Concepcion, Tarlac – – Ultra vires! They have no power to close down an establishment.
This was how the provincial board headed by Vice Governor Carlito David described the Municipal Ordinance submitted by this town’s Sangguniang Bayan (SB) which ordered the “gradual closure” of a piggery farm here.
Ultra vires means “an act beyond the jurisdiction of a municipal corporation” which when applied to local legislation “is an act of a local government unit (LGU) enacting an ordinance or a law outside of their power”.
The issue arose from the SB Municipal Ordinance No. 001-17 which ordered the closing down of Concepcion Farms, Inc. located in Barangay San Jose.
When the ordinance was submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), the provincial board issued a resolution (SP Resolution 024-2017) declaring the ordinance as “Ultra Vires or outside the scope of powers and authority of the Sangguniang Bayan”, tantamount to saying the local ordinance is illegal.
Concepcion farms is one of the oldest and biggest piggery in the province with more than 10,000 pig heads and occupies more than 5 hectares lot along the Concepcion-Lapaz road.
It is located barely 500 meters from the town center of Concepcion and the foul odor emitted by the piggery is being complained by many residents and passersby.
John Calvin and several others, filed a formal complaint against the piggery to the SB citing the foul smell emanating from the farm.
In an interview, vice governor David said, “they (Concepcion SB) have no power to close down an establishment. They acted beyond their authority”.
“This is not about Concepcion Farms alone, it is about all other establishments legally operating within a municipality. Hindi maaring basta-basta na lamang ipasara ng isang munisipyo ang ano mang establisamento lalo na kung walang batayan”, added David who is more popularly known as Casada.
In a separate interview, Vice Mayor Danilo David said the SP resolution against our ordinance was based on obsolete law.
“Ang aming basehan ay ang Local Government Code (of 1990), sila (SP), ang ginamit nilang basehan ay 1939. Wala pang Local Government Code noon”, said David who is one among most senior local politicians in Tarlac.
The vice mayor also intoned that the SP resolution is “questionable” and, allegedly, it was not tackled in a provincial board session.
“May nagsabi na ang SP resolution ay hindi tootong dumaan sa (SP) session”, added the vice mayor.
Years back, the past provincial boards (not during the term of Vice Governor Enriquito “Kit” Cojuangco) were said to have “inserted” some “approved items” (resolutions) though the items were supposedly not discussed or not in the agenda of a SP session.
Casada and Board Member Antonio Cervantes denied this accusation saying, “the (SP) resolution is dated, hence, it was tackled in a regular session”
For his part, Atty. Joey Baluyot, councilor of Concepcion, disclosed that the SB have submitted a Position Paper and presented their arguments to the provincial board.
“We have submitted to the SP our position paper and presented our side (against the declaration of Ultra Vires). Our next move is to go to court”, Baluyot said.
Vice mayor David also revealed that they (SB) have already talked with the owner of Concepcion Farm and that the owner already agreed to relocate the farm.
However, the SP Resolution appears to have changed the owner’s mind and is no longer interested to relocate.
“Noon, payag na siyang (Concepcion Farm Owner) ilipat ang piggery, pero ngayon mukhang nagbago na ang isip niya”, the vice mayor added.
In the same interview, vice governor David also disclosed that the basis of the SB ordinance, the Municipal Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of Concepcion, which supposedly prohibits agro-industrial businesses within a 10-kilometer from the municipal building, is not yet approved.
“Ang Zoning ordinance na basehan ng SB sa kanilang ordinansang nagpapasara sa piggery ay hindi pa approved, kaya wala itong basehan. Ibig sabihin wala pang approved na ordinance na nagbabawal sa mga piggery kahit saan man sa Concepcion”, stressed the vice governor.