Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 2016 > December 2016 Decisions > G.R. No. 197146, December 06, 2016 - HON. MICHAEL L. RAMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF CEBU CITY, METROPOLITAN CEBU WATER DISTRICT (MCWD), REPRESENTED BY ITS GENERAL MANAGER, ARMANDO PAREDES; THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MCWD, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIR, ELIGIO A. PACANA; JOEL MARI S. YU, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE MCWD BOARD; AND THE HONORABLE TOMAS R. OSMEÑA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTH DISTRICT, CEBU CITY, Petitioners, v. HON. GILBERT P. MOISES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 18, CEBU CITY; AND HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU, Respondents.:




G.R. No. 197146, December 06, 2016 - HON. MICHAEL L. RAMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF CEBU CITY, METROPOLITAN CEBU WATER DISTRICT (MCWD), REPRESENTED BY ITS GENERAL MANAGER, ARMANDO PAREDES; THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MCWD, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIR, ELIGIO A. PACANA; JOEL MARI S. YU, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE MCWD BOARD; AND THE HONORABLE TOMAS R. OSMEÑA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTH DISTRICT, CEBU CITY, Petitioners, v. HON. GILBERT P. MOISES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 18, CEBU CITY; AND HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU, Respondents.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

G.R. No. 197146, December 06, 2016

HON. MICHAEL L. RAMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF CEBU CITY, METROPOLITAN CEBU WATER DISTRICT (MCWD), REPRESENTED BY ITS GENERAL MANAGER, ARMANDO PAREDES; THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MCWD, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIR, ELIGIO A. PACANA; JOEL MARI S. YU, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE MCWD BOARD; AND THE HONORABLE TOMAS R. OSMEÑA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTH DISTRICT, CEBU CITY, Petitioners, v. HON. GILBERT P. MOISES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 18, CEBU CITY; AND HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU, Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

BERSAMIN, J.:

A law enacted prior to the 1987 Constitution, like a presidential decree, is presumed to be valid and constitutional on the theory that it was carefully studied by the Legislative and Executive Departments prior to its enactment, and determined to be in accord with the Fundamental Law. However, the presumption of validity and constitutionality is overturned and the law should be struck down once it becomes inconsistent with the present Constitution and the later laws.

Antecedents

On May 25, 1973, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973). By virtue of P. D. No. 198, Cebu City formed the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) in 1974. Thereafter, the Cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay, and the Municipalities of Liloan, Compostela, Consolacion, and Cordova turned over their waterworks systems and services to the MCWD. Since then, the MCWD has distributed water and sold water services to said cities and municipalities. From 1974 to 2002, the Cebu City Mayor appointed all the members of the MCWD Board of Directors in accordance with Section 3 (b) of P. D. No. 198, to wit:
Section 3. Definitions. - As used in this Decree, the following words and terms shall have the meanings herein set forth, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context. The definition of a word or term applies to any of its variants.

(a) Act. This is the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

(b) Appointing authority. The person empowered to appoint the members of the board of Directors of a local water district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located. If portions of more than one province are included within the boundary of the district, and the appointing authority is to be the governors then the power to appoint shall rotate between the governors involved with the initial appointments made by the governor in whose province the greatest number of service connections exists. (bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
In July 2002, Cebu Provincial Governor Pablo L. Garcia wrote to the MCWD to assert his authority and intention to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors.1 He stated in his letter that since 1996, the active water service connections in Cebu City had been below 75% of the total active water service connection of the MCWD; that no other city or municipality under the MCWD had reached the required percentage of 75%; and that, accordingly, he, as the Provincial Governor of Cebu, was the appointing authority for the members of the MCWD Board of Directors pursuant to Section 3 (b) of P. D. No. 198.

Later on, the MCWD commenced in the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City (RTC) its action for declaratory relief seeking to declare Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 unconstitutional; or, should the provision be declared valid, it should be interpreted to mean that the authority to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors belonged solely to the Cebu City Mayor.2

The RTC (Branch 7) dismissed the action for declaratory relief without any finding and declaration as to the proper appointing authority for the members of the MCWD Board of Directors should none of the cities and municipalities reach 75% of the total water service connections in the areas under the MCWD.3

In the meanwhile, the terms of two members of the MCWD Board of Directors ended, resulting in two vacancies. To avoid a vacuum and in the exigency of the service, Provincial Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña jointly appointed Atty. Adelino Sitoy and Leo Pacaña to fill the vacancies.4 However, the position of Atty. Sitoy was deemed vacated upon his election as the Municipal Mayor of Cordova, Cebu in the 2007 elections.

Consequently, Governor Garcia commenced an action for declaratory relief to seek the interpretation of Section 3 (b) of P.D. No. 198 on the proper appointing authority for the members of the MCWD Board of Directors.5

It appears that on February 7, 2008, the Cebu Provincial Legal Office, upon being informed that Mayor Osmeña would be appointing Joel Mari S. Yu to replace Atty. Sitoy as a member of the MCWD Board of Directors, formally advised in writing Cynthia A. Barrit, the MCWD Board Secretary, to defer the submission of the list of nominees to any appointing authority until the RTC rendered its final ruling on the issue of the proper appointing authority.6 On February 22, 2008, however, Mayor Osmeña appointed Yu as a member of the MCWD Board of Directors.7 Accordingly, on May 20, 2008, the RTC dismissed the action for declaratory relief on the ground that declaratory relief became improper once there was a breach or violation of the provision.8

On June 13, 2008, Governor Garcia filed a complaint to declare the nullity of the appointment of Yu as a member of the MCWD Board of Directors (docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-34459), alleging that the appointment by Mayor Osmeña was illegal; that under Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198, it was she as the Provincial Governor of Cebu who was vested with the authority to appoint members of the MCWD Board of Directors because the total active water service connections of Cebu City and of the other cities and municipalities were below 75% of the total water service connections in the area of the MCWD.9 She impleaded Mayor Osmeña, the MCWD, and Yu as defendants.

In his answer, Mayor Osmeña contended that the authority to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors solely belonged to him; that since the creation of the MCWD in 1974, it was the Cebu City Mayor who had been appointing the members of the MCWD Board of Directors; that the Province of Cebu had not invested or participated in the creation of the MCWD; and that Cebu City, being a highly urbanized city (HUC), was independent from the Province of Cebu under the provisions on local autonomy of the 1987 Constitution.10

The RTC (Branch 18), to which the case was raffled, required the parties to submit their memorandum.

In their joint memorandum, Osmeña and Yu posited that the Province of Cebu did not participate in the organization of the MCWD; that the words and sentences of Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 should not be read and understood or interpreted literally; and that the case should be dismissed because: (1) Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 was unconstitutional for being arbitrary and unreasonable; (2) Governor Garcia had no authority to appoint any members of the MCWD Board of Directors; and (3) that the Mayor of the city or municipality having the majority of water connections within the area under the MCWD had the power to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors.11

On November 16, 2010, the RTC rendered the assailed judgment declaring the appointment of Yu as illegal and void,12 holding as follows:
The questioned provision, paragraph (b) of Section 3 of P.O. 198 is clear enough that it needs no interpretation. It expressly states in unequivocal terms the appointing authority in the water district's board of directors --- if more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of the city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located.

It has not been belied by defendants that the active water service connections of Cebu City in the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), at 61.28%, have gone below the required 75% required by law for the city mayor to have the authority to appoint members of the board of directors of the water district. Lacking such percentage requisite, the appointing power is now vested with the governor of the Province of Cebu. While it may be true that the governor had not participated in organizing MCWD and neither did the Province of Cebu invest in establishing waterworks in the component local governments, the law, however, does not impose any condition or restriction in transferring the power to the governor to appoint members of the board of directors when the percentage falls below 75%. Thus, there is no doubt that when any of the water district's participating city or municipality could not obtain 75% of the active water service connections, the governor shall appoint the members of the board of directors of the water district, whether it is a participant or not, in its organization.

As to the constitutionality of the questioned provision, the Court finds that Sec. 3 of P.O. 198 does not violate the Constitution or the Local Government Code. Vesting the authority in the governor to appoint a member of the board of directors of a water district is not intruding into the affairs of the highly urbanized cities and component cities which comprise the district, and neither is it a threat to their autonomy. It does not interfere with their powers and functions and neither can it be considered an exercise of the provincial government's supervisory powers. At most, it is simply giving the authority to appoint the head of the government unit (the governor) where all the members of the water district are geographically located, and only when none of these cities and municipalities has the required 75% of the active water service connections. Nevertheless, the issue is not whether the governor took any part in organizing the water district or has contributed to its formation, but that by law, she has been made the appointing authority even if she has no participation or involvement in the cooperative effort of the members of the water district. This may not be the most expedient and appropriate solution, but still, it is not illegal. As to why this is so is a question only our lawmakers could answer.

All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality, one who attacks a statute, alleging constitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional, that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld and the challenger must negate all possible bases; that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute, and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favour of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted.

Notably, among the admissions found in the Answer for defendants Yu and MCWD states: "x x x with respect to the two (2) vacancies in the Board of MCWD and that joint appointment was made by the plaintiff and defendant Mayor Osmeña to Atty. Adelino Sitoy and Mr. Eligio Pacana." The Court surmises from this statement that as early as the previous appointments (of Mr. Pacana and Atty. Sitoy) defendants have already recognized the appointing authority of the governor for members of the MCWD board of directors, considering Cebu City's failure to reach the 75% benchmark on active water service connections.

In sum, the Court has not been able to find any constitutional infirmity in the questioned provision (Sec. 3) of Presidential Decree No. 198. The fundamental criterion is that all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. For a law to be nullified, there must be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. The ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. Those who seek to declare the law, or parts thereof unconstitutional, must clearly establish the basis therefore. Otherwise, the arguments fall short.

Based on the grounds raised by defendants to challenge the constitutionality of Section 3 of P.D. 198, the Court finds that defendants have failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the law. As to whether the questioned section constitutes a wise legislation, considering the issues being raised by petitioners, is for Congress to determine.

WHEREFORE, Judgment is hereby rendered in favour of plaintiff and against defendants, finding the appointment of defendant Joel Mari S. Yu as member of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) as illegal, null and void.13
Mayor Osmeña and Yu jointly moved for reconsideration,14 but the RTC denied their motion.15

Issues

Hence, the petitioners have instituted this special civil action for certiorari,16 contending that:
I.

THE RESPONDENT COURT ABDICATED ITS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY IN REFUSING TO DELVE ON THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY.

II.

THE JUDGMENT IS VOID ON ITS FACE BECAUSE OF CLEAR CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS APPARENT BY A MERE READING OF THE DECREE.

III.

THE JUDGMENT VIOLATES DUE PROCESS AND THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
17

Ruling of the Court

The petition for certiorari is granted.

1.
Preliminary Matter:
Yu's expiration of term did not render case moot and academic


We note that respondent Yu's term as a member of the MCWD Board of Directors expired on December 31, 2012.18 However, this fact does not justify the dismissal of the petition on the ground of its being rendered moot and academic. The case should still be decided, despite the intervening developments that could have rendered the case moot and academic, because public interest is involved, and because the issue is capable of repetition yet evading review.19

For sure, the appointment by the proper official of the individuals to manage the system of water distribution and service for the consumers residing in the concerned cities and municipalities involves the interest of their populations and the general public affected by the services of the MCWD as a public utility. Moreover, the question on the proper appointing authority for the members of the MCWD Board of Directors should none of the cities and municipalities have at least 75% of the water consumers will not be definitively resolved with finality if we dismiss the petition on the ground of mootness. It is notable that the two cases for declaratory relief filed for the purpose of determining the proper appointing authority were dismissed without any definitive declaration or ultimate determination of the merits of the issue. The issue festers. Hence, the Court needs to decide it now, not later.

2.
First Issue:
RTC explained its holding of the assailed provision as valid and constitutional but it thereby erred nonetheless


The petitioners take the RTC to task for not explaining why it held Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 to be not violative of the constitutional provision on local autonomy and HUCs, and why it only opined that the question of constitutionality of the provision should be left to Congress; that it did not determine whether the requisites for raising the constitutional issue had been met; that it did not discuss the reasons for holding that the issue about Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 was a political question; that no political question was involved because what was being inquired into was not the wisdom of the provision but its validity; and that because it did not perform its constitutional duty of reviewing the provision, its judgment was void.20

The petitioners are mistaken on the first issue. The records show that the RTC, which indisputably had the power and the duty to determine and decide the issue of the constitutionality of Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198,21 fully discharged its duty. In its assailed decision of November 16, 2010, the RTC ruled as follows:
As to the constitutionality of the questioned provision, the Court finds that Sec. 3 of P.D. 198 does not violate the Constitution or the Local Government Code. Vesting the authority in the governor to appoint a member of the board of directors of a water district is not intruding into the affairs of the highly urbanized cities and component cities which comprise the district, and neither is it a threat to their autonomy. It does not interfere with their powers and functions and neither can it be considered an exercise of the provincial government's supervisory powers. At most, it is simply giving the authority to appoint the head oftbe government unit (the governor) where all the members of the water district are geographically located, and only when none of these cities and municipalities has the required  75% of the active water  service connections. Nevertheless, the issue is not whether the governor took any part in organizing the water district or has contributed to its formation, but that by law, she has been made the appointing authority even if she has no participation or involvement in the cooperative effort of the members of the water district. This may not be the most expedient and appropriate solution, but still, it is not illegal. As to why this is so is a question only our lawmakers could answer.

All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute, alleging constitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld and the challenger must negate all possible bases, that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute; and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted.

x x x x


In sum, the Court has not been able to find any constitutional infirmity in the questioned provision (Sec. 3) of Presidential Decree No. 198. The fundamental criterion is that all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. For a law to be nullified, there must be shown that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. The ground for nullity must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt. Those who seek to declare the law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional, must clearly establish the basis therefore. Otherwise, the arguments fall short.22
Nonetheless, the petitioners rightly contend that the RTC improperly regarded the matter about Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 as a political question; hence, not justiciable. It was not.

Political questions refer to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislature or executive branch of the government."23 They are "neatly associated with the wisdom" of a particular act.24

The difference between the political and the justiciable questions has been noted in Sanidad v. Commission on Elections,25cralawred as follows:
x x x The implementing Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which commonly purport to have the force and effect of legislation are assailed as invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is plainly a justiciable one, within the competence of this Court to pass upon. Section 2 (2), Article X of the new Constitution provides: "All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, executive agreement, or law may shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en bane and no treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten Members...." The Supreme Court has the last word in the construction not only of treaties and statutes, but also of the Constitution itself. The amending, like all other powers organized in the Constitution, is in form a delegated and hence a limited power, so that the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to determine whether that power has been discharged within its limits. (Emphasis supplied)
The petitioners have averred the unconstitutionality or invalidity of Section3 (b) of P.D. No 198 based on the provision's arbitrariness in denying substantive due process and equal protection to the affected local government units (LGUs). Such issue, being justiciable, comes within the power of judicial review. As such, the RTC skirted its duty of judicial review by improperly relying on the political question doctrine. It should have instead adhered to the pronouncement in Estrada v. Desierto,26 to wit:
To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou shalt not's" of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its jurisdiction. With the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing nothing. x x x (Italics omitted)
3.
Second Issue:
Section 3(b) of P.D. 198 is already superseded

The petitioners argue that the MCWD became a water district by the pooling of the water utilities belonging to several HUCs and municipalities; that the active water connections in the MCWD have been distributed as follows: Cebu City: 61.28%; Mandaue City: 16%; Lapulapu City: 6.8%; Talisay City and the Municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Compostela, and Cordova: 16.92%; that Section 3 (b) of P.D. No. 198 was unconstitutional on its face for being unreasonable and arbitrary because the determination of who would exercise the power to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors was thereby made to depend on the shifting number of water users in the water district's component LGUs; that the provision on the authority of the Provincial Governor to appoint in cases where the water connections of any of the water district's cities or municipalities were below 75% was arbitrary for not distinguishing whether or not the province had contributed any waterworks to the water district; that the provision did not consider whether a city or municipality comprised the majority or more of the water consumers; that the provision was irrational as it gave the Provincial Governor the power to appoint regardless of whether the province had participated in the organization of the water district or not; that in a democracy, the principle that if power or authority was conferred through determination of numerical figures then the numerical superiority or the rule of the majority should apply; that the rule of the majority was being applied in electing government leaders as well as in choosing the leaders in the private sector; that the provision violated the rule of the majority; that at the time of the filing of this case, the majority of MCWD water service connections were in Cebu City (61.28%); and that the appointing power should necessarily remain in the City Mayor of Cebu City because the appointing power was based on the number of water service connections.

The petitioners asseverate that the provision or any part of P.D. No. 198 did not state any reason for departing from the rule of the majority; that the provision failed reasonableness as a standard of substantive due process; that the appointing authority should be the mayor of the city or municipality having the majority of the water connections; that if such majority could not be attained, there must be a power sharing scheme among those having the largest number of water connections conformably with the rule of the majority; that the temporary alternative was the Board  of Directors themselves, who, under Section 10 of P.D. No. 198, could appoint upon failure of the appointing authority to do so; that the assailed provision was void on its face for violating the constitutional provision on local autonomy and independence of HUCs under Article X of the 1987 Constitution; that the provision unduly interfered with the internal affairs of Cebu City, and diminished the autonomy of the LGUs; that the provision undermined the independence of HUCs; that both the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and the Office of the Solicitor General have opined that because Cebu City was an HUC, the City Mayor of Cebu City should retain the right to appoint the members of the MCWD Board of Directors; that the chief executive of the LGU having the majority of water consumers was in the best position to exercise the discretion of choosing the most competent persons who could best serve the constituents; that because the largest number of water consumers were in Cebu City, any intrusion on the City Mayor's power to appoint would violate its independence and autonomy; that the Province of Cebu could not exercise powers that affected the constituents of HUCs; that providing water to constituents was the sole responsibility of the concerned LGU; that the water utility of the LGU was a patrimonial property that was not for public use; that as such, the operation, ownership and management of the public utility should belong to the LGU; and that the operation of the water utilities involved the private rights of the LGUs that could not be amended or altered by a statute.27

The Court opines that Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 should be partially struck down for being repugnant to the local autonomy granted by the 1987 Constitution to LGUs, and for being inconsistent with R.A. No. 7160 (1991 Local Government Code) and related laws on local governments.

P.D. No. 198 - issued by President Marcos in the exercise of his legislative power during the period of Martial Law proclaimed under the 1973 Constitution - relevantly provided:
MALACAÑANG
Manila

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 198 May 25, 1973

DECLARING A NATIONAL POLICY FAVORING LOCAL OPERATION AND CONTROL OF WATER SYSTEMS; AUTHORIZING THE FORMATION OF LOCAL WATER DISTRICTS AND PROVIDING FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF SUCH DISTRICTS; CHARTERING A NATIONAL ADMINISTRATION TO FACILITATE IMPROVEMENT OF LOCAL WATER UTILITIES; GRANTING SAID ADMINISTRATION SUCH POWERS AS ARE NECESSARY TO OPTIMIZE PUBLIC SERVICE FROM WATER UTILITY OPERATIONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

WHEREAS, one of the pre-requisites to the orderly and well­ balanced growth of urban areas is an effective system of local utilities, the absence of which is recognized as a deterrent to economic growth, a hazard to public health and an irritant to the spirit and well-being of the citizenry;

WHEREAS, domestic water systems and sanitary sewers are two of the most basic and essential elements of local utility system, which, with a few exceptions, do not exist in provincial areas in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, existing domestic water utilities are not meeting the needs of the communities they serve; water quality is unsatisfactory; pressure is inadequate; and reliability of service is poor; in fact, many persons receive no piped water service whatsoever;

WHEREAS, conditions of service continue to worsen for two apparent reasons, namely: (1) that key element of existing systems are deteriorating faster than they are being maintained or replaced, and (2) that they are not being expanded at a rate sufficient to match population growth; and

WHEREAS, local water utilities should be locally-controlled and managed, as well as have support on the national level in the area of technical advisory services and financing;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in my by the Constitution, as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972 and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, as amended, do hereby decree, order and make as part of the law of the land the following measure:

TITLE I

PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS


Section 1. Title. - This Decree shall be known and referred to as the "Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973."

Section 2. Declaration of Policy. - The creation, operation, maintenance and expansion of reliable and economically viable and sound water supply and wastewater disposal system for population centers of the Philippines is hereby declared to be an objective of national policy of high priority. For purpose of achieving said objective, the formulation and operation of independent, locally controlled public water districts is found and declared to be the most feasible and favored institutional structure. To this end, it is hereby declared to be in the national interest that said districts be formed and that local water supply and wastewater disposal systems be operated by and through such districts to the greatest extent practicable. To encourage the formulation of such local water districts and the transfer thereto to existing water supply and wastewater disposal facilities, this Decree provides the general act the authority for the formation thereof, on a local option basis. It is likewise declared appropriate, necessary and advisable that all funding requirements for such local water systems, other than those provided by local revenues, should be channeled through and administered by an institution on the national level, which institution shall be responsible for and have authority to promulgate and enforce certain rules and regulations to achieve national goals and the objective of providing public waterworks services to the greatest number at least cost, to effect system integration or joint investments and operations whenever economically warranted and to assure the maintenance of uniform standards, training of personnel and the adoption of sound operating and accounting procedures.

Section 3. Definitions. - As used in this Decree, the following words and terms shall have the meanings herein set forth, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context. The definition of a word or term applies to any of its variants.

(a) Act. This Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

(b) Appointing authority. The person empowered to appoint the members of the Board of Directors of a local water district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located. If portions of more than one province are included within the boundary of the district, and the appointing authority is to be the governors then the power to appoint shall rotate between the governors involved with the initial appointments made by the governor in whose province the greatest number of service connections exists. (Emphasis supplied)

x x x x
The enactment of P.D. No. 198 on May 25, 1973 was prior to the enactment on December 22, 1979 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 51 (An Act Providing for the Elective or Appointive Positions in Various Local Governments and for Other Purposes) and antedated as well the effectivity of the 1991 Local Government Code on January 1, 1992. At the time of the enactment of P.D. No. 198, Cebu City was still a component city of Cebu Province. Section 328 of B.P. Blg. 51 reclassified the cities of the Philippines based on well-defined criteria. Cebu City thus became an HUC, which immediately meant that its inhabitants were ineligible to vote for the officials of Cebu Province. In accordance with Section 12 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution, cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, and component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials, shall be independent of the province, but the voters of component cities within a province, whose charters contain no such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their right to vote for elective provincial officials. Later on, Cebu City, already an HUC, was further effectively rendered independent from Cebu Province pursuant to Section 29 of the 1991 Local Government Code, viz.:
Section 29. Provincial Relations with Component Cities and Municipalities. - The province, through the governor, shall ensure that every component city and municipality within its territorial jurisdiction acts within the scope of its prescribed powers and functions. Highly urbanized cities and independent component cities shall be independent of the province. (Emphasis supplied)
Hence, all matters relating to its administration, powers and functions were exercised through its local executives led by the City Mayor, subject to the President's retained power of general supervision over provinces, HUCs, and independent component cities pursuant to and in accordance with Section 2529 of the 1991 Local Government Code, a law enacted for the purpose of strengthening the autonomy of the LGUs in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.

Article X of the 1987 Constitution guarantees and promotes the administrative and fiscal autonomy of the LGUs.30 The foregoing statutory enactments enunciate and implement the local autonomy provisions explicitly recognized under the 1987 Constitution. To conform with the guarantees of the Constitution in favor of the autonomy of the LGUs, therefore, it becomes the duty of the Court to declare and pronounce Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 as already partially unconstitutional. We note that this pronouncement is also advocated by the National Government, as shown in the comment of the Solicitor General.31

In Navarro v. Ermita,32 the Court has pointed out that the central policy considerations in the creation of local government units are economic viability, efficient administration, and capability to deliver basic services to their constituents. These considerations must be given importance as they ensure the success of local autonomy. It is accepted that the LGUs, more than the National Government itself, know the needs of their constituents, and cater to such needs based on the particular circumstances of their localities. Where a particular law or statute affecting the LGUs infringes on their autonomy, and on their rights and powers to efficiently and effectively address the needs of their constituents, we should lean in favor of their autonomy, their rights and their powers.

Water and its efficient supply are among the primary concerns of every LGU. Issues that tend to reduce or diminish the authority of the boards of directors to manage the water districts are imbued with public interest. Bearing this in mind, and recalling that the MCWD had been established from the erstwhile Osmeña Waterworks Systems (OWS) without any investment or contribution of funds and material from the Province of Cebu towards the creation and maintenance of OWS and the MCWD,33 and considering that it had always been the City Mayor of the City of Cebu who appointed the members of the MCWD Board of Directors regardless of the percentage of the water subscribers, our pronouncement herein rests on firm ground.

4.
Third Issue:
Section 3(b) of P.D. 198 is unconstitutional for violating the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause


The petitioners assert that Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198, being unfair, violated substantive due process; that Governor Garcia could not determine the water needs of each of the LGUs within the MCWD; that the provision allowed inequality of treatment of the cities and municipalities in relation to the province, and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution; that the provision unduly deprived Cebu City of the power to determine the membership in the MCWD Board of Directors despite Cebu City having the majority of the water service connections; that the Province of Cebu was given unreasonable and unwarranted benefit despite Cebu City being independent from the Province of Cebu; that Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 did not distinguish whether the province contributed any resource to the water district or not; that under the provision, if two or more provinces contributed to the water district, they were not subject to the 75% requirement to avail of the power of appointment, indicating that the power to appoint devolved only in the provinces; that this violated the guarantee of equality of treatment in favor of the participating LGUs; that the provision created a privileged class (the provinces) without any justification in reason; and that "the classification is not germane to the purpose of the law and is not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences."34

Substantive due process "requires that the law itself, not merely the procedures by which the law would be enforced, is fair, reasonable, and just."35 It demands the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to life, liberty or property. In short, to be determined is whether the law has a valid governmental objective, like the interest of the public as against that of a particular class.36

On the other hand, the principle of equal protection enshrined in the Constitution does not require the territorial uniformity of laws. According to Tiu v. Court of Appeals,37 the fundamental right of equal protection of the law is not absolute, but subject to reasonable classification. Classification, to be valid, must: (1) rest on substantial distinctions; (2) be germane to the purpose of the law; (3) not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) apply equally to all members of the same class.

We opine that although Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198 provided for substantial distinction and was germane to the purpose of P.D. No. 198 when it was enacted in 1973, the intervening reclassification of the City of Cebu into an HUC and the subsequent enactment of the 1991 Local Government Code rendered the continued application of Section 3(b) in disregard of the reclassification unreasonable and unfair. Clearly, the assailed provision no longer provided for substantial distinction because, firstly, it ignored that the MCWD was built without the participation of the provincial government; secondly, it failed to consider that the MCWD existed to serve the community that represents the needs of the majority of the active water service connections; and, thirdly, the main objective of the decree was to improve the water service while keeping up with the needs of the growing population.

The Whereas Clauses of P.D. No. 198 essentially state the raison d'etre of its enactment, to wit:
WHEREAS, existing domestic water utilities are not meeting the needs of the communities they serve; water quality is unsatisfactory; pressure is inadequate; and reliability of service is poor; in fact, many persons receive no piped water service whatsoever;

WHEREAS, conditions of service continue to worsen for two apparent reasons, namely: (1) that key element of existing systems are deteriorating faster than they are being maintained or replaced, and (2) that they are not being expanded at a rate sufficient to match population growth; and

WHEREAS, local water utilities should be locally-controlled and managed, as well as have support on the national level in the area of technical advisory services and financing; (bold emphasis supplied)
Verily, the decree was enacted to provide adequate, quality and reliable water and waste-water services to meet the needs of the local communities and their growing populations. The needs of the communities served were paramount. Hence, we deem it to be inconsistent with the true objectives of the decree to still leave to the provincial governor the appointing authority if the provincial governor had administrative supervision only over municipalities and component cities accounting for 16.92% of the active water service connection in the MCWD. In comparison, the City of Cebu had 61.28%38 of the active service water connections; Mandaue, another HUC, 16%; and Lapu Lapu City, another HUC, 6.8%. There is no denying that the MCWD has been primarily serving the needs of Cebu City. Although it is impermissible to inquire into why the decree set 75% as the marker for determining the proper appointing authority, the provision has meanwhile become unfair for ignoring the needs and circumstances of Cebu City as the LGU accounting for the majority of the active water service connections, and whose constituency stood to be the most affected by the decisions made by the MCWD's Board of Directors. Indeed, the classification has truly ceased to be germane or related to the main objective for the enactment of P.D. No. 198 in 1973.

Grave abuse of discretion means either that the judicial or quasi­ judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal or board exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough to warrant the issuance of the writ. The abuse of discretion must be grave.39

Under the foregoing circumstances, therefore, the RTC gravely abused its discretion in upholding Section 3(b) of P.D. No. 198. It thereby utterly disregarded the clear policies favoring local autonomy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and effected by the 1991 Local Government Code and related subsequent statutory enactments, and for being violative of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 1987 Constitution.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for certiorari; ANNUL and SET ASIDE the decision rendered in Civil Case No. CEB-34459 on November 16, 2010 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, in Cebu City; and DECLARE as UNCONSTITUTIONAL Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 to the extent that it applies to highly urbanized cities like the City of Cebu and to component cities with charters expressly providing for their voters not to be eligible to vote for the officials of the provinces to which they belong for being in violation of the express policy of the 1987 Constitution on local autonomy, the 1991 Local Government Code and subsequent statutory enactments, and for being also in violation of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

ACCORDINGLY, the Mayor of the the City of Cebu is declared to be the appointing authority of the Members of the Board of Directors of the Metro Cebu Water District.

No pronouncement on costs of suit.

SO ORDERED. cralawlawlibrary

Sereno, C. J., Velasco, Jr., Peralta, Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.
Carpio, J., I join the Dissent of J. Brion.
Leonardo-De Castro, J., I join the Dissent of Justice Brion in my Separate Dissenting Opinion.
Brion, J., see Dissenting Opinion.
Del Castillo, J., I join the Dissent of J. Brion.
Leonen, J., see Separate Concurring Opinion.
Jardeleza, J., I join the Dissent of J. Brion.
Caguioa, J., on leave.

Endnotes:


1Rollo, p. 151.

2 Id.

3 Id.

4 Id.

5 Id. at 152.

6 Id. at 99-100.

7 Id. at 96.

8 Id. at 152.

9 Id. at 85-95.

10 Id. at 102-128.

11 Id. at 164-188.

12 Id. at 73-80.

13 Id. at 78-80.

14 Id. at 189-221.

15 Id. at 81-84.

16 Id. at 3-72.

17 Id. at 22.

18 Id. at 96.

19David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, G.R. No. 171397, May 3, 3006, 489 SCRA 160, 214-215.

20Rollo, pp. 22-41.

21Mirasol v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128448, February 1, 2001, 351 SCRA 44, 51-52; Ynot v. intermediate Appellate Court, No. L-74457, March 20, 1987, 148 SCRA 659, 665-666.

22 Supra note 13, at 79-80.

23Estrada v. Desierto, G.R. Nos. 146710-15, March 2, 2001, 353 SCRA 452, 459.

24Sanidad v. Commission on Elections, No. L-44640, October 12, 1976, 73 SCRA 333, 360.

25cralawred Id.

26 Supra note 24.

27 Id. at 41-59.

28 Sec. 3. Cities. - x x x x

Until cities are reclassified into highly urbanized and component Cities in accordance with the standards established in the Local Government Code as provided for in Article XI, Sec. 4 (1) of the Constitution, any city now existing with an annual regular income derived from infrastructure and general funds of not less than forty million pesos (P40,000,000.00) at the time of the approval of this Act shall be classified as a highly urbanized city. All other cities shall be considered components of the provinces where they are geographically located.

x x x x

29 Sec. 25. National Supervision over Local Government Units. -

(a) Consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy, the President shall exercise general supervision over local government units to ensure that their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.

The President shall exercise supervisory authority directly over provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities; through the province with respect to component cities and municipalities; and through the city and municipality with respect to barangays.

x x x x

30 The pertinent provisions of Article X on this are:

Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.

Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

Sec. 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments.

Sec. 6. Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.

Sec. 7. Local governments shall be entitled to an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, in the manner provided by law, including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits.

31Rollo, pp. 272-304.

32 G.R. No. 180050, April 12, 2011, 648 SCRA 400, 436.

33Rollo, pp. 109-110.

34 Id. at 59-64.

35Corona v. United Harbor Pilots Association, G.R. No. 111953, December 12, 1997 283 SCRA 31, 39-40.

36 See ABAKADA GURO Partylist v. Hon. Ermita, G.R. No. 169056, September 1, 2005, 469 SCRA 1.

37 G.R. No. 127410, January 20, 1999, 301 SCRA 278, 289.

38Rollo, pp. 97-101.

39 See De los Santos v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Corporation, G.R. No. 153852, October 24, 2012, 684 SCRA 410, 422-423.
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary



DISSENTING OPINION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


I concur fully with the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Arturo D. Brion. For brevity, I submit with due respect, the serious flaws in the conclusions reached by the majority opinion.

Firstly, I disagree with the majority opinion that Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 should be partially struck down for being repugnant to the local autonomy granted by the 1987 Constitution to local government units (LGUs), and for being inconsistent with Republic Act No. 7160 (1991 Local Government Code) and related laws on local government.

There is no impairment of the local autonomy provided by the 1987 Constitution and its implementing legislations for the following reasons:

The decision to form a local water district is lodged upon the legislative body of any city, municipality or province itself, which can do so by enacting a resolution to form or join a district. An LGU is free to decide to join or not a local water district based on its own assessment of whether or not it will redound to its benefit to be covered by Presidential Decree No. 198, which provides, among others, for a package of powers, rights and obligations. Specifically, the local water district is assured of support on the national level in the area of technical advisory services and financing (Fifth Preambulatory Clause of Presidential Decree No. 198), guarantee of exclusive franchise for domestic water service within the district (Section 46), and exemption from income taxes under Section 45 which provides:
SEC. 45. Exemption from Taxes. A district shall (1) be exempt from paying income taxes, and (2) shall be exempt from the payment of (a) all National Government, local government and municipal taxes and fees, including any franchise, filing, recordation, license or permit fees or taxes and fees, charges or costs involved in any court of administrative proceeding in which it may be a party and (b) all duties or imposts on imported machinery, equipment and materials required for its operations.
Moreover, the LGU joining a local water district does not surrender any of its powers under the Constitution or the Local Government Code to another LGU vested with the power to appoint the members of the Board of the local water district since Presidential Decree No. 198 expressly provides that a district once formed shall not be under the jurisdiction of any political subdivision.

The local water district has a separate juridical personality which is independent of the LGUs. It is governed by its Board of Directors pursuant to Section 17 which reads:
Sec. 17. Performance of District Powers. - All powers, privileges, and duties of the district shall be exercised and performed by and through the board: Provided, however, That any executive, administrative or ministerial power shall be delegated and redelegated by the board to officers or agents designated for such purpose by the board.
Hence, the power to appoint the members of the Board of Directors of the local water districts, which is vested upon the LGU determined in accordance with the formula or rule prescribed by Presidential Decree No. 198, does not impair the autonomy of the other LGUs included in the District.

If a province can join a local water district and be subjected to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 198, there is no cogent reason why the change of status of a component city of a province, which would later on become a highly urbanized city, should affect its powers, rights and obligations under Presidential Decree No. 198.

A province which enjoys local autonomy may join a local water district and be subject to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 198 pursuant to Section 6 of said Decree, which is quoted as follows:
SEC. 6. Formation of District. - This Act is the source of authorization and power to form and maintain a district. Once formed, a district is subject to the provisions of this Act and not under the jurisdiction of any political subdivision. To form a district, the legislative body of any city, municipality or province shall enact a resolution containing the following:

(a) The name of the local water district, which shall include the name of the city, municipality, or province, or region thereof, served by said system, followed by the words "Water District."

(b) A description of the boundary of the district. In the case of a city or municipality, such boundary may include all lands within the city or municipality. A district may include one or more municipalities, cities or provinces, or portions thereof.

(c) A statement of intent to transfer any and all waterworks and/or sewerage facilities owned by such city, municipality or province to such district pursuant to a contract authorized by Section 31(b) of this Title.

(d) A statement identifying the purpose for which the district is formed, which shall include those purposes outlined in Section 5 above.

(e) The names of the initial directors of the district with the date of expiration of term of office for each.

(f) A statement that the district may only be dissolved on the grounds and under the conditions set forth in Section 44 of this Title.

(g) A statement acknowledging the powers, rights and obligations as set forth in Section 36 of this Title.

Nothing in the resolution of formation shall state or infer that the local legislative body has the power to dissolve, alter or affect the district beyond that specifically provided for in this Act.

If two or more cities, municipalities or provinces, or any combination thereof, desire to form a single district, a similar resolution shall be adopted in each city, municipality and province.
Secondly, the majority opinion indulged itself in constitutionally objectionable judicial legislation by effectively amending Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198, which provides:
SEC. 3. Definitions. - x x x.

x x x x

(b) Appointing authority. - The person empowered to appoint the members of the board of Directors of a local water district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total acting water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located. If portions of more than one province are included within the boundary of the district, and the appointing authority is to be the governors then the power to appoint shall rotate between the governors involved with the initial appointments made by the governor in whose province the greatest number of service connections exists.
The majority opinion criticized the 75% threshold prescribed by Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 to vest an LGU with the power to appoint the members of the Board of Directors of the local water district, and in doing so, framed it within the supposed violation of the due process clause and equal protection of the laws.

We only need to underscore the legislative process that each LGU should go through to become a part of a local water district and to be subject to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 198. It is a conscious and deliberate decision reached by an LGU through its legislative body or Sanggunian which should follow the procedure prescribed by law for the enactment of a resolution. It is for the said legislative body to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, if any, of joining a local water district. Furthermore, for this Court to say that there was a denial of substantive due process of law and equal protection of the law, it must first closely scrutinize not only one provision of Presidential Decree No. 198 but all of its other provisions, particularly those pertaining to the power, rights and obligations of the component LGUs of the local water district. This the majority opinion failed to do. Moreover, it partially struck down Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 taking into account only the particular situation of the City of Cebu.

The majority opinion substituted its own rule or formula with that provided by Presidential Decree No. 198 to identify the appointing authority of the Board of Directors of the local water district by reducing the threshold of 75% of total active water service connections within the boundary of any city or municipality to a majority of said water connections, meaning, at least 51%, based on a supposed majority rule which has no basis in law.

While the majority opinion claimed to have partially struck down Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198, it had practically nullified too the last sentence of said Section 3(b), which did not apply the threshold of 51% or majority rule in case more than one province are included in the local water district. In this case, Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 provides that the appointing authority among the provinces is determined by rotation.

Assuming that Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198, as argued in the majority opinion, is no longer in keeping with the recent developments in the status, socio-economic and political conditions of the LGUs comprising a local water district, the remedy is legislative amendment. It is not for this Court to prescribe another rule or formula to determine who shall have the authority to appoint the Board of Directors of a local water district. I join Justice Brion who, with clarity, extensively expounded on this issue to support the view which was early on tritely expressed in the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court, particularly, that the question or issue on the situs of the appointing authority is for our lawmakers to address.

In view of the foregoing, I join Justice Brion in voting to DENY the petition.



DISSENTING OPINION

BRION, J.:


Background

The constitutional challenge before us springs from a single issue: who-between the Governor of the Province of Cebu and the Mayor of Cebu City-has the power to appoint the Board of Directors of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD).

The MCWD is a Local Water District (LWD) created under Presidential Decree No. 198, otherwise known as the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973. The MCWD services the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay, and the municipalities of Liloan, Compostela, Consolacion, and Cordova - all geographically located within the Province of Cebu.

Since MCWD began its operations in 1975,1 the Mayor of Cebu City has always appointed the members of the MCWD Board of Directors.

On July 11, 2002, Cebu Provincial Governor Pablo L. Garcia (Gov. Pablo) wrote MCWD a letter asserting his authority under Section 3 (b) of PD 198 (hereafter referred to as "Section 3 (b)") to appoint the members of the MCWD Board:2
x x x x
 
(b)
Appointing authority. The person empowered to appoint the members of the board of Directors of a local water district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located. x x x (emphasis and omissions supplied)
In his letter, Gov. Pablo pointed out that since 1996, MCWD's active waterworks connections in Cebu City had gone below Sec 3 (b)'s 75% threshold, and that no other city or municipality under MCWD had reached the same threshold.3 Hence, he (Gov. Pablo) and not the Mayor of Cebu City has the power to appoint members to the MCWD board.

Meanwhile, the terms of office of two MCWD Directors expired.

To avoid a vacuum in the MCWD Board, Gov. Pablo and Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña jointly appointed the new Directors, one of whom was Atty. Adelino Sitoy (Atty. Sitoy).4

In May 2007, Atty. Sitoy was elected as Mayor of Cordova, Cebu, and, thus, had to vacate his post in the MCWD Board.

Prompted by the vacancy left by Atty. Sitoy, then Cebu Provincial Governor, Gwendolyn F. Garcia (Gov. Gwendolyn), filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) an Action for Declaratory Relief5 against Mayor Osmeña and the MCWD to seek an interpretation of Section 3(b).6

Notwithstanding the pendency of the Action for Declaratory Relief, Mayor Osmeña appointed respondent Joel Mari S. Yu (Yu) as Atty. Sitoy's replacement.7 Viewing Yu's appointment as a breach on Mayor Osmeña's part, the RTC dismissed the Action for Declaratory Relief on May 20, 2008.8

On June 13, 2009, Gov. Gwendolyn filed before the RTC a complaint to annul Yu's appointment and impleaded Yu, the MCWD, the MCWD Board of Directors, and the City Mayor (petitioners) as defendants.

In their defense, the petitioners claimed that Section 3(b) violates the due process clause and the equal protection clause, and that Section 3(b) had been superseded by Constitutional provisions on local autonomy and the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC). They also argue that the Governor has no right to appoint the MCWD's board of directors because: (i) the Province neither invested nor participated in creating the MCWD; (ii) Cebu City is a Highly Urbanized City and, therefore, independent from the Province of Cebu; and (iii) the majority of MCWD's active water connections are located in Cebu city.

In its November 16, 2000 decision, the RTC annulled Yu's appointment, and observed that Section 3(b) lodges the appointing power to the Provincial Governor in the event that 75% of the LWD's waterworks do not fall within any city or municipality.9 Since Cebu City accounts for only 61.28% of MCWD's total waterworks, the Governor of Cebu must appoint the members of the MCWD Board.

The RTC likewise ruled that Section 3(b) does not violate the Constitution and the LGC because the Governor's appointing power does not amount to an intrusion into the affairs, nor threaten the autonomy, of Cebu City.10 The RTC also ruled that whether the Governor contributed to MCWD's creation is immaterial because Section 3(b) does not impose such condition.11

Dissatisfied, the petitioners moved for reconsideration,12 but the RTC denied their motion on March 30, 2011.13

Thus, on June 23, 2011, the petitioners filed directly to this Court a petition for certiorari claiming that the RTC resorted to impermissible shortcuts in dealing with the constitutional issues raised.14 They insist that Section 3(b) is unconstitutional and antiquated, and pray for the Court to issue an Order "declaring" that the appointing power should be lodged with the Mayor of the city or municipality: (i) which participated in the formation of the water district15 and (ii) where a majority of the LWD's water service connections lie.16

The Ponencia and my Dissent

The ponencia granted the petition, and ruled that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion.

According to the ponencia, while the RTC "discharged" its "duty to determine and (to) decide the issue of constitutionality,"17 the RTC nevertheless "skirt[ed] the duty of judicial review"18by improperly treating Section 3(b) as a "political question."19

As for the petitioners' constitutional challenge, the ponencia ruled that Section 3(b) had been superseded by the LGC and the constitutional provisions on local autonomy which granted highly urbanized cities, such as Cebu City, independence from the province.20

The ponencia likewise ruled that Section 3(b) violates the due process and the equal protection clause.

According to the ponencia, while Section 3(b) was initially valid when enacted in 1973, the intervening reclassification of Cebu City into a highly urbanized city, and the subsequent enactment of the 1991 Local Government Code rendered Section 3(b)'s continued application unreasonable and unfair.21

The ponencia noted that 61.28% of MCWD's water connections are located in Cebu City, whereas the province's component cities and municipalities only account for 16.92% of MCWD's water connections.22 Thus, to continuously uphold the validity of Section 3(b)-which grants the Governor the appointing power - is no longer germane to PD 198's objective, which is to provide adequate, quality, and reliable water services to local communities and their growing populations.23

I disagree with these positions; hence, this dissent.

In my opinion, the present petition must be dismissed because: first, the petitioners disregarded the hierarchy of courts; second, the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion; and third, Section 3(b) does not violate the Constitution, nor was it superseded by the Local Government Code, or by Cebu City's reclassification as a highly urbanized city.

I. The Petitioners disregarded the Hierarchy of Courts.

Section 5(2)(a), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution states:
SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

x x x x

(2)
Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
(a)
All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. (omissions and emphases supplied)

x x x x
Unquestionably, this Court has the original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari against final judgments resolving the constitutionality or validity of laws, including presidential decrees. However, this Court's certiorari jurisdiction is not exclusive.

No less than the Constitution states that this Court's power to revise, reverse, or modify final judgments on certiorari is subject to what "the law or the Rules of Court may provide."

Section 9 of Batas Pambansa 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended by Republic Act No. 7902,24 also grants the Court of Appeals (CA) original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction:
Section 9. Jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals shall exercise:

1. Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction;

x x x x
Thus, this Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari (as well as prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and injunction) is not exclusive. Its jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the CA and, in proper cases, with the RTCs.25cralawred

However, such concurrence of jurisdiction does not give a party the absolute freedom to file his petition with the court of his choice.26 Parties must observe the principle of judicial hierarchy of courts before they can seek relief directly from this Court.

The principle of judicial hierarchy ensures that this Court remains a court of last resort. Unwarranted demands upon this Court's attention must be prevented so that the Court may devote its time to more pressing matters within its exclusive jurisdiction.27 Thus, petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level (inferior) courts should be filed with the RTC, and those against the RTC with the CA.28

In this case, since the petitioners insist on filing a Petition for Certiorari, they should have done so before the CA. Hence, I vote to dismiss the petition.

Neither do I find anything special or important in this case to invoke the Court's original certiorari jurisdiction. Neither the petitioner nor the respondent allege that MCWD's operations has been, or will be paralyzed, simply because the appointing power has shifted from one government official to another.

At any rate, what is clear to me is that MCWD's operations are not hampered by the existence of the constitutional issues presented before us, and that the CA is more than capable of resolving the present petition.

II. The RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion.

In any case, I am of the view that the RTC did not commit grave abuse in the exercise of its discretion.

Courts have the power to determine the constitutionality of statutes. This power, aptly named as the power of judicial review, is incidentally also a duty and a limitation.

It is a duty because it proceeds from the Court's expanded power to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.29

It is also a limitation because Courts can only exercise the power of judicial review if: (1) the case presents an actual case or justiciable controversy; (2) the constitutional question is ripe for adjudication; (3) the person challenging the act is a proper party; and (4) the issue of constitutionality was raised at the earliest opportunity and is the very litis mota of the case.30

Lower courts share this duty and limitation.31 Consequently, a refusal on the lower court's part to engage in judicial review, whenever warranted, is a virtual refusal to perform a duty32 correctible by a petition for certiorari.

Certiorari, however, is not synonymous with appeal.

Appeal is the proper remedy where the error is one of fact and/or of law.33Certiorari, on the other hand, is a remedy designed to correct of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.34

As a rule, erroneous conclusions are correctible by way appeal and not by certiorari. Thus, certiorari cannot be used to review a decision's wisdom or legal soundness.35

However, mere abuse of discretion still does not merit the issuance of a writ of certiorari. The petitioner must amply demonstrate grave abuse of discretion since the jurisdiction of the court, no less, will be affected.36 Jurisprudence37 has defined grave abuse of discretion in this wise:
Grave abuse of discretion is defined as capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.
Thus, to determine whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion, the Court must go beyond the present petition, and determine whether the RTC resolved the constitutional issues framed by the parties before it.

In other words, we should determine how the petitioners attacked Section 3(b)'s constitutionality before the RTC, and from this prism, determine if the RTC's resolution of the constitutional questions, or the lack thereof, consists of grave abuse of discretion.

The petitioners' arguments before the RTC

The petitioners argued before the RTC that Section 3(b) is unconstitutional for violating substantive due process and the equal protection clause.

The petitioners' substantive due process argument is based on two points:

First, the power to appoint the MCWD Board is Cebu City's proprietary function because most of MCWD's waterworks originated from the Osmeña Waterworks srsstem (OWS) - a water district organized and owned by the City of Cebu.38

Thus, they argue that Section 3(b) violates substantive due process because it allows the Province of Cebu-an LGU which did not participate in MCWD's creation, and whose component cities and municipalities have a minority of MCWD's water connections-to deprive Cebu City of its proprietary right; and

Second, Section 3(b)'s 75% threshold is arbitrary.39

To stress their point, the petitioners asked the RTC why PD 198 set the threshold at 75%, and not "80%, 85%, 90%," "30% or 40%."40 They blame the Section 3(b)'s numerical sloppiness on the martial law days, when anything signed by the President became law.41cralawred

As for their equal protection argument, the petitioners claim that Cebu City is a highly urbanized city and is therefore, a co-equal of the Province of Cebu. Thus, the Province of Cebu has no right to interfere with, or exercise its power of supervision over Cebu City insofar as the MCWD is concerned.42

The RTC's ruling on the Constitutional Issues.

A reading of the RTC's eight-page decision43 shows that the presiding judge had considered all of the parties' arguments, and limited the issues into three:
a)
Who has the authority to appoint the members of the Board of Directors of the [MCWD] under [PD 198];
b)
The constitutionality of Section 3(b) of PD 198; and
c)
Whether or not the Province of Cebu is a participant in the operation, management and organization of MCWD.44
As I discussed at the beginning of this dissent, the RTC resolved the first issue.

As for the second and third issues, the presiding judge wrote:
As to the constitutionality of the questioned provision, the Court finds that Section 3, of PD 198 does not violate the Constitution or the Local Government Code. Vesting the authority in the governor to appoint a member of the board of directors of a water district is not intruding into the affairs of the Highly Urbanized Cities and component cities which comprise the district and neither is it a threat to their autonomy. It does not interfere with their powers and functions and neither can it be considered an exercise of the provincial government's supervisory powers. At most it is simply giving the authority to appoint to the head of the government unit (the governor) where all the members of the water district are geographically located, and only when none of these cities and municipalities has the required 75% of the active water connections. Nevertheless, the issue is not whether the governor took part in organizing the water district or has contributed to its formation, but that by law, she has been made the appointing authority even if she has no participation or involvement in the cooperative effort of the members of the water district. This may not be the most expedient and appropriate solution, but still, it is not illegal. As to why this is so is a question only our lawmakers could answer. (emphasis supplied).
While the presiding judge had devoted only one paragraph to address the second and third issues, he emphasized three observations: first, Section 3(b) is not an intrusion into Cebu City's autonomy; second, the issue is not whether the governor participated in organizing the water district, but whether the law granted him the power to appoint the LWD's board of directors; and third, granting the power appoint to the governor may not be the most appropriate solution but it is not illegal.

I find that the above observations satisfactorily addressed the petitioners' constitutional challenge. In fact, no less than the petitioners themselves admitted in their December 30, 2010 motion for reconsideration before the RTC that they (petitioners) "fully [appreciate] the extensive effort made by the Court in arriving at its conclusions for its decision."45

If there is any flaw in the RTC's decision at all, it would be the lack of a more detailed discussion.

Despite this flaw, however, I disagree with the ponencia's conclusion that the RTC gravely abused its discretion because it improperly relied on the political question doctrine to skirt the duty of judicial review.46

To my mind, albeit not exhaustively, the RTC exercised its power of judicial review and, therefore, did not commit grave abuse of discretion.

The November 16, 2010 decision does not patently show that the RTC arbitrarily, capriciously, or whimsically withheld the power of judicial review. On the contrary, as the ponencia itself noted, "the RTC, which indisputably had the power and the duty to determine and decide the issue of constitutionality of Section 3(b) of P.D. 198, discharged its duty."47

Admittedly, the presiding judge's writing style which did not address the constitutional issues point-by-point may have resulted in a poorly written draft. Still, the draft's poor quality does not amount to grave abuse of discretion in the absence of arbitrariness or personal hostility on the part of the trial judge. This Court must not allow litigants to directly resort to certiorari petitions simply because they think the presiding judge lacked the skill to close out all arguments presented before the trial court.

In any case, I find that the petitioners not only made the mistake of filing their petition for certiorari with the wrong court, they also made the mistake of filing with this Court a wrong petition.

Notably, appeals from the RTC, in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, where only questions of law are raised or are involved, are filed directly with this Court via a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.48

Thus, had petitioners simply stuck with the constitutional issues instead of filing a baseless petition for certiorari, they could have appealed directly to the Court on pure questions of law. This, in my view, is the petitioners' more plain, speedy, and adequate remedy.

III. Section 3(b) is Neither Unconstitutional Nor Antiquated.

Procedural niceties aside, I still vote to dismiss the petition on the merits.

A close analysis of the petitioners' due process position shows that they do not have the requisite standing to question Section 3(b)'s validity based on the due process clause. Neither do I agree with the ponencia that Section 3(b) is unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause, or that it has become antiquated with the advent of the Local Government Code.

Petitioners have no Locus Standi.

Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution states that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

Due process consists of two broad aspects: the procedural and the substantive.49

Procedural due process refers to the procedures that the government must follow before it deprives a person of life, liberty, or property.50 Procedural due process concerns itself with the established process the government must adhere to before it intrudes into the private sphere.51 Succinctly, procedural due process is the person's "right to be heard."

If due process were confined solely to its procedural aspects, the government can resort to arbitrary action provided it follows the proper formalities.52 Substantive due process completes the protection by inquiring whether the government has sufficient justification to deprive a person of life, liberty, or property.53

Whether in its procedural or substantive aspect, the due process clause is mainly concerned with governmental policies that deprive a person's life, liberty, and property.54

Incidentally, one of the requisites of judicial review is that the person who challenges a statute's constitutionality must have locus standi.

The rationale for the requirement of locus standi is by no means trifle. Not only does it assure the vigorous adversarial presentation of the case; more importantly, it must suffice to warrant the Judiciary's overruling the determination of a coordinate, democratically elected organ of government.55

To have locus standi, one must show that he has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or the act complained of.56

In other words, locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged.57

The acceptable degree of standing, however, varies between private suits, on one hand, and public suits, on the other.

In public suits, the plaintiff who asserts a "public right" in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as a "stranger," or in the category of a "citizen," or "taxpayer."58

I wish to emphasize, however, that insofar as the due process challenge is concerned, the petitioners are not suing on behalf of their constituents. Instead, the City of Cebu questions Section 3(b)'s arbitrariness from a private standpoint.

To repeat, the petitiOner Cebu City claims that the operation of LWDs, such as the MCWD, is a patrimonial property of the local government unit it serves.59

In support of this view, the City points out that MCWD's assets originated from the Osmeña Waterworks System (OWS) - a waterworks system previously operated and maintained by the City of Cebu. They argue that since the Province of Cebu never invested in the OWS,60 or in the MCWD, the Governor has no right to appoint the members of the MCWD Board.

I disagree with this view as the City of Cebu has no proprietary right over MCWD's waterworks.

The History of the City of Cebu, PD 198 and the MCWD

To determine whether the petitioners' argument has merit, we must briefly trace the history of the City of Cebu, PD 198, and the MCWD.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Municipality of Cebu's water supply was provided and maintained by the Osmeña Waterworks System (OWS).61

In 1934,62 Commonwealth Act No. 58 transformed the municipality of Cebu into a city. In 1964, the City's Revised Charter63 placed the exclusive ownership, control, direction and supervision of the OWS to the City of Cebu.64

Acknowledging the lack of water utilities and the poor water quality in provincial areas,65 President Ferdinand Marcos issued PD 198 on May 25, 1973.

PD 198 seeks to provide quality, adequately pressured and reliable water service by encouraging LGUs to form local water districts, and to transfer thereto existing water supply and wastewater disposal facilities on a local option basis.66 In turn, the National Government promises LGUs support in the areas of technical advisory, service, and financing.67

To create LWDs, PD 198 authorized LGUs to form water districts by enacting Resolutions for the purpose, and by filing copy/ies of the resolution/s to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) - an office attached to the office of the president.68

Once formed, the districts shall become government-owned and - controlled corporations (GOCC)69and will NO longer be under the jurisdiction o(any political subdivision.70

Under these terms, the City of Cebu, through the then mayor Engr. Eulogio Borres, approved on May 9, 1974 Resolution No. 873 creating the MCWD.71 Thereafter, the City of Cebu transferred all of OWS' assets and facilities (approximately worth P25.4 million Pesos72) to MCWD.73

Soon after, the City Councils of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, and the municipal governments of Compostela, Consolacion, and Cordova, all located within the Province of Cebu, approved concurring resolutions turning over their respective waterworks to MCWD.74

Section 3(b) does not deprive The City of Cebu of any proprietary right.

Based on the above facts, I see no merit in Cebu City's claim that it retains proprietary rights over MCWD's waterworks. The MCWD is a separate and distinct entity from the LGUs it serves, including the City of Cebu.

Neither can the City of Cebu claim that it retains ownership, or that it has a better right, over MCWD's waterworks than any other LGU. That the City of Cebu had transferred all of OWS' waterworks to the MCWD, to my mind, is beyond question.

Without any property right over MCWD's waterworks, the City of Cebu cannot claim that Section 3(b) operates to deprive it of any property right without due process of law. Accordingly, the City of Cebu lacks the requisite standing to question Section 3(b)'s constitutionality under the due process clause.75

In these lights, I cannot but disagree with the ponencia's conclusion that since "it had always been the City Mayor of the City of Cebu who had appointed the members of the MCWD Board of Directors regardless of the percentage of the water subscribers, [the ponencia's] pronouncement herein rests on firm ground."76

Nothing in PD 198 implies that the power to appoint the members of the LWD's Board of Directors is a right that can be acquired or vested thru time. On the contrary, and as I will discuss further, PD 198 designed the appointing power to shift depending on the circumstances.

Section 3(b) does not violate the equal protection clause.

The equal protection clause guarantees the legal equality of all persons before the law.77 The equality guaranteed, however, is not a disembodied equality, and does not deny the State the power to recognize and act upon factual differences between individuals and classes.78

Accordingly, the equal protection of the law is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. To be reasonable, the classification: (1) must rest on substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the law's purpose; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must equally apply to all members of the same class.79

The City of Cebu claims that Section 3(b) violates the equal protection clause because it gives the province the unreasonable and unwarranted benefit of appointing the MCWD's Board of Directors.

The ponencia agreed with the petitioners, and ruled that while the substantial distinctions espoused by Section 3(b) were germane to PD 198's purpose at the time of its enactment, the City of Cebu's intervening reclassification into a Highly Urbanized City and the subsequent enactment of the Local Government Code rendered Section 3(b)'s continued application unreasonable.80

Hence, the ponencia opines that Section 3(b) is invalid because it: (i) ignores the province's lack of participation in creating the MCWD; (ii) fails to consider the needs of the majority; (iii) runs counter to PD 198's objective to improve the water service connection while keeping up with the needs of the growing population.81

I again disagree with this position. To my mind, the ponencia missed out on one of PD 198's main purposes.

PD 198's purpose is to expand the LWD's services without being hampered by any LGU.

One of PD 198's purposes is to extend reliable and economically viable and sound water supply and wastewater disposal systems82 to meet the need of communities, including those who receive no piped water service whatsoever.83

To enable LWDs to expand its services, PD 198 allows LWDs to Annex and De-Annex (and whenever necessary exclude) territories.84 To this end, LWDs can enter into contracts,85 acquire and construct waterworks,86 and exercise the power of eminent domain.87

To reiterate, LWDs are GOCCs that are independent from any political subdivision. All powers, privileges, and duties of the LWD are exercised and performed by and through the LWD's board of directors,88and not by any LGU official.

Accordingly, neither the LGUs, which created the LWD, nor the LGU official, to whom the appointing power resides, can countermand the LWD should it decide to expand its services, regardless if the expansion dilutes or increases the city's or municipality's waterworks connection below or above the 75% threshold. In fact, PD 198 expressly prohibits LGUs from "dissolving, altering or affecting" the LWDs they created.89

PD 198's purpose in this aspect is not difficult to appreciate. By ensuring their independence, LWDs are freed from the political strings of the LGUs that created them, thus enabling LWDs to expand and serve the country's increasing populace.

Section 3(b) contains a Reasonable classification.

With PD 198's purpose in mind, I find that Section 3(b) contains a reasonable classification.

One substantial distinction between provinces, on one hand, and cities (whether component, highly urbanized, or independent) and municipalities, on the other, is the land areas they cover.

Under the Local Government Code, a province must have a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers.90 On the other hand, a city or a municipality must have a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100), and fifty (50) square kilometers, respectively.91

By giving the Governor the power to appoint, Section 3(b) entrusts the appointing power to the highest local official who oversees the largest geography where the LWD may expand its operations.

However, Section 3(b) also realizes that confining the appomtmg power to the Governor loses its relevance where the LWD operates almost entirely within a single city or municipality. Thus, as an alternative, Section 3(b) lodges the appointing power with the Mayor of the City or Municipality where 75% or 3/4 of the LWDs water connections are located.

Neither was the 75% threshold created to favor Governors, as specific class, over Mayors; nor is it limited to conditions existing at the time PD 198 was enacted, or at the time an LWD is created.

The phrase "In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality" signifies that the appointing power may shift at any time depending on the circumstances.

To illustrate this dynamic, while the province of Cebu now enjoys the appointing power, a future increase in MCWD's water connections within Cebu City may re-shift the appointing power to the Mayor.

Finally, do I not see anything wrong in applying the 75% threshold to all cities, regardless of their respective status as a component, independent component or highly urbanized.

Ironically, what would consist of discrimination is to treat highly urbanized and independent component cities differently from component cities on the supposed reason that the former enjoys autonomy over its territory. The authority to appoint, as I will discuss below, does not equate to control over the other LGUs serviced by an LWD.

Section 3(b) is not superseded by the Local Government Code.

The main flaw in the petitioners' argument and corollary, in the ponencia's conclusions, is the misconception that PD 198 grants the appointing power control over LWDs and, therefore, violates the constitutional and statutory provisions on local autonomy.

This is simply not the case.

All laws including Presidential Decrees issued by President Marcos enjoy the presumption of constitutionality. Both the 1986 Freedom92 and the 198793 Constitutions recognize the validity of PDs unless and until they are amended, repealed, and revoked.

Hand in hand with the presumption of validity, this Court must first attempt to harmonize Section 3(b) with other laws on the same subject matter so as to form a complete, coherent, and intelligible system.94 In other words, the Court must exercise every effort to harmonize seemingly conflicting laws. It is only when harmonization is impossible that the Court must choose which law to uphold.

As I discussed above, the appointing power has NO control over the LWD. Since the appointing power has no control over the LWD, Section 3(b) does not create a link between the LGU where the appointing power sits, and the LGUs served by the LWD.

As applied to this case, reposing the appointing authority on the Governor of Cebu does not grant the provincial government control or supervision over Cebu City or over the other LGUs where the LWD operates. In the same way, the Mayor of Cebu - during the period he/she exercised the appointing power never exercised control or supervision over the other LGUs served by MCWD, i.e., Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Liloan, Compostela, Consolacion and Cordova.

In short, the shift of the appointing power to the Governor does not infringe on the autonomy that Cebu City enjoys as a highly urbanized city.

Neither do I subscribe to the view that the power to appoint is a form of indirect control over the appointee.

In this jurisdiction, it is not a novel setup to grant the appointing authority to a person who, after making the appointment, renounces complete control over the appointee.

For instance, while the President has the power to appoint the commissioners of the Constitutional Commissions,95 judges,96 and even the members of this Court,97 the President does not exercise any degree of control over the appointee. While the appointing power may enjoy his appointee's loyalty, such circumstance does not reduce the latter's independence; loyalty and lack of independence may amount to an ethically and legally objectionable situation.

In these lights, I cannot but disagree with the ponencia's conclusion that Section 3(b) was superseded by the constitutional provisions on local autonomy, as implemented by the Local Government Code.98

At any rate, I find nothing irreconcilable between Section 3(b) and the Local Government Code. On the contrary, a reading of the law shows that Congress created the Local Government Code with PD 198 in mind.

While the Local Government Code mandates and empowers the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,99 Panlunsod100 and Bayan101 "to enact ordinances, approve resolutions, and appropriate funds" for "the establishment, operation, maintenance, and repair of an efficient waterworks system," the Local Government Code explicitly states the LGU's can only exercise such power "subject to existing laws."

Indisputably, one of these existing laws is PD 198.

Following the principle of harmonization of laws, thLWDs created under PD 198 - such as the MCWD - are still governed by PD 198 as a special law. Accordingly, these LWDs remain independent from the political subdivisions they serve, and their subsisting relations with the proper appointing official, as provided for in PD 198, must be respected.

The Court should not resort to judicial legislation.

As a final note, I wish to address the petitioners' prayer for this Court to "declare" that the appointing power should be lodged with the Mayor of the city or municipality which participated in the LWD's formation and where a majority of the LWD's water connections lie.102

Citing Judge Learned Hand, the petitioners argue that while Courts cannot engage in judicial legislation, they must fill the gaps in the law.103 The petitioners argue that by making such declaration, the Court will not be creating a policy but will merely enforce the "constitutional doctrine of majority rule."104

I have serious difficulty in accepting this argument.

First and foremost, this Court cannot resort to judicial legislation even if it declares a law unconstitutional.

Second, the petitioners are mistaken in implying that legislative fiat will result if this Court declares Section 3(b) void. Section 10 of PD 198 empowers the majority of the incumbent directors to fill vacancies in the board should the appointing power fail to make an appointment.105

Lastly, there is simply no constitutional provision or principle that provides for the so-called doctrine of majority rule. In fact, modern legal principles (such as the social justice principle) focus less on numerical superiority and, instead, ensures that the less privileged have more in law.

For all these reasons, I vote to deny the petition.

Endnotes:


1 Executive Summary of COA 2014 Report on MCWD. http://www.coa.gov.ph/phocadownloadpap/userupload/annual_audit_report/GOCCs/2014/COA-Regional-Office/Region-VII/MetropolitanCebuWD-R7_ES2014.pdf, last accessed December 6, 2016.

2Rollo, p. 151.

3 Page 3 of the Ponencia.

4Id.

5Id. This was the Second Action for Declaratory Relief filed. The first was filed by MCWD after it received Governor Pablo Garcia's letter. The case was dismissed without pronouncement on Section 3(b)'s constitutionality.

6Rollo, p. 152.

7 On February 22, 2008; id. at 96.

8Id. at 153.

9Id. at 74.

10Id. at 79.

11Id.

12Id. at 189.

13Id. at 6.

14Id. at 26.

15Id. at 65.

16Id.

17 Page 8 of the Ponencia.

18Id. at 10.

19Id. at 9.

20Id. at 12.

21Id. at 17.

22Id.

23Id. at 17-18.

24 An Act Expanding The Jurisdiction Of The Court Of Appeals, Amending For The Purpose Section Nine Of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, As Amended, Known As The Judiciary Reorganization Act Of 1980.

25cralawred Cruz v. Gingoyon, G.R. No. 170404, September 28, 2011, 554 SCRA 50, citing Ouano v. PGTT International Investment Corp., 434 Phil 28, 34 (2002).

26Id., Cruz v. Gingoyon.

27Id.

28Id.

29 SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

x x x x

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

30Funa v. Villar, G.R. No. 192791, April 24, 2012, 670 SCRA 579, 593. According to Black's Law Dictionary (Ninth Edition), lis motais "means [a] dispute that has begun and later forms the basis of a lawsuit."

31 This Court's power to "review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari" final judgments and orders of lower courts in cases involving the constitutionality of statutes means that the resolution of such cases may be made in the first instance by the lower courts. See Ynot v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 74457, March 20, 1987, 148 SCRA 659, 660.

32 Grave abuse of discretion is defined as capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility. Marcelo G. Ganaden, et al. v. The Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. Nos. 170500 and 170510-11, June 1, 2011, sc.judiciary.gov.ph.

33Vios v. Pantangco, Jr., G.R. No. 163103, February 6, 2009, 578 SCRA 129.

34Id.

35Id.

36People v. Nazareno, G.R. No. 168982, August 5, 2009, 595 SCRA 438, 452-453.

37Supra note 31.

38 The petitioners argued in the court below that [MCWD] is a government corporation, whose existence emanates from the patrimony of local governments, particularly Cebu City's Osmeña Waterworks, which maintains and services the majority of water consumers within the district. They are paid only through an annual in-lieu shares with restrictions; thus the exercise of the authority of appointment to the governing body of MCWD is not a political power but a proprietary right. Rollo p. 122.

39Id. at 184.

40Id.

41Id.

42Id. at 121.

43Id. at 73-80.

44Id. at 74.

45Id. at 189.

46 As such, the political question doctrine was improperly relied upon by the RTC to skirt the duty of judicial review. Page 10 of the Ponencia.

47Id. at 8.

48 Section 2(c), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court.

49 Santiago, Miriam, Constitutional Law, Volume 2, Bill of Rights, 2002 ed., p. 227.

50Lopez v. Director of Lands, 47 Phil. 23, 32 (1924).

51White Light Corporation v. the City of Manila, G.R. No. 122846, January 20, 2009, 576 SCRA 416.

52Id. at 419.

53Id.; See City of Manila v. Hon. Laguio, Jr., G.R. No. 118127, April 12, 2005, 455 SCRA 308 citing CHEMERINSKY, ERWIN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PRlNCIPLES AND POLICIES, 2nd Ed. 523 (2002).

54Supra note 49.

55Galicto v. Aquino, III, G.R. No. 193978, February 28, 2012, 667 SCRA 150, 172.

56Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 166052, 531 SCRA 583, citing Agan, Jr. v. Phil. International Air Terminals Co., Inc., 450 Phil 744 (2003).

57Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives, 460 Phil. 830, 893 (2003).

58LAMP v. Secretary of DBM, G.R. No. 164987, April 24, 2012, 670 SCRA 373, 375, citing David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, G.R. Nos. 171396, 171409, 171485, 171483, 171400, 171489, and 171424, May 3, 2006, 489 SCRA 160.

59Rollo, p. 54.

60Id. at 11.

61Id. at 73.

62https://www.cebucity.gov.ph/index.php/home-new/cebu-city-charter, last accessed December 6, 2016.

63 Republic Act No. 3857.

64Id., Section 31(30) To provide for the establishment and maintenance and regulate the use of public drains, sewers, latrines, and cesspools; to regulate the construction and use of private sewers, drains, cesspools, water closets and privies; to provide for the establishment and maintenance of waterworks, for the purpose of supplying water to the inhabitants of the city, and for the purification of the source of water supply and places through which the same passes, and to regulate the consumption and use of the water; to fix and provide for the collection of rents therefore, and to regulate the construction, repair, and use of hydrants, pumps, cisterns and reservoirs. Any and all waterworks systems, including the Osmeña Waterworks System, provided for or undertaken by the city government shall exclusively belong to it, such that the city shall have the exclusive control, direction and supervision over the same, and all laws and executive orders and circulars issued by the Office of the President making reference to the ownership, possession, control and operation of waterworks and sewers shall not be applicable to the City of Cebu.

65 PD 198 "whereas" clauses of the law explain the need to establish local water districts.

66 Section 2, Title I, Presidential Decree No. 198.

67 WHEREAS, local water utilities should be locally-controlled and managed, as well as have support on the national level in the area of technical advisory services and financing; Presidential Decree No. 198.

68 Section 49, PD 198, as amended by Section 21, PD 768.

69 The PD originally reads: "For purposes of this Act, a district shall be considered a quasi-public corporation x x x." However, in the 1991 case of Davao City Water District et al. vs. CSC et al., the Supreme Court ruled that LWUs are government-owned and -controlled corporations.

70 Section 6, PD 198.

71 Executive Summary of COA 2014 Report on MCWD http://www.coa.gov.ph/phocadownloadpap/userupload/annual_audit_report/GOCCs/2014/COA-Regional­Office/Region-VII/MetropolitanCebuWD-R7_ES2014.pdf, last accessed December 6, 2016.

71https://www.cebucity.gov.ph/index.php/home-new/cebu-city-charter, last accessed December 6, 2016.

72 Executive Summary of COA 2014 Report on MCWD. http://www.coa.gov.ph/phocadownloadpap/userupload/annual_audit_report/GOCCs/2014/COA-Regional-Office/Region-VII/MetropolitanCebuWD-R7_ES2014.pdf, last accessed December 6, 2016.

73Rollo, p. 129.

74Id. at 11 and 134-141.

75Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question on standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. This requirement of standing relates to the constitutional mandate that this Court settle only actual cases or controversies. Supra note 55.

76 See pp. 15-16, Ponencia.

77 Bernas, Joaquin, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, a commentary. 2009 ed., p. 139, citing II Schwartz, The Right of the Person, 487-8 (1968).

78 Bernas, Joaquin, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, a commentary. 2009 ed., p. 139.

79People v. Cayat, 68 Phil. 12, 83, 90 (1951).

80 Page 17 of the Ponencia.

81Id.

82 See Section 2, Title I, PD 198.

83 WHEREAS, existing domestic water utilities are not meeting the needs of the communities they serve; water quality is unsatisfactory; pressure is inadequate; and reliability of service is poor; in fact, many r,ersons receive no piped water service whatsoever;

84 By filing the appropriate resolutions to, and after hearing conducted by, the LWUA; See Sections 42 and 43 of the PD 198, as amended by PD 768.

85 Section 31 of PD 198.

86Id., Section 26.

87Id., Section 25, as amended by Section 4, PD 1479.

88 Section 17, of PD 198.

89 Section 6, PD 198 states that "Nothing in the resolution of formation shall state or infer that the local legislative body has the power to dissolve, alter or affect the district beyond that specifically provided for in this Act."

90 Section 461 of the Local Government Code.

91Id., Sections 450 and 442, respectively.

92 Section 1, Article IV of the Freedom Constitution states that "All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instruction, implementing rules and regulations, and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Proclamation shall remain operative until amended, modified, or repealed by the President or the regular legislative body to be established under a New Constitution."

93 Section 3, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution states that "All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed, or revoked."

94Dreamwork Construction v. Janiola, G.R. No. 184861, June 30, 2009, 591 SCRA 466, citing R.E. Agpalo, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION 97 (4th ed., 1998), pp. 269-270.

95 Section B, 1(2); C, 1(2); D, 1(2), Article IX, Constitution.

96 Section 9, Article VIII, Constitution.

97Id.

98 Page 15 of the Ponencia.

99 Section 468. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation.

(a) The sangguniang panlalawigan, as the legislative body of the province, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the province and its inhabitants x x x and shall:
x x x x

(4) Approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of basic services and facilities as provided for under Section 17 of this Code, and, in addition to said services and facilities, shall:
x x x x

(ii) Subject to applicable laws, facilitate or provide for the establishment and maintenance of waterworks system or district waterworks for supplying water to inhabitants of component cities and municipalities; x x x (omission and emphasis supplied)
100 Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation.

(a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants x x x and shall:
x x x x

(5) Approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services and facilities as provided for under Section 17 of this Code, and in addition to said services and facilities, shall:
x x x x

(vii) Subject to existing laws, establish and provide for the maintenance, repai and operation of an efficient waterworks system to supply water for th inhabitants and to purify the source of the water supply; x x x.
101 Section 447. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. -

(a)
The sangguniang bayan, as the legislative body of the municipality, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants x x x and shall:

x x x x
(5)
Approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services and facilities as provided for under Section 17 of this Code, and in addition to said services and facilities, shall:
x x x x
(vii)
Subject to existing laws, provide for the establishment, operation, maintenance, and repair of an efficient waterworks system to supply water for the inhabitants; x x x. (omission and emphasis supplied)

102Rollo, p. 65.

103Id. at 47.

104Id.

105Section 10. Nominations. - On or before October 1 of each even-numbered year, the secretary of the district shall conduct each known organization, association, or institution being represented by the director whose term will expire on December 31 and solicit nominations from these organizations to fill the position for the ensuring term. One nomination may be submitted in writing by each such organization to the secretary of the district on or before November 1 of such year: This list of nominees shall be transmitted by the Secretary of the district to the office of the appointing authority on or before November 15 of such year and he shall make his appointment from the list submitted on or before December 15. In the event the appointing authority fails to make his appointments on or before December 15, selection shall be made from said list of nominees by majority vote of the seated directors of the district constituting a quorum. x x x. (emphasis and omission supplied)
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary



CONCURRING OPINION


LEONEN, J.:



I concur. The provincial governor has no power to appoint members of Metropolitan Cebu Water District's (MCWD) board.

This case involves the validity and proper interpretation of Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973. Metropolitan Cebu Water District, having been created in 1974 by virtue of this Decree, was subject to its provisions including that in dispute:
Section 3. Definitions. - As used in this Decree, the following words and terms shall have the meanings herein set forth, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context. The definition of a word or term applies to any of its variants.

(a) Act - This Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

(b) Appointing authority. The person empowered to appoint the members of the board of Directors of a local water district, depending upon the geographic coverage and population make-up of the particular district. In the event that more than seventy-five percent of the total active water service connections of a local water district are within the boundary of any city or municipality, the appointing authority shall be the mayor of that city or municipality, as the case may be; otherwise, the appointing authority shall be the governor of the province within which the district is located. If portions of more than one province are included within the boundary of the district, and the appointing authority is to be the governors then the power to appoint shall rotate between the governors involved with the initial appointments made by the governor in whose province the greatest number of service connections exists.
The controversy started when in 2002, after consistent exercise by the Cebu City Mayor of the power to appoint MCWD directors from 1974 to 2002, the Governor of the Province of Cebu decided to assert her power of appointment. The Governor claims that the provision gives her the power to appoint directors of MCWD whenever none of the cities or municipalities covered by MCWD holds seventy-five percent (75%) of its total active water service connections.

Despite the Provincial Governor's claim, however, the Cebu City Mayor exercised the authority when he appointed Joel Mari S. Yu in 2008 to fill a vacant seat in MCWD's board of directors.

Both the Mayor of Cebu City and the Provincial Governor of Cebu claim authority to appoint directors of MCWD in case none of the cities or municipalities covered by MCWD reaches seventy-five percent (75%) of its total active water service connections.

Petitioners claim that Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 is unconstitutional because it violates Cebu City's local autonomy, and the due process and equal protection clause. The provincial government had not participated in the creation of MCWD. Cebu City also holds majority, though not 75% of MCWD's total active water service connections. Hence, Cebu City's Mayor and not Cebu's Provincial Governor should be given the power to appoint directors of MCWD.

On the other hand, respondents claim that Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 is clear that if the 75% requirement under Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 is not met, it is the Provincial Governor who has the authority to appoint MCWD directors.

We are asked to determine whether Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 is unconstitutional.

I

Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree No. 198 is unconstitutional because it violates the local autonomy of cities and municipalities covered by MCWD. It interferes with the cities' and municipalities' power and duty to conduct their own affairs, particularly with regard to the delivery of basic services.

Local governments were instituted as a means to allocate powers and responsibilities to units that are most aware of and can best meet the needs of its constituents.1 Through this, the State fosters self-reliant communities and furthers a government structure that is both responsive and accountable to its citizens.2

The importance of self-reliant communities was expressed in the 1900 McKinley Instructions:
You will instruct the commission to proceed to the city of Manila, where they will make their principal office, and to communicate with the military governor of the Philippine Islands, whom you will at the same time direct to render to them every assistance within his power in the performance of their duties. Without hampering them by too specific instructions, they should in general be enjoined, after making themselves familiar with the conditions and needs of the country, to devote their attention in the first instance to the establishment of municipal governments, in which the natives of the islands, both in the cities and in the rural communities, shall be afforded the opportunity to manage their own local affairs to the fullest extent of which they are capable, and subject to the least degree of supervision and control which a careful study of their capacities and observations of the workings of native control show to be consistent with the maintenance of law, order, and loyalty.

The next subject in order of importance should be the organization of government in the larger administrative divisions corresponding to counties, departments, or provinces, in which the common interests of many or several municipalities falling within the same tribal lines, or the same natural geographical limits, may best be subserved by a common administration. Whenever the commission is of the opinion that the condition of affairs in the islands is such that the central administration may safely be transferred from military to civil control, they will report that conclusion to you, with their recommendations as to the form of central government to be established for the purpose of taking over the control.3 (Emphasis supplied)
Local government autonomy had been impliedly adopted as State policy as early as 1935 when our Constitution defined the kind of power that the President may exercise over executive departments and local governments. Article VII, Section 11(1) of the 1935 Constitution provided that the President exercised control over executive departments. However, the President's power over local governments was limited to general supervision:
SEC. 11. (1) The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
"Control" has been consistently defined in our jurisprudence as the power to "alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter."4 On the other hand, "supervision" has been defined as "overseeing, or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties, and to take such action as prescribed by law to compel his subordinates to perform their duties."5

This court further explained the difference between "control" and "supervision" in Drilon v. Lim:6
An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re­ done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. The supervisor or superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have the discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the work done or re-done but only to conform to the prescribed rules. He may not prescribe his own manner for the doing of the act. He has no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed.7
Thus, when the 1935 Constitution limited the President's power over local government units to supervision, he or she had been proscribed from interfering or taking an active part in the affairs of local government units. The State, at that time, had already recognized local autonomy as a means to more effectively determine and address local concerns.

The principle of local autonomy was expressly adopted as a State policy in Article II, Section 10 of 1973 Constitution:
SEC. 10. The State shall guarantee and promote the autonomy of local government units, especially the [barangays], to ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities.
A similar provision can be found among the State policies enumerated in Article II of the 1987 Constitution:
SECTION 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy oflocal governments.
Both the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution devoted a whole Article to local governments as a means to institutionalize the principle of local autonomy.8

The Article XI9 of the 1973 Constitution enjoined the enactment of a Local Government Code. It defined the relationship between local government units with their component units.10 It explicitly gave local government units a form of fiscal independence by giving them power to create their own revenues.11

As a reflection of the increasing importance our State gives to local autonomy, the present Constitution expanded the 1973 Constitution's Article XI to reiterate the guarantee that local governments shall enjoy local autonomy. Section 2 of Article X provides:
SECTION 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.
Aside from the power to create their own revenues, the present Constitution gave local governments entitlement to shares in the national taxes and in proceeds of the utilization of their wealth and resources.12 Local government um.ts were a1so guaranteed sectora1 representation.13

Further, the present Constitution created autonomous regions for areas "sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures[.]"14

The present Constitution, like the 1935 Constitution provides that the President's power over local government units is limited to general supervision. Thus:
SECTION 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their comronent units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.15
In other words, the present Constitution reiterated that not even the President may determine and dictate how local government units' duties shall be performed.

The autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution to local government units should apply not only against the national government but also against other local government units. After all, Section 4 of Article X of the Constitution does not limit only the President's powers over local government units but also the local government units' powers over other local government units. It provides that provinces and cities or municipalities shall only "ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions." This, essentially, refers only to the power of supervision.

Thus, the national government may only exercise supervisory powers over local government units. Similarly, local government units may only exercise supervisory powers over their component units. Provinces do not exercise control over their component cities and/or municipalities and over highly urbanized cities.16 Cities or municipalities do not control their barangays.

The Local Government Code has a general welfare clause that provides local government units with as much power necessary to "[accelerate] economic development and [upgrade] the quality of life for the people in the community[.]"17 Section 16 of the Local Government Code provides:
SECTION 16. General Welfare. - Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
Further, the Local Government Code provides that local government units "shall endeavor to be self-reliant"18 and shall be responsible for providing the basic services needed by its constituents. Thus:
SECTION 17. Basic Services and Facilities.
 
(a)
Local government units shall endeavor to be self-reliant and shall continue exercising the powers and discharging the duties and functions currently vested upon them. They shall also discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them pursuant to this Code. Local government units shall likewise exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective provisions of the basic services and facilities enumerated herein[.]
Among the basic services that municipalities and cities must provide their constituents are infrastructure facilities such as water supply systems. Thus:
SECTION 17. Basic Services and Facilities

....
(b)
Such basic services and facilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
(2)
For a municipality:
....
(viii)
Infrastructure facilities intended primarily to service the needs of the residents of the municipality and which are funded out of municipal funds including, but not limited to, municipal roads and bridges; school buildings and other facilities for pubEc elementary and secondary schools; clinics, health centers and other health facilities necessary to carry out health services; communal irrigation, small water impounding projects and other similar projects; fish ports; artesian wells, spring development, rainwater collectors and water supply systems; seawalls, dikes, drainage and sewerage, and flood control; traffic signals and road signs; and similar facilities;
....
(4)
For a City:
All the services and facilities of the municipality and province[.] (Emphasis supplied)
Presidential Decree No. 198 allows provinces to interfere with this duty of municipalities and cities when it empowered the governor to appoint MWCD directors in case none of the cities and municipalities covered by MCWD reached the 75% requirement.

Indeed, provinces are also given the power and the duty to provide its constituents with inter-municipal waterworks and other similar facilities.19 However, this is not equivalent to a grant of power to take control of duties necessarily imposed on cities or municipalities. Provisions granting powers to the provincial government should not only be interpreted in a manner that favors its own local autonomy, but also the local autonomy of local government units outside its control.20 The spirit of the principle of local autonomy is upheld if local government units are allowed to exercise the most degree of control possible over its policies and operations to the exclusion of other local government units.

Thus, to attain the goals of gtvmg local autonomy to local governments, the smallest possible unit of local government should be allowed to determine and provide the basic services needed by its constituents in accordance with the Local Government Code. More than the provincial government, municipalities and cities are more familiar with the needs and are more capable of determining the best policies that would serve their constituents.

Since MCWD's polices are created by MCWD's Board ofDirectors,21 the appointment of directors is the only means by which local government units may exercise control over the policies that will be implemented by MCWD. Any exercise of this appointment power entails great consideration not only of the needs of the most affected but also judgment as to whose decisions could best determine and serve the needs of the local community. The person who could make such judgment is not the governor but the mayor of the most number of barangays served by MCWD. It is that city or municipality that will be most affected by the decisions and policies of the board of directors of MCWD.

Thus, the power to appoint MCWD's directors may not be taken away by the provincial government from the cities or municipalities covered by MCWD without violating their local autonomy. This interpretation is in consonance with the spirit of the principle of local autonomy. It is in accordance with our state policy to foster self-reliant communities and accountable systems of government.

II

Further, the presumption of constitutionality accorded to laws passed by Congress should not apply in the same degree to presidential decrees. Presidential decrees and laws passed by the Congress do not belong in the same category.

The presumption of constitutionality enjoyed by laws is based on the principle of separation of powers implied under our Constitution.

The executive, legislative, and judicial branches each has distinct powers and duties, which may not be encroached upon by the other.22

"The executive power [is] vested in the President of the Philippines,"23 who must ensure the faithful execution of laws.24

Judicial power is vested upon courts, whose duties, essentially, is to settle actual controversies and declare acts, in proper cases, as void for being an exercise of grave abuse of discretion or for being unconstitutiona1.25cralawred

Legislative powers are vested solely upon the Congress.26 It is the Congress, composed of senators and representatives elected periodically by the people, that enact laws.27

"The principle [of separation of powers] presupposes mutual respect by and between the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the government and calls for them to be left alone to discharge their duties as they see fit."28

The principle of separation of powers prevents government powers from being concentrated in one branch of the government.29 It has been theorized that a combination of any of the government powers into one person "would create a system with an inherent tendency towards tyrannical actions[.]"30

Thus, the principle of separation of powers under our present Constitution ensures that none of the branches are superior to another. The three branches of the government are considered co-equal branches.

Our Constitution, however, also recognizes the need for coordination among the three branches of the government. Hence, the three branches operate under a system of checks and balances.31 Each government branch has a means of checking the workings of another branch.

In Angara v. Electoral Commission:32
But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. For example, the Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he chooses. On tne other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointment of certain officers; and the concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.33
The presumption of constitutionality accorded to laws passed by the Congress also recognizes the meticulousness imposed by our Constitution on the process by which the legislative department should promulgate laws. Each law passed by the legislative department undergoes three readings.34 In between those readings, public hearings may be conducted wherein the representatives from the public and private sectors, members of the academe, and experts in the field related to the proposed law may participate. The law may also undergo discussions and debates. Opinions by the representatives from the public, private, and academic communities and the differences that emerge from the discussions and debates will result to several amendments of the proposed law before its actual passage.35 After its passage by the Congress, the law shall be submitted to the President for approval.36

In sum, the principles of separation of powers, the special process of legislation that allows participation of representatives of the people and the operation of the system of checks and balances provide bases for the presumption of constitutionality we accord to legislative enactments. In Angara v. Electoral Commission:
More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government.37 (Emphasis supplied)
In Romualdez v. Hon. Sandiganbayan:38
In Garcia v. Executive Secretary, the rationale for the presumption of constitutionality was explained by this Court thus:
"The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain. This presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments. The theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines, a law has been carefully studied and determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally enacted."39 (Emphasis supplied)
In Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP), et al. vs. The Secretary of Budget and Management, et al.:40
In determining whether or not a statute is unconstitutional, the Court does not lose sight of the presumption of validity accorded to statutory acts of Congress. In Fariñas v. The Executive Secretary, the Court held that:
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. Every presumption should be indulged in favor of the constitutionality and the burden of proof is on the party alleging that there is a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution.
To justify the nullification of the law or its implementation, there must be a clear and unequivocal, not a doubtful, breach of the Constitution. In case of doubt in the sufficiency of proof establishing unconstitutionality, the Court must sustain legislation because "to invalidate [a law] based on x x x baseless supposition is an affront to the wisdom not only of the legislature that passed it but also of the executive which approved it."41 (Emphasis supplied)
These principles were inoperative when President Ferdinand Marcos issued presidential decrees. Presidential decrees were laws promulgated by President Ferdinand Marcos in arrogation of the Congress' legislative powers, under his martial law powers.42 The issuance of presidential decrees at that time was an exercise by the executive of his legislative powers.43

This was made possible in the 1973 Constitution, which had provisions allowing for such combined powers. Under the 1973 Constitution, the President may exercise legislative powers as long as martial law was in effect.44

Thus, the premises for according in favor of statues a presumption of constitutionality are absent in presidential decrees. Separation of powers, as well as the principle of checks and balances, were limited during the martial law. Indeed, presidential decrees are laws, but they are laws that did not undergo the careful process of discussion, debates, approval and disapproval by representatives of the people. They are not in reality the product of two government branches in coordination and in accordance with the system of checks of balances. They are essentially laws issued by one person.

Hence, presidential decrees and statutes promulgated by the Congress should not be examined under the same lens. The presumption of constitutionality accorded to legislative acts by the Congress should not equally apply to presidential decrees. The courts should consider the different circumstances under which presidential decrees were issued whenever they examine their validity. Presidential decrees should undergo a stricter review than statutes promulgated by the Congress.

Accordingly, I vote to GRANT the Petition.

Endnotes:


1 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 3 provides:

Section 3. Operative Principles of Decentralization. - The formulation and implementation of policies and measures on local autonomy shall be guided by the following operative principles:

(a)
There shall be an effective allocation among the different local government units of their respective powers, functions, responsibilities, and resources;
(b)
There shall be established in every local government unit an accountable, efficient, and dynamic organizational structure and operating mechanism that will meet the priority needs and service requirements of its communities[.]

2 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 2 provides:

Section 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. Toward 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.
(b)
It is also the policy of the State to ensure the accountability of local government units through the institution of effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum.
(c)
It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, non-governmental and people's organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.

3 Full text of "Instructions of the President to the Philippine commission, April 7, 1900.."
https://archive.org/stream/instructionspre00mckigoog/instructionspre00mckigoog_djvu.txt (Last visited November 15, 2016).

4The National Liga ng mga Barangay v. Judge Paredes, 482 Phil. 331, 355 (2004) [Per J. Tinga, En Banc], citing Mondano v. Silvosa, etc., et al., 97 Phil. 143, 148 (1955) [Per J. Padilla, En Banc]. See also Taule v. Secretary Santos, 277 Phil. 584, 598 (1991) [Per J. Gancayco, En Banc].

5The National Liga ng mga Barangay v. Judge Paredes, 482 Phil. 331, 355 (2004) [Per J. Tinga, En Banc], citing Mondano v. Silvosa, etc., et al., 97 Phil. 143, 147 (1955) [Per J. Padilla, En Banc]. See also Taule v. Secretary Santos, 277 Phil. 584, 598 (1991) [Per J. Gancayco, En Banc], Pimentel, Jr. v. Hon. Aguirre, 391 Phil. 84, 98-100 (2000) [Per J. Panganiban, En Banc], and Drilon v. Lim, 235 Phil. 135, 140-141 (1994) [Per J. Cruz, En Banc].

6 235 Phil. 135 (1994) [Per J. Cruz, En Banc].

7 Id. at 142.

8 CONST. (1973), art. XI and CONST., art. X.

9 CONST. (1973), art. XI, sec. 2 provides:

ARTICLE XI. LOCAL GOVERNMENT

....

SEC. 2. The Batasang Pambansa shall enact a local government code which may not thereafter be amended except by a majority vote of all its Members, defining a more responsive and accountable local government structure with an effective system of recall, allocating among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and providing for the qualifications, election and removal, term, salaries, powers, functions, and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. However, any change in the existing form of local government shall not take effect until ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose.

10 CONST. (1973), art. XI, sec. 4(1) provides:

ARTICLE XI. LOCAL GOVERNMENT

....

SEC. 4(1). Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barrios, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their assigned powers and functions. Highly urbanized cities, as determined by standards established in the local government code, shall be independent of the province.

11 CONST. (1973), art. XI, sec. 5 provides:

ARTICLE XI. LOCAL GOVERNMENT

....

SEC. 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

12 CONST., art. X, secs. 6 and 7.

13 CONST., art. X, sec. 9.

14 CONST., art. X, sec. 15.

15 CONST., art. X, sec. 4.

16 CONST., art. X, sec. 12 provides:

ARTICLE X. Local Government

....

SECTION 12. Cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, and component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials, shall be independent of the province. The voters of component cities within a province, whose charters contain no such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their right to vote for elective provincial officials.

17 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 5(c) provides:

SECTION 5. Rules of rnterpretation. - In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the following rules shall apply:

....
 
(c)
The general welfare provision in this Code shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to local government units in accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community.

18 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 17(a).

19 LOCAL GOVT. CODE, sec. 17(3)(vii) provides:

SECTION 17. Basic Services and Facilities.
....

(3) For a Province:

    ....   
   
(vii)
Infrastructure facilities intended to service the needs of the residents of the province and which are funded out of provincial funds including, but not limited to, provincial roads and bridges; inter-municipal waterworks, drainage and sewerage, flood control, and irrigation systems; reclamation projects; and similar facilities[.]
20See also San Juan v. Civil Service Commission (273 Phil. 271, 279 (1991) [Per J. Gutierrez, Jr., En Banc]), where the Court upheld the primacy of interpretations favouring local autonomy over interpretations favouring centralized power of the national government.

21 Pres. Decree No. 198 (1973), secs. 17, 18, 23, and 24 provide:

SEC. 17. Performance of District Powers. - All powers, privileges, and duties of the district shall be exercised and performed by and through the board: Provided, however, That any executive, administrative or ministerial power shall be delegated and redelegated by the board to officers or agents designated for such purpose by the board.

SEC. 18. Functions Limited to Policy Making. - The function of the board shall be to establish policy. The Board shall not engage in the detailed management of the district.

....

SEC. 23. The General Manager. - At the first meeting of the Board, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the Board shall appoint, by a majority vote, a general manager and shall define his duties and fix his compensation. Said officer shall not be removed from office, except for cause and after due process. (As amended by Pres. Decree No. 768 (1975), sec. 9 and Rep. Act No. 9286 (2003), sec. 2)

SEC. 24. Duties. - The duties of the General Manager and other officers shall be determined and specified from time to time by the board. The general manager, who shall not be a director, shall have full supervision and control of the maintenance and operation of water district facilities, with power and authority to appoint all personnel of the district: Provided, That the appointment of personnel in the supervisory level shall be subject to approval by the board. (As amended by Pres. Decree No. 768 (1975), sec. 9)

22Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 156 (1936) [Per J. Laurel, En Banc].

23 CONST., art. VII, sec. 1.

24 CONST., art. VII, sec. 17.

25cralawred CONST., art. VIII, sec. 1.

26 CONST., art. VI, sec. 1.

27 CONST., art. VI, secs. 1, 2, 4, 5(1), and 7 provide:

ARTICLE VI. The Legislative Department

SECTION 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

SECTION 2. The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.

....

SECTION 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next follcwing their election.

No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. 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.

SECTION 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.

....

SECTION 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

No member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length oftime shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

28Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. Executive Secretary Ermita, 558 Phil. 338, 353 (2007) [Per J. Carpio Morales, En Banc], citing Atitiw v. Zamora, 508 Phil. 321, 342 (2005) [Per J. Tinga, En Banc].

29 J. Puno, Concurring and Dissenting Opinion in Atty. Macalintal v. Commission on Elections, 453 Phil. 586, 732 (2003) [Per J. Austria-Martinez, En Banc].

30 Id. at 734.

31Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 156 (1936) [Per J. Laurel, En Banc].

32 63 Phil. 139 (1936) [Per J. Laurel, En Banc].

33 Id. at 156-157.

34 CONST., art. VI, sec. 26 provides:

ARTICLE VI. The Legislative Department

....

SECTION 26. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof:

(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity .If its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.

35Legislative Process: How a bill becomes a law, House of Representatives http://congress.gov.ph/legisinfo/?l=process (Last visited November 15, 2016).

36 CONST., art. VI, sec. 27 provides:

ARTICLE VI. The Legislative Department

....

SECTION 27. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and the names of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.

(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.

37Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 158-159 (1936) [Per J. Laurel, En Banc].

38 479 Phil. 265 (2004) [Per J. Panganiban, En Banc].

39 Id. at 284-285, citing Congressman Garcia v. The Executive Secretary, 281 Phil. 572, 579-580 (1991) [Per J. Cruz, En Banc].

40 686 Phil. 357 (2012) [Per J. Mendoza, En Banc].

41 Id. at 372-373, citing Fariñas v. The Executive Secretary, 463 Phil. 179, 197 (2003) [Per J. Callejo, Sr., En Banc] and ABAKADA GURO Party List (formerly AASJS), et al. v. Han. Purisima, et al., 584 Phil. 246, 267-268 (2008) [Per J. Corona, En Banc].

42See also Presidential Decrees, Official Gazette http://www.gov.ph/section/executive­issuances/presidential-decrees-executive-issuances/ (Last visited November 15, 2016).

43See Prof David v. Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo, 522 Phil. 705 (2006) [Per J. Sandoval-Gutierrez, En Banc].

44 1976 Amendments http://www.gov.ph/constitutions/1973-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-philippines-2/ (Last visited November 15, 2016).

1. There shall be, in lieu of the interim National Assembly, an interim Batasang Pambansa. Members of the interim Batasang Pambansa which shall not be more than 120, unless otherwise provided by law, shall include the incumbent President of the Philippines, representatives elected from the different regions of the nation, those who shall not be less than eighteen years of age elected by their respective sectors, and those chosen by the incumbent President from the Members of the Cabinet. Regional representatives shall be apportioned among the regions in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, while the sector shall be determined by law. The number of representatives from each region or sector and the manner of their election shall be prescribed and regulated by law.

2. The interim Batasang Pambansa shall have the same powers and its Members shall have the same functions, responsibilities, rights, privileges, and disqualifications as the interim National Assembly and the regular National Assembly and the Members thereof.

3. The incumbent President of the Philippines shall, within 30 days from the election and selection of the Members, convene the interim Batasang Pambansa and preside over its sessions until the Speaker shall have been elected. The incumbent President of the Philippines shall be the Prime Minister and he shall continue to exercise all his powers even after the interim Batasang Pambansa is organized and ready to discharge its functions, and likewise he shall continue to exercise his powers and prerogatives under the 1935 Constitution and the powers vested in the President and the Prime Minister under this Constitutions.

4. The President (Prime Minister) and his Cabinet shall exercise all the powers and functions, and discharge the responsibilities of the regular President (Prime Minister) and his Cabinet, and shall be subject only to such disqualifications as the President (Prime Minister) may prescribe. The President (Prime Minister), if he so desires, may appoint a Deputy Prime Minister or as many Deputy Prime Ministers as he may deem necessary.

5. The incumbent President shall continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law shall have been lifted.

6. Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders, or letters of instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land. (Emphasis supplied)



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December-2016 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 210810, December 07, 2016 - RICARDO DEL POSO Y DELA CERNA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 208643, December 16, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. SUSAN M. TAMAÑO AND JAFFY B. GULMATICO, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 216061, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NAPOLEON BENSURTO, JR. Y BOLOHABO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 208672, December 07, 2016 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, Petitioner, v. PABLO V. RAYMUNDO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 206600, December 07, 2016 - ALMA COVITA, FOR HER BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF HER TWO MINOR CHILDREN, JERRY AND RON, BOTH SURNAMED COVITA, Petitioner, v. SSM MARITIME SERVICES, INC. AND/OR MARITIME FLEET SERVICES PTE. LTD. AND/OR GLADIOLA JALOTJOT, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 214470, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JESUS MAYOLA Y PICAR, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 210434, December 05, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CHRISTOPHER ELIZALDE Y SUMAGDON AND ALLAN PLACENTE Y BUSIO, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 193371, December 05, 2016 - 24-K PROPERTY VENTURES, INCORPORATED, Petitioner, v. YOUNG BUILDERS CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204014, December 05, 2016 - PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE, INC., Petitioner, v. ANTONIO K. LITONJUA AND AURELIO K. LITONJUA, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 186976, December 07, 2016 - PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES SOTERO OCTOBRE, JR. AND HENRISSA A. OCTOBRE, AND CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 192925, December 09, 2016 - JOSE RIZAL L. REMO, REYNALDO G. PANALIGAN, TITA L. MATULIN, ISAGANI CASALME, CIPRIANO P. ROXAS, CESARIO S. GUTIERREZ, CELSO A. LANDICHO AND EDUARDO L. TAGLE, Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AGNES VST DEVANADERA,HONORABLE JUDGE DANILO SANDOVAL, HONORABLE CITY PROSECUTOR CARLOS BALLELOS, BATANGAS II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., RUPERTO H. MANALO, NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION, LOURDES CRUZ, VIRGINIA BORJA, EDGAR DE GUZMAN AND RODULFO CANLAS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 204896, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. SAMSON BERK Y BAYOGAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No.195445, December 07, 2016 - ANGELINA DE GUZMAN, GILBERT DE GUZMAN, VIRGILIO DE GUZMAN, JR., AND ANTHONY DE GUZMAN, Petitioners, v. GLORIA A. CHICO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 221513, December 05, 2016 - SPOUSES LUISITO PONTIGON AND LEODEGARIA SANCHEZ ­PONTIGON, Petitioners, v. HEIRS OF MELITON SANCHEZ, NAMELY: APOLONIA SANCHEZ, ILUMINADA SANCHEZ (DECEASED), MA. LUZ SANCHEZ, AGUSTINA SANCHEZ, AGUSTIN S. MANALANSAN, PERLA S. MANALANSAN, ESTER S. MANALANSAN, GODOFREDO S. MANALANSAN, TERESITA S. MANALANSAN, ISRAELITA S. MANALANSAN, ELOY S. MANALANSAN, GERTRUDES S. MANALANSAN, REPRESENTED BY TERESITA SANCHEZ MANALANSAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 195876, December 05, 2016 - PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210428, December 07, 2016 - HEIRS OF PACIFICO GONZALES, REPRESENTED BY ROGER BANZUELA, Petitioners, v. JUANITO DE LEON, JOSE CARAAN, SOLEDAD CARAAN, RESTITUTO CARAAN, GABRIEL REDONDO, CARLOS OPENA, PALERMO GARGAR, SOFRONIO CRUZAT, JUANITO OPENA, SAVINO CARCUM, JAIME MANIMTIM, MAXIMO MENDOZA, DOMINGO OPENA, JR., BENJAMIN TALA-TALA, GULLERMA ROSIA MENARA, NICANOR MATIENZO, SAVINO CARAAN, CELSO ROSITA, BEATRIZ MENDOZA, APOLINARIO BOBADILLA, DANIEL DE GUZMAN, NELIA ANDEZ, REY CLEOFE, FELINO ROSITA, VALERIANO ONTE, JUANITO OPENA, FLORENTINO SALAZAR, NICANOR SALAZAR, REYNALDO ONTE, JOCELYN DE LEON, EDGARDO CRUZ, LIGAYA CARAAN, JUAN AMANTE, LOLITA ENRIQUEZ, MERLINDA ROSITA, VICTORIANO ROSITA, MARILYN ROSITA, AURILLO CARLUM, DOMINGO MENDOZA AND CASAMIRA, MENDOZA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 201017, December 05, 2016 - MAJESTIC PLUS HOLDING INTERNATIONAL, INC., Petitioner, v. BULLION INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.; G.R. No. 215289, December 5, 2016 - MAJESTIC PLUS HOLDING INTERNATIONAL, INC., Petitioner, v. BULLION INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, GENESSON U. TECSON, ROLAND M. LAUTCHANG, WILSON CHUNBON CHENG KOA, LUIS K. LOKIN, JR., JEFFERSON U. TECSON AND ROSALINE C. CHING, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 211731, December 07, 2016 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES CONCHITA MALAPASCUA-MALIJAN AND LAZARO MALIJAN, Respondents.; G.R. No. 211818, December 7, 2016 - CONCHITA MALAPASCUA-MALIJAN AND HEIRS OF LAZARO MALIJAN, Petitioners, v. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 192948, December 07, 2016 - B.F. CORPORATION AND HONORIO PINEDA, Petitioners, v. FORM-EZE SYSTEMS, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204719, December 05, 2016 - POWER SECTOR ASSETS AND LIABILITIES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SEM-CALACA POWER CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 11394, December 01, 2016 - MARIA VICTORIA G. BELO-HENARES, Complainant, v. ATTY. ROBERTO "ARGEE" C. GUEVARRA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 216914, December 06, 2016 - SUBIDO PAGENTE CERTEZA MENDOZA AND BINAY LAW OFFICES, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ANDRES B. REYES, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, AND THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, REPRESENTED BY ITS MEMBERS, HON. AMANDO M. TETANGCO, JR., GOVERNOR OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS, HON. TERESITA J. HERBOSA, CHAIRPERSON OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, AND HON. EMMANUEL F. DOOC, INSURANCE COMMISSIONER OF THE INSURANCE COMMISSION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 196403, December 07, 2016 - ARSENIO TABASONDRA, FERNANDO TABASONDRA, CORNELIO TABASONDRA, JR., MIRASOL TABASONDRA-MARIANO, FAUSTA TABASONDRA-TAPACIO, GUILLERMO TABASONDRA, MYRASOL TABASONDRA-ROMERO, AND MARLENE TABASONDRA-MANIQUIL, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES CONRADO CONSTANTINO AND TARCILA TABASONDRA-CONSTANTINO,* PACITA ARELLANO-TABASONDRA AND HEIRS OF SEBASTIAN TABASONDRA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 223254, December 01, 2016 - ROSALIE SY AYSON, Petitioner, v. FIL-ESTATE PROPERTIES, INC., AND FAIRWAYS AND BLUEWATER RESORT AND COUNTRY CLUB, INC., Respondent.; GR. NO. 223269 - FIL-ESTATE PROPERTIES, INC., AND FAIRWAYS & BLUEWATER RESORT & COUNTRY CLUB, INC., Petitioners, v. ROSALIE SY AYSON, Respondent.

  • GR. NO. 218454, December 01, 2016 - PENINSULA EMPLOYEES UNION (PEU), Petitioner, v. MICHAEL B. ESQUIVEL, DOMINGO G. MABUTAS, RANDELL V. AFAN, LOISELLE S. AGUNOD, GEMELO L. ANSELMO, GERYMY ANCHETA, JOYLY V. ASUNCION, CRESENCIA A. BERMEJO, JOSHUA S. BERSAMINA, LITO S. CALINISAN, RANULFO C. CASTILLO, ENRICO C. CASTRO, GERARDO R. CASTRO, GLICERIA H. CELIZ, MARIA POLA R CORDERO, JORGE MARIO C. CORONADO, DOMINGA C. CRUZ, JUSTINE CRUZ, RONALD S. DADIA, ARCHIMEDES S. DALISAY, JOSEF PATRICK P. DE VERA, SERGIO B. DIANE, NONITA M. DOMINGO, JOSELITO E. EDANG, KRISTINE ANNE A. ENGRACIAL, CARLO GILJOSEF A. FORNIER, ELIAS S. GACAD, MEL GARRIDO, PHILLIP MICHAEL C. GAUDINEZ, SILVERIA B. GRAN, RODOR D. HEMEDES, BENIGNO A. HONGCO, LEONARD N. LAMBOT, MELECIO D. LAURENTE III, GRACE MILLISCEN L. LIM, MARIA ALICIA GEZZA D. LLAVE, EULALIA B. LOBATON, WILFREDO G. LOPEZ, GENLIE D. LUCERNA, DOMINGO C. MABUTAS III, CARMELITA A. MALIG, NICANOR T. MANGUIAT, HERVE STEVE A. MARTIN, RODELIO N. MARZO, FLORENCIO A. MASA, JR., EDINA H. MORALES, SYLVIA M. MORALES, ROBERT H. NACINO, ANGELO F. ONA, JEFFERSON 0. ONG, DENNIS 0. RAMOS, DENNIS S. REMBULAT, BENJIE B. REYES, VICTOR EMMANUEL I. REYES, ANTONIO R. RIOVEROS, MARCELO S. RIPA III, ALLAN T. ROXAS, MARIA B. RUANTO II, RONALD A. SALMON, ARMANDO P. SANTUYO, BRYAN S. SUN, MARYGRACE F. TAMAYO, LORENZVI IRENE U. TAN, MILAGROS 0. TELOSA, HERMILO R. TUMBAGA, GINA S. UY, AND VENICE T. VILLAPONDO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 197980, December 01, 2016 - DEUTSCHE KNOWLEDGE SERVICES PTE LTD., Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 218333, December 07, 2016 - MARINA'S CREATION ENTERPRISES AND JERRY B. ALFONSO, Petitioners, v. ROMEO V. ANCHETA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 218014, December 07, 2016 - EDDIE CORTEL Y CARNA AND YELLOW BUS LINE, INC., Petitioners, v. CECILE GEPAYA-LIM, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204063, December 05, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. DR. DAVID A. SOBREPEÑA, SR., DR. MONA LISA DABAO, DR. POLIXEMA ADORADA, DEOBELA FORTES AND LIRIO CORPUZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 210656, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROSARIO BAYOT MAHINAY, Accused-Appellant.

  • GR. NOS. 206310-11 (OMB-0-01-0211 and OMB-0-01 0291; Sandiganbayan Special Division-Criminal Case No. 26558), December 07, 2016 - JAIME DICHAVES, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE SPECIAL DIVISION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 210617, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ORLANDO FERNANDEZ Y ABARQUIZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 216061, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NAPOLEON BENSURTO, JR. Y BOLOHABO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 210810, December 07, 2016 - RICARDO DEL POSO Y DELA CERNA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 206600, December 07, 2016 - ALMA COVITA, FOR HER BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF HER TWO MINOR CHILDREN, JERRY AND RON, BOTH SURNAMED COVITA, Petitioner, v. SSM MARITIME SERVICES, INC. AND/OR MARITIME FLEET SERVICES PTE. LTD. AND/OR GLADIOLA JALOTJOT, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 208672, December 07, 2016 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, Petitioner, v. PABLO V. RAYMUNDO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 214470, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JESUS MAYOLA Y PICAR, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 192925, December 09, 2016 - JOSE RIZAL L. REMO, REYNALDO G. PANALIGAN, TITA L. MATULIN, ISAGANI CASALME, CIPRIANO P. ROXAS, CESARIO S. GUTIERREZ, CELSO A. LANDICHO AND EDUARDO L. TAGLE, Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AGNES VST DEVANADERA,HONORABLE JUDGE DANILO SANDOVAL, HONORABLE CITY PROSECUTOR CARLOS BALLELOS, BATANGAS II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., RUPERTO H. MANALO, NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION, LOURDES CRUZ, VIRGINIA BORJA, EDGAR DE GUZMAN AND RODULFO CANLAS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 186976, December 07, 2016 - PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES SOTERO OCTOBRE, JR. AND HENRISSA A. OCTOBRE, AND CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No.195445, December 07, 2016 - ANGELINA DE GUZMAN, GILBERT DE GUZMAN, VIRGILIO DE GUZMAN, JR., AND ANTHONY DE GUZMAN, Petitioners, v. GLORIA A. CHICO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204896, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. SAMSON BERK Y BAYOGAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 210428, December 07, 2016 - HEIRS OF PACIFICO GONZALES, REPRESENTED BY ROGER BANZUELA, Petitioners, v. JUANITO DE LEON, JOSE CARAAN, SOLEDAD CARAAN, RESTITUTO CARAAN, GABRIEL REDONDO, CARLOS OPENA, PALERMO GARGAR, SOFRONIO CRUZAT, JUANITO OPENA, SAVINO CARCUM, JAIME MANIMTIM, MAXIMO MENDOZA, DOMINGO OPENA, JR., BENJAMIN TALA-TALA, GULLERMA ROSIA MENARA, NICANOR MATIENZO, SAVINO CARAAN, CELSO ROSITA, BEATRIZ MENDOZA, APOLINARIO BOBADILLA, DANIEL DE GUZMAN, NELIA ANDEZ, REY CLEOFE, FELINO ROSITA, VALERIANO ONTE, JUANITO OPENA, FLORENTINO SALAZAR, NICANOR SALAZAR, REYNALDO ONTE, JOCELYN DE LEON, EDGARDO CRUZ, LIGAYA CARAAN, JUAN AMANTE, LOLITA ENRIQUEZ, MERLINDA ROSITA, VICTORIANO ROSITA, MARILYN ROSITA, AURILLO CARLUM, DOMINGO MENDOZA AND CASAMIRA, MENDOZA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 211731, December 07, 2016 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES CONCHITA MALAPASCUA-MALIJAN AND LAZARO MALIJAN, Respondents.; G.R. No. 211818, December 7, 2016 - CONCHITA MALAPASCUA-MALIJAN AND HEIRS OF LAZARO MALIJAN, Petitioners, v. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 192948, December 07, 2016 - B.F. CORPORATION AND HONORIO PINEDA, Petitioners, v. FORM-EZE SYSTEMS, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 196403, December 07, 2016 - ARSENIO TABASONDRA, FERNANDO TABASONDRA, CORNELIO TABASONDRA, JR., MIRASOL TABASONDRA-MARIANO, FAUSTA TABASONDRA-TAPACIO, GUILLERMO TABASONDRA, MYRASOL TABASONDRA-ROMERO, AND MARLENE TABASONDRA-MANIQUIL, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES CONRADO CONSTANTINO AND TARCILA TABASONDRA-CONSTANTINO,* PACITA ARELLANO-TABASONDRA AND HEIRS OF SEBASTIAN TABASONDRA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 216914, December 06, 2016 - SUBIDO PAGENTE CERTEZA MENDOZA AND BINAY LAW OFFICES, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ANDRES B. REYES, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, AND THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, REPRESENTED BY ITS MEMBERS, HON. AMANDO M. TETANGCO, JR., GOVERNOR OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS, HON. TERESITA J. HERBOSA, CHAIRPERSON OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, AND HON. EMMANUEL F. DOOC, INSURANCE COMMISSIONER OF THE INSURANCE COMMISSION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 218333, December 07, 2016 - MARINA'S CREATION ENTERPRISES AND JERRY B. ALFONSO, Petitioners, v. ROMEO V. ANCHETA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 218014, December 07, 2016 - EDDIE CORTEL Y CARNA AND YELLOW BUS LINE, INC., Petitioners, v. CECILE GEPAYA-LIM, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210656, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROSARIO BAYOT MAHINAY, Accused-Appellant.

  • GR. NOS. 206310-11 (OMB-0-01-0211 and OMB-0-01 0291; Sandiganbayan Special Division-Criminal Case No. 26558), December 07, 2016 - JAIME DICHAVES, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE SPECIAL DIVISION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 210617, December 07, 2016 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ORLANDO FERNANDEZ Y ABARQUIZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 197146, December 06, 2016 - HON. MICHAEL L. RAMA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF CEBU CITY, METROPOLITAN CEBU WATER DISTRICT (MCWD), REPRESENTED BY ITS GENERAL MANAGER, ARMANDO PAREDES; THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MCWD, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIR, ELIGIO A. PACANA; JOEL MARI S. YU, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE MCWD BOARD; AND THE HONORABLE TOMAS R. OSMEÑA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTH DISTRICT, CEBU CITY, Petitioners, v. HON. GILBERT P. MOISES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 18, CEBU CITY; AND HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 207132, December 06, 2016 - ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL CLINICS FOR OVERSEAS WORKERS, INC., (AMCOW), REPRESENTED HEREIN BY ITS PRESIDENT, DR. ROLANDO VILLOTE, Petitioner, v. GCC APPROVED MEDICAL CENTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. AND CHRISTIAN CANGCO, Respondents.; G.R. No. 207205 - HON. ENRIQUE T. ONA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, Petitioner, v. GCC APPROVED MEDICAL CENTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. AND CHRISTIAN E. CANGCO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 219638, December 07, 2016 - MARCELINO REPUELA AND CIPRIANO REPUELA, SUBSTITUTED BY CARMELA REPUELA, MERLINDA R. VILLARUEL, WILLIAM REPUELA, ROSITA P. REPUELA, CRISTINA R. RAMOS, ORLANDO REPUELA, JUNNE REPUELA, AND OSCAR REPUELA, Petitioners, v. ESTATE OF THE SPOUSES OTILLO LARAWAN AND JULIANA BACUS, REPRESENTED BY NANCY LARAWAN MANCAO, GALILEO LARAWAN AND SOCRATES LARAWAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 201917, December 01, 2016 - ZENAIDA P. MAAMO AND JULIET O. SILOR, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 10757, December 05, 2016 - LOUISITO N. CHUA, Complainant, v. ATTY. OSCAR A. PASCUA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 191856, December 07, 2016 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE (BIR), Petitioner, v. GMCC UNITED DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, JOSE C. GO, AND XU XIAN CHUN, Respondents.

  • A.M. No. SDC-14-7-P (Formerly A.M. No. 14-09-01-SC), December 06, 2016 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. ASHARY M. ALAUYA, CLERK OF COURT VI, SHARI'A DISTRICT COURT, MARAWI CITY, LANAO DEL SUR, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 185312, December 01, 2016 - NICANOR MALABANAN, AURORA MANAIG, RONNIE MALABANAN, VICTOR MALABANAN, SEVERINO MALABANAN, EUFROCINIA MALABANAN, EUFROCILA MALABANAN, REYNALDO MALABANAN, AND DONATA MALABANAN, Petitioners, v. HEIRS OF ALFREDO RESTRIVERA, REPRESENTED BY BIENVENIDO RESTRIVERA AND REMEDIOS RESTRIVERA-ESPERIDION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 218345, December 07, 2016 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. THE ESTATE OF VIRGINIA SANTOS, REPRESENTED BY PACIFICO SANTOS, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 212014-15, December 06, 2016 - RICHARD A. CAMBE, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LEVITO D. BALIGOD, AND FIELD INVESTIGATION OFFICE, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 212427-28 - SENATOR RAMON "BONG" REVILLA, JR., Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, THROUGH ITS SPECIAL PANEL OF INVESTIGATORS, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LEVITO D. BALIGOD, AND FIELD INVESTIGATION OFFICE, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 212694-95 - SENATOR RAMON "BONG" REVILLA, JR., Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LEVITO D. BALIGOD, FIELD INVESTIGATION OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, AND THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 212794-95 - RICHARD A. CAMBE, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, LEVITO D. BALIGOD, AND FIELD INVESTIGATION OFFICE, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 213477-78 - JOHN RAYMUND DE ASIS, Petitioner, v. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS OMBUDSMAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 213532-33 - RONALD JOHN LIM, Petitioner, v. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS OMBUDSMAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 213536-37 - JANET LIM NAPOLES, Petitioner, v. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS OMBUDSMAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 218744-59 - MARIO L. RELAMPAGOS, ROSARIO SALAMIDA NUÑEZ, LALAINE NARAG PAULE, AND MARILOU DIALINO BARE, Petitioners, v. SANDIGANBAYAN, (FIRST DIVISION) AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 202280, December 07, 2016 - CARLOS A. DIMAANDAL, Petitioner, v. P02 REXY S. ILAGAN AND P02 EDENLY V. NAVARRO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 189563, December 07, 2016 - GILAT SATELLITE NETWORKS, LTD., Petitioner, v. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK GENERAL INSURANCE CO., INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 194554, December 07, 2016 - ROMEO M. LANDICHO, Petitioners, v. WILLIAM C. LIMQUECO, Respondent.; G.R. No. 194556 - EDGAR PEÑALOSA, DARWIN P. LANDICHO, JURIS P. LANDICHO, IVY P. LANDICHO, and FELIPE PEÑALOSA, Petitioners, v. WILLIAM C. LIMQUECO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 209776, December 07, 2016 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. UNITED CADIZ SUGAR FARMERS ASSOCIATION MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 189220, December 07, 2016 - ALBERT WILSON, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALBERTO ROMULO, SECRETARY OF JUSTICE RAUL GONZALES, BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT AND PENOLOGY, BOARD OF CLAIMS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SOLICITOR GENERAL AGNES DEVANADERA, AND BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 220546, December 07, 2016 - LUZON IRON DEVELOPMENT GROUP CORPORATION AND CONSOLIDATED IRON SANDS, LTD., Petitioners, v. BRIDESTONE MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND ANACONDA MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondents.