Political Law

Rolando Canet vs Julieta Decena

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G.R. No. 155344 – 420 SCRA 388 – Political Law – Municipal Corporation – Administrative Powers – Cockfighting

Constitutional Law – Separation of Powers

Rolando Canet was a cockpit operator in Bula, Camarines Sur while Julieta Decena was the mayor there. In 1998, Canet, by virtue of a council resolution, was allowed to operate a cockpit in Bula. In 1999, the Sangguniang Bayan passed Ordinance 001 entitled An Ordinance Regulating the Operation of Cockpits and Other Related Game-Fowl Activities in the Municipality of Bula, Camarines Sur and Providing Penalties for any Violation to (sic) the Provisions Thereof. This ordinance was submitted to Decena for her approval but she denied it because the said ordinance does not contain rules and regulations on cockfighting as well as a separability clause. The council then decided to shelf the ordinance indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Canet applied for a mayor’s permit for the operation of his cockpit. Decena denied Canet’s application on the ground that under the Local Government Code of 1991 (Section 447 (a) (3) (v)), the authority to give licenses for the establishment, operation and maintenance of cockpits as well as the regulation of cockfighting and commercial breeding of gamecocks is vested in the Sangguniang Bayan. Therefore, she cannot issue the said permit inasmuch as there was no ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan authorizing the same. Canet then filed a Mandamus complaint against Decena on the ground that he should be given a permit based on the 1998 resolution allowing him to operate a cockpit and by virtue of local municipal tax ordinances which generally provide for the issuance of a mayor’s permit for the operation of businesses.

ISSUE: Whether or not Decena can be compelled to issue a permit sans a municipal ordinance which would empower her to do so.

HELD: No. To compel Decena to issue the mayor’s permit would not only be a violation of the explicit provisions of Section 447 of the Local Government Code of 1991, but would also be an undue encroachment on Decena’s administrative prerogatives. Further, the 1998 resolution allowing Canet to operate cockpits cannot be implemented without an ordinance allowing the operation of a cockpit (ordinance vs resolution). The tax ordinances Canet mentioned contain general provisions for the issuance of business permits but do not contain specific provisions prescribing the reasonable fees to be paid in the operation of cockpits and other game fowl activities.

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