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CASE DIGESTS (Of Supreme Court Decisions On the Three (3) Consecutive Term Rule on Local Elective Officials)

July 2 !3 E"ition
Prepared by ATTY. LARRY D. GACAYAN Professor of Law UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS COLLEGE OF LAW Baguio City (POLITICAL LAW REVIEW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II ) BAR REVIEWER (Political Law & Constitutional Law) C.P.R.S. BAR REVIEW CENTER Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Ozamis City, I oi o City, Baguio City,and !a" oban City, POWERHAWS BAR REVIEW CENTER Baguio City, #antiago City, Isabe a, #an $ernando City, %a &nion, 'ani a, (aga City, !a" oban City, Di)o og City and !agbi aran City COSMOPOLITAN REVIEW CENTER (CRC) &niversity o* t+e Cordi eras, Baguio City E CELLENT BAR REVIEW CENTER Baguio City, Cebu City and !a" oban City HOLY TRINITY COLLE!E PRE"BAR REVIEW CENTER ,enera #antos City UNIVERSITY OF PAN!ASINAN BAR REVIEW CENTER Dagu)an City
JURISPRUDENCE ON THE 3-TERM LIMIT OF LOCAL

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
(Section ! A"tic#e $! %& ' Con(tit)tion* NOTE: The Abundo case is very important because it summarizes and explains the differences of the seemingly conflicting decisions of the Supreme Court insofar as the three term limit is concerned in different situations! "or a full understanding of the different doctrines# all the cases mentioned in Abundo are also discussed herein belo$! ! MAYOR A+ELARDO A+UNDO.! SR. VS. COMELEC , ERNESTO VEGA! G.R. No. -.%'%/! JANUARY . ! -.%3 In -..%! 0e 1on 2( M23o". In -..4! 0i( o55onent 12( initi2##3 5"oc#2i6e7 1inne" 8)t on P"ote(t! 0e 12( 7ec#2"e7 M23o" in M23! -../ (o 0e 12( 28#e to (e"9e % 3e2" o: 0i( ()55o(e7 3-3e2" te"6. In -..'! 0e 1on 2;2in 2( M23o". M23 0e ")n :o" M23o" in t0e M23 -.%. e#ection( 1it0o)t 9io#2tin; t0e 3-con(ec)ti9e te"6 ")#e< THE FACTS= #or four ($) successive re%ular elections& namely& the 2 !& 2 $& 2 ' an" 2 ! national an" local elections& ()un"o vie" for the position of municipal mayor of *i%a& Catan"uanes+ ,n )oth the 2 ! an" 2 ' runs& he emer%e" an" -as proclaime" as the -innin% mayoralty can"i"ate an" accor"in%ly serve" the correspon"in% terms as mayor+ ,n the 2 $ electoral "er)y& ho-ever& the *i%a municipal )oar" of canvassers initially proclaime" as -inner one Jose Torres (Torres)& -ho& in "ue time& performe" the functions of the office of mayor+ ()un"o proteste" Torres. election an" proclamation+ ()un"o -as eventually "eclare" the -inner of the 2 $ mayoralty electoral contest& pavin% the -ay for his assumption of office startin% /ay 0& 2 1 until the en" of the 2 $22 ' term on June 3 & 2 '& or for a perio" of a little over one year an" one month+ Then came the /ay ! & 2 ! elections -here ()un"o an" Torres a%ain oppose" each other+ 3hen ()un"o file" his certificate of can"i"acy for the mayoralty seat relative to this electoral contest& Torres lost no time in see4in% the former.s "is5ualification to run& the correspon"in% petition& "oc4ete" as S6( Case 7o+ ! 2 !28 (DC)& pre"icate" on the three2consecutive term limit rule+ On June !1& 2 ! & the CO/ELEC #irst Division issue" a Resolution fin"in% for ()un"o& -ho in the meantime )este" Torres )y 2!0 *otes an" -as accor"in%ly proclaime" 2 ! mayor2elect of *i%a& Catan"uanes+ /ean-hile& on /ay 2!& 2 ! & or )efore the CO/ELEC coul" resolve the a"verte" "is5ualification case Torres initiate" a%ainst ()un"o& herein private respon"ent Ernesto R+ *e%a (*e%a) commence" a quo warranto' action )efore the RTC29r+ $3 in *irac& Catan"uanes& "oc4ete" as Election Case 7o+ ::& to unseat ()un"o on essentially the same %roun"s Torres raise" in his petition to "is5ualify+ 9y Decision8 of (u%ust 0& 2 ! in Election Case 7o+ ::& the RTC "eclare" ()un"o ineli%i)le to serve as municipal mayor& "isposin% as follo-s; 3<ERE#ORE& Decision is& here)y& ren"ere" =R(7T,7= the petition an" "eclarin% ()elar"o ()un"o& Sr+ ineli%i)le to serve as municipal mayor of *i%a& Catan"uanes+ ,n so rulin%& the trial court& citin% Aldovino, Jr. v. COMELEC foun" ()un"o to have alrea"y serve" three consecutive mayoralty terms& to -it& 2 !22 $& 2 $22 ' an" 2 '22 ! & an"& hence& "is5ualifie" for another& i+e+& fourth& consecutive term+ ()un"o& the RTC note"& ha" )een "eclare" -inner in the aforesai" 2 $ elections conse5uent to his protest an" occupie" the position of an" actually serve" as *i%a mayor for over a year of the remainin% term& i+e+& from /ay 0& 2 1 to June 3 & 2 '& to )e e>act+

To the RTC& the year an" a month service constitutes a complete an" full service of ()un"o.s secon" term as mayor+ Therefrom& ()un"o appeale" to the CO/ELEC& his recourse "oc4ete" as E(C ((E) 7o+ (22:22 ! + On #e)ruary 8& 2 !2& in E(C ((E) 7o+ (22:22 ! & the CO/ELEC.s Secon" Division ren"ere" the first assaile" Resolution& the "ispositive portion of -hich rea"s as follo-s; 3<ERE#ORE& in vie- of the fore%oin%& the "ecision of the Re%ional Trial Court 9ranch '3& *irac& Catan"uanes is (##,R/ED an" the appeal is D,S/,SSED for lac4 of merit+ Just li4e the RTC& the CO/ELEC.s Secon" Division rule" a%ainst ()un"o on the stren%th of Aldovino, Jr. an" hel" that service of the une>pire" portion of a term )y a protestant -ho is "eclare" -inner in an election protest is consi"ere" as service for one full term -ithin the contemplation of the three2term limit rule+ ,n time& ()un"o sou%ht )ut -as "enie" reconsi"eration )y the CO/ELEC en banc per its e5ually assaile" Resolution of /ay ! & 2 !2+ The CO/ELEC en banc.s Resolution rea"s as follo-s; 3<ERE#ORE& premises consi"ere"& the motion for reconsi"eration is DE7,ED for lac4 of merit+ The Resolution of the Commission (Secon" Division) is here)y (##,R/ED+ SO ORDERED+!2 ,n affirmin% the Resolution of its Secon" Division& the CO/ELEC en banc hel" in essence the follo-in%; first& there -as no involuntary interruption of ()un"o.s 2 $22 ' term service -hich -oul" )e an e>ception to the three2term limit rule as he is consi"ere" never to have lost title to the "ispute" office after he -on in his election protest? an" second& -hat the Constitution prohi)its is for an elective official to )e in office for the same position for more than three consecutive terms an" not to the service of the term+ On June 20& 2 !2& the CO/ELEC EC(D 9ailiff personally "elivere" the entire recor"s of the instant case to& an" -ere "uly receive" )y& the cler4 of court of RTC29r+ $3+ On June 20& 2 !2& or on the same "ay of its receipt of the case recor"s& the RTC29r+ $3 in *irac& Catan"uanes %rante" *e%a.s /otion for E>ecution throu%h an Or"er of even "ate+ (n" a 3rit of E>ecution!0 -as issue" on the same "ay+ On July 2& 2 !2& Sheriff @+ Ta"or& Jr+ receive" the 3rit of E>ecution an" serve" the same at the office of /ayor ()un"o on the same "ay via su)stitute" service+ On July 3& 2 !2& the Court issue" a TRO2 enAoinin% the enforcement of the assaile" CO/ELEC Resolutions+ On July $& 2 !2& *e%a receive" the Court.s July 3& 2 !2 Resolution2! an" a copy of the TRO+ On the same "ay& *ice2/ayor Emeterio /+ Tarin an" #irst Councilor Cesar O+ Cervantes of *i%a& Catan"uanes too4 their oaths of office22 as mayor an" vice2mayor of *i%a& Catan"uanes& respectively+ Co"e I(()e= >0et0e" o" not A8)n7o i( 7ee6e7 to 029e (e"9e7 t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( The pivotal "eterminative issue then is -hether the service of a term less than the full three years )y an electe" official arisin% from his )ein% "eclare" as the "uly electe" official upon an election protest is consi"ere" as full service of the term for purposes of the application of the three consecutive term limit for elective local officials+ On this core issue& 3e fin" the petition meritorious+ The consecutiveness of -hat other-ise -oul" have )een ()un"o.s three successive& continuous mayorship -as effectively )ro4en "urin% the 2 $2 2 ' term -hen he -as initially "eprive" of title to& an" -as verita)ly "isallo-e" to serve an" occupy& an office to -hich he& after "ue procee"in%s& -as eventually "eclare" to have )een the ri%htful choice of the electorate+ The three2term limit rule for elective local officials& a "is5ualification rule& is foun" in Section 8& (rticle B of the !08' Constitution& -hich provi"es; Sec+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no ()c0 o::ici2# (02## (e"9e :o" 6o"e t02n t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( +

*oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ (Emphasis supplie"+) an" is reiterate" in Sec+ $3()) of Repu)lic (ct 7o+ (R() '!1 & or the Local =overnment Co"e (L=C) of !00!& thusly; Sec+ $3+ Term of Office+ C ()) No #oc2# e#ecti9e o::ici2# (02## (e"9e :o" 6o"e t02n t0"ee (3* con(ec)ti9e te"6( in t0e (26e 5o(ition+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+ To constitute a "is5ualification to run for an elective local office pursuant to the afore5uote" constitutional an" statutory provisions& the follo-in% re5uisites must concur+ (%* t02t t0e o::ici2# conce"ne7 02( 8een elected for three consecutive terms in t0e (26e #oc2# ;o9e"n6ent 5o(t? 2n7 (-* t02t 0e 02( fully served three consecutive terms. Ju"%in% from e>tant Aurispru"ence& the three2term limit rule& as applie" to the "ifferent factual milieus& has its complicate" si"e+ 3e shall revisit an" analyDe the various hol"in%s an" relevant pronouncements of the Court on the matter+ (s is clearly provi"e" in Sec+ 8& (rt+ B of the Constitution as -ell as in Sec+ $3()) of the L=C& voluntary renunciation of the office )y the incum)ent elective local official for any len%th of time shall 7OT& in "eterminin% service for three consecutive terms& )e consi"ere" an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+ ,n Aldovino, Jr., ho-ever& the Court state" the o)servation that the la- E"oes not textually state that voluntary renunciation is the only actual interruption of service that "oes not affect Fcontinuity of service for a full term. for purposes of the three2term limit rule+G (s stresse" in ocrates v. Commission on Elections&33 the principle )ehin" the three2term limit rule covers only consecutive terms an" that -hat the Constitution prohi)its is a consecutive fourth term+ 6ut a )it "ifferently& an elective local official cannot& follo-in% his thir" consecutive term& see4 imme"iate reelection for a fourth term&3$ al)eit he is allo-e" to see4 a fresh term for the same position after the election -here he coul" have sou%ht his fourth term )ut prevente" to "o so )y reason of the prohi)ition+ There has& in fine& to )e a )rea4 or interruption in the successive terms of the official after his or her thir" term+ (n interruption usually occurs -hen the official "oes not see4 a fourth term& imme"iately follo-in% the thir"+ Of course& the )asic la- is une5uivocal that a Evoluntary renunciation of t!e office for any len"t! of time s!all #OT be considered an interru$tion in t!e continuity of service for t!e full term for w!ic! t!e elective official concerned was elected+G This 5ualification -as ma"e as a "eterrent a%ainst an elective local official inten"in% to s4irt the three2term limit rule )y merely resi%nin% )efore his or her thir" term en"s+ This is a voluntary interruption as "istin%uishe" from involuntary interruption -hich may )e )rou%ht a)out )y certain events or causes+ 3hile appearin% to )e seemin%ly simple& the three2term limit rule has en%en"ere" a host of "isputes resultin% from the varyin% interpretations applie" on local officials -ho -ere electe" an" serve" for three terms or more& )ut -hose terms or service -as punctuate" )y -hat they vie- as involuntary interruptions& thus entitlin% them to a& )ut -hat their opponents perceive as a proscri)e"& fourth term+ ,nvoluntary interruption is claime" to result from any of these events or causes; succession or assumption of office )y operation of la-& preventive suspension& "eclaration of the "efeate" can"i"ate as the -inner in an election contest& "eclaration of the proclaime" can"i"ate as the losin% party in an election contest& proclamation of a noncan"i"ate as the -inner in a recall election& removal of the official )y operation of la-& an" other analo%ous causes+ This )rin%s us to an e>amination of situations an" Aurispru"ence -herein such consecutive terms -ere consi"ere" or not consi"ere" as havin% )een Einvoluntarily interru$ted or bro%en.G A(()65tion o: O::ice 83 O5e"2tion o: L21

,n %or&a# 'r! v! Commission on Elections and 'ose T! Capco# 'r! (%&& * 2n7 (ontebon v! Commission on Elections (2 8)& the Court "elve" on the effects of E assum$tion to office by o$eration of law G on the three2term limit rule+ This contemplates a situation -herein an elective local official fills )y succession a hi%her local %overnment post permanently left vacant "ue to any of the follo-in% contin%encies& i+e+& -hen the suppose" incum)ent refuses to assume office& fails to 5ualify& "ies& is remove" from office& voluntarily resi%ns or is other-ise permanently incapacitate" to "ischar%e the functions of his office+ ,n %or&a# 'r!! Jose T+ Capco& Jr+ (Capco) -as electe" vice2mayor of 6ateros on January !8& !088 for a term en"in% June 3 & !002+ On Septem)er 2& !080& Capco )ecame mayor& )y operation of la-& upon the "eath of the incum)ent mayor& Cesar 9orAa+ Capco -as then electe" an" serve" as mayor for terms !0022!00: an" !00:2!008+ 3hen Capco e>presse" his intention to run a%ain for the mayoralty position "urin% the !008 elections& 9enAamin H+ 9orAa& Jr+& -ho -as then also a can"i"ate for mayor& sou%ht Capco.s "is5ualification for violation of the three2term limit rule+ #in"in% for Capco& the Court hel" that for the "is5ualification rule to apply& Eit is not enou%h that an in"ivi"ual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office& he must also have )een elected to the same position for the same num)er of times )efore the "is5ualification can apply+G There -as& the Court rule"& no violation of t!e t!ree&term limit, for Capco Ewas not elected to t!e office of t!e mayor in t!e first term but sim$ly found !imself t!rust into it by o$eration of law G -hen a permanent vacancy occurre" in that office+ The Court arrive" at a parallel conclusion in the case of Montebon+ There& /onte)on ha" )een electe" for three consecutive terms as municipal councilor of Tu)uran& Ce)u in !00822 !& 2 !22 $& an" 2 $22 '+ <o-ever& in January 2 $& or "urin% his secon" term& /onte)on succee"e" an" assume" the position of vice2 mayor of Tu)uran -hen the incum)ent vice2mayor retire"+ 3hen /onte)on file" his certificate of can"i"acy a%ain as municipal councilor& a petition for "is5ualification -as file" a%ainst him )ase" on the three2term limit rule+ The Court rule" that /onte)on.s assumption of office as vice2mayor in January 2 $ -as an interruption of

succession in local government office is by operation of la$ 2n7 2( ()c0! it i( 2n in9o#)nt2"3 (e9e"2nce :"o6 o::ice. Since the la- no less allo-e" /onte)on
his continuity of service as councilor+ The Court emphasiDe" that to vacate his post as councilor in or"er to assume office as vice mayor& his occupation of the hi%her office cannot& -ithout more& )e "eeme" as a voluntary renunciation of his position as councilor+ (-* Rec2## E#ection 3ith reference to the effects of recall election on the continuity of service& Adormeo v! Commission on Elections (-..-* an" the aforementione" case of Socrates (-..-* provi"e %ui"ance+ ,n Adormeo& Ramon Tala%a& Jr+ (Tala%a) -as electe" an" serve" as mayor of Lucena City "urin% terms !0022!00: an" !00:2!008+ Durin% the !008 elections& Tala"a lost to 9ernar" =+ Ta%arao+ <o-ever& )efore Ta%arao.s !00822 ! term en"e"& a recall election -as con"ucte" in /ay 2 -herein Tala%a -on an" serve" the une>pire" term of Ta%arao until June 2 !+ 3hen Tala%a ran for mayor in 2 !& his can"i"acy -as challen%e" on the %roun" he ha" alrea"y serve" as mayor for three consecutive terms for violation of the three term2limit rule+ The Court hel" therein that the remain"er of Ta%arao.s term after the recall election "urin% -hich Tala%a serve" as mayor shoul" not )e consi"ere" for purposes of applyin% the three2term limit rule+ The Court emphasiDe" that the continuity of Talaga)s mayorship $as disrupted by his defeat durin" t!e '(() elections+ ( similar conclusion -as reache" )y the Court in ocrates+ The petitioners in that case assaile" the CO/ELEC Resolution -hich "eclare" E"-ar" <a%e"orn 5ualifie" to run for mayor in a recall election+ ,t appeare" that <a%e"orn ha" )een electe" an" serve" as mayor of 6uerto 6rincesa City for three consecutive terms; in !0022!00:& !00:2!008 an" !00822 !+ O)viously a-are of the three2term limit principle& <a%e"orn opte" not to vie for the same mayoralty position in the 2 ! elections& in -hich Socrates ran an" eventually -on+ <o-ever& mi"-ay into his term&

Socrates face" recall procee"in%s an" in the recall election hel"& <a%e"orn run for the former.s une>pire" term as mayor+ Socrates sou%ht <a%e"orn.s "is5ualification un"er the three2term limit rule+ ,n uphol"in% <a%e"orn.s can"i"acy to run in the recall election& the Court rule"; > > > (fter <a%e"orn cease" to )e mayor on June 3 & 2 !& he )ecame a private citizen until the recall election of Septem)er 2$& 2 2 -hen he -on )y 3& !8 votes over his closest opponent& Socrates+ #rom June 3 & 2 ! until the recall election on

D)"in; t0e (26e 5e"io7! H2;e7o"n 12( (i65#3 2 5"i92te citi@en. This period is clearly an interruption in the continuity of *agedorn)s service as mayor# not because of his voluntary renunciation# but because of a legal prohibition!
Septem)er 2$& 2 2& the mayor of 6uerto 6rincesa -as Socrates+ The Court li4e-ise emphasiDe" in ocrates that Ean elective local official cannot see4 i66e7i2te "ee#ection for a fourth term+ The prohi)ite" election refers to the ne>t re%ular election for the same office follo-in% the en" of the thir" consecutive term Ian"& henceJ& *a+ny subsequent election, li%e recall election, is no lon"er covered > > >+G (3* Con9e"(ion o: 2 M)nici52#it3 into 2 Cit3 On the other han"& the conversion of a municipality into a city does not constitute an interruption of the incumbent official)s continuity of service+ The Court sai" so in +atasa v! Commission on Elections (-..3*. Latasa is cast a%ainst the ensuin% )ac4"rop; (rsenio (+ Latasa -as electe" an" serve" as mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os& Davao "el Sur for terms !0022!00:& !00:2!008& an" !00822 !+ Durin% his thir" term& Di%os -as converte" into a component city& -ith the correspon"in% cityhoo" la- provi"in% the hol"over of elective officials+ 3hen Latasa file" his certificate of can"i"acy as mayor for the 2 ! elections& the Court "eclare" Latasa as "is5ualifie" to run as mayor of Di%os City for violation of the three2term limit rule on the )asis of the follo-in% ratiocination; This Court )elieves that (Latasa) "i" involuntarily relin5uish his office as municipal mayor since the sai" office has )een "eeme" a)olishe" "ue to the conversion+ <o-ever& t0e 9e"3 in(t2nt 0e 92c2te7 0i( o::ice 2( 6)nici52# 623o"! 0e 2#(o 2(()6e7 o::ice 2( cit3 623o". Hnli4e in Lon,anida, -here petitioner therein& for even Aust a short perio" of time& steppe" "o-n from office& petitioner L2t2(2 ne9e" ce2(e7 :"o6 2ctin; 2( c0ie: eAec)ti9e o: t0e #oc2# ;o9e"n6ent )nit. <e never cease" from "ischar%in% his "uties an" responsi)ilities as chief e>ecutive of Di%os+

(4* Pe"io7 o: P"e9enti9e S)(5en(ion


In -..&! in t0e c2(e Aldovino 'r!! the Court espouse" the "octrine that the 5e"io7 7)"in; 10ic0 2 #oc2# e#ecte7 o::ici2# i( )n7e" 5"e9enti9e ()(5en(ion c2nnot 8e con(i7e"e7 2( 2n inte"")5tion o: t0e contin)it3 o: 0i( (e"9ice+ The Court e>plaine" -hy so; Strict a"herence to the intent of the three2term limit rule "eman"s that preventive suspension shoul" not )e consi"ere" an interruption that allo-s an elective official.s stay in office )eyon" three terms+ ( 5"e9enti9e ()(5en(ion c2nnot (i65#3 8e 2 te"6 inte"")5tion 8ec2)(e t0e ()(5en7e7 o::ici2# contin)e( to (t23 in o::ice 2#t0o);0 0e i( 82""e7 :"o6 eAe"ci(in; t0e :)nction( 2n7 5"e"o;2ti9e( o: t0e o::ice 1it0in t0e ()(5en(ion 5e"io7+ T!e best indicator of t!e sus$ended official-s

continuity in office is t!e absence of a permanent replacement and t!e lac, of the authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists+$$

(B* E#ection P"ote(t


3ith re%ar" to the effects of an election protest vis2K2vis the three2term limit rule& Aurispru"ence presents a more "ifferin% picture+ The Court.s pronouncements in Lon,anida v. Commission on Elections (!000)& On" v. Ale"re (2 1)& .ivera /// v. Commission on Elections (2 ') an" 0i,on v. Commission on Elections (2 0)& all protest cases& are illuminatin%+ ,n Lon,anida& Romeo LonDani"a -as electe" an" ha" serve" as municipal mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales in terms !0802!002& !0022!00: an" !00:2!008+ <o-ever& his proclamation relative to the !00: election -as proteste" an" -as eventually "eclare" )y the RTC an" then )y CO/ELEC null an" voi" on the %roun" of failure of elections+ On #e)ruary 2'& !008& or a)out t!ree mont!s before t!e May '(() elections& LonDani"a vacate" the mayoralty post in li%ht of a CO/ELEC or"er an" -rit of e>ecution it issue"+ LonDani"a.s opponent assume" office for the remain"er of the term+ ,n the /ay !008 elections& LonDani"a a%ain file" his certificate of can"i"acy+ <is opponent& Efren /uli& file" a petition for "is5ualification on the %roun" that LonDani"a ha" alrea"y serve" three consecutive terms in the same post+ The Court& citin% 1or2a Jr., reiterate" the t-o (2) con"itions -hich must concur for the three2term limit to apply; E!) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post an" 2) that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+G ,n vie- of 1or2a, Jr.& the Court rule" that the fore%oin% re5uisites -ere a)sent in the case of Lon,anida+ The Court hel" that LonDani"a cannot )e consi"ere" as havin% )een "uly electe" to the post in the /ay !00: elections since his assumption of office as mayor E cannot be deemed to !ave been by reason of a valid election but by reason of a void $roclamation+G (n" as a corollary point& the Court state" that LonDani"a "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term havin% )een ordered to vacate !is $ost before t!e ex$iration of t!e term & a situation -hich amounts to an involuntary relinquis!ment of office+ This Court "eviate" from the rulin% in Lon,anida in On" v. Ale"re o-in% to a variance in the factual situations atten"ant+ ,n that case& #rancis On% (On%) -as electe" an" serve" as mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for terms !00:2!008& !00822 !& an" 2 !2 2 $+ Durin% the !008 mayoralty elections& or "urin% his suppose" secon" term& the CO/ELEC nullifie" On%.s proclamation on the postulate that On% lost "urin% the !008 elections+ <o-ever& the CO/ELEC.s "ecision )ecame final an" e>ecutory on July $& 2 !& w!en On" !ad fully served t!e '(()& 344' mayoralty term an" -as in fact alrea"y startin% to serve the 2 !2 2 $ term as mayor2elect of the municipality of San *icente+ ,n 2 $& On% file" his certificate of can"i"acy for the same position as mayor& -hich his opponent oppose" for violation of the three2term limit rule+ On% invo4e" the rulin% in Lon,anida an" ar%ue" that he coul" not )e consi"ere" as havin% serve" as mayor from !00822 ! )ecause he -as not "uly electe" to the post an" merely assume" office as a Epresumptive -inner+G Dismissin% On%.s ar%ument& the Court hel" that his assumption of office as mayor for the term !00822 ! constitutes Eservice for t!e full termG an" hence& shoul" )e counte" for purposes of the three term limit rule+ The Court mo"ifie" the con"itions state" in Lon,anida in the sense that On%.s service -as "eeme" an" counte" as service for a full term )ecause On"-s $roclamation was voided only after t!e ex$iry of t!e term. The Court note" that the CO/ELEC "ecision -hich "eclare" On% as not havin% -on the !008 elections -as E-ithout practical an" le%al use an" valueG promul%ate" as it -as after the conteste" term has e>pire"+ The Court further reasone"; 6etitioner I#rancis On%.sJ contention that he -as only a presumptive -inner in the !008 mayoralty "er)y as his proclamation -as un"er protest did not ma%e !im less t!an a duly elected mayor + Hi( proclamation 2( t0e 7)#3 e#ecte7 623o" in t0e %&& 623o"2#t3 e#ection coupled by his assumption of office 2n7 0i( continuous exercise of the functions t0e"eo: from start to finish of the term ! should legally be ta,en as service for a full term in contemplation of the three term rule! The a)sur"ity an" the "eleterious effect of a contrary vie- is not har" to "iscern+ Such contrary vie- -oul" mean that (le%re -oul" M un"er the three2term rule 2 )e considered as !avin" served a term by virtue of a veritably meanin"less electoral $rotest rulin", w!en anot!er actually served suc! term pursuant to a proclamation ma"e in "ue course after an election+

The Court "i" not apply the rulin% in Lon,anida an" rule" that the case of On% -as different& to -it; The "ifference )et-een the case at )ench an" LonDani"a is at once apparent+ #or one& in Lon,anida, t!e result of t!e mayoralty election was declared a nullity for t!e stated reason of 5failure of election5 & an"& as a conse5uence thereof& the proclamation of LonDani"a as mayor2elect -as nullifie"& follo-e" )y an or"er for him to vacate the office of mayor+ #or another& Lon,anida did not fully serve t!e '((6&'(() mayoral term, t!ere bein" an involuntary severance from office as a result of le"al $rocesse s+ ,n fine& there -as an effective interruption of the continuity of service+ On".s sli%ht "eparture from Lon,anida -oul" later fin" reinforcement in the consoli"ate" cases of .ivera /// v. Commission on Elections:3 an" 0ee v. Morales+ Therein& /orales -as electe" mayor of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a for the follo-in% consecutive terms; !00:2!008& !00822 ! an" 2 !22 $+ ,n relation to the 2 $ elections& /orales a%ain ran as mayor of the same to-n& emer%e" as %arnerin% the maAority votes an" -as proclaime" elective mayor for term commencin% July !& 2 $ to June 3 & 2 '+ ( petition for 5uo -arranto -as later file" a%ainst /orales pre"icate" on the %roun" that he is ineli%i)le to run for a EfourthG term& havin% serve" as mayor for three consecutive terms+ ,n his ans-er& /orales averre" that his suppose" !0082 2 ! term cannot )e consi"ere" a%ainst him& for& althou%h he -as proclaime" )y the /a)alacat )oar" of canvassers as electe" mayor vis2K2vis the !008 elections an" "ischar%e" the "uties of mayor until June 3 & 2 !& his proclamation -as later nullifie" )y the RTC of (n%eles City an" his closest rival& (nthony Dee& proclaime" the "uly electe" mayor+ 6ursuin% his point& /orales parlaye" the i"ea that he only serve" as a mere careta4er+ The Court foun" /orales. posture untena)le an" hel" that the case of /orales presents a factual milieu similar -ith On", not -ith Lon,anida. #or nease of reference& the proclamation of #rancis On%& in On"& -as nullifie"& )ut after he& li4e /orales& ha" serve" the three2year term from the start to the en" of the term+ <ence& the Court conclu"e" that /orales e>cee"e" the three2term limit rule& to wit; <ere& respon"ent /orales -as electe" for the term July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 !+ <e assume" the position+ <e serve" as mayor until June 3 & 2 !+ He 12( 623o" :o" t0e enti"e 5e"io7 not1it0(t2n7in; t0e Deci(ion o: t0e RTC in t0e e#ecto"2# 5"ote(t c2(e :i#e7 83 5etitione" Dee o)(tin; 0i6 ("e(5on7ent* 2( 623o". To reiterate& as hel" in On" v. Ale"re, such circumstance "oes not constitute an interruption in servin% the full term+ Respon"ent /orales is no- servin% his fourth term+ <e has )een mayor of /a)alacat continuously -ithout any )rea4 since July !& !00:+ /n 2ust over a mont!, by June 74, 3448, !e will !ave been mayor of Mabalacat for twelve 9'3: continuous years +:: (Emphasis supplie"+) The Court rule" in .ivera that t!e fact of bein" belatedly ousted, i.e., after t!e ex$iry of t!e term, cannot constitute an interru$tion in /orales. service of the full term? neither can /orales& as he ar%ue"& )e consi"ere" merely a Ecareta4er of the officeG or a mere E"e facto officerG for purposes of applyin% the three2term limit rule+ ,n a relate" 2 0 case of 0i,on v. Commission on Elections& the Court -oul" a%ain fin" the same /ayor /orales as respon"ent in a "is5ualification procee"in% -hen he ran a%ain as a mayoralty can"i"ate "urin% the 2 ' elections for a term en"in% June 3 & 2 ! + <avin% )een unseate" from his post )y virtue of this Court.s rulin% in .ivera& /orales -oul" ar%ue this time aroun" that the three2term limit rule -as no lon%er applica)le as to his 2 ' mayoralty )i"+ This time& the Court rule" in his favor& hol"in% that for purposes of the 2 ' elections& the three2term limit rule -as no lon%er a "is5ualifyin% factor as a%ainst /orales+ The Court -rote; O)" ")#in; in t0e -ivera c2(e (e"9e7 2( Mo"2#e(C in9o#)nt2"3 (e9e"2nce :"o6 o::ice 1it0 "e(5ect to t0e -..4--..' te"6. ,nvoluntary severance from office for any len%th of time short of the full term provi"e" )y la- amounts to an interruption of continuity of service+ Our "ecision in the .ivera case -as promul%ate" on 0 /ay 2 ' an" -as effective imme"iately+ The ne>t "ay& /orales notifie" the vice mayor.s office of our "ecision+ The vice mayor assume" the office of the mayor from !' /ay 2 ' up to 3 June 2 '+ T0e 2(()65tion 83 t0e 9ice 623o" o: t0e o::ice o: t0e 623o"! no 62tte" 0o1 (0o"t it 623 (ee6 to Di@on! inte"")5te7 Mo"2#e(C contin)it3 o: (e"9ice. T!us, Morales did not !old office for t!e full term of ' July 344; to 74

To ()662"i@e! 0e"e)n7e" 2"e t0e 5"e92i#in; D)"i(5")7ence on i(()e( 2::ectin; con(ec)ti9ene(( o: te"6( 2n7Eo" in9o#)nt2"3 inte"")5tion! 9i@=

>0en 2 5e"62nent 92c2nc3 occ)"( in an elective position an" the official merely assume" the position pursuant to the rules on succession un"er the L=C& then his service for the une>pire" portion of the term of the replace" official cannot )e treate" as one full term as contemplate" un"er the su)Aect constitutional an" statutory provision that service cannot )e counte" in the application of any term limit ( 1or2a, Jr.)+ ,f the official runs a%ain for the same position he hel" prior to his assumption of the hi%her office& then his succession to sai" position is )y operation of la- an" is consi"ere" an involuntary severance or interruption (Montebon)+ (n elective official& -ho has serve" for three consecutive terms an" -ho "i" not see4 the elective position for -hat coul" )e his fourth term& )ut later -on in a recall election& ha" an interruption in the continuity of the official.s service+ #or& he ha" )ecome in the interim& i+e+& from the en" of the 3r" term up to the recall election& a private citiDen (Adormeo an" ocrates)+ The a)olition of an elective local office "ue to the conversion of a municipality to a city "oes not& )y itself& -or4 to interrupt the incum)ent official.s continuity of service (Latasa)+ 6reventive suspension is not a term2interruptin% event as the elective officer.s continue" stay an" entitlement to the office remain unaffecte" "urin% the perio" of suspension& althou%h he is )arre" from e>ercisin% the functions of his office "urin% this perio" (Aldovino, Jr.)+ 3hen a can"i"ate is proclaime" as -inner for an elective position an" assumes office& his term is interrupte" -hen he loses in an election protest an" is ouste" from office& thus "isena)lin% him from servin% -hat -oul" other-ise )e the une>pire" portion of his term of office ha" the protest )een "ismisse" (Lon,anida an" 0i,on)+ The )rea4 or interruption nee" not )e for a full term of three years or for the maAor part of the 32year term? an interruption for any len%th of time& provi"e" the cause is involuntary& is sufficient to )rea4 the continuity of service ( ocrates& citin% Lon,anida)+ 3hen an official is "efeate" in an election protest an" sai" "ecision )ecomes final after sai" official ha" serve" the full term for sai" office& then his loss in the election contest does not constitute an interruption since he has mana%e" to serve the term from start to finish+ <is full service& "espite the "efeat& shoul" )e counte" in the application of term limits )ecause the nullification of his proclamation came after the e>piration of the term (On" an" .ivera)+
()un"o ar%ues that the RTC an" the CO/ELEC erre" in uniformly rulin% that he ha" alrea"y serve" three consecutive terms an" is& thus& )arre" )y the constitutional three2term limit rule to run for the current 2 ! 2 2 !3 term+ ,n %ist& ()un"o ar%uments run thusly; !+ Aldovino, Jr+ is not on all fours -ith the present case as the former "ealt -ith preventive suspension -hich "oes not interrupt the continuity of service of a term?

2+ Aldovino, Jr+ reco%niDes that the term of an electe" official can )e interrupte" so as to remove him from the reach of the constitutional three2term limitation? 3+ The CO/ELEC misinterprete" the meanin% of EtermG in Aldovino, Jr+ )y its reliance on a mere portion of the Decision an" not on the unifie" lo%ic in the "is5uisition? $+ Of appropriate %overnance in this case is the hol"in% in Lon,anida an" .ivera /// v. Commission on Elections. :+ The CO/ELEC misse" the point -hen it rule" that there -as no interruption in the service of ()un"o since -hat he consi"ere" as an EinterruptionG of his 2 $22 ' term occurre" )efore his term starte"? an" 1+ To rule that the term of the protestee (Torres) -hose proclamation -as a"Au"%e" invali" -as interrupte" -hile that of the protestant (()un"o) -ho -as eventually proclaime" -inner -as not sointerrupte" is at once a)sur" as it is illo%ical+ 9oth respon"ents *e%a an" the CO/ELEC counter that the ratio decidendi of Aldovino, Jr+ fin"s application in the instant case+ The CO/ELEC rule" that ()un"o "i" not lose title to the office as his victory in the protest case confirme" his entitlement to sai" office an" he -as only una)le to temporarily "ischar%e the functions of the office "urin% the pen"ency of the election protest+ 3e note that this present case of ()un"o "eals -ith the effects of an election protest& for -hich the rulin%s in Lon,anida& On"& .ivera an" 0i,on appear to )e more attune" than the case of Aldovino Jr., the interruptin% neffects of the imposition of a preventive suspension )ein% the very lis mota in the Aldovino, Jr. case+ 9ut Aust the same& 3e fin" that Abundo)s case presents a different factual bac,drop! Hnli4e in the a)ovementione" election protest cases -herein the in"ivi"uals su)Aect of "is5ualification -ere candidates w!o lost in the election protest an" each "eclare" loser "urin% the elections& Abundo $as the $inner during the election protest and $as declared the rightful holder of the mayoralty post! Hnli4e /ayor LonDani"a an" /ayor /orales& -ho -ere )oth unseate" to-ar" the en" of their respective terms& Abundo $as the protestant $ho ousted his opponent and had assumed the remainder of the term. 7ot-ithstan"in%& 3e still fin" this Court.s pronouncements in the past as instructive& an" consi"er several "octrines esta)lishe" from the !008 case of 1or2a, Jr. up to the most recent case of Aldovino Jr. in 2 0& as potent ai"s in arrivin% at this Court.s conclusion+ The intention )ehin" the three2term limit rule -as not only to abro"ate t!e <mono$oli,ation of $olitical $ower= an" $revent elected officials from breedin" <$ro$rietary interest in t!eir $osition=1 )ut also to <en!ance t!e $eo$le-s freedom of c!oice+= ,n the -or"s of Justice *icente *+ /en"oDa& E-hile people shoul" )e protecte" from the evils that a monopoly of po-er may )rin% a)out& care shoul" )e ta4en that their free"om of choice is not un"uly curtaile"+G ,n the present case& the Court fin"s ()un"o.s case meritorious an" "eclares that the t$o year period during $hich his opponent# Torres# $as serving as mayor should be considered as an interruption# $hich effectively removed Abundo)s case from the ambit of the three term limit rule! ,t )ears to stress at this Auncture that ()un"o& for the 2 $ election for the term startin% July !& 2 $ to June 3 & 2 '& -as the "uly electe" mayor+ Other-ise ho- e>plain his victory in his election protest a%ainst Torres an" his conse5uent proclamation as "uly electe" mayor+ (ccor"in%ly& the first nre5uisite for the application of the "is5ualification rule )ase" on the three2term limit that the official has )een electe" is satisfie"+ This thus )rin%s us to the secon" re5uisite of -hether or not ()un"o ha" serve" for Ethree consecutive terms&G as the phrase is Auri"ically un"erstoo"& as mayor of *i%a& Catan"uanes imme"iately )efore the 2 ! national an" local elections+ Su)sume" to this issue is of course the 5uestion of -hether or not there -as an effective involuntary interruption "urin% the three three2year perio"s& resultin% in the "isruption of the continuity of ()un"o.s mayoralty+ The facts of the case clearly point to an involuntary interruption "urin% the July 2 $2June 2 ' term+ There can )e no 5ui))lin% that& "urin% the term 2 $22 '& an" -ith the enforcement of the "ecision of the election protest in his favor& ()un"o assume" the mayoralty post only on /ay 0& 2 1 an" serve" the term until June 3 & 2 ' or for a perio" of a little over one 3e2" 2n7 one 6ont0+ Conse5uently& unli4e /ayor On% in On"

an" /ayor /orales in .ivera& it cannot )e sai" that /ayor ()un"o -as a)le to serve fully the entire 2 $2 2 ' term to -hich he -as other-ise entitle"+ ( Eterm&G as "efine" in A$$ari v. Court of A$$eals& means& in a le%al sense& Ea fi>e" an" "efinite perio" of time -hich the la- "escri)es that an officer may hol" an office+G ,t also means the Etime "urin% -hich the officer may claim to hol" office as a matter of ri%ht& an" fi>es the interval after -hich the several incum)ents shall succee" one another+G ,t is the perio" of time "urin% -hich a "uly electe" official has title to an" can serve the functions of an elective office+ #rom para%raph (a) of Sec+ $3& R( '!1 &11 the term for local electe" officials is three (3) years startin% from noon of June 3 of the first year of sai" term+ ,n the present case& durin" t!e $eriod of one year and ten mont!s & or from June 3 & 2 $ until /ay 8& 2 1& A8)n7o c2nnot 5#2)(i8#3 c#2i6! e9en i: 0e 12nte7 to! t02t 0e co)#7 0o#7 o::ice o: t0e 623o" 2( 2 62tte" o: "i;0t. Neit0e" c2n 0e 2((e"t tit#e to t0e (26e no" (e"9e t0e :)nction( o: t0e (2i7 e#ecti9e o::ice. The reason is simple; "urin% that perio"& title to hol" such office an" the correspon"in% ri%ht to assume the functions thereof still )elon%e" to his opponent& as proclaime" election -inner+ (ccor"in%ly& ()un"o actually hel" the office an" e>ercise" the functions as mayor only upon his "eclaration& follo-in% the resolution of the protest& as "uly electe" can"i"ate in the /ay 2 $ elections or for only a little over one year an" one month+ Conse5uently& since the le%ally contemplate" full term for local electe" officials is three (3) years& it cannot )e sai" that ()un"o fully serve" the term 2 $22 '+ The reality on the %roun" is that ()un"o actually serve" less+ 7ee"less to stress& the almost t-o2year perio" "urin% -hich ()un"o.s opponent actually serve" as /ayor is an" ou%ht to )e consi"ere" an involuntary interruption of ()un"o.s continuity of service+ (n involuntary interrupte" term& cannot& in the conte>t of the "is5ualification rule& )e consi"ere" as one te"6 for purposes of countin% the three2term threshol"+ The notion of :)## (e"9ice o: t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( is relate" to the concepts of inte"")5tion o: (e"9ice an" 9o#)nt2"3 "en)nci2tion o: (e"9ice+ The -or" inte"")5tion means temporary cessation& intermission or suspension+ To interrupt is to o)struct& th-art or prevent+ 3hen the Constitution an" the L=C of !00! spea4 of inte"")5tion! the reference is to the o)struction to the continuance of the service )y the concerne" electe" official )y effectively cuttin% short the service of a term or %ivin% a hiatus in the occupation of the elective office+ On the other han"& the -or" ErenunciationG connotes the i"ea of -aiver or a)an"onment of a 4no-n ri%ht+ To renounce is to "ive u$, abandon, decline or resi"n+ *oluntary renunciation of the office )y an elective local official -oul" thus mean to %ive up or a)an"on the title to the office an" to cut short the service of the term the concerne" electe" official is entitle" to+ ,t must )e stresse" that involuntary interruption of service -hich Aurispru"ence "eems an e>ception to the three2term limit rule& implies that the service of the te"6 02( 8e;)n 8e:o"e it 12( inte"")5te7 + <ere& the respon"ent "i" not lose title to the office+ (s the assaile" Resolution states; ,n the case at )ar& respon"ent cannot )e sai" to have lost his title to the office+ On the contrary& he actively sou%ht entitlement to the office -hen he lo"%e" the election protest case+ (n" respon"ent2appellant.s victory in the sai" case is a final confirmation that he -as vali"ly electe" for the mayoralty post of *i%a& Catan"uanes in 2 $2 2 '+ (t most& respon"ent2appellant -as only )n28#e to te65o"2"i#3 7i(c02";e t0e :)nction( o: t0e o::ice to 10ic0 0e 12( 92#i7#3 e#ecte7 "urin% the pen"ency of the election protest& )ut he never lost title to the sai" office+ The CO/ELEC.s Secon" Division& on the other han"& pronounce" that the actual len%th of service )y the pu)lic official in a %iven term is immaterial )y rec4onin% sai" service for the term in the application of the three2term limit rule& thus; (s emphasiDe" in the case of (l"ovino& Ethis formulationCno more than three consecutive termsCis a clear comman" su%%estin% the e>istence of an infle>i)le rule+G Therefore -e cannot su)scri)e to the ar%ument that since respon"ent ()un"o serve" only a portion of the term& his 2 $22 ' EtermG shoul" not )e consi"ere" for purposes of the application of the three term limit rule+ 3hen the framers of the Constitution "rafte" an" incorporate" the three term limit rule& it is clear that reference is to the term& not the actual len%th of the service the pu)lic official may ren"er+ Therefore& one.s actual service of term no matter holon% or ho- short is immaterial+ ,n fine& the CO/ELEC rule" a%ainst ()un"o on the theory that the len%th of the actual service of the term is immaterial in his case as he was only tem$orarily unable to disc!ar"e !is functions as mayor. The CO/ELEC.s case "isposition an" its heavy reliance on Aldovino, Jr. "o not commen" themselves for concurrence+ The Court cannot simply fin" its -ay clear to un"erstan" the poll )o"y.s "etermination t!at Abundo was only tem$orarily unable to disc!ar"e !is functions as mayor durin" t!e $endency of t!e election $rotest.

(s previously state"& the "eclaration of )ein% the -inner in an election protest %rants the local electe" official the ri%ht to serve the une>pire" portion of the term+ *erily& -hile he -as "eclare" -inner in the protest for the mayoralty seat for the 2 $22 ' term& ()un"o.s full term has )een su)stantially re"uce" )y the actual service ren"ere" )y his opponent (Torres)+ <ence& there -as actual involuntary interruption in the term of ()un"o an" he cannot )e consi"ere" to have serve" the full 2 $22 ' term+ This is -hat happene" in the instant case+ ,t cannot )e overemphasiDe" that pen"in% the favora)le resolution of his election protest& A8)n7o 12( "e#e;2te7 to 8ein; 2n ordinary constituent since his opponent& as presumptive victor in the 2 $ elections& -as occupyin% the mayoralty seat+ ,n other -or"s& for almost t-o years or from July !& 2 $C the start of the termCuntil /ay 0& 2 1 or "urin% -hich his opponent actually assume" the mayoralty office& A8)n7o 12( 2 5"i92te citi@en 12"6in; 0i( 0ee#( 10i#e 212itin; t0e o)tco6e o: 0i( 5"ote(t. <ence& even if "eclare" later as havin% the ri%ht to serve the elective position from July !& 2 $& such "eclaration -oul" not erase the fact that prior to the finality of the election protest& ()un"o "i" not serve in the mayor.s office an"& in fact& ha" no le%al ri%ht to sai" position+ Aldovino Jr. cannot possi)ly len" support to respon"ent.s cause of action& or to CO/ELEC.s resolution a%ainst ()un"o+ ,n Aldovino Jr.& the Court succinctly "efines -hat temporary ina)ility or "is5ualification to e>ercise the functions of an elective office means& thus; On the other han"& temporary ina)ility or "is5ualification to e>ercise the functions of an elective post& even if involuntary& shoul" not )e consi"ere" an effective interruption of a term )ecause it "oes not involve the #o(( o: tit#e to o::ice or 2t #e2(t 2n e::ecti9e 8"e2F :"o6 0o#7in; o::ice? the office !older, w!ile retainin" title, is sim$ly barred from exercisin" t!e functions of !is office for a reason $rovided by law. 3e rule that t0e 28o9e 5"ono)nce6ent on 5"e9enti9e ()(5en(ion 7oe( not 255#3 to t0e in(t2nt c2(e. *erily& it is erroneous to say that ()un"o merely -as temporarily una)le or "is5ualifie" to e>ercise the functions of an elective post+ #or one& "urin% the intervenin% perio" of almost t-o years& rec4one" from the start of the 2 $22 ' term& A8)n7o c2nnot 8e (2i7 to 029e "et2ine7 tit#e to t0e 623o"2#t3 o::ice 2( 0e 12( 2t t02t ti6e not t0e 7)#3 5"oc#2i6e7 1inne" -ho -oul" have the le%al ri%ht to assume an" serve such elective office+ #or another& not havin% )een "eclare" -inner yet& A8)n7o c2nnot 8e (2i7 to 029e #o(t tit#e to t0e o::ice (ince one c2nnot 5#2)(i8#3 #o(e 2 tit#e 10ic0! in t0e :i"(t 5#2ce! 0e 7i7 not 029e. Thus& for all intents an" purposes& even if the )elate" "eclaration in the election protest accor"s him title to the elective office from the start of the term& ()un"o -as not entitle" to the elective office until the election protest -as finally resolve" in his favor+ Conse5uently& there $as a hiatus of almost t$o years & consistin% of a )rea4 an" effective interruption of his service& until he assume" the office an" serve" )arely over a year of the remainin% term+ (t this Auncture& 3e o)serve the apparent similarities of /ayor ()un"o.s case -ith the cases of /ayor Tala%a in Adormeo an" /ayor <a%e"orn in ocrates as /ayors Tala%a an" <a%e"orn -ere not proclaime" -inners since they -ere noncan"i"ates in the re%ular elections+ They -ere proclaime" -inners "urin% the recall elections an" clearly -ere not a)le to fully serve the terms of the "epose" incum)ent officials+ Similar to their cases -here the Court "eeme" their terms as involuntarily interrupte"& Abundo also became or was a $rivate citi,en durin" t!e $eriod over w!ic! !is o$$onent was servin" as mayor+ ,f in Lon,anida& the Court rule" that there -as interruption in LonDani"a.s service )ecause of his su)se5uent "efeat in the election protest& then -ith more reason& ()un"o.s term for 2 $22 ' shoul" )e "eclare" interrupte" since he -as not proclaime" -inner after the 2 $ elections an" -as a)le to assume the office an" serve only for a little more than a year after -innin% the protest+ (s aptly state" in Latasa& to )e consi"ere" as interruption of service& the Ela- contemplates a rest perio" "urin% -hich t!e local elective official ste$s down from office and ceases to exercise $ower or aut!ority over t!e in!abitants of t!e territorial 2urisdiction of a $articular local "overnment unit+G (pplyin% the sai" principle in the present case& there is no 5uestion that "urin% the pen"ency of the election protest& A8)n7o ce2(e7 :"o6 eAe"ci(in; 5o1e" o" 2)t0o"it3 over the %oo" people of *i%a& Catan"uanes+ Conse5uently& the perio" "urin% -hich ()un"o -as not servin% as mayor shoul" )e consi"ere" as a rest perio" or )rea4 in his service )ecause& as earlier state"& prior to the Au"%ment in the election protest& it -as ()un"o.s opponent& Torres& -ho -as e>ercisin% such po-ers )y virtue of the still then vali" proclamation+ As a final note& 3e reiterate that ()un"o.s case "iffers from other cases involvin% the effects of an election protest )ecause -hile ()un"o -as& in the final rec4onin%& t!e winnin" candidate& 0e 12( t0e one 7e5"i9e7 o: 0i( "i;0t 2n7 o55o"t)nit3 to (e"9e 0i( con(tit)ent(. To a certain e>tent& ()un"o -as a victim of an imperfect election system+ 3hile a"mitte"ly the Court "oes not possess the man"ate to reme"y such imperfections& the Constitution has clothe" it -ith enou%h authority to esta)lish a fortress a%ainst the inAustices it may )rin%+ ,n this re%ar"& 3e fin" that 2 cont"2"3 ")#in; 1o)#7 1o"F 7262;e 2n7 c2)(e ;"29e inD)(tice to

A8)n7oMMan electe" official -ho -as )elate"ly "eclare" as the -inner an" assume" office for only a short perio" of the term+ ,f in the cases of Lon,anida an" 0i,on& this Court rule" in favor of a losin% can"i"ateMMor the person -ho -as a"Au"%e" not le%ally entitle" to hol" the conteste" pu)lic office )ut hel" it any-ayMM3e fin" more reason to rule in favor of a -innin% can"i"ate2protestant -ho& )y popular vote& "eserves title to the pu)lic office )ut -hose opportunity to hol" the same -as halte" )y an invali" proclamation+ (lso& more than the inAustice that may )e committe" a%ainst ()un"o is the inAustice that may li4e-ise )e committe" a%ainst the people of *i%a& Catan"uanes )y "eprivin% them of their ri%ht to choose their lea"ers+ Li4e the framers of the Constitution& 3e )ear in min" that 3e E cannot arro"ate unto ourselves t!e ri"!t to decide w!at t!e $eo$le wantG an" hence& shoul"& as much as possi)le& E allow t!e $eo$le to exercise t!eir own sense of $ro$ortion and rely on t!eir own stren"t! to curtail t!e $ower w!en it overreac!es itself+G #or "emocracy "ra-s stren%th from the choice the people ma4e -hich is the same choice 3e are li4e-ise )oun" to protect+ 6etitioner ()elar"o ()un"o& Sr+ is DECLARED ELIGI+LE for the position of /ayor of *i%a& Catan"uanes to -hich he -as "uly electe" in the /ay 2 ! elections an" is accor"in%ly or"ere" IMMEDIATELY REINSTATED to sai" position+ This Decision is imme"iately e>ecutory+ 2 RAYMUNDO M. ADORMEO vs! COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS 2n7 RAMON Y. TALAGA! JR.! GG.R. No. %4'&-'. Fe8")2"3 4! -..-H .n the /001 elections# Talaga $on as (ayor of +ucena City! .n /002# he $on again! .n the /003 elections# he lost to Tagarao but in the recall elections of (ay /1# 1444# he $on and served for almost / year as (ayor! (ay he run for (ayor again in the 144/ elections5 6etitioner an" private respon"ent -ere the only can"i"ates -ho file" their certificates of can"i"acy for mayor of Lucena City in the /ay !$& 2 ! elections+ 6rivate respon"ent -as then the incum)ent mayor+ 6rivate respon"ent Tala%a& Jr+ -as electe" mayor in /ay !002+ <e serve" the full term+ (%ain& he -as re2electe" in !00:2!008+ ,n the election of !008& he lost to 9ernar" =+ Ta%arao+ ,n the recall election of /ay !2& 2 & he a%ain -on an" serve" the une>pire" term of Ta%arao until June 3 & 2 !+ On /arch 2& 2 !& petitioner file" -ith the Office of the 6rovincial Election Supervisor& Lucena City a 6etition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Can"i"acy an"Nor Dis5ualification of Ramon O+ Tala%a& Jr+& on the %roun" that the latter -as electe" an" ha" serve" as city mayor for three (3) consecutive terms as follo-s; (!) in the election of /ay !002& -here he serve" the full term? (2) in the election of /ay !00:& -here he a%ain serve" the full term? an"& (3) in the recall election of /ay !2& 2 & -here he serve" only the une>pire" term of Ta%arao after havin% lost to Ta%arao in the !008 election+ 6etitioner conten"e" that Tala%a.s can"i"acy as /ayor constitute" a violation of Section 8& (rticle B of the !08' Constitution -hich provi"es; Sec+ 8+ M The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ 6rivate respon"ent respon"e" that he -as not electe" City /ayor for three (3) consecutive terms )ut only for t-o (2) consecutive terms+ <e pointe" to his "efeat in the !008 election )y Ta%arao+ 9ecause of his "efeat the consecutiveness of his years as mayor -as interrupte"& an" thus his mayorship -as not for three consecutive terms of three years each+ Respon"ent a""e" that his service from /ay !2& 2 ! until June 3 & 2 ! for !3 months an" ei%hteen (!8) "ays -as not a full term& in the contemplation of the la- an" the Constitution+ <e cites >?@E.L/#A 5!tt$BCCsc.2udiciary."ov.$!C2uris$rudenceC'(((C2ul((C'76'64.!tm5 Lon,anida vs. COMELEC& =+R+ 7o+ !3:!: & 3!! SCR( 1 2& 1!! (!000)& as authority to the effect that to apply "is5ualification un"er Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution& t-o (2) con"itions must concur& to -it; (a) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post& an" ()) that he has fully serve" three (3) consecutive terms+

On (pril 2 & 2 !& the CO/ELEC& throu%h the #irst Division& foun" private respon"ent Ramon O+ Tala%a& Jr+ "is5ualifie" for the position of city mayor on the %roun" that he ha" alrea"y serve" three (3) consecutive terms& an" his Certificate of Can"i"acy -as or"ere" -ith"ra-n an"Nor cancelle"+ On (pril 2'& 2 !& private respon"ent file" a motion for reconsi"eration reiteratin% that Ethree (3) consecutive termsG means continuous service for nine (0) years an" that the t-o (2) years service from !008 to 2 )y Ta%arao -ho "efeate" him in the election of !008 prevente" him from havin% three consecutive years of service+ <e a""e" that Ta%arao.s tenure from !008 to 2 coul" not )e consi"ere" as a continuation of his mayorship+ <e further alle%e" that the recall election -as not a re%ular election& )ut a separate special election specifically to remove incompetent local officials+ On /ay 0& 2 !& the CO/ELEC en banc rule" in favor of private respon"ent Ramon O+ Tala%a& Jr++ ,t reverse" the #irst Division.s rulin% an" hel" that !) respon"ent -as not electe" for three (3) consecutive terms )ecause he "i" not -in in the /ay !!& !008 elections? 2) that he -as installe" only as mayor )y reason of his victory in the recall elections? 3) that his victory in the recall elections -as not consi"ere" a term of office an" is not inclu"e" in the 32term "is5ualification rule& an" $) that he "i" not fully serve the three (3) consecutive terms& an" his loss in the /ay !!& !008 elections is consi"ere" an interruption in the continuity of his service as /ayor of Lucena City+ On /ay !0& 2 Lucena City+ I S S U E= >2( 5"i92te "e(5on7ent 7i(I)2#i:ie7 to ")n :o" 623o" o: L)cen2 Cit3 in t0e M23 %4! -..% e#ection(< T0i( i(()e 0in;e( on 10et0e"! 2( 5"o9i7e7 83 t0e Con(tit)tion! 0e 027 2#"e273 (e"9e7 t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( in t02t o::ice. 6etitioner conten"s that private respon"ent -as "is5ualifie" to run for city mayor )y reason of the three2 term rule )ecause the une>pire" portion of the term of office he serve" after -innin% a recall election& coverin% the perio" /ay !2& 2 to June 3 & 2 ! is consi"ere" a full term+ <e posits that to interpret other-ise& private respon"ent -oul" )e servin% four ($) consecutive terms of ! years& in violation of Section 8& (rticle B of !08' ConstitutionI$J an" Section $3 ()) of R+(+ '!1 & 4no-n as the Local =overnment Co"e+ Section $3+ Term of Office+C >>> ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+ 6rivate respon"ent& in turn& maintains that his service as city mayor of Lucena is not consecutive+ <e lost his )i" for a secon" re2election in !008 an" )et-een June 3 & !008 to /ay !2& 2 & "urin% Ta%arao.s incum)ency& he -as a private citiDen& thus he ha" not )een mayor for 3 consecutive terms+ ,n its comment& the CO/ELEC restate" its position that private respon"ent -as not electe" for three (3) consecutive terms havin% lost his thir" )i" in the /ay !!& !008 elections& sai" "efeat is an interruption in the continuity of service as city mayor of Lucena+ The issue )efore us -as alrea"y a""resse" in >?@E.L/#A 5!tt$BCCsc.2udiciary."ov.$!C2uris$rudenceC'(()Cse$tD34'(()C'77;(6.!tm5 1or2a, Jr. vs. COMELEC& 20: SCR( !:'& !10 (!008)& -here -e hel"& To recapitulate& the term limit for elective local officials must )e ta4en to refer to the ri"!t to be elected as -ell as t!e ri"!t to serve in t!e same elective $osition + Conse5uently& it is not enou%h that an in"ivi"ual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office& he must also have )een elected to the same position for the same num)er of times )efore the "is5ualification can apply+ This point can )e ma"e clearer )y consi"erin% the follo-in% case or situation; >>> Case #o. 3+ Suppose 1 is electe" mayor an"& "urin% his first term& he is t-ice suspen"e" for miscon"uct for a total of ! year+ ,f he is t-ice reelecte" after that& can he run for one more term in the ne>t electionP Oes& )ecause !e !as served only two full terms successively + !& after canvassin%& private respon"ent -as proclaime" as the "uly electe" /ayor of

>>> To consi"er C as eli%i)le for reelection -oul" )e in accor" -ith the un"erstan"in% of the Constitutional Commission that -hile the people shoul" )e protecte" from the evils that a monopoly of political po-er may )rin% a)out& care shoul" )e ta4en that their free"om of choice is not un"uly curtaile"+ Li4e-ise& in the case of >?@E.L/#A 5!tt$BCCsc.2udiciary."ov.$!C2uris$rudenceC'(((C2ul((C'76'64.!tm5 Lon,anida vs. COMELEC& 3!! SCR( 1 2& 1!! (!000)& -e sai"& This Court hel" that the t-o con"itions for the application of the "is5ualification must concur; a) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post an" 2) that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+ (ccor"in%ly& CO/ELEC.s rulin% that private respon"ent -as not electe" for three (3) consecutive terms shoul" )e uphel"+ #or nearly t-o years he -as a private citiDen+ The continuity of his mayorship -as "isrupte" )y his "efeat in the !008 elections+ 6atently untena)le is petitioner.s contention that CO/ELEC in allo-in% respon"ent Tala%a& Jr+ to run in the /ay !008 election violates (rticle B& Section 8 of !08' Constitution+ To )olster his case& respon"ent a"verts to the comment of #r+ Joa5uin 9ernas& a Constitutional Commission mem)er& statin% that in interpretin% sai" provision that Eif one is electe" representative to serve the une>pire" term of another& that une>pire"& no matter ho- short& -ill )e consi"ere" one term for the purpose of computin% the num)er of successive terms allo-e"G+ (s pointe" out )y the CO/ELEC en banc& #r+ 9ernas. comment is pertinent only to mem)ers of the <ouse of Representatives+ Hnli4e local %overnment officials& there is no recall election provi"e" for mem)ers of Con%ress+ 7either can respon"ent.s victory in the recall election )e "eeme" a violation of Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution as Evoluntary renunciationG for clearly it is not+ ,n >?@E.L/#A 5!tt$BCCsc.2udiciary."ov.$!C2uris$rudenceC'(((C2ul((C'76'64.!tm5 Lon,anida vs. COMELEC& -e sai"; QThe secon" sentence of the constitutional provision un"er scrutiny states& E*oluntary renunciation of office for any len"t! of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+G The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to )ar any attempt to circumvent the three2term limit )y a voluntary renunciation of office an" at the same time respect the people.s choice an" %rant their electe" official full service of a term is evi"ent in this provision+ *oluntary renunciation of a term "oes not cancel the renounce" term in the computation of the three term limit? conversely& involuntary severance from office for any len%th of time short of the full term provi"e" )y la- amounts to an interruption of continuity of service+ The petitioner vacate" his post a fe- months )efore the ne>t mayoral elections& not )y voluntary renunciation )ut in compliance -ith the le%al process of -rit of e>ecution issue" )y the CO/ELEC to that effect+ Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service an" thus& the petitioner "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term+ >HEREFORE! the instant petition is here)y D,S/,SSED+ Tala%a is 5ualifie" to run for /ayor of Lucena City in the 2 ! elections+ 3 SIMON ALDOVINO! JR. , DANILO FALLER VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS , >ILFREDO ASILO! G.R. No. % 43 /! Dece68e" -3! -..& Asilo $as elected City Councilor of +ucena City in the /003# 144/ and 1446 elections! %ut during his term 'une 74# 1446 up to 'une 74# 1448# he $as preventively suspended by the Sandiganbayan for 04 days in connection $ith a pending criminal case therein! (ay he run again for Councilor in the (ay 1448 elections5 The respon"ent 3ilfre"o #+ (silo (Asilo) -as electe" councilor of Lucena City for three consecutive terms; for the !00822 !& 2 !22 $& an" 2 $22 ' terms& respectively+ ,n Septem)er 2 : or "urin% his 2 $22 ' term of office& the San"i%an)ayan preventively suspen"e" him for 0 "ays in relation -ith a criminal

case he then face"+ T!is Court, !owever, subsequently lifted t!e andi"anbayan-s sus$ension orderE !ence, !e resumed $erformin" t!e functions of !is office and finis!ed !is term. ,n the 2 ' election& (silo file" his certificate of can"i"acy for the same position+ The petitioners Simon 9+ (l"ovino& Jr+& Danilo 9+ #aller& an" #er"inan" 7+ Tala)on% sou%ht to "eny "ue course to (silo.s certificate of can"i"acy or to cancel it on the %roun" that he ha" )een electe" an" ha" serve" for three terms? his can"i"acy for a fourth term therefore violate" the three2term limit rule un"er Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution an" Section $3()) of R( '!1 + The CO/ELEC.s Secon" Division rule" a%ainst the petitioners an" in (silo.s favour in its Resolution of 7ovem)er 28& 2 '+ ,t reasone" out that the three2term limit rule "i" not apply& as (silo faile" to ren"er complete service for the 2 $22 ' term )ecause of the suspension the San"i%an)ayan ha" or"ere"+ The CO/ELEC en banc refuse" to reconsi"er the Secon" Division.s rulin% in its Octo)er '& 2 Resolution? hence& the 6RESE7T 6ET,T,O7 raisin% the follo-in% ,SSHES; %. -. >0et0e" 5"e9enti9e ()(5en(ion o: 2n e#ecte7 #oc2# o::ici2# i( 2n inte"")5tion o: t0e t0"ee-te"6 #i6it ")#e? 2n7 >0et0e" 5"e9enti9e ()(5en(ion i( con(i7e"e7 in9o#)nt2"3 "en)nci2tion 2( conte65#2te7 in Section 43(8* o: RA '%/. 8

,n short& the case raises the "irect issue of -hether (silo.s preventive suspension constitute" an interruption that allo-e" him to run for a $th term+ THE COURTCS RULING T0e 5etition i( 6e"ito"io)(. The present case is not the first )efore this Court on the three2term limit provision of the Constitution& )ut is the first on the effect of preventive suspension on the continuity of an elective official.s term+ To )e sure& preventive suspension& as an interruption in the term of an elective pu)lic official& has )een mentione" as an e>ample in 1or2a v. Commission on Elections. 0octrinally & ho-ever& 1or2a is not a controllin" rulin"E it did not deal wit! $reventive sus$ension, but wit! t!e a$$lication of t!e t!ree&term rule on t!e term t!at an elective official acquired by succession. Section ! A"tic#e $ o: t0e Con(tit)tion (t2te(;
Section 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept baran"ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+

(s -or"e"& the constitutional provision fi>es the term of a local elective office an" limits an elective official-s stay in office to no more t!an t!ree consecutive terms + This is the :i"(t 8"2nc0 of the rule em)o"ie" in Section 8& (rticle B+ Si%nificantly& this provision refers to a EtermG as a $eriod of time M t!ree years M "urin% -hich an official has title to office an" can serve+ A$$ari v. Court of A$$eals a Resolution promul%ate" on 7ovem)er 28& 2 '& succinctly "iscusses -hat a EtermG connotes& as follo-s; T0e 1o"7 Jte"6K in 2 #e;2# (en(e 6e2n( 2 :iAe7 2n7 7e:inite 5e"io7 o: ti6e 10ic0 t0e #21 7e(c"i8e( t02t 2n o::ice" 623 0o#7 2n o::ice. (ccor"in% to /echem& the term of office is the perio" "urin% -hich an office may )e hel"+ Hpon e>piration of the officer.s term& unless he is authoriDe" )y la- to hol"over& his ri%hts& "uties an" authority as a pu)lic officer must i$so facto cease+ ,n the la- of pu)lic officers& the most an" natural fre5uent metho" )y -hich a pu)lic officer ceases to )e such is )y the e>piration of the terms for -hich he -as electe" or appointe"+ IEmphasis supplie"J+ ( later case& Faminde v. Commission on Audit reiterate" that EITJhe term means the time "urin% -hich the officer may claim to hol" office as of ri%ht& an" fi>es the interval after -hich the several incum)ents shall succee" one another+G The ElimitationG un"er this first )ranch of the provision is e>presse" in the ne;2ti9e M Eno such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+G This formulation M no more t!an t!ree consecutive terms M

is a clear comman" su%%estin% the e>istence of an infle>i)le rule+ 3hile it %ives no e>act in"ication of -hat to Eserve+ + + three consecutive termsG e>actly connotes& the meanin% is clear M reference is to t!e term, not to t!e service that a pu)lic official may ren"er+ ,n other -or"s& the limitation refers to the term+ The (econ7 8"2nc0 relates to the provision.s e>press initiative to prevent any circumvention of the limitation throu%h voluntary severance of ties -ith the pu)lic office? it e>pressly states that voluntary renunciation of office Eshall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+G This "eclaration complements the term limitation man"ate" )y the first )ranch+ ( nota)le feature of the secon" )ranch is that it "oes not textually state that voluntary renunciation is the only actual interruption of service that "oes not affect Econtinuity of service for a full termG for purposes of the three2term limit rule+ ,t is a pure "eclaratory statement of -hat "oes not serve as an interruption of service for a full term& )ut the phrase Evoluntary renunciation&G )y itself& is not -ithout si%nificance in "eterminin% constitutional intent+ The -or" ErenunciationG carries the "ictionary meanin% of a)an"onment+ To renounce is to "ive u$, abandon, decline, or resi"n. ,t is an act that emanates from its author& as contraste" to an act that operates from the outsi"e+ Rea" -ith the "efinition of a EtermG in min"& renunciation& as mentione" un"er the secon" )ranch of the constitutional provision& cannot )ut mean an act t!at results in cuttin" s!ort t!e term, i.e., t!e loss of title to office. The "escriptive -or" EvoluntaryG lin4e" to%ether -ith ErenunciationG si%nifies an act of surren"er )ase" on the suren"eree.s o-n freely e>ercise" -ill? in other -or"s& a loss of title to office )y conscious choice+ ,n the conte>t of the three2term limit rule& such loss of title is not consi"ere" an interruption )ecause it is presume" to )e purposely sou%ht to avoi" the application of the term limitation+ Thus& )ase" on this stan"ar"& loss of office by o$eration of law& )ein% involuntary& is an effective interruption of service -ithin a term& as -e hel" in Montebon+ On the other han"& temporary ina)ility or "is5ualification to e>ercise the functions of an elective post& even if involuntary& shoul" not )e consi"ere" an effective interruption of a term )ecause it "oes not involve the loss of title to office or at least an effective )rea4 from hol"in% office? the office hol"er& -hile retainin% title& is simply )arre" from e>ercisin% the functions of his office for a reason provi"e" )y la-+ (n interruption occurs -hen the term is )ro4en )ecause the office hol"er lost the ri%ht to hol" on to his office& an" cannot )e e5uate" -ith the failure to ren"er service+ The latter occurs "urin% an office hol"er.s term -hen he retains title to the office )ut cannot e>ercise his functions for reasons esta)lishe" )y la-+ Of course& the term Efailure to serveG cannot )e use" once the ri%ht to office is lost? -ithout the ri%ht to hol" office or to serve& then no service can )e ren"ere" so that none is really lost+ To put it "ifferently althou%h at the ris4 of repetition& Section 8& (rticle B M )oth )y structure an" su)stance M fi>es an elective official.s term of office an" limits his stay in office to three consecutive terms as an infle>i)le rule that is stresse"& no less& )y citin% voluntary renunciation as an e>ample of a circumvention+ The provision shoul" )e rea" in the conte>t of interru$tion of term& not in the conte>t of interruptin% the full continuity of t!e exercise of t!e $owers of the elective position+ The Evoluntary renunciationG it spea4s of refers only to the elective official.s voluntary relin5uishment of office an" loss of title to this office+ ,t "oes not spea4 of the temporary Ecessation of the e>ercise of po-er or authorityG that may occur for various reasons& -ith preventive suspension )ein% only one of them+ To 5uote Latasa v. ComelecB ,n"ee"& ITJhe law contem$lates a rest $eriod durin" w!ic! t!e local elective official ste$s down from office and ceases to exercise $ower or aut!ority over the inha)itants of the territorial Auris"iction of a particular local %overnment unit+ IEmphasis supplie"J+ P"e9enti9e S)(5en(ion 2n7 t0e T0"ee-Te"6 Li6it R)#e a! Nature of 9reventive Suspension 6reventive suspension M -hether un"er the Local =overnment Co"e the (nti2=raft an" Corrupt 6ractices (ct or the Om)u"sman (ct M is an interim remedial measure to address t!e situation of an official w!o !ave been c!ar"ed administratively or criminally, w!ere t!e evidence $reliminarily indicates t!e li%eli!ood of or $otential for eventual "uilt or liability. 6reventive suspension is impose" un"er the Local Fovernment Code E-hen the evi"ence of %uilt is stron% an" %iven the %ravity of the offense& there is a possi)ility that the continuance in office of the respon"ent coul" influence the -itnesses or pose a threat to the safety an" inte%rity of the recor"s an" other evi"ence+G Hn"er the Anti&Fraft and Corru$t @ractices Act & it is impose" after a vali" information (that re5uires a fin"in% of pro)a)le cause) has )een file" in court& -hile un"er the Ombudsman Act& it is impose" -hen& in the Au"%ment of

the Om)u"sman& the evi"ence of %uilt is stron%? an" (a) the char%e involves "ishonesty& oppression or %rave miscon"uct or ne%lect in the performance of "uty? or ()) the char%es -oul" -arrant removal from the service? or (c) the respon"ent.s continue" stay in office may preAu"ice the case file" a%ainst him+ 7ota)ly in all cases of preventive suspension& the suspen"e" official is )arre" from performin% the functions of his office an" "oes not receive salary in the mean-hile& )ut "oes not vacate an" lose title to his office? loss of office is a conse5uence that only results upon an eventual fin"in% of %uilt or lia)ility+ 6reventive suspension is a reme"ial measure that operates un"er closely2controlle" con"itions an" "ives a $remium to t!e $rotection of t!e service rat!er t!an to t!e interests of t!e individual office !older + Even then& protection of the service %oes only as far as a tem$orary $ro!ibition on the exercise of the functions of the official.s office? the official is reinstate" to the exercise of !is $osition as soon as the preventive suspension is lifte"+ Thus& -hile a temporary incapacity in the e>ercise of po-er results& no position is vacate" -hen a pu)lic official is preventively suspen"e"+ T0i( 12( 102t eA2ct#3 0255ene7 to A(i#o. That the imposition of preventive suspension can )e a)use" is a reality that is true in the e>ercise of all po-ers an" prero%ative un"er the Constitution an" the la-s+ The imposition of preventive suspension& ho-ever& is not an unlimite" po-er? there are limitations )uilt into the la-s themselves that the courts can enforce -hen these limitations are trans%resse"& particularly -hen %rave a)use of "iscretion is present+ ,n li%ht of this -ell2 "efine" parameters in the imposition of preventive suspension& -e shoul" not vie- preventive suspension from the e>treme situation M that it can totally "eprive an elective office hol"er of the prero%ative to serve an" is thus an effective interruption of an election official.s term+ Term limitation an" preventive suspension are t-o vastly "ifferent aspects of an elective officials. service in office an" they "o not overlap+ (s alrea"y mentione" a)ove& preventive suspension involves protection of the service an" of the people )ein% serve"& an" prevents the office hol"er from temporarily e>ercisin% the po-er of his office+ Term limitation& on the other han"& is tri%%ere" after an elective official has serve" his three terms in office -ithout any )rea4+ ,ts companion concept M interruption of a term M on the other han"& re5uires loss of title to office+ ,f preventive suspension an" term limitation or interruption have any commonality at all& this common point may )e -ith respect to the "iscontinuity of service that may occur in )oth+ 9ut even on this point& they merely run parallel to each other an" never intersect? $reventive sus$ension, by its nature, is a tem$orary inca$acity to render service during an unbro,en termE in t!e context of term limitation, interru$tion of service occurs after t!ere !as been a brea, in the term! b! 9reventive Suspension an the .ntent of the Three Term +imit -ule Strict a"herence to the intent of the three2term limit rule "eman"s that preventive suspension shoul" not )e consi"ere" an interruption that allo-s an elective official.s stay in office )eyon" three terms+ ( preventive suspension cannot simply )e a term interruption )ecause the suspen"e" official continues to stay in office althou%h he is )arre" from e>ercisin% the functions an" prero%atives of the office -ithin the suspension perio"+ T!e best indicator of t!e sus$ended official-s continuity in office is t!e absence of a permanent replacement and t!e lac, of the authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists+ To allo- a preventively suspen"e" elective official to run for a fourth an" prohi)ite" term is to close our eyes to this reality an" to allo- a constitutional violation throu%h sophistry )y e5uatin% the temporary ina)ility to "ischar%e the functions of office -ith the interruption of term that the constitutional provision contemplates+ To )e sure& many reasons e>ist& voluntary or involuntary M some of them personal an" some of them )y operation of la- M that may temporarily prevent an elective office hol"er from e>ercisin% the functions of his office in the -ay that preventive suspension "oes+ ( serious e>ten"e" illness& ina)ility throu%h force ma2eure& or the enforcement of a suspension as a penalty& to cite some involuntary e>amples& may prevent an office hol"er from e>ercisin% the functions of his office for a time -ithout forfeitin% title to office+ 6reventive suspension is no "ifferent )ecause it "isrupts actual "elivery of service for a time -ithin a term+ ("optin% such interruption of actual service as the stan"ar" to "etermine effective interruption of term un"er the three2term rule raises at least the possi)ility of confusion in implementin% this rule& %iven the many mo"es an" occasions -hen actual service may )e interrupte" in the course of servin% a term of office+ The stan"ar" may re"uce the enforcement of the three2term limit rule to a case2to2case an" possi)ly see2sa-in% "etermination of -hat an effective interruption is+ c! 9reventive Suspension and :oluntary -enunciation 6reventive suspension& )ecause it is impose" )y operation of la-& "oes not involve a voluntary act on the part of the suspen"e" official& e>cept in the in"irect sense that he may have voluntarily committe" the act that )ecame the )asis of the char%e a%ainst him+ #rom this perspective& preventive suspension "oes not have the element of voluntariness that voluntary renunciation em)o"ies+ 7either "oes it contain the element of renunciation or loss of title to office as it merely involves the temporary incapacity to perform the service that an

elective office "eman"s+ Thus vie-e"& preventive suspension is M )y its very nature M the e>act opposite of voluntary renunciation? it is involuntary an" temporary& an" involves only the actual "elivery of service& not the title to the office+ The easy conclusion therefore is that they are& )y nature& "ifferent an" non2compara)le+ 9ut )eyon" the o)vious comparison of their respective natures is the more important consi"eration of ho- they affect the three2term limit rule+ *oluntary renunciation& -hile involvin% loss of office an" the total incapacity to ren"er service& is "isallo-e" )y the Constitution as an effective interruption of a term+ ,t is therefore not allo-e" as a mo"e of circumventin% the three2term limit rule+ 6reventive suspension& )y its nature& "oes not involve an effective interruption of a term an" shoul" therefore not )e a reason to avoi" the three2term limitation+ ,t can pose as a threat& ho-ever& if -e shall "isre%ar" its nature an" consi"er it an effective interruption of a term+ Let it )e note" that a preventive suspension is easier to un"erta4e than voluntary renunciation& as it "oes not re5uire relin5uishment or loss of office even for the )riefest time+ ,t merely re5uires an easily fa)ricate" a"ministrative char%e that can )e "ismisse" soon after a preventive suspension has )een impose"+ ,n this sense& reco%niDin% preventive suspension as an effective interruption of a term can serve as a circumvention more potent than the voluntary renunciation that the Constitution e>pressly "isallo-s as an interruption+ To recapitulate& (silo.s 2 $22 ' term -as not interrupte" )y the San"i%an)ayan2impose" preventive suspension in 2 :& as preventive suspension "oes not interrupt an elective official.s term+ Thus& the CO/ELEC refuse" to apply the le%al comman" of Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution -hen it %rante" "ue course to (silo.s certificate of can"i"acy for a prohi)ite" fourth term+ The private respon"ent 3ilfre"o #+ (silo is "eclare" DISLUALIFIED to run& an" perforce to serve& as Councilor of Lucena City for a prohi)ite" fourth term+ $ +ENJAMIN U. +ORJA! JR. vs! COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS 2n7 JOSE T. CAPCO! JR.! G. R. No. %334&B! Se5te68e" 3! %&& .n /033# Capco run and $on as :ice (ayor for the term /033 /001! %ut on September 1# /030# he became (ayor upon the death of the (ayor! .n /001# he $on as (ayor! .n /002# he again $on as (ayor! (ay he run again in the /003 elections for the position of (unicipal (ayor of 9ateros# -izal5 This case presents for "etermination the scope of the constitutional provision )arrin% elective officials& -ith the e>ception of )aran%ay officials& from servin% more than three consecutive terms+ ,n particular& the 5uestion is -hether a vice2mayor -ho succee"s to the office of mayor )y operation of la- an" serves the remain"er of the term is consi"ere" to have serve" a term in that office for the purpose of the three2term limit+ 6rivate respon"ent Jose T+ Capco& Jr+ -as electe" vice2mayor of 6ateros on January !8& !088 for a term en"in% June 3 & !002+ On Septem)er 2& !080& he )ecame mayor& )y operation of la-& upon the "eath of the incum)ent& Cesar 9orAa+ On /ay !!& !002& he ran an" -as electe" mayor for a term of three years -hich en"e" on June 3 & !00:+ On /ay 8& !00:& he -as reelecte" mayor for another term of three years en"in% June 3 & !008+ On /arch 2'& !008& private respon"ent Capco file" a certificate of can"i"acy for mayor of 6ateros relative to the /ay !!& !008 elections+ 6etitioner 9enAamin H+ 9orAa& Jr+& -ho -as also a can"i"ate for mayor& sou%ht Capco.s "is5ualification on the theory that the latter -oul" have alrea"y serve" as mayor for three consecutive terms )y June 3 & !008 an" -oul" therefore )e ineli%i)le to serve for another term after that+ On (pril 3 & !008& the Secon" Division of the Commission on Elections rule" in favor of petitioner an" "eclare" private respon"ent Capco "is5ualifie" from runnin% for reelection as mayor of 6ateros+ <o-ever& on motion of private respon"ent& the CO/ELEC en )anc& votin% :22& reverse" the "ecision an" "eclare" Capco eli%i)le to run for mayor in the /ay !!& !008 elections+ (ccor"in%ly& private respon"ent -as vote" for in the elections+ <e receive" !1&::8 votes a%ainst

petitioner.s '&''3 votes an" -as proclaime" electe" )y the /unicipal 9oar" of Canvassers+ This is a petition for certiorari )rou%ht to set asi"e the resolution& "ate" /ay '& !008& of he CO/ELEC an" to see4 a "eclaration that private respon"ent is "is5ualifie" to serve another term as /ayor of 6ateros& /etro /anila+ 6etitioner conten"s that private respon"ent Capco.s service as mayor from Septem)er 2& !080 to June 3 & 002 shoul" )e consi"ere" as service for full one term& an" since he thereafter serve" from !002 to !008 t-o more terms as mayor& he shoul" )e consi"ere" to have serve" three consecutive terms -ithin the contemplation of (rt+ B& R8 of the Constitution an" R$3()) of the Local =overnment Co"e+ 6etitioner stresses the fact that& upon the "eath of /ayor Cesar 9orAa on Septem)er 2& !080& private respon"ent )ecame the mayor an" thereafter serve" the remain"er of the term+ 6etitioner ar%ues that it is irrelevant that private respon"ent )ecame mayor )y succession )ecause the purpose of the constitutional provision in limitin% the num)er of terms elective local officials may serve is to prevent a monopoliDation of political po-er+ SEC+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ This provision is restate" in R$3()) of the Local =overnment Co"e (R+(+ 7o+ '!1 ); Sec+ $3+ Term of Office & . . . ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"Q+ #irst& to prevent the esta)lishment of political "ynasties is not the only policy em)o"ie" in the constitutional provision in 5uestion+ The other policy is that of enhancin% the free"om of choice of the people+ To consi"er& therefore& only stay in office re%ar"less of ho- the official concerne" came to that office M -hether )y election or )y succession )y operation of la- M -oul" )e to "isre%ar" one of the purposes of the constitutional provision in 5uestion+ T-o i"eas thus emer%e from a consi"eration of the procee"in%s of the Constitutional Commission+ The first is the notion of service of term& "erive" from the concern a)out the accumulation of po-er as a result of a prolon%e" stay in office+ The secon" is the i"ea of election& "erive" from the concern that the ri%ht of the people to choose those -hom they -ish to %overn them )e preserve"+ There is a "ifference& ho-ever& )et-een the case of a vice2mayor an" that of a mem)er of the <ouse of Representatives -ho succee"s another -ho "ies& resi%ns& )ecomes incapacitate"& or is remove" from office+ The vice2mayor succee"s to the mayorship )y operation of la- + On the other han"& the Representative is electe" to fill the vacancy+ ,n a real sense& therefore& such Representative serves a term for -hich he -as electe"+ (s the purpose of the constitutional provision is to limit the ri%ht to )e electe" an" to serve in Con%ress& his service of the une>pire" term is ri%htly counte" as his first term+ Rather than refute -hat -e )elieve to )e the inten"ment of (rt+ B& R8 -ith re%ar" to elective local officials& the case of a Representative -ho succee"s another confirms the theory+ 6etitioner also cites (rt+ *,,& R$ of the Constitution -hich provi"es for succession of the *ice26resi"ent to the 6resi"ency in case of vacancy in that office+ (fter statin% that EThe 6resi"ent shall not )e eli%i)le for any reelection&G this provision says that E7o person -ho has succee"e" as 6resi"ent an" has serve" as such for more than four years shall )e 5ualifie" for election to the same office at any time+G 6etitioner conten"s that& )y analo%y& the vice2mayor shoul" li4e-ise )e consi"ere" to have serve" a full term as mayor if he succee"s to the latter.s office an" serves for the remain"er of the term+ The framers of the Constitution inclu"e" such a provision )ecause& -ithout it& the *ice26resi"ent& -ho simply steps into the 6resi"ency )y succession -oul" )e 5ualifie" to run for 6resi"ent even if he has occupie" that office for more than four years+ The a)sence of a similar provision in (rt+ B& R8 on elective local officials thro-s in )ol" relief the "ifference )et-een the t-o cases+ ,t un"erscores the constitutional intent to cover only the terms of office to -hich one may have )een electe" for purpose of the three2term limit on local elective officials& "isre%ar"in% for this purpose service )y automatic succession+ There is another reason -hy the *ice26resi"ent -ho succee"s to the 6resi"ency an" serves in that office for more than four years is ineli%i)le for election as 6resi"ent+ The *ice26resi"ent is electe" primarily to

succee" the 6resi"ent in the event of the latter.s "eath& permanent "isa)ility& removal or resi%nation+ 3hile he may )e appointe" to the ca)inet& his )ecomin% so is entirely "epen"ent on the %oo" %races of the 6resi"ent+ ,n runnin% for *ice26resi"ent& he may thus )e sai" to also see4 the 6resi"ency+ #or their part& the electors li4e-ise choose as *ice26resi"ent the can"i"ate -ho they thin4 can fill the 6resi"ency in the event it )ecomes vacant+ <ence& service in the presi"ency for more than four years may ri%htly )e consi"ere" as service for a full term+ This is not so in the case of the vice2mayor+ Hn"er the local =overnment Co"e& he is the presi"in% officer of the san%%unian an" he appoints all officials an" employees of such local assem)ly+ <e has "istinct po-ers an" functions& succession to mayorship in the event of vacancy therein )ein% only one of them+ ,t cannot )e sai" of him& as much as of the *ice26resi"ent in the event of a vacancy in the 6resi"ency& that in runnin% for vice2mayor& he also see4s the mayorship+ <is assumption of the mayorship in the event of vacancy is more a matter of chance than of "esi%n+ <ence& his service in that office shoul" not )e counte" in the application of any term limit+ To recapitulate& the term limit for elective local officials must )e ta4en to refer to the ri%ht to )e electe" as -ell as the ri%ht to serve in the same elective position+ Con(eI)ent#3! it i( not eno);0 t02t 2n

in7i9i7)2# 02( (e"9e7 t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( in 2n e#ecti9e #oc2# o::ice! 0e 6)(t 2#(o 029e 8een e#ecte7 to t0e (26e 5o(ition :o" t0e (26e n)68e" o: ti6e( 8e:o"e t0e 7i(I)2#i:ic2tion c2n 255#3. This point can )e ma"e clearer )y consi"erin% the follo-in% cases or
situations; Case 7o+ !+ Suppose ( is a vice2mayor -ho )ecomes mayor )y reason of the "eath of the incum)ent+ Si> months )efore the ne>t election& he resi%ns an" is t-ice electe" thereafter+ Can he run a%ain for mayor in the ne>t election+ Oes& )ecause althou%h he has alrea"y first serve" as mayor )y succession an" su)se5uently resi%ne" from office )efore the full term e>pire"& he has not actually serve" three full terms in all for the purpose of applyin% the term limit+ Hn"er (rt+ B& R8& voluntary renunciation of the office is not consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term only if the term is one Efor -hich he -as electe"+G Since ( is only completin% the service of the term for -hich the "ecease" an" not he -as electe"+ ( cannot )e consi"ere" to have complete" one term+ <is resi%nation constitutes an interruption of the full term+ Case 7o+ 2+ Suppose 9 is electe" /ayor an"& "urin% his first term& he is t-ice suspen"e" for miscon"uct for a total of ! year+ ,f he is t-ice reelecte" after that& can he run for one more term in the ne>t electionP Oes& )ecause he has serve" only t-o full terms successively+ ,n )oth cases& the mayor is entitle" to run for reelection )ecause the t-o con"itions for the application of the "is5ualification provisions have not concurre"& namely& that the local official concerne" has )een electe" three consecutive times an" that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+ ,n the first case& even if the local official is consi"ere" to have serve" three full terms not-ithstan"in% his resi%nation )efore the en" of the first term& the fact remains that he has not )een electe" three times+ ,n the secon" case& the local official has )een electe" three consecutive times& )ut he has not fully serve" three consecutive terms+ Case 7o+ 3+ The case of vice2mayor C -ho )ecomes mayor )y succession involves a total failure of the t-o con"itions to concur for the purpose of applyin% (rt+ B R8+ Suppose he is t-ice electe" after that term& is he 5ualifie" to run a%ain in the ne>t electionP Oes& )ecause he -as not electe" to the office of the mayor in the first term )ut simply foun" himself thrust into it )y operation of la-+ 7either ha" he serve" the full term )ecause he only continue" the service& interrupte" )y the "eath & of the "ecease" mayor+ To consi"er C in the thir" case to have serve" the first term in full an" therefore ineli%i)le to run a thir" time for reelection -oul" )e not only to falsify reality )ut also to un"uly restrict the ri%ht of the people to choose -hom they -ish to %overn them+ ,f the vice2mayor turns out to )e a )a" mayor& the people can reme"y the situation )y simply not reelectin% him for another term+ 9ut if& on the other han"& he proves to )e a %oo" mayor& there -ill )e no -ay the people can return him to office (even if it is Aust the thir" time he is stan"in% for reelection) if his service of the first term is counte" as one of the purpose of applyin% the term limit+ To consi"er C as eli%i)le for reelection -oul" )e in accor" -ith the un"erstan"in% of the Constitutional Commission that -hile the people shoul" )e protecte" from the evils that a monopoly of political po-er may )rin% a)out& care shoul" )e ta4en that their free"om of choice

: RO+ERTO DIMON V. SCOMELEC , MARINO MORALES! GR No. % -. J2n)2"3 3.! -..& In t0e %&&B e#ection(! Mo"2#e( 12( e#ecte7 M23o" o: M282#2c2t! P2652n;2. In t0e %&& e#ection(! 0e 12( 5"oc#2i6e7 2( t0e 7)#3 e#ecte7 M23o" 83 t0e M)nici52# +o2"7 o: C2n92((e"( (o 0e 2(()6e7 o::ice 8)t on P"ote(t o: 0i( o55onent Dee! t0e RTC o: P2652n;2 )n(e2te7 0i6 2n7 7ec#2"e7 Dee 2( t0e 1inne". T0e (26e 7eci(ion (t2tin; t02t Dee i( t0e "e2# 1inne" 12( 2::i"6e7 83 t0e COMELEC 8)t t0e COMELEC Deci(ion 12( 5"o6)#;2te7 on#3 2:te" Mo"2#e( HAD FULLY SERVED THE JUNE 3.! %&& -JUNE 3.! -..% TERM. In t0e -..% e#ection(! 0e 1on 2( M23o". In t0e -..4 e#ection(! 0e 1on 2;2in 2( M23o". I( 0e I)2#i:ie7 to ")n :o" M23o" in t0e -..' e#ection( o" i( it 0i( B t0 con(ec)ti9e te"6< THE FACTS= 6etitioner alle%es respon"ent -as proclaime" as the municipal mayor of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a "urin% the !00:& !008& 2 ! an" 2 $ elections an" has fully serve" the same+ Respon"ent file" his Certificate of Can"i"acy on /arch 28& 2 ' a%ain for the same position an" same municipality+ 6etitioner ar%ues that respon"ent is no lon%er eli%i)le an" 5ualifie" to run for the same position for the /ay !$& 2 ' elections un"er Section $3 of the Local =overnment Co"e of !00!+ Hn"er the sai" provision& no local elective official is allo-e" to serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms for the same position+ Respon"ent& on the other han"& asserts that he is still eli%i)le an" 5ualifie" to run as /ayor of the /unicipality of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a )ecause he -as not electe" for the sai" position in the !008 elections+ <e avers that the Commission en )anc in S6( Case 7o+ (2 $2 :8& entitle" (tty+ *enancio @+ Rivera ,,, an" 7orman"ic4 6+ De =uDman vs+ /ayor /arino 6+ /orales& affirme" the "ecision of the Re%ional Trial Court of (n%eles City "eclarin% (nthony D+ Dee as the "uly electe" /ayor of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a in the !008 elections+ Respon"ent alle%es that his term shoul" )e rec4one" from 2 ! or -hen he -as proclaime" as /ayor of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a+ Respon"ent further asserts that his election in 2 $ is only for his secon" term+ <ence& the three term rule provi"e" un"er the Local =overnment Co"e is not applica)le to him+ ,n its Resolution "ate" 2' July 2 '& the CO/ELEC Secon" Division too4 Au"icial notice of this Court.s rulin% in the consoli"ate" cases of Atty. Genancio H. .ivera /// v. COMELEC and Marino <1o%in"= Morales in =+R+ 7o+ !1':0! an" Ant!ony 0ee v. COMELEC and Marino <1o%in"= Morales in =+R+ 7o+ !' :'' ( .ivera case) promul%ate" on 0 /ay 2 '+ The pertinent portions of the CO/ELEC Secon" Division.s rulin% rea" as follo-s; Respon"ent -as electe" as mayor of /a)alacat from July !& !00: to June 3 & !008+ There -as no interruption of his secon" term from !008 to 2 !+ <e -as a)le to e>ercise the po-ers an" enAoy the position of a mayor as Ecareta4er of the officeG or a E"e facto officerG until June 3 & 2 ! not-ithstan"in% the Decision of the RTC in an electoral protest case+ <e -as a%ain electe" as mayor from July !& 2 ! to June 3 & 2 3 IsicJ+ ,t is -orthy to emphasiDe that the Supreme Court rule" that respon"ent has violate" the three2term limit un"er Section $3 of the Local =overnment Co"e+ Respon"ent -as consi"ere" not a can"i"ate in the 2 $ SynchroniDe" 7ational an" Local Elections+ <ence& his failure to 5ualify for the 2 $ elections is a %ap an" allo-s him to run a%ain for the same position in the /ay !$& 2 ' 7ational an" Local Elections+ 3<ERE#ORE& premises consi"ere"& the Commission RESOL*ED& as it here)y RESOL*ES to DE7O the instant 6etition to Cancel the Certificate of Can"i"acy an"Nor 6etition for the Dis5ualification of /arino 6+ /orales for lac4 !

of merit+ DiDon file" a motion for reconsi"eration )efore the CO/ELEC En 1anc -hich "enie" the same+ Hence! t0i( 5etition. DiDon su)mits that the factual fin"in%s ma"e in the .ivera case shoul" still )e applie" in the present case )ecause /orales ha"& eAce5t :o" one 6ont0 2n7 %4 723(! (e"9e7 t0e :)## te"6 o: -..4--..'. /orales. assumption of the mayoralty position on ! July 2 ' ma4es the 2 '22 ! term /orales. fifth term in office+ DiDon raises the follo-in% %roun"s )efore this Court; The petition has no merit+ ,n our "ecision promul%ate" on 0 /ay 2 '& this Court unseate" /orales "urin% his fourth term+ 3e cancelle" his Certificate of Can"i"acy "ate" 3 Decem)er 2 3+ This cancellation "is5ualifie" /orales from )ein% a can"i"ate in the /ay 2 $ elections+ The votes cast for /orales -ere consi"ere" stray votes+ The "ispositive portion in the .ivera case rea"s; 3<ERE#ORE& the petition in =+R+ 7o+ !1':0! is =R(7TED+ Respon"ent /orales. Certificate of Can"i"acy "ate" Decem)er 3 & 2 3 is cancelle"+ ,n vie- of the vacancy in the Office of the /ayor of /a)alacat& 6ampan%a& the vice2mayor elect of the sai" municipality in the /ay ! & 2 $ SynchroniDe" 7ational an" Local Elections is here)y "eclare" mayor an" shall serve as such for the remainin% "uration of the term July !& 2 $ to June 3 & 2 '+ The petition in =+R+ 7o+ !' :'' is D,S/,SSED for )ein% moot+ (rticle B& Section 8 of the !08' Constitution rea"s; The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ #or purposes of "eterminin% the resultin% "is5ualification )rou%ht a)out )y the three2term limit& it is not enou%h that an in"ivi"ual has serve" three consecutive terms in an elective local office& 0e 6)(t 2#(o 029e 8een e#ecte7 to t0e (26e 5o(ition :o" t0e (26e n)68e" o: ti6e(. T0e"e (0o)#7 8e 2 conc)""ence o: t1o con7ition( :o" t0e 255#ic2tion o: t0e 7i(I)2#i:ic2tion= (%* t02t t0e o::ici2# conce"ne7 02( 8een e#ecte7 :o" t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( in t0e (26e #oc2# ;o9e"n6ent 5o(t 2n7 (-* t02t 0e 02( :)##3 (e"9e7 t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6(. ,n the .ivera case& -e foun" that /orales -as electe" as mayor of /a)alacat for four consecutive terms; ! July !00: to 3 June !008& ! July !008 to 3 June 2 !& ! July 2 ! to 3 June 2 $& an" ! July 2 $ to 3 June 2 '+ 3e "is5ualifie" /orales from his can"i"acy in the /ay 2 $ elections )ecause of the three2 term limit+ (lthou%h the trial court previously rule" that /orales. proclamation for the !00822 ! term -as voi"& there -as no interruption of the continuity of /orales. service -ith respect to the !00822 ! term )ecause the trial court.s rulin% -as promul%ate" only on $ July 2 !& or after the e>piry of the !00822 ! term+ Our rulin% in the .ivera case serve" as /orales. involuntary severance from office -ith respect to the 2 $22 ' term+ ,nvoluntary severance from office for any len%th of time short of the full term provi"e" )y laamounts to an interruption of continuity of service+ Our "ecision in the .ivera case -as promul%ate" on 0 /ay 2 ' an" -as effective imme"iately+ The ne>t "ay& /orales notifie" the vice mayor.s office of our "ecision+ The vice mayor assume" the office of the mayor from !' /ay 2 ' up to 3 June 2 '+ The assumption )y the vice mayor of the office of the mayor& no matter ho- short it may seem to DiDon& interrupte" /orales. continuity of service+ Thus& /orales "i" not hol" office for the full term of ! July 2 $ to 3 June 2 '+ DiDon claims that the 2 '22 ! term is /orales. fifth term in office+ DiDon asserts that even after receipt of our "ecision on ! /ay 2 '& /orales E-aite" for the election to )e hel" on !$ /ay 2 ' to ensure his victory for a fifth termG+ 3e conce"e that /orales occupie" the position of mayor of /a)alacat for the follo-in% perio"s; ! July !00: to 3 June !008& ! July !008 to 3 June 2 !& ! July 2 ! to 3 June 2 $& an" ! July 2 $ to !1 /ay 2 '+ <o-ever& )ecause of his "is5ualification& /orales -as not the "uly electe" mayor for the 2 $22 ' term+ 7either "i" /orales hol" the position of mayor of /a)alacat for the full term+ /orales cannot )e "eeme" to have serve" the full term of 2 $22 ' )ecause he -as or"ere" to vacate his post )efore the e>piration of the term+ /orales. occupancy of the position of mayor of /a)alacat from ! July 2 $ to !1 /ay 2 ' cannot )e counte"

as a term for purposes of computin% the three2term limit+ ,n"ee"& the perio" from !' /ay 2 ' to 3 June 2 ' serve" as a %ap for purposes of the three2term limit rule+ Thus& the present ! July 2 ' to 3 June 2 ! term is effectively /orales. first term for purposes of the three2term limit rule+ DiDon alle%es that /orales E-as a)le to serve his fourth term as mayor throu%h len%thy liti%ations+ > > > ,n other -or"s& he -as violatin% the rule on three2term limit -ith impunity )y the sheer len%th of liti%ation an" profit from it even more )y raisin% the technicalities arisin% therefromG+ To this& -e 5uote our rulin% in Lon,anida v. COMELEC; The respon"ents harp on the "elay in resolvin% the election protest )et-een petitioner an" his then opponent (lveD -hich too4 rou%hly a)out three years an" resultantly e>ten"e" the petitioner.s incum)ency in an office to -hich he -as not la-fully electe"+ 3e note that such "elay cannot )e impute" to the petitioner+ There is no specific alle%ation nor proof that the "elay -as "ue to any political maneuverin% on his part to prolon% his stay in office+ /oreover& protestant (lveD& -as not -ithout le%al recourse to move for the early resolution of the election protest -hile it -as pen"in% )efore the re%ional trial court or to file a motion for the e>ecution of the re%ional trial court.s "ecision "eclarin% the position of mayor vacant an" or"erin% the vice2mayor to assume office -hile the appeal -as pen"in% -ith the CO/ELEC+ Such "elay -hich is not here sho-n to have )een intentionally sou%ht )y the petitioner to prolon% his stay in office cannot serve as )asis to )ar his ri%ht to )e electe" an" to serve his chosen local %overnment post in the succee"in% mayoral election+ 1 ARSENIO A. LATASA vs! COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS! 2n7 ROMEO SUNGA! GG.R. No. %B4 -& = Dece68e" %.! -..3H +atasa $as elected (unicipal (ayor of ;igos# ;avao del Sur in the /001 elections! *e $as elected again in the /002 elections! .n the /003 elections# he $on again for a term up to 'une 74# 144/! On September 3# 1444# ho$ever# ;igos $as converted as a component city! .s +atasa <ualified for the position of City (ayor of ;igos City in the (ay# 144/ elections having served for three =7> consecutive terms as (unicipal (ayor5 6etitioner (rsenio (+ Latasa& -as electe" mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os& Davao "el Sur in the elections of !002& !00:& an" !008+ Durin% petitioners thir" term& the /unicipality of Di%os -as "eclare" a component city& to )e 4no-n as the City of Di%os+ ( ple)iscite con"ucte" on Septem)er 8& 2 ratifie" Repu)lic (ct 7o+ 8'08 entitle"& An Act Convertin" t!e Munici$ality of 0i"os, 0avao del ur @rovince into a Com$onent City to be %nown as t!e City of 0i"os or the Charter of the City of Di%os+ This event also mar4e" the en" of petitioners tenure as mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os+ <o-ever& un"er Section :3& (rticle ,B of the Charter& petitioner -as man"ate" to serve in a hol"2over capacity as mayor of the ne- City of Di%os+ <ence& he too4 his oath as the city mayor+ On #e)ruary 28& 2 !& petitioner file" his certificate of can"i"acy for city mayor for the /ay !$& 2 ! elections+ <e state" therein that he is eli%i)le therefor& an" li4e-ise "isclose" that he ha" alrea"y serve" for three consecutive terms as mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os an" is no- runnin% for the first time for the position of city mayor+ On /arch !& 2 !& private respon"ent Romeo /+ Sun%a& also a can"i"ate for city mayor in the sai" elections& file" )efore the CO/ELEC a 6etition to Deny Due Course& Cancel Certificate of Can"i"acy an"N or #or Dis5ualification a%ainst petitioner Latasa+ Respon"ent Sun%a alle%e" therein that petitioner falsely represente" in his certificate of can"i"acy that he is eli%i)le to run as mayor of Di%os City since petitioner ha" alrea"y )een electe" an" serve" for three consecutive terms as mayor from !002 to 2 !+ On /arch :& 2 !& petitioner Latasa file" his (ns-er& ar%uin% that he "i" not ma4e any false representation in his certificate of can"i"acy since he fully "isclose" therein that he ha" serve" as mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os for three consecutive terms+ /oreover& he ar%ue" that this fact "oes not )ar him from filin% a certificate of can"i"acy for the /ay !$& 2 ! elections since this -ill )e the first time that he -ill )e runnin% for the post of city mayor+

On (pril 2'& 2 !& respon"ent CO/ELECs #irst Division issue" a Resolution& the "ispositive portion of -hich rea"s& as follo-s; ?herefore& premises consi"ere"& the respon"ents certificate of can"i"acy shoul" )e cancelle" for )ein% a violation of the three (3)2term rule proscri)e" )y the !08' Constitution an" the Local =overnment Co"e of !00!+ ,SSHE; 3hether or not the petitioner is )arre" )y the three2term limit impose" )y the Constitution; HELD= This Court notes from the very )e%innin% that petitioner himself -as alrea"y entertainin% some "ou)t as to -hether or not he is in"ee" eli%i)le to run for city mayor in the /ay !$& 2 ! elections+ ,n his certificate of can"i"acy& after the phrase , am eli%i)le& petitioner inserte" a footnote an" in"icate";
S

<avin% serve" three (3) termIsJ as municipal mayor an" no- runnin% for the first time as city mayor+ The present case raises a novel issue -ith respect to an e>plicit Constitutional man"ate; -hether or not petitioner Latasa is eli%i)le to run as can"i"ate for the position of mayor of the ne-ly2create" City of Di%os imme"iately after he serve" for three consecutive terms as mayor of the /unicipality of Di%os+ Section + The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ (n elective local official& therefore& is not )arre" from runnin% a%ain in for same local %overnment post& unless t-o con"itions concur; !+) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms to the same local %overnment post& an" 2+) that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+ ,n the present case& petitioner states that a city an" a municipality have separate an" "istinct personalities+ Thus they cannot )e treate" as a sin%le entity an" must )e accor"e" "ifferent treatment consistent -ith specific provisions of the Local =overnment Co"e+ <e "oes not "eny the fact that he has alrea"y serve" for three consecutive terms as municipal mayor+ <o-ever& he asserts that -hen Di%os -as converte" from a municipality to a city& it attaine" a "ifferent Auri"ical personality+ Therefore& -hen he file" his certificate of can"i"acy for city mayor& he cannot )e construe" as vyin% for the same local %overnment post+ True& the ne- city ac5uire" a ne- corporate e>istence separate an" "istinct from that of the municipality+ T0i( 7oe( not 6e2n! 0o1e9e"! t02t :o" t0e 5)"5o(e o: 255#3in; t0e ()8Dect Con(tit)tion2# 5"o9i(ion! t0e o::ice o: t0e 6)nici52# 623o" 1o)#7 no1 8e con(t")e7 2( 2 7i::e"ent #oc2# ;o9e"n6ent 5o(t 2( t02t o: t0e o::ice o: t0e cit3 623o". A( (t2te7 e2"#ie"! t0e te""ito"i2# D)"i(7iction o: t0e Cit3 o: Di;o( i( t0e (26e 2( t02t o: t0e 6)nici52#it3. Con(eI)ent#3! t0e in028it2nt( o: t0e 6)nici52#it3 2"e t0e (26e 2( t0o(e in t0e cit3. T0e(e in028it2nt( 2"e t0e (26e ;"o)5 o: 9ote"( 10o e#ecte7 5etitione" L2t2(2 to 8e t0ei" 6)nici52# 623o" :o" t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6(. T0e(e 2"e 2#(o t0e (26e in028it2nt( o9e" 10o6 0e 0e#7 5o1e" 2n7 2)t0o"it3 2( t0ei" c0ie: eAec)ti9e :o" nine 3e2"(.

' ROMEO LONMANIDA vs! THE HONORA+LE COMMISSION ON ELECTION 2n7 EUFEMIO MULI! @- No! /72/24# 'uly 13# /000 .n the /033 elections# +onzanida $on as (unicipal (ayor of San Antonio# Aambales! .n the /001 elections# he $as reelected! .n the /002 elections# he $as declared $inner by the %oard of Canvassers but $as unseated by the CO(E+EC based on the election protest of his opponent $ho served only three =7> months of the 'une 74# /002 'une 74# /003 term $ith +onzanida serving 1 years and 0 months thereof! .s he <ualified to run for (ayor in

the /003 elections5 (7OTE; LonDani"a is still the /ayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales up to this time since !088 e>cept for a fe- months follo-in% the a)ove scheme -here he -ill )e "eclare" loser on his thir" term thou%h the "ecision unseatin% him -ill )e promul%ate" only after he has almost serve" the entire 32year perio" for sai" 3 r" termT ,n short& he -as the mayor from !088 up to 2 !3 or for almost 2: years no-& continuouslyT) 6etitioner Romeo LonDani"a -as "uly electe" an" serve" t-o consecutive terms as municipal mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales prior to the /ay 8& !00: elections+ ,n the /ay !00: elections LonDani"a ran for mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales an" -as a%ain proclaime" -inner+ <e assume" office an" "ischar%e" the "uties thereof+ <is proclamation in !00: -as ho-ever conteste" )y his then opponent Juan (lveD -ho file" an election protest )efore the Re%ional Trial Court of Lam)ales& -hich in a "ecision "ate" January 0& !00' "eclare" a failure of elections+ The court rule"; E6RE/,SES CO7S,DERED& this court here)y ren"ers Au"%ment "eclarin% the results of the election for the office of the mayor in San (ntonio& Lam)ales last /ay 8& !00: as null an" voi" on the %roun" that there -as a failure of election+ (ccor"in%ly& the office of the mayor of the /unicipality of San (ntonio& Lam)ales is here)y "eclare" vacant+G 9oth parties appeale" to the CO/ELEC+ On 7ovem)er !3& !00' the CO/ELEC resolve" the election protest file" )y (lveD an" after a revision an" re2appreciation of the conteste" )allots "eclare" (lveD the "uly electe" mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales )y plurality of votes cast in his favor totalin% !&'2 votes as a%ainst !&$88 votes for LonDani"a+ On #e)ruary 2'& !008 the CO/ELEC issue" a -rit of e>ecution or"erin% LonDani"a to vacate the post& -hich o)eye"& an" (lveD assume" office for the remain"er of the term+ ,n the /ay !!& !008 elections LonDani"a a%ain file" his certificate of can"i"acy for mayor of San (ntonio+ On (pril 2!& !008 his opponent Eufemio /uli timely file" a petition to "is5ualify LonDani"a from runnin% for mayor of San (ntonio in the !008 elections on the %roun" that he ha" serve" three consecutive terms in the same post+ On /ay !3& !008& petitioner LonDani"a -as proclaime" -inner+ On /ay 2!& !008 the #irst Division of the CO/ELEC issue" the 5uestione" resolution %rantin% the petition for "is5ualification upon a fin"in% that LonDani"a ha" serve" three consecutive terms as mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales an" he is therefore "is5ualifie" to run for the same post for the fourth time+ The CO/ELEC foun" that LonDani"a.s assumption of office )y virtue of his proclamation in /ay !00:& althou%h he -as later unseate" )efore the e>piration of the term& shoul" )e counte" as service for one full term in computin% the three term limit un"er the Constitution an" the Local =overnment Co"e+ The fin"in% of the CO/ELEC #irst Division -as affirme" )y the CO/ELEC En 9anc in a resolution "ate" (u%ust !!& !008+ 6etitioner LonDani"a challen%es the vali"ity of the CO/ELEC resolutions fin"in% him "is5ualifie" to run for mayor of San (ntonio Lam)ales in the !008 elections+ <e maintains that he -as "uly electe" mayor for only t-o consecutive terms an" that his assumption of office in !00: cannot )e counte" as service of a term for the purpose of applyin% the three term limit for local %overnment officials& )ecause he -as not the "uly electe" mayor of San (ntonio in the /ay !00: elections as evi"ence" )y the CO/ELEC "ecision "ate" 7ovem)er !3& !00' in E(C no+ 120' entitle" Juan (lveD& 6rotestant2(ppellee vs+ Romeo LonDani"a& 6rotestee2(ppellant& -herein the CO/ELEC "eclare" Juan (lveD as the "uly electe" mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales+ The petition has merit+ Section 8& (rt+ B of the Constitution provi"es; ESec+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la- shall )e three years an" no such officials shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+G Section $3 of the Local =overnment Co"e (R+(+ 7o+ '!1 ) restates the same rule; ESec+ $3+ Term of Office+ ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+G

The issue is -hether petitioner LonDani"a.s assumption of office as mayor of San (ntonio Lam)ales from /ay !00: to /arch !008 may )e consi"ere" as service of one full term for the purpose of applyin% the three2term limit for elective local %overnment officials+ ,t is not "ispute" that the petitioner -as previously electe" an" serve" t-o consecutive terms as mayor of San (ntonio Lam)ales prior to the /ay !00: mayoral elections+ ,n the /ay !00: elections he a%ain ran for mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales an" -as proclaime" -inner+ <e assume" office an" "ischar%e" the ri%hts an" "uties of mayor until /arch !008 -hen he -as or"ere" to vacate the post )y reason of the CO/ELEC "ecision "ate" 7ovem)er !3& !00' on the election protest a%ainst the petitioner -hich "eclare" his opponent Juan (lveD& the "uly electe" mayor of San (ntonio+ (lveD serve" the remainin% portion of the !00:2!008 mayoral term+ The t-o re5uisites for the application of the three term rule are a)sent+ #irst& the petitioner cannot )e consi"ere" as havin% )een "uly electe" to the post in the /ay !00: elections& an" secon"& the petitioner "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term )y reason of involuntary relin5uishment of office+ (fter a re2appreciation an" revision of the conteste" )allots the CO/ELEC itself "eclare" )y final Au"%ment that petitioner LonDani"a lost in the /ay !00: mayoral elections an" his previous proclamation as -inner -as "eclare" null an" voi"+ <is assumption of office as mayor cannot )e "eeme" to have )een )y reason of a vali" election )ut )y reason of a voi" proclamation+ ,t has )een repeate"ly hel" )y this court that a proclamation su)se5uently "eclare" voi" is no proclamation at all an" -hile a proclaime" can"i"ate may assume office on the stren%th of the proclamation of the 9oar" of Canvassers he is only a presumptive -inner -ho assumes office su)Aect to the final outcome of the election protest+ 6etitioner LonDani"a "i" not serve a term as mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales from /ay !00: to /arch !008 )ecause he -as not "uly electe" to the post? he merely assume" office as presumptive -inner& -hich presumption -as later overturne" )y the CO/ELEC -hen it "eci"e" -ith finality that LonDani"a lost in the /ay !00: mayoral elections+ Secon"& the petitioner cannot )e "eeme" to have serve" the /ay !00: to !008 term )ecause he -as or"ere" to vacate his post )efore the e>piration of the term+ The respon"ents. contention that the petitioner shoul" )e "eeme" to have serve" one full term from /ay !00:2!008 )ecause he serve" the %reater portion of that term has no le%al )asis to support it? it "isre%ar"s the secon" re5uisite for the application of the "is5ualification& i+e+& that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+ The secon" sentence of the constitutional provision un"er scrutiny states& E*oluntary renunciation of office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ EThe clear intent of the framers of the constitution to )ar any attempt to circumvent the three2term limit )y a voluntary renunciation of office an" at the same time respect the people.s choice an" %rant their electe" official full service of a term is evi"ent in this provision+ *oluntary renunciation of a term "oes not cancel the renounce" term in the computation of the three term limit? conversely& involuntary severance from office for any len%th of time short of the full term porvi"e" )y la- amounts to an interruption of continuity of service+ The petitioner vacate" his post a fe- months )efore the ne>t mayoral elections& not )y voluntary renunciation )ut in compliance -ith the le%al process of -rit of e>ecution issue" )y the CO/ELEC to that effect+ Such involuntary severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service an" thus& the petitioner "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term+ ,n sum& the petitioner -as not the "uly electe" mayor an" that he "i" not hol" office for the full term? hence& his assumption of office from /ay !00: to /arch !008 cannot )e counte" as a term for purposes of computin% the three term limit+ The Resolution of the CO/ELEC fin"in% him "is5ualifie" on this %roun" to run in the /ay !008 mayoral elections shoul" therefore )e set asi"e+ 8 FEDERICO MONTE+ON VS. COMELEC SESINANDO F. POTENCIOSO! JR.! ! GR NO. % .444! APRIL ! -.. .n /003# 9otencioso# 'r! $on as (unicipal Councilor of Tuburan# Cebu! *ee $as reelected in the 144/ election for a term up to 'une 74# 1446! On 'anuary /1# 1446# ho$ever# he became the :ice mayor due to the retirement of the then :ice (ayor 9etronilo (endoza! .n the 1446 elections# he $as elected as Councilor again! (ay he run for (unicipal Councilor again in the (ay 1448 elections5 6etitioners /onte)on an" On"y an" respon"ent 6otencioso& Jr+ -ere can"i"ates for municipal councilor of the /unicipality of Tu)uran& Ce)u for the /ay !$& 2 ' SynchroniDe" 7ational an" Local Elections+ On (pril 3 & 2 '& petitioners an" other can"i"ates for municipal councilor file" a petition for "is5ualification a%ainst respon"ent -ith the CO/ELEC alle%in% that respon"ent ha" )een electe" an" serve" three consecutive terms

as municipal councilor in !00822 !& 2 !22 $& an" 2 $22 '+ Thus& he is proscri)e" from runnin% for the same position in the 2 ' elections as it -oul" )e his fourth consecutive term+ ,n his ans-er& respon"ent a"mitte" that he ha" )een electe" for three consecutive terms as municipal councilor+ <o-ever& he claime" that the service of his secon" term in 2 !22 $ -as interrupte" on January !2& 2 $ -hen he succee"e" as vice mayor of Tu)uran "ue to the retirement of *ice /ayor 6etronilo L+ /en"oDa+ Conse5uently& he is not "is5ualifie" from vyin% for the position of municipal councilor in the 2 ' elections+ 6etitioner maintaine" that respon"ent.s assumption of office as vice2mayor in January 2 $ shoul" not )e consi"ere" an interruption in the service of his secon" term since it -as a voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor+ <e ar%ue" that& accor"in% to the la-& voluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the official concerne" -as electe"+ On the other han"& respon"ent alle%e" that a local elective official is not "is5ualifie" from runnin% for the fourth consecutive time to the same office if there -as an interruption in one of the previous three terms+ On June 2& 2 '& the CO/ELEC #irst Division "enie" the petition for "is5ualification rulin% that respon"ent.s assumption of office as vice2mayor shoul" )e consi"ere" an interruption in the continuity of his service+ <is secon" term havin% )een involuntarily interrupte"& respon"ent shoul" thus not )e "is5ualifie" to see4 reelection as municipal councilor+ On appeal& the CO/ELEC En 1anc uphel" the rulin% of the #irst Division+ <ence& this petition+ The !08' Constitution )ars an" "is5ualifies local elective officials from servin% more than three consecutive terms in the same post+ Section 8& (rticle B thereof states; Sec+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la- shall )e three years an" no such officials shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ Section $3 of the Local =overnment Co"e also provi"es; Sec+ $3+ Term of Office+ ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+ ,n Lon,anida v. Commission on Elections, the Court hel" that the t-o con"itions for the application of the "is5ualification must concur; !) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post? an" 2) that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms+ ,n 1or2a, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, the Court emphasiDe" that the term limit for elective officials must )e ta4en to refer to the ri%ht to )e electe" as -ell as the ri%ht to serve in the same elective position+ Thus& for the "is5ualification to apply& it is not enou%h that the official has )een electe" three consecutive times? he must also have serve" three consecutive terms in the same position + 3hile it is un"ispute" that respon"ent -as electe" municipal councilor for three consecutive terms& the issue lies on -hether he is "eeme" to have fully serve" his secon" term in vie- of his assumption of office as vice2mayor of Tu)uran on January !2& 2 $+ Succession in local %overnment offices is )y operation of la-+ Section $$ of Repu)lic (ct 7o+ '!1 & other-ise 4no-n as the Local =overnment Co"e& provi"es that if a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the vice mayor& the hi%hest ran4in% san%%unian mem)er shall )ecome vice mayor+ Thus; SEC+ $$+ @ermanent Gacancies in t!e Offices of t!e Fovernor, Gice Fovernor, Mayor, and Gice Mayor. M (a) ,f a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the %overnor or mayor& the vice %overnor or vice mayor concerne" shall )ecome the %overnor or mayor+ ,f a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the %overnor& vice %overnor& mayor or vice mayor& the hi%hest ran4in% san%%unian mem)er or& in case of his permanent ina)ility& the secon" hi%hest ran4in% san%%unian mem)er& shall )ecome the %overnor& vice %overnor& mayor or vice mayor& as the case may )e+ Su)se5uent vacancies in the sai" office shall )e fille" automatically )y the other

san%%unian mem)ers accor"in% to their ran4in% as "efine" herein+ > > > ,n this case& a permanent vacancy occurre" in the office of the vice mayor "ue to the retirement of *ice /ayor /en"oDa+ Respon"ent& )ein% the hi%hest ran4in% municipal councilor& succee"e" him in accor"ance -ith la-+ ,t is clear therefore that his assumption of office as vice2mayor can in no -ay )e consi"ere" a voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor+ ,n Lon,anida v. Commission on Elections & the Court e>plaine" the concept of voluntary renunciation as follo-s; The secon" sentence of the constitutional provision un"er scrutiny states& F*oluntary renunciation of office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+. The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to )ar any attempt to circumvent the three2term limit )y a voluntary renunciation of office an" at the same time respect the people.s choice an" %rant their electe" official full service of a term is evi"ent in this provision+ *oluntary renunciation of a term "oes not cancel the renounce" term in the computation of the three term limit? conversely& in9o#)nt2"3 (e9e"2nce :"o6 o::ice :o" 2n3 #en;t0 o: ti6e (0o"t o: t0e :)## te"6 5"o9i7e7 83 #21 26o)nt( to 2n inte"")5tion o: contin)it3 o: (e"9ice. Thus& respon"ent.s assumption of office as vice2mayor in January 2 $ -as an involuntary severance from his office as municipal councilor& resultin% in an interruption in the service of his 2 !22 $ term+ ,t cannot )e "eeme" to have )een )y reason of voluntary renunciation )ecause it -as )y operation of la-+ 3e 5uote -ith approval the rulin% of the CO/ELEC that M The le%al successor is not %iven any option un"er the la- on -hether to accept the vacate" post or not+ Section $$ of the Local =overnment Co"e ma4es no e>ception+ Only if the hi%hest2ran4in% councilor is permanently una)le to succee" to the post "oes the la- spea4 of alternate succession+ Hn"er no circumstances can simple refusal of the official concerne" )e consi"ere" as permanent ina)ility -ithin the contemplation of la-+ Essentially therefore& the successor cannot refuse to assume the office that he is man"ate" to occupy )y virtue of succession+ <e can only "o so if for some reason he is permanently una)le to succee" an" occupy the post vacate"+ >>>> Thus& succession )y la- to a vacate" %overnment office is characteristically not voluntary since it involves the performance of a pu)lic "uty )y a %overnment official& the non2 performance of -hich e>poses sai" official to possi)le a"ministrative an" criminal char%es of "ereliction of "uty an" ne%lect in the performance of pu)lic functions+ ,t is therefore more compulsory an" o)li%atory rather than voluntary+ 0 FRANCIS G. ONG VS. COMELEC , JOHN STANLEY ALEGRE! G.R. No. %/3-&B ! J2n)2"3 -3! -../ .n the (ay# /002 elections# Ong $on as (unicipal mayor of San :icente# Camarines Norte! *e $as proclaimed $inner again in the /003 elections though Alegre filed a protest $here he $as declared $inner on 'uly 6# 144/ $hen Ong had fully served the 'une 74# /003 'une 74# 144/ term $hich $as supposed to be for Alegre! .n the 144/ elections# Ong $on again! .s Ong <ualified to run for (ayor in the (ay 1446 elections5 6rivate respon"ent Joseph Stanley (le%re ((le%re) an" petitioner #rancis On% (#rancis) -ere can"i"ates -ho file" certificates of can"i"acy for mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte in the /ay ! & 2 $ elections+ #rancis -as then the incum)ent mayor+ On January 0& 2 $& (le%re file" -ith the CO/ELEC 6rovincial Office a @etition to 0isqualify, 0eny 0ue Course and Cancel Certificate of Candidacy of #rancis+ Doc4ete" as S6( Case 7o+ $2 $8& the petition to "is5ualify -as pre"icate" on the three2consecutive term rule& #rancis havin%& accor"in% to (le%re& ran in the /ay !00:& /ay !008& an" /ay 2 ! mayoralty elections an" have assume" office as mayor an" "ischar%e" the

"uties thereof for three (3) consecutive full terms correspon"in% to those elections+ The /ay !008 elections sa- )oth (le%re an" #rancis opposin% each other for the office of mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte& -ith the latter )ein% su)se5uently proclaime" )y CO/ELEC -inner in that contest+ (le%re su)se5uently file" an election protest& "oc4ete" as Election Case 7o+ 18: )efore the Re%ional Trial Court (RTC) at Daet& Camarines 7orte+ ,n it& the RTC "eclare" (le%re as the "uly electe" mayor in that !008 mayoralty contest& al)eit the "ecision came out only on July $& 2 !& -hen #rancis ha" fully serve" the !00822 ! mayoralty term an" -as in fact alrea"y startin% to serve the 2 !22 $ term as mayor2elect of the municipality of San *icente+ (ctin% on (le%re.s petition to "is5ualify an" to cancel #rancis. certificate of can"i"acy for the /ay ! & 2 $ elections& the #irst Division of the CO/ELEC ren"ere" on /arch 3!& 2 $ a resolution "ismissin% the sai" petition of (le%re& rationaliDin% as follo-s; 3e see the circumstances in the case no- )efore us analo%ous to those o)tainin% in the sample situations a""resse" )y the <i%hest Court in the 9orAa case+ <erein& one of the re5uisites for the application of the three term rule is not present+ #rancis On% mi%ht have in"ee" fully serve" the mayoral terms of !00: to !008? !008 to 2 ! an" 2 ! to 2 $+ The mayoral term ho-ever& from !008 to 2 ! cannot )e consi"ere" his )ecause he -as not "uly electe" thereto+ The IRTCJ of Daet& Camarines 7orte& 9ranch $! has voi"e" his election for the !008 term -hen it hel"& in its "ecision that Stanley (le%re -as the Ele%ally electe" mayor in the !008 mayoralty election in San *icente& Camarines 7orte+G This "isposition ha" )ecome final after the ICO/ELECJ "ismisse" the appeal file" )y On%& the case havin% )ecome moot an" aca"emic+ >>> On the )asis of the -or"s of the <i%hest Court pronounce" in the LonDani"a case an" applica)le in the case at )ench& On% coul" not )e consi"ere" as havin% serve" as mayor from !008 to 2 ! )ecause Ehe -as not "uly electe" to the post? he merely assume" office as a presumptive -inner? -hich presumption -as later overturne" Q -hen Ithe RTCJ "eci"e" -ith finality that IheJ lost in the /ay !008 elections+G (3or"s in )rac4et an" emphasis in the ori%inal)+ Hn"aunte"& (le%re file" a timely motion for reconsi"eration& conten"in%& in the main& that there -as a misapplication of the three2term rule& as applie" in the cite" cases of 1or2a vs. Comelec an" Lon,anida vs. Comelec& infra+ On /ay '& 2 $& the CO/ELEC en banc issue"& in S6( 7o+ $2 $8& a resolution <O6ERL,7U Vhttp;NNsc+Au"iciary+%ov+phNAurispru"enceN2 1NAan2 1N!1320:+htmV Wl VXftn1V Wo VV I1J reversin% the /arch 3!& 2 $ resolution of the CO/ELEC.s #irst Division an" there)y (a) "eclarin% #rancis E as disqualified to run for mayor of an Gicente, Camarines #orte in t!e IMay '4, 344;= ? ()) or"erin% the "eletion of #rancis. name from the official list of can"i"ates? an" (c) "irectin% the concerne" )oar" of election inspectors not to count the votes cast in his favor+ The follo-in% "ay& /ay 8& #rancis receive" a fa> machine copy of the aforecite" /ay '& 2 $ resolution& sen"in% him posthaste to see4 the assistance of his political party& the 7ationalist 6eople.s Coalition& -hich imme"iately nominate" his ol"er )rother& Rommel On% (Rommel)& as su)stitute can"i"ate+ (t a)out :; : p+m+ of the very same "ay 2 -hich is past the "ea"line for filin% a certificate of can"i"acy& Rommel file" his o-n certificate of can"i"acy for the position of mayor& as su)stitute can"i"ate for his )rother #rancis+ On /ay 0& 2 $& or a "ay )efore the /ay ! elections& (le%re file" a @etition to 0eny 0ue Course to or Cancel Certificate of Rommel On%+ The issues for resolution of the Court are; 3hether the CO/ELEC acte" -ith %rave a)use of "iscretion amountin% to lac4 or e>cess of Auris"iction in issuin% its en banc resolution "ate" /ay '& 2 $ "eclarin% petitioner #rancis as "is5ualifie" to run for /ayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte in the /ay ! & 2 $ elections an" conse5uently or"erin% the "eletion of his name from the official list of can"i"ates so that any vote cast in his favor shall )e consi"ere" stray+ 3hether the CO/ELEC committe" %rave a)use of "iscretion -hen it "enie" "ue course to Rommel.s certificate of can"i"acy in the same mayoralty election as su)stitute for his )rother #rancis+

( resolution of the issues thus formulate" hin%es on the 5uestion of -hether or not petitioner #rancis.s assumption of office as /ayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for the mayoralty term !008 to 2 ! shoul" )e consi"ere" as full service for the purpose of the three2term limit rule+ Respon"ent CO/ELEC resolve" the 5uestion in the affirmative+ 6etitioner #rancis& on the other han"& "isa%rees+ <e ar%ues that& -hile he in"ee" assume" office an" "ischar%e" the "uties as /ayor of San *icente for three consecutive terms& his proclamation as mayor2elect in the /ay !008 election -as conteste" an" eventually nullifie" per the "ecision of the RTC of Daet& Camarines 7orte "ate" July $& 2 !+ The three2term limit rule for elective local officials is foun" in Section 8& (rticle B of the !08' Constitution& -hich provi"es; Sec+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ Section $3 ()) of the Local =overnment Co"e restates the same rule as follo-s; Sec+ $3+ Term of Office+ >>> ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive years in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+ #or the three2term limit for elective local %overnment officials to apply& t-o con"itions or re5uisites must concur& to -it; (!) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three (3) consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post& an" (2) that he has fully serve" three (3) consecutive terms+ There can )e no "ispute a)out petitioner #rancis On% havin% )een "uly electe" mayor of that municipality in the /ay !00: an" a%ain in the /ay 2 ! elections an" servin% the July !& !00:2 June 3 & !008 an" the July !& 2 !2June 3 & 2 $ terms in full+ The herein controversy revolves aroun" the !00822 ! mayoral term& al)eit there can also )e no 5ui))lin% that #rancis ran for mayor of the same municipality in the /ay !008 elections an" actually serve" the !00822 ! mayoral term )y virtue of a proclamation initially "eclarin% him mayor2elect of the municipality of San *icente+ The 5uestion that )e%s to )e a""resse"& therefore& is -hether or not #rancis.s assumption of office as /ayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte from July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 !& may )e consi"ere" as one full term service in the conte>t of the consecutive three2term limit rule+ 3e hol" that such assumption of office constitutes& for #rancis& E service for t!e full term= & an" shoul" )e counte" as a full term serve" in contemplation of the three2term limit prescri)e" )y the constitutional an" statutory provisions& su$ra& )arrin% local elective officials from )ein% electe" an" servin% for more than three consecutive term for the same position+ ,t is true that the RTC2Daet& Camarines 7orte rule" in Election 6rotest Case 7o+ 18: & that it -as #rancis. opponent ((le%re) -ho EwonG in the !008 mayoralty race an"& therefore& -as the le%ally electe" mayor of San *icente+ <o-ever& that "isposition& it must )e stresse"& -as -ithout practical an" le%al use an" value& havin% )een promul%ate" after the term of the conteste" office has e>pire"+ 6etitioner #rancis. contention that he -as only a presumptive -inner in the !008 mayoralty "er)y as his proclamation -as un"er protest "i" not ma4e him less than a "uly electe" mayor+ <is proclamation )y the /unicipal 9oar" of Canvassers of San *icente as the "uly electe" mayor in the !008 mayoralty election couple" )y his assumption of office an" his continuous e>ercise of the functions thereof from start to finish of the term& shoul" le%ally )e ta4en as service for a full term in contemplation of the three2term rule+ The a)sur"ity an" the "eleterious effect of a contrary vie- is not har" to "iscern+ Such contrary vie- -oul" mean that (le%re -oul" M un"er the three2term rule 2 )e consi"ere" as havin% serve" a term )y virtue of a verita)ly meanin%less electoral protest rulin%& -hen another actually serve" such term pursuant to a proclamation ma"e in "ue course after an election+ The "ifference )et-een the case at )ench an" Lon,anida is at once apparent+ #or one& in Lon,anida, the result of the mayoralty election -as "eclare" a nullity for the state" reason of E failure of electionG& an"& as a conse5uence thereof& the proclamation of LonDani"a as mayor2elect -as nullifie"& follo-e" )y an or"er for him to

vacate the office of mayor+ #or another& LonDani"a "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term& there )ein% an involuntary severance from office as a result of le%al processes+ ,n fine& there -as an effective interruption of the continuity of service+ On the other han"& the failure2of2election factor "oes not o)tain in the present case+ 9ut more importantly& here& there -as actually no interruption or )rea4 in the continuity of #rancis. service respectin% the !00822 ! term+ Hnli4e LonDani"a& #rancis -as never unseate" "urin% the term in 5uestion? he never cease" "ischar%in% his "uties an" responsi)ilities as mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for the entire perio" coverin% the !00822 ! term+ Just as unmeritorious as #rancis. petition in =+R+ 7o+ !1320: is Rommel.s petition in =+R+ 7o+ !133:$ in -hich he (Rommel) challen%es the CO/ELECYs act of not inclu"in% his name as a su)stitute can"i"ate in the official list of can"i"ates for the /ay ! & 2 $ elections+ (s it -ere& e>istin% CO/ELEC policy provi"es for the non2inclusion of the name of su)stitute can"i"ates in the certifie" list of can"i"ates pen"in% approval of the su)stitution+ 7ot to )e overloo4e" is the Court.s hol"in% in Miranda vs. Abaya, 7'' C.A J'8 July 3), '((': that a can"i"ate -hose certificate of can"i"acy has )een cancelle" or not %iven "ue course cannot )e su)stitute" )y another )elon%in% to the same political party as that of the former& thus; 3hile there is no "ispute as to -hether or not a nominee of a re%istere" or accre"ite" political party may su)stitute for a can"i"ate of the same party -ho ha" )een "is5ualifie" for any cause& this "oes not inclu"e those cases -here the certificate of can"i"acy of the person to )e su)stitute" ha" )een "enie" "ue course an" cancelle" un"er Section '8 of the Co"e+ Ex$ressio unius est exclusio alterius. 3hile the la- enumerate" the occasions -here a can"i"ate may )e vali"ly su)stitute"& there is no mention of the case -here a can"i"ate is e>clu"e" not only )y "is5ualification )ut also )y "enial an" cancellation of his certificate of can"i"acy+ Hn"er the fore%oin% rule& there can )e no vali" su)stitution for the latter case& much in the same -ay that a nuisance can"i"ate -hose certificate of can"i"acy is "enie" "ue course an"Nor cancelle" may not )e su)stitute"+ ,f the intent of the la-ma4ers -ere other-ise& they coul" have so easily an" conveniently inclu"e" those persons -hose certificates of can"i"acy have )een "enie" "ue course an"Nor cancelle" un"er the provisions of Section '8 of the Co"e+ >>> ( person -ithout a vali" certificate of can"i"acy cannot )e consi"ere" a can"i"ate in much the same -ay as any person -ho has not file" any certificate of can"i"acy at all can not& )y any stretch of the ima%ination& )e a can"i"ate at all+ >>> (fter havin% consi"ere" the importance of a certificate of can"i"acy& it can )e rea"ily un"erstoo" -hy in 9autista I9autista vs+ Comelec& =+R+ 7o+ !338$ & 7ovem)er !3& !008J -e rule" that a person -ith a cancelle" certificate is no can"i"ate at all+ (pplyin% this principle to the case at )ar an" consi"erin% that Section '' of the Co"e is clear an" une5uivocal that only an official can"i"ate of a re%istere" or accre"ite" party may )e su)stitute"& there "emonstra)ly cannot )e any possi)le su)stitution of a person -hose certificate of can"i"acy has )een cancelle" an" "enie" "ue course+ '4 ATTY. VENANCIO L. RIVERA III 2n7 ATTY. NORMANDICN DE GUMMAN 9(. COMELEC , MARINO J+ONINGK MORALES! G.R. No. %/'B&%! M23 &! -.. .n the /002 elections# (orales $as elected (ayor of (abalacat# 9ampanga! .n the /003 elections# he $as proclaimed (ayor but on protest# his opponent $as declared the real $inner but the decision became final only

after (orales had fully served the 'une 74# /003 'une 74# 144/ term! Also during his Bsecond termC# he $as suspended by the Ombudsman for an anti graft case from 'anuary /D# /000 up to 'uly /2# /000! .n the 144/ elections# he $on again! (ay he run for (ayor in the (ay 1446 elections5 On January ! & 2 $& (ttys+ *enancio @+ Rivera an" 7orman"ic4 De =uDman& petitioners& file" -ith the Secon" Division of the Commission on Elections (CO/ELEC) a petition to cancel respon"ent /orales. Certificate of Can"i"acy on the %roun" that he -as electe" an" ha" serve" three previous consecutive terms as mayor of /a)alacat+ They alle%e" that his can"i"acy violate" Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution an" Section $3 ()) of Repu)lic (ct (R+(+) 7o+ '!1 & also 4no-n as the Local =overnment Co"e+ ,n his ans-er to the petition& respon"ent /orales a"mitte" that he -as electe" mayor of /a)alacat for the term commencin% July !& !00: to June 3 & !008 (first term) an" July !& 2 ! to June 3 & 2 $ (thir" term)& )ut he serve" the secon" term from July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 ! only as a Ecareta4er of the officeG or as a E de facto officerG )ecause of the follo-in% reasons; a+ <e -as not vali"ly electe" for the secon" term !008 to 2 ! since his proclamation as mayor -as "eclare" voi" )y the Re%ional Trial Court (RTC)& 9ranch :'& (n%eles City in its Decision "ate" (pril 2& 2 ! in Election 6rotest Case (E6C) 7o+ 082!3!+ The Decision )ecame final an" e>ecutory on (u%ust 1& 2 !? an" )+ <e -as preventively suspen"e" )y the Om)u"sman in an anti2%raft case from January !1& !000 to July !:& !000+ On /ay 1& 2 $& the CO/ELEC Secon" Division ren"ere" its Resolution fin"in% respon"ent /orales "is5ualifie" to run for the position of municipal mayor on the %roun" that he ha" alrea"y serve" three (3) consecutive terms+ (ccor"in%ly& his Certificate of Can"i"acy -as cancelle"+ On /ay '& 2 $& he file" -ith the CO/ELEC En 1anc a motion for reconsi"eration+ On /arch !$& 2 :& the CO/ELEC En 1anc issue" a Resolution %rantin% respon"ent /orales. motion for reconsi"eration an" settin% asi"e that of the Secon" Division+ The CO/ELEC En 1anc hel" that since the Decision in E6C 7o+ 082!3! of the RTC& 9ranch :'& (n%eles City "eclare" respon"ent /orales. proclamation voi"& his "ischar%e of the "uties in the Office of the /ayor in /a)alacat is that of a de facto officer or a de facto mayor+ Therefore& his continuous service for three consecutive terms has )een severe"+ ,s he 5ualifie" to run for the 2 <el"; ,t is un"ispute" that respon"ent /orales -as electe" to the position of mayor of /a)alacat for the follo-in% consecutive terms; a) )) c) ") July !& !00: to June 3 & !008 July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 ! July !& 2 ! to June 3 & 2 $ July !& 2 $ to June 3 & 2 ' $ electionsP

T<E 6R,7C,6(L ,SSHE+ M Respon"ent /orales ar%ue" an" the Comelec hel" that the July !& 2 3 to June 3 & 2 ' term is not his fourth )ecause his secon" term& July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 ! to -hich he -as electe" an" -hich he serve"& may not )e counte" since his proclamation -as "eclare" voi" )y the RTC& 9ranch :' of (n%eles City+ Respon"ent /orales is -ron%+ This Court& throu%h /r+ Justice Cancio C+ =arcia& resolve" the same issue in On" v. Ale"re -ith i"entical facts& thus; To "i%ress a )it& the /ay !008 elections sa- )oth (le%re an" #rancis opposin% each other for the office of mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte& -ith the latter )ein% su)se5uently proclaime" )y the CO/ELEC -inner in the contest+ (le%re su)se5uently file" an election protest& "oc4ete" as Election Case 7o+ 18: )efore the Re%ional Trial Court (RTC) at Daet& Camarines 7orte+ ,n it& the RTC "eclare" (le%re as the "uly electe" mayor in that !008 mayoralty contest& al)eit the "ecision came out only on July $& 2 !& -hen #rancis ha" fully

serve" the !00822 ! mayoralty term an" -as in fact alrea"y startin% to serve the 2 term as mayor2electe" for the municipality of San *icente+ > > >

!22

( resolution of the issues thus formulate" hin%es on the 5uestion of -hether or not petitioner #rancis. assumption of office as mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for the mayoralty term !008 to 2 ! shoul" )e consi"ere" as full service for the purpose of the three2 term limit rule+ Respon"ent CO/ELEC resolve" the 5uestion in the affirmative+ 6etitioner #rancis& on the other han"& "isa%rees+ <e ar%ues that& -hile he in"ee" assume" office an" "ischar%e" the "uties as /ayor of San *icente for three consecutive terms& his proclamation as mayor2electe" in the /ay !008 election -as conteste" an" eventually nullifie" per the Decision of the RTC of Daet& Camarines 7orte "ate" July $& 2 !+ 6ressin% the point& petitioner ar%ues& citin% Lon,anida v. Comelec& that a proclamation su)se5uently "eclare" voi" is no proclamation at all an" one assumin% office on the stren%th of a proteste" proclamation "oes so as a presumptive -inner an" su)Aect to the final outcome of the election protest+ > > > #or the three2term limit for elective local %overnment officials to apply& t-o con"itions or re5uisites must concur& to -it; (!) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three (3) consecutive terms in the same local %overnment post& an" (2) that he has fully serve" three (3) consecutive terms+ 3ith the vie- -e ta4e of the case& the "is5ualifyin% re5uisites are present herein& thus effectively )arrin% petitioner #rancis from runnin% for mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte in the /ay ! & 2 $ elections+ There can )e no "ispute a)out petitioner #rancis On% havin% )een "uly electe" mayor of that municipality in the /ay !00: an" a%ain in the /ay 2 ! elections an" servin% the July !& !00:2June 3 & !008 an" the July !& 2 !2June 3 & 2 $ terms in full+ The herein controversy revolves aroun" the !00822 ! mayoral term& al)eit there can also )e no 5ui))lin% that #rancis ran for mayor of the same municipality in the /ay !008 elections an" actually serve" the !00822 ! mayoral term )y virtue of a proclamation initially "eclarin% him mayor2elect of the municipality of San *icente+ T!e question t!at be"s to be addressed, t!erefore, is w!et!er or not Krancis- assum$tion of office as Mayor of an Gicente, Camarines #orte from July ', '(() to June 74, 344', may be considered as one full term service in t!e context of t!e consecutive t!ree&term limit rule+ 3e hol" that such assumption of office constitutes& for #rancis& E service for t!e full term&G an" shoul" )e counte" as a full term serve" in contemplation of the three2term limit prescri)e" )y the constitutional an" statutory provisions& su$ra& )arrin% local elective officials from )ein% electe" an" servin% for more than three consecutive terms for the same position+ ,t is true that the RTC2Daet& Camarines 7orte rule" in Election 6rotest Case 7o+ 18: & that it -as #rancis. opponent ((le%re) -ho E wonG in the !008 mayoralty race an"& therefore& -as the le%ally electe" mayor of San *icente+ <o-ever& that "isposition& it must )e stresse"& -as -ithout practical an" le%al use an" value& havin% )een promul%ate" after the term of the conteste" office has e>pire"+ 6etitioner #rancis. contention that he -as only a presumptive -inner in the !008 mayoralty "er)y as his proclamation -as un"er protest "i" not ma4e him less than a "uly electe" mayor+ <is proclamation )y the /unicipal 9oar" of Canvassers of San *icente as the "uly electe" mayor in the !008 mayoralty election couple" )y his assumption of office an" his continuous e>ercise of the functions thereof from start to finish of the term& shoul" le%ally )e ta4en as service for a full term in contemplation of the three2term rule+ The a)sur"ity an" the "eleterious effect of a contrary vie- is not har" to "iscern+ Such contrary vie- -oul" mean that (le%re -oul"2un"er the three2term rule2)e consi"ere" as havin% serve" a term )y virtue of a verita)ly meanin%less electoral protest rulin%& -hen another actually

serve" such term pursuant to a proclamation ma"e in "ue course after an election+ 6etitioner cites& )ut& to our min"& cannot see4 refu%e from the Court.s rulin% in Lon,anida v. Comelec, citin% 1or2a v. Comelec+ ,n Lon,anida& petitioner LonDani"a -as electe" an" serve" for t-o consecutive terms as mayor of San (ntonio& Lam)ales prior to the /ay 8& !00: elections+ <e then ran a%ain for the same position in the /ay !00: elections& -on an" "ischar%e" his "uties as /ayor+ <o-ever& his opponent conteste" his proclamation an" file" an election protest )efore the RTC of Lam)ales& -hich& in a "ecision "ate" January 8& !00'& rule" that there -as a failure of elections an" "eclare" the position vacant+ The CO/ELEC affirme" this rulin% an" petitioner LonDani"a acce"e" to the or"er to vacate the post+ LonDani"a assume" the office an" performe" his "uties up to /arch !008 only+ 7o-& "urin% the /ay !008 elections& LonDani"a a%ain ran for mayor of the same to-n+ ( petition to "is5ualify& un"er the three2term rule& -as file" an" -as eventually %rante"+ There& the Court hel" that LonDani"a cannot )e consi"ere" as havin% )een "uly electe" to the post in the /ay !00: election& an" that he "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoralty term )y reason of involuntary relin5uishment of office+ (s the Court pointe"ly o)serve"& LonDani"a Ecannot )e "eeme" to have serve" the /ay !00: to !008 term )ecause he -as or"ere" to vacate Ian" in fact vacate"J his post )efore the e>piration of the term+G The "ifference )et-een the case at )ench an" Lon,anida is at once apparent+ #or one& in Lon,anida& the result of the mayoralty elections -as "eclare" a nullity for the state" reason of Efailure of election,G an"& as a conse5uence thereof& the proclamation of Lon,anida as mayor2 elect -as nullifie"& follo-e" )y an or"er for him to vacate the office of the mayor+ #or another& Lon,anida "i" not fully serve the !00:2!008 mayoral term& there )ein% an involuntary severance from office as a result of le%al processes+ ,n fine& there -as an effective interruption of the continuity of service+ On the other han"& the failure2of2election factor "oes not o)tain in the present case+ 9ut more importantly& here& there -as actually no interruption or )rea4 in the continuity of #rancis. service respectin% the !00822 ! term+ Hnli4e Lon,anida& #rancis -as never unseate" "urin% the term in 5uestion? he never cease" "ischar%in% his "uties an" responsi)ilities as mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for the entire perio" coverin% the !00822 ! term+ ,t )ears stressin% that in On" v. Ale"re cite" a)ove& #rancis On% -as electe" an" assume" the "uties of the mayor of San *icente& Camarines 7orte for three consecutive terms+ 9ut his proclamation as mayor in the /ay !008 election -as "eclare" voi" )y the RTC of Daet& Camarines 7orte in its Decision "ate" July $& 2 !+ (s rule" )y this Court& his service for the term !008 to 2 ! is for the full term+ Clearly& the three2term limit rule applies to him+ ,n"ee"& there is no reason -hy this rulin% shoul" not also apply to respon"ent /orales -ho is similarly situate"+ <ere& respon"ent /orales invo4e" not only Lon,anida v. COMELEC J )ut also 1or2a, Jr. v. Commission on Elections -hich is li4e-ise inapplica)le+ The facts in 1or2a are; 6rivate respon"ent Jose T+ Capco -as electe" vice2mayor of 6ateros on January !8& !008 for a term en"in% June 3 & !002+ On Septem)er 2& !080& he )ecame mayor& )y operation of la-& upon the "eath of the incum)ent& Cesar 9orAa+ On /ay !!& !002& he ran an" -as electe" mayor for a term of three years -hich en"e" on June 3 & !00:+ On /ay 8& !00:& he -as reelecte" mayor for another term of three years en"in% June 3 & !008+ On /arch 2'& !008& private respon"ent Capco file" a certificate of can"i"acy for mayor of 6ateros relative to the /ay !!& !008 elections& 6etitioner 9enAamin H+ 9orAa& Jr+& -ho -as also a can"i"ate for mayor& sou%ht Capco.s "is5ualification on the theory that the latter -oul" have alrea"y serve" as mayor for three consecutive terms )y June 3 & !008 an" -oul" therefore )e ineli%i)le to serve for another term after that+ On (pril 3 & !008& the Secon" Division of the Commission on Elections rule" in favor of petitioner an" "eclare" private respon"ent Capco "is5ualifie" from runnin% for reelection as mayor of 6ateros+ <o-ever& on motion of private respon"ent& the CO/ELEC en banc, votin% :22& reverse" the "ecision an" "eclare" Capco eli%i)le to run for mayor in the /ay !!& !008

elections+ > > > This Court hel" that Capco.s assumption of the office of mayor upon the "eath of the incum)ent may not )e re%ar"e" as a EtermG un"er Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution an" Section $3 ()) of R+(+ 7o+ '!1 (the Local =overnment Co"e)+ <e hel" the position from Septem)er 2& !080 to June 3 & !002& a perio" of less than three years+ /oreover& he -as not electe" to that position+ Similarly& in Adormeo v. COMELEC& this Court rule" that assumption of the office of mayor in a recall election for the remainin% term is not the EtermG contemplate" un"er Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution an" Section $3 ()) of R+(+ 7o+ '!1 (the Local =overnment Co"e)+ (s the Court o)serve"& there -as a E)rea4G in the service of private respon"ent Ramon T+ Talan%a as mayor+ <e -as a Eprivate citiDenG for a time )efore runnin% for mayor in the recall elections+ <ere& respon"ent /orales -as electe" for the term July !& !008 to June 3 & 2 !+ <e assume" the position+ <e serve" as mayor until June 3 & 2 !+ <e -as mayor for the entire perio" not-ithstan"in% the Decision of the RTC in the electoral protest case file" )y petitioner Dee oustin% him (respon"ent) as mayor+ To reiterate& as hel" in On" v. Ale"re such circumstance "oes not constitute an interruption in servin% the full term+ ,t is evi"ent that in the a)ovementione" cases& there e>ists a rest perio" or a )rea4 in the service of local elective official+ ,n Lon,anida& petitioner therein -as a private citiDen a femonths )efore the ne>t mayoral elections+ Similarly& in Adormeo an" ocrates& the private respon"ents therein live" as private citiDens for t-o years an" fifteen months respectively+ ,n"ee"& the la- contemplates a rest perio" "urin% -hich the local elective official steps "o-n from office an" ceases to e>ercise po-er or authority over the inha)itants of the territorial Auris"iction of a particular local %overnment unit+ This Court reiterates that the framers of the Constitution specifically inclu"e" an e>ception to the people.s free"om to choose those -ho -ill %overn them in or"er to avoi" the evil of a sin%le person accumulatin% e>cessive po-er over a particular territorial Auris"iction as a result of a prolon%e" stay in the same office+ To allo- petitioner Latasa to vie for the position of city mayor after havin% serve" for three consecutive terms as municipal mayor -oul" o)viously "efeat the very intent of the framers -hen they -rote this e>ception+ Shoul" he )e allo-e" another three consecutive term as mayor of the City of Di%os& petitioner -oul" then )e possi)ly hol"in% office as chief e>ecutive over the same territorial Auris"iction an" inha)itants for a total of ei%hteen consecutive years+ This is the very scenario sou%ht to )e avoi"e" )y the Constitution& if not a)horre" )y it+ This is the very situation in the instant case+ Respon"ent /orales maintains that he serve" his secon" term (!008 to 2 !) only as a Ecareta4er of the officeG or as a E de facto officer+G Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution is violate" an" its purpose "efeate" -hen an official serves in the same position for three consecutive terms+ 3hether as Ecareta4erG or E de factoG officer& he e>ercises the po-ers an" enAoys the prere5uisites of the office -hich ena)les him Eto stay on in"efinitelyG+ Respon"ent /orales shoul" )e promptly ouste" from the position of mayor of /a)alacat an" the vice2mayor elect of the sai" municipality in the /ay ! & 2 $ SynchroniDe" 7ational an" Local Elections is here)y "eclare" mayor an" shall serve as such for the remainin% "uration of the term July !& 2 $ to June 3 & 2 '+ !! VICTORINO DENNIS M. SOCRATES! M23o" o: P)e"to P"ince(2 Cit3 vs! THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS! THE PREPARATORY RECALL ASSEM+LY (PRA* o: P)e"to P"ince(2 Cit3! et 2#.! GG.R. No. %B4B%-. No9e68e" %-! -..-H MA. FLORES P. ADOVO! MERCY E. GILO 2n7 +IENVENIDO OLLAVE! SR . vs! THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS! 2n7 ED>ARD S. HAGEDORN! GG.R. No(. %BB. 3- 4. No9e68e" %-! -..-H H2;e7o"n 1on 2( Cit3 M23o" o: P)e"to P"nce(2 Cit3 in t0e %&&-! %&&B 2n7 %&& e#ection(. He (e"9e7 2( M23o" )5 to J)ne 3.! -..%. He 7i7 not ")n :o" 2n3 e#ecti9e 5o(ition in t0e M23 -..% e#ection(. Ho1e9e"! 0e :i#e7 0i( ce"ti:ic2te o: c2n7i72c3 :o" Cit3 M23o" o: P)e"to P"ince(2 Cit3 7)"in;

t0e Rec2## E#ection o: Se5te68e" -4! -..- 2;2in(t M23o" Soc"2te( 10o 1on 2( Cit3 M23o" in t0e -..% e#ection(. I( 0e I)2#i:ie7 029in; (e"9e7 3-con(ec)ti9e te"6(< <el"; <a%e"orn -as electe" for three consecutive terms in the !002& !00: an" !008 elections an" serve" in full his three consecutive terms as mayor of 6uerto 6rincesa+ Hn"er the Constitution an" the Local =overnment Co"e& <a%e"orn coul" no lon%er run for mayor in the /ay 2 ! elections+ The Constitution an" the Local =overnment Co"e "is5ualifie" <a%e"orn& -ho ha" reache" the ma>imum three2term limit& from runnin% for a fourth consecutive term as mayor+ Thus& <a%e"orn "i" not run for mayor in the 2 ! elections+ Socrates ran an" -on as mayor of 6uerto 6rincesa in the 2 ! elections+ (fter <a%e"orn cease" to )e mayor on June 3 & 2 !& he )ecame a private citiDen until the recall election of Septem)er 2$& 2 2 -hen he -on )y 3& !8 votes over his closest opponent& Socrates+ ,n the case of <a%e"orn& his can"i"acy in the recall election on Septem)er 2$& 2 2 i( not 2n i66e7i2te "ee#ection 2:te" 0i( t0i"7 con(ec)ti9e te"6 10ic0 en7e7 on J)ne 3.! -..% 2n7 t0e"e:o"e! not 5"o0i8ite7 83 t0e 3-con(ec)ti9e te"6 ")#e. The imme"iate reelection that the Constitution )arre" <a%e"orn from see4in% referre" to the re%ular elections in /ay& 2 !+ <a%e"orn "i" not see4 reelection in the 2 ! elections+ (fter three consecutive terms& an elective local official cannot see4 immediate reelection for a fourth term+ The prohi)ite" election refers to the ne>t re%ular election for the same office follo-in% the en" of the thir" consecutive term+ (ny subse<uent election& li4e a recall election& is no lon%er covere" )y the prohi)ition for t-o reasons+ #irst& a su)se5uent election li4e a recall election is no lon%er an imme"iate reelection after three consecutive terms+ Secon"& the intervenin% perio" constitutes an involuntary interruption in the continuity of service+ 3hen the framers of the Constitution "e)ate" on the term limit of elective local officials& the 5uestion as4e" -as -hether there -oul" )e no further election after three terms& or -hether there -oul" )e E no immediate reelectionG after three terms+ The framers of the Constitution thus clarifie" that a Senator can run after only three years follo-in% his completion of t-o terms+ The framers e>pressly ac4no-le"%e" that the prohi)ite" election refers only to the immediate reelection& an" not to any su)se5uent election& "urin% the si>2year perio" follo-in% the t-o term limit+ The framers of the Constitution "i" not inten" Ethe perio" of restG of an elective official -ho has reache" his term limit to )e the full e>tent of the succee"in% term+ #rom June 3 & 2 ! until the recall election on Septem)er 2$& 2 2& the mayor of 6uerto 6rincesa -as Socrates+ Durin% the same perio"& <a%e"orn -as simply a private citiDen+ This perio" is clearly an interruption in the continuity of <a%e"orn.s service as mayor& not )ecause of his voluntary renunciation& )ut )ecause of a le%al prohi)ition+ <a%e"orn.s three consecutive terms en"e" on June 3 & 2 !+ <a%e"orn.s ne- recall term from Septem)er 2$& 2 2 to June 3 & 2 $ is not a seamless continuation of his previous three consecutive terms as mayor+ One cannot stitch to%ether <a%e"orn.s previous three2terms -ith his ne- recall term to ma4e the recall term a fourth consecutive term )ecause factually it is not+ (n involuntary interruption occurre" from June 3 & 2 ! to Septem)er 2$& 2 2 -hich )ro4e the continuity or consecutive character of <a%e"orn.s service as mayor+ ,n the same manner& <a%e"orn.s recall term "oes not retroact to inclu"e the tenure in office of Socrates+ <a%e"orn can only )e "is5ualifie" to run in the Septem)er 2$& 2 2 recall election if the recall term is ma"e to retroact to June 3 & 2 !& for only then can the recall term constitute a fourth consecutive term+ 9ut to consi"er <a%e"orn.s recall term as a full term of three years& retroactin% to June 3 & 2 !& "espite the fact that he -on his recall term only last Septem)er 2$& 2 2& is to i%nore reality+ This Court cannot "eclare as consecutive or successive terms of office -hich historically an" factually are not+ 3orse& to ma4e <a%e"orn.s recall term retroact to June 3 & 2 ! creates a le%al fiction that un"uly curtails the free"om of the people to choose their lea"ers throu%h popular elections+ The concept of term limits is in "ero%ation of the soverei%n -ill of the people to elect the lea"ers of their o-n choosin%+ Term limits must )e construe" strictly to %ive the fullest possi)le effect to the soverei%n -ill of the people+ (s this Court aptly state" in %or&a# 'r! v! Comelec; EThus& a consi"eration of the historical )ac4%roun" of (rt+ B& R8 of the Constitution reveals that the mem)ers of the Constitutional Commission -ere as much concerne" -ith preserving the freedom of choice of the people as

they $ere $ith preventing the monopolization of political po$er + ,n"ee"& they reAecte" a proposal put forth )y Commissioner E"mun"o #+ =arcia that after servin% three consecutive terms or nine years there shoul" )e no further reelection for local an" le%islative officials+ .nstead# they adopted the alternative proposal of Commissioner Christian (onsod that such officials be simply barred from running for the same position in the succeeding election follo$ing the expiration of the third consecutive term! /onso" -arne" a%ainst Fprescreenin% can"i"ates IfromJ -hom the people -ill choose. as a result of the propose" a)solute "is5ualification& consi"erin% that the "raft constitution containe" provisions Freco%niDin% peopleYs po-er+. ( necessary conse5uence of the interruption of continuity of service is the start of a ne- term follo-in% the interruption+ (n official electe" in recall election serves the une>pire" term of the recalle" official+ This une>pire" term is in itself one term for purposes of countin% the three2term limit+

+ !2
NICASIO +OLOS! JR. VS. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS 2n7 REY ANGELES CINCONIEGUE! G.R. No. % 4. -! M2"c0 %'! -..& .n the /006 barangay elections# %olos $on as 9unong %arangay of %arangay %i,ing# ;auis# %ohol! *e $as reelected in the /008 %arangay Elections and again in the 1441 %arangay elections! Those elected in the 1441 barangay elections has a term up to October# 1448! ?hile sitting as 9unong %arangay# he ran and $on as (unicipal Councilor of ;auis# %ohol during the (ay# 1446 elections $hich as a term up to 'une 74# 1446! .s he <ualified for the position of 9unong %arangay in the October# 1448 %arangay elections5 #or three consecutive terms& petitioner -as electe" to the position of @unon" 1aran"ay of 9aran%ay 9i4in%& Dauis& 9ohol in the 9aran%ay Elections hel" in !00$& !00' an" 2 2+ ,n /ay 2 $& -hile sittin% as the incum)ent @unon" 1aran"ay of 9aran%ay 9i4in%& petitioner ran for /unicipal Councilor of Dauis& 9ohol an" -on+ <e assume" office as /unicipal Councilor on July !& 2 $& leavin% his post as @unon" 1aran"ay+ <e serve" the full term of the an""unian" 1ayan position& -hich -as until June 3 & 2 '+ Thereafter& petitioner file" his Certificate of Can"i"acy for @unon" 1aran"ay of 9aran%ay 9i4in%& Dauis& 9ohol in the Octo)er 20& 2 ' 1aran"ay an" an""unian" Aabataan Elections+ Respon"ent Rey (n%eles Cinconie%ue& the incum)ent @unon" 1aran"ay an" can"i"ate for the same office& file" )efore the CO/ELEC a petition for the "is5ualification of petitioner as can"i"ate on the %roun" that he ha" alrea"y serve" the three2term limit+ <ence& petitioner is no lon%er allo-e" to run for the same position in accor"ance -ith Section 8& (rticle B of the Constitution an" Section $3 ()) of R+(+ 7o+ '!1 + Cinconie%ue conten"e" that petitioner.s relin5uishment of the position of @unon" 1aran"ay in July 2 $ -as voluntary on his part& as it coul" )e presume" that it -as his personal "ecision to run as municipal councilor in the /ay !$& 2 $ 7ational an" Local Elections+ <e a""e" that petitioner 4ne- that if he -on an" assume" the position& there -oul" )e a voluntary renunciation of his post as @unon" 1aran"ay+ 6ursuant to Section ! of CO/ELEC Resolution 7o+ 820' "ate" Septem)er 1& 2 '& the petition -as hear" )y the 6rovincial Election Supervisor of 9ohol+ Hpon completion of the procee"in%s& the evi"ence& recor"s of the case& an" the <earin% Officer.s action on the matter -ere en"orse" to an" receive" )y the Commission on 7ovem)er 2!& 2 '+ ,n a Resolution "ate" /arch $& 2 8& the #irst Division of the CO/ELEC rule" that petitioner.s

relin5uishment of the office of @unon" 1aran"ay of 9i4in%& Dauis& 9ohol& as a conse5uence of his assumption of office as an""unian" 1ayan mem)er of Dauis& 9ohol& on July !& 2 $& -as a voluntary renunciation of the Office of @unon" 1aran"ay w!ic! disqualifies !im to run as @unon" 1aran"ay because it would be !is ;t! consecutive term. 6etitioner.s motion for reconsi"eration -as "enie" )y the CO/ELEC en banc in a Resolution "ate" (u%ust '& 2 8+ ,SSHE; 3<ET<ER OR 7OT T<E <O7OR(9LE CO//,SS,O7 O7 ELECT,O7S (CTED 3,T<OHT OR ,7 EBCESS O# ,TS JHR,SD,CT,O7 (/OH7T,7= TO L(CU O# JHR,SD,CT,O7 OR 3,T< =R(*E (9HSE O# D,SCRET,O7 ,7 D,S@H(L,#O,7= I6ET,T,O7ERJ (S ( C(7D,D(TE #OR 6H7O7= 9(R(7=(O ,7 T<E OCTO9ER 20& 2 ' 9(R(7=(O (7D S(7==H7,(7= U(9(T((7 ELECT,O7S (7D& SH9SE@HE7TLO& (77HLL,7= <,S 6ROCL(/(T,O7+ The main issue is -hether or not there -as voluntary renunciation of the Office of @unon" 1aran"ay )y petitioner -hen he assume" office as /unicipal Councilor so that he is "eeme" to have fully serve" his thir" term as @unon" 1aran"ay& -arrantin% his "is5ualification from runnin% for the same position in the Octo)er 20& 2 ' 1aran"ay an" an""unian" Aabataan Elections+ 6etitioner conten"s that he is 5ualifie" to run for the position of @unon" 1aran"ay in the Octo)er 20& 2 ' 1aran"ay an" an""unian" Aabataan Elections since he "i" not serve continuously three consecutive terms+ <e a"mits that in the !00$& !00' an" 2 2 1aran"ay elections& he -as electe" as @unon" 1aran"ay for three consecutive terms+ 7onetheless& -hile servin% his thir" term as @unon" 1aran"ay& he ran as /unicipal Councilor of Dauis& 9ohol& an" -on+ On July !& 2 $& he assume" office an"& conse5uently& left his post as @unon" 1aran"ay )y operation of la-+ <e averre" that he serve" the full term as mem)er of the an""unian" 1ayan until June 3 & 2 '+ On Octo)er 20& 2 '& he file" his Certificate of Can"i"acy for @unon" 1aran"ay an" -on+ <ence& the CO/ELEC %ravely a)use" its "iscretion in "is5ualifyin% him as a can"i"ate for @unon" 1aran"ay since he "i" not complete his thir" term )y operation of la-+ The ar%ument is -ithout merit+ The three2term limit for elective local officials is containe" in Constitution& -hich provi"es; Section 8& (rticle B of the

Sec+ 8+ The term of office of elective local officials& e>cept )aran%ay officials& -hich shall )e "etermine" )y la-& shall )e three years& an" no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for -hich he -as electe"+ 0avid v. Commission on Elections eluci"ates that the Constitution "i" not e>pressly prohi)it Con%ress from fi>in% any term of office for baran"ay officials& there)y leavin% to the la-ma4ers full "iscretion to fi> such term in accor"ance -ith the e>i%encies of pu)lic service+ The "iscussions in the Constitutional Commission sho-e" that the term of office of baran"ay officials -oul" )e EIaJs may )e "etermine" )y la-&G an" more precisely& EIaJs provi"e" for in the Local =overnment Co"eG+ Section $3()) of the Local =overnment Co"e provi"es that baran"ay officials are covere" )y the three2term limit& -hile Section $3(c) thereof states that the term of office of baran"ay officials shall )e five (:) years+ The cite" provisions rea"& thus; Sec+ $3+ Term of Office+ M > > > ()) 7o local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position+ *oluntary renunciation of the office for any len%th of time shall not )e consi"ere" as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for -hich the elective official concerne" -as electe"+

(c) The term of )aran%ay officials an" mem)ers of the san%%unian% 4a)ataan shall )e for five (:) years& -hich shall )e%in after the re%ular election of )aran%ay officials on the secon" /on"ay of /ay !00'; @rovided& That the san%%unian% 4a)ataan mem)ers -ho -ere electe" in the /ay !001 elections shall serve until the ne>t re%ular election of )aran%ay officials+ ocrates v. Commission on Elections hel" that the rule on the three2term limit& em)o"ie" in the Constitution an" the Local =overnment Co"e& has t-o parts; > > > T0e :i"(t 52"t 5"o9i7e( t02t 2n e#ecti9e #oc2# o::ici2# c2nnot (e"9e :o" 6o"e t02n t0"ee con(ec)ti9e te"6( + The clear intent is that only consecutive terms count in "eterminin% the three2term limit rule+ T0e (econ7 52"t (t2te( t02t 9o#)nt2"3 "en)nci2tion o: o::ice :o" 2n3 #en;t0 o: ti6e 7oe( not inte"")5t t0e contin)it3 o: (e"9ice+ The clear intent is that involuntary severance from office for any len%th of time interrupts continuity of service an" prevents the service )efore an" after the interruption from )ein% Aoine" to%ether to form a continuous service or consecutive terms+ (fter three consecutive terms& an elective local official cannot see4 imme"iate reelection for a fourth term+ The prohi)ite" election refers to the ne>t re%ular election for the same office follo-in% the en" of the thir" consecutive term+ ,n Lon,anida v. Commission on Elections, the Court state" that the secon" part of the rule on the three2term limit sho-s the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution to )ar any attempt to circumvent the three2term limit )y a voluntary renunciation of office an" at the same time respect the people.s choice an" %rant their electe" official full service of a term+ The Court hel" that t-o con"itions for the application of the "is5ualification must concur; (!) that the official concerne" has )een electe" for three consecutive terms in the same %overnment post? an" (2) that he has fully serve" three consecutive terms + ,n this case& it is un"ispute" that petitioner -as electe" as @unon" 1aran"ay for three consecutive terms& satisfyin% the first con"ition for "is5ualification+ 3hat is to )e "etermine" is -hether petitioner is "eeme" to have voluntarily renounce" his position as @unon" 1aran"ay "urin% his thir" term -hen he ran for an" -on as an""unian" 1ayan mem)er an" assume" sai" office+ The Court a%rees -ith the CO/ELEC that there -as voluntary renunciation )y petitioner of his position as @unon" 1aran"ay+ The CO/ELEC correctly hel"; ,t is our fin"in% that 7icasio 9olos& Jr+.s relin5uishment of the office of 6unon% 9aran%ay of 9i4in%& Dauis& 9ohol& as a conse5uence of his assumption to office as San%%unian% 9ayan mem)er of Dauis& 9ohol& on July !& 2 $& is a voluntary renunciation+ (s conce"e" even )y him& respon"ent (petitioner herein) ha" alrea"y complete" t-o consecutive terms of office -hen he ran for a thir" term in the 9aran%ay Elections of 2 2+ 3hen he file" his certificate of can"i"acy for the Office of San%%unian% 9ayan of Dauis& 9ohol& in the /ay ! & 2 $ IelectionsJ& he -as not "eeme" resi%ne"+ 7onetheless& all the acts atten"in% his pursuit of his election as municipal councilor point out to an intent an" rea"iness to %ive up his post as 6unon% 9aran%ay once electe" to the hi%her elective office& for it -as very unli4ely that respon"ent ha" file" his Certificate of Can"i"acy for the San%%unian% 9ayan post& campai%ne" an" e>horte" the municipal electorate to vote for him as such an" then after )ein% electe" an" proclaime"& return to his former position+ <e 4ne- that his election as municipal councilor -oul" entail a)an"onment of the position he hel"& an" he inten"e" to fore%o of it+ ()an"onment& li4e resi%nation& is voluntary +

,n"ee"& petitioner -as servin% his thir" term as @unon" 1aran"ay -hen he ran for an""unian" 1ayan mem)er an"& upon -innin%& assume" the position of an""unian" 1ayan mem)er& thus& voluntarily relin5uishin% his office as @unon" 1aran"ay -hich the Court "eems as a voluntary renunciation of sai" office+ 6etitioner erroneously ar%ues that -hen he assume" the position of an""unian" 1ayan mem)er& he left his post as @unon" 1aran"ay )y operation of la-? hence& he "i" not fully serve his thir" term as @unon" 1aran"ay+ The term Eoperation of la-G is "efine" )y the 6hilippine Le%al Encyclope"ia as Ea term "escri)in% the fact that ri%hts may )e ac5uire" or lost )y the effect of a le%al rule -ithout any act of the person affecte"+G 9lac4Ys La- Dictionary also "efines it as a term that Ee>presses the manner in -hich ri%hts& an" sometimes lia)ilities& "evolve upon a person )y the mere application to the particular transaction of the esta)lishe" rules of la-& -ithout the act or cooperation of the party himself +G (n interruption in the service of a term of office& )y operation of la-& is e>emplifie" in Montebon v. Commission on Elections . The respon"ent therein& Sesinan"o #+ 6otencioso& Jr+& -as electe" an" serve" three consecutive terms as /unicipal Councilor of Tu)uran& Ce)u in !00822 !& 2 !22 $& an" 2 $22 '+ <o-ever& "urin% his secon" term& he succee"e" as *ice2/ayor of Tu)uran "ue to the retirement of the *ice2/ayor pursuant to Section $$ of R+(+ 7o+ '!1 + 6otencioso.s assumption of office as *ice2/ayor -as consi"ere" an involuntary severance from his office as /unicipal Councilor& resultin% in an interruption in his secon" term of service+ The Court hel" that it coul" not )e "eeme" to have )een )y reason of voluntary renunciation )ecause it -as )y operation of la-+ <ence& 6otencioso -as 5ualifie" to run as can"i"ate for municipal councilor of the /unicipality of Tu)uran& Ce)u in the /ay !$& 2 ' SynchroniDe" 7ational an" Local Elections+ ,n this case& petitioner "i" not fill in or succee" to a vacancy )y operation of la-+ <e instea" relin5uishe" his office as @unon" 1aran"ay "urin% his thir" term -hen he -on an" assume" office as an""unian" 1ayan mem)er of Dauis& 9ohol& -hich is "eeme" a voluntary renunciation of the Office of @unon" 1aran"ay+

-A,E -A,E .