Ponente: PADILLA, J.
The Charter of the City of Manila was enacted by Congress on 18 June 1949 (R.A. No. 409).
- On 1 January 1951, Executive Order No. 392 was issued transferring the authority to regulate jai-alais from local government to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
- On 07 September 1971, however, the Municipal Board of Manila nonetheless passed Ordinance No. 7065 entitled “An Ordinance Authorizing the Mayor To Allow And Permit The Associated Development Corporation To Establish, Maintain And Operate A Jai-Alai In The City Of Manila, Under Certain Terms And Conditions And For Other Purposes.”
- On 20 August 1975, Presidential Decree No. 771 was issued by then President Marcos. The decree, entitled “Revoking All Powers and Authority of Local Government(s) To Grant Franchise, License or Permit And Regulate Wagers Or Betting By The Public On Horse And Dog Races, Jai-Alai Or Basque Pelota, And Other Forms Of Gambling”, in Section 3 thereof, expressly revoked all existing franchises and permits issued by local governments.
In May 1988, Associated Development Corporation (ADC) tried to operate a Jai-Alai. The government through Games and Amusement Board intervened and invoked Presidential Decree No. 771 which expressly revoked all existing franchises and permits to operate all forms of gambling facilities (including Jai-Alai) by local governments. ADC assails the constitutionality of P.D. No. 771.
Whether or not P.D. No. 771 is violative of the equal protection and non-impairment clauses of the Constitution.
NO. P.D. No. 771 is valid and constitutional.
Presumption against unconstitutionality. There is nothing on record to show or even suggest that PD No. 771 has been repealed, altered or amended by any subsequent law or presidential issuance (when the executive still exercised legislative powers).
Neither can it be tenably stated that the issue of the continued existence of ADC’s franchise by reason of the unconstitutionality of PD No. 771 was settled in G.R. No. 115044, for the decision of the Court’s First Division in said case, aside from not being final, cannot have the effect of nullifying PD No. 771 as unconstitutional, since only the Court En Banc has that power under Article VIII, Section 4(2) of the Constitution.
And on the question of whether or not the government is estopped from contesting ADC’s possession of a valid franchise, the well-settled rule is that the State cannot be put in estoppel by the mistakes or errors, if any, of its officials or agents. (Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90)