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Posted by kaye lee on 12:46 PM

G.R. No. 133064 September 16 1999

FACTS:

1994, RA No. 7720 e ected the conversion of the municipality of Santiago, Isabela, into an independent component city. July 4th, RA No. 7720 was approved by the people of Santiago in a plebiscite. 1998, RA No. 8528 was enacted and it amended RA No. 7720 that practically downgraded the City of Santiago from an independent component city to a component city. Petitioners assail the constitutionality of RA No. 8528 for the lack of provision to submit the law for the approval of the people of Santiago in a proper plebiscite.

Respondents defended the constitutionality of RA No. 8528 saying that the said act merely reclassied the City of Santiago from an independent component city into a component city. It allegedly did not involve any “creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units,” therefore, a plebiscite of the people of Santiago is unnecessary. They also questioned the standing of petitioners to le the petition and argued that the petition raises a political question over which the Court lacks jurisdiction.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction over the petition at bar.

RULING:

Yes. RA No. 8528 is declared unconstitutional. That Supreme Court has the jurisdiction over said petition because it involves not a political question but a justiciable issue, and of which only the court could decide whether or not a law passed by the Congress is unconstitutional.

That when an amendment of the law involves creation, merger, division, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units, a plebiscite in the political units directly a ected is mandatory. Petitioners are directly a ected in the imple-mentation of RA No. 8528. Miranda was the mayor of Santiago City, Aado was the President of the Sangguniang Liga, together with 3 other petitioners were all residents and voters in the City of Santiago. It is their right to be heard in the conversion of their city through a plebiscite to be conducted by the COMELEC. Thus, denial of their right in RA No. 8528 gives them proper standing to strike down the law as unconstitutional.

Sec. 1 of Art. VIII of the Constitution states that: the judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. 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 instru- mentality of the Government.

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