Court of Appeals upholds Quezon City ordinance regulating billboards
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the legality of a Quezon City ordinance regulating advertising billboards, reversing a lower court ruling.
In a 7-page decision made available on Tuesday, November 27, the appellate court’s Special Fifteenth Division said the 2011 Quezon City ordinance – which regulates the construction, display, and maintenance of all commercial signs within the city – was consistent with the local government’s powers as provided in Republic Act No. 537 or the Revised Charter of Quezon City.
“Ordinance No. SP-2109 is a valid exercise of police power. It has lawful subject and seeks to regulate all signs and sign structures based on prescribed standards as to their design, construction, installation and maintenance to: (a) stop the proliferation of illegal signage and billboards along Quezon City’s thoroughfares; (b) safeguard the life and property of local inhabitants; and (c) preserve the aesthetics of the surroundings,” said the CA ruling, penned by Associate Justice Mario Lopez. Associate justices Maria Filomena Singh and Pablito Perez concurred.
This reverses and sets aside the August 18, 2017, decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, which declared Ordinance No. SP-2109, S-2011, null and void.
The case was filed by the advertising firm United Neon Advertising Incorporated, whose billboards were dismantled by the Quezon City government after the former failed to heed notices of safety standards violations in 2013. The firm asked the RTC to declare the ordinance unconstitutional, arguing that it was an invalid exercise of police power, with billboards regulation supposedly being the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The CA acknowledged that the ordinance uses lawful methods and rules. It also pointed out that after the ordinance was passed, the city government gave a grace period of 3 years so advertising businesses could comply with the required sizes and dimensions of billboards.
The appellate court said: “We reiterate that an ordinance is presumed valid. The courts must not be quick at declaring it unconstitutional unless the rules imposed are so excessive, prohibitive, arbitrary, unreasonable, oppressive, or confiscatory.” – Rappler.com
Billboards image via Shutterstock