You are on page 1of 5

December 8, 2008

ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
Brion, J.:
SUMMARY: Cagayan de Oro City used to have a single legislative district. In 2006 a law was
passed to divide it into two legislative districts. Bagabuyo opposed the move before the SC,
claiming that the split must be approved by a plebiscite and that the split violates the
constitutional standard of equal representation. The implementing agency, COMELEC
countered that the petition should have been filed with the RTC; and that a plebiscite is not
needed. SC junked Bagabuyos petition, holding that the law was a legislative apportionment
measure, which does not require a plebiscite. Legislative apportionment is not division of an
LGU. It is simply a delineation of an area whose inhabitants will have one representative in the
lawmaking body. It does not involve the creation, alteration, or abolition of an LGU, which is a
special corporate body under the Constitution and the law. The special and corporate nature of
LGUs is the precise reason why its creation, alteration, or abolition has to be approved by
plebiscite. This rationale does not apply to legislative districts.
DOCTRINE
Apportionment of legislative district is a different concept from division of LGUs. The two
are governed by different Constitutional provisions.
Definition of apportionment and reapportionment [please see ratio#2, 1st bullet]
The Constitution and the LGC expressly require a plebiscite to carry out any creation,
division, merger, abolition or alteration of boundary of a local government unit.
In contrast, no plebiscite requirement exists under the
apportionment or reapportionment provision.
A legislative district can be considered a political unit but it is not a political subdivision. It
is a political unit but not a corporate unit, being a device for purposes of representation.
It is a mere delineation of areas occupied by the group of people who are to choose a
common representative to the lawmaking body. It cannot act for and in behalf of its
constituents (unlike LGUs).
LGUs are territorial and political subdivisions of the State. An LGU is a political unit and
a corporate unit, created by the Constitution and the legislature and vested with legal
personality distinct and separate from the State. LGUs are defined by the Constitution as
entities which may be created, divided, abolished, or merged by law in accordance with
Constitutional and legislative standards.
NATURE: Original action in the Supreme Court. Petition for certiorari, prohibition, and
mandamus.
FACTS
Oct. 10, 2006 Then Rep. Constantino Jaraula of the Lone District of Cagayan de Oro
City filed and sponsored House Bill 5859, providing for the apportionment of the Lone
Legislative District of Cagayan de Oro.
HB 5859 was passed into law as Republic Act 9371.
RA 9371 split the Lone District of Cagayan de Oro into two districts, the First District
covering the rural areas of the city, and the Second District covering the urban areas.

The law further provided that the voters of the city would be classified as
belonging to either the 1st or the 2nd district, depending on their place of
residence.
o The constituents of each district would elect a Representative and 8 members of
the Sangguniang Panglungsod.
Mar. 13, 2007 COMELEC promulgated en banc Resolution No. 7837 implementing RA
9371.
Mar. 27, 2007 Rogelio BAGABUYO filed the present petition against the COMELEC,
on the ground that RA 9371 cannot be implemented without the conduct of a plebiscite,
which he says is indispensable for the division or conversion of a LGU.
o He asked that the COMELEC be stopped from implementing RA 9371 and
Resolution No. 7837 and for Cagayan de Oro to be reverted to a single district.
Apr. 10, 2008 Bagabuyo amended his petition to implead the Executive Secretary, the
Budget and Management Secretary, the Chair of the Commission on Audit, the Mayor
and Members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Cagayan de Oro, and the Cagayan
de Oro Board of Canvassers.
May 14, 2007 The National and Local Elections pushed through in accordance with RA
9371 and Resolution No. 7837, the SC not having issued a TRO.
o

ISSUES (HELD)
1) W/N Bagabuyo violated the hierarchy of courts doctrine when he filed the petition directly with
the SC (NO)
2) Does RA 9371 involve the division or conversion of a LGU, or does it only provide for
legislative reapportionment? (LEGISLATIVE REAPPORTIONMENT)
3) W/N RA 9371 violates the equality of representation doctrine (NO)
RATIO
1) CASE AT BAR IS AN EXCEPTION TO THE HIERARCHY OF COURTS DOCTRINE
The hierarchy of courts doctrine serves to declog court dockets and focus the SCs time
on matters within its exclusive jurisdiction.
Therefore, when SC has concurrent jurisdiction with a lower court over a proceeding,
recourse must first be made to the lower court; unless there are special and important
reasons for the direct invocation of the SCs jurisdiction, clearly and especially set out in
the petition.
Among these special and important circumstances include petitions for certiorari,
prohibition, and mandamus against lawmakers when the validity of their enactments is
assailed.
o CASE AT BAR: Bagabuyos petition assails a legislative enactment. The nature
of the issues raised also suffices as reason for considering it an exception to the
rule.
o Additionally, the petition also assails a resolution of the COMELEC en banc,
which requires a Rule 65 petition before the SC per ROC 64.
2) RA 9371 IS A LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT MEASURE
CONSTITUTIONAL CONCEPTS DISTINGUISHED
o Bagabuyo: The implementation of RA 9371 requires a plebiscite since it involves
the division of an LGU.
o OSG: RA 9371 merely increases the representation of Cagayan de Oro in the
House of Representatives pursuant to Art. VI, 5 of the 1987 Constitution. It

does not involve a creation of a LGU or substantial alteration of boundaries,


hence the criteria under Art. X, 10 of the Constitution is inapplicable. Finally, RA
9371 did not change Cagayan de Oros territory, population or income
classification, hence no plebiscite is required.
o SC: Bagabuyo confuses the concept of apportionment of legislative districts with
the concept of division of local government units.
o Apportionment:determination of the number of representatives which a State, cou
nty or other subdivision may send to a legislative body; allocation of seats in
proportion to population; drawing of voting district lines to equalize population
and voting power among districts (Blacks)
o Reapportionment: Realignment or change in legislative districts to reflect
population changes; mandated by the constitutional requirement of equality of
representation (Blacks)
o APPLICABLE CONSTITUTIONAL RULES. Art. VI (entitled The Legislative
Department), 5 refers to legislative districts and their creation and composition.
Art. X (entitled Local Government) refers to LGUs, or more generally, municipal
corporations. 10 requires a plebiscite before a LGU is created, divided, merged,
or abolished, or its boundaries substantially altered, in accordance with criteria
set in a Local Government Code.
o The only common element between the two provisions is that the Legislature has
been given the authority to act [in one case by apportioning or reapportioning
legislative districts and in the other by setting the criteria for the
creation, division, merger, abolition and alteration of boundaries and by
actually creating, dividing, merging, abolishing local government units and
altering their boundaries through legislation].
o Art. VI, 5 concerns the optimization of political representation in the legislature
and provides for rules toward optimal apportionment [250,000 population
requirement for cities, 1 representative per province, uniform and progressive
ratio, contiguity of territory, regular reapportionment, etc.]. Art. X, 10 concerns
the commencement, the termination, and the modification of local
government units' corporate existence and territorial coverage and it speaks
of two specific standards that must be observed in implementing this concern
[compliance with LGC criteria and approval by plebiscite].
LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE A PLEBISCITE
o In contrast with Art. X, 10, no plebiscite requirement exists under the
apportionment or reapportionment provision.
o In Tobias v. Abalos the splitting of San Juan and Mandaluyong into two separate
legislative districts without a plebiscite being held in San Juan was upheld,
because the plebiscite in Mandaluyong was on the issue of its conversion into a
highly urbanized city, as required by Art. X, 10 and the LGC. The apportionment
was only a consequence of the conversion, so a plebiscite need not be held in
San Juan, where only a reapportionment tool place.
o HISTORY OF THE APPORTIONMENT PROVISION
It was rooted in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and certain
US state constitutions.
Philippine Bill of 1902 - mandated the apportionment of seats in the
popularly elected Philippine Assembly.
Jones Law of 1916 Philippine Islands were divided into 12 senatorial
districts and 90 representative districts, with the Philippine Legislature
being given the authority to redistrict.

1935 Constitution Art. VI, 5 retained the concept of legislative


apportionment and the district as the basic unit of apportionment. The aim
of equality of representation was enshrined as an essential feature of
republican institutions. (Macias v. COMELEC)
Macias v. COMELEC (1961) and Montejo v. COMELEC (1995) Held
that inequality of representation is a justiciable issue. No plebiscite issues
were raised in both cases.
1973 Constitution Art. VIII, 2 retained equal representation and
introduced the uniform and progressive ratio and the contiguity criterion.
1987 Constitution Retained the 1973 formulation, with the addition of
party-list representatives. No plebiscite was required under both
constitutions.
Plebiscites were never required.
o HISTORY OF DIVISION PROVISION
1959 RA 2264 required a petition by majority of affected voters in the
creation of barrios
1961 Caloocan City Charter required a plebiscite for its effectivity
Subsequent enactments up to 1972 also required a plebiscite as a
condition for the creation and conversion of LGUs.
1973 Plebiscite requirement was enshrined in the Constitution.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT vs. LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT
o A legislative district can be considered a political unit but it is not a political
subdivision. It is a political unit but not a corporate unit, being a device for
purposes of representation. It is a mere delineation of areas occupied by the
group of people who are to choose a common representative to the lawmaking
body. It cannot act for and in behalf of its constituents.
o LGUs are territorial and political subdivisions of the State. A LGU is a political unit
and a corporate unit, created by the Constitution and the legislature and vested
with legal personality distinct and separate from the State. LGUs are defined by
the Constitution as entities which may be created, divided, abolished, or merged
by law in accordance with Constitutional and legislative standards.
o A LGU begins its corporate existence upon election and qualification of its chief
executive and a majority of the members of its Sanggunian. It is an
instrumentality of the state in carrying out government functions. It is an agency
of the state and exercises special functions for the sole benefit of local affairs. It
is the medium through which the people act in their corporate capacity on local
concerns. Its special status and role merited that its creation, alteration, or
abolition be regulated by the affected residents through approval by plebiscite.
o By their history and nature, legislative apportionment and division of LGU are
different and the former does not mean [or even imply] the latter. Thus, the
plebiscite requirement should not be applicable to and be a requisite for the
validity of a legislative apportionment or reapportionment.
CASE AT BAR
o The wording of RA 9371 does not imply any division of Cagayan de Oro City as a
political and corporate entity.
o No new territorial administrative divisions are created nor are there any areas
removed from the City.

o
o

RA 9371 simply creates a new legislative district out of the former lone district for
purposes of representation in the House of Representatives. No plebiscite is
therefore necessary.
The creation of additional Sangguniang Panglungsod seats by virtue of
COMELEC Resolution No. 7837 as a consequence of the creation of the two
new districts is not new but is based on an earlier law - RA 6636 which laid
down the apportionment of seats in the Sangguniang Panglungsod of every city.
The resolution simply follows the provisions of said law.
Furthermore, the resolution does not divide the LGU or create a new one. It
merely enhances voter representation by giving greater weight to each vote, both
in Congress and in the Sangguniang Panglungsod. From 12 councilors and one
representative for 500,000 people, CdO now has 2 House representatives, one
for each group of 250,000 people, and 8 councilors for each same group.

3) NO VIOLATION OF EQUAL REPRESENTATION PRINCIPLE


Bagabuyo: The apportionment of districts is unequal because District 1 has only 93,719
registered voters while District 2 has 127,071.
SC: The legal basis for the drawing of districts is the number of inhabitants and not the
number of registered voters (Herrera v. COMELEC).
o Bagabuyo did not provide population figures. SC took judicial notice of the
August 2007 census of the NSO which showed that District 1 has 254,644
residents while District 2 has 299,322.
o While there may be a disparity, the Constitution does not require that each district
have exactly the same population. With regard to population, all that it requires is
250,000 residents in a city to constitute one district; and at least 1 district for
each province regardless of population. Even the contiguity requirement is
tempered by the phrase as far as practicable.
o [T]he Constitution leaves the local
government units as they are found and does not require their division, merger
or transfer to satisfy the numerical standard it imposes. Its requirements are
satisfied despite some numerical disparity if the units are contiguous, compact
and adjacent as far as practicable.
Bagabuyo: District 1 is composed of predominantly rural barangays while District 2 is
composed mostly of urban barangays.
SC: (eh ano naman?) Bagabuyo does not substantiate his stance. Also, the Constitution
does not include development indicators in its criteria. As long as they follow the limits of
the Constitution and law, the lawmakers of Cagayan de Oro are free to determine the
component barangays of the legislative districts.
DISPOSITION: Petition dismissed.