FACTS: This is a petition that seeks to prevent the postponement of the May 6, 2002 elections, as well as to prevent Congress from enacting into law a proposed bill lowering the membership age in the SK. The COMELEC is mandated by RA 7808 to supervise the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections. Accordingly, the COMELEC issued Resolutions 4713 and 4714 to govern the SK elections on May 6, 2002. On February 2002, petitioner Antoinette V.C. Monteclaros sent a letter to the COMELEC demanding that the SK elections be held as scheduled on May 6, 2002. (Note: Under RA 7808, SK elections should be scheduled on the first Monday of May, 1996 and every three years thereafter). Two days later, then COMELEC Chairman Alfredo Benipayo wrote identical letters to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President regarding the pending bills on the SK and Barangay elections, saying that it would be difficult to hold both elections simultaneously on May 2002. On March 2002, the Senate and the HOR approved (on separate dates) the Bicameral committees consolidated bill (i.e. Senate Bill No. 2050 and House Bill No. 4456) which moved the SK and Barangay elections to July 15, 2002 and lowered the membership age in the SK to at least 15 but not more than 18 years of age. (Note: Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the age for membership was formerly limited to those at least 15 but not more than 21 years of age). The president signed the bill into law as RA 9164. NOTE: Basically, the petitioner’s problem here is that because the date of the election was moved and because the age requirements were changed, many members of the youth are now disqualified from participating in the SK elections.
DOCTRINE: Requisites of Judicial Review The Court's power of judicial review may be exercised in constitutional cases only if all the following requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of an actual and appropriate case or controversy; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.
ISSUE: WON there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the respondent.
Was there an actual and appropriate case or controversy? NO. As to the issue of the date of the election: There is no actual controversy. Petitioners were amenable to resetting the elections to any date not later than July 15, 2002. RA 9164 reset the date to July 5, 2002 - a date which was acceptable to the petitioners. As to the issue of the age requirement: NO. There can be no justiciable controversy regarding the constitutionality of a proposed bill. It is not yet a law. The judicial power to review the constitutionality of laws does NOT include the power to prescribe to Congress what laws to enact. (IN SHORT: Reviewing the constitutionality of a law may only be done AFTER it is passed, and not before).
Did the petitioners have Locus Standi? NO. The new law restricts membership in the SK to people ages 15 to less than 18. Petitioners no longer belong to this age group and are disqualified from participating in the July 2002 elections, i.e., they no longer have a personal and substantial interest in the SK elections. b. Did the petitioners raise a constitutional question? NO. In order to grant the prayer of the petitioners to be allowed to vote on the July 2002 SK elections, the constitutionality of RA 9164 should first be assailed. The petitioners have NOT done this. Was the exercise of judicial review pleaded at the earliest opportunity? No need to bring this up. NOT DISCUSSED IN THE CASE. Was the constitutional question the lis mota of the case? No need to bring this up. There was no constitutional question to begin with. NOT DISCUSSED IN THE CASE.
ON WON there was grave abuse of discretion: NO. The COMELEC enjoys the presumption of regularity in performing election related acts, unless petitioners can prove otherwise. Petitioners failed to prove that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in recommending to Congress the postponement of the May 6, 2002 SK elections. The evidence cited by petitioners even establish that the Comelec has demonstrated an earnest effort to address the practical problems in holding the SK elections on May 6, 2002. PETITION DISMISSED.