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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 8, 2011
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Mayors pursuing fight
against 16 add’l cities


The League of Cities of the Philippines is not against the creation of new cities as long as they comply with the requirements of the law, LCP executive vice president, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, said yesterday.

The LCP challenged the constitutionality of the 16 Cityhood laws passed during the 14th Congress for failure to comply with the requirements set by R.A. 9009.

Leonardia said the mayors will file a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court after their meeting in Manila this week.

He said the “flip-flop outrage” to be staged in front of the Supreme Court may not be pushed through today as they could disrupt traffic in Manila.

The mayors will probably take the bus to the Supreme Court when they file their motion for reconsideration after their 3-day meeting this week, he said.

The city mayors are opposing the recent granting by the Supreme Court of cityhood to 16 allegedly unqualified municipalities.

Leonardia said their position is that the 16 municipalities failed to comply with the requirements of the law on the creation of cities, which are, P100 million locally-generated income, land area of 100 square miles, and population of 150,000.

The IRA share of these municipalities, if turned into cities, will increase but the share of existing cities will decrease substantially, he said. Their creation into cities will mean a reduction of P50 million a year for Bacolod which has an IRA of over P600 million a year, he added.

Leonardia said the 16 new cities created will make up about 10 percent of the total 122 existing cities and this will have a big effect on Bacolod.

“I continue to respect the Supreme Court. But how I wish this will be resolved very legally and logically. I also believe public perception is in favor of the existing cities,” he said.

On February 15, the SC reversed its decision against the cityhood of the 16 municipalities that was supposed to be final, and this is not healthy for the image of the High Court, Leonardia said.

On March 31, 2009 the Court denied the motion for reconsideration with finality for lack of merit. The Court stated that “no further pleadings shall be entertained” and added that “an entry of judgment be made in due course.”

On May 21, 2009 the Court issued an entry of judgment on the consolidated cases of the “League of Cities versus COMELEC, et al. It stated that the decision of the Higher Court dated Nov. 18, 2008 has become final and executory.

On June 30, 2009, the Department of Budget and Management issued LBM No. 61 providing for the final IRA Allocation for 2009 as a result of the reversion of the 16 newly-created cities to municipalities pursuant to Entry Judgment of the Supreme Court.

However, on Dec. 21, 2009 the SC reversed the Nov. 18, 2008 final decision and declared the constitutionality of the 16 Cityhood laws.  

In its Nov. 18, 2010 decision, the Supreme Court declared the 16 Cityhood laws unconstitutional. Since then, the SC has flip-flopped three times, with its recent decision in favor of the constitutionality of the 16 Cityhood laws.

The Supreme Court, voting en banc, reversed itself for the fourth time on February 15 and ruled that the laws converting these towns into cities were constitutional, despite complaints that they did not meet the criteria cited in the Constitution.

It  upheld the cityhood of the municipalities of Mati, Davao Oriental; Naga, Cebu; Bogo, Cebu; Carcar, Cebu; Baybay, Leyte; Catbalogan, Samar; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Lamitan, Basilan; Borongan, Samar; Tayabas, Quezon; Tabuk, Kalinga; Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; Batac, Ilocos Norte; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; and El Salvador, Misamis Oriental.

Leonardia said “I think the 16 municipalities are happy and praising the Supreme Court for its decision. But if you go through the principles of jurisprudence, I think this is a very bad precedent.”*CGS






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