SC: 16 new cities final

Rey G. Panaligan   July 4, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has declared final its ruling on the constitutionality of the laws that converted 16 municipalities into cities as it ordered an entry of judgment that would finally put the issue to rest.

Declared as constitutional were Republic Act No. 9389 (Baybay City in Leyte), RA 9390 (Bogo City in Cebu), RA 9391 (Catbalogan City in Samar), RA 9392 (Tandag City in Surigao del Sur), RA 9393 (Lamitan City in Basilan), RA 9394 (Borongan City in Samar), RA 9398 (Tayabas City in Quezon), RA 9404 (Tabuk City in Kalinga);

RA 9405 (Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur), RA 9407 (Batac City in Ilocos Norte), RA 9408 (Mati City in Davao Oriental), RA 9409 (Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental), RA 9434 (Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte), RA 9435 (El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental), RA 9436 (Carcar City in Cebu), and RA 9491 (Naga City in Cebu).

In a resolution written by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, the SC ruled that it could not entertain the motion for reconsideration of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) of its April 12, 2011 resolution being a second motion for reconsideration pursuant to Sec. 2 of Rule 51 of the Rules of Court.

The SC stressed that a second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading, and only for extraordinarily persuasive reasons and only after an express leave has been first obtained may a second motion for reconsideration be entertained.

Thus, it granted the respondent cities’ motion for entry of judgment.

It said that the LCP’s second motion for reconsideration merely rehashed the issues already settled by the court.

“Accordingly, the finality of the resolutions upholding the constitutionality of the 16 Cityhood Laws now absolutely warrants the granting of respondents’ Motion for Entry of Judgment,” the SC ruled.

In its April 12, 2011 resolution, the SC reiterated that the 16 cityhood laws were not violative of the Constitution and the Local Government Code.

“We should not ever lose sight of the fact that the 16 cities covered by the Cityhood Laws not only had conversion bills pending during the 11th Congress, but have also complied with the requirements of the LGC prescribed prior to its amendment by R.A. No. 9009. Congress undeniably gave these cities all the considerations that justice and fair play demanded. Hence, this Court should do no less by stamping its imprimatur to the clear and unmistakable legislative intent and by duly recognizing the certain collective wisdom of Congress,” the SC said.

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