Court of Appeals says MMDA cannot enforce ban on smoking
Truth is more ridiculous than fiction
(SPOT.ph) The courts have spoken: The MMDA cannot ban smoking in public places. Confusing as that may sound, the Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of a Mandaluyong court from 2011 to stop the MMDA's anti-smoking drive. According to the appellate court, the MMDA has "no police or legislative powers" to enforce Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2013.
The original case was filed by Anthony Clemente and Vrianne Lamsen, who were arrested for smoking in front of Farmer's Plaza. Clemente and Lamsen were supposed to be fined P500 for violating the ban on public smoking...but instead, they won a lawsuit. Both courts cited the fact that the MMDA is not part of the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco ("IAC-Tobacco"), "which has exclusive power and function to administer provisions of that law."
These are those listed as authorized to implement R.A. 9211, as members of "IAC-Tobacco":
a. Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA);
b. Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ);
c. Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF);
d. Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR);
e. Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST);
f. Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd);
g. Administrator of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA);
h. A representative from the Tobacco Industry to be nominated by the legitimate and recognized associations of the industry; and
i. A representative from a non[-]government organization (NGO) involved in public health promotion nominated by DOH in consultation with the concerned NGOs;
Simply put, the MMDA—according to the courts, at least—has no business making sure people follow rules. Kindly wait for a representative from the tobacco industry to tell you not to light that cigarette. Or the Secretary of the Department of Finance, maybe.