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(case no.

336)

LEAGUE OF CITIES v. COMELEC


GR Number 176951
December 21, 2009
Art. III
FACTS:
During the 11th Congress, 57 cityhood bills were filed before the House of
Representatives, only 33 became law, the other 24 remained unacted upon. After that, there was a
proposal to amend Section 450 of the Local Government Code, it was subsequently signed into
law. The income requirement to qualify for a conversion into a city was raised from 20 million to
100 million. After the effectivity of the amendment, the 12 th Congress adopted a Joint Resolution
seeking to exempt the 24 municipalities from the 100 million income requirement, the 12 th
Congress ended without the Senate approving the Resolution. During the 13 th Congress, the
resolution was re-adopted by the House of Representatives but the Senate failed to approve the
joint resolution.
The 16 municipalities filed individual cityhood bills and each had a common provision
exempting the municipality covered from the 100 million income requirement. The Congress
approved the individual cityhood bills, all of which lapsed into law on various dates.
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the 16 cityhood bills each converting the
municipality covered into a city. They contend that it violates the equal protection clause.
ISSUE:
Whether the 16 cityhood bills are violative of the equal protection clause.
HELD:
No. The equal protection clause proscribes undue favor as well as hostile discrimination.
A law need not operate with equal force on all persons or things to be conformable with
Section 1, Article III of the Constitution. Artificial persons, as in the respondent Local
Government Units, are entitled to protection only insofar as their property is concerned. The
petitioners cannot invoke the equal protection clause because there is no deprivation of property
resulting from the enactment of the cityhood laws. They cannot claim that the IRAs will be
substantially reduced because it is not yet allocated. At this point, conversion would only affect
its status as a political unit.
The favorable treatment accorded to the 16 municipalities rests on substantial
distinction. These LGUs have pending cityhood bills before the passage of the amendment to
Section 450 of the Local Government Code. They have already met the income criterion exacted
for cityhood under the LGC of 1991. If the amendment would be applied to the pending cityhood
bills, it would be tantamount to changing of the rules in the middle of the game. The 16
municipalities are qualified cityhood applicants before the enactment of the amendment but
because of supervening circumstances, they were not converted. The Court held that to impose
on them the much higher income requirement after what they have gone through would be
unfair.
Imperatives of fairness dictate that they should be allowed to prove they have the
necessary qualifications for city statues using the criteria set forth in the Local Government Code
of 1991 prior the amendment by RA 9009. The peculiar conditions of the respondent LGUs,
which are actual and real, provide sufficient grounds for legislative classification.

Prepared by: Cecille Diane DJ. Mangaser

(case no. 336)

Prepared by: Cecille Diane DJ. Mangaser