Election Cases Digests

January 6, 2019 | Author: Epoy Pinote | Category: Initiative, Voting, Elections, Constitutional Amendment, Commission On Elections (Philippines)
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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. ELECTIONS Case Digests

ESSENCE OF ELECTIONS/DEFINITION, BASIS AND NATURE Carlos vs Angeles (G.R. No. 142907 Nov 29, 2000) Even Even if the candid candidate ate receiv receiving ing the majori majority ty votes votes is inelig ineligibl ible e or  disqualified, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes or  the second placer, can not be declared elected.

Municipal Municipal Board of Canvasse Canvassers, rs, Valenzue Valenzuela, la, Metro Metro Manila Manila proc procla laim imed ed peti petiti tion oner er as the the duly duly elec electe ted d mayo mayorr of  Valenzuel Valenzuela a having having obtained obtained 102,688 102,688 votes, votes, the highest highest number of votes in the election returns. Respondent Antonio M. Serapio who obtained 77,270 votes, the second highest number number of votes, votes, filed filed with with the Region Regional al Trial Trial Court, Court, Valenzuela, Metro Manila, an election protest challenging the results. The trial court rendered a judgment ruling that the perpetuation of fraud had undoubtedly suppressed the true will of the electorate of Valenzuela and substituted it with the will of the protestee. Notwithstanding the plurality of  valid votes in favor of the protestee, the trial court set aside the proclamation of protestee Jose Emmanuel Carlos by the Municipal Municipal Board of Canvasse Canvassers rs and declared declared protestan protestantt Antonio M. Serapio as the duly elected mayor of Valenzuela City. Issue: WoN the trial court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion discretion when the court set aside the proclamation of petitioner and declared respondent Serapio as the duly elected elected mayor of Valenzue Valenzuela la City despite despite its finding finding that petitioner petitioner garnered 83,609 valid valid votes while respondent obtained 66,602 valid votes, or a winning margin of 17,007 votes. Held: Yes, an election election means "the choice choice or selection selection of  candidates to public office by popular vote" through the use of the ballot, ballot, and the electe elected d offici officials als of which which are are


determined through the will of the electorate. "An election is the embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the sovere sovereign ign power power of the people people." ." Specif Specifica ically lly,, the term term 'election', in the context of the Constitution, may refer to the conduct conduct of the polls, polls, including including the listing of voters, voters, the holding holding of the electoral electoral campaign, campaign, and the casting and counting counting of votes." The winner winner is the candidate candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the election. "Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who receive the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican forms of government the basic idea is that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election." election." In case of protest, a revision or recount of the ballots cast for the candidates decides the election protest case. The candidate receiving the highest number or plurality of votes shall be proclaimed the winner. Even Even if the candid candidate ate receiv receiving ing the majori majority ty votes votes is ineligible or disqualified, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes or the second placer, cannot be declar declared ed electe elected. d. "The "The wreath wreath of victor victory y cannot cannot be transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser loser becaus because e the law then then as now only author authorize izess a declar declarati ation on of electi election on in favor favor of the person person who has obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate receiving receiving the next highest highest number of votes to be declared elected." In other words, "a defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office."

Rulloda vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 154198 Jan 20, 2003) The purpose of election laws which is to give effect t o rather than frustrate the will of the voters voters.. It is a solemn solemn duty to uphold uphold the clear clear and  unmistaka unmistakable ble mandate of the people. people. It is well-settled well-settled that in case of  doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the  popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot.

Rome Romeo o N. Rull Rullod oda a and and Reme Remegi gio o L. Plac Placid ido o were were the the contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas,

San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22, 2002, Romeo suffered a heart heart attack attack and and passed passed away. away. His widow, widow, petiti petitione onerr Petronila "Betty" Rulloda, wrote a letter to the Commission on Elections seeking seeking permissio permission n to run as candidate candidate for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband. BoC proclaimed proclaimed Placido winner despite despite garnering garnering only 290 votes which is lesser lesser than Rulloda’s Rulloda’s 516. Petitioner Petitioner later found found out that COMELE COMELEC C denied denied her her applic applicati ation on to be substitute candidate of her late husband. COMELEC based its decision on its Resolution No. 4801 declaring there shall be no substitution for barangay and SK elections. Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9 of Resolution No. 4801 and Resolution No. 5217, both of the COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running as substitute candidate in lieu of her deceased husband; to nullify the proclamation of respondent; and to proclaim her as the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. Issue: Issue: WON Rullod Rulloda a should should be declar declared ed the winner winner and proclaimed as the Barangay Chairman Held: Held: Yes, Yes, electi election on means means the choice choice or select selection ion of  candidates to public office by popular vote through the use of the ballot, and the elected officials which are determined throug through h the will of the electora electorate. te. An electi election on is the embodi embodimen mentt of the popula popularr will, will, the expres expressio sion n of the sovereign power of the people. The winner is the candidate who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the election. election. Sound policy dictates that public public elective elective offices are filled by those who receive the highest number of  votes votes cast in the electio election n for that office. office. For, For, in all republican forms of government the basic idea is that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. Private respondent respondent argues that inasmuch as the barangay election is non-partisan, there can be no substitution substitution because because there there is no political political party from from whic which h to desi design gnat ate e the the subs substi titu tute te.. Such Such an

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. interpretation, aside from being non sequitur , ignores the purpose of election laws which is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot. Contrary to respondent’s claim, claim, the absenc absence e of a specif specific ic provis provision ion govern governing ing substitution of candidates in barangay elections cannot be inferred inferred as a prohibitio prohibition n against against said substituti substitution. on. Such a restrictive construction cannot be read into the law where the same is not written. Indeed, there is more reason to allow the substitut substitution ion of candidate candidatess where where no political political parties parties are involved involved than when political political considera considerations tions or party affiliations reign, a fact that must have been subsumed by law.

Sunga vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 125629 Mar 25, 1998) It woul would d be extr extrem emel ely y repu repugn gnan antt to the the basi basicc conc concep eptt of the the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired acquired the majority majority or plurality plurality of votes is proclaimed proclaimed winner winner and  imposed imposed as the representative representative of a constituenc constituency, y, the majority of whom have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.

Petitioner Manuel C. Sunga was one of the candidates for the position of Mayor in the Municipality of Iguig, Province of  Cagayan, Cagayan, in the 8 May 1995 elections elections.. Private Private responden respondentt Ferdin Ferdinan and d B. Trinid Trinidad, ad, then then incumb incumben entt mayor, mayor, was a candidate candidate for re-electi re-election on in the same municipality municipality.. Sunga Sunga f il il ed ed w it it h t he he C OM OME LE LE C a l et et te te rr- co co mp mp la la in int for disqualification against Trinidad, accusing him of using three (3) local government vehicles in his campaign, in violation of  Sec. 261, par. (o), Art. XXII, of BP Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code, as amended). amended). On 7 May 1995, Sunga filed another letter-complaint with the COMELEC COMELEC charging Trinidad this time with violation of Sec. 261, par. (e) (referring to threats, intimidati intimidation, on, terrorism terrorism or other other forms of coercion) coercion) of the Omnibus Election Code. Election results showed that Trinidad


garnered the highest number of votes, while Sunga trailed second. Issue: Issue: WON Sunga Sunga as the second placer is entitled to be proclaimed in the event Trinidad is disqualified Held: No, the fact that the candidate candidate who obtained obtained the highest number of votes is later disqualified for the office to which he was elected does not entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner winner of the electiv elective e office office.. The votes votes cast cast for a disqualified person may not be valid to install the winner into office or maintain him there. But in the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary contrary political political and legislativ legislative e policy on the matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was qualified, they should not be treate treated d as stray, stray, void void or meanin meaningle gless ss.. Sunga totally totally miscontrued the nature of our democratic electoral process as well as the sociological and psychological elements behind voters' voters' preferenc preferences. es. Election is the process of complete complete ascertain ascertainment ment of the expression expression of the popular will. Its ulti ultima mate te purp purpos ose e is to give give effe effect ct to the the will will of the the electorate by giving them direct participation in choosing the men and women who will run their government. government. Thus, it would be extremely extremely repugnant repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of whom have positively declared through through their ballots that they do not choose him. While Sunga may have garnered garnered the second second highest number of  votes, the fact remains that he was not the choice of the people of Iguig, Cagayan. "The wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated loser loser becaus because e the law then then as now only author authorize izess a declar declarati ation on of electi election on in favor favor of the person person who has obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate receiving receiving the next highest highest number of votes to be declared elected."

Mitmug vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 106270-73 Feb 10, 1994)   All the law requires requires is that a winning candidate candidate must be elected by a   plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. Thus, even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts cast their votes, the same must still be respected.

Petiti Petitione onerr SULTAN SULTAN MOHAM MOHAMAD AD L. MITMUG MITMUG and and privat private e responden respondentt DATU GAMBAI DAGALANG DAGALANGIT IT were among the candidate candidatess for the mayoralty mayoralty position position of Lumba-Bay Lumba-Bayabao abao.. Voter turnout for the election was very low. Only 2,330 out of 9,830 registered voters therein cast their votes. Dagalangit won. won. Other Other candid candidate atess filed filed separa separate te petiti petition on for the declaration of failure of election in some or all precincts in Lumba-Bayabao. Issue: WON COMELEC should declare a failure of election on the ground of massive disenfranchisement of voters due to alleged terrorism and unlawful clustering of precincts. Held. No. before COMELEC COMELEC can act on a verified petition petition seeking to declare a failure of election, two (2) conditions must concur: first, first, no voting has taken place in the precinct or precincts on the date fixed by law or, even if there was voting, the election nevertheless results in failure to elect; and, second , the votes not cast would affect the result of the election. election. In the case before us, it is indubitab indubitable le that the votes not cast will definitely definitely affect affect the outcome of the election. election. But, the first requisite requisite is missing, missing, i.e., that no actual actual voting took place, place, or even if there there is, the results thereon will be tantamount to a failure to elect. Since actual voti voting ng and and elec electi tion on by the the regi regist ster ered ed vote voters rs in the the questioned precincts have taken place, the results thereof  cannot be disregarded disregarded and excluded. COMELEC therefore did not commit any abuse abuse of discretion, discretion, much less grave, in denying the petitions outright. There was no basis for the petitions since the facts alleged therein did not constitute sufficient sufficient grounds grounds to warrant warrant the relief sought. For, the language of the law expressly requires the concurrence of  these conditions to justify the calling of a special election.

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. There can be failure of election in a political unit only if the will will of the majority majority has been been defile defiled d and cannot cannot be ascert ascertain ained. ed. But, if it can be determ determine ined, d, it must must be accorded accorded respect. respect. After all, there is no provision in our election laws which requires that a majority of registered voters must cast their votes. All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual actual number of ballots cast. Thus, even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts cast their votes, the same must still be respected. There is prima facie showing showing that private respondent respondent was elec electe ted d thro throug ugh h a plur plural alit ity y of vali valid d vote votess of a vali valid d constituency.

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION IN ELECTION LAWS Maruhom vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 139357 May 5, 2000) Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall."  which intends to give the COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers   for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.

Maruhom and Dimaporo were both candidates for Mayor in the Municipality Municipality of Marogong, Marogong, Lanao del Sur. During the counting counting of votes, votes, serious serious irregular irregularities ities,, anomalies anomalies and electo electoral ral frauds frauds were were commit committed ted at the instan instance ce of  petitioner or his followers in that votes actually casted for the private respondent were not counted and credited in his favor thru the concerted acts, conspiracy and manipulation of the Board of Election Inspectors, military, Election Officer and the Machine Operator who happens to be a nephew of  the petitioner. Many official ballots were refused or rejected by the machine. As a result of the foregoing irregularities, anomalies and electoral frauds, the petitioner was illegally proclaimed as winner because he appeared to have obtained 2,020 votes while the private private responde respondent nt garnered garnered 2,000 vote votess with with a slig slight ht marg margin in of only only 20 vote votes. s. Priv Privat ate e


responden respondent, t, knowing knowing that he was cheated cheated and the true winner for Mayor, filed before this Honorable Commission a petition to annul the proclamation of petitioner Abdulmadid Maruhom as the duly elected Mayor of Marogong, Lanao del Sur. Subsequently, a Revision Committee was created and its member membersh ship ip were were duly duly appoin appointed ted in open open court court which which commit committee tee was directed directed by the COMELEC COMELEC to finish finish the revisi revision on of ballot ballots. s. After After the Revisi Revision on Commit Committee tee was directed directed by the respondent respondent to commence commence the revision revision of  ballots, ballots, the petitione petitionerr Abdulmadi Abdulmadid d Maruhom Maruhom thru counsel orally moved for the dismissal of the protest on the grounds that that (1) The ballot ballot boxes containi containing ng the ballots ballots in the protes protested ted and counte counter-p r-prot rotest ested ed precin precincts cts have have been been violat violated; ed; (2) Automa Automated ted counti counting ng of ballots ballots does does not contemplate a manual recount of the ballots. Issue: Issue: WON the COMELEC COMELEC may order manual recount of  ballots even not mentioned in R.A. 8436 Held: Yes. Although admittedly there is a lacuna leges in R.A. No. 8436 which which prescribes prescribes the adoption of an automated automated election election system. system. However, However, while conceding conceding as much, much, this 42 Cour Courtt rule ruled d in Tupa Tupay y Loon Loong g v . COMELEC, COMELEC, that that the the Commission is nevertheless not precluded from conducting a manual manual count count when the automated automated counting system fails, fails, reasoning thus: . . . In enact enactin ing g R.A. R.A. No. 8436 8436,, Congress obviously failed to provide a remedy where the error in counting is not machin machine e relate related d for human human foresight is not all-seeing. We hold, however, that the vacuum in the law  cannot cannot prevent prevent the COMELEC from levi levita tati ting ng abov above e the the prob proble lem m. Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the broa broad d powe powerr "to "to enfo enforc rce e and and administer administer all laws and regulation regulationss

rela relati tive ve to the the cond conduc uctt of an electi election, on, plebis plebiscit cite, e, initia initiativ tive, e, referendum and recall." Undoubtedly, the text and intent of  this provision is to give the COMELEC all the neces necessar sary y and and incide incidenta ntall powers for it to achieve the objective of holdin holding g free, free, order orderly, ly, hones honest, t, peacef peaceful ul and and credib credible le electi elections ons.. Congruent to this intent, this Court has not been niggardly in defining the parameters of powers of COMELEC in the conduct of our elections . . . In the case at bar, the COMELEC order for a manual manual count count was not only reasonable. It was the only way to count the decisive local votes . . . The bottom line is that by means of  the manual manual count, count, the will will of the v ot ot er er s o f Su lu lu wa s h on on es es tl tl y determined. We cannot cannot kick kick away  away  the will of the people by giving a literal literal interpreta interpretation tion to R.A. 8436. R.A. 8436 did not prohibit manual manual counting counting when machine count does not work. work. Counting is part and parcel of the conduct of an election which is under the control and supervision of  the COMELEC . . . . . . Our elections are not conducted under laboratory laboratory conditions. conditions. In running running for public public offices, candidates do not follow the rules of  Emily Post. Too often, COMELEC has to make snap snap judg judgme ment ntss to meet meet unfo unfore rese seen en circumstan circumstances ces that threaten threaten to subvert subvert the will of our voters. In the process, the actions of COMELEC may not be impeccable, indeed, may may even even be deba debata tabl ble. e. We cann cannot ot,,

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. however, engage in a swivel chair criticism of  these actions often taken under very difficult circumstances. Verily, the legal compass from which the COMELEC should take its bearings in acting upon election controversies is the principle that "clean elections control the appropriateness of  the remedy." Be that as it may, the fact is the averments in petitioner's counter-protest and private respondent's protest already justified the determination of the issues through a judicial revision and recounting of the ballots pursuant to Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that —

1995, the instant petition petition was filed with the HRET. The petition was dismissed by the HRET for the failure of the petition petition to state a cause of action action because it is fatally fatally insufficie insufficient nt in form and substance substance (for failing to identify identify specific precincts where alleged widespread election, fraud and irregular irregularities ities occurred). occurred). In its Petition Petition for Certiorar Certiorari, i, petitioner argues that the petition was initially defective for failure to specify the contested precincts, said defect was cured when petitioner submitted summary of the contested precincts.

Paras vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 123169 Nov 4, 1996) SK includes the youth with ages ranging from 15 to 21 (Sec. 424, Local Government Government Code of 1991). Accordingl Accordingly, y, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election, viz., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

Petitioner Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the last regular barangay election in 1994. A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. Issue: Issue: WON the HRET acted acted with grave abuse of discretion discretion Acting on the petiti petition on for recall recall,, public public respon responden dentt amou amount ntin ing g to havi having ng acte acted d with withou outt or in exce excess ss of  Acting Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the jurisdiction in dismissing the election protest of petitioner petition, scheduled the petition signing on October 14, 1995, Sec. Sec. 255. 255.   Judic Judicial ial counti counting ng of votes votes in and set the recall election on November 13, 1995. Petitioner election contest. contest. — Where allegations allegations in a Held: No. substanti substantial al amendmen amendments ts to the protest may be opposed the proceedings Citing Section 74 (b) of the Local   protest protest or counter-protest counter-protest so warrant warrant or  allowed only within the same period for filing the election Government Code, which states that " no recall shall take whenever whenever in the opinion opinion of the court the protest, which, under Rule 16 of the HRET Rules of Procedure   place within one (1) year from the date of the official's intere interests sts of justice justice so requir require e, it shal shalll is ten (10) days after the proclamation of the winner. While assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding immediately order the book of voters, ballot it is conceded that statutes providing for election contests a regular local election", election ", petitioner insists that the scheduled boxes boxes and and their their keys, keys, ballot ballotss and and other other are to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the Janua January ry 13, 1996 recall recall election election is now barred barred as the documents used in the election be brought people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set by Republic Act before it and that the ballots be examined by mere technical questions, the rule likewise stands, that in No. 7808 on the first Monday of May 1996, and every three and votes recounted. an election protest, the protestant must stand or fall upon year yearss ther therea eaft fter er.. In supp suppor ortt ther thereo eof, f, peti petiti tion oner er the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading cites Associated cites Associated Labor Union v . Letrondo-Montejo, Letrondo-Montejo, 237 SCRA filed prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of  Pena vs HRET (G.R. No. 123037 Mar 21, 1997) 621, where the Court considered the SK election as a regular the protest. Admittedly, the rule is well-established that the local election. Petitioner maintains that as the SK election is power to annul annu l an election should shoul d be exercised exercise d with the While it is conceded that statutes providing for election contests are to be a regular local election, hence no recall election can be had greatest care as it involves the free and fair expression of the liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of  for barely four months separate the SK election from the  public officers may not be defeated by mere technical questions, the rule popular will. It is only in extreme cases of fraud and under recall election. likewise stands, that in an election protest, the protestant must stand or  circumstan circumstances ces which demonstrat demonstrate e to the fullest degree degree a  fall upon the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading filed  fundamental and wanton disregard of the law that elections  prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of the protest. Issue: WON the contention of Paras is tenable are annulled, and then only when it becomes impossible to take take any other step. step. This This is as it shou should ld be, for for the the Petitioner Petitioner Pena and the private private responden respondentt Abueg Abueg were Held: No, it is a rule in statutory construction that every part democratic system is good for the many although abhorred by contenders for the said Congressional Office in the May 8, of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the a few. 1995 elections. On May 12, 1995, upon canvassing the votes context, i.e., that that ever every y part part of the the stat statut ute e must must be cast, cast, the Provin Provincia ciall Board Board of Canvas Canvasse sers rs of Palawa Palawan n consid considere ered d togeth together er with with the other other parts, parts, and kept kept Kinds of Election: Regular and Special proclaimed the private respondent as the winner. On May 22, subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment.


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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. The evident intent of Section 74 is to subject an elective local official to recall election once during his term of office. Paragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective local official may be subject of a recall election, that is, during the second year of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to petitioner's interpretation of the phrase regular local election to include the SK election will unduly circumscribe the novel provision of the Local Government Code on recall, a mode of removal of public officers by initiation of the people before the end of his term. And if the SK election which is set by R.A No. 7808 to be held every three years from May 1996 were to be deemed deemed within within the purview purview of the phrase " regular regular local election", election", as erroneously erroneously insisted by petitione petitioner, r, then no recall election can be conducted rendering inutile the recall prov provis isio ion n of the the Loca Locall Gove Govern rnme ment nt Code Code.. In the the interpretation of a statute, the Court should start with the assump assumptio tion n that that the legisl legislatu ature re intend intended ed to enact enact an effective law, and the legislature is not presumed to have done done a vain vain thing thing in the enactm enactment ent of a statut statute. e. 5 An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided under which a statut statute e or provis provision ion being being constr construe ued d is defeat defeated, ed, or as otherwise otherwise expressed expressed,, nullified nullified,, destroyed destroyed,, emasculat emasculated, ed, repeal repealed, ed, explai explained ned away, away, or render rendered ed insign insignifi ifican cant, t, meaningless, inoperative or nugatory. It is likewise a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should be interprete interpreted d in harmony harmony with the Constitutio Constitution. n. Thus, Thus, the interpretation of Section 74 of the Local Government Code, specifically paragraph (b) thereof, should not be in conflict with the Constitutional mandate of Section 3 of Article X of  the Constitution to "enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive responsive and accounta accountable ble local govern governmen mentt struct structur ure e instit institute uted d throug through h a system system of  decentrali decentralizatio zation n with effec effecti tive ve mech mechan anis ism m of reca recall ll,, initiative, and referendum . . . ." Davide (concurring): A regular election, regular election, whether national or local, can only refer to an election election participate participated d in by those who possess the right of  suffrage, suffrage, are not otherwise disqualified disqualified by law, and who are registered registered voters. One of the requirements for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1,


Article V of the Constitution is that the person must be at least 18 years of  age, and one requisite before he can vote is that he be a registered voter pursuant pursuant to the rules on registrat registration ion prescribed in the Omnibus Election Code (Section 113-118). Under the law, the SK includes the youth with ages rangin ranging g from 15 to 21 (Sec. (Sec. 424, Local Local Govern Government ment Code of 1991). 1991). Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election, viz ., ., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

Papa vs Municipal Board (G.R. No. L-23892 Mar 23, 1925) The terminology “the next preceding election” refers to the last election held regardless of whether it is a special or general election.

The last general elections were held in 1922. In the city of  Manila, Manila, the Partido Partido Democrata Democrata ran first, first, the Partid Partido o Nacionalista Colectivista second, and the Partido Nacionalista third. The Partido Liberal also polled some votes. A special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Senator of the Fourth Fourth District District including including the City of Manila, Manila, was held on October 2, 1923. At this special election, two persons, Juan Sumulong(Pa Sumulong(Part rtid ido o Demo Democr crat ata a) and Ramon J. Ferna Fernande ndez(I z(Inde ndepen penden dent), t), filed filed their their certif certifica icates tes of  candidacy candidacy.. In the City of Manila, Manila, Juan Sumulong Sumulong received received 16,022 votes and Ramon J. Fernandez, 19,380 votes. When the time came for the Municipal Board of the City of Manila to name election inspectors and poll clerks for the general election election of 1925, it refused refused all participa participation tion on election election boards to the Partido Nacionalista Consolidado , the political legatee legatee of the Partido Nacionalis Nacionalista ta Colectivis Colectivista ta and the Partido Nacionalista. Instead, it provided for election boards, as above indicated, by giving majority representation to the Partido Partido Democrata Democrata and minority represen representatio tation n to the Partido Liberal. Liberal. Act No. 3030 as amended by Act No. 3210 provides that municipal council in each municipality wherein a general election election is to be held to appoint, appoint, ninety days immediately prior to the date of such general election, three inspec inspector torss of electi election on and and one poll poll clerk, clerk, with with their their respective substitutes, for each election precinct therein, who shall hold office for three years or until their successors shall have taken charge of the same. Should there be in such

municipali municipality ty one or more political political parties parties or branches branches or fractions fractions thereof, thereof, or political political groups, then two of said inspectors and two substitutes for the same shall belong to the party which polled the largest number of votes in said municipali municipality ty at the next preceding preceding election election and the other inspector and his substitute shall belong to the party, branch or fraction thereof, or political group which polled the next largest number of votes at said election. Partido Nacionalista Consolidado claimed that Fernandez run and accepted the nomination of the party and won because of the support of  the party, thus the party should be given the 2 slots for inspector of election for being the party who won the most number number of votes in the next preceding preceding election with the victory of its claimed candidate Fernandez. ISSUE: a. WON the 1923 special election should be the basis to determine distribution of inspector of elections slots b. WON Partido Nacionalista Consolidado should be credited with with the victory victory of Fernan Fernandez dez whom it claime claimed d as its candidate c. WON the poll clerk in each precinct should come from the party with the largest vote in in the next preceding election Held: a. Yes, if the previous terminology “at such preceding election” was not amended to “the next preceding election”, then the basis would be the 1922 general election. The term “the next precedin preceding g election” election” clearly refers to the 1923 special special elections elections.. The Philippine Philippine Legislatur Legislature, e, however, however, it again amended section 417 by the enactment of Act No. 3210 by changing the phrase "at such preceding election" to the phrase "at the next preceding election." Possibly the law is still still suscep susceptib tible le to the interp interpre retat tation ion that that "the "the next next preceding election" has relation with the "general election" mentioned in the beginning of the section. But obviously, the law was amended for some purpose. As the law now exists, a specia speciall electi election on is as much much a "prece "precedin ding g electi election" on" as a general general election. This may be unfortuna unfortunate, te, for a special special election is an election not regularly held to supply a vacancy in a particular office before the expiration of the full term

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. for which the incumbent was elected, and thus does not as well echo the political sentiment of the electorate as does a general election.

political filiation and color of the candidate voted for, which dete determ rmin ine e thos those e of his his vote voters rs,, must must be judg judged ed and and considered as of the date of the election and not afterwards.

b. No, No, it is ques questi tion onab able le if the the Partido Partido Nacional Nacionalista ista Consolidado can now claim a monopoly of the benefits arising from an election when the successful candidate ran as an independe independent. nt. The certificate certificate of candidacy candidacy of Ramon J. Fernande Fernandez z permitted permitted the placing placing of his name before the electorate. It was in the nature of a formal manifestation to the whole world of his political creed or lack of political creed. It constituted an authorized badge which the voter could scrutinize before casting his ballot. The electors voted for Ramon J. Fernandez, Independent. They did not vote for Ramon J. Fernande Fernandez, z, Colectivis Colectivista, ta, Nacionali Nacionalista, sta, Liberal Liberal,, or Democrata. Democrata. It would be hard to say whether of the 19,380 votes received by Senator Fernandez, 16,023 thereof, or one more than was received by his opponent, came to him on account of the backing of the Partido Colectivista and the Partido Nacionalista, or whether such support only accounted for 16,021 votes, votes, or one less than was recei received ved by his opponent. It has been the practice of this court to hold a person who does not belong to any political party, but is only an independ independent ent candidate, candidate, has no right to recommend recommend persons as election inspectors. The statute, providing that electi election on inspec inspector torss shall shall be select selected ed from from the leadin leading g political political parties, parties, disclosed disclosed a legislativ legislative e intent intent to preserve preserve and protect party organization. This court has likewise held in at least least two decision decisionss and and the same has been been the judgment of a member of this court, Justice Villamor, in his well-known well-known work on elections elections,, that "for the proper proper and correct weighing of the evidence that determines which of  the political parties was victorious in the last election, and the classificati classification on of the voters who cast the votes, the political filiation and color of the candidate nominated and voted for must be taken into account. Only the votes cast in favo favorr of the the offi offici cial al cand candid idat ates es of a part party, y, bein being g homogenous, can be computed in the name and in favor of  the party to which said candidates voted for belonged. The

c. No, while the law is specific specific in providing providing that election election inspectors shall belong to the two leading parties, it is silent as to the political filiation of poll clerks. It must, therefore, be assumed that the appointment of poll clerks rests entirely within within the discre discretio tion n of the municipa municipall counci councill or the Municipal Board. Poll clerks may belong to any political party or to no party at all.


Initiative and Referendum SBMA vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 125416 Sep 26, 1996) Initiative is the power of the people to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative assembly. On the other hand, referendum is the right reserved to the people to adopt or  reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and  which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law 

In April 1993, the Sangguniang Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Morong, Bataan passed passed Pambay Pambayang ang Kapasy Kapasyaha ahan n Bilang Bilang 10, Serye Serye 1993, 1993, expressing therein its absolute concurrence, as required by said Sec. 12 of RA 7227, to join the Subic Special Economic Zone. Zone. On September September 5, 1993, the Sangguniang Sangguniang Bayan of  Morong submitted Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10, Serye 1993 1993 to the Office Office of the Preside President. nt. On May May 24, 1993, respondents Garcia, Calimbas and their companions filed a petition petition with the Sangguniang Sangguniang Bayan of Morong Morong to annul annul Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993. The Sangguniang Bayan ng Morong Morong acted acted upon the petition petition of responden respondents ts Garcia Garcia,, Calimb Calimbas, as, et al. by promul promulgat gating ing Pambay Pambayang ang

Kapasyahan Blg. 18, Serye 1993, requesting Congress of the Philip Philippin pines es so amend amend certai certain n provis provision ionss of RA 7227, 7227, particularly those concerning the matters cited in items (A), (B), (K), (E), and (G) of private private respondent's respondent's petition. petition. The Sangguniang Bayan of Morong also informed respondents that items (D) and (H) had already been referred to and favorably acted upon by the government agencies concerned, such as the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Office of the President President.. Not satisfied satisfied,, and within within 30 days from submission of their petition, herein respondents resorted to their power initiative under the Local Government Code of  1991. 1991. On June June 18, 19956, 19956, respon responden dentt Comele Comelec c issued issued Resolu Resolutio tion n No. 2845, 2845, adopti adopting ng there therein in a "Calen "Calendar dar of  Activi Activitie tiess for local local refere referendu ndum m on certai certain n munici municipal pal ordinance ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Sangguniang Bayan Bayan of Morong, Morong, Bataan", and which indicated, among others, the scheduled Referendum Day (July 27, 1996, Saturday). On June 27, 1996, the Comelec promulgated the assailed Resolution No. 2848 providing for "the rules and guidelines to govern the conduct of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan. SBMA instituted the present petition for certiorari and prohibition contesting the validity of Resolution No. 2848 and alleging, inter alia, that public respondent "is intent on proc procee eedi ding ng with with a loca locall init initia iativ tive e that that prop propos oses es an amendment of a national law. Issue: Issue: Whether Whether or not responde respondent nt Comelec Comelec commit commit grave abuse abuse of discre discretio tion n in promul promulgat gating ing and implem implement enting ing Resolution No. 2848 Held: Yes, the process started by private respondents was an INITIATIVE but respondent Comelec made preparations for a REFERENDUM only. In fact, in the body of the Resolution as reproduced in the footnote below, the word "referendum" is repeated at least 27 times, but "initiative" is not mentioned at all. The Comelec labeled the exercise as a "Referendum"; the counti counting ng of votes votes was entru entruste sted d to a "Refer "Referend endum um Commit Committee tee"; "; the docume documents nts were were called called "refe "referen rendum dum

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. returns"; the canvassers, "Referendum Board of Canvassers" and and the the ball ballot otss them themse selv lves es bore bore the the desc descri ript ptio ion n "referendum". To repeat, not once was the word "initiative" used used in said body body of Resolu Resolutio tion n No. 2848. And yet, yet, this this exercise is unquestionably an INITIATIVE. There are statutory and conceptual demarcations between a referendum and an initiative initiative.. In enacting enacting the "Initiati "Initiative ve and Referend Referendum um Act, Congress differentiated one term from the other, thus: (a) "Ini "Initi tiat ativ ive" e" is the the powe powerr of the the peop people le to prop propos ose e amendment amendmentss to the Constitution Constitution or to propose propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose. There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely: a.1. Initiative on the Consti Constitut tution ion which which refers refers to a petiti petition on propos proposing ing amendments to the Constitution; a.2. Initiative on statutes which refers refers to a petition petition proposing proposing to enact enact a national legislation legislation;; and a.3. Initiativ Initiative e on local legislation legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (b) "Indirect "Indirect initiative" initiative" is exercise exercise of initiativ initiative e by the people through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative body body for action. action. (c) "Refere "Referendu ndum" m" is the power of the electorate electorate to approve approve or reject reject a legislatio legislation n through through an election called for the purpose. It may be of two classes, namely: namely: c.1. Referend Referendum um on statutes statutes which refers to a petition to approve or reject an act or law, or part thereof, passed by Congress; and c.2 Referendum on local law which refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordina ordinance nce enacte enacted d by region regional al assemb assemblie liess and local local legislative bodies. Along these statutory definitions, Justice Isagani A. Cruz defines initiative as the "power of the people to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls independent of the legislative assembly." On the other hand, he explains that referendum "is the right reserved to the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law." there is need for the Comelec to supervise an initiative more closely, closely, its authority authority thereon thereon extending extending not only to the counting and canvassing of votes but also to seeing to it that


the matter or act submitted to the people is in the proper form and language so it may be easily understood and voted upon by the electorate. This is especially true where the proposed legislation is lengthy and complicated, and should thus be broken broken down into several several autonomous autonomous parts, parts, each such part to be voted upon separately. Care must also be exercised exercised that "(n)o "(n)o petition petition embracing embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to the electorate," although "two or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative".

Santiago vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 127325 Mar 19, 1997)   Although Although R.A. 6735 intended intended to include include the system system of initiative initiative on amendments amendments to the constitution, constitution, but it is unfortuna unfortunately tely inadequate inadequate to cover that system.

On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed filed with with public public respon responden dentt Commis Commissio sion n on Electi Elections ons (hereafter, COMELEC) a "Petition to Amend the Constitution, to Lift Lift Term Term Limits Limits of Electi Elective ve Offici Officials als,, by People People's 's Initiative" . Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member of the Movement for People's Initiative, 6 a group of  citize citizens ns desiro desirous us to avail avail of the system system intend intended ed to institutionalize people power; that he and the members of  the Movement and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution granted under Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the control and supervision of the COMELEC; that, as required in COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be established all over the country, with the assistance of munici municipal pal electi election on regist registrar rars, s, who who shall shall verify verify the signatures affixed by individual signatories; that before the Movement and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is necessary that the time and dates to be designated for the purpos purpose e be first fixed fixed in an order order to be issued issued by the COMELEC; and that to adequately inform the people of the electoral process involved, it is likewise necessary that the said order, as well as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be published in newspapers of general and

local circulation, under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. On 18 December 1996, the petitioners herein — Senator Senator Miriam Miriam Defensor Defensor Santiago, Santiago, Alexander Alexander Padilla, and Maria Maria Isabel Isabel Ongpin — filed this special civil action for prohibition contending that the constitutional provision on people's people's initiative initiative to amend amend the Constitution Constitution can only be implemented by law to be passed by Congress and that no such law has been passed. passed. It is true that R.A. No. 6735 provides for three systems of initiative, namely, initiative on the Constitution, Constitution, on statutes, statutes, and on local legislation. legislation. However, it failed to provide any subtitle on initiative on the Constitution, unlike in the other modes of initiative, which are specifically provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle III. They added that Republic Republic Act No. 6735 provides provides for the effectivity of the law after publication in print media. This indicates that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional amendm amendment entss becaus because e the latter latter take take effect effect only only upon upon ratification and not after publication. Issue: WoN R.A. 6735 is sufficient to cover the system on amendments to the constitution Held: No, although R.A. 6735 intended to include the system of initiative on amendments to the constitution, but it is unfortunately inadequate inadequate to c over that system. While the Act provides provides subtitles subtitles for National National Initiativ Initiative e and Referendu Referendum m (Subtitle II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution. This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative and referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementatio implementation n of the initiative initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and local laws. While R.A. No. 6735 exerted utmost diligence and care in provid providing ing for the details details in the implem implement entati ation on of 

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. initiative and referendum on national and local legislation thereby thereby giving giving them special special attention, attention, it failed, failed, rather rather inten intentio tional nally, ly, to do so on the system system of initia initiativ tive e on amendments to the Constitution. Upon the other hand, as to initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of its twenty-three sections, merely (a) mentions, the word "Constitution" in Section 2; (b) defines "initiative on the Constitution" and includes it in the enumeration of the three systems of initiative in Section 3; (c) speaks of "plebiscite" as the process by which the proposition in an initiative on the Constitution may be approved or rejected by the people; (d) reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number of voters who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for the date of effectivity of the approved proposition. There was, was, theref therefore ore,, an obviou obviouss downgr downgradi ading ng of the more more important important or the paramount paramount system of initiative initiative.. RA. No. 6735 thus delivered delivered a humiliati humiliating ng blow to the system system of  initiative initiative on amendmen amendments ts to the Constitution Constitution by merely merely paying it a reluctant lip service. The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6 735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting wanting in essential essential terms and condition conditionss insofar insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by "empoweri "empowering" ng" the COMELEC COMELEC "to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [the] Act.

Lambino vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 174153 Oct 25, 2006) The essence of amendments amendments "directly "directly proposed by the people through initiative initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal proposal on its face is a  petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and thus sign t he entire proposal. No agent or  representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a  petition,  petition, the proposal proposal must be embodied embodied in a petition. petition. These essential essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is  first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete  proposal in a petition.

On 15 February 2006, petitioners in G.R. No. 174153, namely Raul L. Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado ("Lambino Group"),


with other groups and individua individuals, ls, commenced commenced gathering signatures signatures for an initiative initiative petition to change change the 1987 Constitution. On 25 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition petition with the COMELEC COMELEC to hold a plebiscite plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) and Section Section 7 of Republic Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiativ Initiative e and Referendum Act ("RA 6735"). The Lambino Group alleged that their petition petition had the support support of 6,327,952 6,327,952 individual individualss consti constitut tuting ing at least least twelve twelve per centum centum (12%) (12%) of all registered voters, with each legislative district represented by at least three per centum (3%) of its registered voters. The Lambino Group also claimed claimed that COMELEC election election registrars registrars had verified verified the signature signaturess of the 6.3 million million individuals. The Lambino Group's initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislati (Legislative ve Departmen Department) t) and Sections Sections 1-4 of Article Article VII (Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII entitled "Transitory Provisions." These proposed changes will shift the present present Bicameral Bicameral-Pres -President idential ial system system to a Unicamera UnicamerallParliamentary form of government. Issue: WoN the Lambino Group's initiative petition complies with with Sect Sectio ion n 2, Arti Articl cle e XVII XVII of the the Cons Consti titu tuti tion on on amendments to the Constitution through a people's initiative Held: No, the Lambino Group miserably failed to comply with the basic requirements of the Constitution for conducting a people's initiative. he framers of the Constitution intended that the "draft of the proposed constitutional amendment" should be "ready and shown" to the people "before" they sign such proposal. The framers plainly stated that "before they sign there is already a draft shown to them." The framers also "envisioned" that the people should sign on the proposal itself because the proponents must "prepare that proposal and and pass pass it arou around nd for for sign signat atur ure. e."" The The esse essenc nce e of  amendm amendment entss "direc "directly tly propos proposed ed by the people people throug through h initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and

thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. Thus, an amendment is "directly proposed by the people through initia initiativ tive e upon upon a petiti petition" on" only if the people people sign sign on a peti petiti tion on that that cont contai ains ns the the full full text text of the the prop propos osed ed amendments. The Lambino Group's signature sheets do not contain the full text of the proposed changes, either on the face of the signature signature sheets, or as attachment attachment with an indica indicatio tion n in the signa signatur ture e sheet sheet of such such attach attachmen ment. t. Petiti Petitione onerr Atty. Atty. Lambin Lambino o admitt admitted ed this this during during the oral oral arguments, and this admission binds the Lambino Group. This fact is also obvious from a mere reading of the signature sheet. This omission is fatal. The failure to so include the text of the proposed changes in the signature sheets renders the initiative void for non-compliance with the constitutional requirement that the amendment must be "directly proposed by the people people throug through h initia initiativ tive e upon upon a petiti petition. on."" The signat signature ure sheet sheet is not the "petit "petition ion"" envisi envisione oned d in the initia initiativ tive e claus clause e of the Consti Constitut tution ion.. Also, Also, a people people's 's initiativ initiative e to change change the Constitution Constitution applies only to an amendment amendment of the Constitution Constitution and not to its revision. revision. Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers powers or the system of checks-a checks-and-b nd-balan alances. ces. There is also revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of  the constitut constitution, ion, as when the change change affects affects substanti substantial al prov provis isio ions ns of the the cons consti titu tuti tion on.. On the the othe otherr hand hand,, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or delete deletess withou withoutt alter altering ing the basic basic princi principle ple involv involved. ed. Revisi Revision on genera generally lly affect affectss severa severall provis provision ionss of the constituti constitution, on, while amendment amendment generally generally affects affects only the specific specific provision provision being amended. amended. The Lambino Lambino Group's Group's initia initiativ tive e is a revisi revision on and not merely merely an amendm amendment ent.. Quantitati Quantitatively vely,, the Lambino Lambino Group's Group's proposed proposed changes changes overhaul overhaul two articles articles - Article Article VI on the Legislature Legislature and

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. Articl Article e VII VII on the Executi Executive ve - affect affecting ing a total total of 105 provisions provisions in the entire entire Constituti Constitution. on. Qualitativ Qualitatively, ely, the propos proposed ed change changess alter alter subst substant antial ially ly the basic basic plan plan of  government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral bicameral to a unicameral unicameral legislature. legislature. A change change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great co-equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This alters the separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present present BicameralBicameral-Presi President dential ial system system to a Unicamera UnicamerallParliamen Parliamentary tary system is a revision revision of the Constitution. Constitution. Merging the legislative and executive branches is a radical change in the structure of government. The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus of Executive Power alters alters the separa separatio tion n of powers powers and thus thus consti constitut tutes es a revision of the Constitution. Likewise, the abolition alone of  one chamber of Congress alters the system of checks-andbalances within the legislature and constitutes a revision of  the Constitution. By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift shift from from a Bicame Bicameral ral-Pr -Presi esiden dentia tiall to a Unicam Unicamera erallParliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of  the President and the abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere amendment. On the face alone of the Lambino Group's proposed changes, it is readily readily apparent that the changes changes will radically radically alter the framework of government as set forth in the Constitution.

Recall Afiado vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 141787 Sep 1, 2000) When an elective public official was installed in a higher office through succession, a recall against him during his previous elective post is already  rendered moot and academic.

During During the May 11,1998 11,1998 elections elections in Santiago Santiago City, Joel Miranda won as Mayor while Amelita Navarro won as vicemayor. mayor. Miranda Miranda was removed removed from office office after after it was held that the certificate of candidacy of his father Antonio Abaya


(whom Joel substituted) substituted) was not valid thus Joel Miranda Miranda could could not be validl validly y procla proclaime imed d as the winne winnerr in the mayoralty mayoralty elections. elections. By virtue virtue of the law on succession succession,, Navarro became the new mayor. On the other hand when she was still a vice-mayor, Navarro was sought to be recalled through a preparatory recall assembly (PRA) Issue: WoN an elective official who became City Mayor by legal succession can be the subject of a recall election by virtue of a Preparatory Recall Assembly Resolution which was passed passed or adopted when the said elective elective official official was still the Vice-Mayor Held: No, such such action is already already moot and academic. academic. The assumption by legal succession of the petitioner as the new Mayor of Santiago City is a supervening event which rendered the recall proceeding proceeding against against her moot and academic. academic. A perusal of the said Resolution reveals that the person subject of the recall process is a specific elective official in relation to her specific specific office. office. The said resolution resolution is replete replete with statements, which leave no doubt that the purpose of the assembly assembly was to recall recall petitioner petitioner as Vice Mayor for her official acts as Vice Mayor. The title itself suggests that the recall is intended for the incumbent Vice Mayor of Santiago City. The third paragraph of the resolution recounted "the official acts of City Vice Mayor Navarro that brought forth the loss of confidence in her capacity and fitness to discharge the duties and to perform the functions of her public office." And because of such acts, the assembly "RESOLVED to invoke the rescission of the electoral mandate of the incumbent City Vice Mayor." Clearly, the intent of the PRA as expressed in the said Resolution is to remove the petitioner as Vice Mayor for they already lost their confidence in her by reason of her official acts as such. To recall, then, the petitioner when she is already the incumbent City Mayor is to deviate from the expressed will of the PRA. Having, thus, succeeded to the position of City Mayor, the petitioner was placed beyond the reach reach of the effects effects of the PRA Resolu Resolutio tion. n. Even if the Preparato Preparatory ry Recall Recall Assembly Assembly were to reconvene reconvene to adopt adopt

another another resolution resolution for the recall of Amelita Amelita Navarro, this time as Mayor of Santiago Santiago City, the same would still not prosper in view of Section 74 (b) of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that "No recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption of office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular election." There is no more allowable time in the light of that law within which to hold recall elections for that purpose. The then Vice-Mayor Amelita S. Navarro assumed office as Mayor of Santiago City on October 11, 1999. One year after her assumption of office as Mayor will be October 11, 2000 which is already within the one (1) year prohibited period immediately preceding the next regular election in May 200 1.

Socrates vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154512 Nov 12, 2002)   After After three consecutive consecutive terms, an elective elective local official official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third  consecutiv consecutive e term. Any subsequen subsequentt election, election, like a recall recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition.

Victorio Socrates is the mayor of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Incumbent Incumbent barangay officials officials of Puerto Puerto Princesa Princesa convened convened themselves themselves into a preparato preparatory ry recall recall assembly assembly (PRA) to initiate the recall of Socrates. The COMELEC gave due course to the recall resolution and scheduled the recall election. Edward Edward Hagedorn Hagedorn filed his certificate certificate of candidacy candidacy for the recall election. Adovo and Gilo filed before the COMELEC a petition to disqualify Hagedorn on the ground that Hagedorn is disqualified from running for a fourth consecutive term, having been elected and having served as mayor of the city for three (3) consecutive full terms immediately prior to the instant recall election for the same post. Issue: WON Hagedorn is qualified to run for mayor in the recall election of Puerto Princesa on September 24, 2002 Held: Held: Yes, Yes, Hagedo Hagedorn rn is qualif qualified ied to run run for the recall recall election. election. After three three consecuti consecutive ve terms, terms, an elective elective local

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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc. official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term. Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the prohibition for two reasons. First, a subseque subsequent nt election like a recall recall election election is no longer an immediate reelection after three consecutive terms. Second, the intervening period constitutes an involuntary interruption in the continuity of service. In the case of Hagedorn, his candidacy in the recall election on September 24, 2002 is not an immediate immediate reelection reelection after after his third third consecuti consecutive ve term which ended on June 30, 2001. The immediate reelection that the Constitution barred Hagedorn from seeking referred to the regular regular elections elections in 2001. Hagedorn Hagedorn did not seek reelection in the 2001 elections. From June 30, 2001 until the recall election election on September September 24, 2002, the mayor of  Puerto Puerto Princesa Princesa was Socrates. Socrates. During the same period, Hagedorn was simply a private citizen. This period is clearly an interruption interruption in the continuity continuity of Hagedorn' Hagedorn's service service as mayor, mayor, not becaus because e of his volunt voluntary ary renun renuncia ciatio tion, n, but because of a legal prohibition. Hagedorn's three consecutive terms ended on June 30, 2001. Hagedorn's new recall term from September 24, 2002 to June 30, 2004 is not a seamless continuat continuation ion of his previous three consecutive consecutive terms as mayor. One cannot stitch together Hagedorn's previous threeterms with his new recall term to make the recall term a fourth fourth consecuti consecutive ve term because because factually it is not. An involunta involuntary ry interrup interruption tion occurred from June 30, 2001 to Sept Septem embe berr 24, 24, 2002 2002 whic which h brok broke e the the cont contin inui uity ty or consecutive character of Hagedorn's service as mayor.

Latasa vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154829 Dec 10, 2003)  A mayor for 3 consecutive term of a municipality which became a city in the said mayor’s last term is barred from running in the next preceding election if the said new city has the same territorial jurisdiction when it was still a municipality.

Arsenio A. Latasa, was elected mayor of the Municipality of  Digos, Davao del Sur in the elections of 1992, 1995, and 1998. During petitioner’s third term, the Municipality of Digos was


became a component city. On February 28, 2001, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the May 14, 2001 elections. elections. He stated stated therein that that he is eligible eligible therefor, and likewise disclosed that he had already served for three consecutive terms as mayor of the Municipality of  Digos and is now running for the first time for the position of  city mayor. On March 1, 2001, private respondent Romeo M. Sunga, also a candidate for city mayor in the said elections, filed before the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due Course, Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and/ or For Disqualification against petitioner Latasa. Latasa. Respondent Sunga alleged therein therein that petitioner petitioner falsely falsely represen represented ted in his certificate certificate of  candidacy that he is eligible to run as mayor of Digos City since petitioner petitioner had already already been elected elected and served for three consecuti consecutive ve terms as mayor from 1992 to 2001. On March 5, 2001, petitioner Latasa filed his Answer, arguing that that he did not make make any false false repres represen entat tation ion in his certificate of candidacy since he fully disclosed therein that he had served as mayor of the Municipality of Digos for three consecutive terms. Moreover, he argued that this fact does not bar him from filing a certificate of candidacy for the May 14, 2001 elections since this will be the first time that he will be running for the post of city mayor. Issue: WON Latasa is barred from running as mayor of the newly created city of Digos being the mayor of Digos for 3 consecutive term when it was still a municipality. Held: Yes, Latasa is barred from running. An elective local official, official, therefore, therefore, is not barred from running running again in for same local government post, unless two conditions concur: 1.) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms to the same local government post, and 2.) that he has fully served three consecutive terms. In the present case, petitioner argued that a city and a municipality have separate and distinct personalities. personalities. Thus they cannot cannot be treated as a single entity and must be accorded different treatment treatment consistent consistent with specific provisions provisions of the Local Local Governmen Governmentt Code. He does not deny the fact that he has

already already served served for three three consecut consecutive ive terms as municipal municipal mayor. However, he asserts asserts that when Digos was converted converted from a municipality to a city, it attained a different juridical personali personality. ty. Therefore Therefore,, when he filed his certifica certificate te of  candidacy for city mayor, he cannot be construed as vying for the same local government post. True, the new city acquired a new corporate existence separate and distinct from that of  the municipality. This does not mean, however, however, that for the purpose of applying the subject Constitutional provision, the office of the municipal mayor would now be construed as a different local government post as that of the office of the city mayor. As stated earlier, the the territorial jurisdiction jurisdiction of  the City of Digos is the same as that of the municipality. Conseque Consequently, ntly, the inhabitan inhabitants ts of the municipal municipality ity are the same as those in the city. These inhabitants inhabitants are the same group of voters who elected petitioner Latasa to be their municipal mayor for three consecutive consecutive terms. These are also the same inhabitants over whom he held power and authority as their chief executive for nine years. The delineation of the metes and bounds of the City of Digos did not change even by an inch the land area previously covered by the Municipality of Digos. Digos. The framer framerss of the Consti Constitut tution ion specif specifica ically lly included included an exception exception to the people’s freedom freedom to choose choose those who will govern them in order to avoid the evil of a single person accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the same office. office. To allow petition petitioner er Latasa Latasa to vie for the positi position on of city city mayor mayor after after having having served served for three three consecuti consecutive ve terms as a municipal municipal mayor would obviously obviously defeat the very intent of the framers when they wrote this exception. Should he be allowed another another three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of Digos, petitioner would then be possibly possibly holding office as chief chief executive executive over the same territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a total of eighteen consecuti consecutive ve years. This is the very scenario scenario sought to be avoided by the Constitution, if not abhorred by it.

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