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G.R. No. 105746
December 2, 1996

The Municipality of Sinacaban was created by E.O. 258 by then Pres. Elpidio Quirino, pursuant to Sec. 68 of the
Revised Administrative Code of 1917.

By virtue of Municipal Council Resolution No. 171, Sinacaban laid claim to a portion of Barrio Tabo-o and to Barrios
Macabayao, Adorable, Sinara, Baja, and Sinara Alto, based on the technical dedcription in E.O. No. 258. The claim
was filed with the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental against the Municipality of Jimenez.

While conceding that the disputed area is part of Sinacaban, the Municipality of Jimenez, in its answer, nonetheless
asserted jurisdiction on the basis of an agreement it had with the Municipality of Sinacaban. This agreement, which
was approved by the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental in its Resolution No. 77 dated February 18, 1950, fixed
the common boundary of Sinacaban and Jimenez.

On October 11, 1989, the Provincial Board declared the disputed area to be part of Sinacaban. It held that the
previous resolution approving the agreement between the parties was void since the Board had no power to alter
the boundaries of Sinacaban as fixed in E.O. 258, that power being vested in Congress pursuant to the Constitution
and the LGC of 1983 (BP 337), Sec. 134. The Provincial Board denied the motion of Jimenez seeking

On March 20, 1990, Jimenez filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus in the RTC of Oroquieta City,
Branch 14 against Sinacaban, the Province of Misamis Occidental and its Provincial Board, the Commission on
Audit, the Departments of Local Government, Budget and Management, and the Executive Secretary.

1. Whether Sinacaban has legal personality to file a claim.

2. Whether R.A. 7160, Sec. 442 (d) is valid despite not conforming to the constitutional and statutory requirements
for the holding of plebiscites in the creation of new municipalities.

3. If it has legal personality, whether it is the boundary provided for in E.O. 258 or in Resolution No. 77 of the
Provincial board of Misamis Occidental which should be used as basis for adjudicating Sinacabans territorial claim.


1. The principal basis for the view that Sinacaban was not validly created as a municipal corporation is the ruling
in Pelaez vs. Auditor General that the creation of municipal corporations is essentially a legislative matter and
therefore the President was without power to create by executive order the Municipality of Sinacaban.
However, where a municipality created as such by executive order is later impliedly recognized and its acts are
accorded legal validity, its creation can no longer be questioned.

A municipality has been conferred the status of at least a de facto municipal corporation where its legal existence
has been recognized and acquiesced publicly and officially.
A quo warranto suit against a corporation for forfeiture of its charter must be commenced within 5 years from the
act complained of was done/committed. Sinacaban has been in existence for 16 years, yet the validity of E.O. No.
258 creating it had never been questioned. Created in 1949, it was only 40 years later that its existence was
questioned and only because it had laid claim to an area that is apparently desired for its revenue. The State and
even the Municipality of Jimenez itself has recognized Sinacabans corporate existence. Sinacaban is constituted
part of a municipal circuit for purposes of the establishment of MTCs in the country. Jimenez had earlier recognized
Sinacaban in 1950 by entering into an agreement with it regarding their common boundary.

The Municipality of Sinacaban attained a de jure status by virtue of the Ordinance appended to the 1987
Constitution, apportioning legislative districts throughout the country, which considered Sinacaban part of the
Second District of Misamis Occidental. Sec. 442(d) of the Local Government Code of 1991 must be deemed
to have cured any defect in the creation of Sinacaban since it states that:

Municipalities existing as of the date of the effectivity of this Code shall continue to exist and operate as
such. Existing municipal districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances/executive orders and which have
their respective set of municipal officials holding office at the time of the effectivity of this Code shall henceforth
be regular municipalities.

2. Sinacaban is not subject to the plebiscite requirement since it attained de facto status at the time the 1987
Constitution took effect. The plebiscite requirement for the creation of municipalities applies only to new
municipalities created for the first time under the Constitution it cannot be applied to municipalities created

3. E.O. No. 258 does not say that Sinacaban comprises only the barrios (now barangays) therein mentioned. What
it says is that Sinacaban contains those barrios. The reason for this is that the technical description, containing the
metes and bounds of a municipalitys territory, is controlling. The trial court correctly ordered a relocation survey as
the only means of determining the boundaries of the municipality & consequently to which municipality the
barangays in question belong.

Any alteration of boundaries that is not in accordance with the law is not the carrying into effect of the law but its
amendment and a resolution of a provincial Board declaring certain barrios part of one or another municipality
that is contrary to the technical description of the territory of the municipality is not binding. If Resolution No. 77 of
the Provincial Board of Misamis Occidental is contrary to the technical description of the territory of Sinacaban, it
cannot be used by Jimenez as basis for opposing Sinacabans claim.

In case no settlement of boundary disputes is made, the dispute should be elevated to the RTC of the province
(Sec. 79, LGC of 1983). Jimenez properly brought to the RTC for review the Decision and Resolution of the Provincial
Board. This was in accordance with the LGC of 1983, the governing law when the action was brought by Jimenez in
1989. The governing law now is Secs. 118-119, LGC of 1991 (RA 7160).

Jimenezs contention that the RTC failed to decide the case within 1 yr from the start of the proceedings as
required by Sec. 79 of the LGC of 1983 and the 90-day period provided for in Art.VIII, Sec.15 of the Constitution
does not affect the validity of the decision rendered. Failure of a court to decide within the period prescribed by law
does not divest it of its jurisdiction to decide the case but only makes the judge thereof liable for possible
administrative sanction.