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Lex Talionis Fraternitas Inc.

ELECTIONS
Case Digests

ESSENCE OF ELECTIONS/DEFINITION, BASIS AND NATURE


Carlos vs Angeles (G.R. No. 142907 Nov 29, 2000)
Even if the candidate receiving the majority votes is ineligible or
disqualified, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes or
the second placer, can not be declared elected.

Municipal Board of Canvassers, Valenzuela, Metro Manila


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

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determined through the will of the electorate. "An election is


the embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the
sovereign power of the people." Specifically, the term
'election', in the context of the Constitution, may refer to the
conduct of the polls, including the listing of voters, the
holding of the electoral campaign, and the casting and
counting of votes." The winner is the candidate who has
obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in the
election. "Sound policy dictates that public elective offices
are filled by those who receive the highest number of votes
cast in the election for that office. For, in all republican
forms of government the basic idea is that no one can be
declared elected and no measure can be declared carried
unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal
votes cast in the election." In case of protest, a revision or
recount of the ballots cast for the candidates decides the
election protest case. The candidate receiving the highest
number or plurality of votes shall be proclaimed the winner.
Even if the candidate receiving the majority votes is
ineligible or disqualified, the candidate receiving the next
highest number of votes or the second placer, cannot be
declared elected. "The wreath of victory cannot be
transferred from the disqualified winner to the repudiated
loser because the law then as now only authorizes a
declaration of election in favor of the person who has
obtained a plurality of votes and does not entitle a candidate
receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared
elected." In other words, "a defeated candidate cannot be
deemed elected to the office."
Rulloda vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 154198 Jan 20, 2003)
The purpose of election laws which is to give effect to rather than frustrate
the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to uphold the clear and
unmistakable mandate of the people. It is well-settled that in case of
doubt, political laws must be so construed as to give life and spirit to the
popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot.

Romeo N. Rulloda and Remegio L. Placido were the


contending candidates for Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas,

San Jacinto, Pangasinan. On June 22, 2002, Romeo suffered a


heart attack and passed away. His widow, petitioner Petronila
"Betty" Rulloda, wrote a letter to the Commission on
Elections seeking permission to run as candidate for Barangay
Chairman of Sto. Tomas in lieu of her late husband. BoC
proclaimed Placido winner despite garnering only 290 votes
which is lesser than Rullodas 516. Petitioner later found out
that COMELEC denied her application to be substitute
candidate of her late husband. COMELEC based its decision
on its Resolution No. 4801 declaring there shall be no
substitution for barangay and SK elections. Petitioner filed
the instant petition for certiorari, seeking to annul Section 9
of Resolution No. 4801 and Resolution No. 5217, both of the
COMELEC, insofar as they prohibited petitioner from running
as substitute candidate in lieu of her deceased husband; to
nullify the proclamation of respondent; and to proclaim her
as the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Sto. Tomas, San
Jacinto, Pangasinan.
Issue: WON Rulloda should be declared the winner and
proclaimed as the Barangay Chairman
Held: Yes, election means the choice or selection of
candidates to public office by popular vote through the use
of the ballot, and the elected officials which are determined
through the will of the electorate. An election is the
embodiment of the popular will, the expression of the
sovereign power of the people. The winner is the candidate
who has obtained a majority or plurality of valid votes cast in
the election. Sound policy dictates that public elective
offices are filled by those who receive the highest number of
votes cast in the election for that office. For, in all
republican forms of government the basic idea is that no one
can be declared elected and no measure can be declared
carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the
legal votes cast in the election. Private respondent argues
that inasmuch as the barangay election is non-partisan, there
can be no substitution because there is no political party
from which to designate the substitute. Such an

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interpretation, aside from being non sequitur, ignores the
purpose of election laws which is to give effect to, rather
than frustrate, the will of the voters. It is a solemn duty to
uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people. It
is well-settled that in case of doubt, political laws must be so
construed as to give life and spirit to the popular mandate
freely expressed through the ballot. Contrary to respondents
claim, the absence of a specific provision governing
substitution of candidates in barangay elections cannot be
inferred as a prohibition against said substitution. Such a
restrictive construction cannot be read into the law where
the same is not written. Indeed, there is more reason to
allow the substitution of candidates where no political
parties are involved than when political considerations or
party affiliations reign, a fact that must have been subsumed
by law.
Sunga vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 125629 Mar 25, 1998)
It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the
constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not
acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed winner and
imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of whom have
positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.

Petitioner Manuel C. Sunga was one of the candidates for the


position of Mayor in the Municipality of Iguig, Province of
Cagayan, in the 8 May 1995 elections. Private respondent
Ferdinand B. Trinidad, then incumbent mayor, was a
candidate for re-election in the same municipality. Sunga
filed
with
the
COMELEC
a
letter-complaint for
disqualification against Trinidad, accusing him of using three
(3) local government vehicles in his campaign, in violation of
Sec. 261, par. (o), Art. XXII, of BP Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election
Code, as amended). On 7 May 1995, Sunga filed another
letter-complaint with the COMELEC charging Trinidad this
time with violation of Sec. 261, par. (e) (referring to threats,
intimidation, terrorism or other forms of coercion) of the
Omnibus Election Code. Election results showed that Trinidad

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garnered the highest number of votes, while Sunga trailed


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

Mitmug vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 106270-73 Feb 10, 1994)


All the law requires is that a winning candidate must be elected by a
plurality of valid votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast.
Thus, even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned precincts
cast their votes, the same must still be respected.

Petitioner SULTAN MOHAMAD L. MITMUG and private


respondent DATU GAMBAI DAGALANGIT were among the
candidates for the mayoralty position of Lumba-Bayabao.
Voter turnout for the election was very low. Only 2,330 out of
9,830 registered voters therein cast their votes. Dagalangit
won. Other candidates filed separate petition for the
declaration of failure of election in some or all precincts in
Lumba-Bayabao.
Issue: WON COMELEC should declare a failure of election on
the ground of massive disenfranchisement of voters due to
alleged terrorism and unlawful clustering of precincts.
Held. No. before COMELEC can act on a verified petition
seeking to declare a failure of election, two (2) conditions
must concur: first, no voting has taken place in the precinct
or precincts on the date fixed by law or, even if there was
voting, the election nevertheless results in failure to elect;
and, second, the votes not cast would affect the result of the
election. In the case before us, it is indubitable that the
votes not cast will definitely affect the outcome of the
election. But, the first requisite is missing, i.e., that no
actual voting took place, or even if there is, the results
thereon will be tantamount to a failure to elect. Since actual
voting and election by the registered voters in the
questioned precincts have taken place, the results thereof
cannot be disregarded and excluded. COMELEC therefore did
not commit any abuse of discretion, much less grave, in
denying the petitions outright. There was no basis for the
petitions since the facts alleged therein did not constitute
sufficient grounds to warrant the relief sought. For, the
language of the law expressly requires the concurrence of
these conditions to justify the calling of a special election.
There can be failure of election in a political unit only if the

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will of the majority has been defiled and cannot be
ascertained. But, if it can be determined, it must be
accorded respect. After all, there is no provision in our
election laws which requires that a majority of registered
voters must cast their votes. All the law requires is that a
winning candidate must be elected by a plurality of valid
votes, regardless of the actual number of ballots cast. Thus,
even if less than 25% of the electorate in the questioned
precincts cast their votes, the same must still be respected.
There is prima facie showing that private respondent was
elected through a plurality of valid votes of a valid
constituency.
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION IN ELECTION LAWS
Maruhom vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 139357 May 5, 2000)
Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the Constitution gives the COMELEC the
broad power "to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to
the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall."
which intends to give the COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers
for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful
and credible elections.

Maruhom and Dimaporo were both candidates for Mayor in


the Municipality of Marogong, Lanao del Sur. During the
counting of votes, serious irregularities, anomalies and
electoral frauds were committed at the instance of
petitioner or his followers in that votes actually casted for
the private respondent were not counted and credited in his
favor thru the concerted acts, conspiracy and manipulation
of the Board of Election Inspectors, military, Election Officer
and the Machine Operator who happens to be a nephew of
the petitioner. Many official ballots were refused or rejected
by the machine. As a result of the foregoing irregularities,
anomalies and electoral frauds, the petitioner was illegally
proclaimed as winner because he appeared to have obtained
2,020 votes while the private respondent garnered 2,000
votes with a slight margin of only 20 votes. Private
respondent, knowing that he was cheated and the true

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winner for Mayor, filed before this Honorable Commission a


petition to annul the proclamation of petitioner Abdulmadid
Maruhom as the duly elected Mayor of Marogong, Lanao del
Sur. Subsequently, a Revision Committee was created and its
membership were duly appointed in open court which
committee was directed by the COMELEC to finish the
revision of ballots. After the Revision Committee was
directed by the respondent to commence the revision of
ballots, the petitioner Abdulmadid Maruhom thru counsel
orally moved for the dismissal of the protest on the grounds
that (1) The ballot boxes containing the ballots in the
protested and counter-protested precincts have been
violated; (2) Automated counting of ballots does not
contemplate a manual recount of the ballots.
Issue: WON the COMELEC may order manual recount of
ballots even not mentioned in R.A. 8436
Held: Yes. Although admittedly there is a lacuna leges in R.A.
No. 8436 which prescribes the adoption of an automated
election system. However, while conceding as much, this
Court ruled in Tupay Loong v. COMELEC, 42 that the
Commission is nevertheless not precluded from conducting a
manual count when the automated counting system fails,
reasoning thus:
. . . In enacting R.A. No. 8436,
Congress obviously failed to provide a
remedy where the error in counting
is not machine related for human
foresight is not all-seeing. We hold,
however, that the vacuum in the law
cannot prevent the COMELEC from
levitating above the problem.
Section 2(1) of Article IX (C) of the
Constitution gives the COMELEC the
broad power "to enforce and
administer all laws and regulations
relative to the conduct of an

election,
plebiscite,
initiative,
referendum and recall." Undoubtedly,
the text and intent of this provision
is to give the COMELEC all the
necessary and incidental powers for
it to achieve the objective of holding
free, orderly, honest, peaceful and
credible elections. Congruent to this
intent, this Court has not been
niggardly in defining the parameters
of powers of COMELEC in the conduct
of our elections . . . In the case at
bar, the COMELEC order for a manual
count was not only reasonable. It was
the only way to count the decisive
local votes . . . The bottom line is
that by means of the manual count,
the will of the voters of Sulu was
honestly determined. We cannot kick
away the will of the people by giving
a literal interpretation to R.A. 8436.
R.A. 8436 did not prohibit manual
counting when machine count does
not work. Counting is part and parcel
of the conduct of an election which is
under the control and supervision of
the COMELEC . . .
. . . Our elections are not conducted under
laboratory conditions. In running for public
offices, candidates do not follow the rules of
Emily Post. Too often, COMELEC has to make
snap judgments to meet unforeseen
circumstances that threaten to subvert the
will of our voters. In the process, the actions
of COMELEC may not be impeccable, indeed,
may even be debatable. We cannot, however,
engage in a swivel chair criticism of these

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actions often taken under very difficult
circumstances.
Verily, the legal compass from which the COMELEC should
take its bearings in acting upon election controversies is the
principle that "clean elections control the appropriateness of
the remedy." Be that as it may, the fact is the averments in
petitioner's counter-protest and private respondent's protest
already justified the determination of the issues through a
judicial revision and recounting of the ballots pursuant to
Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides
that
Sec. 255. Judicial counting of votes in
election contest. Where allegations in a
protest or counter-protest so warrant or
whenever in the opinion of the court the
interests of justice so require, it shall
immediately order the book of voters, ballot
boxes and their keys, ballots and other
documents used in the election be brought
before it and that the ballots be examined
and votes recounted.
Pena vs HRET (G.R. No. 123037 Mar 21, 1997)
While it is conceded that statutes providing for election contests are to be
liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of
public officers may not be defeated by mere technical questions, the rule
likewise stands, that in an election protest, the protestant must stand or
fall upon the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading filed
prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of the protest.

Petitioner Pena and the private respondent Abueg were


contenders for the said Congressional Office in the May 8,
1995 elections. On May 12, 1995, upon canvassing the votes
cast, the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Palawan
proclaimed the private respondent as the winner. On May 22,
1995, the instant petition was filed with the HRET. The

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petition was dismissed by the HRET for the failure of the


petition to state a cause of action because it is fatally
insufficient in form and substance (for failing to identify
specific precincts where alleged widespread election, fraud
and irregularities occurred). In its Petition for Certiorari,
petitioner argues that the petition was initially defective for
failure to specify the contested precincts, said defect was
cured when petitioner submitted summary of the contested
precincts.
Issue: WON the HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to having acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction in dismissing the election protest of petitioner
Held: No. substantial amendments to the protest may be
allowed only within the same period for filing the election
protest, which, under Rule 16 of the HRET Rules of Procedure
is ten (10) days after the proclamation of the winner. While it
is conceded that statutes providing for election contests are
to be liberally construed to the end that the will of the
people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated
by mere technical questions, the rule likewise stands, that in
an election protest, the protestant must stand or fall upon
the issues he had raised in his original or amended pleading
filed prior to the lapse of the statutory period for filing of
the protest. Admittedly, the rule is well-established that the
power to annul an election should be exercised with the
greatest care as it involves the free and fair expression of the
popular will. It is only in extreme cases of fraud and under
circumstances which demonstrate to the fullest degree a
fundamental and wanton disregard of the law that elections
are annulled, and then only when it becomes impossible to
take any other step. This is as it should be, for the
democratic system is good for the many although abhorred by
a few.
Kinds of Election: Regular and Special
Paras vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 123169 Nov 4, 1996)

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

Petitioner Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay


of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the last regular
barangay election in 1994. A petition for his recall as Punong
Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay.
Acting on the petition for recall, public respondent
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the
petition, scheduled the petition signing on October 14, 1995,
and set the recall election on November 13, 1995. Petitioner
opposed the proceedings Citing Section 74 (b) of the Local
Government Code, which states that "no recall shall take
place within one (1) year from the date of the official's
assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding
a regular local election", petitioner insists that the scheduled
January 13, 1996 recall election is now barred as the
Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set by Republic Act
No. 7808 on the first Monday of May 1996, and every three
years
thereafter.
In
support
thereof,
petitioner
cites Associated Labor Union v. Letrondo-Montejo, 237 SCRA
621, where the Court considered the SK election as a regular
local election. Petitioner maintains that as the SK election is
a regular local election, hence no recall election can be had
for barely four months separate the SK election from the
recall election.
Issue: WON the contention of Paras is tenable
Held: No, it is a rule in statutory construction that every part
of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the
context, i.e., that every part of the statute must be
considered together with the other parts, and kept
subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment.
The evident intent of Section 74 is to subject an elective
local official to recall election once during his term of office.

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Paragraph (b) construed together with paragraph (a) merely
designates the period when such elective local official may
be subject of a recall election, that is, during the second
year of his term of office. Thus, subscribing to petitioner's
interpretation of the phrase regular local election to include
the SK election will unduly circumscribe the novel provision
of the Local Government Code on recall, a mode of removal
of public officers by initiation of the people before the end
of his term. And if the SK election which is set by R.A No.
7808 to be held every three years from May 1996 were to be
deemed within the purview of the phrase "regular local
election", as erroneously insisted by petitioner, then no recall
election can be conducted rendering inutile the recall
provision of the Local Government Code. In the
interpretation of a statute, the Court should start with the
assumption that the legislature intended to enact an
effective law, and the legislature is not presumed to have
done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. 5 An
interpretation should, if possible, be avoided under which a
statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as
otherwise expressed, nullified, destroyed, emasculated,
repealed, explained away, or rendered insignificant,
meaningless, inoperative or nugatory. It is likewise a basic
precept in statutory construction that a statute should be
interpreted in harmony with the Constitution. Thus, the
interpretation of Section 74 of the Local Government Code,
specifically paragraph (b) thereof, should not be in conflict
with the Constitutional mandate of Section 3 of Article X of
the Constitution to "enact a local government code which
shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local
government structure instituted through a system of
decentralization with effective mechanism of recall,
initiative, and referendum . . . ."
Davide (concurring): A regular election, whether national or local, can only
refer to an election participated in by those who possess the right of
suffrage, are not otherwise disqualified by law, and who are registered
voters. One of the requirements for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1,
Article V of the Constitution is that the person must be at least 18 years of
age, and one requisite before he can vote is that he be a registered voter

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pursuant to the rules on registration prescribed in the Omnibus Election


Code (Section 113-118). Under the law, the SK includes the youth with ages
ranging from 15 to 21 (Sec. 424, Local Government Code of 1991).
Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular
election, viz., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK
elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

Papa vs Municipal Board (G.R. No. L-23892 Mar 23, 1925)


The terminology the next preceding election refers to the last election
held regardless of whether it is a special or general election.

The last general elections were held in 1922. In the city of


Manila, the Partido Democrata ran first, the Partido
Nacionalista Colectivista second, and the Partido Nacionalista
third. The Partido Liberal also polled some votes. A special
election to fill a vacancy in the office of Senator of the
Fourth District including the City of Manila, was held on
October 2, 1923. At this special election, two persons, Juan
Sumulong(Partido
Democrata)
and
Ramon
J.
Fernandez(Independent),
filed
their
certificates
of
candidacy. In the City of Manila, Juan Sumulong received
16,022 votes and Ramon J. Fernandez, 19,380 votes. When
the time came for the Municipal Board of the City of Manila
to name election inspectors and poll clerks for the general
election of 1925, it refused all participation on election
boards to the Partido Nacionalista Consolidado, the political
legatee of the Partido Nacionalista Colectivista and the
Partido Nacionalista. Instead, it provided for election boards,
as above indicated, by giving majority representation to the
Partido Democrata and minority representation to the
Partido Liberal. Act No. 3030 as amended by Act No. 3210
provides that municipal council in each municipality wherein
a general election is to be held to appoint, ninety days
immediately prior to the date of such general election, three
inspectors of election and one poll clerk, with their
respective substitutes, for each election precinct therein,
who shall hold office for three years or until their successors
shall have taken charge of the same. Should there be in such
municipality one or more political parties or branches or

fractions thereof, or political groups, then two of said


inspectors and two substitutes for the same shall belong to
the party which polled the largest number of votes in said
municipality at the next preceding election and the other
inspector and his substitute shall belong to the party, branch
or fraction thereof, or political group which polled the next
largest number of votes at said election. Partido Nacionalista
Consolidado claimed that Fernandez run and accepted the
nomination of the party and won because of the support of
the party, thus the party should be given the 2 slots for
inspector of election for being the party who won the most
number of votes in the next preceding election with the
victory of its claimed candidate Fernandez.
ISSUE: a. WON the 1923 special election should be the basis
to determine distribution of inspector of elections slots
b. WON Partido Nacionalista Consolidado should be credited
with the victory of Fernandez whom it claimed as its
candidate c. WON the poll clerk in each precinct should come
from the party with the largest vote in the next preceding
election
Held: a. Yes, if the previous terminology at such preceding
election was not amended to the next preceding election,
then the basis would be the 1922 general election. The term
the next preceding election clearly refers to the 1923
special elections. The Philippine Legislature, however, it
again amended section 417 by the enactment of Act No. 3210
by changing the phrase "at such preceding election" to the
phrase "at the next preceding election." Possibly the law is
still susceptible to the interpretation that "the next
preceding election" has relation with the "general election"
mentioned in the beginning of the section. But obviously, the
law was amended for some purpose. As the law now exists, a
special election is as much a "preceding election" as a
general election. This may be unfortunate, for a special
election is an election not regularly held to supply a vacancy
in a particular office before the expiration of the full term
for which the incumbent was elected, and thus does not as

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well echo the political sentiment of the electorate as does a
general election.

determine those of his voters, must be judged and


considered as of the date of the election and not afterwards.

b. No, it is questionable if the Partido Nacionalista


Consolidado can now claim a monopoly of the benefits arising
from an election when the successful candidate ran as an
independent. The certificate of candidacy of Ramon J.
Fernandez permitted the placing of his name before the
electorate. It was in the nature of a formal manifestation to
the whole world of his political creed or lack of political
creed. It constituted an authorized badge which the voter
could scrutinize before casting his ballot. The electors voted
for Ramon J. Fernandez, Independent. They did not vote for
Ramon J. Fernandez, Colectivista, Nacionalista, Liberal,
or Democrata. It would be hard to say whether of the 19,380
votes received by Senator Fernandez, 16,023 thereof, or one
more than was received by his opponent, came to him on
account of the backing of the Partido Colectivista and the
Partido Nacionalista, or whether such support only accounted
for 16,021 votes, or one less than was received by his
opponent. It has been the practice of this court to hold a
person who does not belong to any political party, but is only
an independent candidate, has no right to recommend
persons as election inspectors. The statute, providing that
election inspectors shall be selected from the leading
political parties, disclosed a legislative intent to preserve
and protect party organization. This court has likewise held
in at least two decisions and the same has been the
judgment of a member of this court, Justice Villamor, in his
well-known work on elections, that "for the proper and
correct weighing of the evidence that determines which of
the political parties was victorious in the last election, and
the classification of the voters who cast the votes, the
political filiation and color of the candidate nominated and
voted for must be taken into account. Only the votes cast in
favor of the official candidates of a party, being homogenous,
can be computed in the name and in favor of the party to
which said candidates voted for belonged. The political
filiation and color of the candidate voted for, which

c. No, while the law is specific in providing that election


inspectors shall belong to the two leading parties, it is silent
as to the political filiation of poll clerks. It must, therefore,
be assumed that the appointment of poll clerks rests entirely
within the discretion of the municipal council or the
Municipal Board. Poll clerks may belong to any political party
or to no party at all.

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Initiative and Referendum


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

In April 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong, Bataan


passed Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10, Serye 1993,
expressing therein its absolute concurrence, as required by
said Sec. 12 of RA 7227, to join the Subic Special Economic
Zone. On September 5, 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of
Morong submitted Pambayang Kapasyahan Bilang 10, Serye
1993 to the Office of the President. On May 24, 1993,
respondents Garcia, Calimbas and their companions filed a
petition with the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong to annul
Pambayang Kapasyahan Blg. 10, Serye 1993. The Sangguniang
Bayan ng Morong acted upon the petition of respondents
Garcia, Calimbas, et al. by promulgating Pambayang
Kapasyahan Blg. 18, Serye 1993, requesting Congress of the

Philippines so amend certain provisions of RA 7227,


particularly those concerning the matters cited in items (A),
(B), (K), (E), and (G) of private respondent's petition. The
Sangguniang Bayan of Morong also informed respondents that
items (D) and (H) had already been referred to and favorably
acted upon by the government agencies concerned, such as
the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Office
of the President. Not satisfied, and within 30 days from
submission of their petition, herein respondents resorted to
their power initiative under the Local Government Code of
1991. On June 18, 19956, respondent Comelec issued
Resolution No. 2845, adopting therein a "Calendar of
Activities for local referendum on certain municipal
ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong,
Bataan", and which indicated, among others, the scheduled
Referendum Day (July 27, 1996, Saturday). On June 27, 1996,
the Comelec promulgated the assailed Resolution No. 2848
providing for "the rules and guidelines to govern the conduct
of the referendum proposing to annul or repeal Kapasyahan
Blg. 10, Serye 1993 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Morong,
Bataan. SBMA instituted the present petition for certiorari
and prohibition contesting the validity of Resolution No. 2848
and alleging, inter alia, that public respondent "is intent on
proceeding with a local initiative that proposes an
amendment of a national law.
Issue: Whether or not respondent Comelec commit grave
abuse of discretion in promulgating and implementing
Resolution No. 2848
Held: Yes, the process started by private respondents was an
INITIATIVE but respondent Comelec made preparations for a
REFERENDUM only. In fact, in the body of the Resolution as
reproduced in the footnote below, the word "referendum" is
repeated at least 27 times, but "initiative" is not mentioned
at all. The Comelec labeled the exercise as a "Referendum";
the counting of votes was entrusted to a "Referendum
Committee"; the documents were called "referendum
returns"; the canvassers, "Referendum Board of Canvassers"

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and the ballots themselves bore the description
"referendum". To repeat, not once was the word "initiative"
used in said body of Resolution No. 2848. And yet, this
exercise is unquestionably an INITIATIVE. There are statutory
and conceptual demarcations between a referendum and an
initiative. In enacting the "Initiative and Referendum Act,
Congress differentiated one term from the other, thus: (a)
"Initiative" is the power of the people to propose
amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact
legislations through an election called for the purpose. There
are three (3) systems of initiative, namely: a.1. Initiative on
the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing
amendments to the Constitution; a.2. Initiative on statutes
which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national
legislation; and a.3. Initiative on local legislation which
refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial,
city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (b)
"Indirect initiative" is exercise of initiative by the people
through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative
body for action. (c) "Referendum" is the power of the
electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an
election called for the purpose. It may be of two classes,
namely: c.1. Referendum on statutes which refers to a
petition to approve or reject an act or law, or part thereof,
passed by Congress; and c.2 Referendum on local law which
refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or
ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local
legislative bodies. Along these statutory definitions, Justice
Isagani A. Cruz defines initiative as the "power of the people
to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the
polls independent of the legislative assembly." On the other
hand, he explains that referendum "is the right reserved to
the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has
been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases
would without action on the part of electors become a law."
there is need for the Comelec to supervise an initiative more
closely, its authority thereon extending not only to the
counting and canvassing of votes but also to seeing to it that
the matter or act submitted to the people is in the proper

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form and language so it may be easily understood and voted


upon by the electorate. This is especially true where the
proposed legislation is lengthy and complicated, and should
thus be broken down into several autonomous parts, each
such part to be voted upon separately. Care must also be
exercised that "(n)o petition embracing more than one
subject shall be submitted to the electorate," although "two
or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative".
Santiago vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 127325 Mar 19, 1997)
Although R.A. 6735 intended to include the system of initiative on
amendments to the constitution, but it is unfortunately inadequate to
cover that system.

On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin


filed with public respondent Commission on Elections
(hereafter, COMELEC) a "Petition to Amend the Constitution,
to Lift Term Limits of Elective Officials, by People's Initiative"
. Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member
of the Movement for People's Initiative, 6 a group of citizens
desirous to avail of the system intended to institutionalize
people power; that he and the members of the Movement
and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly
propose amendments to the Constitution granted under
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise
of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the
control and supervision of the COMELEC; that, as required in
COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be
established all over the country, with the assistance of
municipal election registrars, who shall verify the signatures
affixed by individual signatories; that before the Movement
and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is necessary
that the time and dates to be designated for the purpose be
first fixed in an order to be issued by the COMELEC; and that
to adequately inform the people of the electoral process
involved, it is likewise necessary that the said order, as well
as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be
published in newspapers of general and local circulation,
under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. On 18

December 1996, the petitioners herein Senator Miriam


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

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intentionally, to do so on the system of initiative on
amendments to the Constitution. Upon the other hand, as to
initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735,
in all of its twenty-three sections, merely (a) mentions, the
word "Constitution" in Section 2; (b) defines "initiative on the
Constitution" and includes it in the enumeration of the three
systems of initiative in Section 3; (c) speaks of "plebiscite" as
the process by which the proposition in an initiative on the
Constitution may be approved or rejected by the people; (d)
reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number
of voters who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for
the date of effectivity of the approved proposition. There
was, therefore, an obvious downgrading of the more
important or the paramount system of initiative. RA. No.
6735 thus delivered a humiliating blow to the system of
initiative on amendments to the Constitution by merely
paying it a reluctant lip service. The foregoing brings us to
the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate,
or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as
initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned.
Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be
cured by "empowering" the COMELEC "to promulgate such
rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the
purposes of [the] Act.
Lambino vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 174153 Oct 25, 2006)
The essence of amendments "directly proposed by the people through
initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a
petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be present.
First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or
representative can sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a
petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential
elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is
first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete
proposal in a petition.

On 15 February 2006, petitioners in G.R. No. 174153, namely


Raul L. Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado ("Lambino Group"),
with other groups and individuals, commenced gathering
signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987

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Constitution. On 25 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a


petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will
ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) and
Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and
Referendum Act ("RA 6735"). The Lambino Group alleged that
their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals
constituting at least twelve per centum (12%) of all
registered voters, with each legislative district represented
by at least three per centum (3%) of its registered voters.
The Lambino Group also claimed that COMELEC election
registrars had verified the signatures of the 6.3 million
individuals. The Lambino Group's initiative petition changes
the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI
(Legislative Department) and Sections 1-4 of Article VII
(Executive Department) and by adding Article XVIII entitled
"Transitory Provisions." These proposed changes will shift the
present Bicameral-Presidential system to a UnicameralParliamentary form of government.
Issue: WoN the Lambino Group's initiative petition complies
with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on
amendments to the Constitution through a people's initiative
Held: No, the Lambino Group miserably failed to comply with
the basic requirements of the Constitution for conducting a
people's initiative. he framers of the Constitution intended
that the "draft of the proposed constitutional amendment"
should be "ready and shown" to the people "before" they sign
such proposal. The framers plainly stated that "before they
sign there is already a draft shown to them." The framers
also "envisioned" that the people should sign on the proposal
itself because the proponents must "prepare that proposal
and pass it around for signature." The essence of
amendments "directly proposed by the people through
initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its
face is a petition by the people. This means two essential
elements must be present. First, the people must author and
thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can
sign on their behalf. Second, as an initiative upon a petition,

the proposal must be embodied in a petition. These essential


elements are present only if the full text of the proposed
amendments is first shown to the people who express their
assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. Thus,
an amendment is "directly proposed by the people through
initiative upon a petition" only if the people sign on a
petition that contains the full text of the proposed
amendments. The Lambino Group's signature sheets do not
contain the full text of the proposed changes, either on the
face of the signature sheets, or as attachment with an
indication in the signature sheet of such attachment.
Petitioner Atty. Lambino admitted this during the oral
arguments, and this admission binds the Lambino Group. This
fact is also obvious from a mere reading of the signature
sheet. This omission is fatal. The failure to so include the
text of the proposed changes in the signature sheets renders
the initiative void for non-compliance with the constitutional
requirement that the amendment must be "directly proposed
by the people through initiative upon a petition." The
signature sheet is not the "petition" envisioned in the
initiative clause of the Constitution. Also, a people's initiative
to change the Constitution applies only to an amendment of
the Constitution and not to its revision. Revision broadly
implies a change that alters a basic principle in the
constitution, like altering the principle of separation of
powers or the system of checks-and-balances. There is also
revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the
constitution, as when the change affects substantial
provisions of the constitution. On the other hand,
amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or
deletes without altering the basic principle involved. Revision
generally affects several provisions of the constitution, while
amendment generally affects only the specific provision
being amended. The Lambino Group's initiative is a revision
and not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino
Group's proposed changes overhaul two articles - Article VI on
the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive - affecting a
total of 105 provisions in the entire Constitution.
Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially the

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basic plan of government, from presidential to
parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral
legislature. A change in the structure of government is a
revision of the Constitution, as when the three great coequal branches of government in the present Constitution are
reduced into two. This alters the separation of powers in the
Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential
system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision of
the Constitution. Merging the legislative and executive
branches is a radical change in the structure of government.
The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus
of Executive Power alters the separation of powers and thus
constitutes a revision of the Constitution. Likewise, the
abolition alone of one chamber of Congress alters the system
of checks-and-balances within the legislature and constitutes
a revision of the Constitution. By any legal test and under
any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a
Unicameral-Parliamentary system, involving the abolition of
the Office of the President and the abolition of one chamber
of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere
amendment. On the face alone of the Lambino Group's
proposed changes, it is readily apparent that the changes will
radically alter the framework of government as set forth in
the Constitution.
Recall
Afiado vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 141787 Sep 1, 2000)
When an elective public official was installed in a higher office through
succession, a recall against him during his previous elective post is already
rendered moot and academic.

During the May 11,1998 elections in Santiago City, Joel


Miranda won as Mayor while Amelita Navarro won as vicemayor. Miranda was removed from office after it was held
that the certificate of candidacy of his father Antonio Abaya
(whom Joel substituted) was not valid thus Joel Miranda
could not be validly proclaimed as the winner in the

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mayoralty elections. By virtue of the law on succession,


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

prosper in view of Section 74 (b) of the Local Government


Code of 1991 which provides that "No recall shall take place
within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption
of office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular
election." There is no more allowable time in the light of that
law within which to hold recall elections for that purpose.
The then Vice-Mayor Amelita S. Navarro assumed office as
Mayor of Santiago City on October 11, 1999. One year after
her assumption of office as Mayor will be October 11, 2000
which is already within the one (1) year prohibited period
immediately preceding the next regular election in May 2001.
Socrates vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154512 Nov 12, 2002)
After three consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek
immediate reelection for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to
the next regular election for the same office following the end of the third
consecutive term. Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no
longer covered by the prohibition.

Victorio Socrates is the mayor of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.


Incumbent barangay officials of Puerto Princesa convened
themselves into a preparatory recall assembly (PRA) to
initiate the recall of Socrates. The COMELEC gave due course
to the recall resolution and scheduled the recall election.
Edward Hagedorn filed his certificate of candidacy for the
recall election. Adovo and Gilo filed before the COMELEC a
petition to disqualify Hagedorn on the ground that Hagedorn
is disqualified from running for a fourth consecutive term,
having been elected and having served as mayor of the city
for three (3) consecutive full terms immediately prior to the
instant recall election for the same post.
Issue: WON Hagedorn is qualified to run for mayor in the
recall election of Puerto Princesa on September 24, 2002
Held: Yes, Hagedorn is qualified to run for the recall
election. After three consecutive terms, an elective local
official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term.
The prohibited election refers to the next regular election

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for the same office following the end of the third consecutive
term. Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no
longer covered by the prohibition for two reasons. First, a
subsequent election like a recall election is no longer an
immediate reelection after three consecutive terms. Second,
the intervening period constitutes an involuntary interruption
in the continuity of service. In the case of Hagedorn, his
candidacy in the recall election on September 24, 2002 is not
an immediate reelection after his third consecutive term
which ended on June 30, 2001. The immediate reelection
that the Constitution barred Hagedorn from seeking referred
to the regular elections in 2001. Hagedorn did not seek
reelection in the 2001 elections. From June 30, 2001 until
the recall election on September 24, 2002, the mayor of
Puerto Princesa was Socrates. During the same period,
Hagedorn was simply a private citizen. This period is clearly
an interruption in the continuity of Hagedorn's service as
mayor, not because of his voluntary renunciation, but
because of a legal prohibition. Hagedorn's three consecutive
terms ended on June 30, 2001. Hagedorn's new recall term
from September 24, 2002 to June 30, 2004 is not a seamless
continuation of his previous three consecutive terms as
mayor. One cannot stitch together Hagedorn's previous threeterms with his new recall term to make the recall term a
fourth consecutive term because factually it is not. An
involuntary interruption occurred from June 30, 2001 to
September 24, 2002 which broke the continuity or
consecutive character of Hagedorn's service as mayor.
Latasa vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 154829 Dec 10, 2003)

A mayor for 3 consecutive term of a municipality which became a city in the


said mayors last term is barred from running in the next preceding election
if the said new city has the same territorial jurisdiction when it was still a
municipality.

Arsenio A. Latasa, was elected mayor of the Municipality of


Digos, Davao del Sur in the elections of 1992, 1995, and 1998.
During petitioners third term, the Municipality of Digos was
became a component city. On February 28, 2001, petitioner
filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the May

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14, 2001 elections. He stated therein that he is eligible


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

from a municipality to a city, it attained a different juridical


personality. Therefore, when he filed his certificate of
candidacy for city mayor, he cannot be construed as vying for
the same local government post. True, the new city acquired
a new corporate existence separate and distinct from that of
the municipality. This does not mean, however, that for the
purpose of applying the subject Constitutional provision, the
office of the municipal mayor would now be construed as a
different local government post as that of the office of the
city mayor. As stated earlier, the territorial jurisdiction of
the City of Digos is the same as that of the municipality.
Consequently, the inhabitants of the municipality are the
same as those in the city. These inhabitants are the same
group of voters who elected petitioner Latasa to be their
municipal mayor for three consecutive terms. These are also
the same inhabitants over whom he held power and authority
as their chief executive for nine years. The delineation of the
metes and bounds of the City of Digos did not change even by
an inch the land area previously covered by the Municipality
of Digos. The framers of the Constitution specifically
included an exception to the peoples freedom to choose
those who will govern them in order to avoid the evil of a
single person accumulating excessive power over a particular
territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the
same office. To allow petitioner Latasa to vie for the
position of city mayor after having served for three
consecutive terms as a municipal mayor would obviously
defeat the very intent of the framers when they wrote this
exception. Should he be allowed another three consecutive
terms as mayor of the City of Digos, petitioner would then be
possibly holding office as chief executive over the same
territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a total of eighteen
consecutive years. This is the very scenario sought to be
avoided by the Constitution, if not abhorred by it.

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