Case study: Mandanas and Garcia petitions

The recent Supreme Court decision on the IRA not only ruled on the Mandanas case filed in 2012, but also on the SC G.R. No. 208488 original petition filed on August 28, 2013 by former 3-term Governor Tet Garcia when he was then Congressman of the 2nd District of Bataan.  Both Mandanas and Garcia petitions sought the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel the national government to give the LGUs their just share in the national taxes prospectively and pay them retroactively the IRA shortfalls legally due them since the Code was passed in 1992.

In previous rulings of the Supreme Court1 that declared as unconstitutional any retention of the IRA either by the legislative branch or by the executive branch, it did not rule on the constitutionality of Sec. 284 of the Local Government Code then only because it was not formally questioned before the Supreme Court.  

Due credit must also be given to the Garcia supplication that appealed to the Supreme Court “to declare as unconstitutional Section 284 of the 1991 Local Government Code or RA 7160 insofar as it contravenes the letter and intent of the 1987 Constitution to give the LGUs their just share in the national taxes” and also questioned the illegal deductions continuously being certified by the BIR on the revenue base since 1992, particularly the special funds and special accounts and the COA Share.

Garcia said that “Congress committed a grievous error when it determined in Sec. 284 of the LGC that the share of the LGUs shall be a fixed percentage of the national internal revenue taxes instead of the national taxes as ordained by the Constitution.  As a direct consequence of such error, the national government has consistently failed to fully and faithfully comply with the said provision of the Constitution.”  

As such, the Supreme Court indeed ruled favorably for LGUs on a purely legal issue which entailed the proper legal interpretation of constitutional and statutory provisions vis-à-vis the law passed by Congress in 1992 based on the Garcia plea.

In the same vein, the Supreme Court also held in Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy: "x x x Judicial power includes not only the duty of the courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but also the duty to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. The courts, as guardians of the Constitution, have the inherent authority to determine whether a statute enacted by the legislature transcends the limit imposed by the fundamental law. Where the statute violates the Constitution, it is not only the right but the duty of the judiciary to declare such act unconstitutional and void."

(To be continued…)

1 SC G.R. Nos. 132988, dtd July 19, 2000 (Pimentel vs. Aguirre) that declared as unconstitutional Administrative Order Nos. 372 and 43 – an original Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition seeking (1) to annul Section 1 of Administrative Order (AO) No. 372, insofar as it requires local government units to reduce their expenditures by 25 percent of their authorized regular appropriations for non-personal services; and (2) to enjoin respondents from implementing Section 4 of the Order, which withholds a portion (5%) of their internal revenue allotments (IRA) in 1998.

SC G.R. Nos. 144256, dtd October, 2001 (ACORD, Mandanas, Joson v. Boncodin) that declared as unconstitutional Special Provisions 1 and 4 of the Year 2000 GAA insofar as they set apart a portion of the IRA, in the amount of P10 Billion, as part of the UNPROGRAMMED FUND.

SC G.R. Nos. 152774, dtd May 27, 2004 (Batangas v. Romulo) that declared as unconstitutional the assailed provisos in the General Appropriations Acts of 1999, 2000 and 2001, and the assailed OCD Resolutions that created and funded the Local Government Service Equalization Fund or LGSEF, in the amount of P15 Billion, that effectively reduced the IRA shares of LGUs.

About the Author
Sandra Tablan Paredes is presently the Executive Director of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) since October, 2016 although she previously served LPP as Director from 1997 to 2004 Sandy helped organize ULAP in 1998 with former Governor Joey Lina and advocated for the LGUs' rightful IRA share, among other league advocacies, programs and projects to help local officials ensure local and fiscal autonomy and good governance. Recently served as concurrent interim Executive Director of ULAP from Jan-March 31, 2017. You can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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