CA: MMDA has no power to enforce anti-smoking law
MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals has declared invalid an anti-smoking ordinance adopted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in 2011, saying the agency had no police and legislative powers to enforce the anti-smoking provisions of Republic Act No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
In a decision dated July 31, the appeals tribunal’s 12th Division upheld a decision by the Mandaluyong City regional trial court favoring Anthony Clemente and Vrianne Lamson, two smokers who were apprehended by an MMDA environment enforcer in front of the Farmer’s Plaza Market along Edsa in Cubao, Quezon City, four years ago.
MMDA Resolution No. 11-19, which was adopted by the Metro Manila Council on June 23, 2011, to implement Republic Act 9211 and the anti-smoking ordinances of Metro Manila local government units.
“Respondent-appellant MMDA, in issuing its resolution, arrogated upon itself powers and functions which are not given to it by law. Accordingly, [the resolution] is invalid and ineffectual,” the appeals court said in the 16-page page decision written by Justice Ma. Elisa Sempio Dy.
The other division members, Justices Ramon Bato Jr. and Manuel Barrios, concurred in the ruling.
Clemente and Lamson were issued environmental violation receipts requiring them to pay a fine of P500 each. The EVRs were later cancelled by the MMDA, but the two were allowed by the RTC to continue pursuing their case against the MMDA and its chair, lawyer Francis Tolentino.
The two claimed was “the ordinance was ‘patently illegal and contrary to law, amounting to lack of jurisdiction.'” When the RTC ruled in their favor in May 2013, the MMDA elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
The appeals court, also backed Clemente and Lamson’s contention that the MMDA had no legislative power and authority to expand the statutory definition of “public places” as defined under RA 9211 and its implementing rules.
The RTC ruled that the area where the two were apprehended—a sidewalk—was not a “public place” as defined under the Sections 4 (n) and 5 of the law where smoking has been prohibited.
The appeals court, on the other hand, pointed out that the MMDA was not among the members of the inter-agency committee created by Section 29 or RA 9211 that would have the exclusive power and function implement and administer the provisions of the law.
The justices also sided with Clemente and Lamson’s position that the nowhere in Metro Manila local governments’ anti-smoking ordinances was MMDA granted the power and authority to implement such ordinances.
“Indeed, the rule is settled that the express mention of one person, thing, act or consequence excludes all others—expressio unius est exclusio alterius. Where a statute, by its terms, is expressly limited to certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be extended to others,” the justices added.
The justices also referred to a 2005 case decided by the Supreme Court, MMDA v. Garin, which ruled that the MMDA’s charter did not grant the agency police powers, including the authority to enact ordinances covering Metro Manila inhabitants’ welfare; that MMDA is not a political unit; that its functions are administrative in nature; and that it is a mere development authority tasked with enacting policies related to, and coordinating, the delivery of public services in Metro Manila.
“[The MMDA] can not find solace solely in its charter to validate its implementation of RA 9221. To reiterate, MMDA’s functions are purely administrative in nature. It has no police power and legislative power,” the appeals court said.
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