Montejo v Comelec (Digest)
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Digest Author: Cecille Mangaser Cirilo Roy Montejo v. Commission on Elections GR Number 118702 Petition: Petition to annul COMELEC Resolution No. 2736 Petitioner: Cirilo Roy G. Montejo Respondent: Commission on Elections Intervenor: Sergio A. F. Apostol Ponente: Puno, J. Date: March 16, 1995 Facts: The province of Leyte, with the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc, is composed of five legislative districts1. Biliran, located in the third district of Leyte, was made its sub-province by virtue of RA 2141. When the Local Government Code took effect in 1992, the sub-province of Biliran became a regular province. Consequently, the 8 municipalities of the Third District composed the new province of Biliran, and the Third District was reduced to 5 municipalities 2. To remedy the inequality in the distribution of inhabitants, the COMELEC held consultation meetings and promulgated Resolution No. 2736. It transferred the municipality of Capoocan of the 2 nd District and the municipality of Palompon of the 4th District to the 3rd District of Leyte. Petitioner, representing the First District of Leyte, pleads for the annulment of Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 of COMELEC on the ground that it violates the principle of equality of representation. Petitioner also seeks to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from his district to the second district of the province (represented by Intervenor, Sergio Apostol). Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC had the constitutional power to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another legislative district. Ruling: No. The basic powers of COMELEC, as the enforcer and administrator of the election laws, are spelled out in Section 2(c), Article IX of the Constitution. The Constitutional Commission denied to the COMELEC the major power of legislative apportionment as itself exercised power. Section 2 of the Ordinance only empowers COMELEC to make minor adjustments of the reapportionments made. COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it promulgated Section 1 of the Resolution. Section 5(4), Article VI of the Constitution categorically gives the Congress the power to reapportion. Dispositive:
1 First District: Tacloban City and municipalities of Alangalang, Babatngon, Palo, San Miguel, Sta. Fe, Tanauan and Tolosa; Second District: Municipalities of Barugo, Barauen, Capoocan, Carigara, Dagami, Dulag, Jaro, Julita, La Paz, Mayorga, MacArthur, Pastrana, Tabontabon, amd Tunga; Third District: Municipalities of Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Calubian, Culaba, Kawayan, Leyte, Maripipi, Naval, San Isidro, Tabango, and Villaba; Fourth District: Ormoc City and the municipalities of Albuera, Isabel, Kananga, Matagob, Merida, and Palompon; Fifth District: Municipalities of Abuyog, Bato, Baybay, Hilongos, Hindang, Inopacan, Javier, Mahaplag, and Matalom
2 With a total population of 145,067 as per the 1990 Census
Digest Author: Cecille Mangaser Section 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 2736 is annulled and set aside. The petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosa from the 1 st District to the 2nd District of Leyte is denied.