Case Digest on Pimentel v. Aguirre G.R. No. 132988 (July 19, 2000)
November 10, 2010
FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition seeking to annul Section 1 of Administrative Order No. 372, issued by the President, insofar as it requires local government units to reduce their expenditures by 25% of their authorized regular appropriations for non-personal services and to enjoin respondents from implementing Section 4 of the Order, which withholds a portion of their internal revenue allotments.
HELD: Section 1 of the AO does not violate local fiscal autonomy. Local fiscal autonomy does not rule out any manner of national government intervention by way of supervision, in order to ensure that local programs, fiscal and otherwise, are consistent with national goals. AO 372 is merely directory and has been issued by the President consistent with his powers of supervision over local governments. A directory order cannot be characterized as an exercise of the power of control. The AO is intended only to advise all government agencies and instrumentalities to undertake cost-reduction measures that will help maintain economic stability in the country. It does not contain any sanction in case of noncompliance.
The Local Government Code also allows the President to interfere in local fiscal matters, provided that certain requisites are met: (1) an unmanaged public sector deficit of the national government; (2) consultations with the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the presidents of the various local leagues; (3) the corresponding recommendation of the secretaries of the Department of Finance, Interior and Local Government, and Budget and Management; and (4) any adjustment in the allotment shall in no case be less than 30% of the collection of national internal revenue taxes of the third fiscal year preceding the current one.
Section 4 of AO 372 cannot be upheld. A basic feature of local fiscal autonomy is the automatic release of the shares of LGUs in the national internal revenue. This is mandated by the Constitution and the Local Government Code. Section 4 which orders the withholding of 10% of the LGU’s IRA clearly contravenes the Constitution and the law.
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