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D. Powers of local government units

1. General welfare clause

a. CONCEPT

Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants. (Section 16, R.A. 7610, Local Government Code)

2. Eminent domain

a. CONCEPT

RULE: A local government unit may, through its chief executive and acting pursuant to an ordinance, exercise the power of eminent domain for public use, or purpose or welfare for the benefit of the poor and the landless, upon payment of just compensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and pertinent laws. (Section 19, R.A. 7610)

CONDITIONS:

1) The power of eminent domain may not be exercised unless a valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner, and such offer was not accepted;

2) The local government unit may immediately take possession of the property upon the filing of the expropriation proceedings and upon making a deposit with the proper court of at least fifteen percent (15%) of the fair market value of the property based on the current tax declaration of the property to be expropriated; and,

3) The amount to be paid for the expropriated property shall be determined by the proper court, based on the fair market value at the time of the taking of the property. (Section 19, Ibid.)

1) Delegated by the legislature

The power of eminent domain is essentially legislative in nature. It is firmly settled, however, that such power may be validly delegated to local government units, other public entities and public utilities, although the scope of this delegated legislative power is necessarily narrower than that of the delegating authority and may only be exercised in strict compliance with the terms of the delegating law. (Ibid.)

Scrutiny is especially necessary when eminent domain is exercised by a local government considering that it merely has a delegated power of eminent domain. A local government unit has no inherent power of eminent domain. Such power is essentially lodged in the legislature although it may be validly delegated to local government units, other public entities and public utilities. (City of Manila v. Prieto, G.R. No. 221366, 08 July 2019)

2) Requisites

Several requisites must concur before a local government unit can exercise the power of eminent domain, to wit:

1) An ordinance is enacted by the local legislative council authorizing the local chief executive, in behalf of the local government unit, to exercise the power of eminent domain or pursue expropriation proceedings over a particular private property;

2) The power of eminent domain is exercised for public use, purpose or welfare, or for the benefit of the poor and the landless;

3) There is payment of just compensation, as required under Section 9, Article III of the Constitution, and other pertinent laws; and,

4) A valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner of the property sought to be expropriated, but said offer was not accepted. (Ibid.)

a) Strict limitations and mandatory conditions

Courts have a duty to judiciously scrutinize and determine whether the local government’s exercise of the delegated power of eminent domain is in accordance with the delegating law. Bare allegations and unsupported generalizations do not suffice, considering the drastic effect of the exercise of such power to constitutionally-protected rights. The requisites are strict limitations on the exercise of the power of eminent domain by local government units, especially with respect to: (1) the order of priority in acquiring land for socialized housing; and (2) the resort to expropriation proceedings as a means of acquiring it. Compliance with these conditions is mandatory because these are the only safeguards of oftentimes helpless owners of private property against what may be a tyrannical violation of due process when their property is forcibly taken from them allegedly for public use. (Ibid.)

Inasmuch as the principal’s exercise of the power of eminent domain is subject to certain conditions, with more reason that the exercise of a delegated power is not absolute. In fact, strictly speaking, the power of eminent domain delegated to the local government unit is, in reality, not eminent but inferior since it must conform to the limits imposed by the principal. (Ibid.)

3. Taxing power

a. LOCAL TAXATION

1) Fiscal autonomy

Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments. (Section 5, Article X, 1987 Constitution; Section 129, R..A. 7160)

a) Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)

Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them. (Section 6, Article X, 1987 Constitution)

Section 6, when parsed, embodies three mandates, namely:

1) The LGUs shall have a just share in the national taxes;

2) The just share shall be determined by law; and

3) The just share shall be automatically released to the LGUs. (Mandanas v. Ochoa, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 199802 and 208488, 03 July 2018)

1) Share in national taxes, not in national internal revenue taxes

There is no issue as to what constitutes the LGUs’ just share expressed in percentages of the national taxes. Yet, Section 6, Article X, of the 1987 Constitution mentions national taxes as the source of the just share of the LGUs while Section 284 of the LGC ordains that the share of the LGUs be taken from national internal revenue taxes instead. (Ibid.)

Although the power of Congress to make laws is plenary in nature, congressional lawmaking remains subject to the limitations stated in the 1987 Constitution.49 The phrase national internal revenue taxes engrafted in Section 284 is undoubtedly more restrictive than the term national taxes written in Section 6. As such, Congress has actually departed from the letter of the 1987 Constitution stating that national taxes should be the base from which the just share of the LGU comes. Such departure is impermissible… Equally impermissible is that Congress has also thereby curtailed the guarantee of fiscal autonomy in favor of the LGUs under the 1987 Constitution. (Ibid.)

b) Equitable share in national wealth within jurisdiction

Local governments shall be entitled to an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, in the manner provided by law, including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits. (Section 7, Article X, 1987 Constitution)

c) DOJ Secretary reviews only for constitutionality

Section 187 of the LGC authorizes the Secretary of Justice to review only the constitutionality or legality of the tax ordinance and, if warranted, to revoke it on either or both of these grounds. When he alters or modifies or sets aside a tax ordinance, he is not also permitted to substitute his own judgment for the judgment of the local government that enacted the measure. (Drilon v. Lim, En Banc, G.R. No. 112497, 04 August 1994)

b. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

The following fundamental principles shall govern the exercise of the taxing and other revenue-raising powers of local government units:

1) Taxation shall be uniform in each local government unit;

2) Taxes, fees, charges and other impositions shall:

a) Be equitable and based as far as practicable on the taxpayer’s ability to pay;

b) Be levied and collected only for public purposes;

c) Not be unjust, excessive, oppressive, or confiscatory;

d) Not be contrary to law, public policy, national economic policy, or in the restraint of trade;

3) The collection of local taxes, fees, charges and other impositions shall in no case be let to any private person;

4) The revenue collected pursuant to the provisions of this Code shall inure solely to the benefit of, and be subject to the disposition by, the local government unit levying the tax, fee, charge or other imposition unless otherwise specifically provided herein; and,

5) Each local government unit shall, as far as practicable, evolve a progressive system of taxation. (Section 130, R.A. 7160)

c. LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY

The power to impose a tax, fee, or charge or to generate revenue under this Code shall be exercised by the sanggunian of the local government unit concerned through an appropriate ordinance. (Section 132, Ibid.)

d. COMMON LIMITATIONS ON THE TAXING POWERS OF LGUs

Unless otherwise provided herein, the exercise of the taxing powers of provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays shall not extend to the levy of the following:

1) Income tax, except when levied on banks and other financial institutions;

2) Documentary stamp tax;

3) Taxes on estates, inheritance, gifts, legacies and other acquisitions mortis causa, except as otherwise provided herein;

4) Customs duties, registration fees of vessel and wharfage on wharves, tonnage dues, and all other kinds of customs fees, charges and dues except wharfage on wharves constructed and maintained by the local government unit concerned;

5) Taxes, fees, and charges and other impositions upon goods carried into or out of, or passing through, the territorial jurisdictions of local government units in the guise of charges for wharfage, tolls for bridges or otherwise, or other taxes, fees, or charges in any form whatsoever upon such goods or merchandise;

6) Taxes, fees or charges on agricultural and aquatic products when sold by marginal farmers or fishermen;

7) Taxes on business enterprises certified to by the Board of Investments as pioneer or non-pioneer for a period of six (6) and four (4) years, respectively from the date of registration;

8) Excise taxes on articles enumerated under the national Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and taxes, fees or charges on petroleum products;

9) Percentage or value-added tax (VAT) on sales, barters or exchanges or similar transactions on goods or services except as otherwise provided herein;

10) Taxes on the gross receipts of transportation contractors and persons engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight by hire and common carriers by air, land or water, except as provided in this Code;

11) Taxes on premiums paid by way or reinsurance or retrocession;

12) Taxes, fees or charges for the registration of motor vehicles and for the issuance of all kinds of licenses or permits for the driving thereof, except tricycles;

13) Taxes, fees, or other charges on Philippine products actually exported, except as otherwise provided herein;

14) Taxes, fees, or charges, on Countryside and Barangay Business Enterprises and cooperatives duly registered under R.A. No. 6810 and Republic Act Numbered Sixty-nine hundred thirty-eight (R.A. No. 6938) otherwise known as the “Cooperative Code of the Philippines” respectively; and

15) Taxes, fees or charges of any kind on the National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and local government units. (Section 133, Ibid.)

1) Additional limitation: No power to tax National Government

Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the National Government. (Basco v. PAGCOR, En Banc, G.R. No. 91649, 14 May 1991)

PAGCOR is a government owned or controlled corporation with an original charter, PD 1869. All of its shares of stocks are owned by the National Government. (Ibid.)

MIAA is not a government-owned or controlled corporation but an instrumentality of the National Government and thus exempt from local taxation. (MIAA v. CA, En Banc, G.R. No. 155650, 20 July 2006)

The real properties of MIAA are owned by the Republic of the Philippines and thus exempt from real estate tax. (Ibid.)

4. Closure and opening of roads

a. CONCEPT

A local government unit may, pursuant to an ordinance, permanently or temporarily close or open any local road, alley, park, or square falling within its jurisdiction. (Section 21[a], R.A. 7610)

b. PERMANENT CLOSURE

1) Requisites

In case of permanent closure:

1) The ordinance must be approved by at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the members of the sanggunian (Ibid.);

2) When necessary, an adequate substitute for the public facility that is subject to closure is provided (Ibid.); and

3)  No such way or place or any part thereof shall be permanently closed without making provisions for the maintenance of public safety therein. (Section 21[b], Ibid.)

2) Use of property permanently withdrawn from public use

GENERAL RULE: A property thus permanently withdrawn from public use may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the local government unit concerned may be lawfully used or conveyed.

EXCEPTION: … no freedom park shall be closed permanently without provision for its transfer or relocation to a new site. (Section 21[b], Ibid.)

c. TEMPORARY CLOSURE

1) National or local road, elley, park, square

GENERAL RULE: Any national or local road, alley, park, or square may be temporarily closed during an actual emergency, or fiesta celebrations, public rallies, agricultural or industrial fairs, or an undertaking of public works and highways, telecommunications, and waterworks projects, the duration of which shall be specified by the local chief executive concerned in a written order.

EXCEPTION: … no national or local road, alley, park, or square shall be temporarily closed for athletic, cultural, or civic activities not officially sponsored, recognized, or approved by the local government unit concerned. (Section 21[c], Ibid.)

2) Local street, road, thoroughfare, public place

Any city, municipality, or barangay may, by a duly enacted ordinance, temporarily close and regulate the use of any local street, road, thoroughfare, or any other public place where shopping malls, Sunday, flea or night markets, or shopping areas may be established and where goods, merchandise, foodstuffs, commodities, or articles of commerce may be sold and dispensed to the general public. (Section 21[d], Ibid.)

5. Legislative power

a. CONCEPT

Local legislative power shall be exercised by the sangguniang panlalawigan for the province; the sangguniang panlungsod for the city; the sangguniang bayan for the municipality; and the sangguniang barangay for the barangay. (Section 48, Ibid.)

b. QUORUM

A majority of all the members of the sanggunian who have been elected and qualified shall constitute a quorum to transact official business. Should a question of quorum be raised during a session, the presiding officer shall immediately proceed to call the roll of the members and thereafter announce the results. (Section 53[a], Ibid.)

1) No quorum

Where there is no quorum, the presiding officer may declare a recess until such time as a quorum is constituted, or a majority of the members present may adjourn from day to day and may compel the immediate attendance of any member absent without justifiable cause by designating a member of the sanggunian to be assisted by a member or members of the police force assigned in the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit concerned, to arrest the absent member and present him at the session. (Section 53[b], Ibid.)

a) No business transaction

If there is still no quorum despite the enforcement of the immediately preceding subsection, no business shall be transacted. The presiding officer, upon proper motion duly approved by the members present, shall then declare the session adjourned for lack of quorum. (Section 53[c], Ibid.)

c. APPROVAL OF ORDINANCES

1) Provincial Governor; City/Municipal Mayor

Every ordinance enacted by the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan shall be presented to the provincial governor or city or municipal mayor, as the case may be. (Section 54[a], Ibid.)

a) Approval or veto

If the local chief executive concerned approves the same, he shall affix his signature on each and every page thereof; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the sanggunian, which may proceed to reconsider the same. (Ibid.)

The veto shall be communicated by the local chief executive concerned to the sanggunian within fifteen (15) days in the case of a province, and ten (10) days in the case of a city or a municipality; otherwise, the ordinance shall be deemed approved as if he had signed it. (Section 54[b], Ibid.)

b) Overriding a veto

The sanggunian concerned may override the veto of the local chief executive by two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members, thereby making the ordinance or resolution effective for all legal intents and purposes. (Section 54[a], Ibid.)

2) Punong Barangay

Ordinances enacted by the sangguniang barangay shall, upon approval by the majority of all its members, be signed by the punong barangay. (Section 54[c], Ibid.)

d. VETO POWER OF THE LOCAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE

The local chief executive may veto any ordinance of the sanggunian panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sanggunian bayan on the ground that it is ultra vires or prejudicial to the public welfare, stating his reasons therefor in writing. (Section 55[a], Ibid.)

1) Scope of veto

The local chief executive, except the punong barangay, shall have the power to veto any particular item or items of an appropriations ordinance, an ordinance or resolution adopting a local development plan and public investment program, or an ordinance directing the payment of money or creating liability. (Section 55[b], Ibid.)

a) Effects of veto

In such a case, the veto shall not affect the item or items which are not objected to. The vetoed item or items shall not take effect unless the sanggunian overrides the veto in the manner herein provided; otherwise, the item or items in the appropriations ordinance of the previous year corresponding to those vetoed, if any, shall be deemed reenacted. (Ibid.)

2) One veto on ordinance/resolution

The local chief executive may veto an ordinance or resolution only once. The sanggunian may override the veto of the local chief executive concerned by two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members, thereby making the ordinance effective even without the approval of the local chief executive concerned. (Section 55[c], Ibid.)

a. Requisites for valid ordinance

To be valide, a municipal ordinance must:

1) Not contravene the Constitution or any statute;

2) Not be unfair or oppressive;

3) Not be partial or discriminatory;

4) Not prohibit but may regulate trade;

5) Not be unreasonable; and

6) Be general and consistent with public policy. (The Solicitor General v. MMDA, En Banc, G.R. No. 102782, 11 December 1991 citing Elliot, Mun. Corp., 198-202)

b. Local initiative and referendum

1) Local Initiative

Local initiative – is the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly propose, enact, or amend any ordinance. (Section 120, Ibid.)

a) Who may exercise

The power of local initiative and referendum may be exercised by all registered voters of the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. (Section 121, Ibid.)

b) Procedure in local initiative

1) Petition

Not less than one thousand (1,000) registered voters in case of provinces and cities, one hundred (100) in case of municipalities, and fifty (50) in case of barangays, may file a petition with the sanggunian concerned proposing the adoption, enactment, repeal, or amendment of an ordinance. (Section 122[a], Ibid.)

If no favorable action thereon is taken by the sanggunian concerned within thirty (30) days from its presentation, the proponents, through their duly authorized and registered representatives, may invoke their power of initiative, giving notice thereof to the sanggunian concerned. (Section 122[b], Ibid.)

The proposition shall be numbered serially starting from Roman numeral I. The COMELEC or its designated representative shall extend assistance in the formulation of the proposition. (Section 122[c], Ibid.)

Two (2) or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative. (Section 122[d], Ibid.)

3) Signature

Proponents shall have ninety (90) days in case of provinces and cities, sixty (60) days in case of municipalities, and thirty (30) days in case of barangays, from notice to the concerned sanngunian to collect the required number of signatures. (Section 122[e], Ibid.)

The petition shall be signed before the election registrar. or his designated representatives, in the presence of a representative of the proponent, and a representative of the sanggunian concerned in a public place in the local government unit, as the case may be. Stations for collecting signatures may be established in as many places as may be warranted. (Section 122[f], Ibid.)

3) Certification

Upon the lapse of the period herein provided, the COMELEC, through its office in the local government unit concerned, shall certify as to whether or not the required number of signatures has been obtained. Failure to obtain the required number defeats the proposition. (Section 122[g], Ibid.)

4) Initiative

If the required number of signatures is obtained, the COMELEC shall then set a date for the initiative during which the proposition shall be submitted to the registered voters in the local government unit concerned for their approval within sixty (60) days from the date of certification by the COMELEC, as provided in subsection (g) hereof, in case of provinces and cities, forty-five (45) days in case of municipalities, and thirty (30) days in case of barangays. The initiative shall then be held on the date set, after which the results thereof shall be certified and proclaimed by the COMELEC. (Section 122[h], Ibid.)

c) Effectivity of local propositions

If the proposition is approved by a majority of the votes cast, it shall take effect fifteen (15) days after certification by the COMELEC as if affirmative action thereon had been made by the sanggunian and local chief executive concerned. If it fails to obtain said number of votes, the proposition is considered defeated. (Section 123, Ibid.)

d) Limitations on local initiative

1) Once a year

The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than once a year. (Section 124[a], Ibid.)

2) Only to subjects/matters within sanggunian to enact

Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the sanggunian to enact. (Section 124[b], Ibid.)

3) Adoption by sanggunian and approval by local chief executive

If at any time before the initiative is held, the sanggunian concerned adopts in toto the proposition presented and the local chief executive approves the same, the initiative shall be cancelled. However, those against such action may, if they so desire, apply for initiative in the manner herein provided. (Section 124[c], Ibid.)

e) Limitations upon Sanggunians

Any proposition or ordinance approved through the system of initiative and referendum as herein provided shall not be repealed, modified or amended by the sanggunian concerned within six (6) months from the date of the approval thereof, and may be amended, modified or repealed by the sanggunian within three (3) years thereafter by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of all its members: Provided, That in case of barangays, the period shall be eighteen (18) months after the approval thereof. (Section 125, Ibid.)

2) Local Referendum

Local referendum – is the legal process whereby the registered voters of the local government units may approve, amend or reject any ordinance enacted by the sanggunian. (Section 126, Ibid.)

a) COMELEC’s control and direction

The local referendum shall be held under the control and direction of the COMELEC within sixty (60) days in case of provinces and cities, forty-five (45) days in case of municipalities and thirty (30) days in case of barangays. (Paragraph 2, Section 126, Ibid.)

The COMELEC shall certify and proclaim the results of the said referendum. (Paragraph 3, Section 126, Ibid.)

b) Authority of Courts

Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent or preclude the proper courts from declaring null and void any proposition approved pursuant to this Chapter for violation of the Constitution or want of capacity of the sanggunian concerned to enact the said measure. (Section 127, Ibid.)

6. Ultra vires acts

a. CONCEPT

Generally, an ultra vires act is one committed outside the object for which a corporation is created as defined by the law of its organization and therefore beyond the powers conferred upon it by law. (Land Bank of the Philippines v. Cacayuran, G.R. No. 191667, 17 April 2013)

1) The 2 types of ultra vires

There are two (2) types of ultra vires acts:

1) Ultra vires acts; and

2) Irregular acts. (Ibid.)

a) Ultra vires acts

There is a distinction between an act utterly beyond the jurisdiction of a municipal corporation and the irregular exercise of a basic power under the legislative grant in matters not in themselves jurisdictional. The former are ultra vires in the primary sense and void; the latter, ultra vires only in a secondary sense which does not preclude ratification or the application of the doctrine of estoppel in the interest of equity and essential justice. (Ibid. citing Middletown Policemen’s Benevolent Association v. Township of Middletown, 162 N.J. 361, 368 [2000])

An act which is outside of the municipality’s jurisdiction is considered as a void ultra vires act. (Land Bank of the Philippines v. Cacayuran, supra.)

To ultra vires acts belongs municipal contracts which:

1) Are entered into beyond the express, implied or inherent powers of the local government unit; and

2) Do not comply with the substantive requirements of law e.g., when expenditure of public funds is to be made, there must be an actual appropriation and certificate of availability of funds. (Ibid.)

b) Irregular act

An act attended only by an irregularity but remains within the municipality’s power is considered as an ultra vires act subject to ratification and/or validation. (Land Bank of the Philippines v. Cacayuran, supra.)

To irregular acts belongs those which:

1) Are entered into by the improper department, board, officer of agent; and

2) Do not comply with the formal requirements of a written contract e.g., the Statute of Frauds. (Ibid.)

b. LIABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES

Public officials can be held personally accountable for acts claimed to have been performed in connection with official duties where they have acted ultra vires. (Ibid.)

Case Law

1) A number of cases decided by the Court where the municipal mayor alone was held liable for back salaries of, or damages to dismissed municipal employees, to the exclusion of the municipality, are not applicable in this instance.

2) A municipal mayor was held liable for the back salaries of the Chief of Police he had dismissed, not only because the dismissal was arbitrary but also because the mayor refused to reinstate him in defiance of an order of the Commissioner of Civil Service to reinstate. (Chavez v. Sandiganbayan, En Banc, G.R. No. 91391, 24 January 1991, citing Salcedo v. Court of Appeals, citing Salcedo v. CA, G.R. No. L-40846, 31 January 1978)

3) A municipal mayor was held personally liable for dismissing a police corporal who possessed the necessary civil service eligibility, the dismissal being done without justifiable cause and without any administrative investigation. (Ibid. citing Nemenzo v. Sabillano, En Banc, G.R. No. L-20977, 07 September 1968)

4) A governor, vice-governor, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, provincial auditor, provincial treasurer and provincial engineer were ordered to pay jointly and severally in their individual and personal capacity damages to some 200 employees of the province of Cebu who were eased out from their positions because of their party affiliations. (Ibid. citing Rama v. CA, G.R. Nos. L-44484, L-44842, L-44591, L-44894, 16 March 1987)

7. Corporate powers

a. BEGINNING OF CORPORATE EXISTENCE

When a new local government unit is created, its corporate existence shall commence upon the election and qualification of its chief executive and a majority of the members of its sanggunian, unless some other time is fixed therefor by the law or ordinance creating it. (Section 14, Ibid.)

b. DUAL NATURE: POLITICAL AND CORPORATE NATURE

Every local government unit created or recognized under this Code is a body politic and corporate endowed with powers to be exercised by it in conformity with law. As such, it shall exercise powers as a political subdivision of the national government and as a corporate entity representing the inhabitants of its territory. (Section 15, Ibid.)

c. CORPORATE POWERS

Every local government unit, as a corporation, shall have the following powers:

1) To have continuous succession in its corporate name;

2) To sue and be sued;

3) To have and use a corporate seal;

4) To acquire and convey real or personal property;

5) To enter into contracts; and

6) To exercise such other powers as are granted to corporations, subject to the limitations provided in this Code and other laws. (Section 22[a], Ibid.)

1) Corporate Seals

Local government units may continue using, modify, or change their existing corporate seals: Provided, That newly established local government units or those without corporate seals may create their own corporate seals which shall be registered with the DILG: Provided, further, That any change of corporate seal shall also be registered as provided hereon. (Section 22[b], Ibid.)

2) Contracts

Unless otherwise provided in this Code, no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the sanggunian concerned. A legible copy of such contract shall be posted at a conspicuous place in the provincial capitol or the city, municipal or barangay hall. (Section 22[c], Ibid.)

3) Full autonomy on proprietary functions

Local government units shall enjoy full autonomy in the exercise of their proprietary functions and in the limitations provided in this Code and other applicable laws. (Section 22[d], Ibid.)

8. Liability of local government units

a. SCOPE OF LIABILITY

Local government units and their officials are not exempt from liability for death or injury to persons or damage to property. (Section 24, Ibid.)

1) Defective roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public words

Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any person by reason of the defective condition of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public works under their control or supervision. (Art. 2189, Ibid.)

2) City police force’s refusal or failure to render aid or protection

When a member of a city or municipal police force refuses or fails to render aid or protection to any person in case of danger to life or property, such peace officer shall be primarily liable for damages, and the city or municipality shall be subsidiarily responsible therefor. The civil action herein recognized shall be independent of any criminal proceedings, and a preponderance of evidence shall suffice to support such action. (Article 34, Ibid.)

3) Public servant’s refusal or failure to perform official duties

Any person suffering material or moral loss because a public servant or employee refuses or neglects, without just cause, to perform his official duty may file an action for damages and other relief against he latter, without prejudice to any disciplinary administrative action that may be taken. (Article 27, Ibid.)

4) Acts of special agents

The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the official to whom the task done properly pertains, in which case what is provided in article 2176 shall be applicable. (Paragraph 6, Article 2180, Ibid.)

5) For damages when exercising proprietary functions

With respect to proprietary functions the settled rule is that a municipal corporation can be held liable to third persons ex contractu or ex delicto. (City of Manila v. IAC, G.R. No. 71159, 15 November 1989)

a) Breach of contract

Municipal corporations are subject to be sued upon contracts and in tort. (Torio v. Angelina, G.R. Nos. L-29993 and L-30183, 23 October 1978 citing Dillon on Municipal Corporations, 5th ed.)

Where a case involving an incorrect exhumation before the expiration of the lease of burial lot, a the City of Manila was held liable. There is no dispute that the burial lot was leased in favor of the private respondents. Hence, obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties. Thus a lease contract executed by the lessor and lessee remains as the law between them. Therefore, a breach of contractual provision entitles the other party to damages even if no penalty for such breach is prescribed in the contract. (City of Manila v. IAC, G.R. No. 71159, 15 November 1989)

Under the doctrine of respondent superior, the City of Manila is liable for the tortious act committed by its agents who failed to verify and check the duration of the contract of lease. The contention of the petitioner-city that the lease is covered by Administrative Order No. 5, series of 1975 dated March 6, 1975 of the City of Manila for five (5) years only beginning from June 6, 1971 is not meritorious for the said administrative order covers new leases. When subject lot was certified on January 25, 1978 as ready for exhumation, the lease contract for fifty (50) years was still in full force and effect. (Ibid.)

b) Tort or quasi-delict

The superior or employer must answer civilly for the negligence or want of skill of its agent or servant in the course or line of his employment, by which another, who is free from contributory fault, is injured. Municipal corporations under the conditions herein stated, fall within the operation of this rule of law, and are liable, accordingly, to civil actions for damages when the requisite elements of liability coexist. (Ibid.)

In one case, it was held that  the Municipality cannot evade responsibility and/or liability under the claim that it was Jose Macaraeg who constructed the stage. The municipality acting through its municipal council appointed Macaraeg as chairman of the sub-committee on entertainment and in charge of the construction of the “zarzuela” stage. Macaraeg acted merely as an agent of the Municipality. Under the doctrine of respondent superior mentioned earlier, petitioner is responsible or liable for the negligence of its agent acting within his assigned tasks. (Ibid.)

The National Irrigation Administration is a government agency with a juridical personality separate and distinct from the government. It is not a mere agency of the government but a corporate body performing proprietary functions. Therefore, it may be held liable for the damages caused by the negligent act of its driver who was not its special agent. (Sps. Fontanilla v. Maliaman, En Banc, G.R. Nos. L-55963 & 61045, 27 February 1991)

b. DOCTRINE OF IMPLIED LIABILITY

GENERAL RULE: Under the doctrine of implied municipal liability, a municipality may become obligated upon an implied contract to pay the reasonable value of the benefits accepted or appropriated by it as to which it has the general power to contract. (Province of Cebu v. IAC, G.R. No. 72841, 28 January 1987)

The doctrine of implied municipal liability has been said to apply to all cases where money or other property of a party is received under such circumstances that the general law, independent of express contract implies an obligation upon the municipality to do justice with respect to the same. (Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: The doctrine of estoppel cannot be applied as against a municipal corporation to validate a contract which it has no power to make or which it is authorized to make only under prescribed conditions, within prescribed limitations, or in a prescribed mode or manner, although the corporation has accepted the benefits thereof and the other party has fully performed his part of the agreement, or has expended large sums in preparation for performance. A reason frequently assigned for this rule is that to apply the doctrine of estoppel against a municipality in such case would be to enable it to do indirectly what it cannot do directly. (San Digeo v. Municipality of Naujan, En Banc, G.R. No. L-9920, 29 February 1960)

9. Settlement of boundary disputes

a. JURISDICTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Boundary disputes between and among local government units shall, as much as possible, be settled amicably. To this end:

1) Boundary disputes involving two (2) or more barangays in the same city or municipality shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned.

2) Boundary disputes involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same province shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang panlalawigan concerned.

3) Boundary disputes involving municipalities or component cities of different provinces shall be jointly referred for settlement to the sanggunians of the province concerned.

4) Boundary disputes involving a component city or municipality on the one hand and a highly urbanized city on the other, or two (2) or more highly urbanized cities, shall be jointly referred for settlement to the respective sanggunians of the parties.

5) In the event the sanggunian fails to effect an amicable settlement within sixty (60) days from the date the dispute was referred thereto, it shall issue a certification to that effect. Thereafter, the dispute shall be formally tried by the sanggunian concerned which shall decide the issue within sixty (60) days from the date of the certification referred to above. (Section 118, R.A. 7160)

b. APPEAL

Within the time and manner prescribed by the Rules of Court, any party may elevate the decision of the sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the area in dispute. The Regional Trial Court shall decide the appeal within one (1) year from the filing thereof. Pending final resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall be maintained and continued for all legal purposes. (Section 119, Ibid.)

10. Local officials

a. Vacancies and succession

1) Permanent vacancies

A permanent vacancy – arises when an elective local official fills a higher vacant office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office. (Paragraph 2, Section 44, R.A. 7160)

For purposes of succession, ranking in the sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters in each district in the immediately preceding local election. (Paragraph 3, Section 44, Ibid.)

a) Governor, Vice-Governor, Mayor, and Vice-Mayor

If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. (Section 44[a], Ibid.)

If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice-governor, mayor, or vice-mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member, shall become the governor, vice-governor, mayor or vice-mayor, as the case may be. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein. (Ibid.)

If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the punong barangay, the highest ranking sanggunian barangay member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member, shall become the punong barangay. (Section 44[b], Ibid.)

A tie between or among the highest ranking sanggunian members shall be resolved by the drawing of lots. (Section 44[c], Ibid.)

The successors as defined herein shall serve only the unexpired terms of their predecessors. (Section 44[d], Ibid.)

b) Sanggunian

Permanent vacancies in the sanggunian where automatic succession provided above do not apply shall be filled by appointment in the following manner:

1) The President, through the Executive Secretary, in the case of the sangguniang panlalawigan and the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities;

2) The governor, in the case of the sangguniang panlungsod of component cities and the sangguniang bayan;

3) The city or municipal mayor, in the case of sangguniang barangay, upon recommendation of the sangguniang barangay concerned. (Section 45[a], Ibid.)

Except for the sangguniang barangay, only the nominee of the political party under which the sanggunian member concerned had been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in rank created the last vacancy in the sanggunian shall be appointed in the manner hereinabove provided. The appointee shall come from the same political party as that of the sanggunian member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office. In the appointment herein mentioned, a nomination and a certificate of membership of the appointee from the highest official of the political party concerned are conditions sine qua non, and any appointment without such nomination and certification shall be null and void ab initio and shall be a ground for administrative action against the official responsible therefore. (Section 45[b], Ibid.)

In case thr permanent vacancy is caused by a sanggunian member who does not belong to any political party, the local chief executive shall, upon recommendation of the sanggunian concerned, appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. (Section 45[c], Ibid.)

In case of vacancy in the representation of the youth and the barangay in the sanggunian, said vacancy shall be filled automatically by the official next in rank of the organization concerned. (Section 45[d], Ibid.)

2) Temporary vacancies

a) Local Chief Executive

When the governor, city or municipal mayor, or punong barangay is temporarily incapacitated to perform his duties for physical or legal reasons such as, but not limited to, leave of absence, travel abroad, and suspension from office, the vice-governor, city or municipal vice-mayor, or the highest ranking sangguniang barangay member shall automatically exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the local chief executive concerned, except the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss employees which can only be exercised if the period of temporary incapacity exceeds thirty (30) working days. (Section 46[a], Ibid.)

1) Termination of temporary incapacity

Said temporary incapacity shall terminate upon submission to the appropriate sanggunian of a written declaration by the local chief executive concerned that he has reported back to office. In cases where the temporary incapacity is due to legal causes, the local chief executive concerned shall also submit necessary documents showing that said legal causes no longer exist. (Section 46[b], Ibid.)

2) Officer-in-Charge (OIC)

When the incumbent local chief executive is traveling within the country but outside his territorial jurisdiction for a period not exceeding three (3) consecutive days, he may designate in writing the officer-in-charge of the said office. Such authorization shall specify the powers and functions that the local official concerned shall exercise in the absence of the local chief executive except the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss employees. (Section 46[c], Ibid.)

In the event, however, that the local chief executive concerned fails or refuses to issue such authorization, the vice-governor, the city or municipal vice-mayor, or the highest ranking sangguniang barangay member, as the case may be, shall have the right to assume the powers, duties, and functions of the said office on the fourth (4th) day of absence of the said local chief executive, subject to the limitations provided in subsection (c) hereof. (Section 46[d], Ibid.)

Except as provided above, the local chief executive shall in no case authorize any local official to assume the powers, duties, and functions of the office, other than the vice-governor, the city or municipal vice-mayor, or the highest ranking sangguniang barangay member, as the case may be. (Section 46[e], Ibid.)

3) Approval of Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence of local elective officials shall be approved as follows:

1) Leaves of absence of the governor and the mayor of a highly urbanized city or an independent component city shall be approved by the President or his duly authorized representative;

2) Leaves of absence of vice-governor or a city or municipal vice-mayor shall be approved by the local chief executive concerned: Provided, That the leaves of absence of the members of the sanggunian and its employees shall be approved by the vice-governor or city or municipal vice-mayor concerned;

3) Leaves of absence of the component city or municipal mayor shall be approved by the governor; and

4) Leaves of absence of a punong barangay shall be approved by the city or municipal mayor: Provided, That leaves of absence of sangguniang barangay members shall be approved by the punong barangay. (Section 47[a], Ibid.)

a) When deemed approved

Whenever the application for leave of absence hereinabove specified is not acted upon within five (5) working days after receipt thereof, the application for leave of absence shall be deemed approved. (Section 47[b], Ibid.)

b. Discipline

i. Elective officials
(a) Grounds

1) Grounds for disciplinary actions

An elective local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from office on any of the following grounds:

1) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines;

2) Culpable violation of the Constitution;

3) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty;

4) Commission of any offense involving moral turpitude or an offense punishable by at least prision mayor;

5) Abuse of authority;

6) Unauthorized absence for fifteen (15) consecutive working days, except in the case of members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, sangguniang bayan, and sangguniang barangay;

7) Application for, or acquisition of, foreign citizenship or residence or the status of an immigrant of another country; and

8) Such other grounds as may be provided in this Code and other laws. (Section 60, Ibid.)

(b) Jurisdiction

1) Disciplining authority

A verified complaint against any erring local elective official shall be prepared as follows:

1) A complaint against any elective official of a province, a highly urbanized city, an independent component city or component city shall be filed before the Office of the President;

2) A complaint against any elective official of a municipality shall be filed before the sangguniang panlalawigan whose decision may be appealed to the Office of the President; and

3) A complaint against any elective barangay official shall be filed before the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned whose decision shall be final and executory. (Section 61, Ibid.)

a) Notice of hearing

Within seven (7) days after the administrative complaint is filed, the Office of the President or the sanggunian concerned, as the case may be, shall require the respondent to submit his verified answer within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof, and commence the investigation of the case within ten (10) days after receipt of such answer of the respondent. (Section 62[a], Ibid.)

When the respondent is an elective official of a province or highly urbanized city, such hearing and investigation shall be conducted in the place where he renders or holds office. For all other local elective officials, the venue shall be the place where the sanggunian concerned is located. (Section 62[b], Ibid.)

b) Limitations on investigation and preventive suspension

However, no investigation shall be held within ninety (90) days immediately prior to any local election, and no preventive suspension shall be imposed within the said period. If preventive suspension has been imposed prior to the 90-day period immediately preceding local election, it shall be deemed automatically lifted upon the start of aforesaid period. (Section 62[c], Ibid.)

c) Rights of respondent

The respondent shall be accorded full opportunity to appear and defend himself in person or by counsel, to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, and to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of documentary process of subpoena or subpoena duces tecum. (Section 65, Ibid.)

d) Form and Notice of Decision

The investigation of the case shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from the start thereof. Within thirty (30) days after the end of the investigation, the Office of the President or the sanggunian concerned shall render a decision in writing stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the reasons for such decision. Copies of said decision shall immediately be furnished the respondent and all interested parties. (Section 66[a], Ibid.)

1) Limitations on penalty

The penalty of suspension shall not exceed the unexpired term of the respondent or a period of six (6) months for every administrative offense, nor shall said penalty be a bar to the candidacy of the respondent so suspended as long as he meets the qualifications required for the office. (Section 66[b], Ibid.)

2) Penalty of removal; Bars future candidacy

The penalty of removal from office as a result of an administrative investigation shall be considered a bar to the candidacy of the respondent for any elective position. (Section 66[c], Ibid.)

(c) Preventive suspension

1) Who may impose

Preventive suspension may be imposed:

1) By the President, if the respondent is an elective official of a province, a highly urbanized or an independent component city;

2) By the governor, if the respondent is an elective official of a component city or municipality; or

3) By the mayor, if the respondent is an elective official of the barangay. (Section 63[a], Ibid.)

2) When may be imposed

Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the issues are joined, when the evidence of guilt is strong, and given the gravity of the offense, there is great probability that the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence: Provided, That, any single preventive suspension of local elective officials shall not extend beyond sixty (60) days: Provided, further, That in the event that several administrative cases are filed against an elective official, he cannot be preventively suspended for more than ninety (90) days within a single year on the same ground or grounds existing and known at the time of the first suspension. (Section 63[b], Ibid.)

a) Deemed reinstated after expiration

Upon expiration of the preventive suspension, the suspended elective official shall be deemed reinstated in office without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings against him, which shall be terminated within one hundred twenty (120) days from the time he was formally notified of the case against him. However, if the delay in the proceedings of the case is due to his fault, neglect, or request, other than the appeal duly filed, the duration of such delay shall not be counted in computing the time of termination of the case. (Section 63[c], Ibid.)

Any abuse of the exercise of the power of preventive suspension shall be penalized as abuse of authority. (Section 63[d], Ibid.)

b) Salary of respondent pending suspension

The respondent official preventively suspended from office shall receive no salary or compensation during such suspension; but upon subsequent exoneration and reinstatement, he shall be paid full salary or compensation including such emoluments accruing during such suspension. (Section 64, Ibid.)

(d) Removal

An elective local official may be removed from office on the grounds enumerated above by order of the proper court. (Ibid.)

(e) Administrative appeal

1) Procedure

Decisions in administrative cases may, within thirty (30) days from receipt thereof, be appealed to the following:

1) The sangguniang panlalawigan, in the case of decisions of the sangguniang panlungsod of component cities and the sangguniang bayan; and

2) The Office of the President, in the case of decisions of the sangguniang panlalawigan and the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities. (Section 67, Ibid.)

a) President’s Decision; Final and executory

Decisions of the Office of the President shall be final and executory. (Paragraph 2, Section 67, Ibid.)

b) Execution pending appeal

An appeal shall not prevent a decision from becoming final or executory. The respondent shall be considered as having been placed under preventive suspension during the pendency of an appeal in the event he wins such appeal. In the event the appeal results in an exoneration, he shall be paid his salary and such other emoluments during the pendency of the appeal. (Section 68, Ibid.)

(f) Doctrine of condonation

1) Doctrine, abandoned

This Court simply finds no legal authority to sustain the condonation doctrine in this jurisdiction. I was a doctrine adopted from one class of US rulings way back in 1959 and thus, out of touch from – and now rendered obsolete by – the current legal regime. In consequence, it is high time for this Court to abandon the condonation doctrine that originated from Pascual, and affirmed in the cases following the same, such as Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor Garcia, and Governor Garcia, Jr. (Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 217126-27, 10 November 2015)

The condonation doctrine had been considered as good law since then until November 10, 2015 when the Court promulgated Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals. (Herrera v. Mago, G.R. No. 231120, 15 January 2020)

a) Rationale

Relatedly it should be clarified that there is no truth in Pascual’s postulation that the courts would be depriving the electorate of their right to elect their officers if condonation were not to be sanctioned. In political law, election pertains to the process by which a particular constituency chooses an individual to hold a public office. In this jurisdiction, there is, again, no legal basis to conclude that election automatically implies condonation. Neither is there any legal basis to say that every democratic and republican state has an inherent regime of condonation. If condonation of an elective official’s administrative liability would perhaps, be allowed in this jurisdiction, then the same should have been provided by law under our governing legal mechanisms. May it be at the time of Pascual or at present, by no means has it been shown that such a law, whether in a constitutional or statutory provision, exists. Therefore, inferring from this manifest absence, it cannot be said that the electorate’s will has been abdicated. (Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals, En Banc, supra.)

Equally infirm is Pascual’s proposition that the electorate, when re­electing a local official, are assumed to have done so with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. Suffice it to state that no such presumption exists in any statute or procedural rule. Besides, it is contrary to human experience that the electorate would have full knowledge of a public official’s misdeeds. The Ombudsman correctly points out the reality that most corrupt acts by public officers are shrouded in secrecy, and concealed from the public. Misconduct committed by an elective official is easily covered up, and is almost always unknown to the electorate when they cast their votes. At a conceptual level, condonation presupposes that the condoner has actual knowledge of what is to be condoned. Thus, there could be no condonation of an act that is unknown. (Ibid.)

ii. Appointive officials

1) Administrative discipline

Investigation and adjudication of administrative complaints against appointive local officials and employees as well as their suspension and removal shall be in accordance with the civil service law and rules and other pertinent laws. The results of such administrative investigations shall be reported to the Civil Service Commission. (Section 84, R.A. 7160)

2) Preventive suspension of appointive local officials and employees

The local chief executives may preventively suspend for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days and subordinate official or employee under his authority pending investigation if the charge against such official or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty, or if there is reason to believe that the respondent is guilty of the charges which would warrant his removal from the service. (Section 85[a], Ibid.)

Upon expiration of the preventive suspension, the suspended official or employee shall be automatically reinstated in office without prejudice to the continuation of the administrative proceedings against him until its termination. If the delay in the proceedings of the case is due to the fault, neglect or request of the respondent, the time of the delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided. (Section 85[b], Ibid.)

3) Administrative investigation

In any local government unit, administrative investigation may be conducted by a person or a committee duly authorized by the local chief executive. Said person or committee shall conduct hearings on the cases brought against appointive local officials and employees and submit their findings and recommendations to the local chief executive concerned within fifteen (15) days from the conclusion of the hearings. The administrative cases herein mentioned shall be decided within ninety (90) days from the time the respondent is formally notified of the charges. (Section 86, Ibid.)

4) Disciplinary jurisdiction

Except as otherwise provided by law, the local chief executive may impose the penalty of removal from service, demotion in rank, suspension for not more than one (1) year without pay, fine in an amount not exceeding six (6) months salary, or reprimand and otherwise discipline subordinate officials and employees under his jurisdiction. If the penalty imposed is suspension without pay for not more than thirty (30) days, his decision shall be final. If the penalty imposed is heavier than suspension of thirty (30) days, the decision shall be appealable to the Civil Service Commission, which shall decide the appeal within thirty (30) days from receipt thereof. (Section 87, Ibid.)

5) Execution pending appeal

An appeal shall not prevent the execution of a decision of removal or suspension of a respondent-appellant. In case the respondent-appellant is exonerated, he shall be reinstated to his position with all the rights and privileges appurtenant thereto from the time he had been deprived thereof. (Section 88, Ibid.)

11. Recall

a. BY WHOM EXERCISED

The power of recall for loss of confidence shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs. (Section 69, Ibid.)

b. INITIATION OF THE RECALL PROCESS

1) Modes of recall

a) Preparatory recall

Recall may be initiated by a preparatory recall assembly or by the registered voters of the local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs. (Section 70[a], Ibid.)

There shall be a preparatory recall assembly in every province, city, district, and municipality which shall be composed of the following:

1) Provincial level – All mayors, vice-mayors, and sanggunian members of the municipalities and component cities;

2) City level – All punong barangay and sanggunian barangay members in the city;

3) Legislative District level – In case where sangguniang panlalawigan members are elected by district, all elective municipal officials in the district; and in cases where sangguniang panlungsod members are elected by district, all elective barangay officials in the district; and

4) Municipal level – All punong barangay and sangguniang barangay members in the municipality. (Section 70[b], Ibid.)

A majority of all the preparatory recall assembly members may convene in session in a public place and initiate a recall proceedings against any elective official in the local government unit concerned. Recall of provincial, city, or municipal officials shall be validly initiated through a resolution adopted by a majority of all the members of the preparatory recall assembly concerned during its session called for the purpose. (Section 70[c], Ibid.)

b) Petition

Recall of any elective provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official may also be validly initiated upon petition of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of registered voters in the local government unit concerned during the election in which the local official sought to be recalled was elected. (Section 70[d], Ibid.)

A written petition for recall duly signed before the election registrar or his representative, and in the presence of a representative of the petitioner and a representative of the official sought to be recalled and, and in a public place in the province, city, municipality, or barangay, as the case may be, shall be filed with the COMELEC through its office in the local government unit concerned. The COMELEC or its duly authorized representative shall cause the publication of the petition in a public and conspicuous place for a period of not less than ten (10) days nor more than twenty (20) days, for the purpose of verifying the authenticity and genuineness of the petition and the required percentage of voters. (Section 70[d][1], Ibid.)

Upon the lapse of the aforesaid period, the COMELEC or its duly authorized representative shall announce the acceptance of candidates to the position and thereafter prepare the list of candidates which shall include the name of the official sought to be recalled. (Section 70[d][2], Ibid.)

2) Election on recall

Upon the filing of a valid resolution or petition for recall with the appropriate local office of the COMELEC, the Commission or its duly authorized representative shall set the date of the election on recall, which shall not be later than thirty (30) days after the filing of the resolution or petition for recall in the case of the barangay, city, or municipal officials. and forty-five (45) days in the case of provincial officials. The official or officials sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate or candidates to the pertinent positions and, like other candidates, shall be entitled to be voted upon. (Section 71, Ibid.)

a) Effectivity of recall

The recall of an elective local official shall be effective only upon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast during the election on recall. Should the official sought to be recalled receive the highest number of votes, confidence in him is thereby affirmed, and he shall continue in office. (Section 72, Ibid.)

3) Prohibition against resignation

The elective local official sought to be recalled shall not be allowed to resign while the recall process is in progress. (Section 73, Ibid.)

4) Limitations on recall

a) Only once during term for loss of confidence

Any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only once during his term of office for loss of confidence. (Section 74[a], Ibid.)

b) 1-year ban from assumption of office

No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official’s assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election. (Section 74[b], Ibid.)

12. Term Limits

a. TERM OF OFFICE

The term of office of elective local officials shall be three (3) years. (Section 8, Article X, 1987 Constitution; Section 43, R.A. 7610)

The term of office of barangay officials and members of the sangguniang kabataan shall be for three (3) years. (Section 43[c], R.A. 7610)

1) The 3 consecutive terms limit

No such official shall serve for more than  three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. (Section 8, Article X, 1987 Constitution; Section 43[b], R.A. 7610)

2) Voluntary renunciation

Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. (Section 8, Article X, 1987 Constitution; Section 43[b], R.A. 7610)

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