THE League of Cities of the Philippines made one final pitch for the Supreme Court to reconsider its December 21, 2009 decision declaring the validity on the conversion of 16 municipalities into cities.
In a statement, the LCP’s National Executive Board said will now have another opportunity to rectify its assailed decision, allowing the municipalities to attain city status without meeting the requirement for the minimum generated income of at least P100-million a year.
The 122 member-strong league issued the statement as the high court is set to include the case in its agenda in today’s, Tuesday, en banc session.
“Countless other decisions of this Court would come back to haunt it. Such a ruling would destabilize not only this Court, but also the Executive and Legislative Branches. This Court cannot afford to unleash such a catastrophe on the nation,’” the LCP stated.
It was Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who penned the November 18, 2008 decision that ruled that the so-called cityhood laws violate the constitutional requirements for the creation of cities.
The 2008 decision was subsequently overturned by the December 21, 2009 ruling penned by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., who had previously been among the six justices who voted for the final judgment against the 16 towns.
Among the municipalities that benefited from the December 2009 ruling of the SC were Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Baybay in Leyte; Bogo in Cebu; Catbalogan in Samar; Tandag in Surigao del Sur; Borongan in Eastern Samar; Tayabas in Quezon; Lamitan in Basilan; Tabuk in Kalinga; Bayugan in Agusan del Sur; Batac in Ilocos Norte; Mati in Davao Oriental; Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte; Carcar in Cebu; El Salvador in Misamis Oriental; and Naga in Cebu.
The LCP likewise reiterated its concern that two letters received by SC, with letterheads of lawyer Estelito Mendoza, written on January 19, 2009, right after his first appearance to argue the first motion for reconsideration on behalf of the 16 cityhood applicants, may have influenced the justices in changing their position on the cityhood laws.
The group claimed the SC would have not changed its decision until Mendoza, the counsel for the 16 towns had written the Court urging its members who did not vote in 2008 to participate in last year’s ruling.
“Strange as it may seem, and certainly unethical and in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, two letters were received by the SC justices, both on Mendoza letterheads: one signed by him, and the other by influential congressmen,” LCP stated.
It is the position of the league that existing cities would suffer a reduced share in the Internal Revenue Allotment – a subsidy given by the national government to local government units – with the creation of additional cities presumably with low income.
The LCP is confident that the high court will grant its motion for reconsideration and affirm its November 18, 2008 ruling. (JCV/Sunnex)