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SC affirms cityhood of 16 towns

August 1, 2010 9:00pm

The Supreme Court had upheld its earlier ruling allowing the conversion of 16 towns into cities, saying the conversion did not violate the 1987 Constitution.

In a one-page resolution promulgated June 28, the court sustained its December 21, 2009 ruling and junked the motion of former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras, who has opposed the conversion.

"The court resolved to note without action, in view of the above denial, the aforesaid motion for reconsideration-in-intervention dated June 9, 2010 [of Paras]," the SC's resolution said.

The December 21 ruling reversed the November 18, 2008 decision that nullified the laws that upgraded the status of the following local governments:

  • Guihulngan in Negros Oriental;
  • Baybay in Leyte;
  • Bogo in Cebu;
  • Catbalogan in Samar;
  • Tandag in Surigao del Sur;
  • Borongan in Eastern Samar;
  • Tayabas in Quezon;
  • Lamitan in Basilan;
  • Tabuk in Kalinga;
  • Bayugan in Agusan del Sur;
  • Batac in Ilocos Norte;
  • Mati in Davao Oriental;
  • Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte;
  • Carcar in Cebu;
  • El Salvador in Misamis Oriental; and
  • Naga in Cebu

    The League of Cities of the Philippines (LPC) had earlier asked the court to reverse its December 21 ruling, saying the 16 local towns were converted into cities without meeting the minimum locally generated income requirement of at least P100 million a year.

    Paras was one of the principal authors of the law that made Guihulngan into a city. However, he later supported the LCP's bid to block the conversion of the 16 towns because it was supposedly premature to upgrade Guihulngan into a city after graft and corruption allegedly became more rampant among local officials.

    “By converting Guihulngan into a city, movant [Paras] feels guilty of giving these grafters and unworthy local officials the opportunity to disburse the city funds to futile purposes instead of improving the health and education of the people. Such purposes are contrary to the noble purpose that movant envisioned when he filed the cityhood bill in congress," the former lawmaker said in his petition.

    Paras said the increase in the Internal Revenue Allotment for Guihulngan from P64 million to P280 million in 2008, and to P310 million in 2009 only resulted in more graft cases filed against local officials before the Office of the Ombudsman. - SD/KBK, GMANews.TV




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