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Regidor, et. al. vs. Chiongbian, et. al.

Facts:

GR No. 85815

This case involves the petition for prohibition filed by petitioners Regidor, et. al were the duly elected city officials of Tangub City, Misamis Occidental against respondents Chiongbian, et al, who were the Provincial Governor and Members of the Sanggunian Panlalwigan. The petition alleges that respondents acted without authority, and contrary to law, in issuing the Order of Preventive Suspension against petitioners because under Section 63 of the LGC, a provincial or city official may be preventively suspended by the Secretary of Local Government, not by the Provincial Governor. However, the respondents justified that the suspension of the petitioners was a valid exercise of the Provincial Governors power of general supervision over a component city and that it was done "in pursuance of the provisions of the Local Government Code and the Rules & Regulations implementing said law." Thus ISSUE: Whether or not the order of preventive suspension issued by respondent Provincial Governor Chiongbian was within the authority granted by law. RULING: NO.

The order of preventive suspension issued by the Provincial Governor Chiongbian was not within the authority granted by law.

o It is because in construing Sec. 7, Rule 18 of the IRR of the LGC, it should be read in accordance with Sec 63 of the
Code.

o Thus, in light of Section 63 of the Code, Section 7 of Rule 18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations should be
interpreted to mean that the Secretary of Local Government may preventively suspend an elective provincial or city official, the Provincial Governor may preventively suspend an elective municipal official, and the city or municipal mayor may preventively suspend an elective barangay official. This is as it should be for complaints against provincial or city officials are supposed to be filed with the Secretary of Local Government, hence, it is he (not the provincial governor) who would know whether or not the charges are serious enough to warrant the suspension of the accused elective provincial or city official.

o In this case, as the complaint against the petitioners were filed with the Office of the Provincial Governor, not with the
Secretary of Local Government as required in Section 61 of the Local Government Code, and, as the preventive suspension of the petitioners was ordered by the Provincial Governor, not by the Secretary of Local Government, the order of preventive suspension issued by the respondents governor and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan against the petitioners are hereby declared null and void.

o The respondents Chiongbian, et al. are without authority to investigate the petitioners, and the latter may not be
compelled to attend the hearings. Their refusal to answer the charges against them was justified.