EN BANC [G.R. No. 125646. September 10, 1999] CITY OF PASIG,Petitioner, vs.

THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTION and THE MUNICIPALITY OF CAINTA, PROVINCE OF RIZAL, Respondents. [G.R. No. 128663. September 10, 1999] MUNICIPALITY OF CAINTA, PROVINCE OF RIZAL,Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS CITY OF PASIG, respondent. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Before us are two (2) petitions which both question the propriety of the suspension of plebiscite proceedings pending the resolution of the issue of boundary disputes between the Municipality of Cainta and the City of Pasig. G.R. No. 125646 involves the proposed Barangay Karangalan while G.R. No. 128663 involves the proposed Barangay Napico. The City of Pasig claims these areas as part of its jurisdiction/territory while the Municipality of Cainta claims that these proposed barangays encroached upon areas within its own jurisdiction/territory. The antecedent facts are as follows: On April 22, 1996, upon petition of the residents of Karangalan Village that they be segregated from its mother Barangays Manggahan and Dela Paz, City of Pasig, and to be converted and separated into a distinct barangay to be known as Barangay Karangalan, the City Council of Pasig passed and approved Ordinance No. 21, Series of 1996, creating Barangay Karangalan in Pasig City.[1 Plebiscite on the creation of said barangay was thereafter set for June 22, 1996. Meanwhile, on September 9, 1996, the City of Pasig similarly issued Ordinance No. 52, Series of 1996, creating Barangay Napico in Pasig City.[2 Plebiscite for this purpose was set for March 15, 1997. Immediately upon learning of such Ordinances, the Municipality of Cainta moved to suspend or cancel the respective plebiscites scheduled, and filed Petitions with the Commission on Elections (hereinafter referred to as COMELEC) on June 19, 1996 (UND No. 96-016)[3 and March 12, 1997 (UND No. 97-002), respectively. In both Petitions, the Municipality of Cainta called the attention of the COMELEC to a pending case before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch 74, for settlement of boundary dispute.[4 According to the Municipality of Cainta, the proposed barangays involve areas included in the boundary dispute subject of said pending case; hence, the scheduled plebiscites should be suspended or cancelled until after the said case shall have been finally decided by the court. In UND No. 96-016, the COMELEC accepted the position of the Municipality of Cainta and ordered the plebiscite on the creation of Barangay Karangalan to be held in abeyance until after the court has settled with finality the boundary dispute involving the two municipalities.[5 Hence, the filing of G.R. No. 125646 by the City of Pasig. The COMELEC, however, ruled differently in UND No. 97-002, dismissing the Petition for being moot in view of the holding of the plebiscite as scheduled on March 15, 1997 where the creation of Barangay Napico was ratified and approved by the majority of the votes cast therein.[6 Hence, the filing of G.R. No. 128663 by the Municipality of Cainta.

The issue before us is whether or not the plebiscites scheduled for the creation of Barangays Karangalan and Napico should be suspended or cancelled in view of the pending boundary dispute between the two local governments. To begin with, we agree with the position of the COMELEC that Civil Case No. 94-3006 involving the boundary dispute between the Municipality of Cainta and the City of Pasig presents a prejudicial question which must first be decided before plebiscites for the creation of the proposed barangays may be held. The City of Pasig argues that there is no prejudicial question since the same contemplates a civil and criminal action and does not come into play where both cases are civil, as in the instant case. While this may be the general rule, this Court has held in Vidad v. RTC of Negros Oriental, Br. 42,[7 that, in the interest of good order, we can very well suspend action on one case pending the final outcome of another case closely interrelated or linked to the first. In the case at bar, while the City of Pasig vigorously claims that the areas covered by the proposed Barangays Karangalan and Napico are within its territory, it can not deny that portions of the same area are included in the boundary dispute case pending before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. Surely, whether the areas in controversy shall be decided as within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Cainta or the City of Pasig has material bearing to the creation of the proposed Barangays Karangalan and Napico. Indeed, a requisite for the creation of a barangay is for its territorial jurisdiction to be properly identified by metes and bounds or by more or less permanent natural boundaries.[8 Precisely because territorial jurisdiction is an issue raised in the pending civil case, until and unless such issue is resolved with finality, to define the territorial jurisdiction of the proposed barangays would only be an exercise in futility. Not only that, we would be paving the way for potentially ultra vires acts of such barangays. Indeed, in Mariano, Jr. v. Commission on Elections,[9 we held that The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be overemphasized. The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. It can legitimately exercise powers of government only within the limits of its territorial jurisdiction. Beyond these limits, its acts are ultra vires. Needless to state, any uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will prejudice the peoples welfare. Moreover, considering the expenses entailed in the holding of plebiscites, it is far more prudent to hold in abeyance the conduct of the same, pending final determination of whether or not the entire area of the proposed barangays are truly within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Pasig. Neither do we agree that merely because a plebiscite had already been held in the case of the proposed Barangay Napico, the petition of the Municipality of Cainta has already been rendered moot and academic. The issues raised by the Municipality of Cainta in its petition before the COMELEC against the holding of the plebiscite for the creation of Barangay Napico are still pending determination before the Antipolo Regional Trial Court. In Tan v. Commission on Elections,[10 we struck down the moot and academic argument as follows --

Considering that the legality of the plebiscite itself is challenged for non-compliance with constitutional requisites, the fact that such plebiscite had been held and a new province proclaimed and its officials appointed, the case before Us cannot truly be viewed as already moot and academic. Continuation of the existence of this newly proclaimed province which petitioners strongly profess to have been illegally born, deserves to be inquired into by this Tribunal so that, if indeed, illegality attaches to its creation, the commission of that error should not provide the very excuse for perpetration of such wrong. For this Court to yield to the respondents urging that, as there has been fait accompli, then this Court should passively accept and accede to the prevailing situation is an unacceptable suggestion. Dismissal of the instant petition, as respondents so propose is a proposition fraught with mischief. Respondents submission will create a dangerous precedent. Should this Court decline now to perform its duty of interpreting and indicating what the law is and should be, this might tempt again those who strut about in the corridors of power to recklessly and with ulterior motives, create, merge, divide and/or alter the boundaries of political subdivisions, either brazenly or stealthily, confident that this Court will abstain from entertaining future challenges to their acts if they manage to bring about a fait accompli. Therefore, the plebiscite on the creation of Barangay Karangalan should be held in abeyance pending final resolution of the boundary dispute between the City of Pasig and the Municipality of Cainta by the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City. In the same vein, the plebiscite held on March 15, 1997 to ratify the creation of Barangay Napico, Pasig City, should be annulled and set aside. WHEREFORE, premises considered, 1. The Petition of the City of Pasig in G.R. No. 125646 is DISMISSED for lack of merit; while 2. The Petition of the Municipality of Cainta in G.R. No. 128663 is GRANTED. The COMELEC Order in UND No. 97-002, dated March 21, 1997, is SET ASIDE and the plebiscite held on March 15, 1997 to ratify the creation of Barangay Napico in the City of Pasig is declared null and void. Plebiscite on the same is ordered held in abeyance until after the courts settle with finality the boundary dispute between the City of Pasig and the Municipality of Cainta, in Civil Case No. 94-300. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

EN BANC G.R. No. L-19870 March 18, 1967

MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JOAQUIN, Petitioner-Appellant, vs. NICANOR SIVA, BASILIO SAPITANAN, ET AL.,respondents-appellees. CONCEPCION, C.J.: chanrobles virtual law library Petitioner, Municipality of San Joaquin, seeks the reversal of a decision of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo dismissing the former's petition for prohibition, contesting the legality of Executive Order No. 436 of the President of the Philippines, dated July 10, 1961, creating the municipality of Lawigan out of twenty-one (21) barrios theretofore forming part of said municipality of San Joaquin. Respondents-appellees are the persons appointed by the President as mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of Lawigan, who are sought to be restrained from performing their functions as such, upon the ground that Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code, on which said Executive Order is based, constitutes an undue delegation of legislative powers, and, hence, unconstitutional. The lower court, however, held otherwise. Hence, this appeal. The issue herein has been squarely taken up and settled in Pelaez vs. Auditor General, G.R. No. L-23825, promulgated on December 24, 1965, which upheld the theory of appellant herein, and rejected the view taken in the appealed decision. Wherefore, said decision is hereby reversed, and another one shall be entered declaring the aforementioned Executive Order No. 436 null and void ab initio, and directing herein respondents-appellees to refrain from acting as officers of the municipality of Lawigan, with costs against them. It is so ordered.

EN BANC G.R. No. L-114783 December 8, 1994 ROBERT V. TOBIAS, RAMON M. GUZMAN, TERRY T. LIM, GREGORIO D. GABRIEL, and ROBERTO R. TOBIAS, JR.petitioners, vs. HON. CITY MAYOR BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, CITY TREASURER WILLIAM MARCELINO, and THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD, all of the City of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Respondents. BIDIN, J.: Invoking their rights as taxpayers and as residents of Mandaluyong, herein petitioners assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7675, otherwise known as "An Act Converting the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Mandaluyong." Prior to the enactment of the assailed statute, the municipalities of Mandaluyong and San Juan belonged to only one legislative district. Hon. Ronaldo Zamora, the incumbent congressional representative of this legislative district, sponsored the bill which eventually became R.A. No. 7675. President Ramos signed R.A. No. 7675 into law on February 9, 1994. Pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991, a plebiscite was held on April 10, 1994. The people of Mandaluyong were asked whether they approved of the conversion of the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city as provided under R.A. No. 7675. The turnout at the plebiscite was only 14.41% of the voting population. Nevertheless, 18,621 voted "yes" whereas 7,911 voted "no." By virtue of these results, R.A. No. 7675 was deemed ratified and in effect. Petitioners now come before this Court, contending that R.A. No. 7675, specifically Article VIII, Section 49 thereof, is unconstitutional for being violative of three specific provisions of the Constitution. Article VIII, Section 49 of R.A. No. 7675 provides: As a highly-urbanized city, the City of Mandaluyong shall have its own legislative district with the first representative to be elected in the next national elections after the passage of this Act. The remainder of the former legislative district of San Juan/Mandaluyong shall become the new legislative district of San Juan with its first representative to be elected at the same election. Petitioner's first objection to the aforequoted provision of R.A. No. 7675 is that it contravenes the "one subject-one bill" rule, as enunciated in Article VI, Section 26(1) of the Constitution, to wit: Sec. 26(1). Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. Petitioners allege that the inclusion of the assailed Section 49 in the subject law resulted in the latter embracing two principal subjects, namely: (1) the conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city; and (2) the division of the congressional district of San Juan/Mandaluyong into two separate districts.

Petitioners contend that the second aforestated subject is not germane to the subject matter of R.A. No. 7675 since the said law treats of the conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city, as expressed in the title of the law. Therefore, since Section 49 treats of a subject distinct from that stated in the title of the law, the "one subject-one bill" rule has not been complied with. Petitioners' second and third objections involve Article VI, Sections 5(1) and (4) of the Constitution, which provide, to wit: Sec. 5(1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations. Sec. 5(4). Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standard provided in this section. Petitioners argue that the division of San Juan and Mandaluyong into separate congressional districts under Section 49 of the assailed law has resulted in an increase in the composition of the House of Representatives beyond that provided in Article VI, Sec. 5(1) of the Constitution. Furthermore, petitioners contend that said division was not made pursuant to any census showing that the subject municipalities have attained the minimum population requirements. And finally, petitioners assert that Section 49 has the effect of preempting the right of Congress to reapportion legislative districts pursuant to Sec. 5(4) as aforecited. The contentions are devoid of merit. Anent the first issue, we agree with the observation of the Solicitor General that the statutory conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city with a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand indubitably ordains compliance with the "one city-one representative" proviso in the Constitution: . . . Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative" (Article VI, Section 5(3), Constitution). Hence, it is in compliance with the aforestated constitutional mandate that the creation of a separate congressional district for the City of Mandaluyong is decreed under Article VIII, Section 49 of R.A. No. 7675. Contrary to petitioners' assertion, the creation of a separate congressional district for Mandaluyong is not a subject separate and distinct from the subject of its conversion into a highly urbanized city but is a natural and logical consequence of its conversion into a highly urbanized city. Verily, the title of R.A. No. 7675, "An Act Converting the Municipality of Mandaluyong Into a Highly Urbanized City of Mandaluyong" necessarily includes and contemplates the subject treated under Section 49 regarding the creation of a separate congressional district for Mandaluyong.

the persons interested in the subject of the bill and the public. scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation" (emphasis supplied). The Constitution clearly provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than 250 members." The inescapable import of the latter clause is that the present composition of Congress may be increased. petitioners present further arguments against the validity thereof. a reading of the applicable provision. the same does not suffice to strike down the validity of R. petitioners' additional argument that the subject law has resulted in "gerrymandering. The matter of separate district representation was only ancillary thereto. As to the contention that Section 49 of R. Aside from the constitutional objections to R. 288 [1941]). the inhabitants of San Juan were properly excluded from the said plebiscite as they had nothing to do with the change of status of neighboring Mandaluyong. is not worthy of credence. fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein. Section 26(1) "should be given a practical rather than a technical construction. SO ORDERED. It should be sufficient compliance with such requirement if the title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are germane to that general subject.000 inhabitants to justify their separation into two legislative districts. 7675 as the same involved a change in their legislative district. the said argument borders on the absurd since petitioners overlook the glaring fact that it was Congress itself which drafted. The said Act enjoys the presumption of having passed through the regular congressional processes.A.A. in the absence of proof that Mandaluyong and San Juan do not qualify to have separate legislative districts. 7675. 7675 in effect preempts the right of Congress to reapportion legislative districts. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General. including Section 49 thereof.Moreover. No. it should be noted that Rep.A. At any rate. It suffices if the title should serve the purpose of the constitutional demand that it inform the legislators. including due consideration by the members of Congress of the minimum requirements for the establishment of separate legislative districts. the Constitution does not require Congress to employ in the title of an enactment. to wit: Of course. Similarly." The liberal construction of the "one title-one subject" rule had been further elucidated in Lidasan v. the author of the assailed law. Congress cannot possibly preempt itself on a right which pertains to itself." which is the practice of creating legislative districts to favor a particular candidate or party. Zamora's constituency has in fact been diminished. By dividing San Juan/Mandaluyong. Comelec (21 SCRA 496 [1967]). 7675 is not unconstitutional. The contention is bereft of merit since the principal subject involved in the plebiscite was the conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city. Therefore. having consistently won in both localities.A. Petitioners contend that the people of San Juan should have been made to participate in the plebiscite on R. of the nature. Thus. Thus. language of such precision as to mirror. if Congress itself so mandates through a legislative enactment. Comelec (73 Phil. As to the contention that the assailed law violates the present limit on the number of representatives as set forth in the Constitution. the assailed Section 49 of R. which development could hardly be considered as favorable to him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library WHEREFORE. Ronaldo Zamora. a liberal construction of the "one title-one subject" rule has been invariably adopted by this court so as not to cripple or impede legislation. . deliberated upon and enacted the assailed law. No. shows that the present limit of 250 members is not absolute. 7675. 7675 must be allowed to stand. it is not required that all laws emanating from the legislature must contain all relevant data considered by Congress in the enactment of said laws. No. we ruled that the constitutional requirement as now expressed in Article VI. Article VI. "unless otherwise provided by law. Section 5(1). No. the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. Rep. is the incumbent representative of the former San Juan/Mandaluyong district. Proceeding now to the other constitutional issues raised by petitioners to the effect that there is no mention in the assailed law of any census to show that Mandaluyong and San Juan had each attained the minimum requirement of 250.A. Thus.A. in Sumulong v. No. as aforequoted. No. the increase in congressional representation mandated by R.

. Hence. However. there is no Municipality of Santo Tomas to speak of It has no right to assert. petitioner filed its reply to the opposition (Ibid. Section 1 of the Rules of Court expressly provides that only "entities authorized by law may be patties in a civil action. presided over by herein public respondent Judge Felix L. and not in the courts whose power is limited to judicial review on appropriate occasions (Ibid. pp. petitioner filed its Answer (Rollo. PREMISES CONSIDERED. HON. CARIDAD A.. 475. 77-85). 6128. pp. pp. WHETHER OR NOT THE ACTION HAS ALREADY PRESCRIBED. Thus. 1975 (Ibid. WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS LEGAL PERSONALITY TO SUE. WENCESLAO CASTRO.: This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction seeking: (a) the reversal (annulment) of the February 17. and Civil Case No. On December 12. JOSE TAGHOY and ALFONSO VALDEZ. denied the motion to dismiss (Ibid. but in an Order dated March 17. 242 SUPERSEDED REPUBLIC ACT NO. and it must perforce remain part and parcel of Kapalong. 1975 and July 10. no cause of action. pp. For many years and on several occasions. 1975. 27-30). On March 3. it submits that respondent Judge should have dismissed the case. MONOY SALVADOR PASPE and AGUEDO ROTOL petitioners. 1975. 475 is DISMISSED. Respondents. pp. From portions of the Municipality of Kapalong. pp.. Garcia created respondent Municipality of Santo Tomas. pp. pp. MACROSQUE PIMENTEL. ROYO Vice Mayor. in an Order dated February 17. thru its Mayor. 49). PASTOR FERNANDEZ. in a Resolution dated September 10. 23-26). in an Order dated July 10. it can not be a party to any civil action. 1975. resolved to require the respondents to answer and to issue a temporary restraining order (Ibid.R. and Municipal Treasurer JOSE AVENIDO. On November 22. and (b) the issuance of a writ of prohibition directing respondent Judge to desist from taking cognizance of Civil Case No. LIDO E. this conflict of boundaries between the two municipalities was brought. (15 SCRA 569) is clear that the President has no power to create municipalities. Auditor General.. 37-40). Private respondent then filed a complaint with the then Court of First Instance of Davao. 1975 Orders of the same Court denying petitioner's motions for reconsideration. The restraining order previously issued by this Court is made permanent. MOYA. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Ibid. 1974. p.. Rule 3. at the instance of private respondent. Municipal Councilors DOMINGO CAGADAS. pp. In the Resolution dated November 3.. docketed therein as Civil Case No. as ruled in the Pelaez case supra. PORFIRIO F. pp. and the latter now asserts jurisdiction over eight (8) barrios of petitioner. and as such. The instant petition is impressed with merit. after which respondent Judge. No. 44). it appears that no action was taken on the same. DOMINADOR SOLIS. which was opposed by private respondent (Ibid. Petitioner contends that the ruling of this Court in Pelaez v. no corporate existence at all. 475. Petitioner filed its Memorandum on December 10. Municipal Councilors VALERIANO CLARO. Moya against the Municipality of Kapalong. 475. thru its Mayor. pp.. Branch IX. 53-57). 73-74). the President has no power to create a municipality. J. since further proceedings would be pointless. FELIX L. 1417). 1974. to wit: 1. p. TOMAS D. 42-43). 1988 MUNICIPALITY OF KAPALONG. recovery of collected taxes and damages. 1975 (Ibid. the same was denied by respondent Judge and so was the Second Motion for Reconsideration (Ibid. Since private respondent has no legal personality. L-41322 September 29.. WILDA ESPIRITU. AND 4. 1975. respondent Judge should have dismissed the case. 1975. 1975 (Ibid. 1975. 65).." Now then.. 3. PARAS. Presiding Judge of Court of First Instance of Davao. WHETHER OR NOT PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. the Orders of February 17. for settlement of the municipal boundary dispute. private respondent filed its Answer on October 28. 1975 Order of the then Court of First Instance of Davao denying the motion to dismiss Civil Case No. On March 7. Petitioner raised four (4) issues. 68-76). the instant petition (Ibid. 18-22). MANZANO. and the March 17. 2. 34-36). the petition is GRANTED.. 1975 of respondent Judge are SET ASIDE. 1-10). Based on this premise. TOMAS. President Carlos P. GEORGE PEDRO JAIN. to the Provincial Board of Davao for it to consider and decide. petitioner argues that the settlement of boundary disputes is administrative in nature and should originate in the political or administrative agencies of the government. 1974. The Second Division of this Court.. March 17. vs. DORONIO FELICULO ESTRADA. ANICETO SOLIS. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the lower court and lack of legal personality of the Municipality of Santo Tomas (Ibid.. and the MUNICIPALITY OF STO. In compliance therewith. 1975 and July 10. . p. WHETHER OR NOT THE MATTER OF SETTLEMENT OF BOUNDARY DISPUTE IS A POLITICAL QUESTION. and private respondent on January 5. On the ground of jurisdiction.G.. Vice-Mayor LEOPOLDO RECTO. pp. 1975 (Ibid. The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the Municipality of Santo Tomas legally exists. the parties were required to file their respective memoranda (Ibid.

. 2000. conducted a plebiscite in the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon and submitted the matter for ratification. the (a) creation of the City of Sorsogon and the (b) abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon. merged.Respondents. namely. unconstitutional. may declare a law.R. No.R. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT. 8806 for being unconstitutional. 8806 because it violates Section 10. or its boundary substantially altered. filed on January 2. Jr. however. contending. the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. has passed careful scrutiny to ensure that it is in accord with the fundamental law. R. CAWALING.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.A.. Escudero. or on January 4. vs. Since then. No. October 26. where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. Respondents. Benjamin E. Requisites for Creation.A. [4 Invoking his right as a resident and taxpayer of the former Municipality of Sorsorgon..A. 146319) seeking the annulment of the plebiscite on the following grounds: A. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. and Rep. Petitioner. the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt. [7 The theory is that every law. PROVINCE OF SORSOGON. in violation of Section 54 thereof.000.A. No. And Appropriating Funds Therefor. No. On August 16. Cawaling. petitioner instituted another petition (G.R. on December 16. Article VI of the Constitution.A. Article X of the Constitution. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT. 8806.R. 2000. JR. during the pendency of these cases. and B.: Before us are two (2) separate petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No. not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. Hence. 2000 plebiscite was conducted beyond the required 120-day period from the approval of R. 146342. Petitioner. specifically during the May 14. seeking to enjoin the further implementation of R. 2001 elections. No. as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided.EN BANC [G. 146342. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. The creation of Sorsogon City by merging two municipalities violates Section 450(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 (in relation to Section 10. Two days after filing the said action.000. [9 In other words. an Act Creating The City Of Sorsogon By Merging The Municipalities Of Bacon And Sorsogon In The Province Of Sorsogon. 2001] BENJAMIN E. [2 the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). No. inter alia: Section 10. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. SOLICITOR GENERAL. No. MUNICIPALITY OF SORSOGON. R. Estrada signed into law R. and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. Respondent COMELEC failed to observe the legal requirement of twenty (20) day extensive information campaign in the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon before conducting the plebiscite. 2001] BENJAMIN E. thereby violating the one subject-one bill rule prescribed by Section 26(1). [6 This presumption is rooted in the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate departments of the Government a becoming courtesy for each others acts. 146319. city. Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. as certified by the Department of Finance. That. No. the City Government of Sorsogon has been regularly discharging its corporate and political powers pursuant to its charter. and if it has either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers. being the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive. that: 1. (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income. No province. former President Joseph E. [11 Petitioner initially rejects R. in essence. JR. [8 This Court. 2000. CAWALING. this time for prohibition. municipality. 8806 which created the City of Sorsogon and the validity of the plebiscite conducted pursuant thereto. divided. 2001. or (ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150. or portions thereof. of at least Twenty million (P20. the present petitions which were later consolidated. 146342). [10 for to doubt is to sustain. or barangay may be created. thus: Section 450. Francis Joseph G. vs. No. J. the newly-created Sorsogon City had the first election of its officials. the Plebiscite City Board of Canvassers (PCBC) proclaimed [3 the creation of the City of Sorsogon as having been ratified and approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite. 2001 the present petition for certiorari (G. Article X of the Constitution) which requires that only a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city. We shall first delve on petitioners constitutional challenge against R. 8806 in G. October 26. and 2. No. On December 17. [G. 8806. (Emphasis ours) The criteria for the creation of a city is prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (the Code). population. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. No. 8806 contains two (2) subjects. abolished. [5 Significantly. [1 Pursuant to Section 10. 8806.A.R.A. MUNICIPALITY OF BACON.000) inhabitants. The December 16. Article X of the Constitution which provides.

x x x. 8806 has done. No. Thus. exclusive of specific funds. made it clear that the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom. While the title of the Act sufficiently informs the public about the creation of Sorsogon City.(b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. 2000 plebiscite was conducted one (1) day late from the expiration of the 120-day period after the approval of the Act. x x x.A. [13 and may not annul an act of the political departments simply because we feel it is unwise or impractical. This 120-day period having expired without a plebiscite being conducted. there is no compelling reason for merging the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in order to create the City of Sorsogon considering that the Municipality of Sorsogon alone already qualifies to be upgraded to a component city. No. a matter which we are not competent to rule. natural and inevitable consequence of the merger. viz: Sec. 8806 since it contravenes the one subject-one bill rule enunciated in Section 26 (1). Section 10. [12 this Court. (emphasis ours) Petitioner contends that R. that is. No. there is only one subject embraced in the title of the law. 146319 wherein petitioner assails the validity of the plebiscite conducted by the COMELEC for the ratification of the creation of Sorsogon City. An Act Creating the City of Sorsogon by Merging the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in the Province of Sorsogon. the title of the law. further. It is well-settled that the one title-one subject rule does not require the Congress to employ in the title of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror. No. Laurel. 8806. city.A. nor can it be considered to have deprived the public of fair information on this consequence. as what R. [16 and where.A. Otherwise put.A. however. and non-recurring income. allows the merger of local government units to create a province. and (2) the abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon. The argument is far from persuasive. provided that such merger or division shall comply with the requirements prescribed by the Code. this Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical construction of the rule so as not to cripple or impede legislation. 2000. [14 Next. 8806 should be conducted within 120 days from the approval of said Act per express provision of its Section 54. Petitioners constricted reading of Section 450(a) of the Code is erroneous. we hold that petitioner has failed to present clear and convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality of R. That such division shall not reduce the income. the persons interested are informed of the nature. [15 The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is comprehensive enough as to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect. the December 16. . petitioner claims that no such information has been provided on the abolition of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon. cannot be said to exclude the incidental effect of abolishing the two municipalities. not by merging two municipalities. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. it is the necessary means by which the City of Sorsogon was created. population.A.R. Thus. Hence. through Justice Jose P. Electoral Commission. the creation of the City of Sorsogon. [18 Consequently. The phrase A municipality or a cluster ofbarangays may be converted into a component city is not a criterion but simply one of the modes by which a city may be created.A. The abolition/cessation of the corporate existence of the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon due to their merger is not a subject separate and distinct from the creation of Sorsogon City. The City of Sorsogon shall acquire corporate existence upon the ratification of its creation by a majority of the votes cast by the qualified voters in a plebiscite to be conducted in the present municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon within one hundred twenty (120) days from the approval of this Act. (Emphasis ours) Verily.A.Division and Merger. 2000 by former President Joseph E. Petitioner asserts that the plebiscite required by R. the Act itself expired and could no longer be ratified and approved in the plebiscite held on December 16. 54. Petitioner further submits that.Plebiscite. fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein. Estrada. Contrary to petitioners assertion. 8806 actually embraces two principal subjects which are: (1) the creation of the City of Sorsogon. or land area of the local government unit or units concerned to less than the minimum requirements prescribed in this Code: Provided. What he is assailing is its mode of creation. in any case. justice or expediency of legislation. Article VI of the Constitution. 8806. scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. petitioner claims. 8806 complied with the criteria set by the Code as to income. transfers. This argument goes into the wisdom of R. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands. He contends that under Section 450(a) of the Code. Section 8 of the Code distinctly provides: Section 8. [17 Moreover. Division and merger of existing local government units shall comply with the same requirements herein prescribed for their creation: Provided. In Angara v. to wit: Section 26 (1). quoted earlier and which petitioner cited in support of his posture. a component city may be created only by converting a municipality or a cluster of barangays. (Emphasis ours) The Act was approved on August 16. the creation of an entirely new local government unit through a division or a merger of existing local government units is recognized under the Constitution. municipality or barangay in accordance with the criteria established by the Code. Article X of the Constitution. No. population and land area. No. In the exercise of judicial power. petitioner assails R. Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. That the income classification of the original local government unit or units shall not fall below its current income classification prior to such division. We now turn to G. No. and Appropriating Funds Therefor. we are allowed only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. This contention is devoid of merit. (Emphasis ours) Petitioner is not concerned whether the creation of Sorsogon City through R. No. as here. Such abolition/cessation was but the logical.

Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette. the instant petitions are DISMISSED for lack of merit. the December 16. SO ORDERED. 2000 plebiscite was well within the 120-day period from the effectivity of the law on September 1. Section 10 of the Code provides: Section 10. which scenario is precisely abhorred in Taada. unless said law or ordinance fixes another date. which date.ii). (Emphasis ours) Quite plainly.A. [19 it could only schedule the plebiscite after the Act took effect. or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly affected. After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties. Then on September 01. the COMELEC asserts that it scheduled the plebiscite on December 16. However. Such plebiscite shall be conducted by the Commission on Elections within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the effectivity of the law or ordinance affecting such action. 2000. No creation. The law was first published in the August 25. . still such date must be reckoned from the date of the effectivity of the law. which cannot in any event be omitted. No. In addition. citing the landmark case of Taada vs. we sustain the presumption [20 that the COMELEC regularly performed or complied with its duty under the law in conducting the plebiscite. the word approval in Section 54 of R. should be the reckoning point in determining the 120-day period within which to conduct the plebiscite. While the same provision allows a law or ordinance to fix another date for conducting a plebiscite. the last sentence of Section 10 mandates that the plebiscite shall be conducted within 120 days from the date of the effectivity of the law. that the clause unless it is otherwise provided refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself. 65. 2000. WHEREFORE .4. 2000 issue of TODAY. Consequently. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication. Rule II of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Code. the COMELEC concludes. Tuvera. 2000) when the law had not yet been published.This Act shall take effect upon its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general and local circulation. no proof whatsoever was presented by petitioner to substantiate his allegation. the publication of the law was completed on September 1. without its previous publication. 2. Thus. unless it is otherwise provided. As we stated in Taada: Art. both on the original petition and on the instant motion. Consequently. a newspaper of general circulation. not from the date of its approval (August 16. division. Plebiscite Requirement. could only mean effectivity as used and contemplated in Section 10 of the Code. or on any other date. This construction is in accord with the fundamental rule that all provisions of the laws relating to the same subject should be read together and reconciled to avoid inconsistency or repugnancy to established jurisprudence. Section 65 of the Act states: Sec.Effectivity. according to the COMELEC. Thus. 2000 . petitioner alleges that the COMELEC failed to conduct an extensive information campaign on the proposed Sorsogon cityhood 20 days prior to the scheduled plebiscite as required by Article 11 (b. we have come to the conclusion. . which should be read together with Section 65 (effectivity of the Act) thereof. merger. and so hold. 2000 based on the date of the effectivity of the Act. it was published in a newspaper of local circulation in the Province of Sorsogon.In its comment. Lastly. 8806. The COMELEC argues that since publication is indispensable for the effectivity of a law. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective immediately upon approval. (Emphasis supplied) To give section 54 a literal and strict interpretation would in effect make the Act effective even before its publication. The COMELEC is correct. not from its approval. abolition. Costs against petitioner.

A. No. 7854 delineated the land areas of the proposed city of Makati. Jr. G. Section 2 did not add. subtract. No. . on the southwest by the City of Pasay and the Municipality of Taguig. section 2 stated that." The deliberations of Congress will reveal that there is a legitimate reason why the land area of the proposed City of Makati was not defined by metes and bounds. In language that cannot be any clearer. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. Taguig. It was filed by petitioners Juanito Mariano. THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI.A.A. 7854 is unconstitutional for: (a) it increased the legislative district of Makati only by special law (the Charter in violation of the constitutional provision requiring a general reapportionment law to be passed by Congress within three (3) years following the return of every census.The Municipality of Makati shall be converted into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of Makati. 7854 as unconstitutional. 118627 March 7. and. divide. Camilo Santos. Valentina Pitalvero.R. No. Given the facts of the cases at bench.A. No. The others are residents of Ibayo Ususan. 7854 is entitled. 3 We take judicial notice of the fact that Congress has also refrained from using the metes and bounds . Section 2 of R. This is the evil sought to avoided by the Local Government Code in requiring that the land area of a local government unit must be spelled out in metes and bounds.A. by the City of Manila. in violation of Section 10. 1995 JOHN R.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The foregoing provision shall be without prejudice to the resolution by the appropriate agency or forum of existing boundary disputes or cases involving questions of territorial jurisdiction between the City of Makati and the adjoining local government units. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. We find no merit in the petitions.A. the population of Makati stands at only 450. 2 The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be overemphasized.. and concerned citizen. Article X and Section 7.A. on the northwest. 118577 March 7. taxpayer. Of the petitioners.The City of Makati. with technical descriptions. legislators felt that the dispute should be left to the courts to decide. vs. 7854 as unconstitutional on the same grounds as aforestated. Bautista. 118577 involves a petition for prohibition and declaratory relief. with technical descriptions. Petitioner. HON. Article X of the Constitution. 118577. No. any uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will prejudice the people's welfare. No. THE MUNICIPAL TREASURER.chanrobles virtual law library PUNO.R. 51. with technical descriptions. JEJOMAR BINAY. Florante Alba. 2.R. They did not want to foreclose the dispute by making a legislative finding of fact which could decide the issue.R. G. Petitioners. 7854 attempts to alter or restart the "three consecutive term" limit for local elective officials. Osmeña as senator. 7854 as unconstitutional.. 7854. in violation of Section 8. is a resident of Makati.Respondents. 7854 on the following grounds: 1. The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. At the time of the consideration of R. and (c) the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with Section 5 (3). with technical descriptions. and 52 of R. Article VI of the Constitution. Frankie Cruz. et al.A. This would have ensued if they defined the land area of the proposed city by its exact metes and bounds. Teresita Tibay. No. R. and Perfecto Alba. 2. Rufino Caldoza.R. Ligaya S. Article VI of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census). AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI.A. HON. No. Section 52 of R.. 3. Petitioners have not demonstrated that the delineation of the land area of the proposed City of Makati will cause confusion as to its boundaries.000. which shall comprise the present territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan Manila Area over which it has jurisdiction bounded on the northeast by Pasig River and beyond by the City of Mandaluyong and the Municipality of Pasig. (Emphasis supplied) In G. It can legitimately exercise powers of government only within the limits. Suing as taxpayers. I Section 2. the territorial dispute between the municipalities of Makati and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was under court litigation. or multiply the established land area of Makati. OSMEÑA. No. hereinafter referred to as the City. No. J. vs. Needless to state. Out of a becoming sense of respect to co-equal department of government. Section 51 of R. 1995 JUANITO MARIANO. Jr. its acts are ultra vires. Ricardo Pascual. only Mariano. No. No. they assail as unconstitutional sections 2. 118627 was filed by the petitioner John H. 7854 did not properly identify the land area or territorial jurisdiction of Makati by metes and bounds. JR. (b) the increase in legislative district was not expressed in the title of the bill. the city's land area "shall comprise the presentterritory of the municipality. We note that said delineation did not change even by an inch the land area previously covered by Makati as a municipality.G.R. Respondents. "An Act Converting the Municipality of Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of Makati. we cannot perceive how this evil can be brought about by the description made in section 2 of R. THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI. thus: Sec. 7854. No. Article I of R. Petitioner assails section 52 of R. AND SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI. JEJOMAR BINAY. on the southeast by the municipalities of Pateros and Taguig. in relation to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code. petitioners claim that this delineation violates sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code which require that the area of a local government unit should be made by metes and bounds with technical descriptions. No." 1 G.A. Metro Manila.: At bench are two (2) petitions assailing certain provisions of Republic Act No. No. MUNICIPAL TREASURER. Teresita Abang.

They contend that this section collides with section 8. This could not be the intendment of the law. They further argue that should Mayor Binay decide to run and eventually win as city mayor in the coming elections. means that laws have ends to achieve. at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. We sustain the submission of the Solicitor General in this regard. shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.A. In the cases at bench. Limjap. 72 SCRA 520). 7. In particular.: Going now to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local Government Code.Officials of the City of Makati. unless otherwise provided by law. No. elective local officials. made them subject to the ultimate resolution by the courts. The new city will acquire a new corporate existence. i. It then becomes a case of the master serving the slave. (2) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party.e. It seeks to make local governments more responsive to the needs of their constituents while at the same time serving as a vital cog in national development. xxx xxx xxx Sec. The petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events. viz.A. who has already served for two (2) consecutive terms. 141. section 51 of R. No. (3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity. (Torres v.: "the territorial jurisdiction of newly created or converted cities should be described by meted and bounds.R.e. it is beyond cavil that the requirement stated therein. No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. respondent Jejomar Binay. as in this case. which shall be determined by law. Ergo. Congress maintained the existing boundaries of the proposed City of Makati but as an act of fairness. No. . Thus. We cannot entertain this challenge to the constitutionality of section 51.. 7854 on the mere ground that no cadastral type of description was used in the law would serve the letter but defeat the spirit of the Code. Courts will not follow the letter of the statute when to do so would depart from the true intent of the legislature or would otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. Section 51 states: Sec. for purposes of interpretation. To invalidate R. They argue that by providing that the new city shall acquire a new corporate existence. that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.A. 51. To require such description in the law as a condition sine qua non for its validity would be to defeat the very purpose which the Local Government Code to seeks to serve. 4 We hold that the existence of a boundary dispute does not per se present an insurmountable difficulty which will prevent Congress from defining with reasonable certitude the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. Legislation is an active instrument of government. The term of office of elective local officials. and statutes should be so construed as not to defeat but to carry out such ends and purposes (Bocolbo v. Article VI of the Constitution which provide: Sec..A. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. 8. have a term of three (3) years and are prohibited from serving for more than three (3) consecutive terms. 56 Phil.description of land areas of other local government units with unsettled boundary disputes. 118577 also assail the constitutionality of section 51.was made in order to provide a means by which the area of said cities may be reasonably ascertained. Tañada v. 33 SCRA 1105). including Members of the House of Representative. Congress did not intends that laws creating new cities must contain therein detailed technical descriptions similar to those appearing in Torrens titles. petitioners point that section 51 favors the incumbent Makati Mayor. 7854 restarts the term of the present municipal elective officials of Makati and disregards the terms previously served by them. The requirements before a litigant can challenge the constitutionality of a law are well delineated. No. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin. Article X of R. The same rule must indubitably apply to the case at bar. which. 1051. that he would be re-elected in said elections. the requirement on metes and bounds was meant merely as tool in the establishment of local government units. as petitioners seem to imply. Too well settled is the rule that laws must be enforced when ascertained. he can still run for the same position in 1998 and seek another three-year consecutive term since his previous threeyear consecutive term as municipal mayor would not be counted. They are: 1) there must be an actual case or controversy. Hidalgo v. In other words. 7854 is unconstitutional. 103 Phil.. then. Estanislao. Hidalgo. instead of the other way around. petitioners conclude that said section 51 has been conveniently crafted to suit the political ambitions of respondent Mayor Binay. Considering that . although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute. No. Article X and section 7. we are not prepared to hold that section 2 of R. The manifest intent of the Code is to empower local government units and to give them their rightful due. and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself. 5 Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. It is not an end in itself. II Petitioners in G. Cuenco.The represent elective officials of the Municipality of Makati shall continue as the officials of the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers and functions until such time that a new election is held and the duly elected officials shall have already qualified and assume their offices: Provided. it may be concluded that the legislative intent behind the law has been sufficiently served. by referring to common boundaries with neighboring municipalities. The appointive officials and employees of the City shall likewise continues exercising their functions and duties and they shall be automatically absorbed by the city government of the City of Makati. except barangay officials. so long as the territorial jurisdiction of a city may be reasonably ascertained. with technical descriptions" . viz. Considering these peculiar circumstances. Certainly. Petitioners stress that under these provisions. and that he would seek re-election for the same position in the 1998 elections. i. 7854.

The Constitution 9clearly provides that Congress shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) members. barangays Magallanes. we do not find merit in petitioners' contention that the creation of an additional legislative district in Makati should have been expressly stated in the title of the bill. 10 The intolerable situations will deprive the people of a new city or province a particle of their sovereignty. 14 Finally. we reiterated the policy of the Court favoring a liberal construction of the "one title-one subject" rule so as not to impede legislation.Legislative Districts.000).A.. with Constitution does not command that the title of a law should exactly mirror. in lieu of Barangay GuadalupeViejo which shall form part of the second district. its legislative district may still be increased since it has met the minimum population requirement of two hundred fifty thousand (250. fully index. 7854 and providing for an increase in Makati's legislative district.000) shall have at least one representative. These issues have been laid to rest in the recent case of Tobias v.000) shall be entitled to at least one congressional representative. Hence. . Dasmariñas and Forbes shall be with the first district. such as in the charter of a new city. Section 52 of the Charter provides: Sec. In the same case of Tobias v.A.these contingencies may or may not happen. (2) the addition of a legislative district is not expressed in the title of the bill 7and (3) Makati's population. that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is unconstitutional for: (1) reapportionment 6cannot made by a special law. . they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction.000). 13Said section provides. other than a general reapportionment of the law. No. Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another legislative district in Makati is not in accord with section 5(3). stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450. III Finally. we ruled that "it should be sufficient compliance if the title expresses the general subject and all the provisions are germane to such general subject. with a review of all the legislative districts allotted to each local government unit nationwide. Article VI12of the Constitution for as of the latest survey (1990 census). inter alia. petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to an actual case or controversy. would create an inequitable situation where a new city or province created by Congress will be denied legislative representation for an indeterminate period of time. as per the 1990 census. It is indivisible. Makati shall thereafter have at least two (2) legislative districts that shall initially correspond to the two (2) existing districts created under Section 3(a) of Republic Act. 52. Article X of R.000). Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. Abalos. the petitions are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit No costs." chanrobles virtual law library WHEREFORE. that a city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand(250. It must be forever whole or it is not sovereignty. the Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its membership by passing a law. No. or completely catalogue all its details. SO ORDERED.Upon its conversion into a highly-urbanized city. No. Moreover. To be sure. op cit. 8In said case. Even granting that the population of Makati as of the 1990 census stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450. section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides that a city whose population has increased to more than two hundred fifty thousand (250. to hold that reapportionment can only be made through a general apportionment law. (emphasis supplied) They contend. unless otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded. Worse. 7166 as implemented by the Commission on Elections to commence at the next national elections to be held after the effectivity of this Act. we ruled that reapportionment of legislative districts may be made through a special law. 7854. the population of Makati stands at only four hundred fifty thousand (450. 11Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of subtraction. Abalos.000). Henceforth. This is its exactly what was done by Congress in enacting R. In fact. petitioners in the two (2) cases at bench assail the constitutionality of section 52.

Mountain Province. by the Padsan River which is at the same time the boundary between the municipalities of Banna and Dingras. on the other hand. the CA allocated to Marcos a portion of Nueva Eras territory. Province of Ilocos Norte. Mountain Province. Governor General Francis Burton Harrison. Section 1 of R. Mt. 1966. Promulgated: February 27. 3753. Padpadon. Province stated in the above phrase refers to the present adjoining provinces of Benguet. There is no issue insofar as the first paragraph is concerned which named only Dingras as the mother municipality of Marcos. REYES. and Uguis which were previously organized as rancherias. 3753 provides: SECTION 1.A. which comprises the subprovinces of Kalinga and Apayao. The part of then Mt. Alabaan. Province was divided into the four provinces of Benguet.A. Culao. Tibangran. Padsan. Any alteration of boundaries that is not in accordance with the law creating a municipality is not the carrying into effect of that law but its amendment.) No.T. J. Biding. 7878. CAROLINE Present: ARZADON-GARVIDA. which described Marcos eastern boundary. which were then a single province. 66 [5] dated September 30. No. represented by its Municipal Mayor. Ragas and Agunit in the Municipality of Dingras.[4] By this extension of Marcos eastern boundary. each of which was under the independent control of a chief. however. Garnaden. acting on a resolution passed by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte. Marcos claimed that the middle portion of Nueva Era. 169435 ILOCOS NORTE. Biding. It must be noted that the term Mt. and ILOCOS NORTE.A. Province boundary.[1] For Our review on certiorari is the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) reversing to a certain extent that[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Laoag City. R. G. Petitioner. Ragas and Agunit.A. On February 14. with the following boundaries: On the Northwest. Ifugao. . namely: Capariaan.. Escoda. Culao. The Facts The Municipality of Nueva Era was created from the settlements of Bugayong. and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. The problem. on the South. lies in the description of Marcos boundaries as stated in the second paragraph. if based only on said paragraph. Paorpatoc. by the Burnay River which is the common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan.A. MUNICIPALITY OF NUEVA ERA. formed part of its territory. the province of Kalinga-Apayao. and Kalinga-Apayao by virtue of R. No. Branch 12. by theIlocos Norte-Mt. No.versus NACHURA. was created on June 22. SALVADORcralaw PILLOS.O. Based on the first paragraph of the said Section 1 of R. 2008 x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION REYES. by the Ilocos Norte-Mt. 1995. particularly in the phrase: on the East. on the West and Southwest. Respondents. On the basis of the said phrase. Its reasoning was founded upon the fact that Nueva Era was between Marcos and the Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary such that if Marcos was to be .A. Hence. No. Province boundary.: AS the law creating a municipality fixes its boundaries. Ifugao. Kalinga and Apayao. which adjoins its eastern side. 4695 which was enacted on June 18. settlement of boundary disputes between municipalities is facilitated by carrying into effect the law that created them.EN BANC The Municipality of Marcos. The Municipality of Marcos shall have its seat of government in the barrio of Biding. on the Northeast. 3753 is the present Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary. by the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras. Cabittaoran. No. on the East. The CA declared that Marcos is entitled to have its eastern boundary extended up to the boundary line between the province of Ilocos Norte and Kalinga-Apayao. in a case that originated from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Ilocos Norte about the boundary dispute between the Municipalities of Marcos and Nueva Era in Ilocos Norte. The Municipality of Nueva Era or any of its barangays was not mentioned. Escoda. which only the Congress can do. Province which was at the east of Marcos is now the province of Apayao. 1916.cralawThe barrios of Capariaan. 3753 entitled An Act Creating the Municipality of Marcos in the Province of Ilocos Norte. the eastern boundary referred to by the second paragraph of Section 1 of R. Ilocos Norte. represented by its Municipal Mayor. No. it is clear that Nueva Era may not be considered as a source of territory of Marcos. are hereby separated from the said municipality and constituted into a new and separate municipality to be known as the Municipality of Marcos.Hence. by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down to the barrios Capariaan-Gabon boundary consisting of foot path and feeder road. was further converted into the regular provinces of Kalinga and Apayao pursuant to R. Alabaan. MUNICIPALITY OF MARCOS.) No. 1963 pursuant to Republic Act (R. it is clear that Marcos shall be derived from the listed barangays of Dingras.R. united these rancherias and created the township of Nueva Era by virtue of Executive Order (E.

Statutes should be construed in the light of the object to be achieved and the evil or mischief to be suppressed.[10] In view of its claim over the middle portion of Nueva Era. Marcos posited that Nueva Era was cut into two parts. that the eastern boundary of Marcos is indeed Mountain Province. The fallo of its decision[15]reads: WHEREFORE. The SP thus construed. Nio. so believes that respondent Nueva Era or any portion thereof has been excluded from the ambit of RA 3753. its entire land area was an ancestral domain of the tinguians. it must be preserved as part of Nueva Era.400 hectares. Abra is situated between and separates the Provinces of Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province.A. Marcos was created out of the territory of Dingras only. It alleged that since time immemorial. it is not the letter. 93-015.[12] disputed area consisting of 15. the court held that there arose a prima facie conclusion that the said law abolished Barrio Central as part of Davao City. an area of 15. it should be construed according to the spirit and reason. No.A.Province boundary pursuant to the description of its eastern boundary under R. 1993. when its Sangguniang Bayan passed Resolution No. Nueva Era. is hereby declared as part and portion of the territorial jurisdiction of respondent Nueva Era. its eastern boundary had been considered to be aligned and coterminous with the eastern boundary of the adjacent municipality of Dingras.[19] (Emphasis ours and citations omitted) According to Nueva Era. Province. by the mandate given to it by the RA 7160 otherwise known Local Government Code. No. Nio. for the sake of argument. Thus. this Body has no alternative but to dismiss. 1. 2000. Nueva Era. Nueva Era reacted to the claim of Marcos through its Resolution No. required Marcos to submit its position paper. 3753 expressly named the barangays that would comprise Marcos. specifically Barangay Sto.[18] (Citations omitted) The SP further explained: Invariably. it would encroach upon a portion. disregarding if necessary the letters of the law. suppress the mischief and secure the benefits intended. in view of all the foregoing.A. According to Marcos. an indigenous cultural community. as it hereby DISMISSES said petition for lack of merit.A.However. 3753 were the Burnay River and the Ilocos NorteMountain Province boundary.[7] or only on March 8.[9] In its position paper. Thus: x x x Even granting.[16] R. These areas claimed by Marcos were within Barangay Sto.[6] Marcos did not claim any part of Nueva Era as its own territory until after almost 30 years. 3753 in creating Marcos.400 hectares of Nueva Era was alleged to form part of Marcos. And since the law required that the land area of a municipality must be compact and contiguous. Historically. supposedly done to conform to the second paragraph of Section 1 of R. This body. the SP of Ilocos Norte ruled in favor of Nueva Era. respectively. 3753. which was coterminous and aligned with the eastern boundary of Dingras. its eastern boundary should not be limited to the former Dingras-Nueva Era boundary.A. When the interpretation of the statute according to the exact and literal import of its words would lead to absurdity. On March 29.[17] cralawThe SP ratiocinated that if Marcos was to be bounded by Mt. is actually bounded on the East by the Province of Abra. by expressly naming the barangays that will comprise the town of Marcos. The SP. No. It is believed that congress did not intend to have this absurd situation to be created when it created the Municipality of Marcos. In Republic Act 4354. Marcos will then be claiming a portion of Abra because the province. where Section 2 thereof enumerated the barrios comprising the City of Davao excluding the petitioner Barrio Central as part of the said City. Nueva Eras northern isolated portion could no longer be considered as its territory but that of Marcos. not only of Nueva Era but also of Abra.A. Marcos alleged that since its northeastern and eastern boundaries under R. No. part of Nueva Era would consequently be obtained by it. but none of Nueva Eras barangays were mentioned. And since R. that no part of Nueva Era was included by R. Nio. those not mentioned are deemed excluded. but the spirit of the law and the intent of the legislature that is important. and they should be given such construction as will advance the object.Under the principle of espressio (sic) unios (sic) est exclusio alterius. applying the rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius. Series of 1993. It argued to the effect that since the land being claimed by Marcos must be protected for the tinguians.[8] Said resolution was entitled: Resolution Claiming an Area which is an Original Part of Nueva Era. But Now Separated Due to the Creation of Marcos Town in the Province of Ilocos Norte. No. 3753.bounded on the east by the Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary. 3753 specifically mentioned seven (7) barrios of Dingras to become Marcos. on the other hand.[14] This was the area of Barangay Sto. let it not be disturbed. Nueva Era that Marcos claimed in its position paper. Marcos claimed that it was entitled not only to the middle portion[11] of Nueva Era but also to Nueva Eras isolated northern portion. The . based on a re-survey in 1992. more or less. the hinterlands of Nueva Era have been known to be the home of our brothers and sisters belonging to peculiar groups of non(C)hristian inhabitants with their own rich customs and traditions and this body takes judicial notice that the inhabitants of Nueva Era have proudly claimed to be a part of this rich culture. No.[13] From the time Marcos was created in 1963. Marcos submitted its claim to the SP of Ilocos Norte for its consideration and approval. its eastern boundary should extend further to the east or up to the Ilocos-Norte-Mt. This is precisely what this body would like to avoid. With this common ancestral heritage which unfortunately is absent with Marcos. the area which should comprise Marcos should not go beyond the territory of said barrios.

and (2) northern portion of Nueva Era. No. will not be diminished nor its operations paralyzed. formerly of Nueva Era. In such case.A. VALDEZ Congressman.RTC Decision On appeal by Marcos.A. Inc. This conclusion might have been different only if the area being claimed by the Municipality ofMarcos is within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Dingras and not theMunicipality of Nueva Era. Nio. 3721) shows the Explanatory Note of Congressman Simeon M. all in the Municipality of Dingras of the same province. the two conflicting provisions may be harmonized by including such area within the territorial jurisdiction of theMunicipality of Dingras as within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality ofMarcos. Nio on the East which is separated from Nueva Era as a result of the full implementation of the boundaries of the newMunicipality of Marcos belongs also to Marcos or to Nueva Era. is a part of the newly created Municipality of Marcos.[21] The RTC reasoned out in this wise: The position of the Municipality of Marcos is that the provision of R. 2001. Alabaan. the Municipality of Marcos cannot add any area beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Dingras. Marcos likewise contended that it was entitled to the northern portion of Nueva Era which was allegedly isolated from Nueva Era when Marcos was created. (Sgd. It posited . the Municipality of Nueva Era posits the theory that only the barrios of the Municipality of Dingras as stated in R. 3753. 3753 should be included in the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality of Marcos. is located. Inc. approval of this bill is earnestly requested. according to Marcos. 2nd District. Its capacity to comply with its obligations. which is within a Government Forest Reservation in Barangay Sto. Province should prevail.[25] The twin issues involved two portions of Nueva Era. The questioned decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte is hereby AFFIRMED. EXPLANATORY NOTE This bill seeks to create in the Province of Ilocos Norte a new municipality to be known as the Municipality of Marcos. to be comprised by the present barrios of Capariaan. which. the RTC affirmed the decision of the SP in its decision[20] of March 19.) SIMEON M. the legislative intent was for the creation of the Municipality ofMarcos. It alleged that it was entitled to the middle portion of Nueva Era in view of the description of Marcos eastern boundary under R. cralawMarcos prayed before the CA that the above two portions of Nueva Era be declared as part of its own territory. Ilocos Norte. was isolated from Nueva Era in view of the integration to Marcos of said middle portion. The seat of government will be in the sitio of San Magro in the present barrio of Ragas.A. 2. SO ORDERED. 3753 (House Bill No.: (1) middle portion. to wit: In view of the foregoing. Ilocos Norte. economic development in both the mother and the proposed municipalities will be accelerated. On the contrary.A. Ilocos Norte from the barrios (barangays) of the Municipality of Dingras. Biding Escoda. xxxx cralawAn examination of the Congressional Records during the deliberations of the R. Marcos filed a petition for review[24] of the RTC decision before the CA. No costs. Valdez.[23] (Emphasis ours) CA Disposition Still determined to have a more extensive eastern boundary. 3753 as regards its boundary on the East which is the Ilocos NorteMt. the Municipality of Dingras will not be adversely affected too much because its finances will still be sound and stable. xxxx On the other hand. viz. where Hercules Minerals and Oil. especially to its employees and personnel. The dispositive part of the RTC decision reads: WHEREFORE. Whether or not the site of Hercules Minerals and Oil. Ilocos Norte. The issues raised by Marcos before the CA were: 1. Ilocos Norte only. Whether or not the portion of Barangay Sto. the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan agreed with the position of Nueva Era. cralawOn the other hand. Hence. Ragas and Agunit. 2nd District Ilocos Norte[22] Parenthetically. Culao.

the creation of a local government unit or its On the Northwest by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down to the barrios CapariaanGabon boundary consisting of foot path and feeder road. As the law is written so must it be applied. But since it is already detached from Sto. on the Northeast.that such isolation of territory was contrary to law because the law required that a municipality must have a compact and contiguous territory. No. No costs. SO ORDERED. but the same Decisions are AFFIRMED with respect to the denial of the claim of Marcos to the detached northern portion of barangay Sto. Creation and Conversion.[26] In a Decision[27] dated June 6. we partially GRANT the petition treated as one for certiorari. Ifugao. Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya after the partition of the old Mountain Province into the provinces of Kalinga-Apayao. But this means the alteration of the boundary of a barangay in relation to another barangay within the same municipality for as long as that will not result in any change in the boundary of that municipality. remain with the municipality of Nueva Era. Abra. TheDecisions of both the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Regional Trial Court of Ilocos Norte are REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as they made the eastern boundary of the municipality of Marcos co-terminous with the eastern boundary of Dingras town. on the West and Southwest by the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras. which is farther south of Abra. 2005. by the Ilocos NorteMt. it bears stressing that it is not included within the area of Marcos as defined by law. Both the SP and RTC have no competence to undo a valid act of Congress. the law creating Marcos. We hold that the SP has no jurisdiction or authority to act on the claim. the CA partly reversed the RTC decision with the following disposition: WHEREFORE. Only Congress can do that. the CA gave the following explanation: Clearly then.e.. and another is rendered extending the said boundary of Marcos to the boundary line between the province of Ilocos Norte and KalingaApayao. on the East. by the Burnay River which is the common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan.[28] In concluding that the eastern boundary of Marcos was the boundary line between Ilocos Norte and Kalinga-Apayao. From Nueva Eras own map of Region 1. As a general rule. both the SP and the RTC erred when they ruled that the eastern boundary of Marcos is only coterminous with the eastern boundary of the adjacent municipality of Dingras and refused to extend it up to the boundary line between the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao). It is not correct to say that Congress did not intend to take away any part of Nueva Era and merge it with Marcos for it is chargeable with . a barangay of Nueva Era although separated by the newly created Marcos town pursuant to Section 7(c) of the 1991 Local Government Code which states: SEC. the portion of Sto. The CA ruled: Going now to the other area involved. Hence. which is at the same time the boundary between the municipalities of Banna and Dingras. is very explicit and leaves no room for equivocation that the boundaries of Marcos town are: conclusive knowledge that when it provided that the eastern boundary of Marcos is the boundary line between Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province.True. The area in dispute therefore remains to be a part of Sto. and that Marcos would not encroach upon a portion of Abra for it to be bounded by Kalinga-Apayao. Mountain Province. the province of Abra is situated far to the south of Kalinga Apayao and is between the latter and the present Mountain Province. (by the time of both the SB and RTC Decision was already Kalinga-Apayao). Nio that is separated from its mother town Nueva Era and now lies east of the municipalities of Solsona and Dingras and north of Marcos. province of Abra to Marcos as Abra is between Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province is geographically erroneous. Nio. to wit: Nueva Eras contention that to lay out the eastern jurisdiction of Marcos to the boundary line between Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao) would mean annexing part of the municipality of Itnig. R. the SP may substantially alter the boundary of a barangay within its jurisdiction.A. Province boundary. Nio. Mountain Province and Benguet. i. 7.[30] However. Marcos claim over the alleged isolated northern portion of Nueva Era was denied. on the South by the Padsan River. for it will necessarily substantially alter the north eastern and southern boundaries of Marcos from that defined by law and unduly enlarge its area. in no way will the eastern boundary of the municipality of Marcos encroach upon a portion of Abra. Dura lex sed lex![29] The CA likewise held that the province Abra was not located between Marcos and Kalinga-Apayao. which also depicts the locations of Kalinga-Apayao. it would be cutting through a portion of Nueva Era. 3753. Marcos is laying claim to it to be integrated into its territory by the SP because it is contiguous to a portion of said municipality. Abra is part of the eastern boundary of Ilocos Sur while Kalinga-Apayao is the eastern boundary of Ilocos Norte. as it is hereby ordered to. Nio which should. To stop short at the eastern boundary of Dingras as the eastern boundary also of Marcos and refusing to go farther to the boundary line between Ilocos Norte andMountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao) is tantamount to amending the law which Congress alone can do.

Nonetheless. That it has no factual and legal basis to extend MARCOS territory beyond Brgys. we solved our inceptive dilemma by treating the petition at bar as a special civil action for certiorari. (b)oundary disputes involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same province shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang panlalawigan concerned. and to go further East. since the Local Government Code does not explicitly grant the right of further appeal from decisions of the RTCs in boundary disputes between or among local government units. This is too basic to require the citation of supporting authority. The CA stated that (a)ppeal is a purely statutory right. The dispute shall be formally tried by the said sanggunian in case the disputing municipalities fail to effect an amicable settlement. Revised Rules of Court. filed under Rule 45. according to the CA. 119 of the Local Government Code. Hence. lies in whether the RTC judgment may still be further appealed to the CA. Within the time and manner prescribed by the Rules of Court. The CA concluded that since only the RTC was mentioned as appellate court. this petition for review oncertiorari under Rule 45. the case may no longer be further appealed to it. The CA pronounced that the RTC decision on the boundary dispute was not appealable to it. the CA took cognizance of the same by treating it as one for certiorari. Issues Nueva Era now raises the following issues: a)Whether or not. The Regional Trial Court shall decide the appeal within one (1) year from the filing thereof. The appeal of the SP judgment to the RTC was likewise properly filed by Marcos before the RTC. any party may elevate the decision of the sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the area in dispute. under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. It cannot be exercised unless it is expressly granted by law. Nio. Under Section 118(b) of the Local Government Code. Appeal is a purely statutory right. and drawing parallel lines from Sto. to wit: xxxx (c) Land Area. xxxx By the same token.[32] Nueva Era was not pleased with the decision of the CA. unless it comprises two or more islands or is separated by a local government unit independent of the others. Sto. At the outset.[33] Basically. and sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace. b)Whether or not. c)Whether or not. and (2) whether or not the eastern boundary of Marcos extends over and covers a portion of Nueva Era. we agonized over the dilemma of choosing between dismissing outright the petition at bar or entertaining it. in declaring that MARCOS East is not coterminous with the Eastern boundary of its mother town-Dingras. It ruled that no further appeal of the RTC decision may be made pursuant to Section 119 of the Local Government Code[35] which provides: SECTION 119. the Court of Appeals erred in its appreciation of facts. It cannot be exercised unless it is expressly granted by law. there are two (2) issues to resolve here: (1) whether or not the mode of appeal adopted by Marcos in bringing the case to the CA is proper. Agunit (Ferdinand) and Culao (Elizabeth) of Marcos. It must be contiguous. Appeal. there lies Abra. as a Petition for Certiorari. was appealable only to the RTC.[34] The SP of Ilocos validly took cognizance of the dispute between the parties. This is too basic to require the citation of supporting authority. the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion. The problem. The case. despite its pronouncement that the case was dismissible.Nio. the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction on the Petition for Review on Appeal. Marcos town cannot exercise that right from the adverse decision of the RTC of Ilocos Norte. to wit: A final word. since Sec. because of the transcendental legal and jurisdictional issues involved.[36] . Our Ruling Marcos correctly appealed the RTC judgment via petition for review under Rule 42.[31] The CA also expressed the view that Marcos adopted the wrong mode of appeal in bringing the case to it. Pending final resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall be maintained and continued for all legal purposes. in treating the Petition for Review On Appeal. however. Nonetheless. not Mt. which provides that An appeal to the Decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is exclusively vested to the Regional Trial Court. properly identified by metes and bounds with technical descriptions. This is for the simple reason that a petition for review is a mode of appeal and is not appropriate as the Local Government Code provides for the remedy of appeal in boundary disputes only to the Regional Trial Court but not any further appeal to this Court. without further Appeal to the Court of Appeals. Province or Kalinga-Apayao. by traversing and disintegrating Brgy.conversion from one level to another shall be based on verifiable indicators of viability and projected capacity to provide services.

the CA need not treat the appeal via petition for review filed by Marcos as a petition forcertiorari to be able to pass upon the same. as amended.P. city. True. merger. 7902. Commission on Elections[46] involving the City of Mandaue. which provides for the remedy of appeal via petition for review under Rule 42 to the CA in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. abolition. abolished.[41] where it was held that: The 1987 Constitution. As pointed out by Justice Isagani Cruz. We agree with Nueva Eras contention that Marcos claim over parts of its territory is not tenable. 129 or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Therefore. merged or divided on the basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare of the people.) Blg. merged. Moreover. We are not creating Marcos but merely interpreting the law that created it. to wit: Finally. the reason is not the lack of the required plebiscite under the 1987 and 1973 constitutions and the Local Government Code of 1991 but other reasons as will be discussed below. Section 10. division. At the time Marcos was created. It is prospective in character and therefore cannot affect the creation of the City of Mandaue which came into existence on June 21.[47] (Citations omitted and underlining supplied). or barangay may be created. we solved our inceptive dilemma by treating the petition at bar as a special civil action for certiorari. The law looks forward. resolutions. 129 has been further supplemented by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.[45] In the comparable case of Ceniza v. Blg. or alteration of the boundary of a province. Marcos was validly created without conducting a plebiscite. Article X addressed the undesirable practice in the past whereby local government units were created. gives the CA the authority to entertain appeals of such judgments and final orders rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.[39] B. which is supplemented by Rule 42 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. merging or altering the boundaries of local government units. instrumentalities. where it was derived. not backward. as amended by R. Hence.[37] The CA erred in declaring that only the RTC has appellate jurisdiction over the judgment of the SP. abolished. municipality. Its Section 10. Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides that: No province. 129. Blg. non respicit. Thus. city. It is one instance where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that affects them direct democracy of the people as opposed to democracy thru peoples representatives. among others.P.The CA. however.P. divided.[38] vests in the CA the appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments. a plebiscite was not required by law to create a local government unit. Lex prospicit.[44] It is the basic norm that provisions of the fundamental law should be given prospective application only. as amended. As a matter of fact. or its boundary substantially altered. Aguirre. the Court has this to say: Petitioners assail the charter of the City of Mandaue as unconstitutional for not having been ratified by the residents of the city in a plebiscite. At the time of creation of Marcos. The Constitutional requirement that the creation. rights already acquired or vested might be unduly disturbed or withdrawn even in the absence of an unmistakable intention to place them within the scope of the Constitution.[48] . Were the rule otherwise. it should be observed that the provisions of the Constitution should be given only a prospective application unless the contrary is clearly intended. appeal is a purely statutory right and it cannot be exercised unless it is expressly granted by law. unless legislative intent for its retroactive application is so provided.[42] Nueva Era contends that the constitutional and statutory[43] plebiscite requirement for the creation of a local government unit is applicable to this case. Its creation was already a fait accompli.A. approval in a plebiscite of the creation of a local government unit is not required. Nevertheless.[40] The purpose of the above constitutional provision was acknowledged by the Court through Justice Reynato S. there is no reason for Us to further require a plebiscite. This plebiscite requirement is also in accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more autonomy to local government units. Batas Pambansa (B.However. more than any of our previous Constitutions. B. municipality. dividing. It posits that the claim of Marcos to its territory should be denied due to lack of the required plebiscite. no plebiscite was conducted in Dingras. orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. gave more reality to the sovereignty of our people for it was borne out of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Thus. 1969. Puno in Miranda v. the consent of the people of the local government unit directly affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to any exercise of legislative power creating. This contention is untenable. by deciding this case. decisions. or barrio should be subject to the approval by the majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the governmental unit or units affected is a new requirement that came into being only with the 1973 Constitution. No. justified its taking cognizance of the case by declaring that: because of the transcendental legal and jurisdictional issues involved. the CA can pass upon the petition for review precisely because the law allows it. boards or commissions. abolishing.

Culao. To wit: cralawSECTION 1.A. the same must be interpreted in light of the legislative intent. Biding. Alabaan. and not only a particular provision thereof. The law must be given a reasonable interpretation. a portion of Nueva Era formed part of its territory because. contradiction.[50] Had the legislature intended other barangays from Nueva Era to become part of Marcos.[54] Despite the omission of Nueva Era as a mother territory in the law creating Marcos. by the Padsan River which is at the same time the boundary between the municipalities of Banna and Dingras. a portion of Nueva Era is within its territory. Said explanatory note mentioned only Dingras as the mother municipality of Marcos. Escoda. Province boundary. Only Dingras is specifically named by law as source territory of Marcos. it could have easily done so by clear and concise language.[57] It is axiomatic that laws should be given a reasonable interpretation. by the Burnay River which is the common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan. No. Province boundary. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is partlyREVERSED. where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity. according to it. to preclude absurdity in its application. Only the barrios (now barangays) of Dingras from which Marcos obtained its territory are named in R. the said description of boundaries of Marcos is descriptive only of the listed barangays of Dingras as a compact and contiguous territory. Marcos contends that since it is bounded on the East. by the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras. was isolated from the major part of Nueva Era. Courts must give effect to the general legislative intent that can be discovered from or is unraveled by the four corners of the statute. by the Ilocos NorteMt. Hence.[51]The rule proceeds from the premise that the legislature would not have made specified enumerations in a statute had the intention been not to restrict its meaning and to confine its terms to those expressly mentioned. Marcos further claims that it is entitled not only to the middle portion of Nueva Era but also to its northern portion which.[58] Statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. provision or clause of the statute must be expounded by reference to each other in order to arrive at the effect contemplated by the legislature. If a statute enumerates the things upon which it is to operate. This conclusion finds support in the rule of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est. as a guide to probable legislative intent. their omission must be held to have been done intentionally.[55] We thus uphold the legislative intent to create Marcos out of the territory of Dingras only.No part of Nueva Eras territory was taken for the creation of Marcos under R. and in order to discover said intent.cralawThe barrios of Capariaan. the petition is GRANTED. are hereby separated from the said municipality and constituted into a new and separate municipality to be known as the Municipality of Marcos. this conclusion on the intention of the legislature is bolstered by the explanatory note of the bill which paved the way for the creation of Marcos. by the Ilocos Norte-Mt. on the Northeast. it may not by interpretation or construction be extended to other matters. Where there is ambiguity in a statute. everything else must necessarily and by implication be excluded from its operation and effect. or would defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers. We cannot accept the contentions of Marcos. Province of Ilocos Norte. No. injustice.[52] Moreover. and every part of the act is to be taken into view.[56] Every section. as in this case. Province boundary. object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally. which states that a person.A. Ragas and Agunit in the Municipality of Dingras. Nueva Era is between the Marcos and Ilocos NorteMt. Considering that the description of the eastern boundary of Marcos under R.[59] WHEREFORE.A. excluded. Nueva Eras territory is. on the South. This Court has in many cases involving the construction of statutes always cautioned against narrowly interpreting a statute as to defeat the purpose of the legislature and stressed that it is of the essence of judicial duty to construe statutes so as to avoid such a deplorable result (of injustice or absurdity) and that therefore a literal interpretation is to be rejected if it would be unjust or lead to absurd results. 3753 read: On the Northwest. SO ORDERED. 3753 is ambiguous.[49] This rule. the reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. 3753. Thus. it will necessarily traverse the middle portion of Nueva Era. Under the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius. 3753. is based upon the rules of logic and natural workings of the human mind. Province boundary. No. courts may resort to the explanatory note to clarify the ambiguity and ascertain the purpose and intent of the statute. should be considered. Where the terms are expressly limited to certain matters. . since the barangays of Nueva Era were not mentioned in the enumeration ofbarangays out of which the territory of Marcos shall be set. the whole statute. with the following boundaries: Since only the barangays of Dingras are enumerated as Marcos source of territory.[53] Furthermore. by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down to the barrios Capariaan-Gabon boundary consisting of foot path and feeder road. in construing a statute. as a consequence. No. the mention of one thing implies the exclusion of another thing not mentioned. on the West and Southwest. therefore. the latter still contends that said law included Nueva Era. Marcos posits that in order for its eastern side to reach the Ilocos Norte-Mt. The boundaries of Marcos under R. on the East. The intention of the legislator must be ascertained from the whole text of the law. It alleges that based on the description of its boundaries. The court may consider the spirit and reason of the statute. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court in Ilocos Norte is REINSTATED.A. not one which defeats the very purpose for which they were passed.

16 municipalities filed. Sixth. Fourth. TREAS in hispersonal capacity as taxpayer.R. the Constitution requires that Congress shall prescribe all the criteria for the creation of a city in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. the criteria prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. PROVINCE OF QUEZON. the exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. PROVINCE OF CEBU. City of Iloilo. The Senate also approved the cityhood bills in February 2007. Cebu which was passed on 7 June 2007. PROVINCE OF LEYTE. the Senate again failed to approve the Joint Resolution.MUNICIPALITY OF BORONGAN. CITY OFILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. The cityhood bills lapsed into law (Cityhood Laws[10]) on various dates from March to July 2007 without the Presidents signature.[11] The Cityhood Laws direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites to determine whether the voters in each respondent municipality approve of the conversion of their municipality into a city. 29 as Joint Resolution No. Article X of the Constitution because they prevent a fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. in the words of Senator Aquilino Pimentel. including the Cityhood Laws. and are thus unconstitutional.MUNICIPALITY OF BAYBAY.[8] which sought to exempt from the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not approved in the 11th Congress.MUNICIPALITY OF CATBALOGAN. except that of Naga. the House of Representatives approved the cityhood bills.[12] Petitioners also lament that the wholesale conversion of municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment because more cities will share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities under Section 285 of the Local Government Code. During the 13th Congress. needing no resort to any statutory construction. Article X of the Constitution. plain and unambiguous. as amended by RA 9009. The Ruling of the Court We grant the petitions. 176951 LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National PresidentJERRY P. Third. because RA 9009 took effect in 2001 while the cityhood bills became law more than five years later. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause. the deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on unapproved bills or resolutions are not extrinsic aids in interpreting a law passed in the 13th Congress. PROVINCE OF WESTERN SAMAR. and Jerry P. The Cityhood Laws violate Sections 6 and 10. No. the intent of members of the 11th Congress to exempt certain municipalities from the coverage of RA 9009 remained an intent and was never written into Section 450 of the Local Government Code. cralaw Petitioners filed the present petitions to declare the Cityhood Laws unconstitutional for violation of Section 10. However. not a retroactive application. Treas[2] assailing the constitutionality of the subject Cityhood Laws and enjoining the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and respondent municipalities from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the Cityhood Laws.[6] After the effectivity of RA 9009. the House of Representatives of the 12th Congress[7] adopted Joint Resolution No. Second.CITY OF CALBAYOGrepresented by MAYOR MEL SENEN S. Fifth. City of Calbayog. 1 and forwarded it to the Senate for approval.MUNICIPALITY OF BOGO. Article X of the Constitution.[13] The Issues The petitions raise the following fundamental issues: 1.[5]which took effect on 30 June 2001. First. The Facts During the 11th Congress. TREAS. SARMIENTO. 29.EN BANCG. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10. Article X of the Constitution. On 22 December 2006.[9] the House of Representatives re-adopted Joint Resolution No. Respondents. .[3] Congress enacted into law 33 bills converting 33 municipalities into cities. PROVINCE OF EASTERN SAMAR.[4] Congress enacted into law Republic Act No. 9009 (RA 9009). Congress did not act on bills converting 24 other municipalities into cities. However. The rationale for the amendment was to restrain. Petitioners. even if the exemption in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. the 12th Congress ended without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No.MUNICIPALITY OF TANDAG. TREAS. Seventh. During the 12th Congress. applying the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 to the present case is a prospective.versus COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL SUR. as well as for violation of the equal protection clause.However. Following the advice of Senator Aquilino Pimentel. the mad rush of municipalities to convert into cities solely to secure a larger share in the Internal Revenue Allotment despite the fact that they are incapable of fiscal independence. RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code by increasing the annual income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from P20 million to P100 million. through their respective sponsors. and 2.and JERRY P. x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION The Case cralawThese are consolidated petitions for prohibition[1] with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines. The 16 cityhood bills contained a common provision exempting all the 16 municipalities from the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009. . individual cityhood bills. for converting a municipality into a city are clear. 29.and MUNICIPALITY OF TAYABAS. the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6.

Congress Must Prescribe in the Local Government Code All Criteria Section 10.[15] Petitioners-in-intervention. is not being applied retroactively but prospectively. RA 9009 increased the income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city fromP20 million to P100 million. like the Cityhood Laws. cralawDuring the 12th Congress. RA 9009 became effective on 30 June 2001 or during the 11th Congress. Hence. This law specifically amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code. There is only one Local Government Code. including the conversion of a municipality into a city. as amended by RA 9009. The creation of local government units must follow the criteria established in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. exempting from the income requirement of P100 million in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not acted upon during the 11th Congress. individual cityhood bills containing a common provision. as certified by the National Statistics Office. as follows: Exemption from Republic Act No.[18] The Constitution requires Congress to stipulate in the Local Government Code all the criteria necessary for the creation of a city. the House of Representatives adopted Joint Resolution No. No other law. Treas has legal standing because as Mayor of Iloilo City and as a taxpayer he has sufficient interest to prevent the unlawful expenditure of public funds. (c)The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund. or (ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150.000. Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides: No province. This common provision exempted each of the 16 municipalities from the income requirement of P100 million prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. (Emphasis supplied) Thus.000) inhabitants. and nonrecurring income.However. 9009. 9009. city.000. cralawDuring the 13th Congress. Prior to the enactment of RA 9009. Article X of the Constitution. non-discriminatory criteria found solely in the Local Government Code.Thus. This took effect on 30 June 2001.cralawRequisites for Creation. Congress did not act on 24 cityhood bills during the 11th Congress. Applying RA 9009 is a Prospective Application of the Law RA 9009 became effective on 30 June 2001 during the 11th Congress. as certified by the Land Management Bureau. a total of 57 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in Congress.[17] This basic rule has no application because RA 9009. Thirty-three cityhood bills became law before the enactment of RA 9009. RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code to increase the income requirement from P20 million to P100 million for the creation of a city. of at least One hundred million pesos (P100. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. does not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement. respondent municipalities cannot invoke the principle of non-retroactivity of laws. Petitioner League of Cities of the Philippines has legal standing because Section 499 of the Local Government Code tasks the League with the primary purpose of ventilating. 16 of the 24 municipalities mentioned in the unapproved Joint Resolution No.Preliminary Matters Prohibition is the proper action for testing the constitutionality of laws administered by the COMELEC. The creation thereof shall not reduce the land area. from that moment the Local Government Code required that any municipality desiring to become a city must satisfy the P100 million income . These cityhood bills lapsed into law on various dates from March to July 2007 after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to sign them. articulating and crystallizing issues affecting city government administration and securing. The clear intent of the Constitution is to insure that the creation of cities and other political units must follow the same uniform. Congress cannot write such criteria in any other law.[14] like the Cityhood Laws.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices.(Emphasis supplied) The Constitution is clear. can govern such creation. which direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites in implementation of the Cityhood Laws. (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has a locally generated average annual income. have legal standing because their Internal Revenue Allotment will be reduced if the Cityhood Laws are declared constitutional. solutions thereto.[16] which are existing cities. The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. municipality. as certified by the Department of Finance. divided. abolished or its boundary substantially altered. through proper and legal means. Congress passed the Cityhood Laws long after the effectivity of RA 9009. The 13thCongress passed in December 2006 the cityhood bills which became law only in 2007. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be created is composed of one (1) or more islands. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands. Indisputably. except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. transfers. through their respective sponsors in Congress. 29. the 12th Congress adjourned without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No. population and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. merged. (b)The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. 29 filed between November and December of 2006. exclusive of special funds. which now provides: Section 450. as amended by RA 9009. This Resolution reached the Senate. Mayor Jerry P. like the release of more Internal Revenue Allotment to political units than what the law allows. The criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code govern exclusively the creation of a city. 29. or barangay shall be created. an earlier law to the Cityhood Laws. not even the charter of the city. and if it has either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers.Any derogation or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates Section 10.

organization. If a literal application of the law results in absurdity. Congress could have easily included such exemption in RA 9009 but Congress did not. Article XII of the Constitution prohibiting Congress from creating private corporations except by a general law. provide for the formation. Section 6. In short. x x All pending matters and proceedings shall terminate upon the expiration of one (1) Congress. as prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. does not contain any exemption from this income requirement. clear and unambiguous. In enacting RA 9009. (Emphasis supplied) . To be valid. Section 16 of Article XII provides: The Congress shall not. provides: Sec. 123. plain and unambiguous that any municipality desiring to convert into a city must meet the increased income requirement. This is fatal to the cause of respondent municipalities because such exemption must appear in RA 9009 as an amendment to Section 450 of the Local Government Code. within the laws four corners. going through the legislative mill just like bills taken up for the first time. in enacting RA 9009 to amend Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Section 450 of the Local Government Code is Clear. The members and officers of each Congress are different. Congress cannot prescribe such criteria or exemption from such criteria in any other law. Article X of the Constitution Uniform and non-discriminatory criteria as prescribed in the Local Government Code are essential to implement a fair and equitable distribution of national taxes to all local government units. Congress did not grant any exemption to respondent municipalities. The Cityhood Laws. Congress cannot create a city through a law that does not comply with the criteria or exemption found in the Local Government Code. clear and unambiguous. are material in determining the just share of local government units in national taxes. or regulation of private corporations in a general law applicable to all without discrimination. Congress must prescribe all the criteria for the formation. there can be no fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. as amended by RA 9009. the bills had to start from square one again. organization. (Emphasis supplied) If the criteria in creating local government units are not uniform and discriminatory. did not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement. The criteria of land area. Article X of the Constitution and is thus patently unconstitutional. must all be written in the Local Government Code. All the hearings and deliberations conducted during the 11th Congress on unapproved bills also became worthless upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. When their respective authors re-filed the cityhood bills in 2006 during the 13th Congress.requirement. Section 10 of Article X is similar to Section 16. on Unfinished Business. Cityhood Laws Violate Section 6. they prevent the fair and just distribution of the Internal Revenue Allotment in violation of Section 6.[22] The unapproved cityhood bills filed during the 11thCongress became mere scraps of paper upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. impossibility or injustice. as amended by RA 9009. The Constitution requires that the criteria for the conversion of a municipality into a city.[21] Congress cannot create a private corporation through a special law or charter. not even to respondent municipalities whose cityhood bills were then pending when Congress passed RA 9009. all other criteria being equal. Article X of the Constitution. Courts determine the intent of the law from the literal language of the law. Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or established by special charters in the interest of the common good and subject to the test of economic viability. Since the Cityhood Laws do not follow the income criterion in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Deliberations of the 11th Congress on Unapproved Bills Inapplicable Congress is not a continuing body. contains no exemption whatsoever. Rule XLIV of the Rules of the Senate. A city with an annual income of only P20 million. However. all enacted after the effectivity of RA 9009. Section 450 of the Local Government Code.[20] Congress. explicitly exempt respondent municipalities from the increased income requirement in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Congress did not write this intended exemption into law.Section 123. prescribed by law. there is no reason to go beyond the letter of the law in applying Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Article X of the Constitution provides: Local government units shall have a just share. as determined by law. must be strictly followed because such criteria. should not receive the same share in national taxes as a city with an annual income of P100 million or more. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. All unapproved bills filed in one Congress become functus officio upon adjournment of that Congress and must be re-filed anew in order to be taken up in the next Congress. members of Congress discussed exempting respondent municipalities from RA 9009. including the Cityhood Laws. including any exemption from such criteria. as shown by the various deliberations on the matter during the 11th Congress. then courts may resort to extrinsic aids of statutory construction like the legislative history of the law. except by general law. courts simply apply the law according to its express terms. as amended by RA 9009.[19] If the language of the law is plain. but may be taken by the succeeding Congress as if presented for the first time. as amended by RA 9009. from the filing to the approval. The 11th Congress Intent was not Written into the Local Government Code True. Such exemption clearly violates Section 10. even though their cityhood bills were pending in Congress when Congress passed RA 9009. such exemption must be written in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. Plain and Unambiguous There can be no resort to extrinsic aids like deliberations of Congress if the language of the law is plain. These hearings and deliberations cannot be used to interpret bills enacted into law in the 13th or subsequent Congresses. in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them. or regulation of private corporations. population and income.Since the law is clear. (Emphasis supplied) Thus.

have no legal significance. This is not a valid classification between those entitled and those not entitled to exemption from the P100 million income requirement. states: Section 78. Supreme Court held: We are referred to a host of decisions to the effect that a regulatory law may be prospective in operation and may except from its sweep those presently engaged in the calling or activity to which it is directed. Section 78 of the Rules of the House of Representatives. In short. The exemption will be basedsolely on the fact that the 16 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in the 11thCongress when RA 9009 was enacted. the classification criterion ï mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress ï is not rationally related to the purpose of the law which is to prevent fiscally non-viable municipalities from converting into cities. in the milk business. The classification must be germane to the purpose of the law. Thus. cognizable by law. or zoning laws which exempt existing buildings.[25] where the challenged law allowed milk dealers engaged in business prior to a fixed date to sell at a price lower than that allowed to newcomers in the same business. rationally related to a legitimate government objective which is the purpose of the law. The exemption provision merely states. the public. Even if we take into account the deliberations in the 11th Congress that municipalities with pending cityhood bills should be exempt from the P100 million income requirement. In the absence of any . contained an exemption to the P100 million annual income requirement. but an attempt to give an economic advantage to those engaged in a given business at an arbitrary date as against all those who enter the industry after that date. the deliberations during the 11th Congress on the unapproved cityhood bills. The appellees do not intimate that the classification bears any relation to the public health or welfare generally. The classification must not be limited to existing conditions only. Its consideration shall be resumed until it is disposed of. (Emphasis supplied Thus. could be assailed on the ground of absence of a valid classification. or laws forbidding slaughterhouses within certain areas. This violates the requirement that a valid classification must not be limited to existing conditions only. Unfinished Business. They do not qualify as extrinsic aids in construing laws passed by subsequent Congresses. this Court has ruled: The equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution permits a valid classification under the following conditions: 1. which apply only to those entering the profession subsequent to the passage of the act and exempt those then in practice. To be valid. as amended by RA 9009. all Unfinished Business are deemed terminated. 9009 The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. Applicability of Equal Protection Clause If Section 450 of the Local Government Code. the classification in the present case must be based on substantial distinctions. Municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills were not informed that a pending cityhood bill in the 11th Congress would be a condition for exemption from the increased P100 million income requirement. the U. 9009. does not contain any exemption. 3. even if they have bigger annual income than the 16 respondent municipalities. as amended by RA 9009.Similarly. However. The fact of pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress limits the exemption to a specific condition existing at the time of passage of RA 9009. This one sentence exemption provision contains no classification standards or guidelines differentiating the exempted municipalities from those that are not exempted. that the provision will discourage monopoly. Had they been informed. v. Even if the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. such exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. Thus. or for the protection of. many municipalities would have caused the filing of their own cityhood bills. as amended by RA 9009. the criteria for the exemption. and 4. These municipalities.Calendar of Business. since. The mere pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress is not a material difference to distinguish one municipality from another for the purpose of the income requirement. The classification must apply equally to all members of the same class. on its face. which are unconstitutional because such exemption must be prescribed in the Local Government Code as mandated in Section 10. In Mayflower.[24] There is no substantial distinction between municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11th Congress and municipalities that did not have pending bills. Exemption from Republic Act No.[23] not limited to existing conditions only. there is still no valid classification to satisfy the equal protection clause. The Calendar of Business shall consist of the following: a. Inc. it is not a regulation of a business or an activity in the interest of. The challenged provision is unlike such laws. Examples are statutes licensing physicians and dentists. This requirement is illustrated in Mayflower Farms. The pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11thCongress does not affect or determine the level of income of a municipality. cannot now convert into cities if their income is less than P100 million. The classification must rest on substantial distinctions. Section 450 of the Local Government Code. as well as the deliberations during the 12th and 13th Congresses on the unapproved resolution exempting from RA 9009 certain municipalities. the criteria for such exemption could be scrutinized for possible violation of the equal protection clause. on Unfinished Business. At the end of the term of a Congress. 2. but excepting existing establishments. The exemption is contained in the Cityhood Laws. or that it was aimed at any abuse.S. This is business being considered by the House at the time of its last adjournment. The Unfinished Business at the end of a session shall be resumed at the commencement of the next session as if no adjournment has taken place. Article X of the Constitution. Ten Eyck. and applicable to all similarly situated. Municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the 11th Congress might even have lower annual income than municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills. if found in the Local Government Code. That specific condition will never happen again.

while the 16 respondent municipalities can. would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection clause. 9405. 9409. 9392. 9393. 9390. Municipalities with the same income as the 16 respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities. The classification is arbitrary and unreasonable and denies the appellant the equal protection of the law. the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws gives the 16 municipalities a unique advantage based on an arbitrary date ï the filing of their cityhood bills before the end of the 11th Congress as against all other municipalities that want to convert into cities after the effectivity of RA 9009. 9407. 9408. limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities violates the requirement that the classification must apply to all similarly situated. and 9491. as worded the exemption provision found in the Cityhood Laws. 9398.(Emphasis supplied) In the same vein. even if it were written in Section 450 of the Local Government Code. Furthermore. we have no right to conjure up possible situations which might justify the discrimination. we GRANT the petitions and declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Cityhood Laws. 9434. 9435. WHEREFORE. 9391. namely: Republic Act Nos. SO ORDERED.such showing. 9404. 9436. Clearly. 9394. 9389. .

JOSE L. after the parties had submitted their respective pre-trial briefs. Camflora and Tala along with their respective sitios. SALVADOR M. Auditor General. which took effect on 01 January 1991. DOMING AUSA. EMMANUEL R. 1994 MUNICIPALITY OF SAN NARCISO. LEONARDO D. NORMANDO MONTILLA. and that there is no other plain. COUNCILORS: DEOGRACIAS R. was a clear usurpation of the inherent powers of the legislature and in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. In their answer. creates no office and is inoperative such as though its has never been passed. 5 that because the Municipality of San Andred had been in existence since 1959.: On 20 August 1959. Existing municipal districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective set of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of this Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities. against the officials of the Municipality of San Andres. President Carlos P. 1515.R. 3Invoking the ruling of this Court in Pelaez v. MUNICIPALITY OF SAN ANDRES. CARABIT. CORTEZ. BENITO T. AURELLANA. 4the petitioning municipality contended that Executive Order No. HON. averring. Alibijaban. Mangero. 103702 December 6. in Gumaca. Quezon."Petitioners 10argue that in issuing the orders of 02 December 1991 and 17 January 1992. that since it was at the instance of petitioner municipality that the Municipality of San Andres was given life with the issuance of Executive Order No. this petition "for review on certiorari. by segregating from the municipality of San Narciso of the same province. Pansoy." In an order. On 27 November 1991. of the municipal council of San Narciso.Requisites for Creation. issued. Docketed Special Civil Action No. MEDENILLA. QUEZON. MAXIMO. the trial court resolved to defer action on the motion to dismiss and to deny a judgment on the pleadings. 7 In its Order of 02 December 1991.. 1 By virtue of Executive Order No. the barrios of San Andres. Branch 62. the officials of the Municipality or Municipal District of San Andres had no right to exercise the duties and functions of their respective offices that righfully belonged to the corresponding officials of the Municipality of San Narciso.. the municipal district of San Andres was later officially recognized to have gained the status of a fifth class municipality beginning 01 July 1963 by operation of Section 2 of Republic Act No. at the same time. SR. . 353 creating the municipal district of San Andres. adding that "whatever defects (were) present in the creation of municipal districts by the President pursuant to presidential issuances and executive orders. its corporate personality could no longer be assailed. 7160. otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991. J. a presidential act. ANTONIO V. the petition sought the declaration of nullity of Executive Order No. UY. No. and that. petitioner municipality argued." On 05 June 1989. 353 and prayed that the respondent local officials of the Municipality of San Andres be permanently ordered to refrain from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices. Quezon. The motion was opposed by petitioner municipality. 353 was issued upon the request. dated 17 January 1992. Branch 62. MANUEL O. LEONARDO C. the Municipality of San Andres filed anew a motion to dismiss alleging that the case had become moot and academic with the enactment of Republic Act No. WILFREDO O. Hence. Garcia. Hence. . by way of affirmative and special defenses. CERELITO B. FONTANIL. UY. that prerogative being reserved to the State acting through the Solicitor General. vs. Executive Order No. MAYOR FRANCISCO DE LEON. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law available to petitioners to correct said Orders. pursuant to the then Sections 68 and 2630 of the Revised Administrative Code. (were) cured by the enactment of R. considering the petition to be one for quo warranto. they question the orders of the lower court for having been issued with "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction. to . VIDAL BANQUELES and CORAZON M. AUREADA and FRANCISCA A. Regional Trial Court.A. 4864 was approved by the House of Representatives. CAPIO. 442. FIDEL C. issued by President Diosdado Macapagal. OSAS. ENRICO U." Petitioners assert that the existence of a municipality created by a null and void presidential order may be attacked either directly or even collaterally by anyone whose interests or rights are affected. AURELLANA. Presiding Judge. the Municipality of San Narciso filed a petition for quo warranto with the Regional Trial Court. reading thusly: Sec. FABIAN M. QUEZON. 8 of 24 May 1959. it (petitioner municipality) should be deemed estopped from questioning the creation of the new municipality. Quezon. contending that the above provision of law was inapplicable to the Municipality of San Andres since the enactment referred to legally existing municipalities and not to those whose mode of creation had been void ab initio. 11 Petitioners consider the instant petition to be one for "review on certiorari" under Rules 42 and 45 of the Rules of Court. dated 05 October 1965. RODELITO LUZOIR. respondents asked for the dismissal of the petition. LENAC. 174. MENDEZ. CARABOT. Gumaca. Quezon.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. 6 On 18 July 1991. 2 The executive order added that "(t)he conversion of this municipal district into (a) municipality as proposed in House Bill No. (d) Municipalities existing as of the date of the effectivity of this Code shall continue to exist and operate as such. the same court denied petitioner municipality's motion for reconsideration. MAYOR JUAN K. 2014-G. CORTEZ. Respondents. ARGOSINO III. otherwise known as Local Government Code of 1991. 4th Judicial Region. VITUG. TOMAS AVERIA. The movant municipality cited Section 442(d) of the law. Executive Order No. 7160. 353. . the lower court has "acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction. COUNCILORS: FE LUPINAC. Petitioners. BAMBA. as amended. however. NADRES. petitioner municipality was not the proper party to bring the action. and that an unconstitutional act is not a law. 353. addressed to the President and coursed through the Provincial Board of Quezon. in its Resolution No. TRINIDAD F. PEDRO C. MEDENILLA. the lower court 8finally dismissed the petition 9for lack of cause of action on what it felt was a matter that belonged to the State.

the Court shall delve into the merits of the petition. a denunciation of the authority of the Municipality or Municipal District of San Andres to exist and to act in that capacity." 12Evidently. all doubts on the de jure standing of the municipality must be dispelled. Thus. the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. that of a de facto municipal corporation. 353 creating the municipal district of San Andres was issued on 20 August 1959 but it was only after almost thirty (30) years. The special civil action of quo warranto is a "prerogative writ by which the Government can call upon any person to show by what warrant he holds a public office or exercises a public franchise. 19so also. Executive Order No. under certain circumstances. The power to create political subdivisions is a function of the legislature. 353. even if made. ." 18 While the quo warrantoproceedings filed below by petitioner municipality has so named only the officials of the Municipality of San Andres as respondents. Pelaez v. Executive Order No. and later the Municipality. issued by this Court pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 353. they. the de jure status of the Municipality of San Andres in the province of Quezon must now be conceded. dated 13 June 1978. the Municipal District. otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Under the Ordinance (adopted on 15 October 1986) apportioning the seats of the House of Representatives. In the meantime. Congress did just that when it has incorporated Section 442(d) in the Code. must a quo warranto proceeding assailing the lawful authority of a political subdivision be timely raised. 129. Petitioners' theory might perhaps be a point to consider had the case been seasonably brought. the Municipality of San Andres has been considered to be one of the twelve (12) municipalities composing the Third District of the province of Quezon. petitioner municipality had acquired a vested right to seek the nullification of Executive Order No. We shall disregard the procedural incongruence. It is doubtful whether such a pretext." are validly accepted in this jurisdiction. if not indeed with greatest imperativeness. Auditor General was promulgated. began and continued to exercise the powers and authority of a duly created local government unit. Equally significant is Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code to the effect that municipal districts "organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective sets of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of (the) Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities. While petitioners would grant that the enactment of Republic Act No. WHEREFORE.protect their rights and to secure a final and definitive interpretation of the legal issues involved. certain municipalities that comprised the municipal circuits organized under Administrative Order No. in the establishment of Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the country. which in essence are retrospective. 174 classified the Municipality of San Andres as a fifth class municipality after having surpassed the income requirement laid out in Republic Act No. On the contrary. the Municipality of San Andres had been covered by the 10th Municipal Circuit Court of San Francisco-San Andres for the province of Quezon. of San Andres. Costs against petitioners. Under this administrative order. 537. it is virtually. on 24 December 1965. however. if not in fact attaining. bring such an action "at the request and upon the relation of another person" with the permission of the court. would succeed. Created in 1959 by virtue of Executive Order No. 20Public interest demands it. the petitioners intend to submit their case in this instance under Rule 65. constituted as municipal circuits. . 14It must be brought "in the name of the Republic of the Philippines" 15and commenced by the Solicitor General or the fiscal "when directed by the President of the Philippines . 17The Rules of Court also allows an individual to commence an action for quo warranto in his own name but this initiative can be done when he claims to be "entitled to a public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. The ruling could have sounded the call for a similar declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No." No pretension of unconstitutionality per se of Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code is proferred. . . that the municipality of San Narciso finally decided to challenge the legality of the executive order. 33. Granting the Executive Order No. or on 05 June 1989. Section 31 of Batas Pambansa Blg. appended to the 1987 Constitution." 13 When the inquiry is focused on the legal existence of a body politic. certain governmental acts all pointed to the State's recognition of the continued existence of the Municipality of San Andres. 21and aimed at giving "validity to acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws. the action is reserved to the State in a proceeding for quo warranto or any other credit proceeding. 22 All considered. the peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case hardly could offer a choice other than to consider the Municipality of San Andres to have at least attained a status uniquely of its own closely approximating. 7160 may have converted the Municipality of San Andres into a de facto municipality. however. 353 but it was not to be the case. 353 was a complete nullity for being the result of an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. SO ORDERED. as if existing laws have been complied with. In the same manner that the failure of a public officer to question his ouster or the right of another to hold a position within a one-year period can abrogate an action belatedly filed. At any rate. subject to the usual qualification against impairment of vested rights. the Municipality of San Andres had been in existence for more than six years when. At the present time. 1515. in the interest of resolving any further doubt on the legal status of the Municipality of San Andres. Curative laws. and any attempt to apply Section 442 of Republic Act 7160 to the petition would perforce be violative of due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution. contend that since the petition for quo warranto had been filed prior to the passage of said law. then. after more than five years as a municipal district. Conventional wisdom cannot allow it to be otherwise." 16Such officers may.

RESOLUTION PANGANIBAN. The determination of equiponderance of evidence by the respondent Court involves the appreciation of evidence by the latter tribunal. p. (ii) the respondent municipality's purported lack of juridical personality. 2402. Another judgment is hereby entered dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. 6. 37. for having based its ruling against petitioner on documentary evidence which.) The respondent Court. petitioner came to this Court. we find that the issues of fact in this case had been adequately passed upon by respondent Court in its Decision. 214 SCRA 701. BOHOL. 'the plaintiff municipality will not only engulf the entire barrio of Pagahat. On appeal. 4. "As aptly pointed out by defendant-appellant in its appeal brief. which will not be reviewed by this Court unless shown to be whimsical or capricious. p. there is no preponderance of evidence on his side if such evidence is insufficient in itself to establish his cause of action. concluded that "Barrio Bulawan from where barrio Pagahat originated is not mentioned as one of the barrios constituted as part of defendant-appellant Municipality of Alicia. Even if the evidence of the plaintiff may be stronger than that of the defendant. p. rollo. p. among other things. (Decision. 35. it included portions of Barrios Putlongcam and La Hacienda within the jurisdiction of appellee Candijay when said barrios are undisputedly part of appellant's (Alicia) territory under Executive Order No. 1949 (which created the municipality of Alicia from out of certain barrios of the municipality of Mabini). . including with Mabini. 116702 December 28. 6. declared "barrio/barangay Pagahat as within the territorial jurisdiction of the plaintiff municipality of Candijay. 35. there is equiponderance of evidence. are void. therefore. the court will find for the defendant. 6. p. The respondent Court also found. and further permanently enjoined defendant municipality of Alicia "to respect plaintiff's control. and Act No. et al. 19. 265 creating the latter" (Decision. p. in dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. acting through its Sanguniang Bayan and Mayor. Oct. 968 of the Philippine Commission dated October 31. X-Commissioner [exhibit for petitioner].COURT OF APPEALS and THE MUNICIPALITY OF ALICIA. rollo. No. the appealed judgment is reversed and set aside. since it would in effect place "practically all of Barrio Pagahat . The Supreme Court has ruled: Equiponderance of evidence rule states: When the scale shall stand upon an equipoise and there is nothing in the evidence which shall incline it to one side or the other. rollo. after an examination of the respective survey plans of petitioner and respondent submitted as exhibits. including Executive Order No. 86). are actually located. the respondent Court stated that "(S)crutiny of the conflicting claims and the respective evidence of the parties lead to the conclusion that the trial court committed an error in declaring that Barrio Pagahat is within the territorial jurisdiction of plaintiff-appellee (municipality of Candijay). therefore. 37). Cagongcagong. 4. Mahayag. and a part of the Municipality of Mabini. 1994. 265 dated September 16. p.) Petitioner's motion for reconsideration having been rejected by the respondent Court." (Petition. Petitioner. after weighing and considering the import of certain official acts." Said Court rejected the boundary line being claimed by petitioner based on certain exhibits. rollo. there has been no such showing. here. but also of the barrios of Putlongcam. the respondent Court held that: Clearly. 4.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1promulgated on June 28. this Court is not persuaded to grant due course to the petition. In connection with the foregoing. that the assailed Decision. Neither do they show that Barrio Pagahat forms part of plaintiff-appellant Municipality of Candijay.) WHEREFORE. (Sapu-an. The lower court's decision. possession and political supervision of barangay Pagahat and never to molest. comment and reply. J. p. as a result of having been created under a void executive order. Lomislis Island. Respondents. because. 705-706. p. Tagtang Canlirong.'" (Decision p. p. Neither plan shows where Looc-Tabasan. Bohol." (Decision. in effect. Under said principle. Candijay will eat up a big chunk of territories far exceeding her territorial jurisdiction under the law creating her.) After deliberating on the petition. With respect to the first and third grounds. harass its possession and ownership over the same barrio" (RTC decision. vs. the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weakness of defendant's claim.R.) The respondent Court concluded that "the trial court erred in relying on Exh. Del Monte. disturb.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. said barrio forms part and parcel of its territory. 1995 THE MUNICIPALITY OF CANDIJAY. petitioner claims. rollo. 1903 (which set forth the respective component territories of the municipalities of Mabini and Candijay)." Added the respondent Court. . may leave the parties where they are or may not resolve their . alleging (i) improper application by the respondent Court of Appeals of the so-called principle of "equiponderance of evidence". No costs. reversingthe judgment 2of the Regional Trial Court (Branch I) of the City of Tagbilaran. 21. BOHOL. and (iii) that the challenged Decision "does not solve the problem of both towns but throws them back again to their controversy." On that basis. v. . belonging to said plaintiff municipality". from the foregoing. p. 1992. Bohol. Rollo. 2402. Her claim opens the floodgate of controversies over boundaries. mentioned in the aforequoted boundary line declared by the Provincial Board of Bohol. that "both plans are inadequate insofar as identifying the monuments of the boundary line between [petitioner] and the Municipality of Mabini (which is not a party to this case) as declared by the Provincial Board of Bohol. Court of Appeals. part of Barrio Cagongcagong and portions of Barrio Putlongcam and La Hacienda and all of Barrio Mahayag and Barrio del Monte within the territorial jurisdiction of plaintiff-appellee Candijay. which is wellsupported by the evidence on record.

the Municipality of Alicia was covered by the 7th Municipal Circuit Court of Alicia-Mabini for the province of Bohol. courts have no choice but to dismiss the complaints/petitions. the Municipality of San Andres had been covered by the 10th Municipal Circuit Court of San Francisco-San Andres for the province of Quezon. On the second issue. Likewise. Congress did just that when it has incorporated Section 442 (d) in the Code. as correctly evaluated by the respondent Court. 33. contend that since the petition for quo warranto had been filed prior to the passage of said law. On the contrary. began and continued to exercise the powers and authority of a duly created local government unit. the Municipality of Alicia is one of twenty municipalities comprising the Third District of Bohol. we noted that petitioner commenced its collateral attack on the juridical personality of respondent municipality on 19 January 1984 (or some thirty five years after respondent municipality first came into existence in 1949) during the proceedings in the court a quo. Inasmuch as respondent municipality of Alicia is similarly situated as the municipality of San Andres. and. however. Mendez. And various governmental acts throughout the years all indicate the State's recognition and acknowledgment of the existence thereof. constituted as municipal circuits. neither side could establish its cause of action and prevail with the evidence it had. .SO ORDERED. and should henceforth be considered as a regular. Thus. Public interest demands it. the courts can only leave them as they are. Auditor General was promulgated. which will be found very instructive in the case at bench. WHEREFORE. or on 05 June 1989. Under this administrative order. that the municipality of San Narciso finally decided to challenge the legality of the executive order. Quezon vs. In the meantime. At the present time. the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED. Section 31 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 33 above-mentioned. the peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case hardly could offer a choice other than to consider the Municipality of San Andres to have at least attained a status uniquely of its own closely approximating. Petitioner's theory might perhaps be a point to consider had the case been seasonably brought. the Municipal district. 265 in 1949. Auditor General. 537. and therefore had been in existence for all of sixteen years when Pelaez vs. It is doubtful whether such a pretext. In the same manner that the failure of a public officer to question his ouster or the right of another to hold a position within a one-year period can abrogate an action belatedly file. certain governmental acts all pointed to the State's recognition of the continued existence of the Municipality of San Andres. Curative laws. Order No. Under the Ordinance (adopted on 15 October 1986) apportioning the seats of the House of Representatives. Equally significant is Section 442 (d) of the Local Government Code to the effect that municipal districts "organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective sets of elective municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of (the) Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities.problem one way or the other. which in essence are retrospective. and aimed at giving "validity to acts done that would have been invalid under existing laws. in the establishment of Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the country. certain municipalities that comprised the municipal circuits organized under Administrative Order No. and later the Municipality of San Andres. per this Court's ruling in Pelaez vs. as if existing laws have been complied with. For instance. 1515. 174 classified the Municipality of San Andres as a fifth class municipality after having surpassed the income requirement laid out in Republic Act No. 7160 [Local Government Code of 1991] may have converted the Municipality of San Andres into a de facto municipality. issued by this court pursuant to Presidential Decree No. must a quo warranto proceeding assailing the lawful authority of a political subdivision be timely raised. and any attempt to apply Section 442 of Republic Act 7160 to the petition would perforce be violative of due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution. we call to mind the ruling of this Court in Municipality of San Narciso. herein petitioner asked the trial court to bar respondent municipality from presenting its evidence on the ground that it had no juridical personality. petitioner municipality had acquired a vested right to seek the nullification of Executive Order No. 1949 creating respondent municipality is null and void ab initio. Executive Order No. de jure municipality. Conventional wisdom cannot allow it to be otherwise. 353 was a complete nullity for being the result of an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. as a consequence thereof. Sr. The ruling could have sounded the call for a similar declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 353. under the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution. 129. 4. appended to the 1987 Constitution. it should likewise benefit from the effects of Section 442 (d) of the Local Government Code. The fact remains that. 353. would succeed. that of a de facto municipal corporation. if not indeed with greatest imperativeness. 353 but it was not to be the case. if not in fact attaining. on 24 December 1965. after more than five years as a municipal district. All considered. In such cases. they." are validly accepted in this jurisdiction. Therein we stated: While petitioners would grant that the enactment of Republic Act No. Granting that Executive Order No. 265 issued by President Quirino on September 16. Pelaez vs. or ten years ahead of the municipality of San Andres. Auditor General was promulgated. dated 13 June 1978. otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980." No pretension of unconstitutionality per se of Section 442 (d) of the Local Government Code is proffered. so also. 3 In this regard. and was therefore declared unconstitutional. The power to create political subdivisions is a function of the legislature. Respondent municipality of Alicia was created by virtue of Executive Order No. is of no moment. neither party was able to make out a case. They are thus no better off than before they proceeded to litigate. all doubts on the de jure standing of the municipality must be dispelled. under Administrative Order No. It appears that. after presentation of its evidence. the Municipality of San Andres has been considered to be one of the twelve (12) municipalities composing the Third District of the province of Quezon. Respondent municipality's situation in the instant case is strikingly similar to that of the municipality of San Andres. constituted an undue delegation of legislative powers to the President of the Philippines. subject to the usual qualification against impairment of vested rights. Petitioner contended that Exec. on which said Executive Order was based. the Municipality of San Andres had been in existence for more than six years when. with costs against petitioner. inasmuch as Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code. the de jure status of the Municipality of San Andres in the province of Quezon must now be conceded. 353 creating the municipal district of San Andres was issued on 20 August 1959 but it was only after almost thirty (30) years. even if made. Executive Order No. Created in 1959 by virtue of Executive Order No.

" subject to what "the public welfare may require. may divide any province into one or more sub-provinces. Represented by HONORABLE HJALMAR QUINTANA. a distance of 1-1/2 kilometers. in Ambos Camarines. At the time of arrival of the United States flag in the Philippines. . in Tayabas. (Emphasis supplied) Section 68 of the same Act also authorized the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. township. That the authorization of the Philippine Legislature shall first be obtained whenever the boundary of any province or sub-province is to be defined or or any provinces is to be divided into one or more subprovinces. more or less. a distance of 50 kilometers. of any province. From Mount Cadig it extends along the crest of a mountain range. Although Act No. be taken to be as heretofore determined by decree.Defined boundaries Sec. (Emphasis supplied) In the meantime. among others. executive order.e. until expressly changed by law or executive order. The remaining territory of the Province of Ambos Camarines shall be denominated the Province of Camarines Sur. or boundaries. 80796 November 8. lay the Province of Tayabas. to a peak known as Mount Labo. or other resolution having the force of law. consolidated with the Province of Camarines Sur. in full: Sec. to a prominent stone monument at the source or headwaters of the Pasay River. of any province. a distance of 25 kilometers. to the Gulf of Ragay. 2809. ." As amended by Act No. General authority of Governor-General to fix boundaries and make new subdivisions. into such portions as may be required. Article II. subprovince. involves a land boundary dispute. an equitable distribution of the funds and obligations of the divisions thereby affected shall be made in such manner as may be recommended by the Insular Auditor and approved by the Governor-General.Petitioner. and increase or diminish the territory comprised therein. . The boundary between Ambos Camarines and Tayabas was defined and written into law in 1916. the northern portion of Ambos Camarines). thence in a southwesterly direction. there was thus existing the Province of Ambos Camarines. . which division was maintained until 19 May 1893. of other political subdivision. by custom recognized by the administrative authorities. PROVINCE OF QUEZON. No. Section 68 provided. which has raged between these two (2) provinces since the second decade of this century. to re-establish as an independent province the former Province of Camarines Norte. as Acting Provincial Governor. 2809 read: Section 1.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. formerly known as Province of Tayabas. shall redistrict the territory of the several officers affected and assign such officers to the new districts so formed. with the recommendation and advice of the head of the Department having executive control of such officer. J.The Governor-General may by executive order define the boundary or boundaries. Sec. 41. Historical records disclose that the Camarines region in the Island of Luzon had been divided originally into the two (2) separate provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. thence along the meandering course of said river in a southerly direction. which took effect on 30 March 1920. Represented by HONORABLE ROY PADILLA. more or less. The Province of Camarines Norte so re-established shall have the same territory as before its consolidation with Camarines Sur the organization of the present Province of Ambos Camarines and its capital shall be the municipality of Daet. and increase or diminish the territory comprised therein. In this respect. municipality. Adjacent to Camarines Norte in the northeast (i. The Governor-General is hereby authorized whenever the public interest may require it. statute. by Section 47 of Act No. 1 the provisions pertaining to said boundary remained unaltered. 1989 PROVINCE OF CAMARINES NORTE. . when the two (2) provinces were consolidated by the Spanish colonial administration to constitute a single entity. separate any political division other than a province.R. . 2.The boundary separating the Province of Ambos Camarines from the Province of Tayabas begins at a point on the eastern shore of Basiad Bay and extends to a peak known as Mount Cadig in such manner as to bring the territory of the barrio of Basiad entirely within the municipality of Capalonga..: The instant Petition for mandamus and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order brought by petitioner Province of Camarines Norte against respondent Province of Quezon. The provisions of the Administrative Code in so far as they are applicable to a regularly organized province shall apply to the government and operation of said province and to the election and appointment of the officers thereof. Respondent.Ambos Camarines and Tayabas boundary. as Acting Provincial Governor. 2711 provided: Chapter 3.Boundaries which are not defined in the next succeeding article of this chapter shall. township or other political subdivision. Act No. and subject to such conditions as he may desire to impose. 2657 was repealed the following year by Act No. 2657 (the Administrative Code). the GovernorGeneral.General in accordance herewith makes necessary a change of the territory under the jurisdiction of any administrative officer or any judicial officer.Undefined boundaries Sec. name any new subdivision so created. and may change the seat of Government within any subdivision to such place therein as the public welfare may require: Provided. which authorized once again the partition of Ambos Camarines into two (2) separate provinces: the Province of Camarines Norte and the Province of Camarines Sur. FELICIANO. merge any of such subdivisions or portions with another.Undefined boundaries recognized. "to define the boundary. 2711 (the Revised Administrative Code).BOUNDARIES DEFINED Article I. 42. When any action by the Governor. vs. upon the other hand. the Province of Ambos Camarines. on 3 March 1919. (Emphasis supplied) . Upon the changing of the limits of political divisions in pursuance of the foregoing authority. 68. The pertinent provisions of Act No. the Philippine Legislature approved Act No. and to exclude the same from the territory of Calauag. on the Island of Luzon. 2929. and in the absence of such. more or less. subprovince municipality.

firstly. Cadig westward to a point on the eastern shore of Basiad Bay . Labo as a common corner between the provinces of Tayabas. however. the then Chief of the Executive Bureau. Close examination os Section 42 will show that is not the whole boundary line that is disputed but only a segment thereof. We granted the respondent's request. Quezon Province argues that the Chief of the Executive Bureau had no authority to alter or re-define that statutorily-defined boundary through his decision of 16 June 1922. All efforts at amicable resolution of the boundary dispute (the last such effort having been made sometime in 1987) have failed. following the course of the river to its mouth at the to Basiad Bay. It is pointed out by petitioner Camarines Norte. Respondent Province of Quezon (then Tayabas). respondent Quezon Province moved that the Solicitor General's Comment 7 on and Rejoinder 8 to the Petition and Reply. Turning to the first issue. and has frustrated all attempts to locate on the ground. Cadig] thence a straight line is drawn to the point of intersection of the inter provincial road between Camarines Norte and Tayabas with the Tabugon River. again. of course related to one to the other. Second. effective 15 April 1920. Cadig eastward to the peak of Mt. in the main.762 hectares-between Camarines Norte and Tayabas first emerged. Cadig. under Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code. to restrain respondent Province "from collecting all kinds of taxes from the inhabitants of [the territory of petitioner.]" The Court gave due course to the Petition on 30 June 1988 and required the filing of memoranda by the parties.which is the subject of the boundary dispute. Two (2) issues are thus posed for reconsideration and resolution by the court. Secondly. however. require the prior authorization of the then Philippine Legislature and a third issue would arise: Was such prior legislative authorization given? 1. 2 It is not clear from the records before the Court exactly how and when the present boundary dispute-involving a land area of approximately 8. 9 The opposition of respondent Quezon Province to the. over the years. that Section 42 does not describe or define the entirety of that line is such a manner as to permit the whole boundary line to be located on the ground by a surveyor. firstly. to order respondent Quezon Province "to respect and abide [by] the decision of the Chief of [the] Executive Bureau dated June 16. therefore. acting upon the authority of the Secretary of the Interior. Cadig's peak. Was that boundary already "defined" and.On 30 March 1920. respectively." secondly. We agree with petitioner Camarines Norte's argument. We note. considering that the eastern shore of Basiad Bay is 25 kilometersd in length. now as in the past. 2809 and formally re-establishing Camarines Norte as a province separate and distinct from Camarines Sur. For its part. that the particular point on Basiad bay that is the terminus of the boundary line is not specificaly Identified in Section 42. has simply refused to recognize as valid. First. the specific direction or directions and the varying lengths (the "metes and bounds") of the various segments of the boundary line to be projected from the terminus point on Basiad Bay onto Mt. 22.thence a straight line is drawn to the point of intersection of the interprovincial road between Camarines Norte and Tayabas with the Tabugon River. thence following the course of the river to its mouth at the Basiad Bay. to prohibit respondent Quezon Province from exercising power and authority over the area [so] embraced in the territory of petitioner. 3 That part of the boundary line was described in the following terms: Starting from the peak of Mt. survey and monument the segment of the Ambos Camarines [later Camarines Norte]-Tayabas boundary line delineated in the 1922 decision. (Emphasis supplied) 10 . The dispute probably evolved when Section 47 of the Administrative Code of 1916 and later Section 42 of the Revised Administrative Code of (1917) were enacted. despite several official directives from the then Secretary of the Interior and repeated efforts on the part of petitioner Camarines Norte. the Ambos Camarines-Quezon boundary line was "undefined" and that there was thus necessity for the 16 June 1922 decision of the Chief of the Executive Bureau to provide more specific guidance that would permit actual Identification or location of the Basiad Bay-Mt. Cadig portion of the boundary line between Ambos Camarines and Quezon Province: [from the peak of Mt. In any event. rendered on 16 June 1922 a decision (First Indorsement) delineating that portion of the boundary between the provinces of Camarines Norte and Tayabas which is here involved.from the peak of mt. thence. Should the entirety of the boundary line between Ambos Camarines and Quezon province be regarded as already "defined" by Section 42. such that that terminal point could in theory be located anywhere along the 25kilometer shore line. anchored on two (2) arguments. "and thirdly. in no need of further definition? The second issue relates to the action of the Chief of the Executive Bureau: Was there legal authority for the 16 June 1922 decision of the Chief Executive Bureau? The two (2) issues are. we note that Section 42 does set out a definition or description of the boundary line between Ambos Camarines and Quezon province. We consider that to that limited extent. petitioner Camarines Norte Province asks the Court. are similarly not specified in Section 42. In the instant Petition for mandamus and Prohibition. then any "alteration" or "re-definition" by the Executive Department would. the aforementioned decision of 16 June 1922 has remained unimplemented and unenforced. be considered as its Memorandum. a surveyor on the ground would be unable to locate and monument the boundary line from Basiad Bay to Mt. it is contended by Quezon Province that the boundary separating the old Province of Ambos Camarines from Quezon Province had already been established and defined in Section 42 of the Revised Administrative Code. Labo and from there to a stone monument at the head-waters of the Pasay River and thence along the course of that river to the gulf of Ragay. The first issues relates to the character of the boundary between Ambos Camarines and Quezon province as set out in Section 42 of the revised Administrative code. the boundary line from the peak of Mt. is described in terms which are sufficiently precise to permit a surveyor to locate that boundary line on the surface of the earth. more or less. boundary line claimed and sought to be enforced here by petitioner Camarines Norte Province is. to enforce the same. Thus. it is the western portion of the boundary line . 5Petitioner filed its Memorandum 6 on 2 September 1988. Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison issued Executive Order No. implementing Act No. Cadig if all he had was the languange found in Section 42 of the Revised Administrative Code. 1922 and immediately comply therewith by yielding the whole territory described and defined therein to the petitioner. 4 To date. Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte thence a straight line is drawn to the peak of Mt.

in rendering that decision. the Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition is hereby GRANTED Respondent Quezon Province is hereby ORDERED immediately to cease and desist. in addition. among other things that the Basiad Bay . purport to act with unlimited discretion.." the boundary line between Ambos Camarines and Tayabas. "alter" or "re-define" or "amend an existing provincial boundary. therefore. an enforcement unjustifiably resisted and delayed for sixty-seven (67) years. It is important to stress that the Chief of the Executive Bureau. and to exclude the same from the territory of the Municipality of Calauag in Tayabas. 1893. and 2 the line to be projected from that terminus point must proceed (eastward) to the peak of Mt. We consider next the second issue relating to the authority of the Chief of the Executive Bureau to render his decision. All that the Chief of the Executive Bureau did was to implement upon the authority of the Secretary of Interior.establishment as a distinct and separate province. "according to the Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey. Section 42 of Act No.Quezon boundary line so spelled out under the 1922 decision of the Chief of the Executive Bureau. Cadig in such a manner as to bring the territory of the barrio of Basiad entirely within the municipality. by latitude and longtitude and by metes and bounds. of Capalonga in Ambos Camarines. did not. The Court notes also that. Section 2 of which (quoted supra) provided that petitioner Camarines Norte. The Chief of the Executive Bureau did not. was necessary and incidental to the authority of the Governor-General to re-establish as an independent province the former Province of Camarines Norte and to ensure that it would have the same territory which it had prior to its consolidation into the then Province of Ambos Camarines. It is not disputed by respondent Quezon Province that the line delineated by the Chief of the Executive Bureau in his decision in fact complied with both the above general directions or descriptions prescribed in Section 42. WHEREFORE. as he could not. finally. so far as the records before us show.Mt. Cadig which. respondent Quezon Province has not attempted to indicate any other "surveyable" line between Basiad Bay and Mt. and perpetually to refrain. Cadig segment of the Ambos Camarines-Tayabas boundary line. SO ORDERED. acting in accordance with the provisions of Act No. from exercising or performing any and all acts of jurisdiction or political authority over all or any part of the area here held to be part of the territory of the Province of Camarines Norte and forthwith to relinquish the same to petitioner Province of Camarines Norte. 2809. Quema stated. The spelling out of a "survey-able" and "monumentable" Basiad Bay-Mt. Cadig segment of the Camarines Norte . upon its re. Cadig line described in the 16 June 1922 decision of the Chief of the Executive Bureau. like that marked out in the 16 June 1922 decision. enacted on 3 March 1919. complies with both the requirements established in Section 42 of Act No. Costs against respondent. we believe and so hold that that prior legislative authority was supplied by Act No. He was. We hold further that prohibition and mandamus will lie for the enforcement of that decision. "shall have the same territory as before its consolidation with Camarines Sur for the organization of the present Ambos Camarines in a letter dated 5 May 1960 to the Provincial Boards of Camarines Norte and Quezon Province. 2711. 2809. 2711 and the requirement prescribed in Section 2 of Act No.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Should it be assumed. that prior legislative authority was nonetheless necessary for the legal effectivity and enforceability of the 16 June 1922 decision of the Chief of the executive Bureau. For Section 42 itself established certain requirements which the disputed portion of the Ambos Camarines . Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Secretary of Local Governments and the Office of the President with the request that surveyors from the Bureau of Lands or other appropriate government agency be forthwith designated to survey and locate.Tayabas boundary line must satisfy. ." 12 The Court notes that respondent Quezon Province has not controverted the correctness of this statement of Assistant Executive Secretary Quema. we hold that the decision of the Chief of the Executive Bureau dated 16 June 1922 was lawfully issued and is binding upon the parties. 1 the western) terminus point must be on the eastern shore line of Basiad Bay.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In sum. and to monument the Basiad Bay Mt. 11 former Assistant Executive Secretary Enrique C. 2809. was the same boundary enforced between Camarines Norte and Tayabas when the former province was consolidated with Camarines Sur on May 19.2.

which is utterly incompatible and inconsistent with said statutory enactment. while admitting the facts alleged in the petition. must be deemed repealed by the subsequent adoption of the Constitution. This has been a litigiously prolific question. 6 And so the threshold question is whether the municipality of Balabagan is a de facto corporation. is a "statutory denial of the presidential authority to create a new barrio [and] implies a negation of the bigger power to create municipalities. 8 while others hold otherwise on the theory that a statute is binding until it is condemned as unconstitutional. vs.. 1917. through Mr. The petitioners brought this action for prohibition to nullify Executive Order 386 and to restrain the respondent municipal officials from performing the functions of their respective office relying on the ruling of this Court in Pelaez v. insofar as it gives the President the power to create municipalities. having been created on March 15. FREDERICK V. we address ourselves to the question whether a statute can lend color of validity to an attempted organization of a municipality despite the fact that such statute is subsequently declared unconstitutional. Thus. As earlier stated. as part of the Revised Administrative Code. or at least an authority in potentia by the state constitution. The principle that color of title under an unconstitutional statute can exist only where there is some other valid law under which the organization may be effected. in the other the new organization must be regarded as a mere usurper. L-28113 March 28. even if it did not entail an undue delegation of legislative powers. sharply dividing courts in the United States. its officers having been either elected or appointed. 7 Accordingly. 1960]. LANAO DEL SUR.. an inquiry into the legal existence of a municipality is reserved to the State in a proceeding for quo warranto or other direct proceeding. by Executive Order 386 of the then President Carlos P. and AMER MACAORAO BALINDONG Petitioners. No. CASTRO. There can be no de facto municipal corporation unless either directly or potentially. has its counterpart in the negative propositions that there can be no color of authority in an unconstitutional statute that plainly so appears on its face or that attempts to authorize the ousting of a de jure or de facto municipal corporation upon the same territory. Auditor General 2 and Municipality of San Joaquin v. J. ruled: (1) that section 23 of Republic Act 2370 [Barrio Charter Act. generally. A valid law enacted by the legislature.R. having been organized under color of a statute before this was declared unconstitutional. the municipality of Balabagan is at least a de facto corporation. 1960. although it may be inquired into directly in an action for quo warranto at the instance of the State and not of an individual like the petitioner Balindong. such a de jure corporation is authorized by some legislative fiat.. It is contended that as a de factocorporation. Justice (now Chief Justice) Concepcion. Balabagan was formerly a part of the municipality of Malabang. approved January 1. which limits the President's power over local governments to mere supervision. respondents. out of barrios and sitios 1 of the latter municipality. and the rest of the respondents are the councilors. The color of authority requisite to the organization of a de facto municipal corporation may be: 1. Garcia. 2. as it certainly does. the claim that it is rests on the fact that it was organized before the promulgation of this Court's decision in Pelaez. Lanao del Sur. II. while the respondent Pangandapun Bonito is the mayor. 5 For where it is neither a corporation de jure nor de facto.. but that either in other valid acts or in the constitution itself the office or the corporation was potentially created. 9 An early article in the Yale Law Journal offers the following analysis: It appears that the true basis for denying to the corporation a de facto status lay in the absence of any legislative act to give vitality to its creation. An examination of the cases holding. but a nullity. provided that a warrant for its creation can be found in some other valid law or in the recognition of its potential existence by the general laws or constitution of the state. Siva. . that a de facto office or municipal corporation can exist under color of an unconstitutional statute will reveal that in no instance did the invalid act give life to the corporation. HADJI HASAN MACARAMPAD." and (2) that section 68 of the Administrative Code.PANGANDAPUN BENITO. in 1935. 4 But the rule disallowing collateral attacks applies only where the municipal corporation is at least a de factocorporations. MARONSONG ANDOY. questioned collaterally or directly in any action or proceeding by any one whose rights or interests ate affected thereby. which has either (a) been upheld for a time by the courts or (b) not yet been declared void. including the citizens of the territory incorporated unless they are estopped by their conduct from doing so. As a result of this analysis of the cases the following principles may be deduced which seem to reconcile the apparently conflicting decisions: I." On the other hand.EN BANC G. HADJI NOPODIN MACAPUNUNG. its existence cannot be collaterally attacked. 1969 THE MUNICIPALITY OF MALABANG. and that only in a few exceptions may a private person exercise this function of government.. valid on its face. by vesting the power to create barrios in the provincial board. 3 In Pelaez this Court. nevertheless argue that the rule announced in Pelaez can have no application in this case because unlike the municipalities involved in Pelaez. An unconstitutional law. is unconstitutional (a) because it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power and (b) because it offends against section 10 (1) of article VII of the Constitution. It is indeed true that. some hold that a de factocorporation cannot exist where the statute or charter creating it is unconstitutional because there can be no de factocorporation where there can be no de jure one. some of them unreservedly. DUJERTE MONDACO ONTAL. said section 68. of the municipality of Balabagan of the same province.. As this Court summed up its discussion: "In short.: The petitioner Amer Macaorao Balindong is the mayor of Malabang. approved on March 10. the rule is that its existence may be. MACALABA INDAR LAO. and the municipality itself having discharged its corporate functions for the past five years preceding the institution of this action. in the one case the fact would imply the imputation of bad faith. the respondents.

as such organization would clearly be a usurper. and particular conduct. in legal contemplation. 559. There can be no color of authority in an unconstitutional statute alone. it affords no protection. No pronouncement as to costs. under which the President had acted. in legal contemplation. prior to such a determination. of status of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly. 14 ACCORDINGLY. as inoperative as though it had never been passed. Questions of rights claimed to have become vested. 425. Siva. 12 Mr. demand examination. that the acts done by the municipality of Balabagan in the exercise of its corporate powers are a nullity because the executive order "is. IV. ." This is not to say. Indeed. however. 118 U. conferring no rights and imposing no duties.with respect to particular relations. Shelby Count. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects . inMunicipality of San Joaquin v. The actual existence of a statute. having been found to be unconstitutional. individual and corporate. Justice Field said: "An unconstitutional act is not a law. there is no other valid statute to give color of authority to its creation. it confers no rights. however. 11 this Court granted a similar petition for prohibition and nullified an executive order creating the municipality of Lawigan in Iloilo on the basis of the Pelaez ruling. & L. 228 U. 566." For the existence of Executive. Order 386 is "an operative fact which cannot justly be ignored. the mere fact that Balabagan was organized at a time when the statute had not been invalidated cannot conceivably make it a de facto corporation. and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. it is. that it was inoperative. as. the invalidity of which is apparent on its face. it imposes no duties. Hackett. that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. There is then no basis for the respondents' apprehension that the invalidation of the executive order creating Balabagan would have the effect of unsettling many an act done in reliance upon the validity of the creation of that municipality." As Chief Justice Hughes explained in Chicot County Drainage District v. of public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous application. It is quite clear.10 In the cases where a de facto municipal corporation was recognized as such despite the fact that the statute creating it was later invalidated. it creates no office. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. in the case at bar. I. These questions are among the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention of courts. independently of the Administrative Code provision in question. was invalidated.S. Chicago. was not a law." Accordingly. Executive Order 386 is declared void. 442. There can be no de facto corporation created to take the place of an existing de jure corporation. the petition is granted. and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified. In Norton v. as inoperative as though it had never been passed. the decisions could fairly be made to rest on the consideration that there was some other valid law giving corporate vitality to the organization. private and official. despite the fact that the municipality was created in 1961. Executive Order 386 "created no office. Ry. is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored. 'Of course the issue of de facto municipal corporation did not arise in that case. v. Co. Baxter State Bank: 13 The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress. he held that bonds issued by a board of commissioners created under an invalid statute were unenforceable. and the respondents are hereby permanently restrained from performing the duties and functions of their respective offices. Norton v.III. Shelby County. before section 68 of the Administrative Code.S. Hence. state and federal.

1997. it follows that regional trial courts have the power and the authority to hear and determine such controversy.[6 Issue In their respective Memoranda. petitioner. both agreed to elevate the matter to the trial court via Resolution No. 1999 Order2issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Ormoc City (Branch 35) in Civil Case No. and (3) That a condition precedent for filing the complaint has not been complied with[. hence.[8 As consistently ruled by this Court. the members of the joint session issued Resolution No. 118. a Complaint docketed as Civil Case No. Leyte have failed to settle amicably their boundary dispute and have agreed to elevate the same to the proper court for settlement by any of the interested party (sic). J. Hon. both parties raise the lone issue of whether respondent court may exercise original jurisdiction over the settlement of a boundary dispute between a municipality and an independent component city. the RTC held that it had jurisdiction over the action under Batas Pambansa Blg. It also held that Section 118 governed venue. The decretal portion of the assailed Order reads as follows: For the foregoing considerations. The Courts Ruling The Petition has no merit.: Since there is no legal provision specifically governing jurisdiction over boundary disputes between a municipality and an independent component city. The Case Before us is a Petition for Certiorari[1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.THIRD DIVISION [G. CODILLA SR. NAPARI.. and the CITY OF ORMOC. . 1999. Instead. respondents. By agreement. MADRONA. DECISION PANGANIBAN. Sole Issue: Jurisdiction No amicable settlement was reached. Jurisdictional Responsibility for Settlement of Boundary Disputes. 141375. Jurisdiction is the right to act on a case or the power and the authority to hear and determine a cause. 97-01. the parties could waive and agree upon it under Section 4(b) of Rule 4 of the Rules of Court. FORTUNITO L. Represented by its Mayor. 97-01. GIOVANNI M. To this end: (a) Boundary disputes involving two (2) or more barangays in the same city or municipality shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned.11 which provides: Sec.[10 Both parties aver that the governing law at the time of the filing of the Complaint is Section 118 of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC).9 Because it is a matter of substantive law. the parties submitted the issue to amicable settlement by a joint session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Ormoc City and the Sangguniang Bayan of Kananga on October 31. It further ruled that Section 118 of the Local Government Code had been substantially complied with. Hon.][5 Ruling of the Trial Court In denying the Municipality of Kanangas Motion to Dismiss. 3722-O. the Municipality of Kananga filed this Petition. Hon. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the following grounds: (1) That the Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim. Not satisfied with the denial of its Motion. seeking to annul the October 29. (2) That there is no cause of action. No.] although the municipality has all the right to bring the matter or issue to the Supreme Court by way of certiorari purely on question of law. In fact. EUFROCINO M. be settled amicably. 1999.[4 To settle the boundary dispute. April 30. which in part reads: x x x IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED x x x to pass a resolution certifying that both the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Ormoc City and the Sangguniang Bayan of Kananga. this Court is not inclined to approve and grant the motion to dismiss[. Presiding Judge. Boundary disputes between and among local government units shall. Represented by its Mayor. the established rule is that the statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action determines the jurisdiction of the court. the City of Ormoc filed before the RTC of Ormoc City (Branch 35) on September 2. as much as possible.7 It is a question of law.R.[3 The Facts A boundary dispute arose between the Municipality of Kananga and the City of Ormoc. v. 129. Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City (Branch 35). 3722-O. because both parties already had the occasion to meet and thresh out their differences. jurisdiction over the subject matter is vested by law. 2003] MUNICIPALITY OF KANANGA. On September 24.

petitioner asserted in its Motion to Dismiss that Ormoc was an independent chartered city. It can legitimately exercise powers of government only within the limits of its territorial jurisdiction. (e) In the event the sanggunian fails to effect an amicable settlement within sixty (60) days from the date the dispute was referred thereto.] Since there is no law providing for the exclusive jurisdiction of any court or agency over the settlement of boundary disputes between a municipality and an independent component city of the same province.SO ORDERED. the general rules governing jurisdiction should then be used.shall be jointly referred for settlement to the respective sanggunians of the local government units involved. Ormoc is an independent component city. No pronouncement as to costs. the dispute shall be formally tried by the sanggunianconcerned which shall decide the issue within sixty (60) days from the date of the certification referred to above. the Philippine National Oil Company has withheld the share in the proceeds from the development and the utilization of natural wealth.[12 By virtue of Section 442(d) of the LGC. Nevertheless. Jurisdiction in civil cases. In fact. but an independent component. v.[14 which calls for a plebiscite. any uncertainty in the boundaries of local government units will sow costly conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers which ultimately will prejudice the peoples welfare. RTCs have general jurisdiction to adjudicate all controversies except those expressly withheld from their plenary powers. Precisely because of these disputes. Needless to state. and the Omnibus Election Code. the Petition is DENIED and the challenged Order AFFIRMED. 643.[23 WHEREFORE. As previously stated. jurisdiction is vested by law and cannot be conferred or waived by the parties. (c) Boundary disputes involving municipalities or component cities of different provinces shall be jointly referred for settlement to the sanggunians of the provinces concerned.21 They have the power not only to take judicial cognizance of a case instituted for judicial action for the first time.[18 It should not be confused with venue. but also exclusive. Ormoc is deemed an independent component city. (d) Boundary disputes involving a component city or municipality on the one hand and a highly urbanized city on the other. Indeed. the power is not only original.22 we held that boundary disputes should be resolved with fairness and certainty. not a highly urbanized. and the sanggunians of both local government units mutually agreed to bring the dispute to the RTC for adjudication. its acts are ultra vires. Inasmuch as Section 118 of the LGC finds no application to the instant case.or between two or more highly urbanized cities -. There is no question that Kananga is a municipality constituted under Republic Act No. a joint session was indeed held. because its charter prohibits its voters from voting for provincial elective officials.[19 otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. respondent court committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying the Motion to Dismiss. While Kananga is a municipality. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxx (6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court. it continued to exist and operate as such.[15 which apportions representatives to the defunct Batasang Pambansa. We ruled as follows: The importance of drawing with precise strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit of government cannot be overemphasized. Election of provincial governor and members of the Provincial Board of the Province of Leyte. Thereafter. 129. or two (2) or more highly urbanized cities. a city may be either component or highly urbanized. tribunal. The boundaries must be clear for they define the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local government unit. the procedure referred to in Section 118 does not apply to them. However. On the contrary. 89.[20 Section 19(6) of this law provides: Sec. It is a city independent of the province. Ormoc is not a highly urbanized. it is considered a component. Under this provision. The applicable provision is found in Batas Pambansa Blg. as amended by Republic Act No. The question now is: Does the regional trial court have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim? We rule in the affirmative. A resolution to that effect was issued. but no amicable settlement was reached.(b) Boundary disputes involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same province shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang panlalawigan concerned. There is neither a declaration by the President of the Philippines nor an allegation by the parties that it is highly urbanized. person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions[. In Mariano Jr. 19. 179. shall be jointly referred for settlement to the respective sanggunians of the parties. unresolved boundary disputes have sown costly conflicts in the exercise of governmental powers and prejudiced the peoples welfare. the settlement of a boundary dispute between a component city or a municipality on the one hand and a highly urbanized city on the other -. as provided for in Section 289 of the LGC.[17 It must exist as a matter of law and cannot be conferred by the consent of the parties or by estoppel. it shall issue a certification to that effect.[16 Section 118 of the LGC applies to a situation in which a component city or a municipality seeks to settle a boundary dispute with a highly urbanized city. Clearly then. city created under Republic Act No. Indeed. 7691. but also to do so to the exclusion of all other courts at that stage. x x x.[13Section 89 thereof reads: Sec. city of Leyte in Region VIII by both Batas Pambansa Blg. 542. The qualified voters of Ormoc City shall not be qualified and entitled to vote in the election of the provincial governor and the members of the provincial board of the Province of Leyte. . Commission on Elections. Beyond these limits. Under Section 451 of the LGC. not with an independent component city.

Sultan Mastura. Sema contended that Shariff Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative in Congress under Section 5 (3). 3999 requesting the COMELEC to clarify the status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First District of Maguindanao into a regular province under MMA Act 201.[8] cralawOn 10 May 2007.EN BANC BAI SANDRA S. the COMELEC issued Resolution No. who was a candidate in the 14 May 2007 elections for Representative of Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City. amending Resolution No. Buldon. 7902. prayed for the nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. that there shall be no diminution in the number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the mother province. A. which is hereby created. On 6 February 2007. 07-0407. and Upi are hereby separated from the Province of Maguindanao and constituted into a distinct and independent province.[4] Although under the Ordinance. MMA Act 201 provides: Section 1. the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City passed Resolution No.R. that they shall continue to receive the salaries they are receiving at the time of the approval of this Act until the new readjustment of salaries in accordance with law. all incumbent elective provincial officials shall have preference for appointment to a higher elective vacant position and for the time being be appointed by the Regional Governor. 07-0407 by renaming the legislative district in question as Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City (formerly First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City).[7] provides in pertinent parts: cralawConsidering the foregoing. Resolution No. Respondents.R. Cotabato City. as it hereby resolves.[3] Maguindanao forms part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). exercising its power to create provinces under Section 19. Thus. 177597 Petitioner. to adopt the recommendation of the Law Department that pending the enactment of the appropriate law by Congress. The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuans creation in a plebiscite held on 29 October 2006. Matanog. 07-0407 on 6 March 2007 "maintaining the status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao. which adopted the recommendation of the COMELECs Law Department under a Memorandum dated 27 February 2007. created under its Organic Act. further. the Commission RESOLVED. and shall hold office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified in the next local elections. SEMA. cralawOn 28 August 2006.[9] cralawIn G.versus COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DIDAGEN P. (Emphasis supplied) xxxx Sec. The first legislative district consists of Cotabato City and eight municipalities. Provided. The corporate existence of this province shall commence upon the appointment by the Regional Governor or election of the governor and majority of the regular members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. 177597. Sultan Kudarat. three new municipalities[6] were carved out of the original nine municipalities constituting Shariff Kabunsuan. No. x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION The Case These consolidated petitions[1] seek to annul Resolution No. the ARMMs legislature. Article VI of the Constitution[10] and . the existing legislative district. of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) treating Cotabato City as part of the legislative district of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. in preparation for the 14 May 2007 elections. the COMELEC promulgated on 29 March 2007 Resolution No. 201 (MMA Act 201) creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan composed of the eight municipalities in the first district of Maguindanao. Parang. dated 10 May 2007. furthermore. DILANGALEN. . 6734 (RA 6734). is not part of theProvince of Maguindanao. 7902 and the exclusion from canvassing of the votes cast in Cotabato City for that office. to maintain the status quo with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative District of Maguindanao. it is not part of the ARMM but of Region XII. Later. Sema. having voted against its inclusion in the ARMM in the plebiscite held in November 1989. Kabuntalan. shall remain. although part of Maguindanaos first legislative district. subject of these petitions. that where an elective position in both provinces becomes vacant as a consequence of the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. cralawIn answer to Cotabato Citys query. the ARMM Regional Assembly. cralawExcept as may be provided by national law. which includes Cotabato as a part thereof. However. 9054 (RA 9054). Article VI of RA 9054. 7845 stating that Maguindanaos first legislative district is composed only of Cotabato City because of the enactment of MMA Act 201.[5] enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No.[2] The Fact The Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution apportioned two legislative districts for the Province of Maguindanao. The Municipalities of Barira. the COMELEC issued Resolution No. No. Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanaos first legislative district. what was left of Maguindanao were the municipalities constituting its second legislative district. 5. Datu Odin Sinsuat. G. to be known as the Provinceof Shariff Kabunsuan. as amended by Republic Act No. cralawThe incumbent elective provincial officials of the Province of Maguindanao shall continue to serve their unexpired terms in the province that they will choose or where they are residents: Provided. 7902. bringing its total number of municipalities to 11. Republic Act No. Provided.

[20] Article X of the Constitution and (b) the power to create provinces was withheld from the autonomous regions under Section 20. joined causes with respondent Dilangalen (thus effectively abandoning the position the COMELEC adopted in its Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007) and contended that Section 19. Article VI of RA 9054. but by operation of the Constitution.[17]However. Sema proposed that Section 19 should be construed as prohibiting the Regional Assembly from prescribing standards x x x that do not comply with the minimum criteria under RA 7160. Dilangalen (respondent Dilangalen) on 1 June 2007 as representative of the legislative district of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City. 177597 adopted the following positions: (1) Sema contended that Section 19. 7902 because the COMELEC issued the same in the exercise of its administrative. cralawIn its Comment. 7902 because in her certificate of candidacy filed on 29 March 2007. the parties in G. Thus. 7902. the parties in G. every new province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly is ipso facto entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives even in the absence of a national law.[19] (2) Respondent Dilangalen contended that Section 19.Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Article X of the Constitution granting to the autonomous regions. not quasi-judicial. and (2) if in the affirmative. cralawIn his Comment. legislative powers over other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region and (b) as an amendment to Section 6 of RA 7160. Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution mandate the apportionment of a legislative district in newly created provinces. On 27 November 2007. (b) Section 462 of Republic Act No. Article VI of the Constitution is selfexecuting. which encompasses the apportionment of legislative districts for members of the House of Representatives. 177597 in oral arguments on the following issues: (1) whether Section 19. Article X of the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause. Article X of the Constitution. again represented by the OSG. 7902 which maintained the status quo in Maguindanaos first legislative district despite the COMELECs earlier directive in Resolution No. 7902 is constitutional because it did not apportion a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan or reapportion the legislative districts in Maguindanao but merely renamed Maguindanaos first legislative district. Article VI of the Constitution is one that is created by an act of Congress taking into account the provisions in RA 7160 on the creation of provinces.[15] In compliance with the Resolution dated 27 November 2007. respondent Dilangalen countered that Sema is estopped from questioning COMELEC Resolution No. through their organic acts. and (3) Respondent Dilangalen answered the issue in the negative on the following grounds: (a) the province contemplated in Section 5 (3).[18] Thus. through the OSG. 177597 to comment on the issue of whether a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under Section 19. chose not to reach the merits of the case and merely contended that (1) Sema wrongly availed of the writ of certiorari to nullify COMELEC Resolution No.R. whether a province created under Section 19. In the Resolution of 4 September 2007.R. Article VI of RA 9054 is constitutional (a) as a valid delegation by Congress to the ARMM of the power to create provinces under Section 20 (9). not to mention that Cotabato City does not meet the minimum population requirement under Section 5 (3). Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional because (a) it contravenes Section 10 and Section 6. Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. contending that Section 5 (3).R. Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional on the following grounds: (a) the power to create provinces was not among those granted to the autonomous regions under Section 20. the Court heard the parties in G.000. No. is not entitled to a representative in the House of Representatives. (b) Section 3. Respondent Dilangalen further claimed that the COMELEC could not reapportion Maguindanaos first legislative district to make Cotabato City its sole component unit as the power to reapportion legislative districts lies exclusively with Congress. Sema indicated that she was seeking election as representative of Shariff Kabunsuan including Cotabato City. No.[16] On the question of the constitutionality of Section 19. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). the Court required the parties in G. No. (c) recognizing a legislative district in every province the ARMM Regional Assembly creates will lead to the disproportionate representation of the ARMM in the House of Representatives as the Regional Assembly can create provinces without regard to the requirements in Section 461 of RA 7160. if taken literally. Article VI of the Constitution for the creation of a legislative district within a city. Article X of the Constitution and (b) the grant under Section 19.[12] Sema further claimed that in issuing Resolution No. without a reapportionment. the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment. 7160 (RA 7160) affirms the apportionment of a legislative district incident to the creation of a province. delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces. 177597 became moot with the proclamation of respondent Didagen P.R. and (3) The COMELEC. the grant in Section 19. No. Article X of the Constitution. and (c) Section 5 (3). Salas[14] stated that when a province is created by statute.R. The parties submitted their compliance as follows: (1) Sema answered the issue in the affirmative on the following grounds: (a) the Court in Felwa v. and (d) Cotabato City. 7902. Sema asserted that the COMELEC acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in issuing Resolution No. is constitutional. the COMELEC usurped Congress power to create or reapportion legislative districts. No. power and (2) Semas prayer for the writ of prohibition in G. Sema concedes that. which has a population of less than 250. 7845 designating Cotabato City as the lone component of Maguindanaos reapportioned first legislative district. Article IV of RA 9054 withheld from the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to enact measures relating to national elections. the COMELEC. Respondent Dilangalen added that COMELEC Resolution No. .[11] Thus. Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to prescribe standards lower than those mandated in Section 461 of RA 7160 on the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10. Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. 177597 filed their respective Memoranda on the issues raised in the oral arguments. Article VI of RA 9054. 07-0407 and 7902 and joined causes with Sema. apparently abandoned its earlier stance on the propriety of issuing Resolution Nos. (2) The COMELEC. Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to prescribe standards lower than those mandated in RA 7160 in the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10.[13] cralawSema filed a Consolidated Reply controverting the matters raised in respondents Comments and reiterating her claim that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No.

R. The petition in G.[23] Nor is there a law which specifically enjoins the COMELEC to exclude from canvassing the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City. municipality or barangay must comply with three conditions. or person to perform an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty. rules. despite the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan out of such district (excluding Cotabato City).R. Article VI of RA 9054.R. No. 177597 and G. We rule that (1) Section 19. the Court ordered G. First. Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new province. abolished or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.R. The Courts ruling in these petitions affects not only the recently concluded elections but also all the other succeeding elections for the office in question. 178628 echoed Sema's contention that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902. No. it involves an inquiry into the validity of COMELEC Resolution No.R.[21] On the other hand. this incidental consequence is no reason for us not to proceed with the resolution of the novel issues raised here. Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such province. 177597. and Mandamus are proper to test the constitutionality of COMELEC Resolution No. Article X of the Constitution. whether COMELEC Resolution No. do not justify the outright dismissal of the petition in G. However. 178628 was disclosed during the oral arguments on 27 November 2007. In its Comment to the petition in G.[22] True. However. or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The Ruling of the Court The petitions have no merit. the COMELEC did not issue Resolution No. Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities. Thus. Thus. These.R No. there must be a plebiscite in the political units affected. Sema and respondent Dilangalen reiterated in their Memoranda the positions they adopted in their Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September 2007. No.R. No. 7902. the outcome of this petition. as well as the power of the ARMM Regional Assembly to create in the future additional provinces. the writ of Mandamus will issue to compel a tribunal. corporation. No. or barangay may be created. under its plenary legislative powers. and (2) whether the proclamation of respondent Dilangalen as representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with CotabatoCity mooted the petition in G. one way or another. On the Preliminary Matters The Writ of Prohibition is Appropriate . municipalities and barangays. There is neither an express prohibition nor an express grant of authority in the Constitution for Congress to delegate to regional or local legislative bodies the power to create local government units.R. Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional. Admittedly. (2) MMA Act 201 creating the Province ofShariff Kabunsuan is void.[24] The Issues The petitions raise the following issues: I. Third. Article VI of RA 9054. 7902 depriving the voters of Cotabato City of a representative in the House of Representatives. whether a province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under MMA Act 201 pursuant to Section 19. Second. the creation of any of the four local government units province. delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces. divided. 177597 because Sema also prayed for the issuance of the writ of Prohibition and we have long recognized this writ as proper for testing the constitutionality of election laws.On the question of whether a province created under Section 19. 7902 is valid for maintaining the status quo in the first legislative district of Maguindanao (as Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City [formerly First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City]). 178628 consolidated with G. which provides: Sec.R. No. In G. On the Main Issues Whether the ARMM Regional Assembly Can Create the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan The creation of local government units is governed by Section 10. Prohibition. city. 177597: (A) Preliminarily (1) whether the writs of Certiorari. 10. No. No province. (B) On the merits (1) whether Section 19. officer. as well as the constitutionality of MMA Act 201 and Section 19. The pendency of the petition in G. Congress can delegate to local legislative bodies the power to create local government units. however. through the OSG.R No. city. The COMELEC deemed it unnecessary to submit its position on this issue considering its stance that Section 19. 177597. municipality. 7902 is valid. and regulations. Rather. and (3) COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 as a temporary measure pending the enactment by Congress of the appropriate law. the COMELEC. merged. board. cities. such creation must not conflict with any provision of the Constitution. the creation of a local government unit must follow the criteria fixed in the Local Government Code. In G. maintained the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 in the exercise of its judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Respondent Dilangalens Proclamation Does Not Moot the Petition There is also no merit in the claim that respondent Dilangalens proclamation as winner in the 14 May 2007 elections for representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City mooted this petition. II. in the Resolution of 19 February 2008. No. Rules and Regulations The purpose of the writ of Certiorari is to correct grave abuse of discretion by any tribunal. determines whether the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of the district ofShariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City will be included in the canvassing of ballots. This case does not concern respondent Dilangalens election. 178628. and (2) if in the affirmative. board. to Test the Constitutionality of Election Laws. is constitutional. 178628.

the power to create a province. Article VI of RA 9054.[26] Under Section 19. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national. COMELEC. (2)Creation of sources of revenues. (Emphasis supplied) Section 5 (1). This textual commitment to Congress of the exclusive power to create or reapportion legislative districts is logical.[27] In the present case. (4)Personal. and sectoral parties or organizations. or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member x x x. and city and municipal councils. it must also validly delegate at the same time the power to create a legislative district. and adjacent territory. under the Local Government Code.cralawWithin its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. Section 5 (4) empowers Congress to reapportion legislative districts. xxxx (3) Each legislative district shall comprise. Article VI of the Constitution as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. can Congress validly delegate to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create legislative districts for the House of Representatives? The answer is in the negative. Article VI of the Constitution provides. the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. and the plebiscite requirement in Section 10. and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants. Article VI of the Constitution provides: SECTION 5. the power to create a province or city inherently involves the power to create a legislative district. unless otherwise fixed by law. The power to reapportion legislative districts necessarily includes the power to create legislative districts out of existing ones. Congress is a national legislature and any increase in its allowable membership or in its incumbent membership through the creation of legislative districts must be embodied in a national law. Thus. contiguous. and the grant of legislative powers to its Regional Assembly under its organic act. For Congress to delegate validly the power to create a province or city. In Montejo v. (4) Within three years following the return of every census. created by a superior legislative body. through a law.000 or more. as well as in past[28] Constitutions. requires also the power to create a legislative district. provided Section 10. Even the creation of a city with a population of less than 250.000 or more cannot also be created without a legislative district. the power to create barangays within their jurisdiction. (3)Ancestral domain and natural resources. However. or a city with a population of 250. Legislative Districts are Created or Reapportioned Only by an Act of Congress Under the present Constitution. However. and new legislative districts of Congress can be created. as provided by law. Section 20. and property relations. Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. as far as practicable.[25] subject to compliance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code. family. the question arises whether the delegation to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to create provinces. Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution provides. and to reapportion legislative districts. the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: (1)Administrative organization. Similarly. as amended. The creation of the ARMM. Clearly. Section 5. is vested exclusively in Congress. Article VI of the Constitution vests in Congress the power to increase. Article X of the Constitution. Any province that may hereafter be created. cities. The allowable membership of the House of Representatives can be increased. cities or municipalities. There is no provision in the Constitution that conflicts with the delegation to regional legislative bodies of the power to create municipalities and barangays. the allowable membership in the House of Representatives. Congress has delegated to provincial boards. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members. Only Congress can enact such a law. Congress delegated to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces. An inferior legislative body. compact. Congress made the delegation under its plenary legislative powers because the power to create local government units is not one of the express legislative powers granted by the Constitution to regional legislative bodies. This is clear from the Constitution and the ARMM Organic Act. and not through a law that regional or local legislative bodies enact. and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio. municipalities and barangays within the ARMM. cities. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand.000. did not divest Congress of its exclusive authority to create legislative districts. Thus. the city automatically becomes entitled to one representative under Section 5 (3). and thus is vested exclusively in Congress. or each province. a city with a population of 250. Section 5 (3). It would be anomalous for regional or local legislative bodies to create or reapportion legislative districts for a national legislature like Congress. only through a national law passed by Congress. . municipalities and barangays conflicts with any provision of the Constitution. shall have at least one representative in the House of Representatives. the creation of provinces and cities is another matter.subject to reasonable standards and provided no conflict arises with any provision of the Constitution. a province cannot be created without a legislative district because it will violate Section 5 (3). Congress exercises these powers through a law that Congress itself enacts. The threshold issue then is. cannot change the membership of the superior legislative body. only x x x an Act of Congress can create provinces. or each province. who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces. Article X of the Constitution provides: SECTION 20. regional. In fact. For the same reason. shall have at least one representative. the power to increase the allowable membership in the House of Representatives.[29] we held that the power of redistricting x x x is traditionally regarded as part of the power (of Congress) to make laws. Article X of the Constitution is followed. Thus. cities. and those who.000 involves the power to create a legislative district because once the citys population reaches 250.

the office of a legislative district representative to Congress is a national office. Each representative district shall comprise as far as practicable. which provides: Each legislative district shall comprise. through the creation of a province for each province shall have at least one member in the House of Representatives. respectively. which includes Cotabato City as a part thereof. contiguous and compact territory. The Congress shall by law make an apportionment within three years after the return of every enumeration. compact. among others. The issue in Felwa. and its occupant. (Emphasis supplied) and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.R. to create or reapportion legislative districts for Congress. contiguous. x x x.Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand. Article X of the Constitution authorizes autonomous regions. recognized the exclusive nature of Congress power to create or reapportion legislative districts by abstaining from creating a legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan. and (9)Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. in creating Shariff Kabunsuan. The Court answered in the negative. it cannot create a legislative district whose representative is elected in national elections. The Regional Assembly may exercise legislative power x x x except on the following matters: x x x (k) National elections. petitioner invokes the statement in Felwa that when a province is created by statute. Mountain Province. Section 5 of MMA Act 201 provides that: Except as may be provided by national law. the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment. who shall be elected by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts. It is a self-evident inherent limitation on the legislative powers of every local or regional legislative body that it can only create local or regional offices. Nothing in Section 20. and it can never create a national office. a Member of the House of Representatives. the existing legislative district. The number of Members apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created or where the city. shall remain. and tourism development. Section 3. On the other hand. provides. Article X of the Constitution which expressly limits the coverage of the Regional Assemblys legislative powers [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction x x x. The contention has no merit. contends that Section 5 (3). the House of Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly. Article VI of the Constitution. First. a province cannot legally be created without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that each province shall have at least one representative. Sema. social. No. The office of a district representative is maintained by national funds and the salary of its occupant is paid out of national funds. but each province shall have at least one Member. thus: The Constitution ordains: cralawThe House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than one hundred and twenty Members who shall be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants. (Emphasis supplied) However. The ARMM Regional Assembly itself. is geographically located shall be correspondingly adjusted by the Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall not be made within one hundred and twenty days before the election. created on 29 October 2006. and KalingaApayao and providing for congressional representation in the old and new provinces. or (b) by direct creation of several representative districts within a province. and not otherwise.[30] Indeed. shall have at least one representative. but by operation of the Constitution. 177597.[31] It would be incongruous for a regional legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national office when its legislative powers extend only to its regional territory. Whenever Congress enacts a law creating a legislative district. (8)Preservation and development of the cultural heritage. as far as practicable.Since the ARMM Regional Assembly has no legislative power to enact laws relating to national elections. was unconstitutional for creati[ng] congressional districts without the apportionment provided in the Constitution. and adjacent territory. This violates Section 20. Article IV of RA 9054 amending the ARMM Organic Act. cralawPursuant to this Section. (7)Educational policies. Section 5 of Article VI of the Constitution. petitioner in G. (6)Economic.(5)Regional urban and rural planning development. whose population has so increased. is a national official. The requirements concerning the apportionment of representative districts and the territory thereof refer only to the second method of creation of representative . or each province. or any city whose population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member or such number of Members as it may be entitled to on the basis of the number of its inhabitants and according to the standards set forth in paragraph (3). the first representative is always elected in the next national elections from the effectivity of the law. the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan without a legislative district is unconstitutional. 4695 (RA 4695). Ifugao. which states: Any province that may hereafter be created. expressly or impliedly. To allow the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national office is to allow its legislative powers to operate outside the ARMMs territorial jurisdiction. As further support for her stance. Thus. a representative district may come into existence: (a) indirectly. creating the provinces of Benguet. (Emphasis supplied) serve as bases for the conclusion that the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. Until such apportionment shall have been made. is automatically entitled to one member in the House of Representatives in the 14 May 2007 elections. without a reapportionment. was whether Republic Act No.

and do not apply to those incidental to the creation of provinces. but also from Congress power to create provinces which cannot be created without a legislative district. beyond the maximum limit of 250 fixed in the Constitution (unless a national law provides otherwise). Vistan II: .R. or trigger the creation of. the ARMM legislature can create thirtyfive (35) new provinces. Under Section 19. except Congress. a legislative district is created by operation of the Constitution because the Constitution provides that each province shall have at least one representative in the House of Representatives. Indeed. also. only an act of Congress can trigger the creation of a legislative district by operation of the Constitution.[34] The following scenarios thus become distinct possibilities: (1) An inferior legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly can create 100 or more provinces and thus increase the membership of a superior legislative body. However. As a matter of fact. Semas theory also undermines the composition and independence of the House of Representatives.districts.000) [population]. Justice Carpio: Under your theory. you mean to say [a] Local Government can create legislative district[s] and pack Congress with their own representatives [?] Atty. without complying with the aforementioned requirements. This is deducible. No. but.000 residents will be negated because the ARMM Regional Assembly need not comply with the requirement in Section 461(a)(ii) of RA 7160 that every province created must have a population of at least 250.To constitute Cotabato City alone as the surviving first legislative district of Maguindanao will violate Section 5 (3). Felwa does not apply to the present case because in Felwa the new provinces were created by a national law enacted by Congress itself. comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment. without a reapportionment. Article VI of the Constitution which requires that [E]ach city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand x x x. Your Honor. when a province is created by statute. shall have at least one representative. it had a population of only 163. the Court sustained the constitutionality of RA 4695 because (1) it validly created legislative districts indirectlythrough a special law enacted by Congress creating a province and (2) the creation of the legislative districts will not result in breaching the maximum number of legislative districts provided under the 1935 Constitution. 177597 highlights the absurdity of Semas position that the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces: Justice Carpio: So. if the consequence thereof were to exceed the maximum of 120 representative districts prescribed in the Constitution. the House of Representatives. is that what you are saying? That can be done. there may be x x x [only] one hundred thousand (100. Vistan II: Yes. What Felwa teaches is that the creation of a legislative district by Congress does not emanate alone from Congress power to reapportion legislative districts. There is no constitutional limitation as to the time when. and they will each have one representative x x x to Congress without any national law.000. but by operation of the Constitution.[32] (Emphasis supplied) criteria fixed in Section 461 of RA 7160. from the fact that the apportionment therein alluded to refers to that which is made by an Act of Congress. not only from the general tenor of the provision above quoted. provinces have been created or subdivided into other provinces.000. and minimum contiguous territory of 2. is that what you are saying? Atty. from creating provinces because for a legislative body to create a province such legislative body must have the power to create legislative districts. the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces and cities within the ARMM with or without regard to the The following exchange during the oral arguments of the petition in G. x x x. [the] Regional Assembly of [the] ARMM can create and create x x x provinces x x x and. under the first method. except. therefore. Your Honor. This does not detract from the constitutional principle that the power to create legislative districts belongs exclusively to Congress. and (3) Representatives from the ARMM provinces can become the majority in the House of Representatives through the ARMM Regional Assemblys continuous creation of provinces or cities within the ARMM. under the correct factual circumstances. Cotabato City cannot constitute a legislative district by itself because as of the census taken in 2000. Here. because the Constitution allows that. It merely prevents any other legislative body.000. namely: minimum annual income of P20. Vistan II:[35] Yes.000 square kilometers or minimum population of 250. Moreover. this will leave Cotabato City as the lone component of the first legislative district of Maguindanao. Second. (2) The proportional representation in the House of Representatives based on one representative for at least every 250. In short. if as Sema claims MMA Act 201 apportioned a legislative district to Shariff Kabunsuan upon its creation. Thus. Thus. territory of. under your theory[?] Atty. perhaps. or other conditions under which a province may be created.000. Justice Carpio: So. they can have thirty-five (35) new representatives in the House of Representatives without Congress agreeing to it. only Congress has the power to create. when a province is created. Thus.849. with the consequent creation of additional representative districts. a legislative district.[33] Article VI of RA 9054. the new province was created merely by a regional law enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly. which is not the effect of the legislation under consideration. the corresponding representative district.

This leaves only 200 seats for district representatives. Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Thus. the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national office like the office of a district representative of Congress because the legislative powers of the ARMM Regional Assembly operate only within its territorial jurisdiction as provided in Section 20.Without law passed by Congress. Vistan II: Yes. Article VI of Republic Act No. yes. as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. a power only Congress can exercise under Section 5. refers to a province created by Congress itself through a national law. in the present 14th Congress. an increase that only Congress can decide. Moreover. there is a need now for Congress to increase by law the allowable membership of the House. Article X of the Constitution expressly provides that the legislative powers of regional assemblies are limited [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws. 7902 is VALID. the power to create or reapportion legislative districts cannot be delegated by Congress but must be exercised by Congress itself. sen[d] one thousand (1000) representatives to the House of Representatives without a national law[. In summary. much less than the 219 incumbent district representatives. enacted by the ARMM Regional Assembly and creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. WHEREFORE. The Constitution empowered Congress to create or reapportion legislative districts. cralaw cralaw cralawIt is axiomatic that organic acts of autonomous regions cannot prevail over the Constitution. The Preamble of the ARMM Organic Act (RA 9054) itself states that the ARMM Government is established within the framework of the Constitution. Resolution No. as well as Section 1 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.[37] nor Congress in enacting RA 9054. as mandated in Section 10. Consequently. is valid as it merely complies with Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution. they can also create one thousand (1000) new provinces. is void for being contrary to Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution. we rule that Section 19.] that is legally possible. we rule that MMA Act 201. envisioned or intended these disastrous consequences that certainly would wreck the tri-branch system of government under our Constitution. xxxx Justice Carpio: So. there are 219[38] district representatives out of the maximum 250 seats in the House of Representatives. Thus. The reason is that the creation of a province increases the actual membership of the House of Representatives. SO ORDERED. Thus. 7902 Complies with the Constitution Consequently. Clearly. [A]ny province that may hereafter be created x x x shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one Member. Your Honor. correct? Atty. Article VI of RA 9054. even before Congress can create new provinces. there should at least be 50 party-list seats available in every election in case 50 party-list candidates are proclaimed winners. Article X of the Constitution which mandates that the ARMM shall be created x x x within the framework of this Constitutionand the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. Your Honor. we declare VOID Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. . 9054 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it grants to the Regional Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the power to create provinces and cities. Article X of the Constitution. 7902. that is what we are saying. Section 20. because the creation of such municipalities and barangays does not involve the creation of legislative districts.Incidentally. is void. we rule that COMELEC Resolution No. Even the ARMM Regional Assembly recognizes this. we declare Section 19. This follows Section 15. Section 3 of the Ordinance to the Constitution which states. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of the creation of municipalities and barangays that does not comply with the criteria established in Section 461 of RA 7160. Article X of the Constitution. The present case involves the creation of a local government unit that necessarily involves also the creation of a legislative district. Since party-list members shall constitute 20 percent of total membership of the House. preserving the geographic and legislative district of the First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato City. we hold that COMELEC Resolution No. The ARMM Regional Assembly cannot create a province without a legislative district because the Constitution mandates that every province shall have a legislative district. not the regional assemblies. We leave the resolution of this issue to an appropriate case. x x x. Only Congress can create provinces and cities because the creation of provinces and cities necessarily includes the creation of legislative districts. insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and cities. Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. 201 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.[36] (Emphasis supplied) Neither the framers of the 1987 Constitution in adopting the provisions in Article X on regional autonomy.

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