Ordinances just like national laws must go through three readings before they are considered valid enactments of the sanggunian. The fact that an ordinance did not go through the process can be raised as an issue in assailing its validity. The process of enacting ordinances is more strict because it can restrict or altogether prohibit activities within the territorial jurisdiction of the enacting sanggunian. It is this ordinance when enacted which is implemented by the executive. The idea is to have different institutions enacting and enforcing laws since we are in a democratic society. To allow an individual to make the laws and implement it will be inconsistent with democracy where the people govern and not a single person. The present process might be long, tedious, and at times inflexible but it is in place to maintain our democratic principle of “sovereignty resides in the people”.
Ordinance vs. Resolution
There is confusion between an ordinance and a resolution and some say that they are practically the same. Though they are both actions of the legislative body of LGUs, resolutions are mainly those which express the opinion, sentiment, and other acts which are not permanent in nature. It is through a resolution that the legislative body expresses its condolences, appreciation, opinion or stand on certain issues. Resolutions do not require the signature of the executive since it is the sole act of the legislative unless the resolution is for the approval of the local development plan and public investment program which is in the nature of an ordinance. As to form, a resolution usually has the “whereas” clause which states the reason for the enactment of the resolution and the “resolved” portion which is actually the resolution or the action of the body. An ordinance may also contain the “whereas” clause but should contain a clear and detailed body in such a way that all the executive has to do is to implement it.
Enacting an Ordinance
An ordinance has to undergo three readings in the sanggunian. The requirement for an ordinance to go through three readings is to make sure that the members are given ample time to consider the act before approving the same. An enactment which will have an effect on the lives of people has to be scrutinised and thoroughly reviewed because of the many issues that has to be considered. There is however, nothing legally wrong if the three readings are done within the same session. After enactment, the measure goes to the executive for approval. If no action is taken by the executive within 15 days for the governor or 10 days for the mayor, the ordinance will lapse into effect. If the executive does not agree with the measure he can veto it and send it back with an explanation (Section 55, LGC). The sanggunian may through a 2/3 vote, override the veto which now makes the ordinance effective even without the executive’s signature. The veto power over an ordinance can only be exercised once but a punong barangay cannot veto any measure since he is also the presiding officer of the sangguniang barangay. After the approval of an ordinance or it having lapsed into effect, it shall be reviewed by the sangguniang bayan in case of barangays and the sangguniang panlalawigan for municipalities or component cities. If it is found to be beyond the power of the lower sanggunian to enact or otherwise inconsistent with prevailing laws, the local executive shall then stop the implementation of the ordinance. As an additional requirement public hearings are required in the enactment of certain ordinances such as a local tax ordinance, revenue measures, special levy, and the reclassification of lands.