Budget Lack didna[euro][TM]t Abolish CAR, Says High Court Ruling
Byline: MIKE GUIMBATAN
BAGUIO CITY a" The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) can still function as a separate region even without the organizational structures that were technically dissolved by the non-allocation of budget in 2000.
CAR is comprised of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Mt. Province and Baguio City. CAR was created out of provinces from Regions 1 and 2 through Executive Order 220 on July 15, 1987 as an off-shoot of a series of negotiations between the government and the armed group of the late Fr. Conrado Balweg.
CAR has the same functions of a regular region except that it has a 29-member Cordillera Executive Board and over a 100 members of the Regional Assembly. However, the national budget for 2000 did not provide any money for these bodies.
"CAR was not dissolved," the High Court said. "What took place was only a discontinuance of its programs and activities."
The court clarified that the 2000 budget did not abolish the CAR bodies. Accordingly it only deactivated the CAR bodies. It explained that in abolishing, the office cease to exist while in deactivating, the office continues to exist although remaining dormant or inoperative.
Neither was there a question of constitutionality because the highest court cited that EO 220 is not the autonomous region as mentioned in the Constitution. An act providing for Autonomous Region in the Cordillera, RA 6766, was passed but was denied by majority in the January 30, 1990 plebiscite. Another Organic Act was passed in 1997 but it again failed to be ratified in a regional plebiscite. In both instances, the regional structure reverted back to EO 220.
CAR, per EO 220, is only a regional body creation similar to the Regional Development Councils but in a more sophisticated form. Its mandate is to enhance development and prepare the region for autonomy.
The SC decision issued on September 30, 2005 drafted by Associate Justice Dante O. …