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G.R. No. 196271, G.R. No. 196305, G.R. No.

197221,
G.R. No. 197280, G.R. No. 197282, G.R. No. 197392,
G.R. No. 197454 October 18, 2011
Subject Matter: Constitutional Law
G.R. No. 196271
Kida et al vs. Senate of the Philippines
Petitioners: Datu Michael Abas Kida, et al
Respondents: Senate of the Philippines
G.R. No. 196305
Mapupuno vs. Brilliantes
Petitioners: Basari D. Mapupuno
Respondents: Sixto Brilliantes, et al
G.R. No. 197221
Petitioners: Rep. Edcel Lagman
Respondents: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, jr.
G.R. No. 197280
Petitioners: Almarim Centi Tillah, et al
Respondents: Commission on Elections
G.R. No. 197282
Petitioners: Atty. Romulo Macalintal
Respondents: Commission on Elections and the Office of The President
G.R. No. 197392
Petitioners: Luis Biraogo
Respondents: Commission on Elections
G.R. No. 197454
Petitioners: Jacinto Paras
Respondents: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, jr.
Facts: The State, through the 1987 Constitution, mandated the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the
Cordilleras. Later, RA No. 9333 was passed by Congress to reset the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of August 2005,
and on the same date every 3 years thereafter. It was not ratified in a plebiscite.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333, the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8, 2011. COMELEC had begun
preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. But on
June 30, 2011, RA No. 10153 (House Bill No. 4146 and Senate Bill No. 2756) was enacted, resetting the ARMM elections to May
2013, to coincide with the regular national and local elections of the country. The petitioners then assailed the constitutionality of
both HB No. 4146 and SB No. 2756, and challenged the validity of RA No. 9333 as well for non-compliance with the constitutional
plebiscite requirement.
The petitions further maintained that RA 10153 is unconstitutional for its failure to comply with the three-reading requirement of
Section 26(2), Article VI of the Constitution. Also cited as grounds are the alleged violations of the right of suffrage of the people of
ARMM, as well as the failure to adhere to the "elective and representative" character of the executive and legislative departments of
the ARMM. Lastly, the petitioners challenged the grant to the President of the power to appoint OICs to undertake the functions of
the elective ARMM officials until the officials elected under the May 2013 regular elections shall have assumed office. Corrolarily,
they also argue that the power of appointment also gave the President the power of control over the ARMM, in complete violation of
Section 16, Article X of the Constitution.

Issues:
I. Whether the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections
II. Whether the passage of RA No. 10153 violates Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
III. Whether the passage of RA No. 10153 requires a supermajority vote and plebiscite
IV. Whether the grant of the power to appoint OICs or hold over those already occupying the office is unconstitutional
V. Whether the proposal to hold special elections is constitutional and legal.

Held: : RA No. 10153 is constitutional.
Ratio:
I. Synchronization is a recognized constitutional mandate.
While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local elections, the clear intent
towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII) of the Constitution, which show the extent to
which the Constitutional Commission, by deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought to attain
synchronization of elections.
It is clear from the transitory provisions of the 1987 Constitution that the terms of office of Senators, Members of the House of
Representatives, the local officials, the President and the Vice-President have been synchronized to end on the same hour, date
and year noon of June 30, 1992. It is likewise evident from the wording of the mentioned provisions that the term
of synchronization is used synonymously as the phrase holding simultaneously since this is the precise intent in terminating their
Office Tenure on the same day or occasion.
Although called regional elections, the ARMM elections should be included among the elections to be synchronized as it is a "local"
election based on the wording and structure of the Constitution.
II. The Presidents Certification on the Urgency of RA No. 10153.
Section 26(2), Article VI of the Constitution provides that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws,
they must pass through three readings on separate days. The exception is when the President certifies to the necessity of the bills
immediate enactment.
The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days.
The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies
the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: the bill has passed three readings on separate days and it has been
printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is finally approved. This exception is also supported by the weight of
legislative practice.
III. RA No. 10153 does not require a supermajority vote and plebiscite

Section 18, Article X of the Constitution plainly states that "The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved
by the majority of the votes case by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose." With these wordings as standard, we
interpret the requirement to mean that only amendments to, or revisions of, the Organic Act constitutionally-essential to the creation
of autonomous regions require ratification through a plebiscite. These amendments to the Organic Act are those that relate to: (a)
the basic structure of the regional government; (b) the regions judicial system and, (c) the grant and extent of the legislative powers
constitutionally conceded to the regional government under Section 20, Article X of the Constitution.
The date of the ARMM elections does not fall under any of the matters that the Constitution specifically mandated Congress to
provide for in the Organic Act. Therefore, even assuming that the supermajority votes and the plebiscite requirements are valid, any
change in the date of elections cannot be construed as a substantial amendment of the Organic Act that would require compliance
with these requirements.
IV. Holdover Option is Unconstitutional
It has been broadly stated that the legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to fill an office the term of which is limited by
the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution. In the case of the terms of local
officials, their term has been fixed clearly and unequivocally, allowing no room for any implementing legislation with respect to the
fixed term itself and no vagueness that would allow an interpretation from this Court. Thus, the term of three years for local officials
should stay at three years as fixed by the Constitution and cannot be extended by holdover by Congress.
Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of the position for the new term. This is effectively an
act of appointment by Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional appointment power of the President. Hence,
holdover whichever way it is viewed is a constitutionally infirm option that Congress could not have undertaken.
V. The COMELEC has no authority to order special elections
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature, as evident from the Constitution. No elections may be held
on any other date for the positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local officials, except when so provided
by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress may have delegated either the power or the
authority to ascertain or fill in the details in the execution of that power.
Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011 elections and setting another date for
regional elections synchronized with the presidential, congressional and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itself has
made a policy decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment measure in
synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections. After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can
act to the contrary by ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC.
Statutorily, COMELEC has no power to call for the holding of special elections unless pursuant to a specific statutory grant. True,
Congress did grant, via Sections 5 and 6 of BP 881, COMELEC with the power to postpone elections to another date. However, this
power is limited to, and can only be exercised within, the specific terms and circumstances provided for in the law. Such law states
that COMELEC may postpone or change the date of the elections only specific grounds provided in the law. In the present case, the
postponement of the ARMM elections is by law is pursuant to the constitutional mandate of synchronization of national and local
elections. By no stretch of the imagination can these reasons be given the same character as the circumstances contemplated by
Section 5 or Section 6 of BP 881, which all pertain to extralegal causes that obstruct the holding of elections.