MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES; COMPENSATION FOR DEATH IN LINE OF DUTY; POLICE OFFICERS OF CHARTERED CITIES. — The provisions of Republic Act No. 784, granting compensation to heirs of members of municipal police forces and fire departments who die in line of duty, are not applicable to members of the police and fire departments of chartered cities.
This is an appeal from a decision of the Auditor General dismissing the claim of Mrs. Teofila S. Tibon, widow of Sergeant Catalino Tibon of the Cebu City police department for compensation for the death of the latter in line of duty, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 784. Sergeant Catalino Tibon of Cebu City died on February 26, 1953 while making his tour of inspection of the policemen assigned in the night beats, the accidental death having been occasioned when the police wagon of the police department in which he was riding turned turtle. It is claimed on behalf of the petitioner that the provisions of Republic Act No. 784 are applicable to the members of the police force of chartered cities, as well as to those of municipalities, and to deny the benefits of said Act to police forces of chartered cities would make the law discriminatory or would amount to a denial of equal protection of the law to those equally situated.
The provisions of the law involved in this appeal are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS OF MUNICIPAL POLICE FORCES AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS WHO DIE OR ARE DISABLED IN LINE OF DUTY.
x x x
SECTION 1. When any member of the police force or fire department of a municipality is:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(a) Killed in line of duty, his heirs, shall be entitled to a compensation of one thousand pesos plus two hundred pesos for funeral expenses;
x x x
SEC. 3. The expenses in carrying out the provisions of this Act shall be borne in equal shares by the National Government and the municipality concerned.
SEC. 4. There is authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one hundred thousand pesos to cover the share of the National Government for the payment of the compensations provided for herein."cralaw virtua1aw library
A perusal of the provisions of the law does not justify the petitioner’s contention that it was to be applicable to members of the police and fire departments of chartered cities as well as to those of municipalities. The law uses the word "municipality" in its title, in section 1 and in section 3. In no provision of the law is there mention of cities or chartered cities. The reason for extending the beneficent provisions of the Act to municipalities alone is found in the poor financial condition of municipalities, which is not true of chartered cities. As a rule, municipalities that have grown both in population and in resources have been given charters and their powers of taxation increased and extended beyond the scope of those ordinarily granted to municipalities. This enables them to raise the necessary funds for the improvement and advancement of the city, opportunities which are not afforded municipalities. In view of the expanded sources of income of chartered cities and their better financial conditions, the legislature evidently did not find it necessary to extend the same help that it extends to municipalities in Republic Act No. 784, to chartered cities.
The second contention of the petitioner, that the denial of the application of the provisions of Republic Act No. 784 to chartered cities would render the law discriminatory, is without merit. As already indicated above, there are fundamental differences between municipalities and chartered cities, both with respect to their resources and to the scope of their powers. Municipalities and chartered cities cannot, therefore, be considered of the same condition nor as equally situated in both resources and powers such as to demand their equal consideration at the hands of the central government.
The decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against Petitioner-Appellant
Pablo, Acting C. J.
, Bengzon, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, and Reyes, J. B. L., JJ.