Lidasan vs. Comelec GR NO. L-280892 Petioner: BARA LIDASAN Respondent: COMELEC FACTS: The Chief Executive signed the House Bill 1247 which is now known to be Republic Act 4790, “An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton in the Province of Lanao del Sur”. Such new Municipality includes 21 barrios, 9 of which are from Lanao del Sur, and the other 12 are from Cotabato. (From Lanao: Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang,Dagowan,Bakikis, Bungabung, Losain, Matimos, and Magolatung and From Cotabato: Togaig, Madalum, Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo,Tangabao,Tiongko, Colodan, and Kabamawakan).
The Comelec, prompted by the coming election adopted the resolution which provides for the barrios that will be included in Lanao del Sur. Apprised by this happening, the Office of the President, through the Assistant Executive Secretary, recommended to the Comelec that the said resolution be suspended until clarified by the correcting legislation. But the Comelec stood by its own interpretation, and declared that the RA 4790 should be implemented unless declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
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This events triggered the original action for certiorari and prohibition filed by Bara Lidasan, a resident and taxpayer of the detached portion of Parang Cotabato, and a qualified voter for the 1967 elections. Affected by the implementation of RA 4790, Lidasan now questions the constitutionality of the said Act. ISSUE: Is Republic Act 4790 valid considering that such Act creates a Municipality which includes barrios from another province. HELD: RA 4790 is declared NULL and VOID. 1. Constitutional requirement “no bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill”.
This provision imposes limitations upon the legislative power. a. Congress is to refrain from conglomeration, under one statute, of heterogenous subjects. b. The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient to notify the legislators and the public and those concerned of the import of the single subject thereof. These were all not complied with because the title of the Act provides that it is “An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton in the Province of Lanao del Sur”.
The part which says “in the Province of Lanao del Sur” projects that it is just Lanao del Sur which is affected by the creation of Dianaton, where in truth it also affects barrios in two municipalities of Cotabato. Therefore, the Court finds the title deceptive for the Act has actually two purposes , and those are : 1. ) to create the municipality of Dianaton allegedly from twenty-one barrios in the towns of Butig and Balabagan, both in the province of Lanao del Sur; and (2) it also dismembers two municipalities in Cotabato, a province different from Lanao del Sur.
The title did not inform the members of Congress as to the full impact of the law; it did not apprise the people in the towns of Buldon and Parang in Cotabato and in the province of Cotabato itself that part of their territory is being taken away from their towns and province and added to the adjacent Province of Lanao del Sur; it kept the public in the dark as to what towns and provinces were actually affected by the bill. Thus, the limitations on the provision of one subject in a bill and the requirement as to the language of the bill were violated.
Removal of the barrios of Cotabato included in the new municipality of Dianaton will not treat the defects of the Act and shall still render the Act unconstitutional because the valid part is not independent of the invalid portion. DISSENTING OPINION Fernando, J. 1. The subject was the creation of the municipality of Dianaton and it was clearly embodied in the title. 2. The legislature is not required to make the title of the act a complete index of its contents.