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SC ruling on cityhood of 16 cities hailed as ‘triumph of justice’

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Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu, first district) hailed the Supreme Court (SC) decision upholding the constitutionality of the cityhood of 16 new cities, including Lamitan in Basilan Province, as a “triumph of justice.”

Cebu City Michael Rama called on the high tribunal to make its decision final.

”They have no stop now and make everything final because otherwise it will be a never-ending confusion, a never-ending instability. It becomes a mockery of justice if we keep on flip-flopping,” he said.

The SC reversed its decision several times on the constitutionality of the cityhood of 16 new cities.

In November 2008, it said the 16 have to revert to being towns. It upheld such decision in May 2009 but in December of the same year, it reversed the ruling. In August 2010, it said the 16 are towns again.

”We’re happy that we have the upperhand now on this legal battle,” said City of Naga Mayor Val Chiong.

Chiong said he is glad that after all the hard work that they have gone through, “the SC has finally seen the light.”

The Department of Budget and Management has substantially slashed Naga’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) share following the SC’s earlier decision reverting its status to municipality.

So instead of getting close to P20 million per month as IRA, Naga has been getting a little over P8 million for a year now. But the legal fight is not over yet as the League of the Cities of the Philippines (LCP), the petitioner, still has the opportunity to file its second motion for reconsideration.

Gullas, however, is optimistic that the SC will turn down the second motion of the LCP.

Asked for his basis, the Cebuano legislator said the cityhood issue has dragged on and subjected to a study by the SC justices.

”Also now new evidence has been presented,” he added.

The cityhood issue will become final and executory once the High Court turns down the LCP’s motion for reconsideration. Gullas authored the cityhood bills of the former Naga and Carcar towns which became cities in 2007.

Including Bogo, Cebu, they comprised the so-called “League of 16,” an informal group of 16 former towns converted into new cities.

The LCP protested the creation of new cities because they reportedly failed to comply with the amended provision of the Local Government Code raising the Local income requirement from P20 million to P100 million.

Despite of the earlier adverse ruling of the SC, Gullas said he remained optimistic then that justice would prevail in favor of Naga and Carcar. (PNA/PIA9-BST)




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