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Pelaez vs. Auditor General, 15 SCRA 569, No.

L-23825 December 24, 1965

Facts:

Emmanuel Pelaez, as VP of the Philippines and as a taxpayer, instituted a special civil action, for a writ of prohibition with
preliminary injunction, against the Auditor General, to restrain him from passing in audit any expenditure of public funds in
implementation of the executive orders issued by the President creating 33 municipalities. He also alleged that said executive
orders are null and void on the ground that Section 68 has been impliedly repealed by RA 2370 and constitute an undue delegation
of legislative power.

Held:

 Administrative law; Power of President to create municipalities.—Since January 1, 1960, when Republic Act No. 2370
became effective, barrios may "not be created or their boundaries altered nor their names changed" except by Act of
Congress or of the corresponding" provincial board "upon petition of a majority of the voters in the areas affected" and the
"recommendation of the council of the municipality or municipalities in which the proposed barrio is situated." This
statutory denial of the presidential authority to create a new barrio implies a negation of the bigger power to create
municipalities, each of which consists of several barrios.
 Nature of power to create municipalities.—Whereas the power to fix a common boundary, in order to avoid or settle
conflicts of jurisdiction between adjoining municipalities, may partake of an administrative nature—involving, as it does, the
adoption of means and ways to carry into effect the law creating" said municipalities—the authority to create municipal
corporations is essentially legislative in nature,
 Requisites for valid delegation of power.—Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the government the
power to fill in the details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential that said law: (a) be
complete in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate; and (b) fix a
standard—the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or determinable—to which the delegate must conform in the
performance of his functions.
 Requirements of due delegation of power not met by Section 68 of Revised Administrative Code.—Section 68 of the
Revised Administrative Code, insofar as it grants to the President the power to create municipalities, does not meet the
well-settled requirements for a valid delegation of the power to fix the details in the enforcement of a law. It does not
enunciate any policy to be carried out or implemented by the President.
 Abdication of powers of Congress in favor of the Executive.—If the validity of said delegation of powers, made in Section
68 of the Revised Administrative Code, were upheld, there would no longer be any legal impediment to a statutory grant of
authority to the President to do anything which, in his opinion, may be required by public welfare or public interest. Such
grant of authority would be a virtual abdication of the powers of Congress in favor of the Executive, and would bring about
a total collapse of the democratic system established by the Constitution.
 Nature of powers dealt with in Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code.—It is true that in Calalang vs. WiIliams (70
Phil. 726) and People vs. Rosenthal (68 Phil. 328), this Court had upheld "public welfare" and "public interest,"
respectively, as sufficient standards for a valid delegation of the authority to execute the law. But the doctrine laid down in
these cases must be construed in relation to the specific facts and Issues involved therein, outside of which they do not
constitute precedents and have no binding effect. Both cases involved grants to administrative officers of powers related to
the exercise of their administrative functions, calling for the determination of questions of fact. Such is not the nature of the
powers dealt with in Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code. The creation of municipalities being essentially and
eminently legislative in character, the question whether or not "public interest" demands the exercise of such power is not
one of fact It is purely a legislative question (Carolina-Virginia Coastal Highway vs. Coastal Turnpike Authority, 74 S.E. 2d.
310-313, 315-318), or a political question (Udall vs. Severn, 79 P. 2d. 347-349).
 Proof that issuance of Executive Orders in question entails exercise of purely legislative functions.—The fact that
Executive Orders Nos. 93 to 121, 124 and 128 to 129, creating thirty-three municipalities, were issued after the legislative
bills for the creation of the said municipalities had failed to pass Congress, is the best proof that their issuance entails the
exercise of purely legislative functions.
 Power of control over local governments.—The power of control under Section 10 (a) of Article X of the Constitution
implies the right of the President to interfere in the exercise of such discretion as may be vested by law in the officers of
the executive departments, bureaus or offices of the national government, as well as to act in lieu of such officers. This
power is denied by the Constitution to the Executive, insofar as local governments are concerned. With respect to the
latter, the fundamental law permits him to wield no more authority than that of checking whether said local governments or
the officers thereof perform their duties as provided by statutory enactments. Hence, the President cannot interfere with
local governments, so long as the same or its officers act within the scope of their authority. He may not, for instance,
suspend an elective official of a regular municipality or take any disciplinary action against him, 'except on appeal from a
decision of the corresponding provincial board. If, on the other hand, the President could create a municipality, he could, in
effect, remove any of' its officials, by creating a new municipality and including therein the barrio in which the official
concerned resides, for his office would thereby become vacant (Section 2179, Revised Administrative Code). Thus, by
merely brandishing the power to create a new municipality, without actually creating it, he could compel local officials to
submit to his dictation; thereby, in effect, exercising over them the power of control denied to him by the Constitution.
 Section 68, Revised Administrative Code repealed by the Constitution.—The power of control of the President over
executive departments, bureaus or offices under Section 10(a) of Article X of the Constitution implies no more than the
authority to assume directly the functions thereof or to interfere in the exercise of discretion by its officials. Manifestly, such
control does not include the authority either to abolish an executive department or bureau, or to create a new one. As a
consequence, the alleged power of the President to create municipal corporations would necessarily connote the 'exercise
by him of an authority even greater than that of control which he has over the executive departments, bureaus or offices,
Instead of giving the President less power over local governments than that vested in him over the executive departments,
bureaus or offices, it reverses the process and does the exact opposite, by conferring upon him more power over
municipal corporations than that which he has over executive departments, bureaus or offices. Even if, therefore, it did not
entail an undue delegation of legislative powers, as it certainly does, said Section 68, as part of the Revised Administrative
Code, approved on March 10, 1967, must be deemed repealed by the subsequent adoption of the Constitution in 1935,
which is utterly incompatible and inconsistent with said statutory enactment. (De los Santos vs. Mallare, 87 Phil. 289,
298299.)
 Municipal officials concerned duly represented in present case.—lt is contended that not all the proper parties have been
impleaded in the present case. Suffice it to say that the records do not show, and the parties do not claim, that the officers
of any of the municipalities concerned have been appointed or elected and have assumed office. At any rate, the Solicitor
General, who has appeared on behalf of respondent Auditor General, is the officer authorized by law "to act and represent
the Government of the Philippines, its offices and agents, in any official investigation, proceeding or matter requiring the
services of a lawyer" (Section 1661, Revised Administrative Code), and, in connection with the creation of the
municipalities involved in this case, which involves a political, not proprietary function. said local officials, if any, are mere
agents or representatives of the national government. Their interest in the case has accordingly been duly represented.
(Mangubat vs. Osmeña, Jr., G.R. No. L-12837, April 30, 1959; City of Cebu vs. Judge Piccio, G.R. Nos L-13012 & 14876.
December 81, 1960.)
 Action not premature.—The present action cannot be said to be premature simply because respondent Auditor General
has not yet acted on any of the executive orders in question and has not intimated how he would act in connection
therewith. It is a matter of common knowledge that the President has for many years issued executive orders creating
municipal corporations and that the same have been organized and are in actual operation, thus indicating without
peradventure or doubt, that the expenditures incidental thereto have been sanctioned, approved or passed in audit by the
General Auditing Office and its officials. There is no reason to believe that respondent would adopt a different policy as
regards the new municipalities involved in this case, in the absence of an allegation to such effect, and none has been
made by him.

Camid vs. Office of the President, 448 SCRA 711, G.R. No. 161414 January 17, 2005

Municipal Corporations; Local Government Units; Prescription; It has been opined that municipal corporations may exist by
prescription where it is shown that the community has claimed and exercised corporate functions, with the knowledge and
acquiescence of the legislature, and without interruption or objection for period long enough to afford title by prescription.—The
importance of proper factual ascertainment cannot be gainsaid, especially in light of the legal principles governing the recognition of
de facto municipal corporations. It has been opined that municipal corporations may exist by prescription where it is shown that the
community has claimed and exercised corporate functions, with the knowledge and acquiescence of the legislature, and without
interruption or objection for period long enough to afford title by prescription. These municipal corporations have exercised their
powers for a long period without objection on the part of the government that although no charter is in existence, it is presumed that
they were duly incorporated in the first place and that their charters had been lost. They are especially common in England, which,
as well-worth noting, has existed as a state for over a thousand years. The reason for the development of that rule in England is
understandable, since that country was settled long before the Roman conquest by nomadic Celtic tribes, which could have hardly
been expected to obtain a municipal charter in the absence of a national legal authority. In the United States, municipal
corporations by prescription are less common, but it has been held that when no charter or act of incorporation of a town can be
found, it may be shown to have claimed and exercised the powers of a town with the knowledge and assent of the legislature, and
without objection or interruption for so long a period as to furnish evidence of a prescriptive right.

Same; Same; Administrative Law; Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies; Petitioner’s seeming ignorance of the principles of
exhaustion of administrative remedies and hierarchy of courts, as well as the concomitant prematurity of the present petition,
cannot be countenanced.—What is clearly essential is a factual demonstration of the continuous exercise by the municipal
corporation of its corporate powers, as well as the acquiescence thereto by the other instrumentalities of the state. Camid does not
have the opportunity to make an initial factual demonstration of those circumstances before this Court. Indeed, the factual
deficiencies aside, Camid’s plaint should have undergone the usual administrative gauntlet and, once that was done, should have
been filed first with the Court of Appeals, which at least would have had the power to make the necessary factual determinations.
Camid’s seeming ignorance of the principles of exhaustion of administrative remedies and hierarchy of courts, as well as the
concomitant prematurity of the present petition, cannot be countenanced.

Same; Same; Same; Separation of Powers; Apparently, the question as to whether a municipality previously annulled by this Court
may attain recognition in the absence of any curative or reimplementing statute has never been decided before.—These
disquisitions aside, the central issue remains whether a municipality whose creation by executive fiat was previously voided by this
Court may attain recognition in the absence of any curative or reimplementing statute. Apparently, the question has never been
decided before, San Narciso and its kindred cases pertaining as they did to municipalities whose bases of creation were dubious
yet were never judicially nullified. The effect of Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code on municipalities such as Andong
warrants explanation. Besides, the residents of Andong who belabor under the impression that their town still exists, much less
those who may comport themselves as the municipality’s “Interim Government,” would be well served by a rude awakening.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Judgments; Words and Phrases; Pelaez v. Auditor General, 15 SCRA 569 (1965), was never reversed
by the Supreme Court but rather it was expressly affirmed in three other cases; The phrase “ab initio” means “from the beginning,”
“at first,” “from the inception.”—The Court can employ a simplistic approach in resolving the substantive aspect of the petition,
merely by pointing out that the Municipality of Andong never existed. Executive Order No. 107, which established Andong, was
declared “null and void ab initio” in 1965 by this Court in Pelaez, along with thirty-three (33) other executive orders. The phrase “ab
initio” means “from the beginning,” “at first,” “from the inception.” Pelaez was never reversed by this Court but rather it was
expressly affirmed in the cases of Municipality of San Joaquin v. Siva, Municipality of Malabang v. Benito, and Municipality of
Kapalong v. Moya. No subsequent ruling by this Court declared Pelaez as overturned or inoperative. No subsequent legislation has
been passed since 1965 creating a Municipality of Andong. Given these facts, there is hardly any reason to elaborate why Andong
does not exist as a duly constituted municipality.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Local Government Code; Pelaez and its offspring cases ruled that the President has no power
to create municipalities, yet limited its nullificatory effects to the particular municipalities challenged in actual cases before this
Court; With the promulgation of the Local Government Code in 1991, the legal cloud was lifted over the municipalities similarly
created by executive order but not judicially annulled—Section 442(b) of the Local Government Code deemed curative whatever
legal defects to title these municipalities had labored under.—From this survey of relevant jurisprudence, we can gather the
applicable rules. Pelaez and its offspring cases ruled that the President has no power to create municipalities, yet limited its
nullificatory effects to the particular municipalities challenged in actual cases before this Court. However, with the promulgation of
the Local Government Code in 1991, the legal cloud was lifted over the municipalities similarly created by executive order but not
judicially annulled. The de facto status of such municipalities as San Andres, Alicia and Sinacaban was recognized by this Court,
and Section 442(b) of the Local Government Code deemed curative whatever legal defects to title these municipalities had labored
under.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Court decisions cannot obviously lose their efficacy due to the sheer defiance by the
parties aggrieved.—Is Andong similarly entitled to recognition as a de facto municipal corporation? It is not. There are eminent
differences between Andong and municipalities such as San Andres, Alicia and Sinacaban. Most prominent is the fact that the
executive order creating Andong was expressly annulled by order of this Court in 1965. If we were to affirm Andong’s de facto
status by reason of its alleged continued existence despite its nullification, we would in effect be condoning defiance of a valid order
of this Court. Court decisions cannot obviously lose their efficacy due to the sheer defiance by the parties aggrieved.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Section 442(d) of the Local Government Code that it does not serve to affirm or
reconstitute the judicially dissolved municipalities which had been previously created by presidential issuances or executive
orders—the provision affirms the legal personalities only of those municipalities which may have been created using the same
infirm legal basis, yet were fortunate enough not to have been judicially annulled.—We thus assert the proper purview to Section
442(d) of the Local Government Code—that it does not serve to affirm or reconstitute the judicially dissolved municipalities such as
Andong, which had been previously created by presidential issuances or executive orders. The provision affirms the legal
personalities only of those municipalities such as San Narciso, Alicia, and Sinacaban, which may have been created using the
same infirm legal basis, yet were fortunate enough not to have been judicially annulled. On the other hand, the municipalities
judicially dissolved in cases such as Pelaez, San Joaquin, and Malabang, remain inexistent, unless recreated through specific
legislative enactments, as done with the eighteen (18) municipalities certified by the DILG. Those municipalities derive their legal
personality not from the presidential issuances or executive orders which originally created them or from Section 442(d), but from
the respective legislative statutes which were enacted to revive them.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The legal effect of the nullification of a municipality in Pelaez was to revert the constituent
barrios of the voided town back into their original municipalities.—Neither Pelaez or this decision has obliterated Andong into a hole
on the ground. The legal effect of the nullification of Andong in Pelaez was to revert the constituent barrios of the voided town back
into their original municipalities, namely the municipalities of Lumbatan, Butig and Tubaran. These three municipalities subsist to
this day as part of Lanao del Sur, and presumably continue to exercise corporate powers over the barrios which once belonged to
Andong.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; If there is truly a strong impulse calling for the reconstitution of the municipality nullified in
Pelaez, the solution is through the legislature and not judicial confirmation of void title; the time has come for the light to seep in,
and for the petitioner and like-minded persons to awaken to legal reality.—If there is truly a strong impulse calling for the
reconstitution of Andong, the solution is through the legislature and not judicial confirmation of void title. If indeed the residents of
Andong have, all these years, been governed not by their proper municipal governments but by a ragtag “Interim Government,”
then an expedient political and legislative solution is perhaps necessary. Yet we can hardly sanction the retention of Andong’s legal
personality solely on the basis of collective amnesia that may have allowed Andong to somehow pretend itself into existence
despite its judicial dissolution. Maybe those who insist Andong still exists prefer to remain unperturbed in their blissful ignorance,
like the inhabitants of the cave in Plato’s famed allegory. But the time has come for the light to seep in, and for the petitioner and
like-minded persons to awaken to legal reality.

Tan vs. Commission on Elections, 142 SCRA 727, No. L-73155 July 11, 1986

Constitutional Law; Election Law; Local Governments; Moot and Academic; Fact that the plebiscite which the petition at bar sought
to stop had already been held and officials of the new province appointed does not make the petition moot, as the petition raises an
issue of constitutional dimension.—It can be plainly seen that the aforecited constitutional provision makes it imperative that there
be first obtained “the approval of a majority of votes in the plebiscite in the unit or units affected” whenever a province is created,
divided or merged and there is substantial alteration of the boundaries. It is thus inescapable to conclude that the boundaries of the
existing province of Negros Occidental would necessarily be substantially altered by the division of its existing boundaries in order
that there can be created the proposed new province of Negros del Norte. Plain and simple logic will demonstrate than that two
political units would be affected. The first would be the parent province of Negros Occidental because its boundaries would be
substantially altered. The other affected entity would be composed of those in the area subtracted from the mother province to
constitute the proposed province of Negros del Norte.

Same; Same; Same; A plebiscite for creating a new province should include the participation of the residents of the mother
province for the plebiscite to conform to the constitutional requirements.—We find no way to reconcile the holding of a plebiscite
that should conform to said constitutional requirement but eliminates the participation of either of these two component politi cal
units. No amount of rhetorical flourishes can justify exclusion of the parent province in the plebiscite because of an alleged intent on
the part of the authors and implementors of the challenged statute to carry out what is claimed to be a mandate to guarantee and
promote autonomy of local government units. The alleged good intentions cannot prevail and overrule the cardinal precept that
what our Constitution categorically directs to be done or imposes as a requirement must first be observed, respected and complied
with. No one should be allowed to pay homage to a supposed fundamental policy intended to guarantee and promote autonomy of
local government units but at the same time transgress, ignore and disregard what the Constitution commands in Article XI Section
3 thereof. Respondents would be no different from one who hurries to pray at the temple but then spits at the idol therein.

Same; Same; Same; A petition that raises the issue of compliance with Constitutional requirements is proper subject of judicial
inquiry.—We find no merit in the submission of the respondents that the petition should be dismissed because the motive and
wisdom in enacting the law may not be challenged by petitioners. The principal point raised by the petitioners is not the wisdom and
motive in enacting the law but the infringement of the Constitution which is a proper subject of judicial inquiry.

Same; Same; Same; Statutes; Evidence; Courts; Motives behind enactment of a statute are factual in nature that the Supreme
Court cannot try.—Petitioners’ discussion regarding the motives behind the enactment of B.P. Blg. 885 to say the least, are most
enlightening and provoking but are factual issues the Court cannot properly pass upon in this case. Mention by petitioners of the
unexplained changes or differences in the proposed Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 and the enacted Batas Pambansa Blg. 885; the
swift and surreptitious manner of passage and approval of said law; the abrupt scheduling of the plebiscite; the reference to news
articles regarding the questionable conduct of the said plebiscite held on January 3, 1986; all serve as interesting reading but are
not the decisive matters which should be reckoned in the resolution of this case.

Same; Same; Same; Ruling in the case of Paredes vs. Hon. Executive Secretary (128 SCRA 6) is not a doctrinal, binding
precedent where the Supreme Court is not sure of itself and the decision itself says that that case gives considerable leeway for the
Court to exercise its discretion in resolving the issue of whether or not residents of a mother barangay should participate in the
plebiscite to create a new barangay.—This Court is not unmindful of this solitary case alluded to by respondents. What is, however,
highly significant are the prefatory statements therein stating that said case is “one of those cases where the discretion of the Court
is allowed considerable leeway” and that “there is indeed an element of ambiguity in the use of the expression “unit or units
affected.” The ruling rendered in said case was based on a claimed prerogative of the Court then to exercise its discretion on the
matter. It did not resolve the question of how the pertinent provision of the Constitution should be correctly interpreted. The ruling in
the aforestated case of Paredes vs. The Honorable Executive Secretary, et al. (supra) should not be taken as a doctrinal or
compelling precedent when it is acknowledged therein that “it is plausible to assert, as petitioners do, that when certain Barangays
are separated from a parent municipality to form a new one, all the voters therein are affected.”

Same; Same; Same; When the law says the “plebiscite shall be conducted in the areas affected” this means that residents of the
political entity who stand to be economically dislocated by the separation of a portion thereof have the right to participate in said
plebiscite.—It is a well accepted rule that “in ascertaining the meaning of a particular provision that may give rise to doubts, the
intent of the framers and of the people, may be gleaned from the provisions in pari materia.” Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 which
proposed the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte recites in Sec. 4 thereof that “the plebiscite shall be conducted in the
areas affected within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the approval of this Act.” As this draft legislation speaks of
“areas,” what was contemplated evidently are plurality of areas to participate in the plebiscite. Logically, those to be included in
such plebiscite would be the people living in the area of the proposed new province and those living in the parent province. This
assumption will be consistent with the requirements set forth in the Constitution.

Same; Same; Same; Where the law authorizing the holding of a plebiscite is unconstitutional, the Court cannot authorize the
holding of a new one.—The Court is prepared to declare the said plebiscite held on January 3, 1986 as null and void and violative
of the provisions of Sec. 3, Article XI of the Constitution. The Court is not, however, disposed to direct the conduct of a new
plebiscite, because We find no legal basis to do so. With constitutional infirmity attaching to the subject Batas Pambansa Blg. 885
and also because the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte is not in accordance with the criteria established in the Local
Government Code, the factual and legal basis for the creation of such new province which should justify the holding of another
plebiscite does not exist.

Same; Same; Same; Statutes; Use of the word “territory” in Sec. 197 of the Local Government Code refers only to the land mass,
not to the waters, comprising a political entity.—The last sentence of the first paragraph of Section 197 is most revealing. As so
stated therein the “territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two or more islands.” The use of the word territory in this
particular provision of the Local Government Code and in the very last sentence thereof, clearly reflects that “territory” as therein
used, has reference only to the mass of land area and excludes the waters over which the political unit exercises control. Said
sentence states that the “territory need not be contiguous.” Contiguous means (a) in physical contact; (b) touching along all or most
of one side; (c) near, next, or adjacent (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1972 Ed., p. 307). “Contiguous”, when employed as an
adjective, as in the above sentence, is only used when it describes physical contact, or a touching of sides of two solid masses of
matter. The meaning of particular terms in a statute may be ascertained by reference to words associated with or related to them in
the statute (Animal Rescue League vs. Assessors, 138 A.L.R., p. 110). Therefore, in the context of the sentence above, what need
not be “contiguous” is the “territory”—the physical mass of land area. There would arise no need for the legislators to use the word
contiguous if they had intended that the term “territory” embrace not only land area but also territorial waters. It can be safely
concluded that the word territory in the first paragraph of Section 197 is meant to be synonymous with “land area” only. The words
and phrases used in a statute should be given the meaning intended by the legislature (82 C.J.S., p. 636). The sense in which the
words are used furnished the rule of construction (In re Winton Lumber Co., 63 p. 2d., p. 664).

Same; Same; Same; Same; Jurisdiction; The Supreme Court will not pass upon the claim that enactment of a law is marred by
“dirty tricks” and “undue haste.”—It is not for this Court to affirm or reject such matters not only because the merits of this case can
be resolved without need of ascertaining the real motives and wisdom in the making of the questioned law. No proper challenge on
those grounds can also be made by petitioners in this proceeding. Neither may this Court venture to guess the motives or wisdom
in the exercise of legislative powers. Repudiation of improper or unwise actions taken by tools of a political machinery rests
ultimately, as recent events have shown, on the electorate and the power of a vigilant people.

Constitutional Law; Local Governments; Statutes; Courts; As petitioners asserted the intent in enacting the law at bar was to create
a new province before the Presidential elections on Feb. 7, 1984 so that the resources of the new entity can be used for political
purposes.—The scenario, as petitioners urgently asserted, was “to have the creation of the new Province a fait accompli by the
time elections are held on February 7, 1986. The transparent purpose is unmistakably so that the new Governor and other officials
shall by then have been installed in office, ready to function for purposes of the election for President and Vice-President.” Thus,
the petitioners reported after the event: “With indecent haste, the plebiscite was held; Negros del Norte was set up and proclaimed
by President Marcos as in existence; a new set of government officials headed by Governor Armando Gustilo was appointed; and,
by the time the elections were held on February 7, 1986, the political machinery was in place to deliver the ‘solid North’ to ex-
President Marcos. The rest is history. What happened in Negros del Norte during the elections—the unashamed use of naked
power and resources—contributed in no small way to arousing ‘people’s power’ and steel the ordinary citizen to perform deeds of
courage and patriotism that makes one proud to be a Filipino today.

Same; Same; Same; Same; The challenged B.P. 885 is unconstitutional as it excluded the voters of the mother province from
participating in the plebiscite.—The challenged Act is manifestly void and unconstitutional. Consequently, all the implementing acts
complained of, viz. the plebiscite, the proclamation of a new province of Negros del Norte and the appointment of its officials are
equally void. The limited holding of the plebiscite only in the areas of the proposed new province (as provided by Section 4 of the
Act) to the exclusion of the voters of the remaining areas of the integral province of Negros Occidental (namely, the three cities of
Bacolod, Bago and La Carlota and the Municipalities of La Castellana, Isabela, Moises Padilla, Pontevedra, Hinigaran,
Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Murcia, Valladolid, San Enrique, Hog, Cauayan, Hinoba-an and Sipalay and Candoni), grossly
contravenes and disregards the mandate of Article XI, section 3 of the then prevailing 1973 Constitution that no province may be
created or divided or its boundary substantially altered without “the approval of a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or
units affected.” It is plain that all the cities and municipalities of the province of Negros Occidental, not merely those of the proposed
new province, comprise the units affected. It follows that the voters of the whole and entire province of Negros Occidental have to
participate and give their approval in the plebiscite, because the whole province is affected by its proposed division and substantial
alteration of its boundary. To limit the plebiscite to only the voters of the areas to be partitioned and seceded from the province is as
absurd and illogical as allowing only the secessionists to vote for the secession that they demanded against the wishes of the
majority and to nullify the basic principle of majority rule.

Same; Same; Same; Mandamus; Courts may issue a mandatory writ to restore matters at status quo ante.—The argument of fait
accompli, viz. that the railroaded plebiscite of January 3, 1986 was held and can no longer be enjoined and that the new province of
Negros del Norte has been constituted, begs the issue of invalidity of the challenged Act. This Court has always held that it “does
not look with favor upon parties ‘racing to beat an injunction or restraining order’ which they have reason to believe might be
forthcoming from the Court by virtue of the filing and pendency of the appropriate petition therefor. Where the restraining order or
preliminary injunction are found to have been properly issued, as in the case at bar, mandatory writs shall be issued by the Court to
restore matters to the status quo ante.” (Banzon v. Cruz, 45 SCRA 475, 506 [1972]). Where, as in this case, there was somehow a
failure to properly issue the restraining order stopping the holding of the illegal plebiscite, the Court will issue the mandatory writ or
judgment to restore matters to the status quo ante and restore the territorial integrity of the province of Negros Occidental by
declaring the unconstitutionality of the challenged Act and nullifying the invalid proclamation of the proposed new province of
Negros del Norte and the equally invalid appointment of its officials.

Paredes vs. Executive Secretary to the President of the Philippines, 128 SCRA 6, No. L-55628 March 2, 1984

Local Governments; Statutes; Constitutional Law; In determining who should participate in a plebiscite to segregate several
barangays into a new municipality the constitutional phrase “unit or units affected” includes only voters of the barangays to be
segregated from the parent municipality.—Admittedly, this is one of those cases where the discretion of the Court is allowed
considerable leeway. There is indeed an element of ambiguity in the use of the expression “unit or units affected.” It is plausible to
assert as petitioners do that when certain barangays are separated from a parent municipality to form a new one, all the voters
therein are affected. It is much more persuasive, however, to contend as respondents do that the acceptable construction is for
those voters, who are not from the barangays to be separated, should be excluded in the plebiscite.

Same; Same; Same; In interpreting statutes that which will avoid finding of unconstitutionality is to be preferred. The statutory
exclusion of the voters from the other barangays in choosing whether another group of barangays within a town should be
segregated therefrom has not been shown to be void on its face.—For one thing, it is in accordance with the settled doctrine that
between two possible constructions, one avoiding a finding of unconstitutionality and the other yielding such a result, the former is
to be preferred. That which will save, not that which will destroy, commends itself for acceptance. After all, the basic presumption all
these years is one of validity. The onerous task of proving otherwise is on the party seeking to nullify a statute. It must be proved by
clear and convincing evidence that there is an infringement of a constitutional provision save in those cases where the challenged
act is void on its face. Absent such a showing, there can be no finding of unconstitutionally. A doubt, even if well-founded, does not
suffice. Justice Malcolm’s aphorism is apropos: “To doubt is to sustain”

Same; Same; Same; The constitutional provision guaranteeing the autonomy of local governments compels the conclusion that
only voters of the barangays wishing to be segregated from a parent municipality should be allowed to vote on such an issue.—
Such a doubt moreover is dispelled by a reference to this fundamental principle declared in the Constitution: “The State shall
guarantee and promote the autonomy of local government units, especially the [barangays], to ensure their fullest development as
self-reliant communities.” It is clear that in granting autonomy, priority is to be accorded the smallest unit, the barangay. That
enables its residents the fullest development as a self-reliant community, with a distinct personality of its own. Adherence to such a
philosophy compels the conclusion that when there are indications that the inhabitants of several barangays are inclined to
separate from a parent municipality they should be allowed to do so. What is more logical than to ascertain their will in a plebiscite
called for that purpose. It is they, and they alone, who shall constitute the new unit. New responsibilities will be assumed. New
burdens will be imposed. A new municipal corporation will come into existence. Its birth will be a matter of choice—their choice.
They should be left alone then to decide for themselves. To allow other voters to participate will not yield a true expression of their
will. They may even frustrate it. That certainly will be so if they vote against it for selfish reasons, and they constitute the majority.

Same; Same; Same; Moot and academic; As plebiscite was held already instant petition for prohibition has become moot.—The
plebiscite was duly held. The certificate of canvass and proclamation of the result disclosed that out of 2,409 total votes cast in
such plebiscite, 2,368 votes were cast in favor of the creation of the new municipality, which, according to the statute, will be named
municipality of Aguinaldo. There were only 40 votes cast against. As a result, such municipality was created. There is no turning
back the clock. The moot and academic character of this petition is thus apparent.

Municipality of Candijay, Bohol vs. Court of Appeals, 251 SCRA 530, G.R. No. 116702 December 28, 1995

Municipal Corporations; Local Governments; Inasmuch as respondent municipality of Alicia is similarly situated as the municipality
of San Andres in the case of Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon v. Mendez, Sr. (239 SCRA 11 [1994]), it should likewise benefit
from the effects of Section 442 (d) of the Local Government Code, and should henceforth be considered as a regular, de jure
municipality.—Respondent municipality’s situation in the instant case is strikingly similar to that of the municipality of San Andres.
Respondent municipality of Alicia was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 265 in 1949, or ten years ahead of the municipality
of San Andres, and therefore had been in existence for all of sixteen years when Pelaez vs. Auditor General was promulgated. And
various governmental acts throughout the years all indicate the State’s recognition and acknowledgment of the existence thereof.
For instance, under Administrative Order No. 33 above-mentioned, the Municipality of Alicia was covered by the 7th Municipal
Circuit Court of Alicia-Mabini for the province of Bohol. Likewise, under the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution, the
Municipality of Alicia is one of twenty municipalities comprising the Third District of Bohol. Inasmuch as respondent municipality of
Alicia is similarly situated as the municipality of San Andres, it should likewise benefit from the effects of Section 442 (d) of the
Local Government Code, and should henceforth be considered as a regular, de jure municipality.

Municipality of Jimenez vs. Baz, Jr., 265 SCRA 182, G.R. No. 105746 December 2, 1996

Constitutional Law; Municipal Corporations; Separation of Powers; Where a municipality created as such by executive order is later
impliedly recognized and its acts are accorded legal validity, its creation can no longer be questioned.—The principal basis for the
view that Sinacaban was not validly created as a municipal corporation is the ruling in Pelaez v. Auditor General that the creation of
municipal corporations is essentially a legislative matter and therefore the President was without power to create by executive order
the Municipality of Sinacaban. The ruling in this case has been reiterated in a number of cases later decided. However, we have
since held that where a municipality created as such by executive order is later impliedly recognized and its acts are accorded legal
validity, its creation can no longer be questioned.

Same; Same; De Facto Municipal Corporations; Quo Warranto; A municipality has been conferred the status of at least a de facto
municipal corporation where its legal existence has been recognized and acquiesced publicly and officially; A quo warranto suit
against a corporation for forfeiture of its charter must be commenced within five (5) years from the act complained of was done or
committed.—Here, the same factors are present so as to confer on Sinacaban the status of at least a de facto municipal
corporation in the sense that its legal existence has been recognized and acquiesced publicly and officially. Sinacaban had been in
existence for sixteen years when Pelaez v. Auditor General was decided on December 24, 1965. Yet the validity of E.O. No. 258
creating it had never been questioned. Created in 1949, it was only 40 years later that its existence was questioned and only
because it had laid claim to an area that apparently is desired far its revenue. This fact must be underscored because under Rule
66, §16 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto suit against a corporation for forfeiture of its charter must be commenced within five
(5) years from the time the act complained of was done or committed. On the contrary, the State and even the Municipality of
Jimenez itself have recognized Sinacaban's corporate existence. Under Administrative Order No. 33 dated June 13, 1978 of this
Court, as reiterated by §31 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129), Sinacaban is constituted part of a municipal
circuit for purposes of the establishment of Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the country. For its part, Jimenez had earlier recognized
Sinacaban in 1950 by entering into an agreement with it regarding their common boundary. The agreement was embodied in
Resolution No. 77 of the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental.

Same; Same; De Jure Municipal Corporations; The Municipality of Sinacaban attained de jure status by virtue of the Ordinance
appended to the 1987 Constitution.—Indeed Sinacaban has attained de jure status by virtue of the Ordinance appended to the
1987 Constitution, apportioning legislative districts throughout the country, which considered Sinacaban part of the Second District
of Misamis Occidental. Moreover, following the ruling in Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon v. Mendez, Sr., §442(d) of the Local
Government Code of 1991 must be deemed to have cured any defect in the creation of Sinacaban. This provision states:
Municipalities existing as of the date of the effectivity of this Code shall continue to exist and operate as such. Existing municipal
districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances or executive orders and which have their respective set of elective municipal
officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of the Code shall henceforth be considered as regular municipalities.

Same; Same; Plebiscites; The plebiscite requirement for the creation of municipalities applies only to new municipalities created for
the first time under the Constitution—it cannot be applied to municipal corporations created before.—As previously explained,
Sinacaban had attained de facto status at the time the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, it is not subject to the
plebiscite requirement. This requirement applies only to new municipalities created for the first time under the Constitution. Actually,
the requirement of plebiscite was originally contained in Art. XI, §3 of the previous Constitution which took effect on January 17,
1973. It cannot, therefore, be applied to municipal corporations created before, such as the Municipality of Sinacaban in the case at
bar.

Same; Same; The technical description, containing the metes and bounds of a municipality's territory, is controlling.—Finally,
Jimenez argues that the RTC erred in ordering a relocation survey of the boundary of Sinacaban because the barangays which
Sinacaban are claiming are not enumerated in E.O. No. 258 and that in any event in 1950 the parties entered into an agreement
whereby the barangays in question were considered part of the territory of Jimenez. E.O. No. 258 does not say that Sinacaban
comprises only the barrios (now called barangays) therein mentioned. What it says is that "Sinacaban contains" those barrios,
without saying they are the only ones comprising it. The reason for this is that the technical description, containing the metes and
bounds of its territory, is controlling. The trial court correctly ordered a relocation survey as the only means of determining the
boundaries of the municipality and consequently the question to which municipality the barangays in question belong.

Same; Same; Delegation of Power; Any alteration of boundaries that is not in accordance with the law creating a municipality is not
the carrying into effect of the law but its amendment—and a resolution of a Provincial Board declaring certain barrios part of one or
another municipality that is contrary to the technical description of the territory of a municipality is not binding.—As held in Pelaez v.
Auditor General, the power of provincial boards to settle boundary disputes is "of an administrative nature 7. involving, as it does,
the adoption of means and ways to carry into effect the law creating said municipalities." It is a power “to fix common boundary, in
order to avoid or settle conflicts of jurisdiction between adjoining municipalities." It is thus limited to implementing the law creating a
municipality. It is obvious that any alteration of boundaries that is not in accordance with the law creating a municipality is not the
carrying into effect of that law but its amendment. If, therefore, Resolution No. 77 of the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental is
contrary to the technical description of the territory of Sinacaban, it cannot be used by Jimenez as basis for opposing the claim of
Sinacaban.

Courts; Jurisdiction; In case no settlement of boundary disputes between municipalities is made, the dispute should be elevated to
the RTC of the province.—Jimenez properly brought to the RTC for review the decision of October 11, 1989 and Resolution No. 13-
90 of the Provincial Board. Its action is in accordance with the Local Government Code of 1983, §79 of which provides that in case
no settlement of boundary disputes is made the dispute should be elevated to the RTC of the province. In 1989, when the action
was brought by Jimenez, this Code was the governing law. The governing law is now the The Local Government Code of 1991
(R.A. No. 7160), §§118-119.

Same; Same; Failure of a court to decide within the period prescribed by law does not divest it of its jurisdiction to decide the case
but only makes the judge thereof liable for possible administrative sanction.—Jimenez's contention that the RTC failed to decide
the case "within one year from the start of proceedings" as required by §79 of the Local Government Code of 1983 and the 90-day
period provided for in Article VIII, §15 of the Constitution does not affect the validity of the decision rendered. For even granting that
the court failed to decide within the period prescribed by law, its failure did not divest it of its jurisdiction to decide the case but only
makes the judge thereof liable for possible administrative sanction.

Mendenilla vs. Onandia, 5 SCRA 536, No. L-17803 June 30, 1962

Municipal Corporations; Power of Congress to create or abolish; Creation of municipalities under the Revised Administrative Code
and of cities under special charters.—The power to abolish municipal corporations resides in Congress which, under the
Constitution, is given general legislative powers (Tiaco vs. Forbes, 228 U.S. 549;.Asuncion vs. Yriarte, 28 Phil. 67). Municipal
corporations are created under a general law, i.e., pursuant to the Municipal Law embodied in the Revised Administrative Code, in
the case of municipalities proper, and, under special charters in the case of chartered cities.

Same; Same; Same; Abolition of municipal offices in Legaspi upon its conversion into a city.—The creation of the city of Legaspi
resulted in the dissolution of the Municipality of Legaspi as a legal entity, and, consequently, the abolition of all municipal offices
then existing under the superseded municipality, save those excepted in the charter itself.

Same; Same; Same; Exceptions; Rule on statutory construction.—The only officers in the Municipality of Legaspi expressly
excepted from abolition upon its conversion into a city being the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor and members of the Municipal Board,
applying the doctrine of "inclusio unius, est exclusio alterius",all other municipal officers including that of Chief of Police, were
deemed abolished.

Same; Same; No person has a vested right to public office; Exception.—No person has a vested right to an office, except one who
holds a constitutional office. As a rule, all offices created by statutes are, more or less, temporary, transitory, or precarious, that
they are subject to the power of the legislature to abolish them. (See Busacay vs.Buenaventura, L-5856, Sept. 23, 1953.) The Civil
Service Law can not stand in the way of the exercise by the legislature of its power to alter, abolish, or create a municipal
corporation or office. What is not counted is the abolition of an office in bad faith to do away with a particular incumbent and later
recreating the same position and appointing thereto another person.

Civil service; Appointments in acting capacity; Designation of chief of police in an acting capacity; Legal effect.—A designation to
act in a position in an acting capacity may be terminated at the pleasure of the appointing authority (Mendez vs. Ganzon, L-10483,
April 12, 1957). And where that designation was at one's instance—as in the case at bar—and he accepted it on that
understanding, he can neither complain nor evade the legal consequence of his act, nor, if he be a member of the police force,
seek refuge in the protective mantle of Republic Act No. 557, which applies only to permanent appointments of members of the
police force.

Samson vs. Aguirre, 315 SCRA 53, G.R. No. 133076 September 22, 1999
Constitutional Law; Statutes; Every statute is presumed valid; A person asserting the contrary has the burden of proving his
allegations clearly and unmistakably.—Every statute is presumed valid. Every law is presumed to have passed through regular
congressional processes. A person asserting the contrary has the burden of proving his allegations clearly and unmistakably.

Same; Same; Same; Petitioner did not present any proof, but only allegations, that no certifications were submitted to the House
Committee on Local Government; Allegations, without more, cannot substitute for proof.—We note that the bill that eventually
became R.A. No. 8535 originated in the House of Representatives. Its principal sponsor is Cong. Dante Liban of Quezon City.
Petitioner did not present any proof, but only allegations, that no certifications were submitted to the House Committee on Local
Government, as is the usual practice in this regard. Allegations, without more, cannot substitute for proof. The presumption stands
that the law passed by Congress, based on the bill of Cong. Liban, had complied with all the requisites therefor.

Same; Same; Same; Petitioner has failed to present clear and convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality being
enjoyed by Republic Act No. 8535.—Clearly, from the foregoing considerations, petitioner has failed to present clear and
convincing proof to defeat the presumption of constitutionality being enjoyed by R.A. No. 8535. Nor did he succeed to convince the
Court with substantial and persuasive legal reasons for us to grant the reliefs he seeks.

Cawaling, Jr. vs. Commission on Elections, 368 SCRA 453, G.R. No. 146319, G.R. No. 146342 October 26, 2001

Constitutional Law; Statute; Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality; Court may declare a law or portions
thereof, unconstitutional, where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution not merely a doubtful or
argumentative one.—Every statute has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. This presumption is rooted in the doctrine of
separation of powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate departments of the Government a becoming courtesy for each
other’s acts. The theory is that every law, being the joint act of the Legislature and the Executive, has passed careful scrutiny to
ensure that it is in accord with the fundamental law. This Court, however, may declare a law, or portions thereof, unconstitutional,
where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one. In
other words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt, for to doubt is to sustain.

Administrative Law; Courts; The judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation; In the
exercise of judi-cial power, Courts are allowed only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable and may not annul an act of the political departments simply because they feel it is unwise or impractical.—Petitioner
further submits that, in any case, there is no “compelling” reason for merging the Municipalities of Bacon and Sorsogon in order to
create the City of Sorsogon considering that the Municipality of Sorsogon alone already qualifies to be upgraded to a component
city. This argument goes into the wisdom of R.A. No. 8806, a matter which we are not competent to rule. In Angara v. Electoral
Commission, this Court, through Justice Jose P. Laurel, made it clear that “the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom,
justice or expediency of legislation.” In the exercise of judicial power, we are allowed only “to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,” and “may not annul an act of the political departments simply because we
feel it is unwise or impractical.”

Central Barrio vs. City Treasurer of Davao, 23 SCRA 6, No. L-25811 April 3, 1968

Local governments; Republic Act 4354, amending Charter of Davao City; Constitutionality is presumed until declared otherwise by
the courts.—Republic Act 4354, passed on June 19, 1965, amending the Charter of Davao City must be presumed, until squarely
challenged and declared by the courts to be otherwise, as constitutional, especially because the power to create or abolish
municipal corporations resides in Congress (Mendiola v. Onandia, L-17803, June 30, 1962).

Same; Abolition of barrios; Republic Act 4354; Non-inclusion of an existing barrio in the enumeration of the barrios comprising the
City of Davao constitutes abolition.—Republic Act 4354, in Section 2, enumerated the barrios comprising the City of Davao.
Petitioner barrio Central or Poblacion was not mentioned therein. Accordingly, there prima facie arises the conclusion that said law
abolished barrio Central as part of Davao City. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

Statutory construction; Expressio unius est exclusio alterius; Case at bar.—The non-inclusion of an existing barrio in Section 2 of
Republic Act 4354 in the enumeration of barrios comprising the City of Davao gives rise to the conclusion that said law abolished
said barrio as part of Davao City. Expressio Unius est exclusio alterius.

Department of Agrarian Reform vs. Sarangani Agricultural Co., Inc., 512 SCRA 467, G.R. No. 165547 January 24, 2007

Agrarian Reform; Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657); A notice of coverage is not an indispensable requirement
before the Department of Agrarian Reform can acquire lots or commercial farms, which are covered by a deferment period under
R.A. No. 6657 upon its effectivity on 15 June 1998.—With regard to the first issue on due process, this Court holds that, under the
circumstances, a notice of coverage is not an indispensable requirement before DAR can acquire the subject lots or commercial
farms, which are covered by a deferment period under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or R.A. No 6657 upon its
effectivity on June 15, 1998. The pertinent provision of the law states: Sec. 11. Commercial Farming.—Commercial farms, which
are private agricultural lands devoted to saltbeds, fruit farms, orchards, vegetables and cutflower farms, cacao, coffee and rubber
plantations, shall be subject to immediate compulsory acquisition and distribution after ten (10) years from the effectivity of this Act.
In the case of new farms, the ten-year period shall begin from the first year of commercial production and operation, as determined
by the DAR. During the ten-year period, the Government shall initiate steps necessary to acquire these lands, upon payment of just
compensation for the land and the improvements thereon, preferably in favor of organized cooperatives or associations, which shall
thereafter manage the said lands for the workers-beneficiaries. (As amended by R.A. 7881; Rules and regulations on the
acquisition, valuation compensation and distribution of deferred commercial farms—DAR AO No. 09, s. 1998)
Same; Same; Local Government Units; Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR’s) scope of authority in assessing land use
conversion applications is limited to examining whether the requirements prescribed by law and existing rules and regulations have
been complied with—in accordance with E.O. No. 72, Series of 1993, and subject to the limitations prescribed by law, DAR should
utilize the comprehensive land use plans in evaluating the land use conversion application of landowners whose lands have already
been classified by their local government for non-agricultural uses.—The conversion of agricultural lands into non-agricultural uses
shall be strictly regulated and may be allowed only when the conditions prescribed under R.A. No. 6657 are present. In this regard,
the Court agrees with the ratiocination of the CA that DAR’s scope of authority in assessing land use conversion applications is
limited to examining whether the requirements prescribed by law and existing rules and regulations have been complied with. This
holds true in the present case where, because of the creation of the Province of Sarangani and in view of its thrust to urbanize,
particularly its provincial capital which is the Municipality of Alabel, the local government has reclassified certain portions of its land
area from agricultural to non-agricultural. Thus, to reiterate, in accordance with E.O. No. 72, Series of 1993, and subject to the
limitations prescribed by law, DAR should utilize the comprehensive land use plans in evaluating the land use conversion
application of respondents whose lands have already been reclassified by the local government for non-agricultural uses.

Same; Same; Same; The creation of a new province, and the reclassification that was effected by one of its municipalities, does not
operate to supersede the applicable provisions of R.A. No. 6657.—This is not to say, however, that every property of respondents
which is included in the comprehensive land use plan of the Municipality of Alabel shall be automatically granted non-coverage. As
mentioned earlier, said application is subject to the limitations and conditions prescribed by law. One such limitation that is present
here is that a portion of respondents’ property of 376.5424 hectares, a portion totaling 154.622 [or 154.1622] hectares which are
planted to bananas and coconuts, are covered by CARL’s ten-year deferment scheme, which has expired on June 15, 1998. By
law, these lands are subject to redistribution to CARP beneficiaries upon the lapse of the tenyear period, counted from the date of
the effectivity of the CARL or R.A. No. 6657 on June 15, 1988, which was way before the creation of the Province of Sarangani and
the eventual reclassification of the agricultural lands into non-agricultural in the Municipality of Alabel where respondents’ properties
are located. In short, the creation of the new Province of Sarangani, and the reclassification that was effected by the Municipality of
Alabel did not operate to supersede the applicable provisions of R.A. No. 6657.

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