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PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252 G.R. No. 93252 | August 5, 1991 RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner,

G.R. No. 93252 | August 5, 1991 RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T. SANTOS, respondents.

G.R. No. 93746 | August 5, 1991 MARY ANN RIVERA ARTIEDA, petitioner, vs. HON. LUIS SANTOS, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Local Government, NICANOR M. PATRICIO, in his capacity as Chief, Legal Service of the Department of Local Government and SALVADOR CABALUNA JR., respondents.

G.R. No. 95245 | August 5, 1991 RODOLFO T. GANZON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS T. SANTOS, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Local Government, respondents.

Ponente: Sarmiento, J.

FACTS:

The petitioners are the Mayor of Iloilo City (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) and a member of the Sangguniang Panglunsod thereof (G.R. No. 93746), respectively.

The petitions of Mayor Ganzon originated from 10 administrative complaints filed against him by various city officials sometime in 1988. The charges included: abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct, intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution, and arbitrary detention.

- Joceleehn Cabaluna (a clerk at the city health office) and her husband, Salvador Cabaluna Having supported the rival candidate (Mrs. Rosa O. Caram), the petitioner City Mayor pulled Mrs. Cabaluna out from rightful office where her qualifications were best suited. He then assigned her to work that should have been the function of a non- career service employee. A utility worker in the office of the Public Services, whose duties were alien to the complainant's duties and functions, was detailed to take her place.

- Dr. Felicidad Ortigoza (Assistant City Health Officer) She claimed that:

1) the petitioner handpicked her to perform a task not befitting her position as Assistant City Health Officer of Iloilo City;

2)

her office was padlocked without any explanation or justification;

3)

her salary was withheld without cause since April 1, 1988;

4) when she filed her vacation leave, she was given the run-around treatment in the approval of her leave in connivance with Dr. Rodolfo Villegas; and 5) she was the object of a well-engineered trumped-up charge in an administrative complaint filed by Dr. Villegas.

- Mansueto Malabor (Vice-Mayor) Rolando Dabao, Dan Dalido, German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Pefia Redondo (members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod)

German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Pefia Redondo (members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod ) By: MP
German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Pefia Redondo (members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod ) By: MP

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252  Counci lor Ong’s office key was, unceremoniously and without previous

Councilor Ong’s office key was, unceremoniously and without previous notice, taken by petitioner. Ong had to hold office at Plaza Libertad. The Vice-Mayor and the other complainants sympathized with him and did the same. However, the petitioner, together with his fully-armed security men, forcefully drove them away. The following day, Ong denounced the petitioner's actuations in a radio station and decided to hold office at the Freedom Grandstand at Iloilo City. Before the group could reach the area, the petitioner and his security men led the firemen using a fire truck and doused the people and the bystanders in water.

- Pancho Erbite (a barangay tanod)

Erbite was appointed by former mayor Caram. On March 13, 1988, without charges

filed against him and no warrant of arrest issued, Erbite was arrested and detained at the City Jail of Iloilo City upon orders of petitioner. In jail, he was allegedly mauled by other detainees and was injured. He was only released on the following day.

The initial hearings in the Cabaluna and Ortigoza cases were set on June 20-21, 1988 at the Regional Office of the Department of Local Government in Iloilo City. The petitioner asked for a postponement before the scheduled date of hearing and was represented by counsel, Atty. Samuel Castro.

The next hearings were re-set to July 25-27, 1988 in the same venue. Petitioner moved for a postponement under the excuse that he had just hired his counsel. Nonetheless, the hearing officers denied the motion to postpone, in view of the fact that the parties were notified by telegrams of the scheduled hearings.

August 11, 1988: Respondent Santos issued a preventive suspension order to last until October 11, 1988 for a period of 60 days.

The next investigation was set on September 21, 1988 and the petitioner again asked for a postponement to September 26, 1988.

September 26, 1988: The complainants, petitioner and their respective counsel were present. The petitioner sought for a postponement which was denied.

The investigation was continued with regard to the Malabor case, and the complainants and their witnesses testified.

October 10, 1988: petitioner's counsel, Atty. Original, moved for a postponement of the October 24, 1988 hearing to November 7-11, 1988. It was granted. However, the motion for change of venue was denied.

November 7, 1988: the parties and counsel were present. Petitioner reiterated his motion to change venue and moved for postponement anew. The counsel discussed a proposal to take the deposition of witnesses in Iloilo City. So, the hearing was indefinitely postponed. However, the parties failed to come to terms.

The investigation was set on December 13-15, 1988. The petitioner sought another postponement on the ground that his witnesses were sick or could not attend the investigation due to lack of transportation. The motion was denied.

December 14, 1988: petitioner's counsel insisted on his motion for postponement, and the hearing officers gave petitioner up to December 15, 1988 to present his evidence.

December 15, 1988: the petitioner failed to present evidence, and the cases were considered submitted for resolution.

In the meantime, prima facie evidence was found in the arbitrary detention case filed by Erbite. So, respondent Santos ordered petitioner's second preventive suspension dated

filed by Erbite. So, respondent Santos ordered petitioner's second preventive suspension dated By: MP Rafols Page
filed by Erbite. So, respondent Santos ordered petitioner's second preventive suspension dated By: MP Rafols Page

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252 October 11, 1988 for another 60 days. The petitioner obtained a

October 11, 1988 for another 60 days. The petitioner obtained a restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 of Iloilo City.

Amid the two successive suspensions, Mayor Ganzon instituted an action for prohibition against the respondent Secretary of Local Government (now, Interior) in the Regional Trial Court, Iloilo City, where he obtained a writ of preliminary injunction. He also instituted an action for prohibition in the respondent CA.

May 3, 1990: The respondent Secretary issued another order preventively suspending Mayor Ganzon for another 60 days (the third time in twenty months) and designating Vice-Mayor Malabor as acting mayor.

September 7, 1989: The CA dismissed Ganzon’s action for prohibition (CA-G.R. SP No.

16417).

January 24, 1990: The CA issued a Resolution certifying the petition of Mary Ann Artieda, who had been similarly charged by the respondent Secretary, to the SC.

July 5, 1990: The CA promulgated a decision, dismissing Ganzon’s petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. SP No. 20736).

June 26, 1990: The SC issued a Temporary Restraining Order, barring the respondent Secretary from implementing the suspension orders and restraining the enforcement of the CA's two decisions.

November 29, 1990: The SC consolidated all three cases.

Mayor Ganzon claimed that:

1)

The Department of Local Government had denied him due process of law.

2)

Respondent Secretary had been "biased, prejudicial and hostile" towards him because of:

a) his refusal to join the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party;

b) the running political rivalry that they maintained in the last congressional and local elections; and

c) his refusal to operate a lottery in Iloilo City.

-

He requested the Secretary to lift his suspension, since it had come 90 days prior to an election (the barangay elections of November 14, 1988). Nevertheless, the latter proceeded with the hearing and meted out 2 more suspension orders.

-

He sought to bring the cases to Iloilo City (they were held in Manila) in order to reduce the costs of proceeding, but the Secretary rejected his request.

- He asked for postponement, because he was suffering from a heart ailment which required confinement and his "vital" witness was also hospitalized. But the Secretary unduly denied his request. Mayor Ganzon's primary argument (G.R. Nos. 93252 and 95245) was that the Secretary of Local Government is devoid, in any event, of any authority to suspend and remove local officials, an argument reiterated by the petitioner Mary Ann Rivera Artieda (G.R. No.

93746).

This is supposedly because the 1987 Constitution is meant, first, to strengthen self-rule by local government units and second, to strip the President of the power of control over local governments. They pointed to the following provision:

Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure

and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure By: MP Rafols
and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure By: MP Rafols

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252 that the acts of their component units are within the scope

that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.

It modified a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution, to wit:

Sec. 10. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all Local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

The petitioners submitted that the deletion of "as may be provided by law" is significant, since: (1) the power of the President is "provided by law" and (2) hence, no law may provide for it any longer.

ISSUE: WON the Secretary of Local Government, as the President's alter ego, can suspend and/or remove local officials.

HELD/RULING: (Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ.)

HELD (w/ ratio):

Yes. The omission (of "as may be provided by law") signifies nothing more than to underscore local governments' autonomy from Congress and to break Congress' "control" over local government affairs. Notwithstanding the change in the constitutional language, the charter did not intend to divest the legislature of its right or the President of her prerogative as conferred by existing legislation to provide administrative sanctions against local officials. Under the Charter, "local autonomy" is not instantly self-executing, but subject to the passage of a local government code, a local tax law, income distribution legislation, a national representation law, and measures designed to realize autonomy at the local level. It is also noteworthy that in spite of autonomy, the Constitution places the local government under the general supervision of the Executive. - As the SC observed in one case, decentralization means devolution of national administration but not power to the local levels. Thus:

Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to make local governments "more responsive and accountable," and "ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress." At the same time, it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The President exercises "general supervision" over them, but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." He has no control over

to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." He has no control over By:
to "ensure that local affairs are administered according to law." He has no control over By:

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252 their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments

their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own. Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous. X X X the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. X X X 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.

Finally, the Charter allows Congress to include in the local government code provisions for removal of local officials, which suggest that Congress may exercise removal powers, and as the existing Local Government Code has done, delegate its exercise to the President.

- With regard to Congress being given removal powers in the Constitution:

Sec. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms 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 other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

- With regard to Batas Blg. 337 or the Local Government Code conferring removal powers on the President’s alter ego, the Secretary of Local Government:

Sec. 62. Notice of Hearing. Within seven days after the complaint is filed, the Minister of local Government, or the sanggunian concerned, as the case may be, shall require the respondent to submit his verified answer within seven days from receipt of said complaint, and commence the hearing and investigation of the case within ten days after receipt of such answer of the respondent. No investigation shall be held within ninety days immediately prior to an election, and no preventive suspension shall be imposed with the said period. If preventive suspension has been imposed prior to the aforesaid period, the preventive suspension shall be lifted. Sec. 63. Preventive Suspension. (1) Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official, by the provincial governor if the respondent is an elective municipal official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official.

official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official.
official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official.

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252

PUBLIC CORPORATION | GANZON, 93252 (2) Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the

(2) Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the issues are joined, when there is reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of, when the evidence of culpability is strong, when the gravity of the offense so warrants, or when the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. In all cases, preventive suspension shall not extend beyond sixty days after the start of said suspension. (3) At the expiration of sixty days, the suspended official shall be deemed reinstated in office without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him until its termination. However, if the delay in the proceedings of the case is due to his fault, neglect or request, the time of the delay shall not be counted in computing the time of suspension.

Insofar as existing legislation authorizes the President (through the Secretary of Local Government) to proceed against local officials administratively, the Constitution contains no prohibition.

IN SUM: The Court laid down the following rules:

1) Local autonomy, under the Constitution, involves a mere decentralization of

2)

administration, not of power, in which local officials remain accountable to the central government in the manner the law may provide. The new Constitution does not prescribe federalism.

3)

The change in constitutional language (with respect to the supervision clause) was meant

but to deny legislative control over local governments; it did not exempt the latter from legislative regulations, provided regulation is consistent with the fundamental premise of autonomy. 4) Since local governments remain accountable to the national authority, the latter may, by law, and in the manner set forth therein, impose disciplinary action against local officials. 5) "Supervision" and "investigation" are not inconsistent terms; "investigation" does not signify "control" (which the President does not have).

The petitions were dismissed. The TRO was lifted. The suspensions of the petitioners were affirmed, provided that petitioner Ganzon would not be made to serve future suspensions on account of any of the remaining administrative charges pending against him for acts committed prior to August 11, 1988. The Secretary of Interior was ordered to consolidate all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. No costs.

was ordered to consolidate all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. No costs. By: MP
was ordered to consolidate all such administrative cases pending against Mayor Ganzon. No costs. By: MP