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Chiongbian v Orbos digest

(written by: Aaron Sanchez)

Facts:
Petitioners are challenging the Organic Act of ARMM, particularly Art 19, Sec 13, which states
that provinces and cities that did not vote for inclusion shall remain in existing regions.
Provided, however, that the President may, by administrative determination, merge existing
regions.
Petitioners are also challenging EO 349, which transfers provinces from a region to another.
The provinces being transferred include provinces that did not vote for inclusion in ARMM and
even those that did not take part in the plebiscite. EO 349 also transfers the regional centre of
Region 9 from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City.
Issues:
1. W/n the power to merge administrative regions is lodged exclusively in the legislature
and thus Art 19, Sec 13 of the Organic Act of ARMM unduly delegates legislative power.
2. W/n the delegated power given to the President in Art 19, Sec 13 is fairly expressed in the
title of the Organic Act of ARMM.
3. W/n the power to reorganise granted to the President covers only those regions that have
provinces that voted for inclusion in ARMM.
4. W/n the power to reorganise granted to the President covers includes the transfer of
regional centre of Region 9.
Held:
1. No. There was an RA enacted in 1968 which authorises the President to reorganise
administrative regions. That RA set up a Commission on Reorganisation which came up with
an Integrated Reorganisation Plan dividing the country into eleven administrative regions. This
Plan was passed into law in 1972. Thus, in enacting into law Art 19, Sec 13 of the Organic Act
of ARMM, Congress merely followed the pattern dating back to the initial organisation of
administrative regions in 1972 that gives power to the President to reorganise administrative
regions
Moreover, the Presidents having this power to reorganise administrative regions is consistent
with his supervisory powers over local governments. Also note that regions, being
administrative in nature, are unlike provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, units
which are territorial and political in nature.
In addition, this power delegated to the President under the 1968 RA comes with a sufficient
standard: "to promote simplicity, economy and efficiency in the government to enable it to
pursue programs consistent with national goals for accelerated social and economic
development and to improve the service in the transaction of the public business."
2. Yes. The one-subject-one-bill is rule is liberally construed. The reorganisation of the
remaining administrative regions is germane to the establishment of ARMM.
3. No. The last sentence of Art 19, Sec 13 provides a qualification referring to regions that
have provinces that did not vote for inclusion in ARMM: Provided, however, that the President
may, by administrative determination, merge existing regions.
4. Yes. Regions, being administrative in nature, are unlike provinces, cities, municipalities and
barangays, units which are territorial and political in nature. The transfer does not affect
political representation in Congress.