Political Law

Rodolfo Ganzon vs Court of Appeals

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G.R. No. 93252 – 200 SCRA 271 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – Control Power vs Power of Supervision over Local Government Officials

Rodolfo Ganzon was the then mayor of Iloilo City. 10 complaints were filed against him on grounds of misconduct and misfeasance of office. The Secretary of Local Government issued several suspension orders against Ganzon based on the merits of the complaints filed against him hence Ganzon was facing about 600 days of suspension. Ganzon appealed the issue to the Court of Appeals and the CA affirmed the suspension order by the Secretary. Ganzon asserted that the 1987 Constitution does not authorize the President nor any of his alter ego to suspend and remove local officials; this is because the 1987 Constitution supports local autonomy and strengthens the same. What was given by the present Constitution was mere supervisory power.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government, as the President’s alter ego, can suspend and or remove local officials.

HELD: Yes.¬†Ganzon is under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere supervisory powers, which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her control, which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because legally, “supervision” is not incompatible with disciplinary authority.

The SC had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and supervision, are two different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. In administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties.

Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter. But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of supervision of the President over local government officials does not include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires.

The Secretary of Local Government, as the alter ego of the president, in suspending Ganzon is exercising a valid power. He however overstepped by imposing a 600 day suspension.

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