March 27, 2000
On December 30, 1995, respondent received from petitioner a notice requesting the former to open its private road, Neptune Street, to public vehicular traffic starting January 2, 1996. On the same day, respondent was apprised that the perimeter separating the subdivision from Kalayaan Avenue would be demolished.
Respondent instituted a petition for injunction against petitioner, praying for the issuance of a TRO and preliminary injunction enjoining the opening of Neptune Street and prohibiting the demolition of the perimeter wall.
WON MMDA has the authority to open Neptune Street to public traffic as an agent of the state endowed with police power.
A ‘local government’ is a “political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs”. It is a “body politic and corporate” – one endowed with powers as a political subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate entity representing the inhabitants of its territory (LGC of 1991).
Our Congress delegated police power to the LGUs in Sec.16 of the LGC of 1991. It empowers the sangguniang panlalawigan, panlungsod and bayan to “enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the [province, city or municipality] and its inhabitants pursuant to Sec.16 of the Code and in the proper exercise of the [LGU’s corporate powers] provided under the Code.”
There is no syllable in RA 7924 that grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Unlike the legislative bodies of the LGUs, there is no grant of authority in RA 7924 that allows the MMDA to enact ordinances and regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The MMDA is merely a “development authority” and not a political unit of government since it is neither an LGU or a public corporation endowed with legislative power. The MMDA Chairman is not an elective official, but is merely appointed by the President with the rank and privileges of a cabinet member.
In sum, the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of the community. It is the LGUs, acting through their respective legislative councils, that possess legislative power and police power.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the opening of Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by the MMDA is illegal.