Compliance of Ordinance No. 1664 with the formal requirements
Was the enactment of Ordinance No. 1664 within the corporate powers of the LGU of the City of Cebu?
The answer is in the affirmative. Indeed, with no issues being hereby raised against the formalities attendant to the enactment of Ordinance No. 1664, we presume its full compliance with the test in that regard. Congress enacted the LGC as the implementing law for the delegation to the various LGUs of the State’s great powers, namely: the police power, the power of eminent domain, and the power of taxation. The LGC was fashioned to delineate the specific parameters and limitations to be complied with by each LGU in the exercise of these delegated powers with the view of making each LGU a fully functioning subdivision of the State subject to the constitutional and statutory limitations.
In particular, police power is regarded as “the most essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers, extending as it does ‘to all the great public needs.’”20 It is unquestionably “the power vested in the legislature by the constitution, to make, ordain and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and of the subject of the same.”21 According to Cooley: “[The police power] embraces the whole system of internal regulation by which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order and to prevent offences against itself, but also to establish for the intercourse of citizens with citizens, those rules of good manners and good neighborhood which are calculated to prevent the conflict of rights and to insure to each the uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far as it is reasonably consistent with the right enjoyment of rights by others.”22
In point is the exercise by the LGU of the City of Cebu of delegated police power. In Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Bel–Air Village Association, Inc.,23 the Court cogently observed:
It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in the National Legislature. It cannot be exercised by any group or body of individuals not possessing legislative power. The National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the President and administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local government units. Once delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking body. (emphasis supplied)
The CA opined, and correctly so, that vesting cities like the City of Cebu with the legislative power to enact traffic rules and regulations was expressly done through Section 458 of the LGC, and also generally by virtue of the General Welfare Clause embodied in Section 16 of the LGC.24
Section 458 of the LGC relevantly states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Composition. – (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
x x x
(5) Approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services and facilities as provided for under Section 17 of this Code, and in addition to said services and facilities, shall:
x x x
(v) Regulate the use of streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, bridges, parks and other public places and approve the construction, improvement repair and maintenance of the same; establish bus and vehicle stops and terminals or regulate the use of the same by privately–owned vehicles which serve the public; regulate garages and operation of conveyances for hire; designate stands to be occupied by public vehicles when not in use; regulate the putting up of signs, signposts, awnings and awning posts on the streets; and provide for the lighting, cleaning and sprinkling of streets and public places;
(vi) Regulate traffic on all streets and bridges; prohibit encroachments or obstacles thereon and, when necessary in the interest of public welfare, authorize the removal of encroachments and illegal constructions in public places; (emphasis supplied)
The foregoing delegation reflected the desire of Congress to leave to the cities themselves the task of confronting the problem of traffic congestions associated with development and progress because they were directly familiar with the situations in their respective jurisdictions. Indeed, the LGUs would be in the best position to craft their traffic codes because of their familiarity with the conditions peculiar to their communities. With the broad latitude in this regard allowed to the LGUs of the cities, their traffic regulations must be held valid and effective unless they infringed the constitutional limitations and statutory safeguards.