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[G.R. No. 131499.

November 17, 1999] Herrera vs COMELEC Case: A petition for certiorari to annul and set aside Resolution No. 2950 promulgated on November 3, 1997 by respondent Commission on Elections on the alleged ground of grave abuse of discretion. Facts: In its Resolution no. 68, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Guimaras requested the COMELEC to have the province subdivided into two provincial districts. Acting upon the request, the Provincial Election Supervisor conducted two consultative meetings with the provincial and municipal officials, barangay captains, barangay kagawads, representatives of all political parties, and other interested parties. A consensus was reached in favor of the division as follows: 1. First District shall be composed of the Municipalities of Jordan Buenavista and San Diego with three (3) Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, and 2. The Second District shall be composed of the Municipalities of Jordan, Nueva Valencia and Sibunag with three (3) Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members. The Provincial Election Supervisor issued a Memorandum recommending the division of the Province of Guimaras into two (2) provincial districts. The Bureau of Local Government Finance of the Department of Finance issued Memorandum Circular No. 97-1 reclassifying several provinces including the Province of Guimaras, which was reclassified from fifth class to fourth class province which allotted eight (8) Sangguniang Panlalawigan seats to the Province of Guimaras below: Guimaras1st district (Buenavista and San Lorenzo)= 3 seats and 2nd district (Jordan, Nueva Valencia, and Sibunag)= 5 seats.

The petitioners questioned Resolution No. 2950, pointing out that: 1.the districts do not comprise a compact, contiguous and adjacent area. 2.the consultative meetings did not express the true sentiment of the voters of the province. 3.the apportionment of the two districts are not equitable. 4.there is disparity in the ratio of the number of voters that a Board Member represents. Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion in issuing Resolution No. 2950? RULING: WHEREFORE, for lack of merit the petition under consideration is hereby DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs. (COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion)

REASONING: 1. The municipalities belonging to each district are compact, contiguous and adjacent. Contiguous and adjacent means adjoining, nearby, abutting, having a common border, connected, and/or touching along boundaries often for considerable distances. On its face, the map of Guimaras shows that the municipalities grouped together are contiguous or adjacent. 2. There were two consultative meetings held by the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor. As required by COMELEC Resoluiton No. 2313, all interested parties were duly notified and represented. 3. Under Republic Act 6636, a 4th class province shall have 8 Sangguniang Panlalawigan members. Also, under Republic Act 7166, provinces with 1 legislative district shall be divided into 2 districts for purposes of electing the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The province of Guimaras, being a 4th class province and having only 1 legislative district, shall have 8 Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and 2 districts. 4. Under Republic Act 7166 and COMELEC Resolution No. 2313, the basis for division shall be the number of inhabitants of the province concerned not the number of listed or registered voters. The districting of the Province of Guimaras was based on the official 1995 Census of Population as certified by the National Statistics Office.

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