Did you know that there’s a new game in the Philippines? And it is only in the Philippines.
The participants of this kind of games are the mayors of the 112 cities which are already members of the League of Cities of the Philippines before the RA 9009 took effect in 2001 which increased the required income for cityhood from 20 million to 100 million. In the other side, they are the mayors of the 16 municipalities that wished to become cities. The middleman between them is the Supreme Court.
On the first round, the mayors of the 16 municipalities applied for the cityhood of their respective municipalities through their respective representatives or sponsors in the House. Those bills passed in the House and resulted to:
- Republic Act No. 9389 for Baybay City in Leyte,
- Republic Act No. 9390 for Bogo City in Cebu,
- Republic Act No. 9391 for Catbalogan City in Samar,
- Republic Act No. 9392 for Tandag City in Surigao del Sur,
- Republic Act No. 9393 for Lamitan City in Basilan,
- Republic Act No. 9394 for Borongan City in Samar,
- Republic Act No. 9398 for Tayabas City in Quezon,
- Republic Act No. 9404 for Tabuk City in Kalinga,
- Republic Act No. 9405 for Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur,
- Republic Act No. 9407 for Batac City in Ilocos Norte,
- Republic Act No. 9408 for Mati City in Davao Oriental,
- Republic Act No. 9409 for Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental,
- Republic Act No. 9434 for Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte,
- Republic Act No. 9435 for El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental,
- Republic Act No. 9436 for Carcar City in Cebu, and
- Republic Act No. 9491 for Naga City in Cebu.
On November 18, 2008, the Supreme Court declared the 16 laws unconstitutional through a 6-5 vote. The decision was written by Justice Antonio To. Carpio saying that the laws violated the Section 6 and 10 of the Article X of the Constitution which sites the criteria in creating a city, particularly the 100 million income.
The mayors of the affected municipalities knew that they still have chances on getting the favor of the high court. So they filed a motion for reconsideration asking the high court to reverse its decision and declare the laws constitutional.
However, the SC was firm to its decision. On April 28, 2009, it released its decision denying the motion for reconsideration for the court’s November 18, 2008 decision filed by the 16 municipalities.
The LCP members were happy for this. They are now sure that the 16 municipalities have no part of the Internal Revenue allotment for all the cities. In my mind, I could clearly see the faces of these mayors while saying, “Tiba tiba pa rin to! Ayos to!”
But the mayors of the 16 municipalities did not retreat yet. They asked again the high court to reverse its decision and to be at their side. I wonder if they tried to asked the intervention of their gods and saints and what-so-ever powerful in the universe, because on December. 21, 2009, the SC affirmed the constitutionality of the 16 cityhood laws passed by the 11th Congress.
The LCP seemed embarrassed on the decision of the SC. So they filed a motion for reconsideration to the high court to reinstate its November 18, 2008 decision. On August 24, 2010, the SC favored the LCP and its first decision was reinstated declaring the 16 cityhood laws unconstitutional.
But the 16 municipalities couldn’t accept the fact, na yung grasya ay naging bato pa. Of course they want to partake the Internal Revenue allotment for the cities. So they filed again a motion for reconsideration. But this time, the SC denied them of chances.
However, the SC has changed its mind and on February 15, 2011 it reversed its ruling and reinstated its December 21, 2009 decision declaring the 16 cityhood laws constitutional.
But this is not yet the end of the game. The 16 new cities can’t rejoice yet over the recent decision released by the high court because the LCP takes one more chance of kicking the 16 new cities out for their league. On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the LCP asked the court to reverse their February 15, 2011 decision and declare the cityhood laws of the 16 new cities as unconstitutional.