REP. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) is optimistic that the Supreme Court (SC) will sustain its recent ruling that affirmed the constitutionality of the cityhood of Carcar, Naga and Bogo and 13 others.
Gullas said it is only understandable that the aggrieved League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) would use the dissenting opinion of Supreme Court Antonio Justice Carpio, who noted that a tie vote on the motion declaring the constitutionality of the cityhood status killed it instead of giving it life.
But the Cebuano legislator said that Carpio’s opinion was personal, that it would not affect the High Court’s earlier 6-4 vote in favor of the 16 new cities, which called themselves the League of 16.
“Our cause is justifiable. The presumption of regularity of the House and the Senate is very strong,” he added.
Gullas described the approved cityhood bills as not ordinary laws because apart from undergoing the tedious legislative process in Congress, these were also ratified by the people through plebiscites.
Gullas believed that some of the justices, including the newly appointed ones, may have already seen the light when it voted in favor of the League of 16.
He also presumed that the High Court has given weight on the recorded transcripts of deliberations in the Senate exempting the already filed cityhood bills from a higher local income requirement as provided for under Republic Act (RA) 9009.
RA 9009, authored by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., raised the income requirement of towns aspiring to become cities from P20 million to P100 million.
Gullas, who is seeking his third term in Congress, authored the cityhood bills of Naga and Carcar, whose charters were ratified in plebiscites in 2007.
He also authored the cityhood bill of Talisay, which was converted from first class municipality into a component in 2001.
For his part, Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. said the motion for reconsideration filed by the LCP will not be given importance by the SC.
“On question of constitutionality, it requires a majority vote,” Martinez said in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.
“They’re supposed to be the brightest of the brightest or else they would not be in the Supreme Court if they are not good at what they do,” he said.
He also believes that the new cities met the requirements prescribed by law.
“Said municipality should have strong business potential, prepared financially and technically to trigger economic growth and development,” he added.
Developments in Bogo will also spur growth in the neighboring towns of Tabogon and San Remegio.
“Mandaue City became a city because of Cebu City. It was a spillover effect,” Martinez set as an example.
As for the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) that the new cities sought for, Martinez said that they will just wait for the entry of the final judgment of the SC.
Because of the earlier ruling that voided the laws creating the new cities, the IRA for Bogo, Naga and Carcar were reverted to their municipal levels. (GC/JGA)