SC junks bid vs full disclosure of LGUs’ income, expenses | Inquirer News

SC junks bid vs full disclosure of LGUs’ income, expenses

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 08:58 AM December 13, 2014
Supreme court (5)

The Supreme Court. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Citing “good governance through transparency and accountability,” the Supreme Court on Wednesday junked a petition against several memoranda issued by late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo that required the full public disclosure of local government income and expense reports.

In a unanimous vote, the high court shot down the petition of former Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. that sought to nullify three issuances by the late interior secretary requiring the publication of local government finances on their official websites.

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“The assailed issuances… are but implementations of the avowed policy of the state to make public officials accountable to the people,” the high court said, adding that the memos were “issued to promote good governance through transparency, accountability and participation.”

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Asked to comment, Robredo’s widow, Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, said in a texted message that the Supreme Court decision “affirms the good governance legacy” of her husband.

The ruling also boosts the need to pass legislation that makes full disclosure an imperative, she added.

The late interior secretary, known for his “tsinelas” (slippers) style of leadership and grassroots governance, died in a plane crash on Aug. 18, 2012.

Twelve magistrates voted to affirm the Robredo memos, with three justices—Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin and Jose Perez—on leave during deliberations on Wednesday, the last full-court session for the year.

12 voters

Those who voted to throw out Villafuerte’s petition were: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Francis Jardeleza.

Villafuerte, who passed on his position to son Miguel Villafuerte in 2013, had sought relief before the high court in 2011, contending that Robredo’s circulars were “unconstitutional” and violated the fiscal autonomy of local government units (LGUs).

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The former governor sought to have the following issuances invalidated: Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2010-83, an Aug. 31, 2010, memo requiring the “full disclosure of local budget and finances, bids and public offerings”; MC 2010-138 of Dec. 2, 2010, on the use of 20 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) allocated LGUs annually, and MC 2011-08 of Jan. 13, 2011, that requires from LGUs the full disclosure of IRA disbursements, bids and public offerings.

The high court said it was “inconceivable… how the publication of budgets, expenditures, contracts and loans, and procurement plans of LGUs… could have infringed on local fiscal autonomy.”

The Supreme Court also upheld the national government’s exercise of supervisory powers over LGUs if only to make sure that their programs are “consistent with national goals.”

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TAGS: Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, Jesse Robredo, LGUs, Local government unit, Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr., Supreme Court
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