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LOCGOV - # 31 Aquino III and Robredo vs.

COMELEC (April 7, 2010) Doctrine: Section 5(3) of Article VI of the Constitution requires a 250,000 minimum population only for a city to be entitled to a representative, but not so for a province. Population is just one of several other factors to be determined to compose a legislative district in a province. Facts: Senator Benigno Aquino III and Mayor Jesse Robredo question the constitutionality of RA 9716 via petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65.There were originally four legislative districts in Camarines Sur each with a population exceeding 250,000. RA 9716 reapportioned the composition of the first and second legislative district of the province of Camarines Sur thereby creating an additional legislative district. This left the first legislative district with a population of only 176,383 from its original 417,304. Petitioners arguments: Save in the case of a newly created province, the constitution requires that each legislative district created by Congress must be supported by a minimum population of at least 250,000 in order to be valid. o Article VI Sec. 5 (3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. o Intent of the framers of the 1987 constitution was to create a population minimum of 250,000 per legislative district. When the Constitutional Commission fixed the original number of district seats in the House of Representatives to 200, they took into account the projected national population of 55,000,000 in 1986. 55 million people represented by 200 district representatives translates to roughly 250,000 people for every one (1) representative. RA 9716 violates the principle of proportional representation provided in Article VI, Sec 5 par (1), (3) and (4) of the Constitution.1 Respondents arguments: Substantive matter: There is an apparent distinction between cities and provinces drawn by Section 5(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
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Article VI Sec 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations. (3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative (4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.

The existence of a 250,000 population condition but only as to the creation of a legislative district in a city and not to a province.

Procedural: The petitioners should not have availed of Certiorari and Prohibition as a remedy but should have filed a petition for Declaratory Relief because it was to declare a law unconstitutional. Petitioners have no locus standi as they have not proven that they will incur any substantial injury by the implementation of the law. Issue/s: 1. W/N: RA 9716 is unconstitutional for creating a legislative district in a province with a population less than 250,000. NO. 2. W/N: A petition for declaratory relief was the proper action in court and W/N: petitioners have locus standi. NO. Held/Ratio: 1. Section 5(3) of Article VI of the Constitution requires a 250,000 minimum population only for a city to be entitled to a representative, but not so for a province. Any law duly enacted by Congress carries with it the presumption of constitutionality. There must be a clear showing that a specific provision of the constitution has been violated to be declared unconstitutional. There is no provision requiring a 250,000 minimum population requirement for the creation of a legislative district. The second sentence of Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution provides: "Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. The use of a comma to separate the phrase "each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand" from the phrase "or each province" means that the 250,000 minimum population is only required for a city, but not for a province. Mariano Jr. Vs. Comelec: Issue was the constitutionality of a law converting the Municipality of Makati to a Highly Urbanized City. Said law also created an additional legislative district. The Mariano case limited the application of the 250,000 minimum population requirement for cities only to its initial legislative district. While Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution requires a city to have a minimum population of 250,000 to be entitled to a representative, it does not have to increase its population by another 250,000 to be entitled to an additional district. Sec.461 of LGC Requisites for Creation. (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites: (i) a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; OR (ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office. - the requirement of population is not an indispensable requirement, but is merely an alternative addition to the indispensable income requirement. Records of the Constitutional Commission show population was not the sole determinant of the creation of a legislative district. Other factors were considered. The factors mentioned during the deliberations on House Bill No. 4264 to be considered in the creation of legislative districts: (a) the dialects spoken in the grouped municipalities;

(b) the size of the original groupings compared to that of the regrouped municipalities; (c) the natural division separating the municipality subject of the discussion from there configured District One; and (d) the balancing of the areas of the three districts resulting from the redistricting of Districts The Constitution, does not require mathematical exactitude or rigid equality as a standard in gauging equality of representation. x x x. To ensure quality representation through commonality of interests and ease of access by the representative to the constituents, all that the Constitution requires is that every legislative district should comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Bagabuyo vs. COMELEC 2. The issue is of transcendental importance, the rules of procedure must be set aside. Jaworski vs. Pagcor. Dissenting opinion: Carpio J, RA 9716 is unconstitutional for going against Sec. 5 Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution for the creation of legislative districts. o Section 5(4) of Article VI mandates that "Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards" fixed in Section 5. These constitutional standards, as far as population is concerned, are: (1) proportional representation; (2) minimum population of 250,000 per legislative district; (3) progressive ratio in the increase of legislative districts as the population base increases; and (4) uniformity in apportionment of legislative districts "in provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area." o The constitutional standard of proportional representation is rooted in equality in voting power -- that each vote is worth the same as any other vote, o In terms of legislative redistricting, this means equal representation for equal numbers of people or equal voting weight per legislative district. Section 5(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provided that Members of the House "shall be elected from legislative districts in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio x x x." on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio" - the rule on proportional representation shall apply uniformly in the apportionment of every legislative district. "on the basis of a uniform x x x ratio"- means that the ratio of one legislative district for every given number of people shall be applied uniformly in all apportionments, whether in provinces or cities or in metro manila. The law goes against democracy and the republican system of government. That the Constitution never meant to exclude provinces from the requirement of proportional representation is evident in the opening provision of Section 5(1), which states: The House of Representatives shall be composed of x x x members, x x x, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio x x x." Mariano vs. Comelec and Bagabuyo vs. Comelec is inapplicable because when it was acting as a constitutional commission it exercised absolute power to relax the standards in Section 5, Article VI. The Court in Mariano v. COMELEC took note of the certification by the NSO that at the time of the enactment of RA 7854, the population of Makati City was 508,174, entitling it to two representatives Concurring and Dissenting Carpio-Morales Concurs with the ponencia as to the transcendental issue

Substantive portion petitioners rely on both Article VI, Section 5 (3) but also on Section 5 (1) of the same Article. Both provisions must be read together in light of the constitutional requirements of population and contiguity. Section 5 (3) of Article VI disregards the 250,000 population requirement only with respect to existing provinces whose population does not exceed 250,000 or to newly created provinces under the Local Government Code (as long as the income and territory requirements are met). Nothing in Mariano reflects that the Court disregarded the 250,000 population requirement as it merely stated that Makatis legislative district may still be increased as long as the minimum population requirement is met. Bagabuyo vs. Comelec and Mariano vs. Comelec were both wrongly interpreted as the population of the legislative districts at the time were above 250,000 The Local Government Code likewise is not in point since Section 461 thereof tackles the creation of a province and not the reapportioning of a legislative district based on increasing population.

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