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Herrera v.

COMELEC

Facts:
In its Resolution no. 68, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Guimaras requested the
COMELEC to have the province subdivided into two provincial districts. Acting upon the
request, the Provincial Election Supervisor conducted two consultative meetings with
the provincial and municipal officials, barangay captains, barangay kagawads,
representatives of all political parties, and other interested parties. A consensus was
reached in favor of the division.

The PES then issued a memo recommending the division of the province.
Guimaras was then reclassified from 5th class to 4th class province under the Memo
Circular No. 97-1 issued by the Bureau of Local Government Finance of the Department
of Finance.

The COMELEC issued Resolution No. 2950 which allotted 8 Sangguniang Panlalawigan
seats to Guimaras—1st district (Buenavista and San Lorenzo)= 3 seats and 2nd district
(Jordan, Nueva Valencia, and Sibunag) = 5 seats.

The petitioners questioned Resolution No. 2950, pointing out that:


1.the districts do not comprise a compact, contiguous and adjacent area.

2.the consultative meetings did not express the true sentiment of the voters of the
province.

3.the apportionment of the two districts are not equitable.

4.there is disparity in the ratio of the number of voters that a Board Member
represents.

Issue:
Whether or not the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion in issuing
Resolution No. 2950?

Held:
COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion. The petition is dismissed.

Ratio:

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