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course is a branch of Political Law. It focuses on the effec ts of change in the operations and capabilities of the local government units vi s--vis the national government to the unitary system of inter-governmental relati ons in the Philippines. Emphasis will be the evolution of autonomy, decentraliza tion and devolution of powers to the local government and the deconcentration of functions of national offices to the local government units. METHODOLOGY: The class will be conducted mainly through recitations and examinations. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Readings and Assignments. You are expected to be familiar with the assig ned readings on a week-to-week basis and must be prepared to participate activel y in class discussion. Supplementary readings and assignments will be given ever y now and then to augment the schedule of Topics and Readings and to ensure a be tter understanding of a specific topic. Recitation. You will be called to recite or lead the discussion of a sch eduled topic during the term. You are expected to demonstrate during recitation both knowledge of the assigned readings and ability to express yourself convinci ngly. Mid-term/Final Examinations. You will be given two major examinations in this course. Both will allow you to display your knowledge and familiarity to t hink critically and logically. GRADING SYSTEM: Your grade in this course will be determined on the basis of class stand ing (30%), the preliminary examination (30%), and the final examination (40%). COURSE OUTLINE: GENERAL PRINCIPLES: Reference: Martin, Rupeerto G. Public Corporation (latest ed) Manila, Phili ppines, Chapters 1-4 A. Corporatin, Public Corporation, Municipal Corporation, Local Government - definitions, classes, purpose, elements, history, nature B. Types of local government -de jure/ de facto municipal corporations, requisites Atty. Voltaire G. San Pedro PUBLIC CORPORATION 2 Units Constitutional Law

C. Validity of incorporation and corporate existence -general rule; exceptions CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS Reference: 1987 Philippine Constitution

A. State Policy, Article II, Section 25 B. Local Government, Art. X, Secs. 1-25 C. Statute RA 7924, Constituting the MMDA, 23 May 1995 D Cases San Juan v. CSC 196 SCRA 69 Limbona v. Conte Mangelin, 170 SCRA 786 Abbas v. Comelec, 179 SCRA 287 Ordillo v. Comelec, 192 SCRA 100 MMDA v. Bel Air Village Association, 328 SCRA 836 LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, RA 7160 Refrence: Pimentel, Auilino Q., The Local Government Code of 1991: Revisit ed, Manila Philippine Normal University, 2007 A. Basic Principles, Secs 1-26 1. Creation of LGUs (Sec 6 & 450) Pelaez v Auditor General, 15 SCRA 569 Municipality of Kapalong v Moya, 166 SCRA 70 Municipality of San Narciso v Mendez, 239 SCRA II Alvarez v Guingona, GR 118303, 31 Jan 1996 2. Dual Personality (Sec 15) 3. Delegatas potestas non potest delegare Rubi v Provincial Board, Mindoro, 39 Phil 660 People v Vera, 65 Phil 56 Solicitor General v MMA, 204 SCRA 267 MMDA v Viron Transportation Co., Inc 530 SCRA 341 4. General Welfare Clause (Sec 16) Fabie v City of Manila, 21 Phil 486 US v Pompeya, 31 Phil245 US v Salaveria, 39 Phil 102 City of Manila v Pallugna, GR 15350, 30 Sep 1960 People v Gabriel, 43 Phil 641 Pelino v Ichon, 69 Phil 81 Ermita-Malate Hotel Operatins v Mayor of Manila, 20 SCRA 182 City of Manila v Laguio, 455 SCRA 308 (2005) White Light Corporation v City of Manila SCRA 416 (2009)

Rivera v Campbell, 34 Phil 348 Dela Cruz v Paras, 123 SCRA 569 Balacuit v CFI, Agusan del Norte & Butuan City, 163 SCRA 182 Magtajas v Pryce Property Corp., 234 SCRA 255 5. Nuisance; Kinds, Abatement, Defense Art. 694, New Civil Coe People v Fajardo, 104 Phil 443 Churchill & Tait v Rafferty, 32 Phil 580 6. Power to Generate and Apply Resources (Sec 18) Medina v City of Baguio, 91 Phil 854 7. Eminent Domain (Sec 19) Moday v CA, 286 SCRA 368 Municipality of MAycauayan, Bulacan v IAC, 157 SCRA 640 JIL Christian School Foundation, Municipality of Pasig, GR 152230, 9 Aug 2005 Dela Paz Masikip v Judge LEgaspi, GR 136349, 23 Jan 2006 Beluso v Municipality of Panay, Capiz, GR 153974, 7 Aug 2006 Barangay Sindalan, San Fernando, Pampanga v CA 518 SCRA 649 (2007) 8. Closure of Roads (Sec 21) Calapan Lumber Co. v Community Sawmill, 11 SCRA 346 9. Property of LGU (Sec 22) Arts. 423-424, New Civil Code City of Manila v Garcia, 19 SCRA 413 Espiritu v Mun. Council of Pozorrubio, 102 Phil 866 Villanueva v Castaeda, 154 SCRA 142 City of Baguio v Nawasa, 106 Phil 144 Zamboanga del Norte v City of Zamaboanga 22 SCRA 1334 10. Suability and Liability Arts. 2180 & 2189, New Civil Code Torio v Funtanilla, 85 SCRA 599 Municipality of Moncada v Cajuigan, 21 Phil 184 City of Manila v Teotico, 22 SCRA 267 11. Power to contract; ultra vires contract; ratification; non-impairment Acuna v Municipality of Iloilo, 2 Phil 217 Pechueco Sons & Co. v Prov. Board of Antique, 31 SCRA 320 Province of Cebu v IAC, 147 SCRA 447 City of Manila v Tarlac Development Corp., 24 SCRA 466 B. Intergovernmental Relations, Sec 25-38 I. LGU Relations with PNP

RA 6975, DILG Act of 1990 Carpio v Executive Secretary, 206 SCRA 290 C Elective Officials, Secs. 39-75 1. Qualifications (Sec 39) Marcos v Comelec, GR 119976, 18 Sep 1995 Aquino v Comelec, GR 120265, 18 Sep 1995 Frivaldo v Comelec , GR 120295/ Lee v Comelec GR 123755, 28 Jun 1996 2. Disqualifications (Sec 40) Moreno v Comelec, 498 SCRA 547 Dela Torre v Comelec, 258 SCRA 483 Baclayon v Mutia, 129 SCRA 149 Reyes v Comelec, GR 120905/ Garcia v Comelec, GR 120940, 7 Mar 1996 Salalima v Guingona, 257 SCRA 55 Aguinaldo v Santos Caasi v CA, 191 SCRA 229 Mercado v Comelec, 243 SCRA 630 Valles v Comelec, 337SCRA 543 Marquez v Comelec, 243 SCRA 539 Rodriguez v Comelec, 259 SCRA 297 3. Term of Office (Sec 43) Latasa v Comelec, 417 SCRA 601 Lonzanida v Comelec, 311 SCRA 602 Socrates v Comelec and Morales, GR 167591, 9 May 2007 4. Succession (Sec 44) Labo v Comelec, GR 105111, 3 Jul 1992 Benito v Comelec, GR 106053, 17 Aug 1994 5. Preventive Suspension (Sec 60) Bunye v Escarel, GR 110216, 10 Sep 1993 People v Albano, 163 SCRA 511 6. Recall (Sec 69) D. Title III-VIII, Secs 76-117 1. RA 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Emplo yees 2. RA 6758, Compensation, Position and Classification of LGUs 3. Boundary Dispute Sec. 118 Municipality of Kananga v Madrona, GR 141375, 30 Apr. 2003 E. Other Provisions Applicable to LGUs, Sec. 118-127 1. Initiative and Referendum RA 6735, Initiative and Referendum Act Garcia v Comelec, GR 111230, 30 Sep 1994 SBMA v Comelec, GR 124516, 26 Sep 1996

F. Fiscal Matters, Secs. 284-383 G. Local Government Units, Secs. 384-510 Social Justice v Atienza, 517 SCRA 657 H. Miscellaneous and Final Provisions, Secs. 511-536

The history of a nation is only the history of its village written nation. -Woodrow Wilson --------------------

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7924 . . AN ACT CREATING THE METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, DEFINING ITS POWE RS AND FUNCTIONS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. Section 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to treat Metropolitan Manila as a special development and administrative r egion and certain basic services affecting or involving Metro Manila as metro-wi de services more efficiently and effectively planned, supervised and coordinated by a development authority as created herein, without prejudice to the autonomy of the affected local government units. Pursuant to this policy, Metropolitan Manila, as a public corporation created un der Presidential Decree No. 824, embracing the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Manda luyong, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, and Muntinlupa, and the municipalities of Las Pias, Malabon, Marikina, Navotas, Paraaque, Pateros, San Juan, Tagig, and Vale nzuela, is hereby constituted into a special development and administrative regi on subject to direct supervision of the President of the Philippines.chan robles virtual law library Sec. 2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. The affairs o f Metropolitan Manila's shall be administered by the Metropolitan Manila Develop ment Authority, hereinafter referred to as the MMDA, to replace the Metro Manila Authority (MMA) organized under Executive Order No. 392 series of 1990. The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in t he process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of me tro-wide services within Metro Manila without diminution of the autonomy of the local government units concerning purely local matters. Sec. 3. Scope of MMDA Services. Metro-wide services under the jurisdiction of th e MMDA are those services which have metro-wide impact and transcend local polit ical boundaries or entail huge expenditures such that it would not be viable for said services to be provided by the individual local government units (LGUs) co mprising Metropolitan Manila. These services shall include:

(a) Development planning which includes the preparation of medium and long-term development plans; the development, evaluation and packaging of projects; invest ments programming; and coordination and monitoring of plan, program and project implementation.chan robles virtual law library (b) Transport and traffic management which include the formulation, coordination , and monitoring of policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize th e existing transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroug hfares, and promotion of safe and convenient movement of persons and goods; prov ision for the mass transport system and the institution of a system to regulate road users; administration and implementation of all traffic enforcement operati ons, traffic engineering services and traffic education programs, including the institution of a single ticketing system in Metropolitan Manila. (c) Solid waste disposal and management which include formulation and implementa tion of policies, standards, programs and projects for proper and sanitary waste disposal. It shall likewise include the establishment and operation of sanitary land fill and related facilities and the implementation of other alternative pr ograms intended to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste. (d) Flood control and sewerage management which include the formulation and impl ementation of policies, standards, programs and projects for an integrated flood control, drainage and sewerage system. (e) Urban renewal, zoning, and land use planning, and shelter services which inc lude the formulation, adoption and implementation of policies, standards, rules and regulations, programs and projects to rationalize and optimize urban land us e and provide direction to urban growth and expansion, the rehabilitation and de velopment of slum and blighted areas, the development of shelter and housing fac ilities and the provision of necessary social services thereof. (f) Health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control which include the formulation and implementation of policies, rules and regulations, standards , programs and projects for the promotion and safeguarding of the health and san itation of the region and for the enhancement of ecological balance and the prev ention, control and abatement of environmental pollution. (g) Public safety which includes the formulation and implementation of programs and policies and procedures to achieve public safety, especially preparedness fo r preventive or rescue operations during times of calamities and disasters such as conflagrations, earthquakes, flood and tidal waves, and coordination and mobi lization of resources and the implementation of contingency plans for the rehabi litation and relief operations in coordination with national agencies concerned. Sec. 4. Metro Manila Council. The governing board and policy making body of the MMDA shall be the Metro Manila Council, composed of the mayors of the eight (8) cities and nine (9) municipalities enumerated in Section 1 hereof, the president of the Metro Manila Vice Mayors League and the president of the Metro Manila Co uncilors League. chan robles virtual law library The heads of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Departm ent of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Comm ittee (HUDCC), and Philippine National Police (PNP) or their duly authorized rep resentatives, shall attend meetings of the council as non-voting members. The Council shall be headed by a chairman, who shall be appointed by the Preside nt and who shall continue to hold office at the discretion of the appointing aut hority. He shall be vested with the rank, rights, privileges, disqualifications, and prohibitions of a cabinet member.

The chairman shall be assisted by a general manager, an assistant general manage r for finance and administration, an assistant general manager for planning and assistant general manager for operation, all of whom shall be appointed by the P resident with the consent and concurrence of the majority of the Council, subjec t to civil service laws, rules and regulations. They shall enjoy security of ten ure and may be removed for cause in accordance with law.chan robles virtual law library The assistant general manager for planning must have not less than five (5) year s extensive experience in development and planning or must hold a master's degre e in urban planning or similar disciplines. The chairman and members of the Council shall be entitled to allowance and per d iems in accordance with existing policies, rules and regulations on the matter. Sec. 5. Functions and Powers of the Metro Manila Development Authority. shall: The MMDA

(a) Formulate, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium and long-ter m plans and programs for the delivery of metro-wide services, land use and physi cal development within Metropolitan Manila, consistent with national development objectives and priorities; chan robles virtual law library (b) Prepare, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium-term programs for metro-wide services which shall indicate sources and uses of funds for prior ity programs and projects, and which shall include the packaging of projects and presentation to funding institutions; (c) Undertake and manage on its own metro-wide programs and projects for the del ivery of specific services under its jurisdiction, subject to the approval of th e Council. For this purpose, MMDA can create appropriate project management offi ces; (d) Coordinate and monitor the implementation of such plans, programs and projec ts in Metro Manila; identify bottlenecks and adopt solutions to problems of impl ementation; (e) The MMDA shall set the policies concerning traffic in Metro Manila, and shal l coordinate and regulate the implementation of all programs and projects concer ning traffic management, specifically pertaining to enforcement, engineering and education.Upon request, it shall be extended assistance and cooperation, includ ing but not limited to, assignment of personnel, by all other government agencie s and offices concerned; (f) Install and administer a single ticketing system, fix, impose and collect fi nes and penalties for all kinds of violations of traffic rules and regulations, whether moving or non-moving in nature, and confiscate and suspend or revoke dri vers' licenses in the enforcement of such traffic laws and regulations, the prov isions of R. A. 4136 and P. D. 1605 to the contrary notwithstanding. For this pu rpose, the Authority shall enforce all traffic laws and regulations in Metro Man ila, through its traffic operation center, and may deputize members of the PNP, traffic enforcers of local government units, duly licensed security guards, or m embers of non-governmental organizations to whom may be delegated certain author ity, subject to such conditions and requirements as the Authority may impose; an dchan robles virtual law library (g) Perform other related functions required to achieve the objectives of the MM DA, including the undertaking of delivery of basic services to the local governm ent units, when deemed necessary subject to prior coordination with and consent of the local government unit concerned.

Sec. 6. Functions of the Metro Manila Council. (a) The Council shall be the policy-making body of the MMDA. chan robles virtual law library (b) It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and projects and issue rules and regulations and resolutions deemed necessary by the MMDA to carry out the purpo ses of this Act. (c) It may increase the rate of the allowances and per diems of the members of t he Council to be effective during the term of the succeeding Council. It shall f ix the compensation of the officers and personnel of the MMDA, and approve the a nnual budget thereof for submission to the Department of Budget and Management ( DBM). (d) It shall promulgate rules and regulations and set policies and standards for metro-wide application governing the delivery of basic services, prescribe and collect service and regulatory fees, and impose and collect fines and penalties. Sec. 7. Functions of the Chairman. The chairman shall: (a) Appoint, subject to civil service laws, rules and regulations, all subordina te officers and employees, who shall enjoy security of tenure and may be removed only for cause in accordance with law. The chairman is hereby authorized to eng age the services of experts/consultants either on full time or part-time basis, as may be required in the performance of his functions and duties as may be dete rmined by him; chan robles virtual law library (b) Execute the policies and measures approved by the Metro Manila Council and b e responsible for the efficient and effective day-to-day management of the opera tions of the MMDA; (c) Prepare the annual budget for the operations of the MMDA for submission to t he Council;chan robles virtual law library (d) Submit for consideration of the Council such other policies and measures as he may deem necessary to carry out the purposes and provisions of this Act; (e) Subject to the guidelines and policies set by the Council, prepare the staff ing pattern and fix the number of subordinate officials and employees of the MMD A; and exercise the power to discipline subordinate officials and employees unde r the provisions of law; (f) Prepare an annual report on the accomplishments of the MMDA at the close of each calendar year for submission to the Council and to the President of the Phi lippines; and (g) Perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the President or by t he Council. Sec. 8. Functions of the General Manager. The general manager shall: (a) Assist the chairman in the administration of the MMDA and supervision of sub ordinate personnel; chan robles virtual law library (b) Assist the chairman in the supervision of the operation of the various opera ting centers and units of the MMDA; (c) Assist the chairman in the review of plans and programs for the MMDA and for Metro Manila in the preparation of the annual report of activities and accompli shments of the MMDA; and (d) Perform such other duties and functions as may be lawfully delegated or assi gned by the chairman from time to time. Sec. 9. Institutional Linkages of the MMDA. The MMDA shall, in carrying out its functions, consult, coordinate and work closely with the LGUs, the National Econ

omic and Development Authority (NEDA) and other national government agencies men tioned in Section 4 hereof, and accredited people's organizations (POs), non-gov ernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector operating in Metro Manila . The MMDA chairman or his authorized representative from among the Council memb ers, shall be ex officio member of the boards of government corporations and com mittees of the department and offices of government whose activities are relevan t to the objectives and responsibilities of the MMDA which shall include but not be limited to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), DOTC, DPWH, H UDCC and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). chan robles virtual law library The MMDA shall have a master plan that shall serve as the framework for the loca l development plans of the component LGUs. The MMDA shall submit its development plans and investment programs to the NEDA for integration into the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and pub lic investment program.chan robles virtual law library The implementation of the MMDA's plans, programs, and projects shall be undertak en by the LGUs, the concerned national government agencies, the POs, NGOs and th e private sector and the MMDA itself where appropriate. For this purpose, the MM DA may enter into contracts, memoranda of agreement and other cooperative arrang ements with these bodies for the delivery of the required services within Metrop olitan Manila. The MMDA shall, in coordination with the NEDA and the Department of Finance, int erface with the foreign assistance agencies for purposes of obtaining financing support, grants and donations in support of its programs and projects. Sec. 10. Sources of Funds and the Operating Budget Of MMDA: (a) To carry out the purposes of this Act, the Amount of One billion pesos (P1,0 00,000,000) is hereby authorized to be appropriated for the initial operation of the MMDA. Thereafter, the annual expenditures including capital outlays of the MMDA shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act. chan robles virtual law library (b) The MMDA shall continue to receive the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) curr ently allocated to the present MMA. (c) The MMDA is likewise empowered to levy fines, and impose fees and charges fo r various services rendered. (d) Five percent (5%) of the total annual gross revenue of the preceding year, n et of the internal revenue allotment, or each local government unit mentioned in Section 2 hereof, shall accrue and become payable monthly to the MMDA by each c ity or municipality.In case of failure to remit the said fixed contribution, the DBM shall cause the disbursement of the same to the MMDA chargeable against the IRA allotment of the city or municipality concerned, the provisions of Section 286 of R. A. 7160 to the contrary notwithstanding. Sec. 11. Transitory Provisions. To prevent disruption in the delivery of the bas ic urban services pending the full implementation of the MMDA's organizational s tructure and staffing pattern, all officials and employees of the interim MMA sh all continue to exercise their duties and functions and receive their salaries a nd allowances until they shall have been given notice of change of duties and fu nctions, and of being transferred to another office or position. chan robles virtual law library All assets and properties presently in use or under the accountability of the in terim MMA and all its obligations, indebtedness, or liabilities shall be transfe rred to and assumed by the MMDA created under this Act, subject to the condition s that may be established by the Department of Budget and Management, Office of the President, and Commission on Audit. The civil service laws, rules and regulations pertinent to the displacement of p

ersonnel affected by this Act shall be strictly enforced. The national governmen t shall provide such amounts as may be necessary to pay the benefits accruing to displaced employees at the rate of one and one-fourth (1 1/4) month's salary fo r every year of service: Provided, That, if qualified for retirement under exist ing retirement laws, said employees may opt to receive the benefits thereunder. Sec. 12. Repealing Clause. Executive Order No. 392 dated January 9, 1990 is here by repealed. All other laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, o r parts thereof inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. Sec. 13. Separability Clause. If any part or provision of this Act is held uncon stitutional or invalid, other parts or provisions thereof which are not affected shall continue to remain in full force and effect.chan robles virtual law libra ry Sec. 14. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following com pletion of its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation .

Approved: March 1, 1995 .


Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 80391 February 28, 1989 SULTAN ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA, petitioner, vs. CONTE MANGELIN, SALIC ALI, SALINDATO ALI, PILIMPINAS CONDING, ACMAD TOMAWIS, GER RY TOMAWIS, JESUS ORTIZ, ANTONIO DELA FUENTE, DIEGO PALOMARES, JR., RAUL DAGALAN GIT, and BIMBO SINSUAT, respondents. Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioner petitioner. Makabangkit B. Lanto for respondents.


The acts of the Sangguniang Pampook of Region XII are assailed in this petition. The antecedent facts are as follows: 1. On September 24, 1986, petitioner Sultan Alimbusar Limbona was appointed as a member of the Sangguniang Pampook, Regional Autonomous Government, Region XII, representing Lanao del Sur. 2. On March 12, 1987 petitioner was elected Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly or Batasang Pampook of Central Mindanao (Assembly for brevity). 3. Said Assembly is composed of eighteen (18) members. Two of said members, resp ondents Acmad Tomawis and Pakil Dagalangit, filed on March 23, 1987 with the Com mission on Elections their respective certificates of candidacy in the May 11, 1 987 congressional elections for the district of Lanao del Sur but they later wit hdrew from the aforesaid election and thereafter resumed again their positions a s members of the Assembly. 4. On October 21, 1987 Congressman Datu Guimid Matalam, Chairman of the Committe e on Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives, invited Mr. Xavier Razul, P ampook Speaker of Region XI, Zamboanga City and the petitioner in his capacity a s Speaker of the Assembly, Region XII, in a letter which reads: The Committee on Muslim Affairs well undertake consultations and dialogues with local government officials, civic, religious organizations and traditional leade rs on the recent and present political developments and other issues affecting R egions IX and XII. The result of the conference, consultations and dialogues would hopefully chart the autonomous governments of the two regions as envisioned and may prod the Pre sident to constitute immediately the Regional Consultative Commission as mandate d by the Commission. You are requested to invite some members of the Pampook Assembly of your respect ive assembly on November 1 to 15, 1987, with venue at the Congress of the Philip pines. Your presence, unstinted support and cooperation is (sic) indispensable. 5. Consistent with the said invitation, petitioner sent a telegram to Acting Sec retary Johnny Alimbuyao of the Assembly to wire all Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November as "our presence in the house committee hearing of Co ngress take (sic) precedence over any pending business in batasang pampook ... . " 6. In compliance with the aforesaid instruction of the petitioner, Acting Secret ary Alimbuyao sent to the members of the Assembly the following telegram: TRANSMITTING FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE TELEGRAM RECEIVED FROM SPEAKER LI MBONA QUOTE CONGRESSMAN JIMMY MATALAM CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON MUSLIM AFFAIRS REQUESTED ME TO ASSIST SAID COMMITTEE IN THE DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSED AUTONOMY ORGANIC NOV. 1ST TO 15. HENCE WERE ALL ASSEMBLYMEN THAT THERE SHALL BE NO SESSION IN NOVEMBER AS OUR PRESENCE IN THE HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING OF CONGRES S TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ANY PENDING BUSINESS IN BATASANG PAMPOOK OF MATALAM FOLLO WS UNQUOTE REGARDS. 7. On November 2, 1987, the Assembly held session in defiance of petitioner's ad vice, with the following assemblymen present: 1. Sali, Salic

2. Conding, Pilipinas (sic)


Dagalangit, Rakil

4. Dela Fuente, Antonio 5. Mangelen, Conte 6. Ortiz, Jesus 7. Palomares, Diego 8. Sinsuat, Bimbo 9. Tomawis, Acmad 10. Tomawis, Jerry After declaring the presence of a quorum, the Speaker Pro-Tempore was authorized to preside in the session. On Motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant, all Assemblymen in attendance voted in the affirmative, hence, the chair declar ed said seat of the Speaker vacant. 8. On November 5, 1987, the session of the A ssembly resumed with the following Assemblymen present: 1. Mangelen Conte-Presiding Officer 2. 3. 4. Ali Salic Ali Salindatu Aratuc, Malik

5. Cajelo, Rene 6. Conding, Pilipinas (sic) 7. Dagalangit, Rakil 8. Dela Fuente, Antonio 9. Ortiz, Jesus 10 11. Palomares, Diego Quijano, Jesus

12. Sinsuat, Bimbo 13. Tomawis, Acmad 14. Tomawis, Jerry

An excerpt from the debates and proceeding of said session reads: HON. DAGALANGIT: Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of the House, with the presence of our colleagues who have come to attend the session today, I move to call the names of the new comers in order for them to cast their votes on the previous mo tion to declare the position of the Speaker vacant. But before doing so, I move also that the designation of the Speaker Pro Tempore as the Presiding Officer an d Mr. Johnny Evangelists as Acting Secretary in the session last November 2, 198 7 be reconfirmed in today's session.

HON. SALIC ALI: I second the motions. PRESIDING OFFICER: Any comment or objections on the two motions presented? Me ch air hears none and the said motions are approved. ... Twelve (12) members voted in favor of the motion to declare the seat of the Spea ker vacant; one abstained and none voted against. 1 Accordingly, the petitioner prays for judgment as follows: WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays that(a) This Petition be given due course;

(b) Pending hearing, a restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction b e issued enjoining respondents from proceeding with their session to be held on November 5, 1987, and on any day thereafter; (c) After hearing, judgment be rendered declaring the proceedings held by re spondents of their session on November 2, 1987 as null and void; (d) Holding the election of petitioner as Speaker of said Legislative Assemb ly or Batasan Pampook, Region XII held on March 12, 1987 valid and subsisting, a nd (e) Making the injunction permanent. Petitioner likewise prays for such other relief as may be just and equitable. 2 Pending further proceedings, this Court, on January 19, 1988, received a resolut ion filed by the Sangguniang Pampook, "EXPECTING ALIMBUSAR P. LIMBONA FROM MEMBE RSHIP OF THE SANGGUNIANG PAMPOOK AUTONOMOUS REGION XII," 3 on the grounds, among other things, that the petitioner "had caused to be prepared and signed by him paying [sic] the salaries and emoluments of Odin Abdula, who was considered resi gned after filing his Certificate of Candidacy for Congressmen for the First Dis trict of Maguindanao in the last May 11, elections. . . and nothing in the recor d of the Assembly will show that any request for reinstatement by Abdula was eve r made . . ." 4 and that "such action of Mr. Lim bona in paying Abdula his salar ies and emoluments without authority from the Assembly . . . constituted a usurp ation of the power of the Assembly," 5 that the petitioner "had recently caused withdrawal of so much amount of cash from the Assembly resulting to the non-paym ent of the salaries and emoluments of some Assembly [sic]," 6 and that he had "f iled a case before the Supreme Court against some members of the Assembly on que stion which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assembly," 7 fo r which the respondents now submit that the petition had become "moot and academ ic". 8 The first question, evidently, is whether or not the expulsion of the petitioner (pending litigation) has made the case moot and academic. We do ly of done t, it not agree that the case has been rendered moot and academic by reason simp the expulsion resolution so issued. For, if the petitioner's expulsion was purposely to make this petition moot and academic, and to preempt the Cour will not make it academic.

On the ground of the immutable principle of due process alone, we hold that the expulsion in question is of no force and effect. In the first place, there is no showing that the Sanggunian had conducted an investigation, and whether or not the petitioner had been heard in his defense, assuming that there was an investi

gation, or otherwise given the opportunity to do so. On the other hand, what app ears in the records is an admission by the Assembly (at least, the respondents) that "since November, 1987 up to this writing, the petitioner has not set foot a t the Sangguniang Pampook." 9 "To be sure, the private respondents aver that "[t ]he Assemblymen, in a conciliatory gesture, wanted him to come to Cotabato City, " 10 but that was "so that their differences could be threshed out and settled." 11 Certainly, that avowed wanting or desire to thresh out and settle, no matter how conciliatory it may be cannot be a substitute for the notice and hearing co ntemplated by law. While we have held that due process, as the term is known in administrative law, does not absolutely require notice and that a party need only be given the oppo rtunity to be heard, 12 it does not appear herein that the petitioner had, to be gin with, been made aware that he had in fact stood charged of graft and corrupt ion before his collegues. It cannot be said therefore that he was accorded any o pportunity to rebut their accusations. As it stands, then, the charges now level led amount to mere accusations that cannot warrant expulsion. In the second place, (the resolution) appears strongly to be a bare act of vende tta by the other Assemblymen against the petitioner arising from what the former perceive to be abduracy on the part of the latter. Indeed, it (the resolution) speaks of "a case [having been filed] [by the petitioner] before the Supreme Cou rt . . . on question which should have been resolved within the confines of the Assemblyman act which some members claimed unnecessarily and unduly assails thei r integrity and character as representative of the people" 13 an act that cannot possibly justify expulsion. Access to judicial remedies is guaranteed by the Co nstitution, 14 and, unless the recourse amounts to malicious prosecution, no one may be punished for seeking redress in the courts. We therefore order reinstatement, with the caution that should the past acts of the petitioner indeed warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined, should it s till be so minded, to commence proper proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary requirements of due process. And while it is within the discretion o f the members of the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues, their acts ar e nonetheless subject to the moderating band of this Court in the event that suc h discretion is exercised with grave abuse. It is, to be sure, said that precisely because the Sangguniang Pampook(s) are "a utonomous," the courts may not rightfully intervene in their affairs, much less strike down their acts. We come, therefore, to the second issue: Are the so-call ed autonomous governments of Mindanao, as they are now constituted, subject to t he jurisdiction of the national courts? In other words, what is the extent of se lf-government given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII? The autonomous governments of Mindanao were organized in Regions IX and XII by P residential Decree No. 1618 15 promulgated on July 25, 1979. Among other things, the Decree established "internal autonomy" 16 in the two regions "[w]ithin the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines and its Constitution," 17 with legislative and executive mach inery to exercise the powers and responsibilities 18 specified therein. It requires the autonomous regional governments to "undertake all internal admin istrative matters for the respective regions," 19 except to "act on matters whic h are within the jurisdiction and competence of the National Government," 20 "wh ich include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) National defense and security; (2) Foreign relations;

(3) Foreign trade; (4) Currency, monetary affairs, foreign exchange, banking and quasi-banking, and external borrowing, (5) Disposition, exploration, development, exploitation or utilization of a ll natural resources; (6) Air and sea transport (7) Postal matters and telecommunications; (8) Customs and quarantine; (9) Immigration and deportation; (10) Citizenship and naturalization; (11) National economic, social and educational planning; and

(12) General auditing. 21 In relation to the central government, it provides that "[t]he President shall h ave the power of general supervision and control over the Autonomous Regions ... " 22 Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization o f power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden t he base of government power and in the process to make local governments "more r esponsive and accountable," 23 "and ensure their fullest development as self-rel iant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of nationa l development and social progress." 24 At the same time, it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrat e on national concerns. The President exercises "general supervision" 25 over th em, but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." 2 6 He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their ju dgments with his own. 27 Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of politica l power in the favor of local governments units declare to be autonomous . In th at case, the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape it s future with minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a cons titutional author, decentralization of power amounts to "self-immolation," since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency. 28 But the question of whether or not the grant of autonomy Muslim Mindanao under t he 1987 Constitution involves, truly, an effort to decentralize power rather tha n mere administration is a question foreign to this petition, since what is invo lved herein is a local government unit constituted prior to the ratification of the present Constitution. Hence, the Court will not resolve that controversy now , in this case, since no controversy in fact exists. We will resolve it at the p roper time and in the proper case. Under the 1987 Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy in these two senses, thus: Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Phi lippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. Here shall be

autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao ,and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provi ded. 29 Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. 3 0 xxx xxx xxx

See. 15. Mere shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical ar eas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic an d social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. 31 An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. (19 87), art. X, sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creatin g it and accepted principles on the effects and limits of "autonomy." On the oth er hand, an autonomous government of the former class is, as we noted, under the supervision of the national government acting through the President (and the De partment of Local Government). 32 If the Sangguniang Pampook (of Region XII), th en, is autonomous in the latter sense, its acts are, debatably beyond the domain of this Court in perhaps the same way that the internal acts, say, of the Congr ess of the Philippines are beyond our jurisdiction. But if it is autonomous in t he former category only, it comes unarguably under our jurisdiction. An examinat ion of the very Presidential Decree creating the autonomous governments of Minda nao persuades us that they were never meant to exercise autonomy in the second s ense, that is, in which the central government commits an act of self-immolation . Presidential Decree No. 1618, in the first place, mandates that "[t]he Preside nt shall have the power of general supervision and control over Autonomous Regio ns." 33 In the second place, the Sangguniang Pampook, their legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative services, thus: SEC. 7. Powers of the Sangguniang Pampook. The Sangguniang Pampook shall exercis e local legislative powers over regional affairs within the framework of nationa l development plans, policies and goals, in the following areas: (1) Organization of regional administrative system; (2) Economic, social and cultural development of the Autonomous Region; (3) on; (4) (5) Agricultural, commercial and industrial programs for the Autonomous Regi Infrastructure development for the Autonomous Region; Urban and rural planning for the Autonomous Region;

(6) Taxation and other revenue-raising measures as provided for in this Decree; (7) Maintenance, operation and administration of schools established by the Auto nomous Region; (8) Establishment, operation and maintenance of health, welfare and other social services, programs and facilities; (9) Preservation and development of customs, traditions, languages and culture i ndigenous to the Autonomous Region; and (10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law,including the enactment o

f such measures as may be necessary for the promotion of the general welfare of the people in the Autonomous Region. The President shall exercise such powers as may be necessary to assure that enac tment and acts of the Sangguniang Pampook and the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook are in compliance with this Decree, national legislation, policies, plans and pr ograms. The Sangguniang Pampook shall maintain liaison with the Batasang Pambansa. 34 Hence, we assume jurisdiction. And if we can make an inquiry in the validity of the expulsion in question, with more reason can we review the petitioner's remov al as Speaker. Briefly, the petitioner assails the legality of his ouster as Speaker on the gro unds that: (1) the Sanggunian, in convening on November 2 and 5, 1987 (for the s ole purpose of declaring the office of the Speaker vacant), did so in violation of the Rules of the Sangguniang Pampook since the Assembly was then on recess; a nd (2) assuming that it was valid, his ouster was ineffective nevertheless for l ack of quorum. Upon the facts presented, we hold that the November 2 and 5, 1987 sessions were invalid. It is true that under Section 31 of the Region XII Sanggunian Rules, "[ s]essions shall not be suspended or adjourned except by direction of the Sanggun iang Pampook," 35 but it provides likewise that "the Speaker may, on [sic ] his discretion, declare a recess of "short intervals." 36 Of course, there is disagreement between the protagonists as to whether or not the recess called by the petitioner effective November 1 through 15, 1987 is the "recess of short int ervals" referred to; the petitioner says that it is while the respondents insist that, to all intents and purposes, it was an adjournment and that "recess" as u sed by their Rules only refers to "a recess when arguments get heated up so that protagonists in a debate can talk things out informally and obviate dissenssion [sic] and disunity. 37 The Court agrees with the respondents on this regard, si nce clearly, the Rules speak of "short intervals." Secondly, the Court likewise agrees that the Speaker could not have validly called a recess since the Assembl y had yet to convene on November 1, the date session opens under the same Rules. 38 Hence, there can be no recess to speak of that could possibly interrupt any session. But while this opinion is in accord with the respondents' own, we still invalidate the twin sessions in question, since at the time the petitioner call ed the "recess," it was not a settled matter whether or not he could. do so. In the second place, the invitation tendered by the Committee on Muslim Affairs of the House of Representatives provided a plausible reason for the intermission so ught. Thirdly, assuming that a valid recess could not be called, it does not app ear that the respondents called his attention to this mistake. What appears is t hat instead, they opened the sessions themselves behind his back in an apparent act of mutiny. Under the circumstances, we find equity on his side. For this rea son, we uphold the "recess" called on the ground of good faith. It does not appear to us, moreover, that the petitioner had resorted to the afor esaid "recess" in order to forestall the Assembly from bringing about his ouster . This is not apparent from the pleadings before us. We are convinced that the i nvitation was what precipitated it. In holding that the "recess" in question is valid, we are not to be taken as est ablishing a precedent, since, as we said, a recess can not be validly declared w ithout a session having been first opened. In upholding the petitioner herein, w e are not giving him a carte blanche to order recesses in the future in violatio n of the Rules, or otherwise to prevent the lawful meetings thereof. Neither are we, by this disposition, discouraging the Sanggunian from reorganizi

ng itself pursuant to its lawful prerogatives. Certainly, it can do so at the pr oper time. In the event that be petitioner should initiate obstructive moves, th e Court is certain that it is armed with enough coercive remedies to thwart them . 39 In view hereof, we find no need in dwelling on the issue of quorum. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Sangguniang Pampook , Region XII, is ENJOINED to (1) REINSTATE the petitioner as Member, Sangguniang Pampook, Region XII; and (2) REINSTATE him as Speaker thereof. No costs. SO ORDERED. Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. Padilla, J., took no part.


Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 89651 November 10, 1989 DATU FIRDAUSI I.Y. ABBAS, DATU BLO UMPAR ADIONG, DATU MACALIMPOWAC DELANGALEN, C ELSO PALMA, ALI MONTANA BABAO, JULMUNIR JANNARAL, RASHID SABER, and DATU JAMAL A SHLEY ABBAS, representing the other taxpayers of Mindanao, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and HONORABLE GUILLERMO C. CARAGUE, DEPARTMENT SECRETAR Y OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, respondents. G.R. No. 89965 November 10, 1989 ATTY. ABDULLAH D. MAMA-O, petitioner, vs. HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Budget, and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents. Abbas, Abbas, Amora, Alejandro-Abbas & Associates for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 8 9651 and 89965. Abdullah D. Mama-o for and in his own behalf in 89965.

CORTES, J.: The present controversy relates to the plebiscite in thirteen (13) provinces and nine (9) cities in Mindanao and Palawan, 1 scheduled for November 19, 1989, in implementation of Republic Act No. 6734, entitled "An Act Providing for an Organ ic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao." These consolidated petitions pray that the Court: (1) enjoin the Commission on E lections (COMELEC) from conducting the plebiscite and the Secretary of Budget an d Management from releasing funds to the COMELEC for that purpose; and (2) decla re R.A. No. 6734, or parts thereof, unconstitutional . After a consolidated comment was filed by Solicitor which the Court considered as the answer, the case ision, the issues having been joined. Subsequently, anifestation with Motion for Leave to File Reply on Open Oral Arguments," which the Court noted. General for the respondents, was deemed submitted for dec petitioner Mama-o filed a "M Respondents' Comment and to

The arguments against R.A. 6734 raised by petitioners may generally be categoriz ed into either of the following: (a) (b) ement. that R.A. 6734, or parts thereof, violates the Constitution, and that certain provisions of R.A. No. 6734 conflict with the Tripoli Agre

The Tripoli Agreement, more specifically, the Agreement Between the government o f the Republic of the Philippines of the Philippines and Moro National Liberatio n Front with the Participation of the Quadripartie Ministerial Commission Member s of the Islamic Conference and the Secretary General of the Organization of Isl amic Conference" took effect on December 23, 1976. It provided for "[t]he establ ishment of Autonomy in the southern Philippines within the realm of the sovereig nty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines" and enumerated the thirteen (13) provinces comprising the "areas of autonomy." 2 In 1987, a new Constitution was ratified, which the for the first time provided for regional autonomy, Article X, section 15 of the charter provides that "[t]he re shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social st ructures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Consti tution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Repu blic of the Philippines." To effectuate this mandate, the Constitution further provides: Sec. 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous region s to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Sec. 17. All powers, functions, and responsibilities not granted by this Constit ution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Govern ment. Sec. 18. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission compos ed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from mu ltisectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of governme nt for the region consisting of the executive and representative of the constitu ent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisi

ons of this Constitution and national laws. The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majori ty of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the pur pose, provided that only the provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favo rably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region. Sec. 19 The first Congress elected under this Constitution shall, within eighte en months from the time of organization of both Houses, pass the organic acts fo r the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Sec. 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of th is Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall p rovide for legislative powers over: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Administrative organization; Creation of sources of revenues; Ancestral domain and natural resources; Personal, family, and property relations; Regional urban and rural planning development; Economic, social and tourism development; Educational policies; Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and

(9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. Sec. 21. The preservation of peace and order within the regions shall be the responsibility of the local police agencies which shall be organized, maint ained, supervised, and utilized in accordance with applicable laws. The defense and security of the region shall be the responsibility of the National Governmen t. Pursuant to the constitutional mandate, R.A. No. 6734 was enacted and signed int o law on August 1, 1989. 1. The Court shall dispose first of the second category of arguments raised by petitioners, i.e. that certain provisions of R.A. No. 6734 conflict with the provisions of the Tripoli Agreement. Petitioners premise their arguments on the assumption that the Tripoli Agreement is part of the law of the land, being a binding international agreement . The S olicitor General asserts that the Tripoli Agreement is neither a binding treaty, not having been entered into by the Republic of the Philippines with a sovereig n state and ratified according to the provisions of the 1973 or 1987 Constitutio ns, nor a binding international agreement. We find it neither necessary nor determinative of the case to rule on the nature of the Tripoli Agreement and its binding effect on the Philippine Government wh ether under public international or internal Philippine law. In the first place, it is now the Constitution itself that provides for the creation of an autonomo us region in Muslim Mindanao. The standard for any inquiry into the validity of R.A. No. 6734 would therefore be what is so provided in the Constitution. Thus,

any conflict between the provisions of R.A. No. 6734 and the provisions of the T ripoli Agreement will not have the effect of enjoining the implementation of the Organic Act. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Tripoli Agreement is a binding treaty or international agreement, it would then constitute part of the law of the land. But as internal law it would not be superior to R.A. No. 6734, an enactment of the Congress of the Philippines, rather it would be in the same class as the latter [SALONGA, PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW 320 (4th ed., 1974), citi ng Head Money Cases, 112 U.S. 580 (1884) and Foster v. Nelson, 2 Pet. 253 (1829) ]. Thus, if at all, R.A. No. 6734 would be amendatory of the Tripoli Agreement, being a subsequent law. Only a determination by this Court that R.A. No. 6734 co ntravened the Constitution would result in the granting of the reliefs sought. 3 2. The Court shall therefore only pass upon the constitutional questions wh ich have been raised by petitioners. Petitioner Abbas argues that R.A. No. 6734 unconditionally creates an autonomous region in Mindanao, contrary to the aforequoted provisions of the Constitution on the autonomous region which make the creation of such region dependent upon t he outcome of the plebiscite. In support of his argument, petitioner cites Article II, section 1(1) of R.A. No . 6734 which declares that "[t]here is hereby created the Autonomous Region in M uslim Mindanao, to be composed of provinces and cities voting favorably in the p lebiscite called for the purpose, in accordance with Section 18, Article X of th e Constitution." Petitioner contends that the tenor of the above provision makes the creation of an autonomous region absolute, such that even if only two provi nces vote in favor of autonomy, an autonomous region would still be created comp osed of the two provinces where the favorable votes were obtained. The matter of the creation of the autonomous region and its composition needs to be clarified. Firs, the questioned provision itself in R.A. No. 6734 refers to Section 18, Art icle X of the Constitution which sets forth the conditions necessary for the cre ation of the autonomous region. The reference to the constitutional provision ca nnot be glossed over for it clearly indicates that the creation of the autonomou s region shall take place only in accord with the constitutional requirements. S econd, there is a specific provision in the Transitory Provisions (Article XIX) of the Organic Act, which incorporates substantially the same requirements embod ied in the Constitution and fills in the details, thus: SEC. 13. The creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall t ake effect when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent unit s provided in paragraph (2) of Sec. 1 of Article II of this Act in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than ninety (90) days or later than one hundred twenty (120) days after the approval of this Act: Provided, That only the provin ces and cities voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the Auto nomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The provinces and cities which in the plebisci te do not vote for inclusion in the Autonomous Region shall remain the existing administrative determination, merge the existing regions. Thus, under the Constitution and R.A. No 6734, the creation of the autonomous re gion shall take effect only when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite, and only those provinces and cities where a majority vote in favor of the Organic Act shall be included in the autonomous re gion. The provinces and cities wherein such a majority is not attained shall not be included in the autonomous region. It may be that even if an autonomous regi on is created, not all of the thirteen (13) provinces and nine (9) cities mentio ned in Article II, section 1 (2) of R.A. No. 6734 shall be included therein. The single plebiscite contemplated by the Constitution and R.A. No. 6734 will there

fore be determinative of (1) whether there shall be an autonomous region in Musl im Mindanao and (2) which provinces and cities, among those enumerated in R.A. N o. 6734, shall compromise it. [See III RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 4 82-492 (1986)]. As provided in the Constitution, the creation of the Autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao is made effective upon the approval "by majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose" [Art. X, sec. 18]. The question has been raised as to what this majority means. Does it refer to a majority of the total votes cast in the plebiscite in all the constituent units , or a majority in each of the constituent units, or both? We need not go beyond the Constitution to resolve this question. If the framers of the Constitution intended to require approval by a majority of all the votes cast in the plebiscite they would have so indicated. Thus, in Art icle XVIII, section 27, it is provided that "[t]his Constitution shall take effe ct immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a plebis cite held for the purpose ... Comparing this with the provision on the creation of the autonomous region, which reads: The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majori ty of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the pur pose, provided that only provinces, cities and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region. [Art. X, sec, 18 , para, 2]. it will readily be seen that the creation of the autonomous region is made to de pend, not on the total majority vote in the plebiscite, but on the will of the m ajority in each of the constituent units and the proviso underscores this. for i f the intention of the framers of the Constitution was to get the majority of th e totality of the votes cast, they could have simply adopted the same phraseolog y as that used for the ratification of the Constitution, i.e. "the creation of t he autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose." It is thus clear that what is required by the Constitution is a simple majority of votes approving the organic Act in individual constituent units and not a dou ble majority of the votes in all constituent units put together, as well as in t he individual constituent units. More importantly, because of its categorical language, this is also the sense in which the vote requirement in the plebiscite provided under Article X, section 18 must have been understood by the people when they ratified the Constitution. Invoking the earlier cited constitutional provisions, petitioner Mama-o, on the other hand, maintains that only those areas which, to his view, share common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, a nd other relevant characteristics should be properly included within the coverag e of the autonomous region. He insists that R.A. No. 6734 is unconstitutional be cause only the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del N orte and Maguindanao and the cities of Marawi and Cotabato, and not all of the t hirteen (13) provinces and nine (9) cities included in the Organic Act, possess such concurrence in historical and cultural heritage and other relevant characte ristics. By including areas which do not strictly share the same characteristics . By including areas which do not strictly share the same characteristic as the others, petitioner claims that Congress has expanded the scope of the autonomous region which the constitution itself has prescribed to be limited. Petitioner's argument is not tenable. The Constitution lays down the standards b

y which Congress shall determine which areas should constitute the autonomous re gion. Guided by these constitutional criteria, the ascertainment by Congress of the areas that share common attributes is within the exclusive realm of the legi slature's discretion. Any review of this ascertainment would have to go into the wisdom of the law. This the Court cannot do without doing violence to the separ ation of governmental powers. [Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil 139 (1936 ); Morfe v. Mutuc, G.R. No. L-20387, January 31, 1968, 22 SCRA 424]. After assailing the inclusion of non-Muslim areas in the Organic Act for lack of basis, petitioner Mama-o would then adopt the extreme view that other non-Musli m areas in Mindanao should likewise be covered. He argues that since the Organic Act covers several non-Muslim areas, its scope should be further broadened to i nclude the rest of the non-Muslim areas in Mindanao in order for the other non-M uslim areas denies said areas equal protection of the law, and therefore is viol ative of the Constitution. Petitioner's contention runs counter to the very same constitutional provision h e had earlier invoked. Any determination by Congress of what areas in Mindanao s hould compromise the autonomous region, taking into account shared historical an d cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characte ristics, would necessarily carry with it the exclusion of other areas. As earlie r stated, such determination by Congress of which areas should be covered by the organic act for the autonomous region constitutes a recognized legislative prer ogative, whose wisdom may not be inquired into by this Court. Moreover, equal protection permits of reasonable classification [People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 (1963); Laurel v. Misa, 76 Phil. 372 (1946); J.M. Tuason and Co. v. Land tenure Administration, G.R. No. L-21064, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 413]. In Dumlao v. Commission on Elections G.R. No. 52245, January 22, 1980, 95 SCRA 3 92], the Court ruled that once class may be treated differently from another whe re the groupings are based on reasonable and real distinctions. The guarantee of equal protection is thus not infringed in this case, the classification having been made by Congress on the basis of substantial distinctions as set forth by t he Constitution itself. Both petitions also question the validity of R.A. No. 6734 on the ground that it violates the constitutional guarantee on free exercise of religion [Art. III, s ec. 5]. The objection centers on a provision in the Organic Act which mandates t hat should there be any conflict between the Muslim Code [P.D. No. 1083] and the Tribal Code (still be enacted) on the one had, and the national law on the othe r hand, the Shari'ah courts created under the same Act should apply national law . Petitioners maintain that the islamic law (Shari'ah) is derived from the Koran , which makes it part of divine law. Thus it may not be subjected to any "man-ma de" national law. Petitioner Abbas supports this objection by enumerating possib le instances of conflict between provisions of the Muslim Code and national law, wherein an application of national law might be offensive to a Muslim's religio us convictions. As enshrined in the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to settle act ual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. [Art. VIII, Sec. 11. As a condition precedent for the power to be exercised, an actual controversy between litigants must first exist [Angara v. Electoral Comm ission, supra; Tan v. Macapagal, G.R. No. L-34161, February 29, 1972, 43 SCRA 67 7]. In the present case, no actual controversy between real litigants exists. Th ere are no conflicting claims involving the application of national law resultin g in an alleged violation of religious freedom. This being so, the Court in this case may not be called upon to resolve what is merely a perceived potential con flict between the provisions the Muslim Code and national law. Petitioners also impugn the constitutionality of Article XIX, section 13 of R.A.

No. 6734 which, among others, states: . . . Provided, That only the provinces and cities voting favorably in such pleb iscite shall be included in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The provin ces and cities which in the plebiscite do not vote for inclusion in the Autonomo us Region shall remain in the existing administrative regions: Provided, however , that the President may, by administrative determination, merge the existing re gions. According to petitioners, said regions, a power which is not That the President may choose Act is challenged as being in tution which provides: provision grants the President the power to merge conferred by the Constitution upon the President. to merge existing regions pursuant to the Organic conflict with Article X, Section 10 of the Consti

No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, ab olished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the cr iteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a maj ority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected . It must be pointed out that what is referred to in R.A. No. 6734 is the merger o f administrative regions, i.e. Regions I to XII and the National Capital Region, which are mere groupings of contiguous provinces for administrative purposes [I ntegrated Reorganization Plan (1972), which was made as part of the law of the l and by Pres. dec. No. 1, Pres. Dec. No. 742]. Administrative regions are not ter ritorial and political subdivisions like provinces, cities, municipalities and b arangays [see Art. X, sec. 1 of the Constitution]. While the power to merge admi nistrative regions is not expressly provided for in the Constitution, it is a po wer which has traditionally been lodged with the President to facilitate the exe rcise of the power of general supervision over local governments [see Art. X, se c. 4 of the Constitution]. There is no conflict between the power of the Preside nt to merge administrative regions with the constitutional provision requiring a plebiscite in the merger of local government units because the requirement of a plebiscite in a merger expressly applies only to provinces, cities, municipalit ies or barangays, not to administrative regions. Petitioners likewise question the validity of provisions in the Organic Act whic h create an Oversight Committee to supervise the transfer to the autonomous regi on of the powers, appropriations, and properties vested upon the regional govern ment by the organic Act [Art. XIX, Secs. 3 and 4]. Said provisions mandate that the transfer of certain national government offices and their properties to the regional government shall be made pursuant to a schedule prescribed by the Overs ight Committee, and that such transfer should be accomplished within six (6) yea rs from the organization of the regional government. It is asserted by petitioners that such provisions are unconstitutional because while the Constitution states that the creation of the autonomous region shall t ake effect upon approval in a plebiscite, the requirement of organizing an Overs ight committee tasked with supervising the transfer of powers and properties to the regional government would in effect delay the creation of the autonomous reg ion. Under the Constitution, the creation of the autonomous region hinges only on the result of the plebiscite. if the Organic Act is approved by majority of the vot es cast by constituent units in the scheduled plebiscite, the creation of the au tonomous region immediately takes effect delay the creation of the autonomous re gion. Under the constitution, the creation of the autonomous region hinges only on the

result of the plebiscite. if the Organic Act is approved by majority of the vot es cast by constituent units in the scheduled plebiscite, the creation of the au tonomous region immediately takes effect. The questioned provisions in R.A. No. 6734 requiring an oversight Committee to supervise the transfer do not provide f or a different date of effectivity. Much less would the organization of the Over sight Committee cause an impediment to the operation of the Organic Act, for suc h is evidently aimed at effecting a smooth transition period for the regional go vernment. The constitutional objection on this point thus cannot be sustained as there is no bases therefor. Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality [Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 387 (1925); Salas v. Jarencio, G.R. No. L-29788, August 30, 1 979, 46 SCRA 734; Morfe v. Mutuc, supra; Peralta v. COMELEC, G.R. No. L-47771, M arch 11, 1978, 82 SCRA 30]. Those who petition this Court to declare a law, or p arts thereof, unconstitutional must clearly establish the basis for such a decla ration. otherwise, their petition must fail. Based on the grounds raised by peti tioners to challenge the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6734, the Court finds tha t petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of these tw o petitions is, therefore, inevitable. WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla , Bidin, Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. Melencio-Herrera, J., is on leave.

Footnotes 1 Art. II, Sec 1(2) of R.A. No. 6734 provides that "[t]he plebiscite shall be conducted in the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Lanao del No rte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur, and the cities of Cotabat o, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, and Zamboanga." 2 The provinces enumerated in the Tripoli Agreement are the same ones ment ioned in R.A. No. 6734. 3 With regard to the controversy regarding the alleged inconsistencies bet ween R.A. No. 6734 and the Tripoli Agreement, it may be enlightening to quote fr om the statement of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., the principal sponsor of R.A . No. 6734: xxx xxx xxx

The assertion that the organic Act is a "betrayal" of the Tripoli Agreement is a ctually misplaced, to say the least. Misplaced because it overlooks the fact tha t the Organic Act incorporates, at least, 99 percent of the provisions of the Tr ipoli Agreement. Misplaced, again, because it gratuitously assumes that the Trip oli Agreement can bring more benefits to the people of Mulim Mindanao than the O rganic Act. The truth of the matter is that the Organic Act addresses the basis demands of t he Muslim, tribal and Christian populations of the proposed area of autonomy in a far more reasonable, realistic and immediate manner than the Tripoli Agreement

ever sought to do. The Organic Act is, therefore, a boon to, not a betrayal, of the interest of the people of Muslim Mindanao. xxx xxx xxx

[Consolidated Comment, p. 26].