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Case Digest: Dante O. Casibang vs. Honorable Narciso A.

20 August 1979

Yu was proclaimed on November 1971 as the elected mayor of Rosales,
Pangasinan. Casibang, his only rival, filed a protest against election on the grounds of rampant
vote buying, anomalies and irregularities and others. During the proceedings of this
case, the 1973 Constitution came into effect. Respondent Yu moved to dismiss the
election protest of the petitioner on the ground that the trial court had lost
jurisdiction over the same in view of the effectivity of the new Constitution and the
new parliamentary form of government.

1. Whether Section 9, Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution rendered the protest
moot and academic; and
2. Whether Section 2, Article XI thereof entrusted to the National Assembly the revamp of the entire
local government structure.

1.As stated in Santos vs. Castaneda, the constitutional grant of privilege to
continue in office, made by the new Constitution for the benefit
of persons who were incumbent officials or employees of the Government when the
new Constitution took effect, cannot be fairly construed as indiscriminately encompassing every
person who at the time happened to be performing the duties of an elective office, albeit
under protest or contest" and that "subject to the constraints specifically mentioned in Section
9, Article XVII of the Transitory Provisions, it neither was, nor could have been the
intention of the framers of our new fundamental law to disregard and shunt aside the
statutory right of a candidate for elective position who, within the time-frame prescribed in
the Election Code of 1971, commenced proceedings beamed mainly at the proper
determination in a judicial forum of a proclaimed candidate-elect's right to the contested office.

2. Section 2 of Article XI does not stigmatize the issue in that electoral protest case
with apolitical color. For simply, that section allocated unto the National Assembly
the power to enact a local government code "which may not thereafter be amended except by a
majorityo f a l l i t s M e m b e r s , d e f i n i n g a m o r e r e s p o n s i v e a n d a c c o
u n t a b l e l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t allocating among the different local government
units their powers, responsibilities, and
resources, and providing for their qualifications, election and removal,
term, salaries,p o w e r s , f u n c t i o n s a n d d u t i e s o f l o c a l o f f i c i a l s , a
n d a l l o t h e r m a t t e r s r e l a t i n g t o t h e organization and operation of the
local units" but "... any change in the existing form of local government shall
not take effect until ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite
called for the purpose."

Title: Casibang v. AquinoGR L-38025 August 20, 1979Makasiar, J.:

Facts: Respondent Remigio P. Yu was proclaimed as the elected Mayor of Rosales, Pangasinanin
the 1971 local elections, by a plurality of 501 votes over his only rival, herein
petitioner,Dante Casibang who seasonably filed on November 24, 1971 a protest
against the election of the former with the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, on the grounds
of (1) anomalies andirregularities in the appreciation, counting and consideration of
votes in specified electoralprecincts; (2) terrorism; (3) rampant vote buying; (4) open voting or
balloting; and (5) excessivecampaign expenditures and other violations of the 1971 Election
Code.Proceedings therein continued with respect to the election protest of petitioner
before theCourt of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch XIV, presided by respondent Judge, who
initiallytook cognizance of the same as it is unquestionably a justiciable controversy.In the meantime
or on September 21, 1972, the incumbent President of the Republic of thePhilippines issued
Proclamation No. 1081, placing the entire country under Martial Law;
andt w o m o n t h s t h e r e a f t e r , m o r e o r l e s s , o r s p e c i f i c a l l y o n N o v
ember 29, 1972, the 1971Constitutional Convention passed an
d a p p r o v e d a C o n s t i t u t i o n t o s u p p l a n t t h e 1 9 3 5 Constitution; and
the same was thereafter overwhelmingly ratified by the sovereign people of the
Republic of the Philippines on January 17, 1973; and on March 31,
1973, this Courtdeclared that "there is no further judicial obstacle to the new
Constitution being considered inforce and effect" (Javellana vs. Executive Secretary, 50
SCRA 30 [1973]).The petitioner had already completed presenting his evidence and
in fact had rested hiscase, respondent Yu moved to dismiss the election protest of petitioner on
the ground that thetrial court had lost jurisdiction over the same in view of the
effectivity of the 1973 Constitutionby reason of which principally (Section 9 of Article
XVII [Transitory Provisions] and Section 2of Article XI) a political question has intervened in the
case.Issue:Whether or not the case is under the purview of political question.Held:No, the case
herein involved has remained a justiciable controversy. No political questionhas
ever been interwoven into this case. Nor is there any act of the incumbent President or
theLegislative Department to be indirectly reviewed or interfered with if the
respondent Judgedecides the election protest. The term "political question"
connotes what it means in
ordinaryp a r l a n c e , n a m e l y , a q u e s t i o n o f p o l i c y. I t r e f e r s t o t h o s
e q u e s t i o n s w h i c h u n d e r t h e Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity; or in regard to whichfull discretionary authority has been delegated to
the legislative or executive branch of thegovernment.
It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not
legality, of a particular measure. The trial under the Court of First Instance should proceed