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Atienza v.

Villarosa | ema
May 10, 2005
RAMON M. ATIENZA, in his capacity as VICE-GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO,
petitioner, vs.
JOSE T. VILLAROSA, in his capacity as GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO,
respondent.
Callejo, Sr., J.:
SUMMARY: Mindoro Occ. Governor Villarosa issued a memo requiring that all purchase orders for supplies,
equipment, etc. for the upkeep of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan be signed by him. Vice Governor Atienza replied
that such authority was vested in him by the LGC. In response, Villarosa ordered the dismissal of almost 60 of
Atienzas appointees in the provincial government. Atienza asked Villarosa to reconsider both of his actions, but
Villarosa refused. Atienza thus filed a prohibition suit in the CA. CA dismissed the case and upheld Villarosas power
to sign the purchase orders, while ruling that the dismissal of the Atienza appointees can no longer be stopped, as
Villarosas order had already been implemented. Atienza appealed to the SC, which ruled in his favor. SC held that
under the LGC, the Vice Governor was given the authority to sign warrants against the provincial treasury for all
expenditures appropriated for the operation of the SP. He was also designated as the Presiding Officer of the SP. As
such, it is the Vice Governor who has the authority to sign the purchase orders, pursuant to the specific mandate of
LGC 344 that vouchers and payrolls shall be approved by the head of the department or office who has
administrative control over the fund concerned; and it is the Vice Governor who has such control with respect to the
SP. Applying the doctrine of necessary implication, SC held that the authority to sign vouchers and warrants
necessarily includes the authority to sign purchase orders, since the vouchers serve as bases for the purchase
orders. Regarding the dismissal of Atienzas appointees, SC held that the Vice Governor has the sole power and
authority to appoint officials and employees of the SP and the Vice Governors Office who are paid from SP funds.
Employees paid from provincial funds are under the appointing power of the Governor. While the budget source of
the dismissed employees salaries was not known, SC still invalidated Villarosas memo ordering their dismissal,
because it encroached upon the appointing power of Vice Governor Atienza by relegating him to a mere
recommendatory role. SC held that the intent of the 1991 LGC was to separate the legislative and the executive at
the LGU level, by making the vice-governor presiding officer of the SP, and vesting him with authority to appoint its
officials and disburse its monies.
DOCTRINE: While RA 7160 is silent as to the matter, the authority granted to the Vice Governor to sign all warrants
drawn on the provincial treasury for all expenditures appropriated for the operation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
as well as to approve disbursement vouchers relating thereto is greater and includes the authority to approve
purchase orders for the procurement of the supplies, materials and equipment necessary for the operation of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
The Vice Governors authority to appoint the officials and employees of the SP is based on the fact that the salaries
of SP employees are derived from the SPs appropriation. The budget source of their salaries is what sets apart SP
officials and employees from other provincial employees and officials.
The appointing power of the Vice Governor is thus limited to employees of the SP and the Office of the Vice Governor
whose salaries are paid out of the SPs appropriated funds. An employee who is detailed or assigned in the Office of
the Vice Governor but is paid out of provincial funds is still within the Governors appointing authority.
With RA 7160, the union of legislative and executive powers in the office of the local chief executive under the BP 337
has been disbanded, so that either department now comprises different and non-intermingling official personalities
with the end in view of ensuring a better delivery of public service and provide a system of check and balance
between the two. The avowed intent of RA 7160 is to vest the Sangguniang Panlalawigan with independence in the
exercise of its legislative functions vis-a-vis the discharge by the Governor of the executive functions.
NATURE: Petition for review on certiorari. Original action for prohibition
FACTS:

June 25, 2002 Occidental Mindoro Governor Jose VILLAROSA issued a memorandum concerning the
authority to sign purchase orders of supplies, materials, equipment, and repairs needed by the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan. The memo stated that all such purchase orders must be signed by the Governor, citing as
basis DILG Opinion 148, s. 1993.

Occidental Mindoro Vice Governor Ramon ATIENZA responded that such authority properly pertains to him
as Vice Governor, citing as bases DILG Opinion 96, s. 1995, as affirmed by COA Opinions of Jun. 28, Apr.
11, and Feb. 9, 1994. He also cited LGC 466 and 468 as bases for the separation of the legislative and
executive powers at the provincial level.

July 1, 2002 Villarosa responded by issuing a memorandum terminating the casual and job order
employees recommended or hired by Atienza. These employees included 28 plus clerks, 30 utility workers,

and an x-ray technician. Villarosa claims that the employees were redundant and that they bloated the
bureaucracy.
July 3, 2002 Villarosa issued a memorandum reiterating the June 25 and July 3 memos and enjoining
strict compliance therewith.
July 9, 2002 In a letter to Villarosa, Atienza raised his objections to the 2 memoranda, invoking the
separation of powers at a provincial level, where the legislature is headed by the Vice Governor and the
executive is headed by the Governor.
o Villarosa insisted on the implementation of the 2 memoranda.
Atienza thus filed a petition for prohibition before the CA, assailing the 2 memoranda as having been issued
with grave abuse of discretion. Atienza claimed that the memoranda excluded him from the use and
enjoyment of his office in violation of the pertinent provision of the LGC. He prayed that Villarosa be enjoined
from implementing the 2 memoranda.
Nov. 28, 2003 CA DECISION
o dismissed the petition.
o Under LGC 344, the governor has authority to approve the purchase orders on question, since the
provision states in part that "approval of the disbursement voucher by the local chief executive
himself shall be required whenever local funds are disbursed."
o LGC 466(a)(1) relied upon by Atienza is inapplicable because the approval of purchase orders is
different from the power of the Vice Governor in 466(a)(1) to sign warrants drawn against the public
treasury.
o LGC 361 on requisitioning was also held inapplicable, thus: [R]equisitioning x x x is the act of
requiring that something be furnished. In the procurement function, it is the submission of written
requests for supplies and materials and the like. It could be inferred that, in the scheme of things,
approval of purchase requests is different from approval of purchase orders.
o CA ruled that the question on the validity of the dismissal of the vice governors employees was
moot, as the act could no longer be enjoined.
Atienza filed the present petition with the SC.
Atienza and Villarosas terms have expired on June 30, 2004. Atienza did not seek re-election, while
Villarosa lost his re-election bid, so the case has become moot. SC revolved to rule on the merits to
formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public.

ISSUES (HELD)
1) Who between the governor and the vice governor is authorized to approve purchase orders issued in connection
with the procurement of supplies, materials, equipment, including fuel, repairs and maintenance of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan (VICE GOVERNOR)
2) W/N the governor has the authority to terminate or cancel the appointments of casual/job order employees of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members and the Office of the Vice Governor (NO)
RATIO
MANDATE OF LGC & PRINCIPLES OF DECENTRALIZATION

LGC was enacted to implement the constitutional mandate to provide for a more responsive and
accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective
mechanism of recall, initiative and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their
powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and
removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all matters relating to the
organization and operation of the local units.

The provisions of the LGC are anchored on the following principles of decentralization:
o Effective allocation among the different local government units of their respective powers,
functions, responsibilities, and resources;
o Establishment in every LGU of an accountable, efficient, and dynamic organizational structure and
operating mechanism that will meet the priority needs and service requirements of its communities
o Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with
respect to component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the
scope of their prescribed powers and functions
o Strengthening of effective mechanisms for ensuring the accountability of local government units to
their respective constituents in order to upgrade continually the quality of local leadership
1) AUTHORITY TO APPROVE PURCHASE ORDERS FOR PROCUREMENT OF SUPPLIES, MATERIALS, etc. OF
SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN IS VESTED IN THE VICE GOVERNOR

Under the LGC, local legislative power at the provincial level is exercised by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
(SP) and the Vice Governor is its Presiding Officer.

The SP enacts ordinances and resolutions, and appropriates funds for the general welfare of the
province in accordance with the LGC.

LGC 466(a)(1) provides that the Vice Governor shall be the presiding officer of the sangguniang
panlalawigan and can sign all warrants drawn on the provincial treasury for all expenditures appropriated for
the operation of the sangguniang panlalawigan
ANALYSIS OF LGC 344

LGC 344 provides: Certification on, and Approval of, Vouchers. No money shall be disbursed unless the
local budget officer certifies to the existence of appropriation that has been legally made for the purpose, the
local accountant has obligated said appropriation, and the local treasurer certifies to the availability of funds
for the purpose. Vouchers and payrolls shall be certified to and approved by the head of the department or
office who has administrative control of the fund concerned, as to validity, propriety and legality of the claim
involved. Except in cases of disbursements involving regularly recurring administrative expenses such as
payrolls for regular or permanent employees, expenses for light, water, telephone and telegraph services,
remittances to government creditor agencies such as the GSIS, SSS, LBP, DBP, National Printing Office,
Procurement Service of the DBM and others, approval of the disbursement voucher by the local chief
executive himself shall be required whenever local funds are disbursed.
In cases of special or trust funds, disbursements shall be approved by the administrator of the fund.
In case of temporary absence or incapacity of the department head or chief of office, the officer next in rank
shall automatically perform his function and he shall be fully responsible therefor.

CAs reliance on the approval of the disbursement voucher by the local chief executive clause is
misplaced.

This clause cannot prevail over the more specific clause which provides that Vouchers and payrolls shall be
certified to and approved by the head of the department or office who has administrative control of the fund
concerned, as to validity, propriety and legality of the claim involved.

As presiding officer of the SP, it is the Vice Governor which has administrative control over its funds.
Accordingly, the authority to approve disbursement vouchers for expenditures appropriated for the operation
of the SP rests with the Vice Governor.

39 of COAs New Manual on the Government Accounting System for LGUs even provides: x x x
Disbursement vouchers for expenditures appropriated for the operation of the Sanggunian shall be approved
by the provincial Vice Governor, the city Vice Mayor or the municipal Vice Mayor, as the case may be.
VICE GOVERNORS AUTHORITY TO SIGN WARRANTS & APPROVE DISURSEMENT VOUCHERS
NECESSARILY INCLUDES AUTHORITY TO APPROVE PURCHASE ORDERS COVERING SUCH VOUCHERS

While the LGC is silent on the matter, the authority granted to the Vice Governor to sign warrants and
approve disbursement vouchers relating thereto includes the authority to approve purchase orders covering
such vouchers, applying the doctrine of necessary implication.
o Chua v. CSC: Every statute is understood, by implication, to contain all such provisions as may be
necessary to effectuate its object and purpose, or to make effective rights, powers, or privileges or
jurisdiction which it grants, including all such collateral and subsidiary consequences as may be
fairly and logically inferred from its terms. Ex necessitate legis.

Warrant an order directing the treasurer of the municipality to pay money out of funds in city treasury
which are or may become available for purpose specified to designated persons (Protest of St. Louis-San
Francisco Ry. Co.).
o Warrants of a municipal corporation are generally orders payable when funds are found. They are
issued for the payment of general municipal debts and expenses subject to the rule that they shall
be paid in the order of presentation (Shelley v. St. Charles County Court).

Voucher - a document which shows that services have been performed or expenses incurred. It covers any
acquittance or receipt discharging the person or evidencing payment by him. When used in connection with
disbursement of money, it implies some instrument that shows on what account or by what authority a
particular payment has been made, or that services have been performed which entitle the party to whom it
is issued to payment (First National Bank of Chicago v. City of Elgin).

Purchase order - an authorization by the issuing party for the recipient to provide materials or services for
which issuing party agrees to pay; it is an offer to buy which becomes binding when those things ordered
have been provided (Smyth Worldwide Movers v. Little Rock Packing).
o Contains the terms and conditions for the procurement of supplies, materials or equipment, in
particular.
o The tenor of a purchase order basically directs the supplier to deliver the articles enumerated and
subject to the terms and conditions specified therein.

When an authorized person approves a disbursement voucher, he certifies to the correctness of the entries
therein; that the expenses were necessary and lawful, and that the supporting documents are complete and
o

cash is available therefor. The person who performed the service or delivered the goods becomes entitled to
payment.

Thus, the express authority to approve disbursement vouchers in effect is also an authority to approve the
payment of money claims for supplies, materials and equipment; and from this authority, the authority to
approve purchase orders to cause the delivery of the supplies, materials, and equipment is necessarily
implied.

[T]he authority granted to the Vice Governor to sign all warrants drawn on the provincial treasury for all
expenditures appropriated for the operation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as well as to approve
disbursement vouchers relating thereto is greater and includes the authority to approve purchase orders for
the procurement of the supplies, materials and equipment necessary for the operation of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan.
2) GOVERNOR HAS NO AUTHORITY TO TERMINATE OR CANCEL THE APPOINTMENT OF CASUAL OR JOB
ORDER EMPLOYEES OF THE SP OR THE VICE GOVERNOR; INTENT OF LGC ON SEPARATION OF POWERS

Concerning the appointing power of the Governor, LGC 465(b)(v) provides: For efficient, effective and
economical governance the purpose of which is the general welfare of the province and its inhabitants
pursuant to Section 16 of this Code, the provincial governor shall appoint all officials and employees whose
salaries and wages are wholly or mainly paid out of provincial funds and whose appointments are not
otherwise provided for in this Code, as well as those he may be authorized by law to appoint.

As for the Vice Governor, LGC 466(2) provides: Subject to civil service law, rules and regulations, appoint all
officials and employees of the sangguniang panlalawigan, except those whose manner of appointment is
specifically provided in this Code.

Therefore, the appointing power of the Governor does not extend to officials and employees of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan because the authority to appoint them is vested in the Vice Governor. This
includes casual and job order employees.

The Vice Governors authority to appoint the officials and employees of the SP is based on the fact that the
salaries of SP employees are derived from the SPs appropriation.

The budget source of their salaries is what sets apart SP officials and employees from other provincial
employees and officials.

The appointing power of the Vice Governor is thus limited to employees of the SP and the Office of the Vice
Governor whose salaries are paid out of the SPs appropriated funds. An employee who is detailed or
assigned in the Office of the Vice Governor but is paid out of provincial funds is still within the Governors
appointing authority.

CAB: The source of the appointees salaries is unclear. Nonetheless, the July 1 memo cannot be upheld
because it absolutely prohibited Atienza from exercising his authority to appoint SP employees, limiting him
to a recommendatory role. This is an encroachment on the Vice Governors appointing power.

It must be noted that RA 7160 altered the balance of powers at the LGU level. Under BP 337 the governor
was also presiding officer of the SP, in effect uniting executive and legislative powers in the governor. RA
7160, dissolved this union and separated the legislative from the executive. According to Sen. Pimentel, this
was the intent behind making the Vice Governor and the Vice Mayor the presiding officers of their respective
Sanggunian.

The idea is to distribute powers among elective local officials so that the legislative, which is the
Sanggunian, can properly check the executive, which is the Governor or the Mayor and vice versa and
exercise their functions without any undue interference from one by the other. The avowed intent of RA
7160, therefore, is to vest on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan independence in the exercise of its legislative
functions vis-a-vis the discharge by the Governor of the executive functions.

The 2 memoranda issued by Villarosa constituted undue interference with the SPs functions. They therefore
run counter to the intent of the LGC and their implementation must be permanently enjoined.
DISPOSITION: Petition granted. Memoranda dated June 25, 2002 and July 1, 2002 issued by Villarosa are NULL
AND VOID.