Constitutional Law

MMDA v. Viron Transport G.R. No. 170656 August 15, 2007 Police Power, Ultra Vires



The present petition for review on certiorari, rooted in the traffic congestion problem, questions the authority of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to order the closure of provincial bus terminals along EDSA and major thoroughfares of Metro Manila.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued the E.O.No. 179 “Providing for the Establishment of Greater Manila Mass Transport System,” 

The E.O. noted, the primary cause of traffic congestion in Metro Manila has been the numerous buses plying the streets and the inefficient connectivity of the different transport modes; and the MMDA had “recommended a plan to decongest traffic by eliminating the bus terminals now located along major Metro Manila thoroughfares and providing more and convenient access to the mass transport system to the commuting public through the provision of mass transport terminal facilities” which plan is referred to as the Greater Manila Mass Transport System Project (the Project).

The E.O. thus designated the MMDA as the implementing agency for the Project.

Viron Transport Co., Inc., a domestic corporation engaged in the business of public transportation with a provincial bus operation, filed a petition for declaratory relief before the RTC of Manila. Viron alleged that the project would mean the closure of its bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila and two others in Quezon City.

Viron asked the court to construe the scope, extent and limitation of the power of the MMDA to regulate traffic under R.A. No. 7924, the statute creating the MMDA.

Mencorp, another provincial bus operator, later filed a similar petition for declaratory relief against Executive Secretary Romulo and MMDA Chairman Fernando. 

The two petitions were consolidated.

Subsequently, the trial court sustained the constitutionality and legality of the E.O. 

The trial court held that the E.O. was a valid exercise of the police power of the State as it satisfied the two tests of lawful subject matter and lawful means.

On the separate motions for reconsideration of Viron and Mencorp, the trial court reversed its Decision.

Petitioner MMDA’s’ motion for reconsideration was denied.

Hence, this Petition.


Whether or not E.O. No. 179 is “unconstitutional as it constitutes an unreasonable exercise of police power.” 


While police power rests primarily with the legislature, such power may be delegated, as it is in fact increasingly being delegated. By virtue of a valid delegation, the power may be exercised by the President and administrative boards, as well as by the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local governments under an express delegation by the Local Government Code of 1991.

The authority of the President to order the implementation of the Project notwithstanding, the designation of the MMDA as the implementing agency for the Project may not be sustained. 

It is ultra vires, there being no legal basis therefor.

It bears stressing that under the provisions of E.O. No. 125, as amended, it is the DOTC, and not the MMDA, which is authorized to establish and implement a project such as the one subject of the cases at bar. Thus, the President, although authorized to establish or cause the implementation of the Project, must exercise the authority through the instrumentality of the DOTC which, by law, is the primary implementing and administrative entity in the promotion, development and regulation of networks of transportation, and the one so authorized to establish and implement a project such as the Project in question.

Even assuming arguendo that police power was delegated to the MMDA, its exercise of such power does not satisfy the two tests of a valid police power measure, viz: 

(1) the interest of the public generally, as distinguished from that of a particular class, requires its exercise; and 

(2) the means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 

Stated differently, the police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare and a reasonable relation must exist between the purposes and the means.

The MMDA cannot order the closure of respondents’ terminals not only because no authority to implement the Project has been granted nor legislative or police power been delegated to it, but also because the elimination of the terminals does not satisfy the standards of a valid police power measure.

This Court commiserates with the MMDA for the roadblocks thrown in the way of its efforts at solving the pestering problem of traffic congestion in Metro Manila. These efforts are commendable, to say the least, in the face of the abominable traffic situation of our roads day in and day out. 

This Court can only interpret, not change, the law, however. 

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