ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 









 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
May-2010 Jurisprudence                 

  • [G.R. No. 21924, May 12, 2010] SING JUCO, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT, VS. BENJAMIN CUAYCONG, AGATON TONGOY AND MARIANO RAMOS, DEFENDANTS AND APPELLEES.

  • [G.R. No. 47864 : May 12, 2010] GAUDENCIO C. HIQUIANA ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLEES, VS. ISMAEL L. VELOSO, ETC., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 174719 : May 05, 2010] HEIRS OF MARIO PACRES, NAMELY: VALENTINA VDA. DE PACRES, JOSERINO, ELENA, LEOVIGILDO, LELISA, AND LOURDES ALL SURNAMED PACRES, AND VEÑARANDA VDA. DE ABABA, PETITIONERS, VS. HEIRS OF CECILIA YGOÑA, NAMELY BAUDILLO YGOÑA YAP, MARIA YAP DETUYA, JOSEFINA YAP, EGYPTIANA YAP BANZON, AND VICENTE YAP[1] AND HILARIO RAMIREZ, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 164703 : May 04, 2010] ALLAN C. GO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE "ACG EXPRESS LINER," PETITIONER, VS. MORTIMER F. CORDERO, RESPONDENT. [G.R. No. 164747] MORTIMER F. CORDERO, PETITIONER, VS. ALLAN C. GO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE "ACG EXPRESS LINER," FELIPE M. LANDICHO AND VINCENT D. TECSON, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 175200 : May 04, 2010] NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, PETITIONER, VS. THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION BOARD AND MATEO VILLARUZ, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY, SONIA VILLARUZ, MARGARITA VILLARUZ AND CARLOS H. VILLARUZ, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 181068 : May 04, 2010] PEOPLE'S AIR CARGO AND WAREHOUSING CO., INC, PETITIONER, VS. HONORABLE FRANCISCO G. MENDIOLA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASAY CITY, BRANCH 115, AND CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS, LTD., RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 187049 : May 04, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. LITO MACAPANAS Y ECIJA, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 191550 : May 04, 2010] HENRY "JUN" DUEÑAS, JR., PETITIONER, VS. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL AND ANGELITO "JETT" P. REYES, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 180062 : May 05, 2010] GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, PETITIONER, VS. BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS (2ND DIVISION), BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD (HLURB) HLURB NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION FIELD OFFICE, SPOUSES MARCELINO H. DE LOS REYES AND ALMA T. DE LOS REYES, AND NEW SAN JOSE BUILDERS, INC., RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 141508 : May 05, 2010] ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO AND TRADERS ROYAL BANK, PETITIONERS, VS. MANUEL LACSON, A & A MONTELIBANO HIJOS, INC., ROBERTO ABELLO, DOMINADOR AGRAVANTE, LUISA ALANO, ALEXANDER FARMS, INC., ANGELA ESTATE, INC., GUILLERMO AND DOROTHY ARANETA, LETECIA ARANETA, ARCEO RAMOS & SONS, INC., SPOUSES GEORGE & LOURDES ARGUELLES, ASOSACION DE HACENDEROS DE SILAY-SARAVIA, INC. (AHSSI), SALVADOR BAUTISTA, BJB AGRO-INDUSTRIAL CORP., EUGENIO BAUTISTA, LUZ RAMOS BAYOT, CYNTHIA BENEDICTO, EVA BENEDICTO, LEOPOLDO BENEDICTO, MARY JANE BENEDICTO, FLORO BONGCO, FRANCISCO BONGCO, GERARDO BONGCO, MAXCY BORROMEO, QUIRICO CAMUS, CELSO AGRO INDUSTRIAL CORP., JULIA SO DE UYCHIAT, ARTURO UYCHIAT, LUIS UYCHIAT, ELISE UYCHIAT, CIRO LOCSIN AGRICULTURAL CORPORATION, CLAMONT FARMS, INC., SAGRARIO CLAPAROLS, JAIME CLAPAROLS, CLAUDIO LOPEZ, INC., RAMON CLEMENTE, SPOUSES ROMY CONLU AND ASUCENA DIASATA, SPOUSES CORNELIO AND DOLORES CONSING, LOPE CONSING, SPOUSES RAFAEL AND JULIETA CONSOLACION, BALCONER CORDOVA, CONSOLING CORDOVA, RAFAEL COSCULLUELA, CLK AGRO DEVELOPMENT CORP., EMILIO CUAYCONG, JR., SPOUSES JOSE ROBERTO AND PATRICIO CUAYCONG, ROMELI CUAYCONG, SONYA CUAYCONG, FELIPE DALIMO-OS, UBERTA DALIMO-OS, DELARICA REALTY, DOLL AGRICULTURAL CORP., DR. ANTONIO LIZARES CO., INC., SPOUSES BONIFACIO AND URBANA DUJON, ELAR AGRO INDUSTRIAL CORP., ELCEE FARMS, INC., ESTATE OF FERNANDO ERENETA, SPOUSES BENJAMIN AND TERESITA ESTACIO, EUSEBIO INCORPORATED, FARMLAND INCORPORATED, FELICIA AGRI DEVELOPMENT CORP., FELISA AGRI CORPORATION, SPOUSES ROLANDO AND NELLY FERMIN, FERTI-ACRES AGRI-CULTURAL CORPORATION, FRANCISCO JAVIER LACSON Y HERMANOS, GAMBOA HERMANOS, INC., HONORATO GAMBOA, ESTATE OF REMEDIOS GAMBOA, ANTONIO GASTON, HEIRS OF GERARDO GASTON, ESTATE OF JOSE MA. GASTON, VICTOR MA. GASTON, JOSE MA. GASTON, JOSE MA. GOLEZ, ANTONIO GONZAGA, ERNESTO GONZAGA, JESUS GONZAGA, LUIS GONZAGA, GONZAGA REAL ESTATE ENTERPRISES, INC., ROBERT GONZAGA, GREEN SOILS AGRICULTURE, INC., ESTATE OF REMEDIOS L. VDA. DE GUINTO, WARLITO USTILO, G.V. & SONS, INC., ENCARNACION HERNAEZ, SPOUSES MIGUEL AND CECILIA MAGSAYSAY, ADELINO HERNANDEZ, SPOUSES ABELARDO AND EMILY HILADO, SPOUSES ALFREDO AND TERESITA HILADO, RAMON HILADO, SPOUSES REMO AND ELSIE HINLO, SPOUSES DANILO AND NIMFA HINLO, MA. CRISTINA HOJILLA, DIOSDADO AND DIONISIO HOSALLA, JALIMONT REALTY, INC., ALBERTO AND BENJAMIN JALANDONI, DANIEL JALANDONI, JALKK CORPORATION, LEONOR JAVELLANA, ERIBERTO JESENA, PISON JESUSA AND SISTERS, JISARA AGRI DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, J.H. TAMPINCO AGRICULTURAL CORP., LILIA LOPEZ DE JISON, ROBERTO JISON, JOMILLA AGRO INDUSTRIAL VENTURES, INC., BENIGNA JONOTA, JOSEFINA RODRIGUEZ AGRICULTURAL CORP., JT ALUNAN AGRI. CORP., ANTONIO JUGO, SPOUSES JUANITO JUMILLA AND SANTAS DALIMO-OS, ESTATE OF CASILDA JUSTINIANI, SPOUSES ALEJANDRO AND ANTONIO KANA- AN, AGUSTIN KILAYCO, SPOUSES RODOLFO AND EMMA LACSON, EMMANUEL LACSON, ESTATE OF ERNESTO LACSON, LACSON HERMANOS, INC., ESTATE OF FELIPE LACSON, MANUEL LACSON, ESTATE OF MANUELA VDA. DE LACSON, PEDRO LACSON, RAMON LACSON, SR., TERESA LACSON, RODRIGO LACSON, LACTOR ESTATE DEVELOPMENT CORP., LIBERTINO AGUTANG, CARMEN CONSING LA'O, JOSE LA'O, JULIA LA'O, LA SALVACION AGRICULTURAL CORP., ENRIQUE LEDESMA, LEDESMA HERMANOS, INC., JESUS LEDESMA, SPOUSES JOSE MA. AND EVA LEDESMA, LEGA FARMS, CORP., ESTATE OF ANASTACIO LEGARDE, LIMJAP-ALUNAN AGRI, JESUS LIZARES, JOSE LIZARES, LUIS LIZARES, NILO LIZARES, SR. AND JR., SPOUSES JOSE AND PERLA LIZARES, ROBERTO LIZARES, ANTONIO LOCSIN, FEDERICO LOCSIN, JR., SPS. ROBERT AND JEAN MARIE WINEBURGER, ESTATE OF JOSE LOCSIN, OSCAR LOCSIN, SPOUSES JOSE MA. AND MARGARITA LOCSIN, VICENTE LOCSIN, LONOY AGRICULTURAL CORP., DOLORES LOLITA VDA. DE LOPEZ, FORTUNATO LOPEZ, NER LOPEZ, ESTATE OF NIEVES LOPEZ, POMPEYO LOPEZ, ROSENDO LOPEZ, ARTURO DE LUZURIAGA, CLAUDIO DE LUZURIAGA, CATALINA VDA. DE MAKILAN, BENITO MALAN, BASILIO MANALO, MANCY & SONS, INC., MANILAC AGRO COMMERCIAL CORP., SPOUSES MANUEL AND LUISA MANOSA, JULIO AND GENEVIEVE MAPA, MAPLE AGRI-CORP., INC., MARLAND AGRICULTURAL CORP., MARVIA & CO., INC., ANTONIO MENDOZA, BERNARDO MENDOZA, JR., SPOUSES BERNARDO AND ROSARIO MENDOZA, MALAURIE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CORP., HEIRS OF MANUEL AND CEFERINO MONFORT, ESTATE OF MANUEL MONFORT, JR., SPOUSES EMILIO AND LINDA MONTALVO, MONTILLA SISTERS AGRICULTURAL CORP., ANTONIO MONTINOLA, NIEVES AGRO-INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORP., MAMERTO DE OCA, O. LEDESMA & CO., INC., HEIRS OF MERCEDES PABIANA, TEODULO PABIANA, ESTATE OF ROSARIO PALENZUELA, ESTATE OF ENCARNACION PANLILIO, JOSE PASCUAL, JOHNNY DE LA PENA, ANICETA PERDIGUEROS, AQUILES PERDIGUEROS, LUISA PEREZ, CRISTINA PERTIERRA, PHISON FARMS, INC., ESTATE OF JOSEFINA PICCIO, PISON-LOCSIN KAUTURAN, NICOLAS POLINARIO, PUYAS AGRO, INC., ESTATE OF LEONOR DE LA RAMA, LUIS RAMA, RAMON DE LA RAMA AGRO DEVELOPMENT CORP., REMO RAMOS, BENJAMIN RAMOS, MARIANO RAMOS, SPOUSES ENRIQUE AND TERESITA REGALADO, SPS. JOSE MA. AND AMELIA REGALADO, MANUEL REGALADO, AQUILINO REONIR, RHE & SONS AGRO INDUSTRIAL CORP., ROAM AGRICULTURAL CORP., AMANDO ROBILLO, ROMALUX AGRI FARMS, INC., LETECIA DEL ROSARIO, MANUEL DEL ROSARIO, EULALIA ROSELLO, ROSENDO H. DE LA RAMA & CO., BIBIANO SABINO, SPOUSES REINHARDT AND CORAZON SAGEMULLER, PEDRO SAJO, SPOUSES AQUILES AND MA. CRISTINA SAJO, SAN ANTONIO FARMS, JOSE MA. SANTOS, MARCELINO SAUSI, STA. CLARA ESTATE, INC., SPOUSES FRANCISCO AND JULITA SERRIOS, ANTONIO SIAN, SIASON- DITCHING AGRO INDUSTRIAL CORP., SPOUSES LUCRECIO SORIANO AND LIBERATA DALIMO- OS, IMELDA TAMPINCO, T. GENSOLI & CO., TINIHABAN AGRICULTURAL CORP., SPOUSES LINO AND THELMA TOLEDO, FRANCISCO TORIANO, GODOFREDO TORIANO, LUCRECIO TORIANO, MOISES TORIANO, TOTA, INC., DEMOCRITO TRECHO, JESUSA TRECHO, PABIO TRECHO, RUFINO TRECHO, ESTATE OF FLORENTINO TREYES, ESTATE OF VICTOR TREYES, FERNANDO TREYES, LILIA TREYES, SOCORRO TUVILLA, FRANCIS TUVILLA, SPS. JOE MARIE AND VICTORIA TUVILLA, JOSE URBANOZO, JR., ESTATE OF ROSARIO VALENCIA, EDUARDO DE VENECIA, VICTORIAS MILLING, CO., INC., SPOUSES EDSEL AND RITA VILLACIN, JOSEFA VILLAERA, VILLALAYA AGRO DEVELOPMENT, SERAFIN VILLANUEVA, IRVING VILLASOR, DOMINICIANO VINARTA, ROSENDO AND CANDIDO VINARTA, BERNARD YBIERNAS, ESTRELLA YBIERNAS, SPOUSES CARLOS AND EDITH YLANAN, BENITO YOUNG, SPOUSES RENATO AND VICTORIA YULO, AND JESUS YUSAY, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 143591 : May 05, 2010] TEODORO C. BORLONGAN, JR., CORAZON M. BEJASA, ARTURO E.MANUEL, JR., ERIC L. LEE, P. SIERVO H. DIZON, BENJAMIN DE LEON, DELFIN C. GONZALES, JR., AND BEN YU LIM, JR., PETITIONERS, VS. MAGDALENO M. PEÑA AND HON. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., AS JUDGE DESIGNATE OF THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BAGO CITY, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 163267 : May 05, 2010] TEOFILO EVANGELISTA, PETITIONER, VS. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 172708 : May 05, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VS. JOSEPH AMPER Y REPASO, APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 178087 : May 05, 2010] COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, PETITIONER, VS. KUDOS METAL CORPORATION, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 184800 : May 05, 2010] WONINA M. BONIFACIO, JOCELYN UPANO, VICENTE ORTUOSTE AND JOVENCIO PERECHE, SR., PETITIONERS,VS. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI, BRANCH 149, AND JESSIE JOHN P. GIMENEZ, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 181847 : May 05, 2010] PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY NOW PHILIPPINE RECLAMATION AUTHORITY, PETITIONER,VS. ESTATE OF JESUS S. YUJUICO, REPRESENTED BY BENEDICTO V. YUJUICO AND EDILBERTO V. YUJUICO; AND AUGUSTO Y. CARPIO, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 187556 : May 05, 2010] PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT BANK, PETITIONER, VS. JAMES NG AND ANTHONY NG, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 187200 : May 05, 2010] GOLDEN ACE BUILDERS AND ARNOLD U. AZUL, PETITIONERS,VS. JOSE A. TALDE, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 148892 : May 06, 2010] LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, VS. LUZ L. RODRIGUEZ, RESPONDENT.

  • [A.M. No. 09-9-163-MTC : May 06, 2010] RE: CASES SUBMITTED FOR DECISION BEFORE HON. TERESITO A. ANDOY, FORMER JUDGE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, CAINTA, RIZAL.

  • [G.R. No. 170515 : May 06, 2010] MARMOSY TRADING, INC. AND VICTOR MORALES, PETITIONERS, VS. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, HON. LABOR ARBITER ELIAS H. SALINAS AND JOSELITO HUBILLA, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. Nos. 180772 and 180776 : May 06, 2010] LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES [LBP], PETITIONER, VS. DOMINGO AND MAMERTO SORIANO, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 179038 : May 06, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. JOSEPH SERRANO AND ANTHONY SERRANO,ACCUSED-APPELLANTS.

  • [G.R. No. 186134 : May 06, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. JOEL ROA Y VILLALUZ, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 189402 : May 06, 2010] LIGAYA SANTOS AND ROBERT BUNDA, PETITIONERS, VS. DOMINGO I. ORDA, JR., RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 189602 : May 06, 2010] HEIRS OF ALFREDO ZABALA, REPRESENTED BY MENEGILDA ZABALA, ROLANDO ZABALA, MANUEL ZABALA, MARILYN ZABALA, AND ADELINA ZABALA, PETITIONERS, VS. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE T. MANUEL AND/OR HEIRS OF VICENTE T. MANUEL, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 191771 : May 06, 2010] LIBERAL PARTY, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT MANUEL A. ROXAS II AND SECRETARY GENERAL JOSEPH EMILIO A. ABAYA, PETITIONER, VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, NACIONALISTA PARTY, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT MANUEL B. VILLAR AND NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION, ALLEGEDLY REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRMAN FAUSTINO S. DY, JR., RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 191846 : May 06, 2010] TEOFISTO GUINGONA, JR., BISHOP LEO A. SORIANO, FE MARIA ARRIOLA, ISAGANI R. SERRANO, AND ENGR. RODOLFO LOZADA, CORONA, VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 160718 : May 12, 2010] ANUNCIO C. BUSTILLO, EMILIO SUMILHIG, JR., AND AGUSTIN BILLEDO, JR., PETITIONERS, VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 170956 : May 12, 2010] FELISA R. FERRER, PETITIONER, DOMINGO CARGANILLO, SERGIO CARGANILLO, SOLEDAD AGUSTIN AND MARCELINA SOLIS, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 180050 : May 12, 2010] RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, VICTOR F. BERNAL, AND RENE O. MEDINA, PETITIONERS, VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, REPRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY THE HOUSE SPEAKER; GOVERNOR ROBERT ACE S. BARBERS, REPRESENTING THE MOTHER PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE; GOVERNOR GERALDINE ECLEO VILLAROMAN, REPRESENTING THE NEW PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 178202 : May 14, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. NORMAN SITCO AND RAYMUNDO BAGTAS (DECEASED), ACCUSED-APPELLANTS.

  •  





     
     

    [G.R. No. 180050 : May 12, 2010]   RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, VICTOR F. BERNAL, AND RENE O. MEDINA, PETITIONERS, VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, REPRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY THE HOUSE SPEAKER; GOVERNOR ROBERT ACE S. BARBERS, REPRESENTING THE MOTHER PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE; GOVERNOR GERALDINE ECLEO VILLAROMAN, REPRESENTING THE NEW PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS, RESPONDENTS.

     
    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 180050 : May 12, 2010]

    RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, VICTOR F. BERNAL, AND RENE O. MEDINA, PETITIONERS, VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, REPRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY THE HOUSE SPEAKER; GOVERNOR ROBERT ACE S. BARBERS, REPRESENTING THE MOTHER PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE; GOVERNOR GERALDINE ECLEO VILLAROMAN, REPRESENTING THE NEW PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS, RESPONDENTS.

    RESOLUTION


    PERALTA, J.:

    Before us are two Motions for Reconsideration of the Decision dated February 10, 2010 — one filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in behalf of public respondents, and the other filed by respondent Governor Geraldine Ecleo Villaroman, representing the Province of Dinagat Islands. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:

    WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Republic Act No. 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, is hereby declared unconstitutional. The proclamation of the Province of Dinagat Islands and the election of the officials thereof are declared NULL and VOID. The provision in Article 9 (2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating, "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands," is declared NULL and VOID.

    The arguments of the movants are similar. The grounds for reconsideration of Governor Villaroman can be subsumed under the grounds for reconsideration of the OSG, which are as follows:

    I.

    The Province of Dinagat Islands was created in accordance with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991. Article 9 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations is merely interpretative of Section 461 of the Local Government Code.

    II.

    The power to create a local government unit is vested with the Legislature. The acts of the Legislature and Executive in enacting into law RA 9355 should be respected as petitioners failed to overcome the presumption of validity or constitutionality.

    III.

    Recent and prevailing jurisprudence considers the operative fact doctrine as a reason for upholding the validity and constitutionality of laws involving the creation of a new local government unit as in the instant case.

    As regards the first ground, the movants reiterate the same arguments in their respective Comments that aside from the undisputed compliance with the income requirement, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9355, creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, has also complied with the population and land area requirements.

    The arguments are unmeritorious and have already been passed upon by the Court in its Decision, ruling that R.A. No. 9355 is unconstitutional, since it failed to comply with either the territorial or population requirement contained in Section 461 of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.

    When the Dinagat Islands was proclaimed a new province on December 3, 2006, it had an official population of only 106,951 based on the 2000 Census of Population conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), which population is short of the statutory requirement of 250,000 inhabitants.

    Although the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte conducted a special census of population in Dinagat Islands in 2003, which yielded a population count of 371,000, the result was not certified by the NSO as required by the Local Government Code.[1] Moreover, respondents failed to prove that with the population count of 371,000, the population of the original unit (mother Province of Surigao del Norte) would not be reduced to less than the minimum requirement prescribed by law at the time of the creation of the new province.[2]

    Less than a year after the proclamation of the new province, the NSO conducted the 2007 Census of Population. The NSO certified that as of August 1, 2007, Dinagat Islands had a total population of only 120,813,[3] which was still below the minimum requirement of 250,000 inhabitants.

    Based on the foregoing, R.A. No. 9355 failed to comply with the population requirement of 250,000 inhabitants as certified by the NSO.

    Moreover, the land area of the province failed to comply with the statutory requirement of 2,000 square kilometers. R.A. No. 9355 specifically states that the Province of Dinagat Islands contains an approximate land area of 802.12 square kilometers. This was not disputed by the respondent Governor of the Province of Dinagat Islands in her Comment. She and the other respondents instead asserted that the province, which is composed of more than one island, is exempted from the land area requirement based on the provision in the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 (IRR), specifically paragraph 2 of Article 9 which states that "[t]he land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands." The certificate of compliance issued by the Lands Management Bureau was also based on the exemption under paragraph 2, Article 9 of the IRR.

    However, the Court held that paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the IRR is null and void, because the exemption is not found in Section 461 of the Local Government Code.[4] There is no dispute that in case of discrepancy between the basic law and the rules and regulations implementing the said law, the basic law prevails, because the rules and regulations cannot go beyond the terms and provisions of the basic law.[5]

    The movants now argue that the correct interpretation of Section 461 of the Local Government Code is the one stated in the Dissenting Opinion of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura.

    In his Dissenting Opinion, Justice Nachura agrees that R.A. No. 9355 failed to comply with the population requirement. However, he contends that the Province of Dinagat Islands did not fail to comply with the territorial requirement because it is composed of a group of islands; hence, it is exempt from compliance not only with the territorial contiguity requirement, but also with the 2,000-square-kilometer land area criterion in Section 461 of the Local Government Code, which is reproduced for easy reference:

    SEC. 461. Requisites for Creation. — (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites:

    (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; or

    (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office:

    Provided, That, the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area, population, and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.

    (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province.

    (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, trust funds, transfers, and non-recurring income.[6]

    Justice Nachura contends that the stipulation in paragraph (b) qualifies not merely the word "contiguous" in paragraph (a) (i) in the same provision, but rather the entirety of paragraph (a) (i) that reads:

    (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau[.][7]

    He argues that the whole paragraph on contiguity and land area in paragraph (a) (i) above is the one being referred to in the exemption from the territorial requirement in paragraph (b). Thus, he contends that if the province to be created is composed of islands, like the one in this case, then, its territory need not be contiguous and need not have an area of at least 2,000 square kilometers. He asserts that this is because as the law is worded, contiguity and land area are not two distinct and separate requirements, but they qualify each other. An exemption from one of the two component requirements in paragraph (a) (i) allegedly necessitates an exemption from the other component requirement, because the non-attendance of one results in the absence of a reason for the other component requirement to effect a qualification.

    Similarly, the OSG contends that when paragraph (b) of Section 461 of the Local Government Code provides that the "territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands," it necessarily dispenses the 2,000-sq.-km. land area requirement, lest such exemption would not make sense. The OSG argues that in stating that a "territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands," the law could not have meant to define the obvious. The land mass of two or more islands will never be contiguous as it is covered by bodies of water. It is then but logical that the territory of a proposed province that is composed of one or more islands need not be contiguous or be at least 2,000 sq. kms.

    The Court is not persuaded.

    Section 7, Chapter 2 (entitled General Powers and Attributes of Local Government Units) of the Local Government Code provides:

    SEC. 7. Creation and Conversion. — As a general rule, the creation of a local government unit or its conversion from one level to another level shall be based on verifiable indicators of viability and projected capacity to provide services, to wit:

    (a) Income. — It must be sufficient, based on acceptable standards, to provide for all essential government facilities and services and special functions commensurate with the size of its population, as expected of the local government unit concerned;

    (b) Population. — It shall be determined as the total number of inhabitants within the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit concerned; and

    (c) Land area. — It must be contiguous, unless it comprises two (2) or more islands, or is separated by a local government unit independent of the others; properly identified by metes and bounds with technical descriptions; and sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace.

    Compliance with the foregoing indicators shall be attested to by the Department of Finance (DOF), the National Statistics Office (NSO), and the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).[8]

    It must be emphasized that Section 7 above, which provides for the general rule in the creation of a local government unit, states in paragraph (c) thereof that the land area must be contiguous and sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace.

    Therefore, there are two requirements for land area: (1) the land area must be contiguous; and (2) the land area must be sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace. A sufficient land area in the creation of a province is at least 2,000 square kilometers, as provided by Section 461 of the Local Government Code .

    Thus, Section 461 of the Local Government Code, providing the requisites for the creation of a province, specifically states the requirement of "a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers."

    Hence, contrary to the arguments of both movants, the requirement of a contiguous territory and the requirement of a land area of at least 2,000 square kilometers are distinct and separate requirements for land

    area under paragraph (a) (i) of Section 461 and Section 7 (c) of the Local Government Code.

    However, paragraph (b) of Section 461 provides two instances of exemption from the requirement of territorial contiguity, thus:

    (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands, or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province.[9]

    Contrary to the contention of the movants, the exemption above pertains only to the requirement of territorial contiguity. It clearly states that the requirement of territorial contiguity may be dispensed with in the case of a province comprising two or more islands, or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province.

    Nowhere in paragraph (b) is it expressly stated or may it be implied that when a province is composed of two or more islands, or when the territory of a province is separated by a chartered city or cities, such province need not comply with the land area requirement of at least 2,000 square kilometers or the requirement in paragraph (a) (i) of Section 461of the Local Government Code.

    Where the law is free from ambiguity, the court may not introduce exceptions or conditions where none is provided from considerations of convenience, public welfare, or for any laudable purpose;[10] neither may it engraft into the law qualifications not contemplated,[11] nor construe its provisions by taking into account questions of expediency, good faith, practical utility and other similar reasons so as to relax non-compliance therewith.[12] Where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation, but only for application.[13]

    Moreover, the OSG contends that since the power to create a local government unit is vested with the Legislature, the acts of the Legislature and the Executive branch in enacting into law R.A. No. 9355 should be respected as petitioners failed to overcome the presumption of validity or constitutionality.

    The contention lacks merit.

    Section 10, Article X of the Constitution states:

    SEC. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, 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."[14]

    As the law-making branch of the government, indeed, it was the Legislature that imposed the criteria for the creation of a province as contained in Section 461 of the Local Government Code. No law has yet been passed amending Section 461 of the Local Government Code, so only the criteria stated therein are the bases for the creation of a province. The Constitution clearly mandates that the criteria in the Local Government Code must be followed in the creation of a province; hence, any derogation of or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates Section 10, Article X of the Constitution.

    Contrary to the contention of the movants, the evidence on record proved that R.A. No. 9355 failed to comply with either the population or territorial requirement prescribed in Section 461 of the Local Government Code for the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands; hence, the Court declared R.A. No. 9355 unconstitutional.

    In Fariñas v. The Executive Secretary,[15] the Court held:

    Every statute is presumed valid. The presumption is that the legislature intended to enact a valid, sensible and just law and one which operates no further than may be necessary to effectuate the specific purpose of the law.

    It is equally well-established, however, that the courts, as guardians of the Constitution, have the inherent authority to determine whether a statute enacted by the legislature transcends the limit imposed by the fundamental law. And where the acts of the other branches of government run afoul of the Constitution, it is the judiciary's solemn and sacred duty to nullify the same.

    Citing League of Cities of the Philippines v. Commission on Elections,[16] the movants further contend that under the operative fact doctrine, the constitutionality of R.A No. 9355, creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, should be upheld.

    The Court is not persuaded.

    In League of Cities of the Philippines v. Commission on Elections, the Court held that the 16 cityhood laws, whose validity were questioned therein, were constitutional mainly because it found that the said cityhood laws merely carried out the intent of R.A. No. 9009, now Section 450 of the Local Government Code, to exempt therein respondents local government units (LGUs) from the P100 million income requirement, since the said LGUs had pending cityhood bills long before the enactment of R.A. No. 9009. Each one of the 16 cityhood laws contained a provision exempting the municipality covered from the P100 million income requirement.

    In this case, R.A. No. 9355 was declared unconstitutional because there was utter failure to comply with either the population or territorial requirement for the creation of a province under Section 461 of the Local Government Code.

    The Court, while respecting the doctrine of separation of powers, cannot renege on its duty to determine whether the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution, and determine whether illegality attached to the creation of the province in question. To abandon this duty only because the Province of Dinagat Islands has began its existence is to consent to the passage of a law that is violative of the provisions of the Constitution and the Local Government Code, rendering the law and the province created null and void. The Court cannot tolerate such nullity to be in existence. Where the acts of other branches of the government go beyond the limit imposed by the Constitution, it is the sacred duty of the judiciary to nullify the same.[17]

    Tan v. Comelec[18] held:

    x x x [T]he 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 perpetuation 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.

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Motions for Reconsideration of the Decision dated February 10, 2010 are hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

    SO ORDERED.


    Puno, C.J., Carpio, Carpio Morales, Brion, Mariano C. Del Castillo,Villarama, Jr., and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
    Corona, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Abad, JJ., join the dissenting opinion of J. Perez.
    Perez, J. pls. see dissenting opinion.

    Endnotes:


    [1] SEC. 7. Creation and conversion. - As a general rule, the creation of a local government unit or its conversion from one level to another shall be based on verifiable indicators of viability and projected capacity to provide services, to wit:

    (a) Income. - It must be sufficient, based on acceptable standards, to provide for all essential government facilities and services and special functions commensurate with the size of its population, as expected of the local government unit concerned;

    (b) Population. - It shall be determined as the total number of inhabitants within the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit concerned; and

    (c) Land area. - It must be contiguous, unless it comprises two (2) or more islands, or is separated by a local government unit independent of the others; properly identified by metes and bounds with technical descriptions and sufficient to provide for such basic services and facilities to meet the requirements of its populace.


    Compliance with the foregoing indicators shall be attested to by the Department of Finance (DOF), the National Statistics Office (NSO), and the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

    SEC. 461. Requisites for Creation. - (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites:

    (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; or

    (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office:

    Provided, That, the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area, population, and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein. (Emphasis supplied.)

    [2] Id.

    [3] Annex "AA," rollo, p. 498. (Emphasis supplied.)

    [4] For comparison, Sec. 461 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and Art. 9 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 are reproduced:

    The Local Government Code

    SEC. 461. Requisites for Creation. — (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites:

    (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; or

    (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office: Provided, That, the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area, population, and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.

    (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province.

    (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, trust funds, transfers, and non-recurring income.

    Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991

    ART. 9. Provinces. — (a) Requisites for creation. — A province shall not be created unless the following requisites on income and either population or land area are present:

    (1) Income — An average annual income of not less than Twenty Million Pesos (P20,000,000.00) for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices, as certified by the DOF. The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, special accounts, transfers, and non-recurring income; and

    (2) Population or land area − Population which shall not be less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants, as certified by the National Statistics Office; or land area which must be contiguous with an area of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the LMB. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands, or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands. The territorial jurisdiction of a province sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds. (Emphasis supplied.)

    [5] Hijo Plantation, Inc. v. Central Bank, G.R. No. L-34526, August 9, 1988, 164 SCRA 192, 199.

    [6] Emphasis supplied.

    [7] Emphasis supplied.

    [8] Emphasis supplied.

    [9] Emphasis supplied.

    [10] University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Auditor General, G.R. No. L-19617, October 31, 1969, 30 SCRA 5, 17.

    [11] Ramos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-53766, October 30, 1981, 108 SCRA 728.

    [12] Republic v. Go. Ban Lee, 111 Phil. 805 (1961).

    [13] Cebu Portland Cement Company v. Municipality of Naga, Cebu, G.R. Nos. 24116-17, August 22, 1968, 24 SCRA 708, 712; Ruben E. Agpalo, Statutory Construction (1986), p. 47.

    [14] Emphasis supplied.

    [15] 463 Phil. 179, 197 (2003).

    [16] G.R. Nos. 176951, 177499 & 178056, December 21, 2009.

    [17] Fariñas v. The Executive Secretary, supra note 15.

    [18] 226 Phil. 624, 637-638 (1986).





    DISSENTING OPINION


    Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. 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 other's acts. The theory is that every law, being the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive, has passed careful scrutiny to ensure that it is in accord with the fundamental law. This Court, however, may declare a law, or portions thereof, unconstitutional, where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. In other words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt, for to doubt is to sustain.
    The spirit of the foregoing pronouncements enunciated in Cawaling, Jr. v. Executive Secretary[1] animates this dissent to the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the February 10, 2010 En Banc Decision handed down in the case at bench, declaring as unconstitutional Republic Act No. 9355, as well the provision in Article 9(b) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that, "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands."

    The factual and procedural antecedents are not in dispute.

    A group of islands composed of the municipalities of Basilisa, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo, Loreto, San Jose and Tubajon with an aggregate land area of 802.12 square kilometers, the Dinagat Islands form part of the province of Surigao Del Norte alongside the Mainland, Surigao City, Siargao Island and Bucas Grande. In support of the house bill for the creation of the Dinagat Islands as a separate province, it appears that a special census conducted by the province of Surigao Del Norte and the National Statistics Office (NSO) District Census Coordinator in July 2003 yielded a population count of 371,576 inhabitants. With the certification from the Bureau of Local Government Finance that the proposed province had an average annual income of P82,696,433.23, the house bill for the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives on August 14, 2006 and August 28, 2006, respectively.

    On October 2, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved and enacted said house bill into law as Republic Act No. 9355, entitled, "An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands." The plebiscite conducted by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on December 3, 2006 in the local government units directly affected by the creation of the new province yielded 69,943 affirmative votes and 63,502 negative votes. Subsequent to the proclamation of said vote by the Plebiscite Provincial Board of Canvassers on December 3, 2006, the President appointed a new set of provincial officials who took their oath of office on January 26, 2007. In the May 14, 2007 synchronized National and Local Elections, the constituents of the new province elected a new set of provincial officers who eventually assumed office on July 1, 2007.

    Petitioners initially assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9355 in the petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed before the Court as G.R. No. 175158. Undaunted by the dismissal of said petition on technical grounds and the denial of their motion for reconsideration thereof, petitioners filed the petition for certiorari to which the case at bench traces its provenance. Reiterating the arguments in their previous petition, petitioners maintained that the law failed to comply with either the land area and population requirements prescribed under the Local Government Code of 1991. In addition to the invalidation of the law as unconstitutional, petitioners prayed for the nullification of the appointment and election of the provincial officers of Dinagat Islands as well as the return of its municipalities and districts to the province of Surigao Del Norte.

    On February 10, 2010, a decision was rendered declaring Republic Act No. 9355 unconstitutional for failure to comply with the land area and population requirements under the Local Government Code, and giving short shrift to respondents' reliance on Article 9(b) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 (IRR) to the effect that the requirement of a contiguous territory of at least 2,000 square kilometers does not apply when the proposed province is composed of one or more islands. The decision invoked the case of Tan v. COMELEC[2] which declared that the term "territory" only refers to the mass of land area and excludes the waters over which the local government unit exercises control. Likewise brushing aside the result of the special census for lack of certification from the NSO, the decision also ruled that the population requirement was not complied with, based on the NSO 2000 Census of Population which pegged the official population of Dinagat Islands at 106,951.

    After a circumspect consideration of the arguments for and against the validity of the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands, I am convinced, with all due respect, that a reconsideration of the decision is in order.

    The creation of local government units is governed by Section 10, Article X of the Constitution which provides that, "(n)o province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, 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." Correlatively, Section 461 of the Local Government Code prescribes the criteria for the creation of a province in the following wise:

    SEC. 461. Requisites for Creation. - (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites:

    (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; or

    (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office:

    Provided, That, the creation thereof shall not reduce the land area, population, and income of the original unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed herein.

    (b) The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province.

    (c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, trust funds, transfers, and non-recurring income.

    Considered the most important factor insofar as the creation of a new province is concerned, the income requirement under the Local Government Code has been more than four-fold complied with, as may be gleaned from the Bureau of Local Government Finance Certification that, based on the 1991 constant prices, the average annual income of the Province of Dinagat Islands is P82,696,433.23. Despite its aggregate land area of 802.12 square kilometers only, the new province has also measured up to the territorial requirement since, being comprised of two or more islands, it is exempted from the contiguous 2,000 square-kilometer land mass prescribed under Section 461 (a)[i]. Although the exemption in paragraph (b) appears to extend only to the requirement of contiguity, I am convinced by Mr. Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura's opinion that, from the tenor of the same provision, the contiguity and land area requirements cannot be considered separate and distinct from each other. As eloquently stated in his dissent:

    By rough analogy, the two components are like dicephalic conjoined twins - two heads are attached to a single body. If one head is separated from the other, then the twins die. In the same manner, the law, by providing in paragraph (b) of Section 461 that the territory need not be contiguous if the same is comprised of islands, must be interpreted as intended to exempt such territory from the land area component of 2,000 sq. km. Because the two component requirements are inseparable, the elimination of contiguity from the territorial criterion has the effect of a co-existent eradication of the land area component. The territory of the province of Dinagat Islands, therefore, comprising the major islands of Dinagat and Hibuson, and approximately 47 islets, need not be contiguous and need not have an area of at least 2,000 sq. km following Section 461 of the LGC.

    It will result in superfluity, if not absurdity, if paragraph (b) of the provision is interpreted as referring only to the component requirement of contiguity and not to both component requirements of contiguity and land area. This is because contiguity does not always mean contact by land. Thus, insofar as islands are concerned, they are deemed contiguous although separated by wide spans of navigable deep waters, with the exception of the high seas, because all lands separated by water touch one another, in a sense, beneath the water. The provision, then, as worded, only means that the exemption in paragraph (b) refers to both the components of territory, that is, contiguity and land area, and not merely the first, standing alone. For, indeed, why will the law still exempt the islands from the requirement of contiguity when they are already legally contiguous?

    Compliance with the land area requirement by the Province of Dinagat Islands is cast in even relief when gauged from the clear and unambiguous language of the IRR which was formulated in accordance with Section 533 of the Local Government Code, by the Oversight Committee chaired by the Executive Secretary and composed of representatives from the Senate,[3] the House of Representatives,[4] the Cabinet[5] and the leagues of local government units.[6] Partaking the nature of executive construction and, for said reason, deserving of great weight and respect,[7] Article 9 of the IRR distinctly provides as follows:

    ART. 9. Provinces. - (a) Requisites for creation. — A province shall not be created unless the following requisites on income and either population or land area are present:

    (1) Income — An average annual income of not less than Twenty Million Pesos (P20,000,000.00) for the immediately preceding two (2) consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices, as certified by DOF. The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, exclusive of special funds, special accounts, transfers, and nonrecurring income; and

    (2) Population or land area — Population which shall not be less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants, as certified by NSO; or land area which must be contiguous with an area of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by LMB. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province. The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands. The territorial jurisdiction of a province sought to be created shall be properly identified by metes and bounds.

    The creation of a new province shall not reduce the land area, population, and income of the original LGU or LGUs at the time of said creation to less than the prescribed minimum requirements. All expenses incidental to the creation shall be borne by the petitioners.

    Alongside declaring Republic Act No. 9355 as unconstitutional for non-compliance with the land area requirement, however, the ponencia also declared the underscored portion of the foregoing IRR provision null and void for going beyond the criteria prescribed by Section 461 of the Local Government. Citing the Court's November 18, 2008 ruling in League of Cities of the Philippines v. COMELEC,[8] it held that "(t)he Constitution requires that the criteria for the creation of a province, including any exemption from such criteria, must all be written in the Local Government Code." In case of discrepancy between the basic law and the rules and regulations implementing the same, the ponencia went on to state that, "the basic law prevails, because the rules and regulations cannot go beyond the terms and provisions of the basic law."

    The League of Cities case concerned the constitutionality of sixteen cityhood laws, each converting the municipalities covered into a city, for non-compliance with Republic Act. No. 9009 which amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code by increasing the income requirement from P20,000,000.00 to P100,000,000.00 for a municipality to be converted into a component city. Initially declared unconstitutional in the aforesaid November 18, 2008 Decision, the constitutionality of the subject cityhood laws were eventually upheld in the December 21, 2009 Decision subsequently rendered in the case on the ground, among others, that the Local Government Code, despite its being the ideal repository for the same, need not be the only vessel of all the criteria for the creation of local government units. Taking into consideration the circumstances under which Republic Act No. 9009 and said cityhood laws were enacted, the Court ruled as follows:

    Legislative intent is part and parcel of the law, the controlling factor in interpreting a statute. In construing a statute, the proper course is to start out and follow the true intent of the Legislature and to adopt the sense that best harmonizes with the context and promotes in the fullest manner the policy and objects of the legislature. In fact, any interpretation that runs counter to the legislative intent is unacceptable and invalid. Torres v. Limjap could not have been more precise:

    `The intent of a Statute is the Law. — If a statute is valid, it is to have effect according to the purpose and intent of the lawmaker. The intent is x x x the essence of the law and the primary rule of construction is to ascertain and give effect to that intent. The intention of the legislature in enacting a law is the law itself, and must be enforced when ascertained, although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of a statute when it leads away from the true intent and purpose of the legislature and to conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. Intent is the spirit which gives life to a legislative enactment. In construing statutes the proper course is to start out and follow the true intent of the legislature.'

    When viewed in the light of the legislative intent underlying Section 461 of the Local Government Code, I respectfully submit that Article 9 of the IRR is not in conflict with the criteria for the creation of provinces ensconced in said provision of the basic law. Unlike Section 197[9] of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, its counterpart provision in the predecessor of the present Local Government Code, Section 461 does not give equal premium to the income, land area and population requirements for the creation of new provinces. This is readily evident from the fact that, after prescribing the P20,000,000.00 income requirement, Section 461 simply mandates compliance with either the requirement of a contiguous territory of 2,000 square kilometers or a population of not less than 250,000. Already quoted in Justice Nachura's dissent to the ponencia, the following transcript of the congressional deliberations on the house bill from which the present Local Government Code originated is particularly enlightening regarding the legislative intent for said new requirements, viz.:

    HON. ALFELOR: Income is mandatory. We can even have this doubled because we thought...

    CHAIRMAN CUENCO: In other words, the primordial considerations here is the economic viability of the new local government unit, the new province?

    x x x x

    HON. LAGUADA: The reason why we are willing to increase the income, double than the House version, because we also believe that economic viability is really a minimum. Land area and population are functions really of the viability of the area, because where you have an income level which would be the trigger point for economic development, population will naturally increase because there will be an immigration. However, if you disallow the particular area from being converted into a province because of population problems in the beginning, it will never be able to reach the point where it could become a province simply because it will never have the economic take off for it to trigger off that economic development.

    Now, we are saying that maybe Fourteen Million Pesos is a floor area where it could pay for overhead, and provide a minimum of basic services to the population. Over and above that, the provincial officials should be able to trigger off economic development which will attract new investments from the private sector. This is now the concern of their local officials. But if we are going to tie the hands of the proponents, simply by telling them, `Sorry, you are now at 150 thousand or 200,000 thousand,' you will never be able to become a province because nobody wants to go to that place. Why? Because you never have any reason for economic viability.

    x x x x

    CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL: Okay, what about land area?

    HON. LUMAUIG: 1,500 square kilometers.

    HON. ANGARA: Walang problema yon, that's not very critical, `yong land area because...

    CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL: Okay, ya, our, the Senate version is 3.5, 3,500 square meters, ah, square kilometers.

    HON. LAGUADA: Ne, Ne. A province is constituted for the purpose of administrative efficiency and delivery of basic services.

    CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL: Right.

    HON. LAGUADA: Actually, when you come down to it, when government was instituted, there is only one central government and then everybody falls under that. But it was later on subdivided into provinces for purposes of administrative efficiency.

    CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL: Okay.

    HON. LAGUADA: Now, what we're seeing now is that the administrative efficiency is no longer there because the land areas that we are giving to our governors is so wide that no one man could possibly administer all of the complex machineries that are needed.

    Secondly, when you say `delivery of basic services,' as pointed out by Cong. Alfelor, there are sections of the province which have never been visited by public officials precisely because they don't have the time nor the energy anymore because it is so wide. Now, by compressing the land area and by reducing the population requirement, we are, in effect, trying to follow the basic policy of why we are creating provinces, which is to deliver basic services and to make it more efficient in administration.

    CHAIRMAN PIMENTEL: Yeah, that's correct, but on the assumption that the province is able to do it without being a burden to the national government. That's the assumption.

    HON. LAGUADA: That's why we're going into the minimum income level. As we said, if we go on a minimum income level, then we say, `this is the trigger point at which this administration can take place."

    In exempting provinces composed of one or more islands from both the contiguity and land area requirements, Article 9 of the IRR cannot be considered inconsistent with the criteria under Section 461 of the Local Government Code. Far from being absolute regarding application of the requirement of "a contiguous territory of at least 2,000 square kilometers as certified by the Land Management Bureau," Section 461 allows for said exemption by providing, under paragraph (b) thereof, that "(t)he territory need not be contiguous if (the new province) comprises two or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities which do not contribute to the income of the province." For as long as there is compliance with the income requirement, the legislative intent is, after all, to the effect that the land area and population requirements may be overridden by the established economic viability of the proposed province.

    In the aforesaid December 21, 2009 Decision in the League of Cities case, the Court sagely ruled that "(t)he legislative intent is not at all times accurately reflected in the manner in which the resulting law is couched. Thus, applying a verba legis or strictly literal interpretation of a statute may render it meaningless and lead to inconvenience, an absurd situation or injustice. To obviate this aberration, and bearing in mind the principle that the intent or the spirit of the law is the law itself, resort should be to the rule that the spirit of the law controls its letter." Indeed, the forum for examining the wisdom of the law, and enacting remedial measures, is not this Court but the Legislature.[10] Consequently, 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.[11]

    Without taking into consideration the aforesaid legislative intent, the ponencia clearly resorted to a strict verba legis interpretation in invalidating the portion of Article 9 of the IRR which states that, "The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands." In determining that the Province of Dinagat Islands failed to comply with the land area requirement, it also relied heavily on the Court's pronouncements in Tan v. COMELEC[12] where the principal issue was, however, the invalidity of the creation of the province of Negros Del Norte on account of the fact that the plebiscite therefor conducted did not include the parent province of Negros Oriental. Although the collateral issue of compliance with the land area requirement was resolved pursuant to Section 197 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337 and not Section 461 of the present Local Government Code, the ponencia further ruled that the requirements under both laws are similar and that there is no reason for a change in the definitions, usage or meaning of the terms "territory" and "contiguous" in said laws.

    As hereinbefore observed, however, Section 197 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, unlike Section 461 of the Local Government Code of 1991, gave equal premium to the income, land area and population requirements for the creation of new provinces. Even prescinding from the current decrease in population and land area requirement as well as the increase in the income requirement, it cannot, therefore, be validly argued that the requisites for the creation of a province under both laws are similar. Given the lesser importance accorded the land area and population under Section 461 of the present Local Government Code, I find that the propriety of applying the restrictive interpretation of the land area requirement in Tan v. COMELEC to the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands is not as cut and dried as the ponencia considered it to be. More so, when it is borne in mind that, unlike the one conducted for the proposed province of Negros Del Norte, the plebiscite conducted for said new province unquestionably complied with the Constitutional requirement of inclusion of "the political units directly affected."

    In ordaining the enactment of a local government code, Section 3, Article X of the Constitution envisioned one "which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization." Paying attention to this principle, Section 2(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides as follows:

    Sec. 2 Declaration of Policy - (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. Towards this end, the State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall proceed from the National Government to the local government units.

    To my mind, it was undoubtedly in the service of the foregoing principles and policies that the house bill creating the Province of Dinagat Islands was passed by Congress and enacted into law by the President. As an organic law, Republic Act No. 9355 also garnered the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite conducted not only in the municipalities constituting the newly created province but also the parent province of Surigao Del Norte. During the May 14, 2007 synchronized National and Local Elections, the constituents of the Province of Dinagat Islands have, in fact, already elected their provincial officers who are about to complete their first term of office. The foregoing considerations were unduly brushed aside by the ponencia in one fell swoop when it invalidated Republic Act No. 9355 and the exception embodied in Article 9 of the IRR with a strict and narrow interpretation of Section 461 of the Local Government Code.

    Endnotes:


    [1] G.R. No. 146342, October 26, 2001.

    [2] 142 SCRA 727.

    [3] Three Senators appointed by the Senate President, to include the Chairman of the Committee on Local Government.

    [4] The Congressmen appointed by the Speaker, to include the Chairman of the Committee on Local Government.

    [5] Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Budget and Management.

    [6] One representative each from the League of Provinces, League of Cities, League of Municipalities and Liga ng mga Barangay.

    [7] Galarosa v. Valencia, 227 SCRA 728.

    [8] 571 SCRA 263.

    [9] Sec. 197. Requisites for Creation. — A province may be created if it has a territory of at least three thousand five hundred square kilometers, a population of at least five hundred thousand pesos, an average estimated annual income, as certified by the Ministry of Finance, of not less than ten million pesos for the last three consecutive years, and its creation shall not reduce the population and income of the mother province or provinces at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements under this section. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two or more islands.

    The average estimated annual income shall include the income allotted for both the general and infrastructure funds, exclusive of trust funds, transfers and nonrecurring income.

    [10] Peñera v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 181613, November 25, 2009.

    [11] Mariano v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 118577 and 118627, March 7, 1995.

    [12] Supra.

    [G.R. No. 180050 : May 12, 2010]   RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, VICTOR F. BERNAL, AND RENE O. MEDINA, PETITIONERS, VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, REPRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY THE HOUSE SPEAKER; GOVERNOR ROBERT ACE S. BARBERS, REPRESENTING THE MOTHER PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL NORTE; GOVERNOR GERALDINE ECLEO VILLAROMAN, REPRESENTING THE NEW PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS, RESPONDENTS.


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED