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Powers of Congress: Legislative Power: Delegation to local government

Social Justice Society v Atienza, Jr.

G.R. No. 156052

Date of Promulgation: Feb 13, 2008
Ponente: Corona J.
Petition: Motions for leave to intervene and for reconsideration of a division of the SC
Petitioner: SJS, Vladimir Cabigao, Bonifacio Tumbokon
Respondent: Hon. Jose Atienza, Jr in his capacity as Mayor of City of Manila

This is a resolution of a decision dated March 7, 2007. After the Court rendered its decision, oil
companies (Chevron, Petron, Shell) and the GRP (represented by DOE), filed their respective
motions for leave to intervene and for reconsideration of the decision.

Petitioners SJS et al, in an original petition for mandamus, sought to compel Hon. Atienza to
enforce Ordinance No. 8027 (dated Nov 2001). The Ordinance reclassified certain areas in
Manila from industrial to commercial and directed the owners of businesses to cease and desist
from operating their businesses within six months. Among the businesses situated in the area
are the Pandacan Terminals of the oil companies.

In 2002, the City of Manila and DOE entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with
the oil companies. They agreed that the scaling down of the terminals was the most viable and
practicable option. Resolution No 97 was passed, declaring the MOU effective for 6 six months
beginning July 2002.

The Court held in the 2007 decision that Hon Atienza had the ministerial duty under the LGC to
enforce all laws and ordinances. The issue of whether the MOU could amend or repeal
Ordinance 8027 was not decided since the resolutions which ratified the MOU and made it
binding on the City expressly gave it full force only until April 30, 2003. There was nothing that
hindered the mayor from enforcing the ordinance.

In the motions for reconsideration, the oil companies call to attention the fact that on April 23,
2003, Chevron had filed a complaint against the Mayor and City of Manila in the RTC for the
annulment of the ordinance. The RTC granted the injunction. Petro also filed a similar case
which was also granted.

In 2006, the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 8119 (Manila Comprehensive Land Use Plan
and Zoning Ordinance of 2006), which the oil companies complained before the RTC. This
ordinance reclassified areas in the City to High-Density Residential/Mixed Use Zone. The RTC
issued a TRO.

Given these additional info, the petitioners filed their respective motions for reconsideration.

1. WON the movants-intervenors should be allowed to intervene YES
2. WON the ff are impediments to the execution of the 2007 decision
a) Ordinance No 8119 NO
b) Writs of injunction and status quo order issued by RTC NO
3. WON the implementation of Ordinance 8027 will unduly encroach upon DOEs
powers and functions involving natural resources NO

1. The oil companies have a direct and immediate interest in the implementation of
Ordinance 8027. Their claim is that they will need to spend billions if they are
compelled to relocate their oil depots out of Manila. They should be allowed to
intervene even if they filed their motions long before the 2007 decision. Also, there
are compelling reasons to allow the motions in light of the new information filed.
Likewise, DOEs motion for intervention is allowed.

2. a) Ordinance 8119 is not a legal impediment since it did not repeal Ordinance
8027. The conflict between the two ordinances can be reconciled. Ordinance No
8027 is applicable to particular areas only, whereas Ordinance 8119 is applicable
to the entire City of Manila.

b) The writs of injunction and status quo are not legal impediments since the
constitutionality of ordinance 8027 is not clearly challenged. Nowhere in the judges
decision is there a showing that he was convinced that the oil companies had made
out a case of unconstitutionality or invalidity strong enough to overcome the
presumption of validity of the ordinance.

3. Ordinance 8027 was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod in the exercise of its
police power. Police power is the plenary power vested in the legislature to make
statutes and ordinances to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good
order, and general welfare of the people. The ordinance was enacted for the
purpose of promoting sound urban planning, ensuring health, public safety
and general welfare of manila residents.

The ordinance does not encroach upon DOEs powers. Under RA 7639, DOE was
given the power to establish and administer programs for the exploration,
transportation, marketing, distribution and storage of energy resources. Under RA
8749, DOE shall continue to encourage certain practices in the Industry which
serve the interest of the public. Nothing in these statutes prohibits the City of
Manila from enacting ordinances in the exercise of police power.

The principle of local autonomy is enshrined in Art II, Sec 25 of the constitution. An
entire article (Art X) has also been devoted to guaranteeing and promoting the
autonomy of the LGUs. The LGC was specially promulgated by Congress to ensure
autonomy of local governments.

The Court does not see how the laws relied upon by the oil companies and DOE
stripped the City of Manila of its powers to enact ordinances in the exercise of
police power and to reclassify the land uses within its jurisdiction. When the
ambiguous powers contained in the statutes are pitted against the unequivocal
power of the LGU to enact police power, it is not difficult to favor the latter.

2007 decision affirmed.