League of Cities of the Philippines v. COMELEC is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines about the validity of the cityhood laws of sixteen municipalities in the Philippines. The case clarifies the requirements for the conversion of a Municipality into a Component City. The Court in its final decision ruled that the cityhood laws of the sixteen municipalities in the Philippines are constitutional.
In the Eleventh Congress, 57 bills seeking the conversion of municipalities into component cities were filed before the House of Representatives. However, Congress did not act on the 24 out of the 57 municipalities. In the Twelfth Congress, Republic Act No. 9009 was enacted revising the Local Government Code (LGC) by increasing the income requirement to qualify for conversion into a city from ₱20 million annual income to ₱100 million locally generated income. In the thirteenth Congress, 16 of the 24 municipalities filed their individual cityhood bills. Each of the cityhood bills contained a common provision exempting the particular municipality from the ₱100 million income requirement imposed by RA No. 9009. These cityhood bills lapsed into law on various dates after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not sign them.
Petitioners filed to declare the Cityhood Laws unconstitutional for violation of Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, as well as for violation of the equal protection clause. Petitioners also pointed that the wholesale conversion of municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) because more cities will share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities under Section 285 of the Local Government Code.
The municipalities involved were called as “League of 16”. They were:
- RA # 9389 (Baybay in Leyte)
- RA # 9390 (Bogo in Cebu)
- RA # 9391 (Catbalogan in Samar)
- RA # 9392 (Tandag in Surigao del Sur)
- RA # 9393 (Lamitan in Basilan)
- RA # 9394 (Borongan in Eastern Samar)
- RA # 9398 (Tayabas in Quezon)
- RA # 9404 (Tabuk in Kalinga)
- RA # 9405 (Bayugan in Agusan del Sur)
- RA # 9407 (Batac in Ilocos Norte)
- RA # 9408 (Mati in Davao Oriental)
- RA # 9409 (Guihulngan in Negros Oriental)
- RA # 9434 (Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte)
- RA # 9435 (El Salvador in Misamis Oriental)
- RA # 9436 (Carcar in Cebu)
- RA # 9491 (Naga in Cebu)