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Solicitor General vs.

Metropolitan Manila Authority

Facts:

On July 13, 1990 the Court held in the case of Metropolitan Traffic Command,
West Traffic District vs. Hon. Arsenio M. Gonong, that the confiscation of the license
plates of motor vehicles for traffic violations was not among the sanctions that
could be imposed by the Metro Manila Commission under PD 1605 and was
permitted only under the conditions laid down by LOI 43 in the case of stalled
vehicles obstructing the public streets. Even the confiscation of driver’s licenses for
traffic violations was not directly prescribed or allowed by the decree. After no
motion for reconsideration of the decision was filed the judgment became final and
executor.

Withstanding the Gonong decision still violations of the said decision


transpired, wherein there were several persons who sent complaint letters to the
Court regarding the confiscation of driver’s licenses and removal of license plate
numbers.

On May 24, 1990 the MMA issued Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991,
authorizing itself “to detach license plate/tow and impound
attended/unattended/abandoned motor vehicles illegally parked or obstructing the
flow of traffic in Metro Manila.”

On July 2, 1991, the Court issued a resolution regarding the matter which
stated that the Ordinance No. 11, Section 2 appears to be in conflict with the
decision of the Court, and that the Court has received several complaints against
the enforcement of such ordinance.

Issue:

W/N Ordinance No. 11 Series of 1991 and Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1998 are
valid in the exercise of such delegated power to local government acting only as
agents of the national legislature?

Held:

No, the Court rendered judgment: 1) declaring Ordinance No. 11, Series of
1991, of the MMA and Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1998, of the Municipality of
Mandaluyong, Null and Void; and 2) enjoining all law-enforcement authorities in
Metropolitan Manila from removing the license plates of motor vehicles (except
when authorized under LOI43) and confiscating driver’s licenses for traffic violations
within the said area.

To test the validity of said acts the principles governing municipal


corporations was applied, according to Elliot for a municipal ordinance to be valid
the following requisites should be complied: 1) must not contravene the
Constitution or any statute; 2) must not be unfair or oppressive; 3) must not be
partial or discriminatory; 4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; 5) must not
be unreasonable; and 6) must be general and consistent with public policy.

In the Gonong decision it was shown that the measures under consideration
did not pass the first criterion because it did not conform to existing law. PD 1605
does not allow either the removal of license plates or the confiscation of driver’s
licenses for traffic violations committed in Metropolitan Manila. There is nothing in
the decree authorizing the MMA to impose such sanctions. Thus Local political
subdivisions are able to legislate only by virtue of a valid delegation of legislative
power from the national legislature (except only that the power to create their own
sources of revenue and to levy taxes is conferred by the Constitution itself). They
are mere agents vested with what is called the power of subordinate legislation. As
delegates of the Congress, the local government unit cannot contravene but must
obey at all times the will of the principal. In the case at bar the enactments in
question, which are merely local in origin, cannot prevail against the decree, which
has the force and effect of a statute.