Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The City stands to lose in IRA

With the additional 16 cities created anew, Pagadian City stands to lose over a hundred million pesos in regular income out of its yearly IRA appropriations from the national government. This development came in the wake of reports that the Supreme Court has ruled out that the creation of the 16 cities, which was questioned earlier by the League of Cities of the Philippines, as to its constitutionality and eligibility, pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, was legal and constitutional.

The Local Government Code provides, among others the creation of local government units, i.e., barangay, municipality, city and province, only at certain conditions. Among which includes its area, population and income to mention, only few of the many other administrative requirements. As a matter of fact, it is always the prerogative of any local executive of any given area, particularly for an obscure town to dream to become a city as his own political commitment for his people to enjoy its benefits. It is for these reason that congress have given them the political nod, by approving its requests, and by virtue of a Republic Act, the 16 towns thus were converted to full pledge cities.

It was on this premise that the League of Cities of the Philippines petitioned the Supreme Court, questioning the eligibility and constitutionality of the above creation of Congress, praying among others, that such creation be declared unconstitutional, and thus subsequently consider its congressional approval inoperative, pending final resolution of the issue.

Earlier, in an en banc decision, the Supreme Court ruled out unconstitutional, to the jubilance of the petitioning League with the SC mandating its decision to be final and executory, which means that the issue has been terminated and resolved once and for all, and that anymore petition or motion for reconsideration for that matter cannot be entertained any further, by the concerned Court. The members of the League believe all the while, that by all means the issue has ended, only to find out that the SC’s decision was reverted in favor of the petitioning 16 cities, again to the disillusionment of the petitioning League of Cities of the Philippines. The League is now raising a question to the high court: Can Supreme Court decisions carrying a final and executory implementation, as in the instant case, be subjected for another debate, petition and other motion for reconsideration?

We are not at liberty to answer such an intriguing question. What we know, is that such an issue did never happen elsewhere, even in a given law school. The matter is for the high court to make a rejoinder. If the Court stands to sustain its recent decision, it is were Pagadian City will to lose a major part of its income, because its internal revenue allocation will be reduced to the minimum. This is so because the Internal Revenue Allotment, just like a pizza pie, it has to be equally and proportionately shared and/or divided among all the cities nationwide, including the recently approved 16 cities.

By Vic del Pilar
EMAIL: delpilarvic@gmail.com