Court junks San Fran’s purok system

A TRIAL court has invalidated the passage of an ordinance in San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu that sought the creation of a purok (zone) system in the municipality.

Danao City Regional Trial Court Branch 5 Judge Jerry Dicdican declared as null Municipal Ordinance 2014-098 for failure of the proponents to publish the new measure in a newspaper prior to the enactment.

Likewise, Dicdican cited the “extraordinary invasive” measures that the ordinance aimed to address purportedly to ensure efficient delivery of basic services to the community.

“Surely, there are other ways by which basic services may be delivered more efficiently to the inhabitants without unjustifiably curtailing the inhabitants’ right to property,” read Judge Dicdican’s 11-page decision.

The case stemmed from the civil petition filed by San Francisco Councilor Edgardo Maningo against Mayor Aly Arquillano and members of the town council.

Maningo asked the court to declare as null Ordinance 2014-098, or An Ordinance Strengthening the Purok Functions in the Local Government Unit of San Francisco, Cebu.

Political subdivision

Maningo suspected the ordinance aimed to create a new political subdivision, which runs counter to the Local Government Code and the Constitution.

The new measure requires every resident to become a member of the zone, thus violating the Constitutional right of every person to freely associate, said Maningo.

Maningo also feared that the ordinance is vulnerable to political abuse since the issuance of barangay clearance requires residents to secure a purok clearance.

The ordinance would violate the residents’ liberty because it prevents them from transferring to another zone.

Legal basis

Replying to the charges, the town officials said that the enactment of the ordinance has legal basis and, thus, constitutional.

The town council passed the ordinance last June 10, 2014 and the mayor approved it on June 18, 2014.

The respondents argued that Maningo failed to show the ordinance meant to create another political subdivision.

Judge Dicdican held the provisions of the ordinance are valid, pursuant to the Constitution and the Local Government Code.

But Dicdican noted the “oppressive effects” of the issuance of purok clearance, which is amounting to P10. A resident who fails to secure a purok clearance will not be issued a barangay clearance.

“Thus, additional requirement of purok clearance (apart fom barangay clearance)...is unjustified, unreasonable and even oppressive,” said Dicdican in his decision.

The passage of Ordinance 2014-098 was not in accordance with the provision of the Local Government Code and thus, should be declared invalid due to the absence of the required publication.

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