. It appears that after the canvassing of votes. petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Governor of Cagayan for the May 11. and (3) the alleged act of disloyalty committed by petitioner should be proved by proof beyond reasonable doubt. on May 13. respondent Secretary rendered the questioned decision finding petitioner guilty as charged and ordering his removal from office. 1992. (2) that since respondent Secretary no longer has power to suspend or remove petitioner. thereby allowing the canvassing of the votes and returns in Cagayan to proceed. the Commission was ordered not to proclaim a winner until this Court has decided the case. On June 9. 1992 resolution pending the outcome of the disqualification case.. et al. 105128-30. Chapter IV of B.P. Under the environmental circumstances of the case. the former could not appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as Governor of Cagayan. 1990 resolution of respondent Secretary. On the same day.

382 votes while the other candidates for the same position received the following total number of votes: (1) Patricio T. 1959. if he had been guilty of any. during a previous term are generally held not to furnish cause for removal and this is especially true were the Constitution provides that the penalty in proceeding for removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office. by reason of such fault or misconduct. Gen. 2nd 4011. 1992["] filed by petitioner shows that he received 170. and (3) Florencio L.S. however. 57 SCRA 163 [1974]) 3 Clear then. 63 Sec.S. People ex rel Bashaw v. Kasty. citing Atty. to practically overrule the will of the people. Wald. Castillo — 2. 248. Blake. Montgomery v. October 31. cited in 17 A. . Board of Com'rs Kingfisher County v. 63 Sec.129. State v. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character.R. p. the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term. L-11959. Thompson.L. 17 SCRA 58. In re Fedula. citing Rice v. attached to the "VERY URGENT MOTION FOR THE MODIFICATION OF THE RESOLUTION DATED MAY 14. Villaluz. 161 S. however. The Court should ever remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. 222. Jur. 332. Offenses committed. 40 S. 217) The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms. the expiration of petitioner's term of office during which the acts charged were allegedly committed.R. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija. When a people have elected a man to office. and his subsequent reelection. It is not for the court. [NS] 553). p. and disqualification from holding office for a term for which the officer was elected or appointed. 281 P. et al. xxx xxx xxx Considering the fact narrated. As held by this Court in Aguinaldo v. 184 Ala.. State v. 147 A 67. and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor.J. 599.candidates for governor of Cagayan province. As held in Comant v. 45.198. v. (43 Am. Hechanova. .: .W. supra. 559.. (Lizares v.W. (2) Paquito F. 59-60 [1966]) (See also Oliveros v. 50 [NE] 553. 43 S. this Court has ruled: The weight of authority. 2nd 237. Vargas — 48. Comelec et al. 388. finds no application to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup.Y. In Pascual v. State.A.412. Newell. since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. [T]he certified true xerox copy of the "CERTITICATE OF VOTES OF CANDIDATES". 23rd 418. the petitioner must be dismissed for the reason that the issue has become academic. 130 P. 121. Bregan [ 1887] 6 N. and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct. 280 P.W. Shutler. seems to incline to the ruled denying the right to remove from office because of misconduct during a prior term to which we fully subscribe. 50 L. .R. The foregoing rule. Antonio — 54. or acts done. (6 C.

responsibilities. Article X of the 1987 Constitution. 337 was repealed by the effective of the present Constitution. The National Assembly shall enact a local government code which may not thereafter be amended except by a majority vote of all its Members.P. However. 337 has been repealed by the 1987 Constitution and which is now vested in the courts. and duties of local government officials. 60 and 61 of B. Jr. vs. in Bagabuyo et al. Blg. 7 this court had the occasion to state that B. then it can not be said that BP Blg. and removal. Section 2 of which specifically provided as follows — Sec. The power of respondent Secretary to remove local government officials is anchored on both the Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative branch. election and removal. salaries. and providing for the qualifications. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the President the power of control over all executive departments. and resources.P. and as embodied in B. term. 4 The statutory grant found in B.P. and resources. 337 remained in force despite the effectivity of the present Constitution. and by the doctrine that the acts of the department head are presumptively the acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. functions. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provided for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall.The other grounds raised by petitioner deserve scant consideration. election. having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution. 2. any change in the existing form of local government shall not take effect until ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite called for the purpose. et al. until such time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is approved. powers and functions and duties of local officials. defining a more responsive and accountable local government structure with an effective system of recall. Moreover. 5 A similar provision is found in Section 3. which provides for the manner of removal of local government officials. allocating among the different local government units their powers. 337. and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. term and salaries. We do not agree. initiative. appointment. 6 Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to enact a local government code. bureaus and offices and the power of general supervision over local governments. allocate among the different local government units their powers.P.. Petitioner contends that the power of respondent Secretary to suspend or remove local government officials as alter ego of the President. which reads: Sec. and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. is found in the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution. and provide for the qualifications. Blg. responsibilities.. and referendum. power. Blg. The power of respondent Secretary of the Department of Local Government to remove local elective government officials is found in Secs. 8 . Blg. 3. Davide. 337 itself has constitutional roots.

Romero and Bellosillo. C. Case No. Narvasa. or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office. Padilla. . the vice-governor . Davide. petitioner is hereby GRANTED and the decision of public respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March 19. concur. Regalado.As to petitioner's argument of the want of authority of respondent Secretary to appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as Governor of Cagayan. to writ — In case a permanent vacancy arises when a governor . is hereby REVERSED. Feliciano. . 10 WHEREFORE. We need but point to Section 48 (1) of B.. J.. dismissing petitioner as Governor of Cagayan. 1990 in Adm. refuses to assume office.. .. but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence. 9 Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office. Blg 337 to show the fallacy of the same. fails to quality. dies or is removed from office.P. Bidin. Jr. Griño-Aquino. voluntarily resigns. . SO ORDERED. took no part.. shall assume the office for the unexpired term of the former. P-10437-89. Melo. Cruz. . Jr. Medialdea. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code. JJ.J. Gutierrez. proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code.