Greed and technicality in cityhood cases

BY NOW, the Supreme Court’s ‘flip-flopping’ disposition of the so-called cityhood cases is household byword. The supreme irony is that VERY FEW among our people understood the pertinent SC decision and subsequent resolutions thereon.

This space feels impelled to serialize an explanation.

The cityhood cases involves sixteen (16) cityhood laws that respectively created an equal number of new cities (“applicant cities”) across the country.

The CONSTITUTIONALITY of these laws (RA Nos. 9389, 9390, 9391, 9392, 9393, 9394, 9395,  9398, 9404, 9405, 9407, 9408, 9409, 9434, 9435 and 9491) was challenged by the League of Cities (“LC”) in three consolidated cases before the Supreme Court (“SC”/”Court”) allegedly for being violative of pertinent provisions of the Constitution as well as RA 7160 or the Local Government Code (“LGC”).

Under the Constitution, the creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of a local government unit (barangay, municipality, city or province) shall comply with prescribed requirements in the LGC.

Section 450 of RA 7160, as amended by RA 9009, in turn provides that a municipality maybe converted into a component city ONLY if it meets the following requirements, i.e., (a) locally generated average annual income of P100 million for the last two consecutive years; and (b) contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers OR (as in the case of island municipalities) a population of not less than 150,000.

In its DECISION (in the main case), the SC previously SUSTAINED  LC’s position, holding that the 16 applicant cities did NOT meet the P100-million income requirement.

The Municipality of El Salvador in Misamis Oriental, in fact, FAILED to meet ALL the requirements! It is interesting to note, at threshold,  why all of the now existing cities, represented by the LC, are questioning the qualifications of the applicant cities? (to be continued) Alex Almario


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