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ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIAL CASES:

Maquiling v. COMELEC ( Sereno, April 16, 2013)


Facts:
Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen.
However, as a consequence of his subsequent naturalization as a
citizen of the United States of America, he lost his Filipino
citizenship. Arnado applied for repatriation under Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 9225 before the Consulate General of the Philippines in
San Franciso, USA and took the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic
of the Philippines on 10 July 2008.
On the same day an Order of Approval of his Citizenship Retention
and Re-acquisition was issued in his favor.
On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiance to the
Republic and executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of his foreign
citizenship, which states:
On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate of Candidacy
for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, On 28 April 2010,
respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua), another mayoralty candidate,
filed a petition to disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate
of candidacy for municipal mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte
in connection with the 10 May 2010 local and national elections.

Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not a resident of


Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and that he is a foreigner, attaching
thereto a certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration dated
23 April 2010 indicating the nationality of Arnado as "USAAmerican."
To further bolster his claim of Arnados US citizenship, Balua
presented in his Memorandum a computer-generated travel record
dated 03 December 2009 indicating that Arnado has been using his
US Passport No. 057782700 in entering and departing the
Philippines.
On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division) issued an
Order requiring the respondent to personally file his answer and
memorandum within three (3) days from receipt thereof.
After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua moved to
declare him in default and to present evidence ex-parte.
Neither motion was acted upon, having been overtaken by the
2010 elections where Arnado garnered the highest number of votes
and was subsequently proclaimed as the winning candidate for
Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.
It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed his verified
answer,
THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST DIVISION:
Instead of treating the Petition as an action for the cancellation of
a certificate of candidacy based on misrepresentation, the
COMELEC First Division considered it as one for disqualification.
The First Division disagreed with Arnados claim that he is a
Filipino citizen.
The Court ruled that Arnados act of consistently using his US
passport after renouncing his US citizenship on 03 April 2009
effectively negated his Affidavit of Renunciation.
Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling), another
candidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and who garnered the second
highest number of votes in the 2010 elections, intervened in the
case and filed before the COMELEC En Banc a Motion for
Reconsideration together with an Opposition to Arnados Amended

Motion for Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the First


Division correctly disqualified Arnado, the order of succession
under Section 44 of the Local Government Code is not applicable
in this case. Consequently, he claimed that the cancellation of
Arnados candidacy and the nullification of his proclamation,
Maquiling, as the legitimate candidate who obtained the highest
number of lawful votes, should be proclaimed as the winner.
RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC:
ruled in favor of arnado
Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the propriety of
declaring Arnado qualified to run for public office despite his
continued use of a US passport, There are three questions posed by
the parties before this Court which will be addressed seriatim as the
subsequent questions hinge on the result of the first.
ISSUES: 1. whether or not intervention is allowed in a
disqualification case. 2. whether or not the use of a foreign
passport after renouncing foreign citizenship amounts to undoing a
renunciation earlier made. 3. whether or not the rule on succession
in the Local Government Code is applicable to this case.
SC:
1.Intervention of a rival candidate in a disqualification case is
proper when there has not yet been any proclamation of the winner.
2.The use of foreign passport after renouncing ones foreign
citizenship is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to
ones nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino
citizenship regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of
Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position.
Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign
citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the date he filed his COC, he
used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the
affidavit of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his
foreign passport, Arnado positively and voluntarily represented
himself as an American,
Arnados category of dual citizenship is that by which foreign
citizenship is acquired through a positive act of applying for
naturalization. This is distinct from those considered dual citizens
by virtue of birth, who are not required by law to take the oath of
renunciation as the mere filing of the certificate of candidacy
already carries with it an implied renunciation of foreign
citizenship.
Dual citizens by naturalization, on the other hand, are required to
take not only the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines but also to personally renounce foreign citizenship in
order to qualify as a candidate for public office.
By the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on 30 November
2009, Arnado was a dual citizen enjoying the rights and privileges
of Filipino and American citizenship. He was qualified to vote, but
by the express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local
Government Code, he was not qualified to run for a local elective
post.
3. The rule on Succession under LGC is not applicable.
Maquiling is not a second-placer as he obtained the highest number
of votes from among the qualified candidates.
Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting Topacio v.
Paredes which is the jurisprudential spring of the principle that a
second-placer cannot be proclaimed as the winner in an election
contest. This doctrine must be re-examined and its soundness once
again put to the test to address the ever-recurring issue that a
second-placer who loses to an ineligible candidate cannot be
proclaimed as the winner in the elections.

The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is that "the wreath


of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any
other candidate when the sole question is the eligibility of the one
receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots."

favor of eligible and legitimate candidates form part of that voice


and must also be respected

This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a mere obiter


dictum. The Court was comparing "the effect of a decision that a
candidate is not entitled to the office because of fraud or
irregularities in the elections x x x with that produced by declaring
a person ineligible to hold such an office."

Facts:

A proper reading of the case reveals that the ruling therein is that
since the Court of First Instance is without jurisdiction to try a
disqualification case based on the eligibility of the person who
obtained the highest number of votes in the election, its jurisdiction
being confined "to determine which of the contestants has been
duly elected" the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he "declared
that no one had been legally elected president of the municipality
of Imus at the general election held in that town on 4 June 1912"
where "the only question raised was whether or not Topacio was
eligible to be elected and to hold the office of municipal president."

January 15, 2004 - Private respondents Jose Almie Altiche and


Vernon Versoza, registered voters of SanJacinto, Masbate, filed
with the COMELEC, a petition to disqualify and to deny due
course or cancel the certificate of candidacy of petitioner on the
ground that he is not a Filipino citizen and that he made a false
representation in his certificate of candidacy that "[he] was not a
permanent resident of or immigrant to a foreign country." Private
respondents alleged that based on a letter from the Bureau of
Immigration dated June 25, 2001, petitioner was a holder of a
permanent U.S. resident visa, an Alien Certificate of Registration
issued on November 3, 1997, and an Immigration Certificate of
Residence issued on November 3, 1997 by the Bureau of
Immigration.

The Court did not rule that Topacio was disqualified and that
Abad as the second placer cannot be proclaimed in his stead. An
ineligible candidate who receives the highest number of votes is a
wrongful winner. By express legal mandate, he could not even
have been a candidate in the first place, but by virtue of the lack of
material time or any other intervening circumstances, his
ineligibility might not have been passed upon prior to election date.
Consequently, he may have had the opportunity to hold himself out
to the electorate as a legitimate and duly qualified candidate.
However, notwithstanding the outcome of the elections, his
ineligibility as a candidate remains unchanged. Ineligibility does
not only pertain to his qualifications as a candidate but necessarily
affects his right to hold public office. The number of ballots cast in
his favor cannot cure the defect of failure to qualify with the
substantive legal requirements of eligibility to run for public office.
The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure
the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed, as in
this case, that the candidate was qualified. Obviously, this rule
requires strict application when the deficiency is lack of
citizenship. If a person seeks to serve in the Republic of the
Philippines, he must owe his total loyalty to this country only,
abjuring and renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state.
(Emphasis supplied)
It is imperative to safeguard the expression of the sovereign voice
through the ballot by ensuring that its exercise respects the rule of
law. To allow the sovereign voice spoken through the ballot to
trump constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications and
disqualifications of candidates is not democracy or republicanism.
It is electoral anarchy. When set rules are disregarded and only the
electorates voice spoken through the ballot is made to matter in the
end, it precisely serves as an open invitation for electoral anarchy
to set in.
With Arnados disqualification, Maquiling then becomes the
winner in the election as he obtained the highest number of votes
from among the qualified candidates.
We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v. COMELEC and
Jalosjos v. COMELEC that a void COC cannot produce any legal
effect.

Altarejos vs COMELEC

Petitioner Altarejos was a candidate for mayor in the Municipality


of San Jacinto, Masbate in theMay 10, 2004 national and local
elections.

January 26, 2004 - Petitioner filed an Answer stating, among


others, that he did not commit false representation in his
application for candidacy as mayor because as early as December
17, 1997, he was already issued a Certificate of Repatriation by the
Special Committee on Naturalization, after he filed a petition for
repatriation pursuant to Republic Act No. 8171. Thus, petitioner
claimed that his Filipino citizenship was already restored, and he
was qualified to run as mayor in the May 10, 2004 elections.
Petitioner sought the dismissal of the petition.
Atty. Zacarias C. Zaragoza, Jr., regional election director for
Region V and hearing officer of this case, recommended that
petitioner Altarejos be disqualified from being a candidate for the
position of mayor on the following grounds:
The Local Government Code of 1991 requires that an elective
local official must be a citizen of the Philippines, and he must not
have a dual citizenship; must not be a permanent resident in a
foreign country or must not have acquired the right to reside
abroad
It has been established by clear and convincing evidence that
respondent is a citizen of the United States of America. Such fact is
proven by his Alien Certificate of Registration and Immigration
Certificate of Residence (ICR) issued on 3 November 1997 by the
Alien Registration Division, Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation. This was further confirmed in a letter dated 25 June
2001 of then Commissioner ANDREA D. DOMINGO of the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.
Although respondent had petitioned for his repatriation as a
Filipino citizen under Republic Act No. 8171 on 17 December
1997, this did not restore to respondent his Filipino citizenship,
because Section2 of the aforecited Republic Act No. 8171
specifically provides that repatriation shall be effected by taking
the necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines
and registration in the proper civil registry and in the Bureau of
Immigration.

Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible candidate are not
considered at all in determining the winner of an election.

Respondent has not submitted any document to prove that he has


taken his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and
that he has registered his fact of repatriation in the proper civil
registry and in the Bureau of Immigration.

Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate are disregarded,
the will of the electorate is still respected, and even more so. The
votes cast in favor of an ineligible candidate do not constitute the
sole and total expression of the sovereign voice. The votes cast in

COMELEC First Division adopted the recommendations of Atty.


Zaragosa and disqualified petitioner.
Petitioner filed a motion of reconsideration, attaching documents
that gave proof to his repatriation. This was subsequently denied by

COMELEC en banc, on the grounds that it should have been


submitted during the hearing.
On May 2004, election day itself, petitioner filed for certiorari,
with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or
a writ of prohibitory and mandatory injunction, to set aside the
Resolution promulgated by the COMELEC.
Issues:
WON registration of petitioners repatriation with the proper civil
registry and with the Bureau of Immigration a prerequisite in
effecting repatriation
WON the COMELEC en banc committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in affirming
the Resolution of the COMELEC, First Division.
SC Ruling:
On the first issue
Yes. Section 2 of RA 8171 is clear that repatriation is effected "by
taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and
registration in the proper civil registry and in the Bureau of
Immigration."

The Omnibus Election Code provides that a certificate of


candidacy may be denied due course or cancelled if there is any
false representation of a material fact.
-The critical material facts are those that refer to a candidates
qualifications for elective office such as his or her citizenship and
residence.The false representation must be a deliberate attempt to mislead,
misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise render a candidate
ineligible.
-Given the purpose of the requirement, it must be made with the
intention to deceive the electorate as to the would-be candidates
qualifications for public office.
-Thus, the misrepresentation cannot be the result of a mere
innocuous mistake, and cannot exist in a situation where the intent
to deceive is patently absent, or where no deception on the
electorate results.
-The foregoing are the legal standards by which the COMELEC
must act on a petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate
of candidacy.

As to when citizenship would apply, the Court's ruling in Frivaldo


v. Commission on Elections that repatriation retroacts to the date of
filing of one's application for repatriation subsists.

-Thus, in considering the residency of a candidate as stated in the


certificate of candidacy, the COMELEC must determine whether or
not the candidate deliberately attempted to mislead,misinform or
hide a fact about his or her residency that would otherwise render
him or her ineligible for the position sought.-

Petitioner was, therefore, qualified to run for a mayoralty position


in the government in the May 10, 2004 elections. Apparently, the
COMELEC was cognizant of this fact since it did not implement
the assailed Resolutions disqualifying petitioner to run as mayor of
San Jacinto, Masbate.

The COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in this case when, in


considering the residency issue,it based its decision solely on very
personal and subjective assessment standards, such as the nature or
design and furnishings of the dwelling place in relation to the
stature of the candidate.

On the second issue

Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra vs. Commission on


Elections, et al.G.R. No. 191938, July 2, 2010

The Court cannot fault the COMELEC en banc for affirming the
decision of the COMELEC, First Division, considering that
petitioner failed to prove before the COMELEC that he had
complied with the requirements of repatriation. Petitioner
submitted the necessary documents proving compliance with the
requirements of repatriation only during his motion for
reconsideration, when the COMELEC en banc could no longer
consider said evidence.
Petition is Denied. Appendix:
Sections 39 and 40 of Republic Act No. 7160 otherwise known as
the Local Government Code of 1991:
SEC. 39. Qualifications. (a) An elective local official must be a
citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay,
municipality, city or province or, in the case of member of the
sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or
sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected;a
resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the
day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other
local language or dialect.
(c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice-mayor of
independent component cities, component cities or municipalities
must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.[SEC.
40. Disqualifications. The following persons are disqualified
from running for any electiveposition:]xxx.(d) Those with dual
citizenship.xxx.(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or
those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to
avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code;

Mitra vs. COMELEC, October 19, 2010


Certificate of candidacy; residency requirement.-

. Nature: The respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC)


canceled the certificate of candidacy (COC) of petitioner Abraham
Kahlil B. Mitra for allegedly misrepresenting that he is a resident
of the Municipality of Aborlan, Province of Palawan where he ran
for the position of Governor. Mitra came to this Court to seek the
reversal of the cancellation.
Facts:- When his COC for the position of Governor of Palawan
was declared cancelled, Mitra was the incumbent Representative of
the Second District of Palawan
.- This district then included, among other territories, the
Municipality of Aborlan and Puerto Princesa City.
-He was elected Representative as a domiciliary of Puerto Princesa
City, and represented the legislative district for three (3) terms
immediately before the elections of 2010.On March 26, 2007 (or before the end of Mitras second term as
Representative), Puerto Princesa City was reclassified as a "highly
urbanized city" and thus ceased to be a component city of the
Province of Palawan
.- The direct legal consequence of this new status was the
ineligibility of Puerto Princesa City residents from voting for
candidates for elective provincial officials.
- On March 20, 2009, with the intention of running for the position
of Governor, Mitra applied for the transfer of his Voters
Registration Record from Precinct No. 03720 of Brgy. Sta. Monica,
PuertoPrincesa City, to Sitio Maligaya,Brgy. Isaub, Municipality of
Aborlan, Province of Palawan. He subsequently filed his COC for
the position of Governor of Palawan as a resident of Aborlan.

-Soon thereafter, respondents Antonio V. Gonzales and Orlando R.


Balbon, Jr. (the respondents) filed a petition to deny due course or
to cancel Mitras COC.
Issue: Whether or not Mitra is qualified to run for Governor of
Palawan.
Held: YES. Mitra is qualified to rum for the position as Governor
of Palawan. The Supreme Court ruled that Mitra did not
misrepresent himself and that he met the residency requirement as
mandated by the Constitution.
RATIO:-The election of Abraham Kahlil Mitra as governor of
Palawan in the May 10, 2010 elections was upheld in a vote of 113.- The respondents were not able to present a convincing case
sufficient to overcome Mitras evidence of effective transfer to and
residence in Aborlan and the validity of his representation on this
point in his COC.
-Likewise,the "COMELEC could not present any legally
acceptable basis to conclude that Mitras statement in his COC
regarding his residence was a misrepresentation."

-To acquire a new domicile a domicile by choice the following


must concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in a new locality; (2)
an intention to remain there; and (3) an intention to abandon the
old domicile. In other words, there must be an animus non
revertendi with respect to the old domicile, and an animus manendi
at the domicile of choice. The intent to remain in or at the domicile
f choice must be for an indefinite period of time and the acts of the
person must be consistent with this intent.

Japzon v Commission on Elections


Facts:

Petitioner Manuel Japzon and private respondent Jaime


S. Ty ran for Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur,
Eastern Samar in the local elections of 14 May 2007.

Japzon instituted before the COMELEC a Petition to


disqualify and/or cancel Tys Certificate of Candidacy on the
ground of material misrepresentation. He averred that
o
Ty is a US citizen and had been residing in the USA for
the last 25 years.

-Mitras domicile of origin is undisputedly Puerto Princesa City.


For him to qualify as Governor in light of the relatively recent
change of status of Puerto Princesa City from a component city to a
highly urbanized city whose residents can no longer vote for
provincial officials

o
When Ty filed his Certificate of Candidacy he falsely
represented therein that he was a resident of Barangay 6,
Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar (Barangay 6), for
one year before 14 May 2007 and was not a permanent resident or
immigrant of any foreign country.

he had to abandon his domicile of origin and acquire a new one


within the local government unit where he intended to run; this
would be his domicile of choice. To acquire a domicile of choice,
jurisprudence, which the COMELEC correctly invoked, requires
the following:(1) residence or bodily presence in a new locality 2)
an intention to remain there; and(3) an intention to abandon the old
domicile.-

o
While Ty may have applied for the reacquisition of his
Philippine citizenship, he never actually resided in Barangay 6 for
a period of one year immediately preceding the date of election as
required under Section 39 of LGC

Mitra, presented sworn statements of various persons (including


the seller of the land he purchased, the lessor of the Maligaya
Feedmill, and the Punong Barangay of the site of his residence)
attesting to his physical residence in Aborlan; photographs of the
residential portion of Maligaya Feedmill where he resides, and of
his experimental pineapple plantation, farm,farmhouse and cock
farm; the lease contract over the Maligaya Feedmill; and the deed
of sale of the lot where he has started constructing his house. He
clarified, too, that he does not claim residence in Aborlan at the
house then under construction; his actual residence is the
mezzanine portion of the Maligaya Feedmill building.

o
He had also failed to renounce his foreign citizenship as
required by Republic Act No. 9225, otherwise known as the
Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003

-Mitra has been proclaimed winner in the electoral contest and has
therefore the mandate of the electorate to serve

NOTES:- The minimum requirement under our Constitution and


election laws for the candidates residency in the political unit they
seek to represent has never been intended to be an empty
formalistic condition; it carries with it a very specific purpose: to
prevent "stranger[s] or newcomer[s] unacquainted with the
conditions and needs of a community" from seeking elective
offices in that community.The purpose of the residency requirement is "best met by
individuals who have either had actual residence in the area for a
given period or who have been domiciled in the same area either
by origin or by choice."Read and understood in this manner, residency can readily be
appreciated as a requirement that goes into the heart of our
democratic system; it directly supports the purpose of
representation electing those who can best serve the community
because of their knowledge and sensitivity to its needs. It likewise
adds meaning and substance to the voters freedom of choice in the
electoral exercise that characterizes every democracy.

o
Reacquisition of citizenship does not automatically
establish his domicile at Barangay 6.

Ty admits that he had indeed lost his Philippine


citizenship when he was naturalized as a US citizen. However, he
alleges that prior to the election, he had successfully reacquired his
Filipino citizenship as shown by his act of executing an Oath of
Allegiance to RP and a duly notarized Renunciation of Foreign
Citizenship. He had also complied with the 1-year residency rule as
shown by the following:
CTC from Barangay 6 (March 2006)

o
Passport indicating that his residence is in Barangay 6
(Oct 2005)
o

Registered voter at Brgy 6 (July 2006)

Pending this case, Ty won the elections.

COMELEC 1st Division ruled for Ty.

COMELEC En Banc affirmed.

Issue: WON Ty complied with the one (1) year residency


requirement under the Local Government Code.
Held: YES. The term "residence" is to be understood not in its
common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" or "habitation," but
rather to "domicile" or legal residence, that is, "the place where a
party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he,
no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually
intends to return and remain (animus manendi).

A domicile of origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is


usually the place where the childs parents reside and continues
until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile
(domicile of choice). In Coquilla, the Court already acknowledged
that for an individual to acquire American citizenship, he must
establish residence in the USA. Since Ty himself admitted that he
became a naturalized American citizen, then he must have
necessarily abandoned Barangay 6 as his domicile of origin; and
transferred to the USA, as his domicile of choice.
Tys reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship under RA 9225 had
no automatic impact or effect on his residence/domicile. He could
still retain his domicile in the USA, and he did not necessarily
regain his domicile in Barangay 6. Ty merely had the option to
again establish his domicile in the Municipality of General
Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, said place becoming his
new domicile of choice. The length of his residence therein shall be
determined from the time he made it his domicile of choice, and it
shall not retroact to the time of his birth.
Tys intent to establish a new domicile of choice in Barangay 6
became apparent when, immediately after reacquiring his
Philippine citizenship on 2 October 2005, he applied for a
Philippine passport indicating in his application that his residence
in the Philippines was Barangay 6. For the years 2006 and 2007, Ty
voluntarily submitted himself to the local tax jurisdiction of the
Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by paying
community tax and securing CTCs from the said municipality
stating therein his address as Barangay 6. Thereafter, Ty applied for
and was registered as a voter on 17 July 2006 in Precinct.

TORAYNO SR. VS. COMELEC


Facts: During the 1995 elections, Vicente Y. Emano ran for, was
elected, and proclaimed provincial governor of Misamis Oriental.
It was his third consecutive term as governor of the province. In his
Certificate of Candidacy dated March 12, 1995, his residence was
declared to be in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. On March 25, 1998,
he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for mayor of the city, stating
therein that his residence for the preceding two years and five
months was at 1409 San Jose Street, Capistrano Subdivision, Gusa,
Cagayan de Oro City.
On May 29, 1998, petitioners filed another Petition before the
COMELEC, this time for quo warranto, in which they sought (1)
the annulment of the election of private respondent; and (2) the
proclamation of Erasmo B. Damasing, who had garnered the next
highest number of votes, as the duly elected mayor of the city.
Issue: In their Memorandum, petitioners submit that the main issue
is whether the "COMELEC gravely abused its discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing the questioned
Resolutions." Allegedly, the resolution of this issue would depend
on the following:
1. Whether or not private respondent Emano's (a) remaining
as governor of Misamis Oriental until he filed his certificate of
candidacy for mayor of Cagayan de Oro City on March 25, 1998 in
the May 11, 1998 election; (b) asserting under oath [that he was]
qualified to act as governor of said province until said date; and (c)
admitting, in sworn statements, [that he was] a resident of Misamis
Oriental, precluded him from acquiring a bona fide domicile of
choice for at least one (1) year in Cagayan de Oro City prior to the
May 11, 1998 elections, as to disqualify him for being a candidate
for city mayor of said City.

2.
Differently stated, whether or not Emano's securing a
residence certificate in Cagayan de Oro City, holding offices as
governor of Misamis Oriental in the Capitol Building located in
Cagayan de Oro City and having a house therein where he had
stayed during his tenure as governor, and registering as a voter in

said City in June 1997, would be legally sufficient, as against the


undisputed facts above enumerated, to constitute a change of his
domicile of birth in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in favor of a new
domicile of choice in Cagayan de Oro City for at least one (1) year
for purposes of qualifying him to run for city mayor in the May 11,
1998 elections.
3. Whether or not Erasmo Damasing, the candidate for mayor
of Cagayan de Oro City in the May 11, 1998 elections, who
received the second highest number of votes, can be declared
winner, considering that respondent Emano was disqualified to run
for and hold said office and considering that his disqualification or
ineligibility had been extensively brought to the attention and
consciousness of the voters prior to the May 11, 1998 election as to
attain notoriety, notwithstanding which they still voted for him."
Held: WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and the assailed
COMELEC Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
Ratio: In the case at bar, the COMELEC found that private
respondent and his family had actually been residing in Capistrano
Subdivision, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, in a house he had bought
in 1973. Furthermore, during the three terms (1988-1998) that he
was governor of Misamis Oriental, he physically lived in that city,
where the seat of the provincial government was located. In June
1997 he also registered as voter of the same city.
We stress that the residence requirement is rooted in the desire
that officials of districts or localities be acquainted not only with
the metes and bounds of their constituencies but, more important,
with the constituents themselves their needs, difficulties,
aspirations, potentials for growth and development, and all matters
vital to their common welfare. The requisite period would give
candidates the opportunity to be familiar with their desired
constituencies, and likewise for the electorate to evaluate the
former's qualifications and fitness for the offices they seek.
In view of locus standi of petitioners
Under the Rules of Court, a quo warranto may be brought only
by (1) the solicitor general or (2) a public prosecutor or (3) a
person claiming to be entitled to the public office or position
usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. A reading of
the Rules shows that petitioners, none of whom qualify under any
of the above three categories, are without legal standing to bring
this suit.
Under our election laws and the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure, any voter may file a petition to disqualify a candidate
on grounds provided by law, or to contest the election of a city
officer on the ground of ineligibility or disloyalty to the Republic.
The petitioners herein, being "duly-registered voters" of Cagayan
de Oro City, therefore satisfy the requirement of said laws and
rules.
In view of residence qualification for candidacy
Private respondent contends further that his transfer of legal
residence did not ipso facto divest him of his position as provincial
governor. First, there is no law that prevents an elected official
from transferring residence while in office. Second, an elective
official's transfer of residence does not prevent the performance of
that official's duties, especially in private respondent's case in
which the seat of government became his adopted place of
residence. Third, as ruled in Frivaldo v. COMELEC, the loss of any
of the required qualifications for election merely renders the
official's title or right to office open to challenge. In Emano's case,
no one challenged his right to the Office of Provincial Governor
when he transferred his residence to Cagayan de Oro City.
Naturally, he continued to discharge his functions as such, until he
filed his candidacy for mayor in March 1998.
In view of law on qualifications of local elective officials

Such provision is aimed at excluding outsiders "from taking


advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that community
for electoral gain." Establishing residence in a community merely
to meet an election law requirement defeats the purpose of
representation: to elect through the assent of voters those most
cognizant and sensitive to the needs of the community. This
purpose is "best met by individuals who have either had actual
residence in the area for a given period or who have been
domiciled in the same area either by origin or by choice."
In view of interpretation to favor popular mandate
There is no question that private respondent was the
overwhelming choice of the people of Cagayan de Oro City. He
won by a margin of about 30,000 votes. Thus, we find it apt to
reiterate the principle that the manifest will of the people as
expressed through the ballot must be given fullest effect.
To successfully challenge a winning candidate's qualifications,
the petitioner must clearly demonstrate that the ineligibility is so
patently antagonistic to constitutional and legal principles that
overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the
apparent will of the people would ultimately create greater
prejudice to the very democratic institutions and juristic traditions
that our Constitution and laws so zealously protect and promote.
In sum, we hold that COMELEC cannot be faulted with abuse,
much less grave abuse, of discretion in upholding private
respondent's election.
With the resolution of the first issue in the positive, it is obvious
that the second one posited by petitioners has become academic
and need not be ruled upon.

EFREN ARATEA v. COMELEC AND ESTELA


ANTIPOLO
FACTS:Romeo D. Lonzanida (Lonzanida) and Estela D. Antipolo
(Antipolo) were candidates for Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in
the May 2010 National and Local Elections. Dra. Sigrid S. Rodolfo
(Rodolfo) filed apetition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code to disqualify Lonzanida and to deny due course or to cancel
Lonzanidas certificate of candidacy on the ground that Lonzanida
was elected, and had served, as mayorof San Antonio, Zambales
for four (4) consecutive terms immediately prior to the term for the
May 2010elections.
Rodolfo asserted that Lonzanida made a false material
representation in his certificate of candidacy whenLonzanida
certified under oath that he was eligible for the office he sought
election. Section 8, Article X of the1987 Constitution and Section
43(b) of the Local Government Code both prohibit a local elective
official from being elected and serving for more than three
consecutive terms for the same position.
The COMELEC Second Division rendered a Resolutionon 18
February 2010 cancelling Lonzanidas certificateof candidacy.
Lonzanidas motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC En
Banc remained pending during the May 2010elections. Lonzanida
and Efren Racel Aratea (Aratea) garnered the highest number of
votes and wererespectively proclaimed Mayor and Vice-Mayor.
Aratea took his oath of office as Acting Mayor before Regional
Trial Court (RTC) Judge of Olongapo. On thesame date, Aratea
wrote the DILG and requested for an opinion on whether, as ViceMayor, he was legally required to assume the Office of the Mayor
in view of Lonzanidas disqualification.
DILG stated that Lonzanida was disqualified to hold office by
reason of his criminal conviction, and as aconsequence, his office
was deemed permanently vacant, and thus, Aratea should assume
the Office of theMayor in an acting capacity without prejudice to
the
COMELECs
resolution
of
Lonzanidas
motion

forreconsideration.In another letter dated 6 August 2010, Aratea


requested the DILG to allow him to take the oath of office asMayor
of San Antonio, Zambales. In his response, then Secretary Jesse M.
Robredo allowed Aratea to take anoath of office as "the permanent
Municipal Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales without prejudice
however to theoutcome of the cases pending before the
COMELEC.On 11 August 2010, the COMELEC En Banc issued a
Resolution disqualifying Lonzanida from running for Mayor in the
May 2010 elections. The COMELEC En Bancs resolution was
based on two grounds: first ,Lonzanida had been elected and had
served as Mayor for more than three consecutive terms
withoutinterruption; and second , Lonzanida had been convicted by
final judgment of 10 counts of falsification underthe Revised Penal
Code. Lonzanida was sentenced for each count of falsification to
imprisonment of 4 yearsand 1 day of prisin correccional as
minimum, to 8 years and 1 day of prisin mayoras maximum. The
judgment of conviction became final on 23 October 2009 in the
Decision of this Court in Lonzanida v. People, before Lonzanida
filed his certificate of candidacy on 1 December 2009.The manner
of filling up the permanent vacancy in the Office of the Mayor of
San Antonio, Zambales isdependent upon the determination of
Lonzanidas removal. Whether Lonzanida was disqualified under
Section68 of the Omnibus Election Code, or made a false material
representation under Section 78 of the sameCode that resulted in
his certificate of candidacy being void ab initio
, is determinative of whether Aratea or Antipolo is the rightful
occupant to the Office of the Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales.
HELD:Antipolo, the alleged "second placer," should be proclaimed
Mayor because Lonzanidas certificate of candidacy was void ab
initio
. In short, Lonzanida was never a candidate at all. All votes for
Lonzanida were stray votes. Thus, Antipolo, the only qualified
candidate, actually garnered the highest number of votes for
theposition of Mayor.The grounds for disqualification for a petition
under Section 68of the Omnibus Election Code are specifically
enumerated. A petition for disqualification under Section 68 clearly
refers to "the commission of prohibited acts andpossession of a
permanent resident status in a foreign country."
All the offenses mentioned in Section 68refer to election offenses
under the Omnibus Election Code, not to violations of other pena
llaws. There is absolutely nothing in the language of Section 68
that would justify including violation of thethree-term limit rule, or
conviction by final judgment of the crime of falsification under the
Revised Penal Code,as one of the grounds or offenses covered
under Section 68.On the other hand, Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code states that a certificate of candidacy may bedenied
or cancelled when there is false material representation of the
contents of the certificate of candidacy :Section 74 of the Omnibus
Election Code detailsthe contents of the certificate of candidacy
:Sec. 74.
Contents of certificate of candidacy.
The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is
announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is
eligible for said officex x x
The conviction of Lonzanida by final judgment, with the penalty of
prisin mayor,disqualifies himperpetually from holding any public
office, or from being elected to any public office
.This perpetual disqualification took effect upon the finality of the
judgment of conviction, beforeLonzanida filed his certificate of
candidacy .The penalty of prisin mayorautomatically carries with
it, by operation of law, the accessory penalties of temporary
absolute disqualification andperpetual special disqualification.
Under Article 30 of theRevised Penal Code, temporary absolute
disqualification produces the effect of "deprivation of the right to

votein any election for any popular elective office or to be elected


to such office.

issues affecting consecutiveness of terms and/or involuntary


interruption are the following:

The duration of temporary absolute disqualification is the same


as that of the principal penalty of prisin mayor.On the other hand,
under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code,perpetual special
disqualification means that "the offender shall not be permitted to
hold any public office during the period of his disqualification,
which is perpetually.

Re: Assumption of Office by Operation of Law

Both temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual


specialdisqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold elective
public office.
A person suffering from these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for
elective public office, andcommits a false material representation if
he states in his certificate of candidacy that he iseligible to so run.

1.When a permanent vacancy occurs in an elective position and the


official merely assumed the position pursuant to the rules on
succession under the LGC, then his service for the unexpired
portion of the term of the replaced official cannot be treated as one
full term as contemplated under the subject constitutional and
statutory provision that service cannot be counted in the application
of any term limit (Borja, Jr.vs Comelec, 1998). If the official runs
again for the same position he held prior to his assumption of the
higher office, then his succession to said position is by operation of
law and is considered an involuntary severance or interruption
(Montebon vs Comelec, 2008).
Re: Recall election

Effect of a Void Certificate of Candidacy


A cancelled certificate of candidacy void ab initio cannot give rise
to a valid candidacy, and much less to valid votes. As the Comelec
stated in their February 2011 Resolution:
Since Lonzanida was never a candidate for the position of Mayor
[of] San Antonio, Zambales, the votes cast for him should be
considered stray votes.Consequently, Intervenor Antipolo, who
remains as the sole qualified candidate for the mayoralty post and
obtained the highest number of votes, should now be proclaimed as
the duly elected Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales.
Lonzanida's certificate of candidacy was cancelled because he was
ineligible or not qualified to run for Mayor.
Whether his certificate of candidacy is cancelled before or after the
elections is immaterial because thecancellation on such ground
means he was never a candidate from the very beginning, his
certificate of candidacy being void ab initio.
There was only one qualified candidate for Mayor in the May 2010
elections - Antipolo, who therefore received the highest number of
votes. Petition dismissed.

2.An elective official, who has served for three consecutive terms
and who did not seek the elective position for what could be his
fourth term, but later won in a recall election, had aninterruption in
the continuity of the officials service. For, hehad become in the
interim, i.e., from the end of the 3rd term up to the recall election, a
private citizen ( Adormeo vs Comelec, 2002 andSocrates vs
Comelec, 2002).
Re: Conversion of a Municipality into a City
3.The abolition of an elective local office due to the conversion of
a municipality to a city does not, by itself, work to interrupt
theincumbent officials continuity of service (Latasavs
Comelec,2003).
Re: Period of Preventive Suspension
4.Preventive suspension is not a term-interrupting event as the
elective officers continued stay and entitlement to the office
remain unaffected during the period of suspension, although he is
barred from exercising the functions of his office during this period
( Aldovino, Jr.vs Comelec, 2009)
Re: Election Protest

B. TERM OF OFFICE, INCLUDE THE THREE (3)-TERM


LIMIT RULE CASES

Abundo, Sr. vs. COMELEC, January 08, 2013


SUMMARY:
Abundo vied for the position of mayor of Viga, Catanduanes for 4
consecutive elections ( 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010). In both 2001 and
2007, he was proclaimed the winner and served his terms.
However, in the 2004 elections, Torres was proclaimed as the
winner in the election. Abundo unseated Tores after a successful
election protest. Abundo served the remaining 1 year and 1 month
of the term. In the 2010 elections, Abundo and Torres again
opposed each other. Torres filed a petition to disqualify Abundo
based on the three-term limit rule. Meanwhile, Vega filed a quo
warranto proceeding against Abundo before the RTC which ruled
that Abundo was ineligible to serve as Mayor. On appeal, Comelec
Second Division and en banc affirmed RTC ruling. SC reversed
and ruled that the two-year period during which his opponent,
Torres, was serving as mayor should be considered as an
interruption, which effectively removed Abundos case from the
ambit of the three-term limit rule.
DOCTRINE: To constitute a disqualification to run for an elective
local office pursuant to the constitutional and statutory provisions
on the three-term limit, the following requisites must concur: (1)
that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive
terms in the same local government post; and (2) that he has fully
served three consecutive terms. The prevailing jurisprudence on

5.When a candidate is proclaimed as winner for an elective


position and assumes office, his term is interrupted when he loses
in an election protest and is ousted from office, thus disenabling
him from serving what would otherwise be the unexpired portion
of his term of office had the protest been dismissed (Lonzanida vs
Comelec, 1999 and Dizon vs Comelec 2009). The break or
interruption need not be for a full term of three years or for the
major part of the 3-year term; an interruption for any length of
time, provided the cause is involuntary, is sufficient to break the
continuity of service (Socrates, citingLonzanida).
6.When an official is defeated in an election protest and said
decision becomes final after said official had served the full term
for said office, then his loss in the election contest does
notconstitute an interruption since he has managed to serve the
term from start to finish. His full service, despite the defeat, should
be counted in the application of term limits because the
nullification of his proclamation came after the expiration of the
term.
FACTS:
For four (4) successive regular elections, namely, the 2001, 2004,
2007 and 2010 national and local elections, Ablardo Abundo, Sr.
vied for the position of municipal mayor of Viga, Catanduanes. In
both the 2001 and 2007 runs, he emerged and was proclaimed as
the winning mayoralty candidate and accordingly served the
corresponding terms as mayor. In the 2004 electoral derby,
however, the Viga municipal board of canvassers initially

proclaimed as winner one Jose Torres who, in due time, performed


the functions of the office of mayor.
Abundo protested Torres election and proclamation.
Abundo was eventually declared the winner of the 2004 mayoralty
electoral contest, paving the way for his assumption of office
starting May 9, 2006 until the end of the 2004-2007 term on June
30, 2007, or for a period of a little over one year and one month.
Then came the May 10, 2010 elections where Abundo and Torres
again opposed each other. Torres filed a petition to disqualify
Abundo predicated on the three-consecutive term limit rule. On
June 16, 2010, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution
finding for Abundo, who in the meantime bested Torres by 219
votes and was accordingly proclaimed 2010 mayor-elect of Viga,
Catanduanes. Meanwhile, on May 21, 2010, or before the
COMELEC could resolve the adverted disqualification case Torres
initiated against Abundo, Ernesto R. Vega commenced a quo
warranto action before the RTC to unseat Abundo on essentially
the same grounds Torres raised in his petition to disqualify.
RTC declared Abundo ineligible to serve as municipal mayor,
citing Aldovino, Jr. v. COMELEC, and found Abundo to have
already served 3 consecutive mayoralty terms, to wit,2001-2004,
2004-2007 and 2007-2010, and, hence, disqualified for another,i.e.,
fourth, consecutive term. Abundo had been declared winner in the
aforesaid 2004 elections consequent to his protest and occupied the
position of and actually served as Viga mayor for over a year of the
remaining term, i.e., from May 9, 2006 to June 30, 2007, to be
exact.To the RTC, the year and amonth service constitutes a
complete and full service of Abundossecond term as mayor.
Therefrom, Abundo appealed to the COMELEC
COMELEC Second Division affirmed the RTC ruling.
COMELEC en banc denied the motion for reconsideration. There
wasno involuntary interruption of Abundos 2004-2007 term
service which would be an exception to the three-term limit rule as
he is considered never to have losttitle to the disputed office after
he won in his election protest; and, what the Constitution prohibits
is for an elective official to be in office for the same position for
more than three consecutive terms and not to the service of the
term. Hence, the petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance
of a TRO and/or preliminary injunction. Meanwhile, the Comelec
issued a resolution declaring its decision in the disqualification
case as final and executor. Upon a motion by Vega, a writ of
execution was also issued. The SC issued a TRO but on the same
day it was received, Vice-Mayor Emeterio M. Tarin and First
Councilor Cesar O. Cervantes of Viga, Catanduanes took their
oaths of office as mayor and vice-mayor respectively and assumed
their posts the following day.
ISSUE:
Whether the service of a term less than the full three years by an
elected official arising from his being declared as the duly elected
official upon an election protest is considered as full service of the
term for purposes of the application of the three consecutive term
limit for elective local officials?
RULING:NO. The two-year period during which his opponent,
Torres, was serving as mayor should be considered as an
interruption, whicheffectively removed Abundos case from the
ambit of the three-term limit rule
RATIO: **
Procedural issue: SC ruled that Comelec en banc was correct in
ruling that the arguments in the MR were mere reiterations of what
wasbrought up in Abundos appeal brief before the Comelec
division.
The consecutiveness of what otherwise would have been
Abundosthree successive, continuous mayorship was effectively

broken during the 2004- 2007 term when he was initially deprived
of title to, and was veritably disallowed to serve and occupy, an
office to which he, after due proceedings, was eventually declared
to have been the rightful choice of the electorate. The three-term
limit rule for elective local officials, a disqualification rule, is
found in Section 8, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which
provides: Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials,
except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall
be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any
length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.
and is reiterated in Sec. 43(b) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7160, or
the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, thusly: Sec. 43.
Term of Office
. x x x x (b)No local elective official shall serve for more than
three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary
renunciation of theoffice for any length of time shall not be
considered as an interruption inthe continuity of service for the full
term for which the elective officialconcerned was elected. To
constitute a disqualification to run for an elective local office
pursuant to the aforequoted constitutional and statutory provisions,
the following requisites must concur: (1) that the official concerned
has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local
government post; and (2) that he has fully served three
consecutive terms. As is clearly provided in Sec. 8, Art. X of the
Constitution as well as in Sec. 43(b) of the LGC, voluntary
renunciation of the office by the incumbent elective local official
for any length of time shall NOT, in determining service for three
consecutive terms, be considered an interruption in the continuity
of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned
was elected. In Aldovino, Jr.,however, the Court stated the
observation that the law does not textually state that voluntary
renunciation is the only actual interruption of service that does not
affect continuity of service for a full term for purposes of
thethree-term limit rule.
As stressed in Socrates v. Commission on Elections, the principle
behind the three-term limit rule covers only consecutive terms and
that what the Constitution prohibits is amconsecutive fourth term.
There has, in fine, to be a break or interruption in the successive
terms of the official after his or her third term. Of course, the basic
law is unequivocal that a voluntary renunciation of the office for
any length of time shall NOT be considered an interruption in the
continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official
concerned was elected . This qualification wasmade as a deterrent
against an elective local official intending to skirt the three-term
limit rule by merely resigning before his or her third term ends.
This is a voluntary interruption as distinguished from involuntary
interruption which may be brought about by certain events or
causes. The prevailing jurisprudence on issues affecting
consecutiveness of terms and/or involuntary interruption are the
following:
The Case of Abundo presents a different factual backdrop than
those cases whose doctrines are cited above. Unlike in other protest
cases, , Abundo was the winner during the election protest and was
declared the rightful holder of the mayoralty post. Also, Abundo
was the protestant who ousted his opponent and had assumed the
remainder of the term. The intention behind the three-term limit
rule was not only to abrogate the monopolization of political
power and prevent elected officials from breeding proprietary
interest in their position but also to enhance the peoples
freedom of choice.
In the words of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,while people should
be protected from the evils that a monopoly ofpower may bring
about, care should be taken that their freedom of choice is not
unduly curtailed.

The two-year period during which his opponent, Torres, was


serving as mayor should be considered as an interruption, which
effectivelyremoved Abundos case from the ambit of the three-term
limit rule.
The first requisite for the application of the disqualification rule
based on the three term limit that the official has been elected is
satisfied. However, there was an issue on whether such terms were
served by Abundo. Subsumed to this issue is the question of
whether or not there was an effective involuntary interruption
during the three three-year periods, resulting in the disruption of
the continuity of Abundos mayoralty. The facts of the case clearly
point to an involuntary interruption during the July 2004-June 2007
term.
A term, as defined in Appari v. Court of Appeals ,63 means, in a
legalsense, a fixed and definite period of time which the law
describes that an officer may hold an office. It also means the
time during which the officer may claim to hold office as a matter
of right, and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents
shall succeed one another.
It is the period of time during which a duly elected official has title
to and can serve the functions of an elective office. From paragraph
(a) of Sec. 43, RA 7160,66 the term for local elected officials is
three (3) years starting from noon of June 30 of the first year of
said term. In the present case, during the period of one year and ten
months, or from June 30, 2004 until May 8, 2006, Abundo cannot
plausibly claim, even if he wanted to, that he could hold office of
the mayor as a matter of right. Neither can he assert title to the
same nor serve the functions of the said elective office
.The reason is simple: during that period, title to hold such office
and the corresponding right to assume the functions thereof still
belonged to his opponent, as proclaimed election winner.
Accordingly, Abundo actually held the office and exercised the
functions as mayor only upon his declaration, following the
resolution of the protest, as duly elected candidate in the May 2004
elections or for only a little over one year and one month.
Consequently, since the legally contemplated full term for local
elected officials is three (3) years, it cannot be said that Abundo
fully served the term 2004-2007. The reality on the ground is that
Abundo actually served less. Needless to stress, the almost twoyear period during which Abundos opponent actually served as
Mayor is and ought to be considered an involuntary interruption of
Abundos continuity of service. An involuntary interrupted term,
cannot, in the context of the disqualification rule, be considered as
one term for purposes of counting the three-term threshold. The
notion of full service of three consecutive terms is related to the
concepts of interruption of service and voluntary renunciation of
service. The word interruption means temporary cessation,
intermission or suspension. To interrupt is to obstruct, thwart or
prevent. When the Constitution and the LGC of 1991 speak of
interruption,the reference is to the obstruction to the continuance of
the service by the concerned elected official by effectively cutting
short the service of a term or giving a hiatus in the occupation of
the elective office. On the other hand, the word renunciation
connotes the idea of waiver or abandonment of a known right. To
renounce is to give up, abandon, decline or resign.
Voluntary renunciation of the office by an elective local official
would thus mean to give up or abandon the title to the office and to
cut short the service of the term the concerned elected official is
entitled to. The COMELEC ruled against Abundo on the theory
that the length of the actual service of the term is immaterial in his
case as he was only temporarily unable to discharge his functions
as mayor.
SC did not agree As previously stated, the declaration of being the
winner in an election protest grants the local elected official the
right to serve the unexpired portion of the term. Verily, while he
was declared winner in the protest for the mayoralty seat for the
2004-2007 term, Abundos full term has been substantially reduced

by the actual service rendered by his opponent (Torres). Hence,


there was actual involuntary interruption in the term of Abundo and
he cannot be considered to have served the full 2004-2007 term. It
cannot be overemphasized that pending the favorable resolution of
his election protest,
Abundo was relegated to being anordinary constituent since his
opponent, as presumptive victor in the 2004 elections, was
occupying the mayoralty seat. In other words, for almost two years
or from July 1, 2004 the start of the termuntil May 9, 2006 or
during which his opponent actually assumed the mayoralty office,
Abundo was a private citizen warming his heels while awaiting the
outcome of his protest. Hence, even if declared later as having the
right to serve the elective position from July 1, 2004, such
declaration would not erase the fact that prior to the finality of
theelection protest, Abundo did not serve in the mayors office and,
in fact, had no legal right to said position.
Aldovino Jr.cannot possibly lend support to respondents cause of
action, or to COMELECs resolution against Abundo. In Aldovino
Jr., the Court ruled that temporary inability or disqualification to
exercise the unctions of an elective does not involve loss of title to
office or at least an effective break from holding office; the office
holder, while retaining title, is simply barred from exercising the
functions of his office for a reason provided by law
.Such pronouncement on preventive suspension does not apply to
the instant case.Verily, it is erroneous to say that Abundo merely
was temporarily unable or disqualified to exercise the functions of
an elective post. For one, during the intervening period of almost
two years, reckoned from the start of the 2004-2007 term, Abundo
cannot be said to have retained title to the mayoralty office as he
was at that time not the duly proclaimed winner who would have
the legal right to assume and serve such elective office. For
another, not having been declared winner yet, Abundo cannot be
said to have lost title to the office since one cannot plausibly lose a
title which, in the first place, he did not have.
Thus, for all intents and purposes, even if the belated declaration in
the election protest accords him title to the elective office from the
start of the term, Abundo was not entitled to the elective office
until the election protest was finally resolved in his favor.
Consequently, there was a hiatus of almost two years , consisting of
a break and effective interruption of his service, until he assumed
the office and served barely over a year of the remaining term.
Abundo became or was a private citizen during the period over
which his opponent was serving as mayor . If in Lonzanida, the
Court ruled that there was interruption in Lonzanidas service
because of his subsequent defeat in the election protest, then with
more reason, Abundos term for 2004-2007 should be declared
interrupted since he was not proclaimed winner after the 2004
elections and was able to assume the office and serve only for a
little more than a year after winning the protest. As aptly stated in
Latasa, to be considered as interruption of service, the law
contemplates a rest period during which the local elective official
steps down from office and ceases to exercise power or authority
over the inhabitants of the territorial jurisdiction of a particular
local government unit . Applying the said principle in the present
case, there is no question that during the pendency of the election
protest, Abundo ceased from exercising power or authority over
the good people of Viga, Catanduanes. Consequently, the period
during which Abundo was not serving as mayor should be
considered as a rest period or break in his service because, as
earlier stated, prior to the judgment in the election protest, it was
Abundos opponent, Torres, who was exercising such powers by
virtue of the still then valid proclamation.
WHEREFORE , RTC ruling is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Abelardo Abundo, Sr. is DECLARED ELIGIBLE for the position
of Mayor of Viga, Catanduanes to which he was duly elected in the

May 2010 elections and is accordingly ordered IMMEDIATELY


REINSTATED to said position.

ALDOVINO, JR. VS. COMELEC


FACTS: The respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
ruled that preventive suspension is an effectiveinterruption because
it renders the suspended public official unable to provide complete
service for the full term; thus,such term should not be counted for
the purpose of the three-term limit rule.The present petition seeks
to annul and set aside this COMELEC ruling for having been
issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction.Wilfredo F. Asilo (Asilo) was elected councilor of
Lucena City for three consecutive terms: for the 1998-2001, 20012004, and 2004-2007 terms, respectively. In September 2005 or
during his 2004-2007 term of office, theSandiganbayan
preventively suspended him for 90 days in relation with a criminal
case he then faced.
This Court, however, subsequently lifted the Sandiganbayans
suspension order; hence, he resumed performing the functions of
his office and finished his term.
In the 2007 election, Asilo filed his certificate of candidacy for the
same position. The petitioners Simon B. Aldovino,Jr., Danilo B.
Faller, and Ferdinand N. Talabong (the petitioners) sought to deny
due course to Asilos certificate of candidacy or to cancel it on the
ground that he had been elected and had served for three terms; his
candidacy for afourth term therefore violated the three-term limit
rule under Section 8, Article X of the Constitution and Section
43(b)of RA 7160.
The COMELECs Second Division ruled against the petitioners
and in Asilos favour in its Resolution of November 28,2007. It
reasoned out that the three-term limit rule did not apply, as Asilo
failed to render complete service for the2004-2007 term because of
the suspension the Sandiganbayan had ordered.
ISSUE: Whether preventive suspension of an elected local official
is an interruption of the three-term limit rule; and .Whether
preventive suspension is considered involuntary renunciation as
contemplated in Section 43(b) of RA 7160
HELD: NEGATIVE. Petition is meritorious. As worded, the
constitutional provision fixes the term of a local electiveoffice and
limits an elective officials stay in office to no more than three
consecutive terms. This is the first branch of the rule embodied in
Section 8, Article X.Significantly, this provision refers to a "term"
as a period of time three years during which an official has title
tooffice and can serveThe word "term" in a legal sense means a
fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an
officer mayhold an office.,preventive suspension is not a qualified
interruption
Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections presented the question of
whether the disqualification on the basis of the three-term limit
applies if the election of the public official (to be strictly accurate,
the proclamation as winner of the public official) for his
supposedly third term had been declared invalid in a final and
executory judgment. We ruled that the two requisites for the
application of the disqualification (viz., 1. that the official
concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same
local government post; and 2. that he has fully served three
consecutive terms The petitioner vacated his post a few
months before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary
renunciation but in compliance with the legal process of writ of
execution issued by the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary
severance from office is an interruption of continuity of service and

thus, the petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term.
(EXCEPTION)
"Interruption" of a term exempting an elective official from the
three-term limit rule is one that involves no less than
theinvoluntary loss of title to office. The elective official must have
involuntarily left his office for a length of time, however short, for
an effective interruption to occur. This has to be the case if the
thrust of Section 8, Article X and its strictintent are to be faithfully
served, i.e., to limit an elective officials continuous stay in office
to no more than three consecutive terms, using "voluntary
renunciation" as an example and standard of what does not
constitute aninterruption.Strict adherence to the intent of the threeterm limit rule demands that preventive suspension should not be
considered an interruption that allows an elective officials stay in
office beyond three terms.
A preventive suspension cannot simply be a term interruption
because the suspended official continues to stay in office although
he is barredfrom exercising the functions and prerogatives of the
office within the suspension period.
The best indicator of the suspended officials continuity in office is
the absence of a permanent replacement and the lack of the
authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists .

MONTEBON VS. COMELEC


DOCTRINE: Succession in local government office is by operation
of law and as such, it is an involuntary severance from office.
QUICK FACTS:
Montebon had been elected for three consecutive terms as
municipal councilor of Tuburan, Cebu in 1998-2001, 2001-2004,
and 2004-2007. However, in January 2004, or during his second
term, Montebon succeeded and assumed the position of vice-mayor
of Tuburan when the incumbent vice-mayor retired. When
Montebon filed his certificate of candidacy againas municipal
councilor, a petition for disqualification was filed against him
based on the three-term limit rule.
FACTS: Petitioners Montebon and Ondy and respondent
Potencioso, Jr. were candidates for municipal councilor of the
Municipality of Tuburan, Cebu for the May 14, 2007 Elections.
On April 30, 2007, petitioners and other candidates for municipal
councilor filed a petition for disqualification against respondent
with the COMELEC alleging that respondent had been elected and
served three consecutive terms as municipal councilor in 1998-2001, 2001-2004, and 2004-2007. Thus, he is proscribed from
running for the same position in the 2007 elections as it would be
his fourth consecutive term.
In his answer, respondent argues that he cannot be disqualified on
the ground of the 3 term limit rule because his second term was
interrupted when he assumed the position of vice-mayor due to the
retirement of elected vice-mayor Petronilo Mendoza.
Petitioners maintain that respondent's assumption of office as
vice-mayor in January 2004 should not be considered an
interruption in the service of his second term since it was a
voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor. They
argued that, according to the law (constitution and LGC), voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be
considered an interruption in the continuity of service for the full
term for which the official concerned was elected.
On June 2, 2007, the COMELEC First Division denied the petition
for disqualification ruling that respondent's assumption of office as
vice-mayor should be considered an interruption in the continuity
of his service. His second term having been involuntarily
interrupted, respondent should thus not be disqualified to seek
reelection as municipal councilor.

On appeal, the COMELEC En Banc upheld the ruling of the First


Division. Petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari on the
ground that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that
respondent's assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004
interrupted his 2001-2004 term as municipal councilor.
ISSUE: WON the private respondents assumption of the vice-mayor office, by virtue of succession, can be considered as an
effective disruption in his full service of his second term as
councilor.
HELD: YES. In Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections, the Court
held that the two conditions for the application of the
disqualification must concur: 1) that the official concerned has
been elected for three consecutive terms in the
same local
government post; and 2) that he has FULLY served three
consecutive terms.
In Borja, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, the Court emphasized
that the term limit for elective officials must be taken to refer to the
right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective
position. Thus, for the disqualification to apply, it is not enough
that the official has been elected three consecutive times; he must
also have served three consecutive terms in the same position.
In Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections, the Court explained the
concept of voluntary renunciation as follows:
The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny
states, Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall
not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for
the full term for which he was elected. The clear intent of the
framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the
three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the
same time respect the peoples choice and grant their elected
official full service of a term is evident in this provision. Voluntary
renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the
computation of the three term limit; conversely, involuntary
severance from office for any length of time short of the full term
provided by law amounts to an interruption of continuity of
service.
While it is undisputed that respondent was elected municipal
councilor for three consecutive terms, the issue lies on whether he
is deemed to have fully served his second term in view of his
assumption of office as vice-mayor of Tuburan on January 12,
2004.
Succession in local government offices is by operation of law.
Section 44 of Republic Act No. 7160, provides that if a permanent
vacancy occurs in the office of the vice mayor, the highest ranking
sanggunian member shall become vice mayor.
In this case, a permanent vacancy occurred in the office of the vice
mayor due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Mendoza. Respondent,
being the highest ranking municipal councilor, succeeded him in
accordance with law. Thus, respondent's assumption of office as
vice-mayor in January 2004 was an involuntary severance from his
office as municipal councilor, resulting in an interruption in the
service of his 2001-2004 term. It cannot be deemed to have been
by reason of voluntary renunciation because it was by operation of
law.
We quote with approval the ruling of the COMELEC that
The legal successor is not given any option under the law on
whether to accept the vacated post or not. Section 44 of the Local
Government Code makes no exception. Only if the highest-
ranking councilor is permanently unable to succeed to the post
does the law speak of alternate succession. Under no circumstances
can simple refusal of the official concerned be considered as
permanent inability within the contemplation of law.

Thus, succession by law to a vacated government office is


characteristically not voluntary since it involves the performance of
a public duty by a government official, the non-performance of
which exposes said official to possible administrative and criminal
charges of dereliction of duty and neglect in the performance of
public functions. It is therefore more compulsory and obligatory
rather than voluntary. (Montebon vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 180444.
April 9, 2008)
The Court ruled that Montebons assumption of office as vicemayor in January 2004 was an interruption of his continuity of
service as councilor. The Court emphasized that succession in local
government office is by operation of law and as such, it is an
involuntary severance from office. Since the law no less allowed
Montebon to vacate his post as councilor in order to assume office
as vicemayor, his occupation of the higher office cannot, without
more, be deemed as a voluntary renunciation of his position as
councilor.
FRANCIS G. ONG vs. JOSEPH STANLEY ALEGRE and
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
.FACTS:Alegre and Ong were candidates who filed certificates of
candidacy for mayor of San Vicente, CamarinesNorte in the May
10, 2004 elections. Francis was then the incumbent mayor.On
January 9, 2004, Alegre filed the petition to disqualify Ong which
was predicated on the three-consecutive term rule. Francis ran in
the May 1995, May 1998, and May 2001 mayoralty elections and
haveassumed office as mayor and discharged the duties thereof for
three (3) consecutive full termscorresponding to those elections.
The May 1998 elections, both Alegre and Ong ran for the office of
mayor, with Ong was proclaimed winner. Alegre filed an election
protest. In it, the RTC declared Alegre as the duly elected mayor in
that 1998mayoralty contest, but the decision came out only when
Francis had fully served the 1998-2001 mayoraltyterm and starting
to serve the 2001-2004 term as mayor-elect.
Acting on Alegres petition to disqualify and to cancel Francis
certificate of candidacy for the May 10, 2004elections, the First
Division of the COMELEC rendered on March 31, 2004 a
resolution dismissing the saidpetition of Alegre. Alegre filed a
motion for reconsideration. The COMELEC en banc issued, a
resolution reversing theresolution of the COMELECs First
Division and thereby (a) declaring Francis "as disqualified to run
for mayor in the May 10, 2004" ; (b) ordering the deletion of
Francis name from the official list of candidates;and (c) directing
the concerned board of election inspectors not to count the votes
cast in his favor.
The following day, May 8 at about 5:05 p.m. of the very same day which is past the deadline for filing acertificate of candidacy,
Rommel Ong filed his own certificate of candidacy for the position
of mayor, assubstitute candidate for his brother Francis. However,
it is recommended that the substitute certificate of candidacy of
Rommel Ong should be denied due course and the election officer
be directed to delete hisname from the list of candidates.

ISSUE:a) whether or not petitioner Franciss assumption of office


for the mayoralty term 1998 to 2001 should beconsidered as full
service for the purpose of the three-term limit rule.
b) whether the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdictionin declaring petitioner
Francis as disqualified to runc) whether the COMELEC committed
grave abuse of discretion when it denied due course to
Rommelscertificate of candidacy in the same mayoralty election
as substitute for his brother Francis.
HELD:

a) Respondent COMELEC resolved the question in the affirmative.


The three-term limit rule for electivelocal officials is found in
Section 8, Article X of the 1987 Constitution. For the three-term
limit for electivelocal government officials to apply, two conditions
or requisites must concur, to wit: (1) that the official concerned has
been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local
government post, and (2) thathe has fully served three (3)
consecutive terms.
The disqualifying requisites are present herein, thus effectively
barring petitioner Francis from running for mayor. His
proclamation by the Municipal Board of Canvassers of San Vicente
as the duly elected mayor inthe 1998 mayoralty election coupled
by his assumption of office and his continuous exercise of
thefunctions thereof from start to finish of the term, should legally
be taken as service for a full term incontemplation of the threeterm rule.
b) The ascription of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
COMELECen banc when it disqualifiedFrancis from running in the
May 10, 2004 elections for the mayoralty post cannot be
sustained.c) A person without a valid certificate of candidacy
cannot be considered a candidate in much the same wayas any
person who has not filed any certificate of candidacy at all can not,
by any stretch of the imagination,be a candidate at all.
WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are DISMISSED and the
assailed en banc Resolution dated May 7,2004 of the COMELEC,
in SPA No. 04-048 AFFIRMED.

BORJA, JR. VS. COMELEC


Facts: Private respondent Jose T. Capco, Jr. was elected vice-mayor
of Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term ending June 30, 1992.
On September 2, 1989, he became mayor, by operation of law,
upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja. For the next two
succeeding elections in 1992 and 1995, he was again re-elected as
Mayor.
On March 27, 1998, private respondent Capco filed a certificate of
candidacy for mayor of Pateros relative to the May 11, 1998
elections. Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also a
candidate for mayor, sought Capcos disqualification on the theory
that the latter would have already served as mayor for three
consecutive terms by June 30, 1998 and would therefore be
ineligible to serve for another term after that.
The Second Division of the Commission on Elections ruled in
favor of petitioner and declared private respondent Capco
disqualified from running for reelection as mayor of Pateros but in
the motion for reconsideration, majority overturned the original
decision.
Issue: WON Capco has served for three consecutive terms as
Mayor?
Held: No. Article X, Sec. 8 of the Constitution provides that
the term of office of elective local officials shall be three years
and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time
shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his
service for the full term for which he was elected.
This provision is restated in par. 43(b) of the Local Government
Code (R.A. No. 71) which states that no local elective official
shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same
position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of
time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of
service for the full term for which the elective official concerned
was elected.
The term served must therefore be one for which [the official
concerned] was elected. The purpose of this provision is to
prevent a circumvention of the limitation on the number of terms

an elective official may serve. Conversely, if he is not serving a


term for which he was elected because he is simply continuing the
service of the official he succeeds, such official cannot be
considered to have fully served the term not withstanding his
voluntary renunciation of office prior to its expiration.
The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to
the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same
elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an individual
has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he
must also have been elected to the same position for the same
number of times before the disqualification can apply.

C. HOLDOVER PRINCIPLE CASES


DATU MICHAEL ABAS KIDA V. SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, ET AL
I.

THE FACTS

Several laws pertaining to the Autonomous Region in Muslim


Mindanao (ARMM) were enacted by Congress. Republic Act (RA)
No. 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and
scheduled the first regular elections for the ARMM regional
officials. RA No. 9054 amended the ARMM Charter and reset the
regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second
Monday of September 2001. RA No. 9140 further reset the first
regular elections to November 26, 2001. RA No. 9333 reset for the
third time the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of
August 2005 and on the same date every 3 years thereafter.
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 was enacted, resetting the next
ARMM regular elections to May 2013 to coincide with the regular
national and local elections of the country.
In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme
Court, the petitioners assailed the constitutionality of RA No.
10153.
II. THE ISSUES:
1.
Does the 1987 Constitution mandate the synchronization of
elections [including the ARMM elections]?
2. Does the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readingson-separate-days rule under Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987
Constitution?
3. Is the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs
constitutional?
III. THE RULING
[The Supreme Court] DISMISSED the petitions and UPHELD the
constitutionality of RA No. 10153 in toto.]
1. YES, the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of
elections.
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. The Constitutional Commission
exchanges, read with the provisions of the Transitory Provisions of
the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional
mandate to hold synchronized national and local elections, starting

the second Monday of May 1992 and for all the following
elections.
In this case, the ARMM elections, although called regional
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.
Thus, it is clear from the foregoing that the 1987 Constitution
mandates the synchronization of elections, including the ARMM
elections.
2.
NO, the passage of RA No. 10153 DOES NOT violate the
three-readings-on-separate-days requirement in Section 26(2),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the
Senate can become laws they must pass through three readings on
separate days, is subject to the EXCEPTION when the President
certifies to the necessity of the bills immediate enactment. The
Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, explained the effect of
the Presidents certification of necessity in the following manner:
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: [i] the bill
has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been
printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is
finally approved.
In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the
Speaker of the House of Representatives to certify the necessity of
the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the ARMM
elections with the national and local elections. Following our
Tolentino ruling, the Presidents certification exempted both the
House and the Senate from having to comply with the three
separate readings requirement.
3. YES, the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs
in the ARMM is constitutional
[During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options
open to Congress in order to resolve the problem on who should sit
as ARMM officials in the interim [in order to achieve
synchronization in the 2013 elections]: (1) allow the [incumbent]
elective officials in the ARMM to remain in office in a hold over
capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume
office; (2) hold special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of
those elected to expire when those elected in the [2013]
synchronized elections assume office; or (3) authorize the
President to appoint OICs, [their respective terms to last also until
those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections assume office.]
3.1.
1st option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would
extend the terms of office of the incumbent ARMM officials
We rule out the [hold over] option since it violates Section 8,
Article X of the Constitution. This provision states:
Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except
barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three
years and no such official shall serve for more than three
consecutive terms. [emphases ours]
Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered
and bound by the three-year term limit prescribed by the
Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover.
xxx.
If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another
term mandated by Congress, the net result is for Congress to create
a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term. This

view like the extension of the elective term is constitutionally


infirm because Congress cannot do indirectly what it cannot do
directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively extend the term
of the incumbents. Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done
directly can be done indirectly, then all laws would be illusory.
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.
Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and
there had been statutory basis for it (namely Section 7, Article VII
of RA No. 9054) in the past, we have to remember that the rule of
holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or
implied legislative intent to the contrary exists; it cannot apply
where such contrary intent is evident.
Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, made it explicitly clear that it
had the intention of suppressing the holdover rule that prevailed
under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this provision. The
deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of
Congress to make in the exercise of its plenary legislative powers;
this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
expediency of legislation, except where an attendant
unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results.
3.2. 2nd option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since
COMELEC, on its own, has no authority to order special elections.
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in
nature. [N]o 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.
Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by
postponing the scheduled August 2011 elections and setting
another date May 13, 2011 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. This Court, particularly,
cannot make this call without thereby supplanting the legislative
decision and effectively legislating. To be sure, the Court is not
without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for
being unconstitutional or for having been exercised in grave abuse
of discretion. But our power rests on very narrow ground and is
merely to annul a contravening act of Congress; it is not to
supplant the decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress
itself should have done in the exercise of its legislative powers.
Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials
cannot be extended through a holdover, the term cannot be
shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3)
years that the Constitution itself commands. This is what will
happen a term of less than two years if a call for special
elections shall prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved,
the result is at the cost of a violation of an express provision of the
Constitution.
3.3. 3rd option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint
ARMM OICs in the interim is valid.

The above considerations leave only Congress chosen interim


measure RA No. 10153 and the appointment by the President of
OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period
pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law as the only measure
that Congress can make. This choice itself, however, should be
examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity.
At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in
nature, and the limitations on or qualifications to the exercise of
this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or
qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The
appointing power is embodied in Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution, which states:
Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of
the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the
executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or
naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in
him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of
the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided
for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to
appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other
officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the
heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. [emphasis
ours]
This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the
President can appoint. These are:
First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other
public ministers and consuls; officers of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other
officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this
Constitution;

[T]he legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No.
9054. RA No. 10153, in fact, provides only for synchronization of
elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile
prevail. And this is how RA No. 10153 should be read in the
manner it was written and based on its unambiguous facial terms.
Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an
interim measure responding to the adjustments that the
synchronization requires.

SAMBARANI VS. COMELEC


Facts:
A Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections
were held on July 15, 2002 in Lanao del Sur.Sambarani, Miraato,
Abubacar, Mascara and Dayondong ran for re-election as punong
barangay in their respectivebarangay, namely: Occidental Linuk,
Pindolonan Moriatao Sarip, Talub, New Lumbacaingudand
Tatayawan South. The COMELEC subsequently issued Resolution
No. 5479 which sets the date for specialelections on August 13,
2002, due to failure of elections in eleven barangays including the
five barangaysmentioned.
On August 14, 2002, Acting Election Officer Esmael Maulay
issued a certification that there were nospecial elections held on
August 13,2002. The petitioners filed a joint petition for holding of
another special election. They also contend that the failure of
election was due to the failure of Maulay to followthe directive of
Commissioner Sadain to use theARMMs 2001 computerized
voters list and voters

Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments


are not otherwise provided for by law;

registration records. Since Maulay failed to file a written


explanation, the COMELEC moved for the resolution of the case.
It directed the DILG to appoint Barangay Captains and Barangay
Kagawads in the fivebarangays mentioned in pursuance to RA
7160. The petitioners filed an instant petition to hold another
specialelection which the COMELEC subsequently denied on the
ground that the 30-day period already lapsed

Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to


appoint; and

.Issue: 1. Whether or not the COMELEC erred in its decision in


denying the petition to hold another special election.

Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress


may by law vest in the President alone.

2. Whether the DILG can appoint barangay and SK officials as


directed by the COMELEC.

Since the Presidents authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA


No. 10153, it falls under the third group of officials that the
President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution. Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear
constitutional basis.

Held: 1. Yes. The COMELECs decision denying the petition for


another special election is void. Section 6 of theOmnibus Election
Code which is the basis of the COMELECs denial of the petition
is merely direc tive and not mandatory. Section 45 also provides
that in case of postponement or failure of election the COMELEC
shall set theelections within thirty days from the cessation of the
causes for postponement. The elections may be held anytimewithin
the thirty day period from the time the cause of the postponement
ceased.

If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the


authority to appoint OICs under Section 3 of RA No. 10153 is the
assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive
and legislative officials to be elective and representative of the
constituent political units. This requirement indeed is an express
limitation whose non-observance in the assailed law leaves the
appointment of OICs constitutionally defective.
After fully examining the issue, we hold that this alleged
constitutional problem is more apparent than real and becomes
very real only if RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law
that changes the elective and representative character of ARMM
positions. RA No. 10153, however, does not in any way amend
what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054) sets outs in
terms of structure of governance. What RA No. 10153 in fact only
does is to appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional
Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional
Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to
the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013
elections shall have qualified and assumed office. This power is
far different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the
abbreviated term ending on the assumption to office of the officials
elected in the May 2013 elections.

2. No. The DILG cannot appoint barangay and SK officials due to


Section 5 of the RA 9164 which provides for ahold over period
where an incumbent officer may remain in office until their
successors have already been electedand qualified. Therefore, the
petitioners can assume office in a hold-over capacity pending the
assumption of asuccessor into office.

D. SUBSTITUTION, VACANCIES AND SUCCESSION

TALAGA CASE
ADORMEO versus COMELEC (G.R. No. 147927)
Facts:Respondent Talaga was elected Mayor of Lucena City in
1992, re-elected in 1995, but lost to Tagarao in 1998 elections.
Tagarao was recalled and in the May 12, 2000 recall elections,
Talaga won and served the unexpired term of Tagarao until June
30, 2001. Talaga was candidate for Mayor in the May 14, 2001

elections, and a petition for cancellation of his certificate of


candidacy was filed on the ground that he has served as Mayor for
three consecutive terms.
Issue:Whether or not Talaga has served as Mayor of Lucena City
for three consecutive terms.
Held:NO. In the case at bar, Talaga did not serve for 3 consecutive
terms. For nearly 2 years, he was a private citizen. The continuity
of his mayorship was disrupted by his defeat in the 1998
elections.
If one is elected representative to serve the unexpired term of
another, that unexpired term, no matter how short, will be
considered one term for the purpose of computing the number of
successive terms allowed this comment of Constitutional
Commissioner Fr. Bernas applies only to members of the House of
Representatives. Unlike government officials, there is no recall
election for members of Congress.
Neither can Talagas victory in the said recall election can be
deemed as a voluntary renunciation under the Constitution. It
was only by virtue of the recall that he served Tagaraos unexpired
term. This did not amount to a third full term.

JALOSJOS V. COMELEC, G.R. NO. 193237,


OCTOBER 9, 2012
FACTS: Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October
26, 1973. He migrated to Australia in 1981 when he was eight
years old and there acquired Australian citizenship. On November
22, 2008, at age 35, he decided to return to the Philippines and
lived with his brother in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Four days upon
his return, he took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines, hence, he was issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of
Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration.
On September 1, 2009 he renounced his Australian citizenship,
executing a sworn renunciation of the same in compliance with
Republic Act (R.A.) 9225. From the time of his return, Jalosjos
acquired a residential property in the same village where he lived.
He applied for registration as a voter in the Municipality of Ipil but
respondent Erasmo, the Barangay Captain, opposed the said act.
Election Registration Board approved it and included Jalosjos
name in the COMELEC voters list. Erasmo filed before the MTC a
petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos name from the official voters
list. MTC denied Erasmos petition. He appealed to RTC but RTC
ruled same as MTCs.
On November 28, 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy
(COC) for Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay Province for the May
10, 2010 elections. Erasmo filed a petition to deny due course or to
cancel Jalosjos COC on the ground that Jalosjos made material
misrepresentation in the same since he failed to comply with (1)
the requirements of R.A. 9225 and (2) the one-year residency
requirement of the Local Government Code. COMELEC ruled
against Jalosjos, because it failed to comply with the 1-year
residency ruequirement. Jalosjos won the elections
ISSUE: w/n Jalosjos failed to comply with the 1-year residency
requirement
HELD:
Yes. It is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos
domicile of origin, the place of his birth. His domicile was changed
from Quezon City to Australia when he migrated there at the age of
eight, acquired Australian citizenship, and lived in that country for
26 years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by
choice. But, when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to
live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that
Jalosjos did so with intent to change his domicile for good.

He left Australia, gave up his Australian citizenship, and


renounced his allegiance to that country. In addition, he reacquired
his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic
of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of
Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of
Immigration. By his acts, Jalosjos forfeited his legal right to live in
Australia, clearly proving that he gave up his domicile there. And
he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

sp
FACTS: A permanent vacancy occurred in the office of the Vice
Mayor of San Isidro, Isabella when incumbent Vice-Mayor Nelia
Tumamao died on December 2, 2004. Pursuant to Sec. 44 of RA
7160, Ligaya Alonzo, the highest ranking member of the
Sangguniang Bayan was elevated to the position.
To fill the ensuing vacancy in the Sangguinang Bayan, Mayor Lim
recommended to Governor Padaca the appointment of Oscar
Tumamao, also a member of LDP. Tumamao was appointed, took
his oath and attended sessions.
On May 2005, Atty. Lucky Damasen, became a member of LDP
and got hold of a letter of nomination to the Sanggunian Bayan
from provincial chairman of LDP Balauag addressed to Governor
Padaca. He was appointed to SB and took his oath. Damasen
attended sessions but he was not recognized.
He filed a petition for quo warranto with prayer for writ of
preliminary injunction against Tumamao with the RTC, seeking to
be declared the rightful member of the SB.
As part of his defense, Tumamao presented Atty. Ernest Soberano
who identified a letter dated June 14, 2005, signed by LDP
Provincial Chairman Balauag, which states that the latter was
revoking her nomination of Damasen, and that she was confirming
Tumamaos nomination made by Mayor Lim. Later, Tumamao
presented Provincial Chairman Balauag who affirmed the contents
of her letter revoking the nomination of Damasen.
RTC ruled in favor of Damasen.
Tumamao appealed the RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals. The
CA held that Damasen was not entitled to assume the vacant
position in the Sangguniang Bayan.
Issue: Who, between Damasen and Tumamao, is entitled to the
contested position?
Held: Tumamao is entitled to the contested position.
It is undisputed that the law applicable to herein petition is Sec. 45
(b) of RA 7160, which provides for the rule on succession in cases
of permanent vacancies in the Sanggunian. As can be gleaned from
Sec. 45, the law provides for conditions for the rule of succession
to apply: First, the appointee shall come from the same political
party as that of the Sanggunian member who caused the vacancy.
Second, the appointee must have a nomination and a Certificate of
Membership from the highest official of the political party
concerned. The reason behind the right given to a political party to
nominate a replacement where a permanent vacancy occurs in the
Sanggunian is to maintain the party representation as willed by the
people in the election.
Since the permanent vacancy in the Sanggunian occurred because
of the elevation of LDP member Alonzo to vice-mayor, it follows
that the person to succeed her should also belong to the LDP so as
to preserve party representation. Thus, this Court cannot
countenance Damasens insistence in clinging to an appointment
when he is in fact not a bona fide member of the LDP. While the
revocation of the nomination given to Damasen came after the fact
of his appointment, this Court cannot rule in his favor, because the
very first requirement of Sec. 45 (b) is that the appointee must
come from the political party as that of the Sanggunian member

who caused the vacancy. To stress, Damasen is not a bona fide


member of the LDP.
In addition, appointing Damasen would not serve the will of the
electorate. He himself admits that he was previously a member of
the Lakas-CMD, and that he ran for the position of Mayor under
the said party on the May 2004 Elections. Likewise, he did not
resign from the said party when he joined the LDP, and even
admitted that his joining the LDP was not because of party ideals,
but because he just wanted to. How can the will of the electorate be
best served, given the foregoing admissions of Damasen? If this
Court were to grant herein petition, it would effectively diminish
the party representation of the LDP in the Sanggunian, as Damasen
would still be considered a member of the Lakas-CMD, not having
resigned therefrom, a scenario that defeats the purpose of the law,
and that ultimately runs contrary the ratio of Navarro.
What is damning to the cause of Damasen, is the letter of Demaree
J.B. Raval, the Deputy Secretary Counsel of the LDP, addressed to
Governor Padaca wherein it is categorically stated that Damasen is
not a bona fide member of the LDP.
This Court has no reason to doubt the veracity of the letter coming
from the LDP leadership. Quite clearly, from the tenor of the letter,
it appears that the membership of Damasen still had to be approved
by the LDP National Council. Thus, notwithstanding Damasens
procurement of a Certificate of Membership from LDP Provincial
Chairman Balauag, to this Courts mind, the same merely started
the process of his membership in the LDP, and it did not mean
automatic membership thereto. While it may be argued that
Damasen was already a member upon receipt of a Certificate of
Membership from LDP Provincial Chairman Balauag, this Court
cannot impose such view on the LDP. If the LDP leadership says
that the membership of Damasen still had to be endorsed to the
National Council for approval, then this Court cannot question
such requirement in the absence of evidence to the contrary. It is
well settled that the discretion of accepting members to a political
party is a right and a privilege, a purely internal matter, which this
Court cannot meddle in.
Lastly, the records of the case reveal that Tumamao has the
nomination of Senator Edgardo J. Angara, the Party Chairman and,
therefore, the highest official of the LDP. In addition, he is a
member in good standing of the LDP. Thus, given the foregoing, it
is this Courts view that Tumamao has complied with the
requirements of law. (G.R. No. 173165, February 17, 2010)

NAVARRO AND TAMAYO VS CA


Facts: With the death of the Mayor Calimlim, a vacancy was
created in the Office of the Mayor so by operation of law, he was
succeeded by Aquino the then Vice-Mayor. Petitioner Tamayo, the
highest ranking member of the Sangguniang Bayan was elevated to
the position of the Vice Mayor pursuant to the same law.
Since vacancy occurred in the Sangguniang Bayan by the elevation
of the petitioner, Governor Agbayani appointed herein petitioner
Navarro as Member of the Sangguniang Bayan.

Aquino belonged to the political party Lakas NUCD-KAMPI,


while both Navarro and Tamayo belonged to REFORMA-LM
political party.

Private respondents seek to nullify the appointment of petitioner


Navarro arguing that it was the former vice-mayor, succeeding to
the position of the mayor, who created the permament vacancy in
the Sanggunian Bayan because under the law he was also a
member of the Sanggunian. Thus, the appointee must come from
said former vice-mayors political party.
Petitioners, on the other hand, contended that it was the elevation
of petitioner Tamayo, who was the highest ranking member of the
Sanggunian Bayan, to the office of the Vice-Mayor which resulted
in a permanent vacancy. The person to be appointed to the position
vacated by him should come from the same political party
affiliation as that of petitioner Tamayo.
However, the CA concluded that it was the appointment of the 8th
councilor, to the number 7 position which created the last vacancy;
therefore, the person to be appointed to the vacant position should
come from the same political party to which the latter belonged,
which was Lakas-NUCD KAMPI.
Issue: WON the elevation of the highest ranking member of the
Sanggunian to the position of vice-mayor created the last vacancy
in the Sanggunian Bayan.
Held: Yes. Under Sec 44 of the LGC, a permanent vacancy arises
when an elective official fills a higher vacant office, refuses to
assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office,
voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to
discharge the functions of his office.
Sec 45 (b) of the same law provides that only the nominee of
the political party under which the Sanggunian member concerned
has been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in
rank created the last vacancy in the Sanggunian shall be appointed
in the manner herein provided. The appointee shall come from the
political party as that of the Sanggunian member who caused the
vacancy
The reason behind the right given to a political party to nominate a
replacement where a permanent vacancy occurs in the Sanggunian
is to maintain the party representation as willed by the people in
the election.
With the elevation of the petitioner, who belonged to REFORMALM, to the position of vice-mayor, a vacancy occurred in the
Sanggunian that whould be filled up with someone who should
belong to the political party of petitioner Tamayo. Otherwise,
REFORMA-LMs representation would be diminished.