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CA: MMDA has no authority to enforce anti-smoking law

/ 03:50 PM August 05, 2015

THE Court of Appeals has ruled that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has no authority to conduct an anti-smoking campaign.

In a 16-page decision, the appeals court’s 12th division through Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio-Diy said the MMDA is not among government agencies deputized to implement Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and its implementing Rules and Regulations.

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“Clearly, RA 9211 did not give respondent-appellant MMDA the power to implement the law,” the appeals court said in a ruling promulgated July 31.

The case stemmed when petitioners Anthony M. Clemente and Vrianne I. Lamson asked the Mandaluyong court to stop the MMDA from enforcing the Tobacco Regulation Act.

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The two filed the petition after they were arrested by an MMDA personnel for smoking in front of Farmer’s Plaza Market along Edsa in Cubao, Quezon City..

The lower court ruled in favor of Clemente and Lamson. MMDA filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the court prompting MMDA to take the case to the appeals court.

In its petition with the Court of Appeals, MMDA said it anchors its authority to Sections 2, 3(f) and 9 of the R.A. No. 7924 which allows the agency to exercise “regulatory and supervisory” authority over the delivery of metro-wide services which have metro-wide impact.

These services include health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control.

But the appeals court said under Section 29 of R.A. 9211, MMDA is not among the members of the Inter-Agency Committee – Tobacco (IAC-Tobacco) has the exclusive power and functions to implement and administer the provisions of such act.

Among the members of the IAC-Tobacco are the heads of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Education (DepEd), administrator of National Tobacco Administration, a representative from the Tobacco Industry to be nominated by the legitimate and recognized associations of the industry, and a representative from a non-government organization involved in public health promotion nominated by DOH in consultation with the concerned NGOs.

“Clearly, R.A. No. 9211 did not give respondent-appellant MMDA the power to implement the law. Respondent-appellant MMDA is also not stated as one of those members of IAC-Tobacco,” the appeals court said.

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The appeals court added that even the Anti-Smoking Ordinances of the local government units do not give the MMDA the power and authority to implement such ordinances.

“Respondent-appellant MMDA, in issuing its resolution implementing R.A. 9211, arrogated upon itself powers and functions which are not given to it by law. Accordingly, respondent-appellant MMDA’s resolution implementing R.A. No. 9211 is invalid and ineffectual,” the appeals court said.

The appeals court added that MMDA has no police power and power is merely administrative.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ramon M. Bato Jr. and Manuel Barrios.

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TAGS: Anti-smoking Campaign, Court of Appeals, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), RA 9211, Tobacco Regulation Act
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