Political Law

Arsenio Lacson vs Mariano Roque

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G.R. No. L-6225 – 92 Phil. 456 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – Power of Control vs Power of Supervision – Supervision Over Local Governments – President cannot suspend a mayor

The then mayor of Manila, Arsenio Lacson, broadcasted some allegedly defamatory and libelous utterances against a certain judge (Judge Montesa). Montesa then filed a libel case against Lacson. A special prosecutor was assigned to the case. The special prosecutor recommended the suspension of Lacson to the President. The President, through acting Executive Secretary Mariano Roque, issued a suspension order against Lacson.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Mayor may be suspended by the president from his post.

HELD: No. There is neither statutory nor constitutional provision granting the President sweeping authority to remove municipal officials. It is true that the President “shall . . . exercise general supervision over all local governments,” but supervision does not contemplate control.

The contention that the President has inherent power to remove or suspend municipal officers is not well taken. Removal and suspension of public officers are always controlled by the particular law applicable and its proper construction subject to constitutional limitations

The power of the President to remove officials from office as provided for in section 64 (b) of the Revised Administrative Code must be done “conformably to law;” and only for disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines he “may at any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the Government of the Philippines.” Again, this power of removal must be exercised conformably to law, in this case, the allege libelous act of Lacson cannot be considered as disloyalty.

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Compare this with Villena vs Secretary of Interior

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