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PIA Press Release
2008/11/21

League of 16 to file motion for reconsideration of SC decision

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (21 November) -- Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat bared the move of the 16 newly-created cities to file a motion of reconsideration on the recent decision of the Supreme Court nullifying their cityhood.

Voting 6-5, the SC declared unconstitutional the Cityhood Laws or Republic Acts (RAs) converting 16 municipalities into cities which included Mati City of Davao Oriental.

"It is not yet final and executory so we do not lose hope in fighting for our cityhood," Rabat told the media yesterday after the League of 16 was formed to seek for reconsideration.

The 16 affected newly-created cities are Baybay in Leyte, Bogo in Cebu, Catbalogan in Samar, Tandag in Surigao del Sur, Lamitan in Basilan, Borongan in Samar, Tayabas in Quezon, Tabuk in Kalinga, Bayugan in Agusan del Sur, Batac in Ilocos Norte, Mati in Davao Oriental, Guihulngan in Negros Oriental, Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte, El Salvador in Misamis Oriental, Carcar and Naga in Cebu.

"We are filing motion for reconsideration as a group because we have the same case and whatever result would apply to all of these cities," she said.

Rabat stressed that Matinians may have been depressed upon hearing the court's decision, however, it does not stop them to hope for the better.

Before it was converted into a city, Mati used to get P111 million for its Internal Revenue Allotment, while it started getting P382 million last January 2008 with the Cityhood Law 9408.

The law was enacted after the effectivity of RA 9009 which exempted respondent municipalities from the increased income requirement from the P20 million to P100 million in section 450 of the Local Government Code (LGC).

However, just months after the 16 newly-created cities enjoyed their increased IRA, the League of Cities of the Philippines then filed their petitions claiming that the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.

The clause laments that the wholesale conversion of municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in the IRA because more cities will share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities.

The Supreme Court then ruled that the exemptions in the City Laws is unconstitutional because Sec 10, Article X of the Constitution requires that such exemption must be written into the LGC and not into any other laws.

Also, the decision stated that the laws violated the Constitution as it prevented a fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. It explained that a city with an annual income of P20 million should not receive the same share in national taxes as a city with an income of P100 million or more.

Rabat, on the other hand, could not divulge the content of their case but she stressed that these 16 newly-created cities are mere victims of the situation.

"We have long filed for cityhood when the requirement was still P20 million but certain situations took place which caused the delay of Mati's bid for cityhood," she said.

She added that the League of Cities should have understood the plight of these former municipalities which also like the established cities wished to alleviate the kind of living in their respective areas and bring in development to the people.

Nevertheless, Rabat said that the League of 16 respects the court's decision as well as the rule of law, however, it won't stop them to continue fighting for the legality of their cityhood. (PIA) [top]

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