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PART IV

THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT The Case

These consolidated petitions[1] seek to annul Resolution No. 7902, dated


A. CONGRESS
10 May 2007, of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) treating
1. COMPOSITION, QUALIFICATION AND TERM OFFICE Cotabato City as part of the legislative district of the Province of Shariff
Kabunsuan.[2]
a) SENATE
The Facts
b) HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ALLOCATION OF DISTRICTS The Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution apportioned two
legislative districts for the Province of Maguindanao. The first legislative
BAI SANDRA S. A. SEMA, G.R. No. 177597 district consists of Cotabato City and eight municipalities.[3] Maguindanao
Petitioner, forms part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),
created under its Organic Act, Republic Act No. 6734 (RA 6734), as
amended by Republic Act No. 9054 (RA 9054).[4] Although under the
- versus - Ordinance, Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanaos first legislative
district, it is not part of the ARMM but of Region XII, having voted against
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS its inclusion in the ARMM in the plebiscite held in November 1989.
and DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN,
Respondents. On 28 August 2006, the ARMMs legislature, the ARMM Regional Assembly,
x------------------------x exercising its power to create provinces under Section 19, Article VI of RA
9054,[5] enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 (MMA Act 201)
PERFECTO F. MARQUEZ, G.R. No. 178628 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan composed of the eight
Petitioner, municipalities in the first district of Maguindanao.MMA Act 201 provides:
Present: Section 1. The Municipalities of Barira, Buldon, Datu
Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Parang, Sultan
PUNO, C.J., Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and Upi are hereby
QUISUMBING, separated from the Province of Maguindanao and
YNARES-SANTIAGO, constituted into a distinct and independent province,
CARPIO, which is hereby created, to be known as
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
- versus - AZCUNA, xxxx
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO, Sec. 5. The corporate existence of this
VELASCO, JR., province shall commence upon the appointment by
NACHURA, the Regional Governor or election of the governor
REYES, and majority of the regular members of the
LEO Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
NA
RD The incumbent elective provincial officials of the
O-D Province of Maguindanao shall continue to serve
E their unexpired terms in the province that they will
CAS choose or where they are residents:Provided, that
TR where an elective position in both provinces becomes
O, vacant as a consequence of the creation of the
and Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, all incumbent elective
BRI provincial officials shall have preference for
ON, appointment to a higher elective vacant position and
JJ. for the time being be appointed by the Regional
Governor, and shall hold office until their successors
shall have been elected and qualified in the next local
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Promulgated: elections; Provided, further, that they shall continue
Respondent. July 16, 2008 to receive the salaries they are receiving at the time
of the approval of this Act until the new readjustment
x--------------------------------------------------x of salaries in accordance with law. Provided,
furthermore, that there shall be no diminution in the
number of the members of the Sangguniang
DECISION Panlalawigan of the mother province.

CARPIO, J.:
2

Except as may be provided by national law, the prayer for the writ of prohibition in G.R. No. 177597 became moot with
existing legislative district, which includes Cotabato the proclamation of respondent Didagen P. Dilangalen (respondent
as a part thereof, shall remain. Dilangalen) on 1 June 2007 as representative of the legislative district of
Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City.

Later, three new municipalities[6] were carved out of the original nine In his Comment, respondent Dilangalen countered that Sema is estopped
municipalities constituting Shariff Kabunsuan, bringing its total number of from questioning COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 because in her certificate
municipalities to 11. Thus, what was left of Maguindanao were the of candidacy filed on 29 March 2007, Sema indicated that she was seeking
municipalities constituting its second legislative district. Cotabato City, election as representative of Shariff Kabunsuan
although part of Maguindanaos first legislative district, is not part of including Cotabato City. Respondent Dilangalen added that COMELEC
the Province of Maguindanao. Resolution No. 7902 is constitutional because it did not apportion a
legislative district for Shariff Kabunsuan or reapportion the legislative
The voters of Maguindanao ratified Shariff Kabunsuans creation districts in Maguindanao but merely renamed Maguindanaos first
in a plebiscite held on 29 October 2006. legislative district. Respondent Dilangalen further claimed that the
On 6 February 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato COMELEC could not reapportion Maguindanaos first legislative district to
City passed Resolution No. 3999 requesting the COMELEC to clarify the make Cotabato City its sole component unit as the power to reapportion
status of Cotabato City in view of the conversion of the First District of legislative districts lies exclusively with Congress, not to mention that
Maguindanao into a regular province under MMA Act 201. Cotabato City does not meet the minimum population requirement under
In answer to Cotabato Citys query, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution for the creation of a legislative
07-0407 on 6 March 2007 "maintaining the status quo district within a city.[13]
with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the First Legislative
District of Maguindanao. Resolution No. 07-0407, which adopted the Sema filed a Consolidated Reply controverting the matters raised in
recommendation of the COMELECs Law Department under a respondents Comments and reiterating her claim that the COMELEC
Memorandum dated 27 February 2007,[7] provides in pertinent parts: acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. 7902.

Considering the foregoing, the Commission In the Resolution of 4 September 2007, the Court required the
RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to adopt the parties in G.R. No. 177597 to comment on the issue of whether a province
recommendation of the Law Department created by the ARMM Regional Assembly under Section 19, Article VI of
that pending the enactment of the appropriate law RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives
by Congress, to maintain the status quo without need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new
with Cotabato City as part of Shariff Kabunsuan in the province. The parties submitted their compliance as follows:
First Legislative District of Maguindanao. (Emphasis
supplied) (1) Sema answered the issue in the affirmative on the following
grounds: (a) the Court in Felwa v. Salas[14] stated that when a province is
created by statute, the corresponding representative district comes into
However, in preparation for the 14 May 2007 elections, the existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide
COMELEC promulgated on 29 March 2007 Resolution No. 7845 stating otherwise nor by apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution,
that Maguindanaos first legislative district is composed only without a reapportionment; (b) Section 462 of Republic Act No. 7160 (RA
of Cotabato City because of the enactment of MMA Act 201.[8] 7160) affirms the apportionment of a legislative district incident to the
creation of a province; and (c) Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution
On 10 May 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 7902, subject of and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution mandate
these petitions, amending Resolution No. 07-0407 by renaming the the apportionment of a legislative district in newly created provinces.
legislative district in question
as Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City (formerly First District of (2) The COMELEC, again represented by the OSG, apparently
Maguindanao with Cotabato City).[9] abandoned its earlier stance on the propriety of issuing Resolution Nos.
07-0407 and 7902 and joined causes with Sema, contending that Section 5
In G.R. No. 177597, Sema, who was a candidate in the 14 May (3), Article VI of the Constitution is self-executing. Thus, every new
2007 elections for Representative of Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City, province created by the ARMM Regional Assembly is ipso facto entitled to
prayed for the nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 and the one representative in the House of Representatives even in the absence of
exclusion from canvassing of the votes cast in Cotabato City for that office. a national law; and
Sema contended that Shariff Kabunsuan is entitled to one representative
in Congress under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution[10] and (3) Respondent Dilangalen answered the issue in the negative
Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution.[11] Thus, Sema on the following grounds: (a) the province contemplated in Section 5 (3),
asserted that the COMELEC acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in Article VI of the Constitution is one that is created by an act of Congress
issuing Resolution No. 7902 which maintained the status quo in taking into account the provisions in RA 7160 on the creation of provinces;
Maguindanaos first legislative district despite the COMELECs earlier (b) Section 3, Article IV of RA 9054 withheld from the ARMM Regional
directive in Resolution No. 7845 designating Cotabato City as the lone Assembly the power to enact measures relating to national elections,
component of Maguindanaos reapportioned first legislative which encompasses the apportionment of legislative districts for members
district.[12] Sema further claimed that in issuing Resolution No. 7902, the of the House of Representatives; (c) recognizing a legislative district in
COMELEC usurped Congress power to create or reapportion legislative every province the ARMM Regional Assembly creates will lead to the
districts. disproportionate representation of the ARMM in the House of
Representatives as the Regional Assembly can create provinces without
In its Comment, the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General regard to the requirements in Section 461 of RA 7160; and (d) Cotabato
(OSG), chose not to reach the merits of the case and merely contended City, which has a population of less than 250,000, is not entitled to a
that (1) Sema wrongly availed of the writ of certiorari to nullify COMELEC representative in the House of Representatives.
Resolution No. 7902 because the COMELEC issued the same in the
exercise of its administrative, not quasi-judicial, power and (2) Semas
3

On 27 November 2007, the Court heard the parties in G.R. No.


177597 in oral arguments on the following issues: (1) whether Section 19,
Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the ARMM Regional Assembly the The Issues
power to create provinces, is constitutional; and (2) if in the affirmative,
whether a province created under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is The petitions raise the following issues:
entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives without
need of a national law creating a legislative district for such new I. In G.R. No. 177597:
province.[15] (A) Preliminarily
(1) whether the writs of Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus
In compliance with the Resolution dated 27 November 2007, are proper to test the constitutionality of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902;
the parties in G.R. No. 177597 filed their respective Memoranda on the and
issues raised in the oral arguments.[16] On the question of the (2) whether the proclamation of respondent Dilangalen as
constitutionality of Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, the parties in G.R. No. representative of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City mooted
177597 adopted the following positions: the petition in G.R. No. 177597.

(1) Sema contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is


constitutional (a) as a valid delegation by Congress to the ARMM of the
power to create provinces under Section 20 (9), Article X of the
Constitution granting to the autonomous regions, through their organic
acts, legislative powers over other matters as may be authorized by law (B) On the merits
for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region and (1) whether Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, delegating to the
(b) as an amendment to Section 6 of RA 7160.[17] However, Sema concedes ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, cities,
that, if taken literally, the grant in Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the municipalities and barangays, is constitutional; and
ARMM Regional Assembly of the power to prescribe standards lower than (2) if in the affirmative, whether a province created by the
those mandated in RA 7160 in the creation of provinces contravenes ARMM Regional Assembly under MMA Act 201 pursuant to Section 19,
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution.[18] Thus, Sema proposed that Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of
Section 19 should be construed as prohibiting the Regional Assembly from Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative
prescribing standards x x x that do not comply with the minimum criteria district for such province.
under RA 7160.[19]
II. In G.R No. 177597 and G.R No. 178628, whether
(2) Respondent Dilangalen contended that Section 19, Article VI COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is valid for maintaining the status quo in
of RA 9054 is unconstitutional on the following grounds: (a) the power to the first legislative district of Maguindanao (as Shariff Kabunsuan Province
create provinces was not among those granted to the autonomous regions with Cotabato City [formerly First District of Maguindanao with Cotabato
under Section 20, Article X of the Constitution and (b) the grant under City]), despite the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan out of
Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 to the ARMM Regional Assembly of the such district (excluding Cotabato City).
power to prescribe standards lower than those mandated in Section 461
of RA 7160 on the creation of provinces contravenes Section 10, Article X
of the Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause; and The Ruling of the Court

(3) The COMELEC, through the OSG, joined causes with The petitions have no merit. We rule that (1) Section 19, Article VI of RA
respondent Dilangalen (thus effectively abandoning the position the 9054 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants to the ARMM Regional
COMELEC adopted in its Compliance with the Resolution of 4 September Assembly the power to create provinces and cities; (2) MMA Act 201
2007) and contended that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan is void; and (3) COMELEC
unconstitutional because (a) it contravenes Section 10 and Section Resolution No. 7902 is valid.
6,[20] Article X of the Constitution and (b) the power to create provinces
was withheld from the autonomous regions under Section 20, Article X of On the Preliminary Matters
the Constitution.

On the question of whether a province created under Section The Writ of Prohibition is Appropriate
19, Article VI of RA 9054 is entitled to one representative in the House of to Test the Constitutionality of
Representatives without need of a national law creating a legislative Election Laws, Rules and Regulations
district for such new province, Sema and respondent Dilangalen reiterated
in their Memoranda the positions they adopted in their Compliance with The purpose of the writ of Certiorari is to correct grave abuse of
the Resolution of 4 September 2007. The COMELEC deemed it discretion by any tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or
unnecessary to submit its position on this issue considering its stance that quasi-judicial functions.[21] On the other hand, the writ of Mandamus will
Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054 is unconstitutional. issue to compel a tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person to
perform an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty.[22] True, the
The pendency of the petition in G.R. No. 178628 was disclosed COMELEC did not issue Resolution No. 7902 in the exercise of its judicial
during the oral arguments on 27 November 2007. Thus, in the Resolution or quasi-judicial functions.[23] Nor is there a law which specifically enjoins
of 19 February 2008, the Court ordered G.R. No. 178628 consolidated the COMELEC to exclude from canvassing the votes cast
with G.R. No. 177597. The petition in G.R. No. 178628 echoed Sema's in Cotabato City for representative
contention that the COMELEC acted ultra vires in issuing Resolution No. of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City. These, however, do not
7902 depriving the voters of Cotabato City of a representative in the justify the outright dismissal of the petition in G.R. No. 177597 because
House of Representatives. In its Comment to the petition in Sema also prayed for the issuance of the writ of Prohibition and we have
G.R. No. 178628, the COMELEC, through the OSG, maintained the validity long recognized this writ as proper for testing the constitutionality of
of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 as a temporary measure pending the election laws, rules, and regulations.[24]
enactment by Congress of the appropriate law.
4

Constitution to regional legislative bodies.[27] In the present case, the


Respondent Dilangalens Proclamation question arises whether the delegation to the ARMM Regional Assembly
Does Not Moot the Petition of the power to create provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays
conflicts with any provision of the Constitution.

There is also no merit in the claim that respondent Dilangalens There is no provision in the Constitution that conflicts with the delegation
proclamation as winner in the 14 May 2007 elections for representative to regional legislative bodies of the power to create municipalities and
of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City mooted this petition. barangays, provided Section 10, Article X of the Constitution is
This case does not concern respondent Dilangalens election. Rather, it followed. However, the creation of provinces and cities is another
involves an inquiry into the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 7902, as matter. Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution provides, Each city with
well as the constitutionality of MMA Act 201 and Section 19, Article VI of a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province,
RA 9054. Admittedly, the outcome of this petition, one way or another, shall have at least one representative in the House of Representatives.
determines whether the votes cast in Cotabato City for representative of Similarly, Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution
the district of Shariff Kabunsuan Province with Cotabato City will be provides, Any province that may hereafter be created, or any city whose
included in the canvassing of ballots. However, this incidental population may hereafter increase to more than two hundred fifty
consequence is no reason for us not to proceed with the resolution of the thousand shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least
novel issues raised here. The Courts ruling in these petitions affects not one Member x x x.
only the recently concluded elections but also all the other succeeding
elections for the office in question, as well as the power of the ARMM Clearly, a province cannot be created without a legislative
Regional Assembly to create in the future additional provinces. district because it will violate Section 5 (3), Article VI of the Constitution as
well as Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. For the
same reason, a city with a population of 250,000 or more cannot also be
On the Main Issues created without a legislative district. Thus, the power to create a province,
or a city with a population of 250,000 or more, requires also the power to
create a legislative district. Even the creation of a city with a population of
Whether the ARMM Regional Assembly less than 250,000 involves the power to create a legislative district
Can Create the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan because once the citys population reaches 250,000, the city automatically
becomes entitled to one representative under Section 5 (3), Article VI of
the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the
The creation of local government units is governed by Section 10, Article X Constitution. Thus, the power to create a province or city inherently
of the Constitution, which provides: involves the power to create a legislative district.

Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or For Congress to delegate validly the power to create a province
barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished or city, it must also validly delegate at the same time the power to create
or its boundary substantially altered except in a legislative district. The threshold issue then is, can Congress validly
accordance with the criteria established in the local delegate to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create legislative
government code and subject to approval by a districts for the House of Representatives? The answer is in the negative.
majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
political units directly affected. Legislative Districts are Created or Reapportioned
Only by an Act of Congress

Thus, the creation of any of the four local government units province, city, Under the present Constitution, as well as in
municipality or barangay must comply with three conditions. First, the past[28] Constitutions, the power to increase the allowable membership in
creation of a local government unit must follow the criteria fixed in the the House of Representatives, and to reapportion legislative districts, is
Local Government Code. Second, such creation must not conflict with any vested exclusively in Congress. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution
provision of the Constitution. Third, there must be a plebiscite in the provides:
political units affected.
SECTION 5. (1) The House of
There is neither an express prohibition nor an express grant of authority in Representatives shall be composed of not more than
the Constitution for Congress to delegate to regional or local legislative two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise
bodies the power to create local government units. However, under its fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative
plenary legislative powers, Congress can delegate to local legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and
bodies the power to create local government units, subject to reasonable the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the
standards and provided no conflict arises with any provision of the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the
Constitution. In fact, Congress has delegated to provincial boards, and city basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those
and municipal councils, the power to create barangays within their who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a
jurisdiction,[25] subject to compliance with the criteria established in the party-list system of registered national, regional, and
Local Government Code, and the plebiscite requirement in Section 10, sectoral parties or organizations.
Article X of the Constitution. However, under the Local Government Code,
only x x x an Act of Congress can create provinces, cities or xxxx
municipalities.[26]
(3) Each legislative district shall comprise,
Under Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, Congress delegated to the ARMM as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and
Regional Assembly the power to create provinces, cities, municipalities adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at
and barangays within the ARMM. Congress made the delegation under its least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province,
plenary legislative powers because the power to create local government shall have at least one representative.
units is not one of the express legislative powers granted by the
5

(4) Within three years following the return elections. x x x. Since the ARMM Regional Assembly has no legislative
of every census, the Congress shall make a power to enact laws relating to national elections, it cannot create a
reapportionment of legislative districts based on the legislative district whose representative is elected in national elections.
standards provided in this section. (Emphasis Whenever Congress enacts a law creating a legislative district, the first
supplied) representative is always elected in the next national elections from the
effectivity of the law.[30]
Indeed, the office of a legislative district representative to
Congress is a national office, and its occupant, a Member of the House of
Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution vests in Congress the Representatives, is a national official.[31] It would be incongruous for a
power to increase, through a law, the allowable membership in the House regional legislative body like the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a
of Representatives. Section 5 (4) empowers Congress to reapportion national office when its legislative powers extend only to its regional
legislative districts. The power to reapportion legislative districts territory. The office of a district representative is maintained by national
necessarily includes the power to create legislative districts out of existing funds and the salary of its occupant is paid out of national funds. It is a
ones. Congress exercises these powers through a law that Congress itself self-evident inherent limitation on the legislative powers of every local or
enacts, and not through a law that regional or local legislative bodies regional legislative body that it can only create local or regional offices,
enact. The allowable membership of the House of Representatives can be respectively, and it can never create a national office.
increased, and new legislative districts of Congress can be created, only
through a national law passed by Congress. In Montejo v. COMELEC,[29] we To allow the ARMM Regional Assembly to create a national
held that the power of redistricting x x x is traditionally regarded as part of office is to allow its legislative powers to operate outside the ARMMs
the power (of Congress) to make laws, and thus is vested exclusively in territorial jurisdiction. This violates Section 20, Article X of the
Congress. Constitution which expressly limits the coverage of the Regional
Assemblys legislative powers [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction x x x.
This textual commitment to Congress of the exclusive power to
create or reapportion legislative districts is logical. Congress is a national The ARMM Regional Assembly itself, in creating Shariff
legislature and any increase in its allowable membership or in its Kabunsuan, recognized the exclusive nature of Congress power to create
incumbent membership through the creation of legislative districts must or reapportion legislative districts by abstaining from creating a legislative
be embodied in a national law. Only Congress can enact such a law. It district for Shariff Kabunsuan. Section 5 of MMA Act 201 provides that:
would be anomalous for regional or local legislative bodies to create or
reapportion legislative districts for a national legislature like Congress. An Except as may be provided by national
inferior legislative body, created by a superior legislative body, cannot law, the existing legislative district, which includes
change the membership of the superior legislative body. Cotabato City as a part thereof, shall
remain. (Emphasis supplied)
The creation of the ARMM, and the grant of legislative powers
to its Regional Assembly under its organic act, did not divest Congress of However, a province cannot legally be created without a legislative district
its exclusive authority to create legislative districts. This is clear from the because the Constitution mandates that each province shall have at least
Constitution and the ARMM Organic Act, as amended. Thus, Section 20, one representative. Thus, the creation of the Province of Shariff
Article X of the Constitution provides: Kabunsuan without a legislative district is unconstitutional.

SECTION 20. Within its territorial Sema, petitioner in G.R. No. 177597, contends that Section 5 (3), Article VI
jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this of the Constitution, which provides:
Constitution and national laws, the organic act of
autonomous regions shall provide for legislative Each legislative district shall comprise, as
powers over: far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent
(1) Administrative organization; territory. Each city with a population of at least two
(2) Creation of sources of revenues; hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have
(3) Ancestral domain and natural at least one representative. (Emphasis supplied)
resources;
(4) Personal, family, and property and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution, which
relations; states:
(5) Regional urban and rural planning
development; Any province that may hereafter be
(6) Economic, social, and tourism created, or any city whose population may hereafter
development; increase to more than two hundred fifty
(7) Educational policies; thousand shall be entitled in the immediately
(8) Preservation and development of the following election to at least one Member or such
cultural heritage; and number of Members as it may be entitled to on the
(9) Such other matters as may be basis of the number of its inhabitants and according
authorized by law for the promotion of the general to the standards set forth in paragraph (3), Section 5
welfare of the people of the region. of Article VI of the Constitution. The number of
Members apportioned to the province out of which
Nothing in Section 20, Article X of the Constitution authorizes such new province was created or where the city,
autonomous regions, expressly or impliedly, to create or reapportion whose population has so increased, is geographically
legislative districts for Congress. located shall be correspondingly adjusted by the
Commission on Elections but such adjustment shall
On the other hand, Section 3, Article IV of RA 9054 amending not be made within one hundred and twenty days
the ARMM Organic Act, provides, The Regional Assembly may exercise before the election. (Emphasis supplied)
legislative power x x x except on the following matters: x x x (k) National
6

serve as bases for the conclusion that the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, There is no constitutional limitation as to the time
created on 29 October 2006, is automatically entitled to one member in when, territory of, or other conditions under which a
the House of Representatives in the 14 May 2007 elections. As further province may be created, except, perhaps, if the
support for her stance, petitioner invokes the statement in Felwa that consequence thereof were to exceed the maximum
when a province is created by statute, the corresponding representative of 120 representative districts prescribed in the
district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which Constitution, which is not the effect of the legislation
cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment, but by operation of the under consideration. As a matter of fact, provinces
Constitution, without a reapportionment. have been created or subdivided into other provinces,
with the consequent creation of additional
The contention has no merit. representative districts, without complying with the
aforementioned requirements.[32] (Emphasis
First. The issue in Felwa, among others, was whether Republic Act No. supplied)
4695 (RA 4695), creating the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province,
Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao and providing for congressional
representation in the old and new provinces, was unconstitutional for Thus, the Court sustained the constitutionality of RA 4695 because (1) it
creati[ng] congressional districts without the apportionment provided in validly created legislative districts indirectly through a special law enacted
the Constitution. The Court answered in the negative, thus: by Congress creating a province and (2) the creation of the legislative
districts will not result in breaching the maximum number of legislative
The Constitution ordains: districts provided under the 1935 Constitution. Felwa does not apply to
the present case because in Felwa the new provinces were created by
The House of Representatives a national law enacted by Congress itself. Here, the new province was
shall be composed of not more created merely by a regional law enacted by the ARMM Regional
than one hundred and twenty Assembly.
Members who shall be
apportioned among the several What Felwa teaches is that the creation of a legislative district
provinces as nearly as may be by Congress does not emanate alone from Congress power to reapportion
according to the number of their legislative districts, but also from Congress power to create provinces
respective inhabitants, but each which cannot be created without a legislative district. Thus, when a
province shall have at least one province is created, a legislative district is created by operation of the
Member. The Congress shall by Constitution because the Constitution provides that each province shall
law make an apportionment have at least one representative in the House of Representatives. This
within three years after the does not detract from the constitutional principle that the power to create
return of every enumeration, legislative districts belongs exclusively to Congress. It merely prevents any
and not otherwise. Until such other legislative body, except Congress, from creating provinces because
apportionment shall have been for a legislative body to create a province such legislative body must have
made, the House of the power to create legislative districts. In short, only an act of Congress
Representatives shall have the can trigger the creation of a legislative district by operation of the
same number of Members as Constitution. Thus, only Congress has the power to create, or trigger the
that fixed by law for the National creation of, a legislative district.
Assembly, who shall be elected
by the qualified electors from Moreover, if as Sema claims MMA Act 201 apportioned a
the present Assembly districts. legislative district to Shariff Kabunsuan upon its creation, this will leave
Each representative district shall Cotabato City as the lone component of the first legislative district of
comprise as far as practicable, Maguindanao. However, Cotabato City cannot constitute a legislative
contiguous and compact district by itself because as of the census taken in 2000, it had a
territory. population of only 163,849. To constitute Cotabato City alone as the
Pursuant to this Section, a representative district surviving first legislative district of Maguindanao will violate Section 5 (3),
may come into existence: (a) indirectly, through the Article VI of the Constitution which requires that [E]ach city with a
creation of a province for each province shall have population of at least two hundred fifty thousand x x x, shall have at least
at least one member in the House of one representative.
Representatives; or (b) by direct creation of several
representative districts within a province. The Second. Semas theory also undermines the composition and
requirements concerning the apportionment of independence of the House of Representatives. Under Section
representative districts and the territory thereof refer 19,[33] Article VI of RA 9054, the ARMM Regional Assembly can create
only to the second method of creation of provinces and cities within the ARMM with or without regard to the
representative districts, and do not apply to those criteria fixed in Section 461 of RA 7160, namely: minimum annual income
incidental to the creation of provinces, under the first of P20,000,000, and minimum contiguous territory of 2,000 square
method. This is deducible, not only from the general kilometers or minimum population of 250,000.[34] The following scenarios
tenor of the provision above quoted, but, also, from thus become distinct possibilities:
the fact that the apportionment therein alluded to
refers to that which is made by an Act of (1) An inferior legislative body like the
Congress. Indeed, when a province is created by ARMM Regional Assembly can create 100 or more
statute, the corresponding representative district, provinces and thus increase the membership of a
comes into existence neither by authority of that superior legislative body, the House
statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by of Representatives, beyond the maximum limit of 250
apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution, fixed in the Constitution (unless a national law
without a reapportionment. provides otherwise);
7

Atty. Vistan II:


(2) The proportional representation in the
House of Representatives based on one Yes, Your Honor.[36] (Emphasis supplied)
representative for at least every 250,000 residents
will be negated because the ARMM Regional
Assembly need not comply with the requirement in Neither the framers of the 1987 Constitution in adopting the
Section 461(a)(ii) of RA 7160 that every province provisions in Article X on regional autonomy,[37] nor Congress in enacting
created must have a population of at least 250,000; RA 9054, envisioned or intended these disastrous consequences that
and certainly would wreck the tri-branch system of government under our
Constitution. Clearly, the power to create or reapportion legislative
(3) Representatives from the ARMM districts cannot be delegated by Congress but must be exercised by
provinces can become the majority in the House of Congress itself. Even the ARMM Regional Assembly recognizes this.
Representatives through the ARMM Regional
Assemblys continuous creation of provinces or cities The Constitution empowered Congress to create or reapportion legislative
within the ARMM. districts, not the regional assemblies. Section 3 of the Ordinance to the
Constitution which states, [A]ny province that may hereafter be created x
x x shall be entitled in the immediately following election to at least one
The following exchange during the oral arguments of the Member, refers to a province created by Congress itself through a national
petition in G.R. No. 177597 highlights the absurdity of Semas position that law. The reason is that the creation of a province increases the actual
the ARMM Regional Assembly can create provinces: membership of the House of Representatives, an increase that only
Congress can decide.Incidentally, in the present 14th Congress, there are
219[38] district representatives out of the maximum 250 seats in the House
Justice Carpio: of Representatives. Since party-list members shall constitute 20 percent of
So, you mean to say [a] Local Government total membership of the House, there should at least be 50 party-list seats
can create legislative district[s] and pack available in every election in case 50 party-list candidates are proclaimed
Congress with their own representatives winners. This leaves only 200 seats for district representatives, much less
[?] than the 219 incumbent district representatives. Thus, there is a need now
for Congress to increase by law the allowable membership of the House,
Atty. Vistan II:[35] even before Congress can create new provinces.
Yes, Your Honor, because the Constitution allows that.
Justice Carpio: It is axiomatic that organic acts of autonomous regions cannot prevail over
So, [the] Regional Assembly of [the] ARMM the Constitution. Section 20, Article X of the Constitution expressly
can create and create x x x provinces x x provides that the legislative powers of regional assemblies are
x and, therefore, they can have thirty-five limited [w]ithin its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of
(35) new representatives in the House of the Constitution and national laws, x x x. The Preamble of the ARMM
Representatives without Congress agreeing Organic Act (RA 9054) itself states that the ARMM Government is
to it, is that what you are saying? That can established within the framework of the Constitution. This follows Section
be done, under your theory[?] 15, Article X of the Constitution which mandates that the ARMM shall be
created x x x within the framework of this Constitution and the national
Atty. Vistan II: sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the
Philippines.
Yes, Your Honor, under the correct factual
circumstances. The present case involves the creation of a local government
unit that necessarily involves also the creation of a legislative district. The
Justice Carpio: Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of the creation of
Under your theory, the ARMM legislature municipalities and barangays that does not comply with the criteria
can create thirty-five (35) new provinces, established in Section 461 of RA 7160, as mandated in Section 10, Article X
there may be x x x [only] one hundred of the Constitution, because the creation of such municipalities and
thousand (100,000) [population], x x x, and barangays does not involve the creation of legislative districts. We leave
they will each have one representative x x the resolution of this issue to an appropriate case.
x to Congress without any national law, is
that what you are saying? In summary, we rule that Section 19, Article VI of RA 9054, insofar as it
grants to the ARMM Regional Assembly the power to create provinces and
Atty. Vistan II: cities, is void for being contrary to Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of
Article X of the Constitution, as well as Section 3 of the Ordinance
Without law passed by Congress, yes, Your appended to the Constitution. Only Congress can create provinces and
Honor, that is what we are saying. cities because the creation of provinces and cities necessarily includes the
creation of legislative districts, a power only Congress can exercise under
xxxx Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance
Justice Carpio: appended to the Constitution. The ARMM Regional Assembly cannot
So, they can also create one thousand create a province without a legislative district because the Constitution
(1000) new provinces, sen[d] one mandates that every province shall have a legislative district. Moreover,
thousand (1000) representatives to the the ARMM Regional Assembly cannot enact a law creating a national
House of Representatives without a office like the office of a district representative of Congress because the
national law[,] that is legally possible, legislative powers of the ARMM Regional Assembly operate only within its
correct? territorial jurisdiction as provided in Section 20, Article X of the
8

Constitution. Thus, we rule that MMA Act 201, enacted by the ARMM Act complies with the principle of proportional representation prescribed
Regional Assembly and creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan, is void. by the Constitution..

Resolution No. 7902 Complies with the Constitution


After hearing the parties and considering their memoranda, this Court
reached the conclusion that the statute be declared invalid, and, aware of
Consequently, we hold that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902,
preserving the geographic and legislative district of the First District of the need of prompt action, issued its brief resolution of August 23, partly
Maguindanao with Cotabato City, is valid as it merely complies with in the following language:
Section 5 of Article VI and Section 20 of Article X of the Constitution, as
well as Section 1 of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution. Whereas such Republic Act 3040 clearly violates the said constitutional
provision in several ways namely, (a) it gave Cebu seven members, while
WHEREFORE, we declare Section 19, Article VI of Republic Act No. Rizal with a bigger number of inhabitants got four only; (b) it gave Manila
9054 UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it grants to the Regional Assembly of
four members, while Cotabato with a bigger population got three
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao the power to create
only; . . .;
provinces and cities. Thus, we declare VOID Muslim Mindanao Autonomy
Act No. 201 creating the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan.Consequently, we
rule that COMELEC Resolution No. 7902 is VALID. Whereas such violation of the Constitutional mandate renders the law
void;

Therefore, without prejudice to the writing of a more extended opinion


Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the
passing additionally on other issues raised in the case, the Court resolved,
Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
without any dissent, forthwith to issue the injunction prayed for by the
SO ORDERED. petitioners. No bond is needed.

What with the reservation announced in the resolution, and what with the
G.R. No. L-18684 September 14, 1961 motion for reconsideration, this is now written fully to explain the
premises on which our conclusion rested.
LAMBERTO MACIAS, LORENZO TEVES, FAUSTO DUGENIO, ROGACIANO
MERCADO and MARIANO PERDICES, petitioners, Personality of the petitioners. — Petitioners are four members of the
vs. House of Representatives from Negros Oriental, Misamis Oriental, and
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and VICENTE GELLA in his Capacity as Bulacan, and the provincial governor of Negros Oriental. They bring this
National Treasurer, respondents. action in behalf of themselves and of other residents of their provinces.
They allege, and this Court finds, that their provinces had been
discriminated against by Republic Act 3040, because they were given less
Crispin D. Baizas for petitioners.
representative districts than the number of their inhabitants required or
Barrios, Garcia and Apostol for respondent Commission on Elections.
justified: Misamis Oriental having 387,839 inhabitants, was given one
Office of the Solicitor General for respondent Vicente Gella.
district only, whereas Cavite with 379,902 inhabitants, was given two
districts; Negros Oriental and Bulacan with 598,783 and 557,691
respectively, were allotted 2 representative districts each, whereas Albay
with 515,961 was assigned 3 districts.
BENGZON, C.J.:
The authorities hold that "citizens who are deprived of as full and effective
Statement of the case. — Petitioners request that respondent officials be an elective franchise as they are entitled to under the Constitution by an
prevented from implementing Republic Act 3040 that apportions apportionment act, have a sufficient interest to proceed in a court to test
representative districts in this country. It is unconstitutional and void, they the statute. (18 Am. Jur. 199.)
allege, because: (a) it was passed by the House of Representatives without
printed final copies of the bill having been furnished the Members at least Therefore, petitioners as voters and as congressmen and governor of the
three calendar days prior to its passage; (b) it was approved more than aggrieved provinces have personality to sue.
three years after the return of the last census of our population; and (c) it
apportioned districts without regard to the number of inhabitants of the
In Stiglitz vs. Schardien (Ky) 40 S.W. (2d) 315, the right of a citizen to
several provinces.
question the validity of a redistricting statute was upheld. The same right
was recognized in Jones vs. Freeman (Okla.) 146 P. (2d) 564, the court
Admitting some allegations but denying others, the respondents aver they saying that each citizen has the right to have the State apportioned in
were merely complying with their duties under the statute, which they accordance with the Constitution and to be governed by a Legislative fairly
presume and allege to be constitutional. The respondent National representing the whole body of electorate and elected as required by the
Treasurer further avers that petitioners have no personality to bring this Constitution.
action; that a duly certified copy of the law creates the presumption of its
having been passed in accordance with the requirements of the
Colegrove vs. Green, 328 .U.S. 549, on which respondents rely, appear to
Constitution (distribution of printed bills included); that the Director of the
be inconclusive: three against three. The seventh justice concurred in the
Census submitted an official report on the population of the Philippines in
result even supposing the contrary was justiciable."
November, 1960, which report became the basis of the bill; and that the
9

The printed-form, three-day requirement. — The Constitution provides matter for Congress action. This issue does not clearly favor petitioners,
that "no bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been because there are authorities sustaining the view that although not final,
printed and copies thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least and still subject to correction, a census enumeration may be considered
three calendar days prior to its passage, except when the President shall official, in the sense that Governmental action may be based thereon even
have certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment." in matters of apportionment of legislative districts (Cahill vs. Leopold
[Conn.] 108 Atl. 2d 818). (See also Elliott vs. State, 1 Pac. 2d 370; Ervin vs.
Petitioners presented certificates of the Secretary of the House of State, 44 S.W. 2d 380; Herndon vs. Excise Board, 295 Pac. 223; Holcomb vs.
Representatives to show that no printed copy had been distributed three Spikes, 232 S.W. 891.)
days before passage of the bill (on May 10, 1961) and that no certificate of
urgency by the President had been received in the House. Apportionment of Members. — The Constitution directs that the one
hundred twenty Members of the House of Representatives "shall be
The respondents claim in their defense that a statute may not be nullified apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to
upon evidence of failure to print, because "it is conclusively presumed the member of their respective inhabitants." In our resolution on August
that the details of legislative procedure leading to the enrollment that are 23, we held that this provision was violated by Republic Act 3040 because
prescribed by the Constitution have been complied with by the (a) it gave Cebu seven members, while Rizal with a bigger number of
Legislature." They further claim that the certificates of the Secretary of the inhabitants got four only; (b) it gave Manila four members, while Cotabato
House are inadmissible, in view of the conclusive (enrolled-bill) with a bigger population got three only; (c) Pangasinan with less
presumption, which in several instances have been applied by the courts. inhabitants than both Manila and Cotabato got more than both, five
In further support of their contention, Sec. 313(2) of Act 190 might be members having been assigned to it; (d) Samar (with 871,857) was
cited.1 allotted four members while Davao with 903,224 got three only; (e)
Bulacan with 557,691 got two only, while Albay with less inhabitants
(515,691) got three, and (f) Misamis Oriental with 387,839 was given one
On the other hand, it may be said for the petitioners, that such printed bill
member only, while Cavite with less inhabitants (379,904) got two. These
requirement had a fundamental purpose to serve2 and was inserted in the
were not the only instances of unequal apportionment. We see that
Constitution not as a mere procedural step; and that the enrolled-bill
Mountain Province has 3 whereas Isabela, Laguna and Cagayan with more
theory, if adopted, would preclude the courts from enforcing such
inhabitants have 2 each. And then, Capiz, La Union and Ilocos Norte got 2
requirement in proper cases.
each, whereas Sulu that has more inhabitants got 1 only. And Leyte with
967,323 inhabitants got 4 only, whereas Iloilo with less inhabitants
We do not deem it necessary to make a definite pronouncement on the (966,145) was given 5.
question, because the controversy may be decided upon the issue of
districts-in-proportion-to-inhabitants.1awphîl.nèt
Such disproportion of representation has been held sufficient to avoid
apportionment laws enacted in States having Constitutional provisions
Population Census. — According to the Constitution, "the Congress shall similar to ours. For instance, in Massachusetts, the Constitution required
by law, make an apportionment (of Members of the House) within three division "into representative district . . . equally, as nearly as may be,
years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise." It is according to the relative number of legal voters in the several districts."
admitted that the bill, which later became Republic Act 3040, was based The Supreme Judicial Court of that state found this provision violated by
upon a report submitted to the President by the Director of the Census on an allotment that gave 3 representatives to 7,946 voters and only 2
November 23, 1960. It reads: representatives to 8,618 voters, and further gave two representatives to
4,854 voters and one representative to 5,598 voters. Justice Rugg said:
I have the honor to submit herewith a preliminary count of the population
of the Philippines as a result of the population enumeration which has just It is not an approximation to equality to allot three representatives to
been completed. This is a report on the total number of inhabitants in this 7,946 voters, and only two representatives to 8,618 voters, and to allot
country and does not include the population characteristics. It is the result two representatives to 4,854 voters, and one representative to 5,596
of a hand tally and may be subject to revision when all the population voters. . . .
schedules shall have been processed mechanically.
Whenever this kind of inequality of apportionment has been before the
The Census of Population is the first of a series of four censuses which courts, it has been held to be contrary to the Constitution. It has been said
include housing, agriculture and economics in addition to population. to be "arbitrary and capricious and against the vital principle of
These four censuses together constitute what is known as the Census of equality."Houghton County v. Blacker, 92 Mich. 638, 647, 653; 16 LRA 432,
1960. Like population, the housing and agricultural censuses are 52 N.W. 951; Giddings vs. Blacken, 93 Mich. 1, 13, 16 LRA 402, 52 N.W.
undergoing processing, while the economic census is now under 944; Barker v. State, 133 Ind. 178, 197, 18 LRA 567, 32 NE 836, 33 NE 119;
preparation. Denney v. State, 144 Ind. 503, 535, 31 LRA 726, 42 N. E. 929.

Until the final report is made, these figures should be considered as Other cases along the same line upholding the same view are these:
official for all purposes.
1. Stiglitz v. Schardien, supra, wherein twelve districts entitled to but six
Petitioners maintain that the apportionment could not legally rest on this were given twelve representatives, and twelve districts given twelve only
report since it is merely "preliminary" and "may be subject to revision." On were actually entitled to twenty-two.
the other hand, respondents point out that the above letter says the
report should be considered "official for all purposes." They also point out
that the ascertainment of what constitutes a return of an enumeration is a
10

2. Jones v. Freeman, supra, wherein districts entitled to only 3 senators power. (Denney vs. State ex rel. Basler, 31 L.R.A. 726, 144 Ind. 503, 42 N.E.
were given 7, and districts entitled to 15 were assigned seven only. 929.)

It is argued in the motion to reconsider, that since Republic Act 3040 The constitutionality of a statute forming a delegate district or
improves existing conditions, this Court could perhaps, in the exercise of apportioning delegates for the house of delegates is a judicial question for
judicial statesmanship, consider the question involved as purely political the courts, although the statute is an exercise of political power.
and therefore non-justiciable. The overwhelming weight of authority is (Harmison v. Ballot Comrs. 42 L.R.A. 591, 45 W. Va. 179, 31 S. E. 394.) [3
that district apportionment laws are subject to review by the courts. L.R.A. Digest, p. 2737.)

The constitutionality of a legislative apportionment act is a judicial Conclusion. — For all the foregoing, we hereby reiterate our resolution
question, and not one which the court cannot consider on the ground that declaring that Republic Act 3040 infringed the provisions of the
it is a political question. (Parker v. State ex rel. Powell, 18 L.R.A. 567, 133 Constitution and is therefore void.
Ind. 178, 32 N.E. 836; State ex rel. Morris v. Wrightson, 22 L.R.A. 548, 56
N.J.L. 126, 28 Atl. 56; Harmison v. Ballot Comrs. 42 L.R.A. 591, 45 W. Va. Padilla, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, De
179, 31 S. E. 394) Leon and Natividad, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., is on leave.
It is well settled that the passage of apportionment acts is not so
exclusively within the political power of the legislature as to preclude a G.R. No. 73155 July 11, 1986
court from inquiring into their constitutionality when the question is
properly brought before it. (Indiana-Parker v. Powell (1882) 133 Ind. 178,
PATRICIO TAN, FELIX FERRER, JUAN M. HAGAD, SERGIO HILADO,
18 L.R.A. 567, 32 N. E. 836, 33 N. E. 119; Denney v. State (1896) 144 Ind.
VIRGILIO GASTON, CONCHITA MINAYA, TERESITA ESTACIO, DESIDERIO
503; 31 L.R.A. 726, 42 N. E. 929; Marion County v. Jewett (1915) 184 Ind.
DEFERIA, ROMEO GAMBOA, ALBERTO LACSON, FE HOFILENA, EMILY
63, 110 N. E. 553.) (Kentucky-Ragland v. Anderson (1907) 125 Ky 141, 128
JISON, NIEVES LOPEZ AND CECILIA MAGSAYSAY, petitioners,
Am. St. Rep. 242, 100 S. W. 865.) (Massachusetts-Atty. Gen. v. Suffolk
vs.
County Apportionment Comrs., etc.)
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and THE PROVINCIAL TREASURER OF
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, respondents.
It may be added in this connection, that the mere impact of the suit upon
the political situation does not render it political instead of judicial. (Lamb
Gamboa & Hofileña Law Office for petitioners.
v. Cunningham, 17 L.R.A. 145, 83 Wis. 90.) .

The alleged circumstance that this statute improves the present set-up
constitutes no excuse for approving a transgression of constitutional
limitations, because the end does not justify the means. Furthermore, ALAMPAY, J.:
there is no reason to doubt that, aware of the existing inequality of
representation, and impelled by its sense of duty, Congress will Prompted by the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 885-An Act Creating a
opportunely approve remedial legislation in accord with the precepts of New Province in the Island of Negros to be known as the Province of
the Constitution. Negros del Norte, which took effect on December 3, 1985, Petitioners
herein, who are residents of the Province of Negros Occidental, in the
Needless to say, equality of representation3 in the Legislature being such various cities and municipalities therein, on December 23, 1985, filed with
an essential feature of republican institutions, and affecting so many lives, this Court a case for Prohibition for the purpose of stopping respondents
the judiciary may not with a clear conscience stand by to give free hand to Commission on Elections from conducting the plebiscite which, pursuant
the discretion of the political departments of the Government. Cases are to and in implementation of the aforesaid law, was scheduled for January
numerous wherein courts intervened upon proof of violation of the 3, 1986. Said law provides:
constitutional principle of equality of representation.
SECTION 1. The Cities of Silay, Cadiz, and San Carlos and the municipalities
An injunction to prevent the secretary of state from issuing notices of of Calatrava, Taboso, Escalante, Sagay, Manapla, Victorias, E.R. Magalona;
election under an unconstitutional apportionment act gerry-mandering and Salvador Benedicto, all in the northern portion of the Island of Negros,
the state is not a usurpation of authority by the court, on the ground that are hereby separated from the province to be known as the Province of
the question is a political one, but the constitutionality of the act is purely Negros del Norte.
a judicial question. (State ex rel. Adams County v. Cunningham, 15 L.R.A.
561, 81 Wis. 440, 51 N.W. 724.) SEC. 2. The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of
the City of Silay, the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San
The fact that the action may have a political effect, and in that sense Carlos on the south and the territorial limits of the northern portion to the
effect a political object, does not make the questions involved in a suit to Island of Negros on the west, north and east, comprising a territory of
declare the unconstitutionality of an apportionment act political instead of 4,019.95 square kilometers more or less.
judicial. (State ex rel. Lamb v. Cunningham, 17 L.R.A. 145, 83 Wis. 90, 53
N.W. 48.) SEC. 3. The seat of government of the new province shall be the City of
Cadiz.
An unconstitutional apportionment law may be declared void by the
courts, notwithstanding the fact that such statute is an exercise of political
11

SEC. 4. A plebiscite shall be conducted in the proposed new province fundamental and far-reaching questions that petitioners have brought
which are the areas affected within a period of one hundred and twenty out.
days from the approval of this Act. After the ratification of the creation of
the Province of Negros del Norte by a majority of the votes cast in such Acknowledging in their supplemental petition that supervening events
plebiscite, the President of the Philippines shall appoint the first officials rendered moot the prayer in their initial petition that the plebiscite
of the province. scheduled for January 3, 1986, be enjoined, petitioners plead,
nevertheless, that-
SEC. 5. The Commission on Elections shall conduct and supervise the
plebiscite herein provided, the expenses for which shall be charged to ... a writ of Prohibition be issued, directed to Respondent Commission on
local funds. Elections to desist from issuing official proclamation of the results of the
plebiscite held on January 3, 1986.
SEC. 6. This Act shall takeeffect upon its approval.(Rollo, pp. 23-24)
Finding that the exclusion and non-participation of the voters of the
Petitioners contend that Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 is unconstitutional and Province of Negros Occidental other than those living within the territory
it is not in complete accord with the Local Government Code as in Article of the new province of Negros del Norte to be not in accordance with the
XI, Section 3 of our Constitution, it is expressly mandated that— Constitution, that a writ of mandamus be issued, directed to the
respondent Commission on Elections, to schedule the holding of another
See. 3. No province, city, municipality or barrio may be created, divided, plebiscite at which all the qualified voters of the entire Province of Negros
merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in Occidental as now existing shall participate, at the same time making
accordance with the criteria established in the local government code, and pronouncement that the plebiscite held on January 3, 1986 has no legal
subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit effect, being a patent legal nullity;
or units affected.
And that a similar writ of Prohibition be issued, directed to the respondent
Section 197 of the Local Government Code enumerates the conditions Provincial Treasurer, to desist from ordering the release of any local funds
which must exist to provide the legal basis for the creation of a provincial to answer for expenses incurred in the holding of such plebiscite until
unit and these requisites are: ordered by the Court. (Rollo pp. 9-10).

SEC. 197. Requisites for Creation. A province may be created if it has a Petitioners further prayed that the respondent COMELEC hold in abeyance
territory of at least three thousand five hundred square kilometers, a the issuance of any official proclamation of the results of the aforestated
population of at least five hundred thousand persons, an average plebiscite.
estimated annual income, as certified by the Ministry of Finance, of not
less than ten million pesos for the last three consecutive years, and its During the pendency of this case, a motion that he be allowed to appear
creation shall not reduce the population and income of the mother as amicus curiae in this case (dated December 27, 1985 and filed with the
province or provinces at the time of said creation to less than the Court on January 2, 1986) was submitted by former Senator Ambrosio
minimum requirements under this section. The territory need not be Padilla. Said motion was granted in Our resolution of January 2, 1986.
contiguous if it comprises two or more islands.
Acting on the petition, as well as on the supplemental petition for
The average estimated annual income shall include the income alloted for prohibition with preliminary injunction with prayer for restraining order,
both the general and infrastructural funds, exclusive of trust funds, the Court, on January 7, 1986 resolved, without giving due course to the
transfers and nonrecurring income. (Rollo, p. 6) same, to require respondents to comment, not to file a motion to dismiss.
Complying with said resolution, public respondents, represented by the
Due to the constraints brought about by the supervening Christmas Office of the Solicitor General, on January 14, 1986, filed their Comment,
holidays during which the Court was in recess and unable to timely arguing therein that the challenged statute.-Batas Pambansa 885, should
consider the petition, a supplemental pleading was filed by petitioners on be accorded the presumption of legality. They submit that the said law is
January 4, 1986, averring therein that the plebiscite sought to be not void on its face and that the petition does not show a clear,
restrained by them was held on January 3, 1986 as scheduled but that categorical and undeniable demonstration of the supposed infringement
there are still serious issues raised in the instant case affecting the legality, of the Constitution. Respondents state that the powers of the
constitutionality and validity of such exercise which should properly be Batasang-Pambansa to enact the assailed law is beyond question. They
passed upon and resolved by this Court. claim that Batas Pambansa Big. 885 does not infringe the Constitution
because the requisites of the Local Government Code have been complied
with. Furthermore, they submit that this case has now become moot and
The plebiscite was confined only to the inhabitants of the territory of
academic with the proclamation of the new Province of Negros del Norte.
Negros del N•rte, namely: the Cities of Silay, Cadiz, and San Carlos, and
the municipalities of Calatrava, Taboso, Escalante, Sagay, Manapla,
Victorias, E.B. Magalona and Don Salvador Benedicto. Because of the Respondents argue that the remaining cities and municipalities of the
exclusions of the voters from the rest of the province of Negros Occidental, Province of Negros Occidental not included in the area of the new
petitioners found need to change the prayer of their petition "to the end Province of Negros del Norte, de not fall within the meaning and scope of
that the constitutional issues which they have raised in the action will be the term "unit or units affected", as referred to in Section 3 of Art. XI of
ventilated and given final resolution.'"At the same time, they asked that our Constitution. On this reasoning, respondents maintain that Batas
the effects of the plebiscite which they sought to stop be suspended until Pambansa Blg. 885 does not violate the Constitution, invoking and citing
the Supreme Court shall have rendered its decision on the very the case of Governor Zosimo Paredes versus the Honorable Executive
12

Secretary to the President, et al. (G.R. No. 55628, March 2, 1984 (128 SCRA fact that following the proclamation of Negros del Norte province, the
61), particularly the pronouncements therein, hereunder quoted: appointments of the officials of said province created were announced.
On these considerations, respondents urge that this case should be
1. Admittedly,this is one of those cases where the discretion of the Court dismissed for having been rendered moot and academic as the creation of
is allowed considerable leeway. There is indeed an element of ambiguity the new province is now a "fait accompli."
in the use of the expression 'unit or units affected'. It is plausible to assert
as petitioners do that when certain Barangays are separated from a parent In resolving this case, it will be useful to note and emphasize the facts
municipality to form a new one, all the voters therein are affected. It is which appear to be agreed to by the parties herein or stand unchallenged.
much more persuasive, however, to contend as respondents do that the
acceptable construction is for those voters, who are not from the Firstly, there is no disagreement that the Provincial Treasurer of the
barangays to be separated, should be excluded in the plebiscite. Province of Negros Occidental has not disbursed, nor was required to
disburse any public funds in connection with the plebiscite held on
2. For one thing, it is in accordance with the settled doctrine that between January 3, 1986 as so disclosed in the Comment to the Petition filed by the
two possible constructions, one avoiding a finding of unconstitutionality respondent Provincial Treasurer of Negros Occidental dated January 20,
and the other yielding such a result, the former is to be preferred. That 1986 (Rollo, pp. 36-37). Thus, the prayer of the petitioners that said
which will save, not that which will destroy, commends itself for Provincial Treasurer be directed by this Court to desist from ordering the
acceptance. After all, the basic presumption all these years is one of release of any public funds on account of such plebiscite should not longer
validity. ... deserve further consideration.

3. ... Adherence to such philosophy compels the conclusion that when Secondly, in Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 which led to the enactment of
there are indications that the inhabitants of several barangays are inclined Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 and the creation of the new Province of Negros
to separate from a parent municipality they should be allowed to do so. del Norte, it expressly declared in Sec. 2 of the aforementioned
What is more logical than to ascertain their will in a plebiscite called for Parliamentary Bill, the following:
that purpose. It is they, and they alone, who shall constitute the new unit.
New responsibilities will be assumed. New burdens will be imposed. A SEC. 2. The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of
new municipal corporation will come into existence. Its birth will be a the City of Silay, the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San
matter of choice-their choice. They should be left alone then to decide for Carlos on the South and the natural boundaries of the northern portion of
themselves. To allow other voters to participate will not yield a true the Island of Negros on the West, North and East, containing an area of
expression of their will. They may even frustrate it, That certainly will be 285,656 hectares more or less. (Emphasis supplied).
so if they vote against it for selfish reasons, and they constitute the
majority. That is not to abide by the fundamental principle of the
However, when said Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 was very quickly enacted
Constitution to promote local autonomy, the preference being for smaller
into Batas Pambansa Blg. 885, the boundaries of the new Province of
units. To rule as this Tribunal does is to follow an accepted principle of
Negros del Norte were defined therein and its boundaries then stated to
constitutional construction, that in ascertaining the meaning of a
be as follows:
particular provision that may give rise to doubts, the intent of the framers
and of the people may be gleaned from provisions in pari materia.
SECTION 1. The Cities of Silay, Cadiz, and San Carlos and the municipalities
of Calatrava, Toboso, Escalante, Sagay, Manapla, Victorias, E.R. Magalona;
Respondents submit that said ruling in the aforecited case applies equally
and Salvador Benedicto, all in the northern portion of the Island of Negros,
with force in the case at bar. Respondents also maintain that the
are hereby separated from the Province of Negros Occidental and
requisites under the Local Government Code (P.D. 337) for the creation of
constituted into a new province to be known as the Province of Negros del
the new province of Negros del Norte have all been duly complied with,
Norte.
Respondents discredit petitioners' allegations that the requisite area of
3,500 square kilometers as so prescribed in the Local Government Code
for a new province to be created has not been satisfied. Petitioners insist SEC. 1. The boundaries of the new province shall be the southern limits of
that the area which would comprise the new province of Negros del Norte, the City of Silay, the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto and the City of San
would only be about 2,856.56 square kilometers and which evidently Carlos on the south and the territorial limits of the northern portion of the
would be lesser than the minimum area prescribed by the governing Island of Negros on the West, North and East, comprising a territory of
statute. Respondents, in this regard, point out and stress that Section 2 of 4,019.95 square kilometers more or less.
Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 creating said new province plainly declares that
the territorial boundaries of Negros del Norte comprise an area of Equally accepted by the parties is the fact that under the certification
4,019.95 square kilometers, more or less. issued by Provincial Treasurer Julian L. Ramirez of the Province of Negros
Occidental, dated July 16, 1985, it was therein certified as follows:
As a final argument, respondents insist that instant petition has been
rendered moot and academic considering that a plebiscite has been xxx xxx xxx
already conducted on January 3, 1986; that as a result thereof, the
corresponding certificate of canvass indicated that out of 195,134 total This is to certify that the following cities and municipalities of Negros
votes cast in said plebiscite, 164,734 were in favor of the creation of Occidental have the land area as indicated hereunder based on the Special
Negros del Norte and 30,400 were against it; and because "the affirmative Report No. 3, Philippines 1980, Population, Land Area and Density: 1970,
votes cast represented a majority of the total votes cast in said plebiscite, 1975 and 1980 by the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila.
the Chairman of the Board of Canvassers proclaimed the new province
which shall be known as "Negros del Norte". Thus, respondents stress the
13

Land Area SEC. 4. A plebiscite shall be conducted in the areas affected within a
period of one hundred and twenty days from the approval of this Act.
(Sq. Km.) After the ratification of the creation of the Province of Negros del Norte
by a majority of the votes cast in such plebiscite, the President shall
appoint the first officials of the new province.
1. Silay City ...................................................................214.8

However, when Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 was enacted, there was a
2. E.B. Magalona............................................................113.3
significant change in the above provision. The statute, as modified,
provides that the requisite plebiscite "shall be conducted in the proposed
3. Victorias.....................................................................133.9 new province which are the areas affected."

4. Manapla......................................................................112.9 It is this legislative determination limiting the plebiscite exclusively to the


cities and towns which would comprise the new province that is assailed
5. Cadiz City ..................................................................516.5 by the petitioners as violative of the provisions of our Constitution.
Petitioners submit that Sec. 3, ART XI thereof, contemplates a plebiscite
6. Sagay .........................................................................389.6 that would be held in the unit or units affected by the creation of the new
province as a result of the consequent division of and substantial
alteration of the boundaries of the existing province. In this instance, the
7. Escalante ....................................................................124.0
voters in the remaining areas of the province of Negros Occidental should
have been allowed to participate in the questioned plebiscite.
8. Toboso.......................................................................123.4
Considering that the legality of the plebiscite itself is challenged for
9. Calatrava.....................................................................504.5 non-compliance with constitutional requisites, the fact that such plebiscite
had been held and a new province proclaimed and its officials appointed,
10. San Carlos City...........................................................451.3 the case before Us cannot truly be viewed as already moot and academic.
Continuation of the existence of this newly proclaimed province which
11. Don Salvador Benedicto.................................... (not available) petitioners strongly profess to have been illegally born, deserves to be
inquired into by this Tribunal so that, if indeed, illegality attaches to its
creation, the commission of that error should not provide the very excuse
This certification is issued upon the request of Dr. Patricio Y. Tan for
for perpetuation of such wrong. For this Court to yield to the respondents'
whatever purpose it may serve him.
urging that, as there has been fait accompli then this Court should
passively accept and accede to the prevailing situation is an unacceptable
(SGD.) JULIAN L. RAMIREZ suggestion. Dismissal of the instant petition, as respondents so propose is
a proposition fraught with mischief. Respondents' submission will create a
Provincial Treasurer (Exh. "C" of Petition, Rollo, p. 90). dangerous precedent. Should this Court decline now to perform its duty of
interpreting and indicating what the law is and should be, this might
Although in the above certification it is stated that the land area of the tempt again those who strut about in the corridors of power to recklessly
relatively new municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto is not available, it is and with ulterior motives, create, merge, divide and/or alter the
an uncontradicted fact that the area comprising Don Salvador municipality, boundaries of political subdivisions, either brazenly or stealthily, confident
one of the component units of the new province, was derived from the that this Court will abstain from entertaining future challenges to their
City of San Carlos and from the Municipality of Calatrava, Negros acts if they manage to bring about a fait accompli.
Occidental, and added thereto was a portion of about one-fourth the land
area of the town of Murcia, Negros Occidental. It is significant to note the In the light of the facts and circumstances alluded to by petitioners as
uncontroverted submission of petitioners that the total land area of the attending to the unusually rapid creation of the instant province of Negros
entire municipality of Murcia, Negros Occidental is only 322.9 square del Norte after a swiftly scheduled plebiscite, this Tribunal has the duty to
kilometers (Exh. "D", Rollo, p. 91). One-fourth of this total land area of repudiate and discourage the commission of acts which run counter to the
Murcia that was added to the portions derived from the land area of mandate of our fundamental law, done by whatever branch of our
Calatrava, Negros Occidental and San Carlos City (Negros Occidental) government. This Court gives notice that it will not look with favor upon
would constitute, therefore, only 80.2 square kilometers. This area of 80.2 those who may be hereafter inclined to ram through all sorts of legislative
square kilometers if then added to 2,685.2 square kilometers, measures and then implement the same with indecent haste, even if such
representing the total land area of the Cities of Silay, San Carlos and Cadiz acts would violate the Constitution and the prevailing statutes of our land.
and the Municipalities of E.R. Magalona, Victorias, Manapla, Sagay, It is illogical to ask that this Tribunal be blind and deaf to protests on the
Escalante, Taboso and Calatrava, will result in approximately an area of ground that what is already done is done. To such untenable argument
only 2,765.4 square kilometers using as basis the Special Report, the reply would be that, be this so, the Court, nevertheless, still has the
Philippines 1980, Population, Land Area and Density: 1970, 1975 and 1980 duty and right to correct and rectify the wrong brought to its attention.
of the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila (see Exhibit "C", Rollo,
p. 90). On the merits of the case.

No controversion has been made by respondent with respect to the Aside from the simpler factual issue relative to the land area of the new
allegations of petitioners that the original provision in the draft legislation, province of Negros del Norte, the more significant and pivotal issue in the
Parliamentary Bill No. 3644, reads: present case revolves around in the interpretation and application in the
14

case at bar of Article XI, Section 3 of the Constitution, which being brief Paredes versus The Honorable Executive Secretary to the President, et al.,
and for convenience, We again quote: G.R. No. 55628, March 2, 1984 (128 SCRA 6). In said case relating to a
plebiscite held to ratify the creation of a new municipality from existing
SEC. 3. No province, city, municipality or barrio may be created, divided, barangays, this Court upheld the legality of the plebiscite which was
merged abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in participated in exclusively by the people of the barangay that would
accordance with the criteria established in the local government code, and constitute the new municipality.
subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit
or units affected. This Court is not unmindful of this solitary case alluded to by respondents.
What is, however, highly significant are the prefatory statements therein
It can be plainly seen that the aforecited constitutional provision makes it stating that said case is "one of those cases where the discretion of the
imperative that there be first obtained "the approval of a majority of votes Court is allowed considerable leeway" and that "there is indeed an
in the plebiscite in the unit or units affected" whenever a province is element of ambiguity in the use of the expression unit or units affected."
created, divided or merged and there is substantial alteration of the The ruling rendered in said case was based on a claimed prerogative of the
boundaries. It is thus inescapable to conclude that the boundaries of the Court then to exercise its discretion on the matter. It did not resolve the
existing province of Negros Occidental would necessarily be substantially question of how the pertinent provision of the Constitution should be
altered by the division of its existing boundaries in order that there can be correctly interpreted.
created the proposed new province of Negros del Norte. Plain and simple
logic will demonstrate than that two political units would be affected. The The ruling in the aforestated case of Paredes vs. The Honorable Executive
first would be the parent province of Negros Occidental because its Secretary, et al. (supra) should not be taken as a doctrinal or compelling
boundaries would be substantially altered. The other affected entity precedent when it is acknowledged therein that "it is plausible to assert,
would be composed of those in the area subtracted from the mother as petitioners do, that when certain Barangays are separated from a
province to constitute the proposed province of Negros del Norte. parent municipality to form a new one, all the voters therein are
affected."
We find no way to reconcile the holding of a plebiscite that should
conform to said constitutional requirement but eliminates the It is relevant and most proper to mention that in the aforecited case
participation of either of these two component political units. No amount of Paredes vs. Executive Secretary, invoked by respondents, We find very
of rhetorical flourishes can justify exclusion of the parent province in the lucidly expressed the strong dissenting view of Justice Vicente Abad
plebiscite because of an alleged intent on the part of the authors and Santos, a distinguished member of this Court, as he therein voiced his
implementors of the challenged statute to carry out what is claimed to be opinion, which We hereunder quote:
a mandate to guarantee and promote autonomy of local government units.
The alleged good intentions cannot prevail and overrule the cardinal 2. ... when the Constitution speaks of "the unit or units affected" it means
precept that what our Constitution categorically directs to be done or all of the people of the municipality if the municipality is to be divided
imposes as a requirement must first be observed, respected and complied such as in the case at bar or an of the people of two or more
with. No one should be allowed to pay homage to a supposed municipalities if there be a merger. I see no ambiguity in the
fundamental policy intended to guarantee and promote autonomy of local Constitutional provision.
government units but at the same time transgress, ignore and disregard
what the Constitution commands in Article XI Section 3 thereof.
This dissenting opinion of Justice Vicente Abad Santos is the— forerunner
Respondents would be no different from one who hurries to pray at the
of the ruling which We now consider applicable to the case at bar, In the
temple but then spits at the Idol therein.
analogous case of Emilio C. Lopez, Jr., versus the Honorable Commission on
Elections, L-56022, May 31, 1985, 136 SCRA 633, this dissent was
We find no merit in the submission of the respondents that the petition reiterated by Justice Abad Santos as he therein assailed as suffering from a
should be dismissed because the motive and wisdom in enacting the law constitutional infirmity a referendum which did not include all the people
may not be challenged by petitioners. The principal point raised by the of Bulacan and Rizal, when such referendum was intended to ascertain if
petitioners is not the wisdom and motive in enacting the law but the the people of said provinces were willing to give up some of their towns to
infringement of the Constitution which is a proper subject of judicial Metropolitan Manila. His dissenting opinion served as a useful guideline in
inquiry. the instant case.

Petitioners' discussion regarding the motives behind the enactment of B.P. Opportunity to re-examine the views formerly held in said cases is now
Blg. 885 to say the least, are most enlightening and provoking but are afforded the present Court. The reasons in the mentioned cases invoked
factual issues the Court cannot properly pass upon in this case. Mention by respondents herein were formerly considered acceptable because of
by petitioners of the unexplained changes or differences in the proposed the views then taken that local autonomy would be better promoted
Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 and the enacted Batas Pambansa Blg. 885; the However, even this consideration no longer retains persuasive value.
swift and surreptitious manner of passage and approval of said law; the
abrupt scheduling of the plebiscite; the reference to news articles
The environmental facts in the case before Us readily disclose that the
regarding the questionable conduct of the said plebiscite held on January
subject matter under consideration is of greater magnitude with
3, 1986; all serve as interesting reading but are not the decisive matters
concomitant multifarious complicated problems. In the earlier case, what
which should be reckoned in the resolution of this case.
was involved was a division of a barangay which is the smallest political
unit in the Local Government Code. Understandably, few and lesser
What the Court considers the only significant submissions lending a little problems are involved. In the case at bar, creation of a new province
support to respondents' case is their reliance on the rulings and relates to the largest political unit contemplated in Section 3, Art. XI of the
pronouncements made by this Court in the case of Governor Zosimo
15

Constitution. To form the new province of Negros del Norte no less than partitioned and dismembered. What was involved was no 'birth' but
three cities and eight municipalities will be subtracted from the parent "amputation." We agree with the petitioners that in the case of Negros
province of Negros Occidental. This will result in the removal of what was involved was a division, a separation; and consequently, as Sec.
approximately 2,768.4 square kilometers from the land area of an existing 3 of Article XI of the Constitution anticipates, a substantial alteration of
province whose boundaries will be consequently substantially altered. It boundary.
becomes easy to realize that the consequent effects cf the division of the
parent province necessarily will affect all the people living in the separate As contended by petitioners,—
areas of Negros Occidental and the proposed province of Negros del Norte.
The economy of the parent province as well as that of the new province
Indeed, the terms 'created', 'divided', 'merged', 'abolished' as used in the
will be inevitably affected, either for the better or for the worse.
constitutional provision do not contemplate distinct situation isolated
Whatever be the case, either or both of these political groups will be
from the mutually exclusive to each other. A Province
affected and they are, therefore, the unit or units referred to in Section 3
maybe created where an existing province is divided or two provinces
of Article XI of the Constitution which must be included in the plebiscite
merged. Such cases necessarily will involve existing unit or
contemplated therein.
units abolished and definitely the boundary being substantially altered.

It is a well accepted rule that "in ascertaining the meaning of a particular


It would thus be inaccurate to state that where an existing political unit is
provision that may give rise to doubts, the intent of the framers and of the
divided or its boundary substantially altered, as the Constitution provides,
people, may be gleaned from the provisions in pari materia."
only some and not all the voters in the whole unit which suffers
Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 which proposed the creation of the new
dismemberment or substantial alteration of its boundary are affected.
province of Negros del Norte recites in Sec. 4 thereof that "the plebiscite
Rather, the contrary is true.
shall be conducted in the areas affected within a period of one hundred
and twenty days from the approval of this Act." As this draft legislation
speaks of "areas," what was contemplated evidently are plurality of It is also Our considered view that even hypothetically assuming that the
areas to participate in the plebiscite. Logically, those to be included in merits of this case can depend on the mere discretion that this Court may
such plebiscite would be the people living in the area of the proposed new exercise, nevertheless, it is the petitioners' case that deserve to be
province and those living in the parent province. This assumption will be favored.
consistent with the requirements set forth in the Constitution.
It is now time for this Court to set aside the equivocations and the
We fail to find any legal basis for the unexplained change made when indecisive pronouncements in the adverted case of Paredes vs. the
Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 was enacted into Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 so Honorable Executive Secretary, et al. (supra). For the reasons already here
that it is now provided in said enabling law that the plebiscite "shall be express, We now state that the ruling in the two mentioned cases
conducted in the proposed new province which are the areas affected." sanctioning the exclusion of the voters belonging to an existing political
We are not disposed to agree that by mere legislative fiat the unit or units unit from which the new political unit will be derived, from participating in
affected referred in the fundamental law can be diminished or restricted the plebiscite conducted for the purpose of determining the formation of
by the Batasang Pambansa to cities and municipalities comprising the new another new political unit, is hereby abandoned.
province, thereby ignoring the evident reality that there are other people
necessarily affected. In their supplemental petition, dated January 4, 1986, it is prayed for by
petitioners that a writ of mandamus be issued, directing the respondent
In the mind of the Court, the change made by those responsible for the Commission on Elections, to schedule the holding of another plebiscite at
enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 betrays their own misgivings. They which all the qualified voters of the entire province of Negros Occidental
must have entertained apprehensions that by holding the plebiscite only as now existing shall participate and that this Court make a
in the areas of the new proposed province, this tactic will be tainted with pronouncement that the plebiscite held on January 3, 1986 has no legal
illegality. In anticipation of a possible strong challenge to the legality of effect for being a patent nullity.
such a plebiscite there was, therefore, deliberately added in the enacted
statute a self-serving phrase that the new province constitutes the area The Court is prepared to declare the said plebiscite held on January 3,
affected. Such additional statement serves no useful purpose for the same 1986 as null and void and violative of the provisions of Sec. 3, Article XI of
is misleading, erroneous and far from truth. The remaining portion of the the Constitution. The Court is not, however, disposed to direct the
parent province is as much an area affected. The substantial alteration of conduct of a new plebiscite, because We find no legal basis to do so. With
the boundaries of the parent province, not to mention the other adverse constitutional infirmity attaching to the subject Batas Pambansa Big. 885
economic effects it might suffer, eloquently argue the points raised by the and also because the creation of the new province of Negros del Norte is
petitioners. not in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government
Code, the factual and legal basis for the creation of such new province
Petitioners have averred without contradiction that after the creation of which should justify the holding of another plebiscite does not exist.
Negros del Norte, the province of Negros Occidental would be deprived of
the long established Cities of Silay, Cadiz, and San Carlos, as well as the Whatever claim it has to validity and whatever recognition has been
municipality of Victorias. No controversion has been made regarding gained by the new province of Negros del Norte because of the
petitioners' assertion that the areas of the Province of Negros Occidental appointment of the officials thereof, must now be erased. That Negros del
will be diminished by about 285,656 hectares and it will lose seven of the Norte is but a legal fiction should be announced. Its existence should be
fifteen sugar mills which contribute to the economy of the whole province. put to an end as quickly as possible, if only to settle the complications
In the language of petitioners, "to create Negros del Norte, the existing currently attending to its creation. As has been manifested, the parent
territory and political subdivision known as Negros Occidental has to be province of Negros del Norte has been impleaded as the defendant in a
16

suit filed by the new Province of Negros del Norte, before the Regional based on a forced or artificial meaning of its words and out of harmony of
Trial Court of Negros (del Norte), docketed as Civil Case No. 169-C, for the the statutory scheme is not to be favored (Helvering vs. Hutchings, 85 L.
immediate allocation, distribution and transfer of funds by the parent Ed., p. 909).
province to the new province, in an amount claimed to be at least
P10,000,000.00. It would be rather preposterous to maintain that a province with a small
land area but which has a long, narrow, extended coast line, (such as La
The final nail that puts to rest whatever pretension there is to the legality Union province) can be said to have a larger territory than a land-locked
of the province of Negros del Norte is the significant fact that this created province (such as Ifugao or Benguet) whose land area manifestly exceeds
province does not even satisfy the area requirement prescribed in Section the province first mentioned.
197 of the Local Government Code, as earlier discussed.
Allegations have been made that the enactment of the questioned state
It is of course claimed by the respondents in their Comment to the was marred by "dirty tricks", in the introduction and passing of
exhibits submitted by the petitioners (Exhs. C and D, Rollo, pp. 19 and 91), Parliamentary Bill No. 3644 "in secret haste" pursuant to sinister designs
that the new province has a territory of 4,019.95 square kilometers, more to achieve "pure and simple gerrymandering; "that recent happenings
or less. This assertion is made to negate the proofs submitted, disclosing more than amply demonstrate that far from guaranteeing its autonomy it
that the land area of the new province cannot be more than 3,500 square (Negros del Norte) has become the fiefdom of a local strongman" (Rollo, p.
kilometers because its land area would, at most, be only about 2,856 43; emphasis supplied).
square kilometers, taking into account government statistics relative to
the total area of the cities and municipalities constituting Negros del Norte. It is not for this Court to affirm or reject such matters not only because the
Respondents insist that when Section 197 of the Local Government Code merits of this case can be resolved without need of ascertaining the real
speaks of the territory of the province to be created and requires that motives and wisdom in the making of the questioned law. No proper
such territory be at least 3,500 square kilometers, what is contemplated is challenge on those grounds can also be made by petitioners in this
not only the land area but also the land and water over which the said proceeding. Neither may this Court venture to guess the motives or
province has jurisdiction and control. It is even the submission of the wisdom in the exercise of legislative powers. Repudiation of improper or
respondents that in this regard the marginal sea within the three mile limit unwise actions taken by tools of a political machinery rests ultimately, as
should be considered in determining the extent of the territory of the new recent events have shown, on the electorate and the power of a vigilant
province. Such an interpretation is strained, incorrect, and fallacious. people.

The last sentence of the first paragraph of Section 197 is most revealing. Petitioners herein deserve and should receive the gratitude of the people
As so stated therein the "territory need not be contiguous if it comprises of the Province of Negros Occidental and even by our Nation.
two or more islands." The use of the word territory in this particular Commendable is the patriotism displayed by them in daring to institute
provision of the Local Government Code and in the very last sentence this case in order to preserve the continued existence of their historic
thereof, clearly reflects that "territory" as therein used, has reference only province. They were inspired undoubtedly by their faithful commitment to
to the mass of land area and excludes the waters over which the political our Constitution which they wish to be respected and obeyed. Despite the
unit exercises control. setbacks and the hardships which petitioners aver confronted them, they
valiantly and unfalteringly pursued a worthy cause. A happy destiny for
Said sentence states that the "territory need not be contiguous." our Nation is assured as long as among our people there would be
Contiguous means (a) in physical contact; (b) touching along all or most of exemplary citizens such as the petitioners herein.
one side; (c) near, text, or adjacent (Webster's New World Dictionary,
1972 Ed., p. 307). "Contiguous", when employed as an adjective, as in the WHEREFORE, Batas Pambansa Blg. 885 is hereby declared unconstitutional.
above sentence, is only used when it describes physical contact, or a The proclamation of the new province of Negros del Norte, as well as the
touching of sides of two solid masses of matter. The meaning of particular appointment of the officials thereof are also declared null and void.
terms in a statute may be ascertained by reference to words associated
with or related to them in the statute (Animal Rescue League vs. Assessors,
SO ORDERED.
138 A.L.R. p. 110). Therefore, in the context of the sentence above, what
need not be "contiguous" is the "territory" the physical mass of land area.
There would arise no need for the legislators to use the word contiguous if Abad Santos, Feria, Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz and Paras, JJ.,
they had intended that the term "territory" embrace not only land area concur.
but also territorial waters. It can be safely concluded that the word
territory in the first paragraph of Section 197 is meant to be synonymous Melencio-Herrera, J., concurs in the result.
with "land area" only. The words and phrases used in a statute should be
given the meaning intended by the legislature (82 C.J.S., p. 636). The sense
in which the words are used furnished the rule of construction (In re
Winton Lumber Co., 63 p. 2d., p. 664).
PARTYLIST

The distinction between "territory" and "land area" which respondents VETERANS FEDERATION PARTY, ALYANSANG BAYANIHAN NG MGA
make is an artificial or strained construction of the disputed provision MAGSASAKA, MANGGAGAWANG BUKID AT MANGINGISDA,
whereby the words of the statute are arrested from their plain and ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA,
obvious meaning and made to bear an entirely different meaning to justify PABAHAY AT KAUNLARAN, and LUZON FARMERS PARTY,
an absurd or unjust result. The plain meaning in the language in a statute petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, PAG-ASA,
is the safest guide to follow in construing the statute. A construction SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP,
17

AMIN, PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW-UNIFIL, PCCI, First, the twenty percent allocation - the combined number
AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total
LAKAS OCW, WOMEN-POWER, INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected
CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, under the party list.
GREEN, ANAKBAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP,
PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KA Second, the two percent threshold - only those parties garnering a
PILIPINAS -- All Being Party-List Parties/Organizations -- and minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list
Hon. MANUEL B. VILLAR, JR. in His Capacity as Speaker of the system are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
House of Representatives, respondents. Third, the three-seat limit - each qualified party, regardless of the
number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three
seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats.

[G.R. No. 136786. October 6, 2000] Fourth, proportional representation - the additional seats which a
qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total
number of votes.

Because the Comelec violated these legal parameters, the assailed


AKBAYAN! (CITIZENS' ACTION PARTY), ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG Resolutions must be struck down for having been issued in grave abuse of
ORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY AT discretion. The poll body is mandated to enforce and administer
KAUNLARAN (AKO), and ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE election-related laws. It has no power to contravene or amend
ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC), petitioners, vs. COMMISSION them. Neither does it have authority to decide the wisdom, propriety or
ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC), HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES rationality of the acts of Congress.
represented by Speaker Manuel B. Villar, PAG-ASA, SENIOR
CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, Its bounden duty is to craft rules, regulations, methods and
MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, formulas to implement election laws -- not to reject, ignore, defeat,
BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMENPOWER INC., obstruct or circumvent them.
FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, FOUR "L", AWATU, PMP,
In fine, the constitutional introduction of the party-list system - a
ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN,
normal feature of parliamentary democracies - into our presidential form
ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN,
of government, modified by unique Filipino statutory parameters,
ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KA PILIPINAS, respondents.
presents new paradigms and novel questions, which demand innovative
legal solutions convertible into mathematical formulations which are, in
turn, anchored on time-tested jurisprudence.

[G.R. No. 136795. October 6, 2000]

The Case

ALAGAD (PARTIDO NG MARALITANG-LUNGSOD), NATIONAL


Before the Court are three consolidated Petitions
CONFEDERATION OF SMALL COCONUT FARMERS'
for Certiorari (with applications for the issuance of a temporary restraining
ORGANIZATIONS (NCSFCO), and LUZON FARMERS' PARTY
order or writ of preliminary injunction) under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
(BUTIL), petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENIOR
assailing (1) the October 15, 1998 Resolution[1] of the Commission on
CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN,
Elections (Comelec), Second Division, in Election Matter 98-065;[2] and (2)
PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI,
the January 7, 1999 Resolution[3] of the Comelec en banc, affirming the
AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG
said disposition. The assailed Resolutions ordered the proclamation of
LAKAS OCW, WOMENPOWER INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS
thirty-eight (38) additional party-list representatives "to complete the full
CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA,
complement of 52 seats in the House of Representatives as provided
GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP,
under Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. 7941.
PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, and AABANTE KA
PILIPINAS, respondents.

DECISION The Facts and the Antecedents

PANGANIBAN, J.:*
Our 1987 Constitution introduced a novel feature into our
presidential system of government -- the party-list method of
representation. Under this system, any national, regional or sectoral party
Prologue
or organization registered with the Commission on Elections may
participate in the election of party-list representatives who, upon their
election and proclamation, shall sit in the House of Representatives as
To determine the winners in a Philippine-style party-list election,
regular members.[4] In effect, a voter is given two (2) votes for the House --
the Constitution and Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 mandate at least four
one for a district congressman and another for a party-list
inviolable parameters. These are:
representative.[5]
18

Specifically, this system of representation is mandated by Section 5, one seat each; Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%)
Article VI of the Constitution, which provides: of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
number of votes; Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or
Sec. 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who
shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, Pursuant to Section 18 of RA 7941, the Comelec en banc
cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of promulgated Resolution No. 2847, prescribing the rules and regulations
their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive governing the election of party-list representatives through the party-list
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected by a party-list system.
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations.

Election of the Fourteen Party-List Representatives


(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the
total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For
three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half On May 11, 1998, the first election for party-list representation was
of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as held simultaneously with the national elections. A total of one hundred
provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban twenty-three (123) parties, organizations and coalitions participated. On
poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other June 26, 1998, the Comelec en banc proclaimed thirteen (13) party-list
sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. representatives from twelve (12) parties and organizations, which had
obtained at least two percent of the total number of votes cast for the
Complying with its constitutional duty to provide by law the party-list system. Two of the proclaimed representatives belonged to
selection or election of party-list representatives, Congress enacted RA Petitioner APEC, which obtained 5.5 percent of the votes. The proclaimed
7941 on March 3, 1995. Under this statutes policy declaration, the State winners and the votes cast in their favor were as follows:[6]
shall "promote proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list Party/Organization/ Number of Percentage of Nominees
system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or Coalition Votes Obtained Total Votes
organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens 1. APEC 503,487 5.5% Rene M. Silos
belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations Melvyn D. Eballe
and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who 2. ABA 321,646 3.51% Leonardo Q. Montemayor
could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate 3. ALAGAD 312,500 3.41% Diogenes S. Osabel
legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of 4. VETERANS 304,802 3.33% Eduardo P. Pilapil
the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop FEDERATION
and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the 5. PROMDI 255,184 2.79% Joy A.G. Young
broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in 6. AKO 239,042 2.61% Ariel A. Zartiga
the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for 7. NCSCFO 238,303 2.60% Gorgonio P. Unde
and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme 8. ABANSE! PINAY 235,548 2.57% Patricia M. Sarenas
possible. (italics ours.) 9. AKBAYAN 232,376 2.54% Loreta Ann P. Rosales
10. BUTIL 215,643 2.36% Benjamin A. Cruz
The requirements for entitlement to a party-list seat in the House 11. SANLAKAS 194,617 2.13% Renato B. Magtubo
are prescribed by this law (RA 7941) in this wise: 12. COOP-NATCCO 189,802 2.07% Cresente C. Paez

After passing upon the results of the special elections held on July 4,
Sec. 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. -- The party-list
18, and 25, 1998, the Comelec en banc further determined that COCOFED
representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total
(Philippine Coconut Planters Federation, Inc.) was entitled to one party-list
number of the members of the House of Representatives including those
seat for having garnered 186,388 votes, which were equivalent to 2.04
under the party-list.
percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system. Thus, its first
nominee, Emerito S. Calderon, was proclaimed on September 8, 1998 as
For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political the 14th party-list representative.[7]
parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall On July 6, 1998, PAG-ASA (Peoples Progressive Alliance for Peace
not be entitled to participate in the party-list system. and Good Government Towards Alleviation of Poverty and Social
Advancement) filed with the Comelec a "Petition to Proclaim [the] Full
Number of Party-List Representatives provided by the Constitution." It
In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following
alleged that the filling up of the twenty percent membership of party-list
procedure shall be observed:
representatives in the House of Representatives, as provided under the
Constitution, was mandatory. It further claimed that the literal application
(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the of the two percent vote requirement and the three-seat limit under RA
highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during 7941 would defeat this constitutional provision, for only 25 nominees
the elections. would be declared winners, short of the 52 party-list representatives who
should actually sit in the House.
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent
(2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to Thereafter, nine other party-list organizations[8] filed their
respective Motions for Intervention, seeking the same relief as that sought
19

by PAG-ASA on substantially the same grounds.Likewise, PAG-ASAs 16. ANG LAKAS OCW
Petition was joined by other party-list organizations in a Manifestation
they filed on August 28, 1998. These organizations were COCOFED, Senior 17. WOMENPOWER, INC.
Citizens, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PCCI, 18. FEJODAP
AMMA-KATIPUNAN, OCW-UNIFIL, KAMPIL, MAHARLIKA, AFW, Women
Power, Inc., Ang Lakas OCW, FEJODAP, CUP, Veterans Care, Bantay Bayan, 19. CUP
4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, ALU and BIGAS.
20. VETERANS CARE
On October 15, 1998, the Comelec Second Division promulgated the
21. 4L
present assailed Resolution granting PAG-ASA's Petition. It also ordered
the proclamation of herein 38 respondents who, in addition to the 14 22. AWATU
already sitting, would thus total 52 party-list representatives. It held that
"at all times, the total number of congressional[9] seats must be filled up 23. PMP
by eighty (80%) percent district representatives and twenty (20%) percent
24. ATUCP
party-list representatives." In allocating the 52 seats, it disregarded the
two percent-vote requirement prescribed under Section 11 (b) of RA 25. NCWP
7941. Instead, it identified three "elements of the party-list system,"
which should supposedly determine "how the 52 seats should be filled 26. ALU
up." First, "the system was conceived to enable the marginalized sectors
27. BIGAS
of the Philippine society to be represented in the House of
Representatives." Second, "the system should represent the broadest 28. COPRA
sectors of the Philippine society." Third, "it should encourage
[the] multi-party system. (Boldface in the original.) Considering these 29. GREEN
elements, but ignoring the two percent threshold requirement of RA 30. ANAKBAYAN
7941, it concluded that "the party-list groups ranked Nos. 1 to 51 x x
x should have at least one representative. It thus disposed as follows: 31. ARBA

32. MINFA
"WHEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the
Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881), Republic Act No. 7941 and other 33. AYOS
election laws, the Commission (Second Division) hereby resolves to GRANT
the instant petition and motions for intervention, to include those 34. ALL COOP
similarly situated. 35. PDP-LABAN

ACCORDINGLY, the nominees from the party-list hereinbelow enumerated 36. KATIPUNAN
based on the list of names submitted by their respective parties, 37. ONEWAY PRINT
organizations and coalitions are PROCLAIMED as party-list representatives,
to wit: 38. AABANTE KA PILIPINAS

1. SENIOR CITIZENS to complete the full complement of 52 seats in the House of


Representatives as provided in Section 5, Article VI of the 1987
2. AKAP Constitution and R.A. 7941.
3. AKSYON
The foregoing disposition sums up a glaring bit of inconsistency and
4. PINATUBO flip-flopping. In its Resolution No. 2847 dated June 25, 1996, the Comelec
5. NUPA en banc had unanimously promulgated a set of Rules and Regulations
Governing the Election of x x x Party-List Representatives Through the
6. PRP Party-List System. Under these Rules and Regulations, one additional seat
shall be given for every two percent of the vote, a formula the Comelec
7. AMIN
illustrated in its Annex A. It apparently relied on this method when it
8. PAG-ASA proclaimed the 14 incumbent party-list solons (two for APEC and one each
for the 12 other qualified parties). However, for inexplicable reasons, it
9. MAHARLIKA abandoned said unanimous Resolution and proclaimed, based on its three
elements, the Group of 38 private respondents.[10]
10. OCW-UNIFIL
The twelve (12) parties and organizations, which had earlier been
11. FCL
proclaimed winners on the basis of having obtained at least two percent
12. AMMA-KATIPUNAN of the votes cast for the party-list system, objected to the proclamation of
the 38 parties and filed separate Motions for Reconsideration. They
13. KAMPIL contended that (1) under Section 11 (b) of RA 7941, only parties,
organizations or coalitions garnering at least two percent of the votes for
14. BANTAY BAYAN
the party-list system were entitled to seats in the House of
15. AFW Representatives; and (2) additional seats, not exceeding two for each,
20

should be allocated to those which had garnered the two percent On July 1, 1999, oral arguments were heard from the parties. Atty.
threshold in proportion to the number of votes cast for the winning Jeremias U. Montemayor appeared for petitioners in GR No. 136781; Atty.
parties, as provided by said Section 11. Gregorio A. Andolana, for petitioners in GR No. 136786; Atty. Rodante D.
Marcoleta for petitioners in GR No. 136795; Attys. Ricardo Blancaflor and
Pete Quirino Quadra, for all the private respondents; Atty. Porfirio V. Sison
for Intervenor NACUSIP; and Atty. Jose P. Balbuena for Respondent
Ruling of the Comelec En Banc
Comelec. Upon invitation of the Court, retired Comelec Commissioner
Regalado E. Maambong acted as amicus curiae.Solicitor General Ricardo P.
Galvez appeared, not for any party but also as a friend of the Court.
Noting that all the parties -- movants and oppositors alike - had
agreed that the twenty percent membership of party-list representatives Thereafter, the parties and the amici curiae were required to submit
in the House "should be filled up, the Comelec en banc resolved only the their respective Memoranda in amplification of their verbal arguments.[14]
issue concerning the apportionment or allocation of the remaining
seats. In other words, the issue was: Should the remaining 38 unfilled
seats allocated to party-list solons be given (1) to the thirteen qualified
parties that had each garnered at least two percent of the total votes, or The Issues
(2) to the Group of 38 - herein private respondents - even if they had not
passed the two percent threshold?
The Court believes, and so holds, that the main question of how to
The poll body held that to allocate the remaining seats only to those determine the winners of the subject party-list election can be fully settled
who had hurdled the two percent vote requirement "will mean the by addressing the following issues:
concentration of representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the
House of Representatives to thirteen organizations representing two 1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives
political parties, three coalitions and four sectors: urban poor, veterans, mentioned in Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, mandatory or is
women and peasantry x x x. Such strict application of the 2% 'threshold' it merely a ceiling? In other words, should the twenty percent allocation
does not serve the essence and object of the Constitution and the for party-list solons be filled up completely and all the time?
legislature -- to develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system
in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral
2. Are the two percent threshold requirement and the three-seat limit
or group interests in the House of Representatives x x x. Additionally, it
provided in Section 11 (b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
"will also prevent this Commission from complying with the constitutional
and statutory decrees for party-list representatives to compose 20% of the
House of Representatives. 3. If the answer to Issue 2 is in the affirmative, how should the additional
seats of a qualified party be determined?
Thus, in its Resolution dated January 7, 1999, the Comelec en banc,
by a razor-thin majority -- with three commissioners concurring[11] and two
members[12] dissenting -- affirmed the Resolution of its Second Division. It,
however, held in abeyance the proclamation of the 51st party (AABANTE The Courts Ruling
KA PILIPINAS), "pending the resolution of petitions for correction of
manifest errors.
The Petitions are partly meritorious. The Court agrees with
Without expressly declaring as unconstitutional or void the two petitioners that the assailed Resolutions should be nullified, but disagrees
percent vote requirement imposed by RA 7941, the Commission blithely that they should all be granted additional seats.
rejected and circumvented its application, holding that there were more
important considerations than this statutory threshold.

Consequently, several petitions for certiorari, prohibition First Issue: Whether the Twenty Percent Constitutional Allocation Is
and mandamus, with prayers for the issuance of temporary restraining Mandatory
orders or writs of preliminary injunction, were filed before this Court by
the parties and organizations that had obtained at least two per cent of
the total votes cast for the party-list system.[13] In the suits, made The pertinent provision[15] of the Constitution on the composition of
respondents together with the Comelec were the 38 parties, organizations the House of Representatives reads as follows:
and coalitions that had been declared by the poll body as likewise entitled
to party-list seats in the House of Representatives. Collectively, petitioners Sec. 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more
sought the proclamation of additional representatives from each of their than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who
parties and organizations, all of which had obtained at least two percent shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces,
of the total votes cast for the party-list system. cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of
their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive
On January 12, 1999, this Court issued a Status Quo Order directing
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected by a party-list
the Comelec to CEASE and DESIST from constituting itself as a National
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
Board of Canvassers on 13 January 1999 or on any other date and
organizations.
proclaiming as winners the nominees of the parties, organizations and
coalitions enumerated in the dispositive portions of its 15 October 1998
Resolution or its 7 January 1999 Resolution, until further orders from this (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the
Court. total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For
three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half
21

of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as 7941 is unconstitutional, because its strict application would make it
provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban mathematically impossible to fill up the House party-list complement.
poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. We rule that a simple reading of Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution, easily conveys the equally simple message that Congress was
vested with the broad power to define and prescribe the mechanics of the
party-list system of representation. The Constitution explicitly sets down
Determination of the Total Number of Party-List Lawmakers only the percentage of the total membership in the House of
Representatives reserved for party-list representatives.

Clearly, the Constitution makes the number of district In the exercise of its constitutional prerogative, Congress enacted
representatives the determinant in arriving at the number of seats RA 7941. As said earlier, Congress declared therein a policy to promote
allocated for party-list lawmakers, who shall comprise "twenty per centum "proportional representation" in the election of party-list representatives
of the total number of representatives including those under the in order to enable Filipinos belonging to the marginalized and
party-list." We thus translate this legal provision into a mathematical underrepresented sectors to contribute legislation that would benefit
formula, as follows: them. It however deemed it necessary to require parties, organizations
and coalitions participating in the system to obtain at least two percent of
No. of district representatives the total votes cast for the party-list system in order to be entitled to a
---------------------------------- x .20 = No. of party-list party-list seat. Those garnering more than this percentage could have
.80 representatives "additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes.
Furthermore, no winning party, organization or coalition can have more
This formulation[16] means that any increase in the number of
than three seats in the House of Representatives. Thus the relevant
district representatives, as may be provided by law, will necessarily result
portion of Section 11(b) of the law provides:
in a corresponding increase in the number of party-list seats. To illustrate,
considering that there were 208 district representatives to be elected
during the 1998 national elections, the number of party-list seats would (b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent
be 52, computed as follows: (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to
one seat each; Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%)
208 of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
-------- x .20 = 52 number of votes; Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or
.80 coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

The foregoing computation of seat allocation is easy enough to


comprehend. The problematic question, however, is this: Does the Considering the foregoing statutory requirements, it will be shown
Constitution require all such allocated seats to be filled up all the time and presently that Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution is not
under all circumstances? Our short answer is No. mandatory. It merely provides a ceiling for party-list seats in Congress.

On the contention that a strict application of the two percent


threshold may result in a mathematical impossibility, suffice it to say that
Twenty Percent Allocation a Mere Ceiling the prerogative to determine whether to adjust or change this percentage
requirement rests in Congress.[17] Our task now, as should have been the
Comelecs, is not to find fault in the wisdom of the law through highly
The Constitution simply states that "[t]he party-list representatives unlikely scenarios of clinical extremes, but to craft an innovative
shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives mathematical formula that can, as far as practicable, implement it within
including those under the party-list. the context of the actual election process.

According to petitioners, this percentage is a ceiling; the mechanics Indeed, the function of the Supreme Court, as well as of all judicial
by which it is to be filled up has been left to Congress. In the exercise of its and quasi-judicial agencies, is to apply the law as we find it, not to
prerogative, the legislature enacted RA 7941, by which it prescribed that a reinvent or second-guess it. Unless declared unconstitutional, ineffective,
party, organization or coalition participating in the party-list election must insufficient or otherwise void by the proper tribunal, a statute remains a
obtain at least two percent of the total votes cast for the system in order valid command of sovereignty that must be respected and obeyed at all
to qualify for a seat in the House of Representatives. times. This is the essence of the rule of law.

Petitioners further argue that the constitutional provision must be


construed together with this legislative requirement. If there is no
sufficient number of participating parties, organizations or coalitions Second Issue: The Statutory Requirement and Limitation
which could hurdle the two percent vote threshold and thereby fill up the
twenty percent party-list allocation in the House, then naturally such
allocation cannot be filled up completely. The Comelec cannot be faulted The Two Percent Threshold
for the "incompleteness," for ultimately the voters themselves are the
ones who, in the exercise of their right of suffrage, determine who and
how many should represent them. In imposing a two percent threshold, Congress wanted to ensure
On the other hand, Public Respondent Comelec, together with the that only those parties, organizations and coalitions having a sufficient
respondent parties, avers that the twenty percent allocation for party-list number of constituents deserving of representation are actually
lawmakers is mandatory, and that the two percent vote requirement in RA represented in Congress. This intent can be gleaned from the
22

deliberations on the proposed bill. We quote below a pertinent portion of of a uniform and progressive ratio"[22] to ensure meaningful local
the Senate discussion: representation.

All in all, we hold that the statutory provision on this two percent
SENATOR GONZALES: For purposes of continuity, I would want to follow
requirement is precise and crystalline. When the law is clear, the function
up a point that was raised by, I think, Senator Osmea when he said that a
of courts is simple application, not interpretation or circumvention.[23]
political party must have obtained at least a minimum percentage to be
provided in this law in order to qualify for a seat under the party-list
system.
The Three-Seat-Per-Party Limit
They do that in many other countries. A party must obtain at least 2
percent of the votes cast, 5 percent or 10 percent of the votes
cast. Otherwise, as I have said, this will actually proliferate political party An important consideration in adopting the party-list system is to
groups and those who have not really been given by the people sufficient promote and encourage a multiparty system of representation. Again, we
basis for them to represent their constituents and, in turn, they will be quote Commissioner Monsod:
able to get to the Parliament through the backdoor under the name of the
party-list system, Mr. President."[18] MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or
proposed the party list system because we wanted to open up the political
A similar intent is clear from the statements of the bill sponsor in system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system.But we also
the House of Representatives, as the following shows: wanted to avoid the problems of mechanics and operation in the
implementation of a concept that has very serious shortcomings of
classification and of double or triple votes. We are for opening up the
MR. ESPINOSA. There is a mathematical formula which this computation is
system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is
based at, arriving at a five percent ratio which would distribute equitably
why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the number of
the number of seats among the different sectors. There is a mathematical
representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated
formula which is, I think, patterned after that of the party list of the other
under the party list system. This way, we will open it up and enable
parliaments or congresses, more particularly the Bundestag of
sectoral groups, or maybe regional groups, to earn their seats among the
Germany.[19]
fifty. x x x.[24]

Moreover, even the framers of our Constitution had in mind a


Consistent with the Constitutional Commission's pronouncements,
minimum-vote requirement, the specification of which they left to
Congress set the seat-limit to three (3) for each qualified party,
Congress to properly determine. Constitutional Commissioner Christian S.
organization or coalition. "Qualified" means having hurdled the two
Monsod explained:
percent vote threshold. Such three-seat limit ensures the entry of various
interest-representations into the legislature; thus, no single group, no
MR. MONSOD. x x x We are amenable to modifications in the minimum matter how large its membership, would dominate the party-list seats, if
percentage of votes. Our proposal is that anybody who has two-and-a-half not the entire House.
percent of the votes gets a seat. There are about 20 million who cast their
votes in the last elections. Two-and-a-half percent would mean 500,000 We shall not belabor this point, because the validity of the
votes. Anybody who has a constituency of 500,000 votes nationwide three-seat limit is not seriously challenged in these consolidated cases.
deserves a seat in the Assembly. If we bring that down to two percent, we
are talking about 400,000 votes. The average vote per family is three. So,
here we are talking about 134,000 families. We believe that there are Third Issue: Method of Allocating Additional Seats
many sectors who will be able to get seats in the Assembly because many
of them have memberships of over 10,000. In effect, that is the
operational implication of our proposal. What we are trying to avoid is this Having determined that the twenty percent seat allocation is merely
selection of sectors, the reserve seat system. We believe that it is our job a ceiling, and having upheld the constitutionality of the two percent vote
to open up the system and that we should not have within that system a threshold and the three-seat limit imposed under RA 7941, we now
reserve seat. We think that people should organize, should work hard, and proceed to the method of determining how many party-list seats the
should earn their seats within that system.[20] qualified parties, organizations and coalitions are entitled to. The very first
step - there is no dispute on this - is to rank all the participating parties,
The two percent threshold is consistent not only with the intent of organizations and coalitions (hereafter collectively referred to as "parties")
the framers of the Constitution and the law, but with the very essence of according to the votes they each obtained. The percentage of their
"representation." Under a republican or representative state, all respective votes as against the total number of votes cast for the party-list
government authority emanates from the people, but is exercised by system is then determined. All those that garnered at least two percent of
representatives chosen by them.[21] But to have meaningful representation, the total votes cast have an assured or guaranteed seat in the House of
the elected persons must have the mandate of a sufficient number of Representatives. Thereafter, "those garnering more than two percent of
people. Otherwise, in a legislature that features the party-list system, the the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
result might be the proliferation of small groups which are incapable of number of votes." The problem is how to distribute additional seats
contributing significant legislation, and which might even pose a threat to "proportionally," bearing in mind the three-seat limit further imposed by
the stability of Congress. Thus, even legislative districts are apportioned the law.
according to "the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis
23

One Additional Seat Per Two Percent Increment 13. COCOFED 186,388 1 2.12 3
Total 3,429,338 13 32 7 52

One proposed formula is to allocate one additional seat for every However, since Section 11 of RA 7941 sets a limit of three (3) seats
additional proportion of the votes obtained equivalent to the two percent for each party, those obtaining more than the limit will have to give up
vote requirement for the first seat.[25]Translated in figures, a party that their excess seats. Under our present set of facts, the thirteen qualified
wins at least six percent of the total votes cast will be entitled to three parties will each be entitled to three seats, resulting in an overall total of
seats; another party that gets four percent will be entitled to two seats; 39. Note that like the previous proposal, the Niemeyer formula would
and one that gets two percent will be entitled to one seat only. This violate the principle of "proportional representation," a basic tenet of our
proposal has the advantage of simplicity and ease of party-list system.
comprehension. Problems arise, however, when the parties get very The Niemeyer formula, while no doubt suitable for Germany, finds
lop-sided votes -- for example, when Party A receives 20 percent of the no application in the Philippine setting, because of our three-seat limit and
total votes cast; Party B, 10 percent; and Party C, 6 percent. Under the the non-mandatory character of the twenty percent allocation. True, both
method just described, Party A would be entitled to 10 seats; Party B, to 5 our Congress and the Bundestag have threshold requirements -- two
seats and Party C, to 3 seats. Considering the three-seat limit imposed by percent for us and five for them. There are marked differences between
law, all the parties will each uniformly have three seats only. We would the two models, however. As ably pointed out by private
then have the spectacle of a party garnering two or more times the respondents,[26] one half of the German Parliament is filled up by party-list
number of votes obtained by another, yet getting the same number of members. More important, there are no seat limitations, because German
seats as the other one with the much lesser votes. In effect, proportional law discourages the proliferation of small parties. In contrast, RA 7941, as
representation will be contravened and the law rendered nugatory by this already mentioned, imposes a three-seat limit to encourage the
suggested solution. Hence, the Court discarded it. promotion of the multiparty system. This major statutory difference
makes the Niemeyer formula completely inapplicable to the Philippines.

Just as one cannot grow Washington apples in the Philippines or


The Niemeyer Formula
Guimaras mangoes in the Arctic because of fundamental environmental
differences, neither can the Niemeyer formula be transplanted in toto
here because of essential variances between the two party-list models.
Another suggestion that the Court considered was the Niemeyer
formula, which was developed by a German mathematician and adopted
by Germany as its method of distributing party-list seats in the
Bundestag. Under this formula, the number of additional seats to which a The Legal and Logical Formula for the Philippines
qualified party would be entitled is determined by multiplying the
remaining number of seats to be allocated by the total number of votes
obtained by that party and dividing the product by the total number of It is now obvious that the Philippine style party-list system is a
votes garnered by all the qualified parties. The integer portion of the unique paradigm which demands an equally unique formula. In crafting a
resulting product will be the number of additional seats that the party legally defensible and logical solution to determine the number
concerned is entitled to. Thus: of additional seats that a qualified party is entitled to, we need to review
the parameters of the Filipino party-list system.
No. of remaining seats
to be allocated No. of additional As earlier mentioned in the Prologue, they are as follows:
--------------------------- x No. of votes of = seats of party
Total no. of votes of party concerned concerned First, the twenty percent allocation - the combined number
qualified parties (Integer.decimal) of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total
membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected
The next step is to distribute the extra seats left among the qualified under the party list.
parties in the descending order of the decimal portions of the resulting
products. Based on the 1998 election results, the distribution of party-list Second, the two percent threshold - only those parties garnering a
seats under the Niemeyer method would be as follows: minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list
system are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
Party Number of Guaranteed Additional Extra Total
Votes Seats Seats Seats Third, the three-seat limit - each qualified party, regardless of the
1. APEC 503,487 1 5.73 1 7 number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three
2. ABA 321,646 1 3.66 1 5 seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats.
3. ALAGAD 312,500 1 3.55 4 Fourth, proportional representation - the additional seats which a
4. VETERANS 304,802 1 3.47 4 qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total
FEDERATION number of votes.
5. PROMDI 255,184 1 2.90 1 4
6. AKO 239,042 1 2.72 1 4 The problem, as already stated, is to find a way to translate
7. NCSCFO 238,303 1 2.71 1 4 proportional representation into a mathematical formula that will not
8. ABANSE! PINAY 235,548 1 2.68 1 4 contravene, circumvent or amend the above-mentioned parameters.
9. AKBAYAN 232,376 1 2.64 1 4
After careful deliberation, we now explain such formula, step by
10. BUTIL 215,643 1 2.45 3
step.
11. SANLAKAS 194,617 1 2.21 3
12. COOP-NATCCO 189,802 1 2.16 3
24

Step One. There is no dispute among the petitioners, the public and Total votes for total votes for party-list system
the private respondents, as well as the members of this Court, that the party-list system
initial step is to rank all the participating parties, organizations and
coalitions from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes If the proportion of votes received by the first party without
they each received. Then the ratio for each party is computed by dividing rounding it off is equal to at least six percent of the total valid votes cast
its votes by the total votes cast for all the parties participating in the for all the party list groups, then the first party shall be entitled to two
system. All parties with at least two percent of the total votes are additional seats or a total of three seats overall. If the proportion of votes
guaranteed one seat each. Only these parties shall be considered in the without a rounding off is equal to or greater than four percent, but less
computation of additional seats. The party receiving the highest number than six percent, then the first party shall have one additional or a total of
of votes shall thenceforth be referred to as the first party. two seats. And if the proportion is less than four percent, then the first
party shall not be entitled to any additional seat.
Step Two. The next step is to determine the number of seats the
first party is entitled to, in order to be able to compute that for the other We adopted this six percent bench mark, because the first party is
parties. Since the distribution is based on proportional representation, the not always entitled to the maximum number of additional seats. Likewise,
number of seats to be allotted to the other parties cannot possibly exceed it would prevent the allotment of more than the total number of available
that to which the first party is entitled by virtue of its obtaining the most seats, such as in an extreme case wherein 18 or more parties tie for the
number of votes. highest rank and are thus entitled to three seats each. In such scenario,
the number of seats to which all the parties are entitled may exceed the
For example, the first party received 1,000,000 votes and is maximum number of party-list seats reserved in the House of
determined to be entitled to two additional seats. Another qualified party Representatives.
which received 500,000 votes cannot be entitled to the same number of
seats, since it garnered only fifty percent of the votes won by the first Applying the above formula, APEC, which received 5.5% of the total
party. Depending on the proportion of its votes relative to that of the first votes cast, is entitled to one additional seat or a total of two seats.
party whose number of seats has already been predetermined, the second Note that the above formula will be applicable only in determining
party should be given less than that to which the first one is entitled. the number of additional seats the first party is entitled to. It cannot be
The other qualified parties will always be allotted less additional used to determine the number of additional seats of the other qualified
seats than the first party for two reasons: (1) the ratio between said parties. As explained earlier, the use of the same formula for all would
parties and the first party will always be less than 1:1, and (2) the formula contravene the proportional representation parameter. For example, a
does not admit of mathematical rounding off, because there is no such second party obtains six percent of the total number of votes
thing as a fraction of a seat. Verily, an arbitrary rounding off could result in cast. According to the above formula, the said party would be entitled to
a violation of the twenty percent allocation. An academic mathematical two additional seats or a total of three seats overall. However, if the first
demonstration of such incipient violation is not necessary because the party received a significantly higher amount of votes -- say, twenty
present set of facts, given the number of qualified parties and the voting percent -- to grant it the same number of seats as the second party would
percentages obtained, will definitely not end up in such constitutional violate the statutory mandate of proportional representation, since a
contravention. party getting only six percent of the votes will have an equal number of
representatives as the one obtaining twenty percent. The proper solution,
The Court has previously ruled in Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales[27] that a therefore, is to grant the first party a total of three seats; and the party
fractional membership cannot be converted into a whole membership of receiving six percent, additional seats in proportion to those of the first
one when it would, in effect, deprive another party's fractional party.
membership. It would be a violation of the constitutional mandate of
proportional representation. We said further that "no party can claim
more than what it is entitled to x x x.
Formula for Additional Seats of Other Qualified Parties
In any case, the decision on whether to round off the fractions is
better left to the legislature. Since Congress did not provide for it in the
present law, neither will this Court. The Supreme Court does not make the Step Three The next step is to solve for the number of additional
law; it merely applies it to a given set of facts. seats that the other qualified parties are entitled to, based on proportional
representation. The formula is encompassed by the following complex
fraction:

Formula for Determining Additional Seats for the First Party No. of votes of
concerned party
------------------
Now, how do we determine the number of seats the first party is Total no. of votes
entitled to? The only basis given by the law is that a party receiving at Additional seats for party-list system No. of additional
least two percent of the total votes shall be entitled to one for concerned = ----------------------- x seats allocated to
seat. Proportionally, if the first party were to receive twice the number of party No. of votes of the first party
votes of the second party, it should be entitled to twice the latter's first party
number of seats and so on. The formula, therefore, for computing the ------------------
number of seats to which the first party is entitled is as follows: Total no. of votes
for party list system
Number of votes
of first party Proportion of votes of In simplified form, it is written as follows:
-------------------- = first party relative to
25

No. of votes of parties. Hence, we affirm the legality of the incumbencies of their
Additional seats concerned party No. of additional nominees, albeit through the use of a different formula and methodology.
for concerned = ------------------ x seats allocated to
party No. of votes of the first party In his Dissent, Justice Mendoza criticizes our methodology for being
first party too strict. We say, however, that our formula merely translated the
Philippine legal parameters into a mathematical equation, no more no
Thus, in the case of ABA, the additional number of seats it would be less. If Congress in its wisdom decides to modify RA 7941 to make it less
entitled to is computed as follows: strict, then the formula will also be modified to reflect the changes willed
by the lawmakers.
No. of votes of
Additional seats ABA No. of additional
for concerned = -------------------- x seats allocated to
party (ABA) No. of votes of the first party Epilogue
first party (APEC)

Substituting actual values would result in the following equation: In sum, we hold that the Comelec gravely abused its discretion in
ruling that the thirty-eight (38) herein respondent parties, organizations
Additional seats 321,646
and coalitions are each entitled to a party-list seat, because it glaringly
for concerned = ----------- x 1 = .64 or 0 additional seat, since
violated two requirements of RA 7941: the two percent threshold and
party (ABA) 503,487 rounding off is not to be applied
proportional representation.
Applying the above formula, we find the outcome of the 1998
In disregarding, rejecting and circumventing these statutory
party-list election to be as follows:
provisions, the Comelec effectively arrogated unto itself what the
Organization Votes %age of Initial No. Additional Total Constitution expressly and wholly vested in the legislature: the power and
Garnered Total Votes of Seats Seats the discretion to define the mechanics for the enforcement of the
1. APEC 503,487 5.50% 1 1 2 system. The wisdom and the propriety of these impositions, absent any
2. ABA 321,646 3.51% 1 321,646 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.64 1 clear transgression of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion
3. ALAGAD 312,500 3.41% 1 312,500 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.62 1 amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, are beyond judicial review.[28]
4. VETERANS 304,802 3.33% 1 304,802 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.61 1
Indeed, the Comelec and the other parties in these cases - both
FEDERATION
petitioners and respondents - have failed to demonstrate that our
5. PROMDI 255,184 2.79% 1 255,184 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.51 1
lawmakers gravely abused their discretion in prescribing such
6. AKO 239,042 2.61% 1 239,042 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1
requirements. By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or
7. NCSFO 238,303 2.60% 1 238,303 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1
whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack or excess of
8. ABANSE! 235,548 2.57% 1 321,646 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1
jurisdiction.[29]
PINAY
9. AKBAYAN! 232,376 2.54% 1 232,376 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.46 1 The Comelec, which is tasked merely to enforce and administer
10. BUTIL 215,643 2.36% 1 215,643 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.43 1 election-related laws,[30] cannot simply disregard an act of Congress
11. SANLAKAS 194,617 2.13% 1 194,617 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.39 1 exercised within the bounds of its authority. As a mere implementing body,
12. COOP- 189,802 2.07% 1 189,802 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.38 1 it cannot judge the wisdom, propriety or rationality of such act. Its
NATCCO recourse is to draft an amendment to the law and lobby for its approval
13. COCOFED 186,388 2.04% 1 186,388 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.37 1 and enactment by the legislature.
Incidentally, if the first party is not entitled to any additional seat, Furthermore, a reading of the entire Constitution reveals no
then the ratio of the number of votes for the other party to that for the violation of any of its provisions by the strict enforcement of RA 7941. It is
first one is multiplied by zero. The end result would be zero additional seat basic that to strike down a law or any of its provisions as unconstitutional,
for each of the other qualified parties as well. there must be a clear and unequivocal showing that what the Constitution
prohibits, the statute permits.[31]
The above formula does not give an exact mathematical
representation of the number of additional seats to be awarded since, in Neither can we grant petitioners prayer that they each be given
order to be entitled to one additional seat, an exact whole number is additional seats (for a total of three each), because granting such plea
necessary. In fact, most of the actual mathematical proportions are not would plainly and simply violate the proportional representation
whole numbers and are not rounded off for the reasons explained mandated by Section 11 (b) of RA 7941.
earlier. To repeat, rounding off may result in the awarding of a number of
seats in excess of that provided by the law. Furthermore, obtaining The low turnout of the party-list votes during the 1998 elections
absolute proportional representation is restricted by the should not be interpreted as a total failure of the law in fulfilling the
three-seat-per-party limit to a maximum of two additional slots. An object of this new system of representation. It should not be deemed a
increase in the maximum number of additional representatives a party conclusive indication that the requirements imposed by RA 7941 wholly
may be entitled to would result in a more accurate proportional defeated the implementation of the system. Be it remembered that the
representation. But the law itself has set the limit: only two additional party-list system, though already popular in parliamentary democracies, is
seats. Hence, we need to work within such extant parameter. still quite new in our presidential system. We should allow it some time to
take root in the consciousness of our people and in the heart of our
The net result of the foregoing formula for determining additional tripartite form of republicanism. Indeed, the Comelec and the defeated
seats happily coincides with the present number of incumbents; namely, litigants should not despair.
two for the first party (APEC) and one each for the twelve other qualified
26

Quite the contrary, the dismal result of the first election for DECISION
party-list representatives should serve as a challenge to our sectoral
parties and organizations. It should stir them to be more active and PANGANIBAN, J.:
vigilant in their campaign for representation in the State's lawmaking
body. It should also serve as a clarion call for innovation and creativity in The party-list system is a social justice tool designed not only to give
adopting this novel system of popular democracy. more law to the great masses of our people who have less in life, but also
to enable them to become veritable lawmakers themselves, empowered
With adequate information dissemination to the public and more to participate directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit
active sectoral parties, we are confident our people will be more them. It intends to make the marginalized and the underrepresented not
responsive to future party-list elections. Armed with patience, merely passive recipients of the States benevolence, but active
perseverance and perspicacity, our marginalized sectors, in time, will fulfill participants in the mainstream of representative democracy. Thus,
the Filipino dream of full representation in Congress under the aegis of the allowing all individuals and groups, including those which now dominate
party-list system, Philippine style. district elections, to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list
WHEREFORE, the Petitions are hereby partially GRANTED. The elections would desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social
assailed Resolutions of the Comelec are SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED. The justice mechanism into an atrocious veneer for traditional politics.
proclamations of the fourteen (14) sitting party-list representatives - two
for APEC and one each for the remaining twelve (12) qualified parties -
are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. The Case

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Before us are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon Jr., JJ., concur. challenging Omnibus Resolution No. 3785[1] issued by the Commission on
Bellosillo, Melo, and Vitug, JJ., in the result. Elections (Comelec) on March 26, 2001. This Resolution approved the
Puno, J., see separate concurring opinion. participation of 154 organizations and parties, including those herein
Mendoza, J., dissents. impleaded, in the 2001 party-list elections. Petitioners seek the
Kapunan, and Quisumbing, JJ., join the opinion of J. Mendoza. disqualification of private respondents, arguing mainly that the party-list
system was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented;
not the mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or
ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY (under the acronym OFW), overrepresented.
represented herein by its secretary-general, MOHAMMAD
OMAR FAJARDO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS;
CITIZENS DRUG WATCH; MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA DROGA; GO!
The Factual Antecedents
GO! PHILIPPINES; THE TRUE MARCOS LOYALIST ASSOCIATION
OF THE PHILIPPINES; PHILIPPINE LOCAL AUTONOMY; CITIZENS
MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT AND
PEACE; CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE BUILDERS ASSOCIATION; With the onset of the 2001 elections, the Comelec received several
SPORTS & HEALTH ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION, INC.; ANG Petitions for registration filed by sectoral parties, organizations and
LAKAS NG OVERSEAS CONTRACT WORKERS (OCW); BAGONG political parties. According to the Comelec, [v]erifications were made as to
BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others under the status and capacity of these parties and organizations and hearings
Organizations/Coalitions of Omnibus Resolution No. 3785; were scheduled day and night until the last party w[as] heard. With the
PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO; LAKAS NUCD-UMDP; number of these petitions and the observance of the legal and procedural
NATIONALIST PEOPLES COALITION; LABAN NG requirements, review of these petitions as well as deliberations takes a
DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO; AKSYON DEMOKRATIKO; longer process in order to arrive at a decision and as a result the two (2)
PDP-LABAN; LIBERAL PARTY; NACIONALISTA PARTY; ANG divisions promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution and individual
BUHAY HAYAANG YUMABONG; and others under Political resolution on political parties. These numerous petitions and processes
Parties of Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. respondents. observed in the disposition of these petition[s] hinder the early release of
the Omnibus Resolutions of the Divisions which were promulgated only on
10 February 2001.[2]

Thereafter, before the February 12, 2001 deadline prescribed under


[G.R. No. 147613. June 26, 2001] Comelec Resolution No. 3426 dated December 22, 2000, the registered
parties and organizations filed their respective Manifestations, stating
their intention to participate in the party-list elections. Other sectoral and
political parties and organizations whose registrations were denied also
BAYAN MUNA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; filed Motions for Reconsideration, together with Manifestations of their
NATIONALIST PEOPLES COALITION (NPC); LABAN NG intent to participate in the party-list elections. Still other registered parties
DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LDP); PARTIDO NG MASANG filed their Manifestations beyond the deadline.
PILIPINO (PMP); LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP; LIBERAL PARTY;
The Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestations (or
MAMAMAYANG AYAW SA DROGA; CREBA; NATIONAL
accreditations) of 154 parties and organizations, but denied those of
FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE PLANTERS; JEEP; and BAGONG
several others in its assailed March 26, 2001 Omnibus Resolution No. 3785,
BAYANI ORGANIZATION, respondents.
which we quote:
27

We carefully deliberated the foregoing matters, having in mind that this During the hearing on May 17, 2001, the Court directed the parties
system of proportional representation scheme will encourage to address the following issues:
multi-partisan [sic] and enhance the inability of small, new or sectoral
parties or organization to directly participate in this electoral window. 1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the
premises. More specifically, is there no other plain, speedy or adequate
It will be noted that as defined, the party-list system is a mechanism of remedy in the ordinary course of law?
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the
House of Representatives from national, regional, and sectoral parties or 2. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list
organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on elections.
Elections.
3. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to marginalized and
However, in the course of our review of the matters at bar, we must underrepresented sectors and organizations.
recognize the fact that there is a need to keep the number of sectoral
parties, organizations and coalitions, down to a manageable level, keeping
4. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in
only those who substantially comply with the rules and regulations and
promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. 3785.[16]
more importantly the sufficiency of the Manifestations or evidence on the
Motions for Reconsiderations or Oppositions.[3]

The Courts Ruling


On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the
Comelec a Petition praying that the names of [some of herein respondents]
be deleted from the Certified List of Political Parties/Sectoral
Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the Party List System for The Petitions are partly meritorious. These cases should be
the May 14, 2001 Elections and that said certified list be accordingly remanded to the Comelec which will determine, after summary
amended. It also asked, as an alternative, that the votes cast for the said evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations
respondents not be counted or canvassed, and that the latters nominees enumerated in the assailed Omnibus Resolution satisfy the requirements
not be proclaimed.[4] On April 11, 2001, Bayan Muna and Bayan of the Constitution and RA 7941, as specified in this Decision.
Muna-Youth also filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and
Nomination against some of herein respondents.[5]
First Issue:
On April 18, 2001, the Comelec required the respondents in the two
Recourse Under Rule 65
disqualification cases to file Comments within three days from notice. It
also set the date for hearing on April 26, 2001,[6] but subsequently reset it
to May 3, 2001.[7] During the hearing, however, Commissioner Ralph C.
Respondents contend that the recourse of both petitioners under
Lantion merely directed the parties to submit their respective
Rule 65 is improper because there are other plain, speedy and adequate
memoranda.[8]
remedies in the ordinary course of law.[17] The Office of the Solicitor
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the Comelec, Ang Bagong General argues that petitioners should have filed before the Comelec a
Bayani-OFW Labor Party filed a Petition[9] before this Court on April 16, petition either for disqualification or for cancellation of registration,
2001. This Petition, docketed as GR No. 147589, assailed Comelec pursuant to Sections 19, 20, 21 and 22 of Comelec Resolution No.
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated April 17, 3307-A[18]dated November 9, 2000.[19]
2001,[10] the Court directed respondents to comment on the Petition
We disagree. At bottom, petitioners attack the validity of Comelec
within a non-extendible period of five days from notice.[11]
Omnibus Resolution 3785 for having been issued with grave abuse of
On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this discretion, insofar as it allowed respondents to participate in the party-list
Court a Petition,[12] docketed as GR No. 147613, also challenging Comelec elections of 2001. Indeed, under both the Constitution[20] and the Rules of
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated May 9, 2001,[13] the Court, such challenge may be brought before this Court in a verified
Court ordered the consolidation of the two Petitions before it; directed petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
respondents named in the second Petition to file their respective
Moreover, the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by
Comments on or before noon of May 15, 2001; and called the parties to
Respondent Commission en banc; hence, no motion for reconsideration
an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001. It added that the Comelec may
was possible, it being a prohibited pleading under Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of
proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes cast for the party-list
the Comelec Rules of Procedure.[21]
elections, but barred the proclamation of any winner therein, until further
orders of the Court. The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before
the Comelec a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination
Thereafter, Comments[14] on the second Petition were received by
against some of herein respondents.[22] The Comelec, however, did not act
the Court and, on May 17, 2001, the Oral Argument was conducted as
on that Petition. In view of the pendency of the elections, Petitioner Bayan
scheduled. In an Order given in open court, the parties were directed to
Muna sought succor from this Court, for there was no other adequate
submit their respective Memoranda simultaneously within a
recourse at the time. Subsequent events have proven the urgency of
non-extendible period of five days.[15]
petitioners action; to this date, the Comelec has not yet formally resolved
the Petition before it. But a resolution may just be a formality because the
Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has made its position
Issues:
on the matter quite clear.
28

In any event, this case presents an exception to the rule MR. TADEO. Naniniwala ba kayo na ang party list ay pwedeng
that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain, speedy and paghati-hatian ng UNIDO, PDP-Laban, PNP, Liberal at
adequate remedy.[23] It has been held that certiorari is available, Nacionalista?
notwithstanding the presence of other remedies, where the issue raised is
one purely of law, where public interest is involved, and in case of MR. OPLE. Maaari yan sapagkat bukas ang party list system sa lahat ng
urgency.[24] Indeed, the instant case is indubitably imbued with public mga partido.
interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves the Indeed, Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the
composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives. party-list provision was to open up the system, in order to give a chance to
Moreover, this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on parties that consistently place third or fourth in congressional district
the party-list system, which this Court must urgently resolve, consistent elections to win a seat in Congress.[34] He explained: The purpose of this is
with its duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were
precepts, doctrines, or rules.[25] certain groups or parties that, if we count their votes nationwide, have
about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were always third or fourth
Finally, procedural requirements may be glossed over to prevent a place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But
miscarriage of justice, when the issue involves the principle of social this way, they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even
justice x x x when the decision sought to be set aside is a nullity, or when if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is
the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party-list
and speedy remedy available.[26] system.

For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for a party-list


Second Issue: system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
Participation of Political Parties organizations or coalitions thereof, x x x. Section 3 expressly states that
aparty is either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.
More to the point, the law defines political party as an organized group of
In its Petition, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the
the inclusion of political parties in the party-list system is the most general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means
objectionable portion of the questioned Resolution. [27] For its part, of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its
Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the participation of major political leaders and members as candidates for public office.
parties.[28] On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General, like the
Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves no doubt as to the
impleaded political parties, submits that the Constitution and RA No. 7941
participation of political parties in the party-list system. We quote the
allow political parties to participate in the party-list elections. It argues
pertinent provision below:
that the party-list system is, in fact, open to all registered national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations.[29] xxxxxxxxx

We now rule on this issue. Under the Constitution and RA 7941,


private respondents cannot be disqualified from the party-list elections, For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political
merely on the ground that they are political parties. Section 5, Article VI of parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
the Constitution provides that members of the House of Representatives Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall
may be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.
and sectoral parties or organizations.
xxxxxxxxx
Furthermore, under Sections 7 and 8, Article IX (C) of the
Constitution, political parties may be registered under the party-list Indubitably, therefore, political parties even the major ones -- may
system. participate in the party-list elections.

Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition


shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as Third Issue:
provided in this Constitution. Marginalized and Underrepresented

Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the


party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters' registration That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does
boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other not mean, however, that any political party -- or any organization or group
similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in for that matter -- may do so. The requisite character of these parties or
accordance with law.[30] organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the party-list system,
as laid down in the Constitution and RA 7941. Section 5, Article VI of the
During the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, Comm. Constitution, provides as follows:
Christian S. Monsod pointed out that the participants in the party-list
system may be a regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two
UNIDO,[31] Magsasaka, or a regional party in Mindanao."[32] This was also hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be
clear from the following exchange between Comms. Jaime Tadeo and Blas elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities,
Ople:[33] and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio,
29

and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list The key words in this policy are proportional representation,
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or marginalized and underrepresented, and lack [of] well-defined
organizations. constituencies.

Proportional representation here does not refer to the number of


(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of
people in a particular district, because the party-list election is national in
the total number of representatives including those under the party
scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or
list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution,
oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation of the
one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be
marginalized and underrepresented as exemplified by the enumeration in
filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant,
Section 5 of the law; namely, labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such
indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth,
other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious
veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.
sector. (Emphasis supplied.)
However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation
Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision, a of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy
distinguished member of the Constitutional Commission declared that the to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually
purpose of the party-list provision was to give genuine power to our and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies
people in Congress. Hence, when the provision was discussed, he mentioned in Section 5.[36] Concurrently, the persons nominated by the
exultantly announced: On this first day of August 1986, we shall, hopefully, party-list candidate-organization must be Filipino citizens belonging to
usher in a new chapter to our national history, by giving genuine power to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties.
our people in the legislature.[35]
Finally, lack of well-defined constituenc[y] refers to the absence of a
The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a congressional
self-executory. It is, in fact, interspersed with phrases like in accordance district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it points again to those
with law or as may be provided by law; it was thus up to Congress to with disparate interests identified with the marginalized or
sculpt in granite the lofty objective of the Constitution. Hence, RA 7941 underrepresented.
was enacted. It laid out the statutory policy in this wise:
In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those
Filipinos who are marginalized and underrepresented become members of
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. -- The State shall promote proportional Congress under the party-list system, Filipino-style.
representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but
will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and more so by enabling them to become veritable lawmakers
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack themselves. Consistent with this intent, the policy of the implementing
well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the law, we repeat, is likewise clear: to enable Filipino citizens belonging to
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, x x
nation as a whole, to become members of the House of x, to become members of the House of Representatives. Where the
Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express
a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible terms.[37]
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of
The marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be represented
Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats
under the party-list system are enumerated in Section 5 of RA 7941, which
in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.
states:

SEC. 5. Registration. -- Any organized group of persons may register as a


The Marginalized and
party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list system by
Underrepresented to Become
filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election
Lawmakers Themselves
a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to
participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party
or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching
The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, list
proportional representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the
system, which will enable the election to the House of Representatives of COMELEC may require: Provided, that the sector shall include labor,
Filipino citizens, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and
1. who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
professionals.
organizations and parties; and

2. who lack well-defined constituencies; but While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented
sectors is not exclusive, it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that
3. who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of
not all sectors can be represented under the party-list system. It is a
appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a
fundamental principle of statutory construction that words employed in a
whole.
statute are interpreted in connection with, and their meaning is
ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with which they
30

are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute may be Because the marginalized and underrepresented had not been able
limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate association.[38] to win in the congressional district elections normally dominated by
traditional politicians and vested groups, 20 percent of the seats in the
House of Representatives were set aside for the party-list system. In
The
arguing that even those sectors who normally controlled 80 percent of the
Party-List
seats in the House could participate in the party-list elections for the
System
remaining 20 percent, the OSG and the Comelec disregard the
Desecrated
fundamental difference between the congressional district elections and
by the OSG
the party-list elections.
Contentions
As earlier noted, the purpose of the party-list provision was to open
up the system,[44] in order to enhance the chance of sectoral groups and
organizations to gain representation in the House of Representatives
Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy, the Office of the through the simplest scheme possible.[45] Logic shows that the system has
Solicitor General submits that RA No. 7941 does not limit the participation been opened to those who have never gotten a foothold within it -- those
in the party-list system to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors who cannot otherwise win in regular elections and who therefore need
of society.[39] In fact, it contends that any party or group that is not the simplest scheme possible to do so. Conversely, it would be illogical to
disqualified under Section 6[40]of RA 7941 may participate in the open the system to those who have long been within it -- those privileged
elections. Hence, it admitted during the Oral Argument that even an sectors that have long dominated the congressional district elections.
organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park or Dasmarias
Village could participate in the party-list elections.[41] The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly
understood when compared to a student dormitory open house, which by
The declared policy of RA 7941 contravenes the position of the its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Obviously, the open
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). We stress that the party-list system house is for the benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves
seeks to enable certain Filipino citizens specifically those belonging to who can enter the dormitory even without such special privilege. In the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties to same vein, the open party-list system is only for the outsiders who cannot
be elected to the House of Representatives. The assertion of the OSG that get elected through regular elections otherwise; it is not for the
the party-list system is not exclusive to the marginalized and non-marginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of
underrepresented disregards the clear statutory policy. Its claim that even Congress.
the super-rich and overrepresented can participate desecrates the spirit of
the party-list system. Verily, allowing the non-marginalized and overrepresented to vie for
the remaining seats under the party-list system would not only dilute, but
Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of also prejudice the chance of the marginalized and underrepresented,
Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of contrary to the intention of the law to enhance it. The party-list system is
Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate; a tool for the benefit of the underprivileged; the law could not have given
hence, the OSGs position to treat them similarly defies reason and the same tool to others, to the prejudice of the intended beneficiaries.
common sense. In contrast, and with admirable candor, Atty. Lorna
Patajo-Kapunan[42] admitted during the Oral Argument that a group of This Court, therefore, cannot allow the party-list system to be
bankers, industrialists and sugar planters could not join the party-list sullied and prostituted by those who are neither marginalized nor
system as representatives of their respective sectors.[43] underrepresented. It cannot let that flicker of hope be snuffed out. The
clear state policy must permeate every discussion of the qualification of
While the business moguls and the mega-rich are, numerically political parties and other organizations under the party-list system.
speaking, a tiny minority, they are neither marginalized nor
underrepresented, for the stark reality is that their economic clout
engenders political power more awesome than their numerical
R
limitation. Traditionally, political power does not necessarily emanate
e
from the size of ones constituency; indeed, it is likely to arise more
f
directly from the number and amount of ones bank accounts.
u

It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented t

in our midst are the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and a

infirmity. It was for them that the party-list system was enacted -- to give t

them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give them the i

opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their o

constituencies; and simply to give them a direct voice in Congress and in n

the larger affairs of the State. In its noblest sense, the party-list system
truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine o

change. Verily, it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the f

past the farm hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor, even those in the
underground movement to come out and participate, as indeed many of t

them came out and participated during the last elections. The State h

cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and desecrating e

this social justice vehicle.


S
31
e merely express their individual opinions and are, at best, only persuasive
p in construing the meaning and purpose of the constitution or statute.
a

r Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2


a and 5 of RA 7941 is not an issue here. Hence, they remain parts of the law,
t which must be applied plainly and simply.
e

O Fourth Issue:
p Grave Abuse of Discretion
i

i
From its assailed Omnibus Resolution, it is manifest that the
o
Comelec failed to appreciate fully the clear policy of the law and the
n
Constitution. On the contrary, it seems to have ignored the facet of the
s
party-list system discussed above. The OSG as its counsel admitted before
the Court that any group, even the non-marginalized and overrepresented,
could field candidates in the party-list elections.
The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues, Justices Jose
C. Vitug and Vicente V. Mendoza, are anchored mainly on the supposed When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission
intent of the framers of the Constitution as culled from their deliberations. on Elections, violates or ignores the Constitution or the law, its action can
be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse of
The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, discretion.[49] Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial
is that the primary source from which to ascertain constitutional intent or instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or
purpose is the language of the provision itself. The presumption is that the second-guess it.[50]
words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the
objective sought to be attained.[46] In other words, verba legis still In its Memorandum, Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for
prevails. Only when the meaning of the words used is unclear and the outright disqualification of the major political parties Respondents
equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of construction and Lakas-NUCD, LDP, NPC, LP and PMP on the ground that under Comelec
interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission Resolution No. 4073, they have been accredited as the five (six, including
or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or PDP-Laban) major political parties in the May 14, 2001 elections. It argues
purpose of the provision being construed.[47] that because of this, they have the advantage of getting official Comelec
Election Returns, Certificates of Canvass, preferred poll watchers x x x. We
Indeed, as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza, this note, however, that this accreditation does not refer to the party-list
Court stated in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary[48] that the election, but, inter alia, to the election of district representatives for the
debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention [may be purpose of determining which parties would be entitled to watchers under
consulted] in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Section 26 of Republic Act No. 7166.
Constitution x x x only when other guides fail as said proceedings are
powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is What is needed under the present circumstances, however, is a
clear. Debates in the constitutional convention are of value as showing the factual determination of whether respondents herein and, for that matter,
views of the individual members, and as indicating the reason for their all the 154 previously approved groups, have the necessary qualifications
votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who to participate in the party-list elections, pursuant to the Constitution and
did not talk, much less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose votes at the law.
the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it
Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent
safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face. The
Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), because it is a government entity
proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood
using government resources and privileges. This Court, however, is not a
by the people adopting it than in the framers understanding thereof.
trier of facts.[51] It is not equipped to receive evidence and determine the
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relative to the party-list truth of such factual allegations.
system, is couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall
Basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should
be provided by law. Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7941. In
first be given an opportunity to show that they qualify under the
understanding and implementing party-list representation, we should
guidelines promulgated in this Decision, before they can be deprived of
therefore look at the law first. Only when we find its provisions ambiguous
their right to participate in and be elected under the party-list system.
should the use of extraneous aids of construction be resorted to.

But, as discussed earlier, the intent of the law is obvious and clear
from its plain words. Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the G
party-list system of electing congressional representatives was designed u
to enable underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who i
lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the d
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the e
nation as a whole x x x. The criteria for participation is well defined. Thus, l
there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations, not even to i
the proceedings of Congress. In any event, the framers deliberations
32
n belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be
e elected to the House of Representatives. In other words, while they are
s not disqualified merely on the ground that they are political parties, they
must show, however, that they represent the interests of the marginalized
f and underrepresented. The counsel of Aksyon Demokratiko and other
o similarly situated political parties admitted as much during the Oral
r Argument, as the following quote shows:

S JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: I am not disputing that in my question. All I am


c saying is, the political party must claim to represent the
r marginalized and underrepresented sectors?
e
ATTY. KAPUNAN: Yes, Your Honor, the answer is yes.[52]
e

n Third, in view of the objections[53] directed against the registration


i of Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the
n Court notes the express constitutional provision that the religious sector
g may not be represented in the party-list system. The extent of the
constitutional proscription is demonstrated by the following discussion
P during the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission:
a

r MR. OPLE. x x x
t
In the event that a certain religious sect with
y
nationwide and even international networks of members and
-
supporters, in order to circumvent this prohibition, decides to
L
form its own political party in emulation of those parties I had
i
mentioned earlier as deriving their inspiration and philosophies
s
from well-established religious faiths, will that also not fall
t
within this prohibition?

P MR. MONSOD. If the evidence shows that the intention is to go


a around the prohibition, then certainly the Comelec can pierce
r through the legal fiction.[54]
t

i
The following discussion is also pertinent:
c
MR. VILLACORTA. When the Commissioner proposed EXCEPT
i
RELIGIOUS GROUPS, he is not, of course, prohibiting priests,
p
imams or pastors who may be elected by, say, the indigenous
a
community sector to represent their group.
n

t REV. RIGOS. Not at all, but I am objecting to anybody who represents


s the Iglesia ni Kristo, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church
et cetera.[55]

Furthermore, the Constitution provides that religious


The Court, therefore, deems it proper to remand the case to the
denominations and sects shall not be registered.[56] The prohibition was
Comelec for the latter to determine, after summary evidentiary
explained by a member[57] of the Constitutional Commission in this wise:
hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations allowed to participate
[T]he prohibition is on any religious organization registering as a political
in the party-list elections comply with the requirements of the law. In this
party. I do not see any prohibition here against a priest running as a
light, the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the following guidelines,
candidate. That is not prohibited here; it is the registration of a religious
culled from the law and the Constitution, to assist the Comelec in its work.
sect as a political party.[58]
First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must
Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under
represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in
Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification
Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show -- through its
as follows:
constitution, articles of incorporation, bylaws, history, platform of
government and track record -- that it represents and seeks to uplift (1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or
marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its association organized for religious purposes;
membership should belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented. And it must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
it has chosen or is likely to choose the interest of such sectors.
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government,
RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they
foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether
must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling Filipino citizens
33

directly or through any of its officers or members or policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and
indirectly through third parties for partisan election underrepresented.
purposes;
Eighth, as previously discussed, while lacking a well-defined political
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations constituency, the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the
relating to elections; formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the
nation as a whole. Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; committee proceedings that the nominee of a party, national or regional,
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or is not going to represent a particular district x x x.[61]

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections


or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the
Epilogue
votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2)
preceding elections for the constituency in which it has
registered.[59]
The linchpin of this case is the clear and plain policy of the law: to
Note should be taken of paragraph 5, which disqualifies a party or enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented
group for violation of or failure to comply with election laws and sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political
regulations. These laws include Section 2 of RA 7941, which states that the constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and
party-list system seeks to enable Filipino citizens belonging to enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a
marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties x x whole, to become members of the House of Representatives.
x to become members of the House of Representatives. A party or an
Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social
organization, therefore, that does not comply with this policy must be
justice principle that those who have less in life should have more in
disqualified.
law. The party-list system is one such tool intended to benefit those who
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a have less in life. It gives the great masses of our people genuine hope and
project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. By genuine power. It is a message to the destitute and the prejudiced, and
the very nature of the party-list system, the party or organization must be even to those in the underground, that change is possible. It is an
a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must invitation for them to come out of their limbo and seize the opportunity.
be independent of the government. The participation of the government
Clearly, therefore, the Court cannot accept the submissions of the
or its officials in the affairs of a party-list candidate is not only
Comelec and the other respondents that the party-list system is, without
illegal[60] and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective
any qualification, open to all. Such position does not only weaken the
of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and
electoral chances of the marginalized and underrepresented; it also
underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of
prejudices them. It would gut the substance of the party-list
Representatives.
system. Instead of generating hope, it would create a mirage. Instead of
Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and aggravate
law; its nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as their marginalization.
follows:
In effect, the Comelec would have us believe that the party-list
provisions of the Constitution and RA 7941 are nothing more than a play
SEC. 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be on dubious words, a mockery of noble intentions, and an empty offering
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen on the altar of people empowerment. Surely, this could not have been the
of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a intention of the framers of the Constitution and the makers of RA 7941.
period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the
election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or WHEREFORE, this case is REMANDED to the Comelec, which is
organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days hereby DIRECTED to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings
preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light of the
age on the day of the election. guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Considering the extreme urgency of
determining the winners in the last party-list elections, the Comelec is
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five directed to begin its hearings for the parties and organizations that appear
(25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the to have garnered such number of votes as to qualify for seats in the House
election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty of Representatives. The Comelec is further DIRECTED to submit to this
(30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the Court its compliance report within 30 days from notice hereof.
expiration of his term. The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the
Comelec to refrain from proclaiming any winner during the last party-list
Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must election, shall remain in force until after the Comelec itself will have
represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing disposition.
nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be
Filipino citizens who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on
organizations and parties. Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully Elections receipt thereof. No pronouncement as to costs.
represented by a retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the
SO ORDERED.
working class, by an industrialist. To allow otherwise is to betray the State
34

Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Pardo, Buena, and Gonzaga-Reyes,


JJ., concur. EDUCATIONAL REFORMS, INC., PUNO, C.J.,
Davide, Jr., C.J., in the result. and ABONO, QUISUMBING,
Vitug and Mendoza, JJ., see dissenting opinion.
Quisumbing, De Leon, Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., join the Petitioners, YNARES-SANTIAGO,
dissent of J. Vicente M. Mendoza.
CARPIO,
Ynares-Santiago, J., abroad on official business.
CORONA,

- versus - CARPIO MORALES,


BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR G.R. No. 179271
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT
VELASCO, JR.,
AND TRANSPARENCY (BANAT),
NACHURA,
Petitioner,
LEONARDO-

DE CASTRO,
- versus -
BRION,

PERALTA, and
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
BERSAMIN, JJ.
(sitting as the National Board of

Canvassers),

Respondent.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Promulgated:


ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE
Respondent.
PROFESSIONALS,
July 8, 2009
Intervenor.

x---------------------------------------------------x
AANGAT TAYO,

Intervenor.

RESOLUTION
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS

OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE


CARPIO, J.:
PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR

CITIZENS),
The House of Representatives, represented by Speaker Prospero C.
Intervenor.
Nograles, filed a motion for leave to intervene in G.R. Nos. 179271 and

179295. The House of Representatives filed a motion for clarification in

intervention and enumerated the issues for clarification as follows:


x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

A. There are only 219 legislative districts and not


220. Accordingly, the alloted seats for party-list
BAYAN MUNA, ADVOCACY FOR G.R. No. 179295 representation should only be 54 and not 55. The
House of Representatives seeks clarification on which
TEACHER EMPOWERMENT
of the party-list representatives shall be admitted to
THROUGH ACTION, COOPERATION Present: the Roll of Members considering that the Court
declared as winners 55 party-list representatives.
AND HARMONY TOWARDS
35

B. The House of Representatives wishes to be guided


on whether it should enroll in its Roll of Members the Kabunsuan. Thus, the percentage and ranking of the actual winning
32 named party-list representatives enumerated in party-list groups are different from Table 3 of the Decision in G.R. Nos.
Table 3 or only such number of representatives that
would complete the 250 member maximum 179271 and 179295.
prescribed by Article VI, Sec. 5(1) of the
Constitution. In the event that it is ordered to admit
all 32, will this act not violate the above-cited The Number of Members of the House of Representatives
Constitutional provision considering that the total
members would now rise to 270. in the 2007 Elections

C. The Court declared as unconstitutional the 2%


threshold only in relation to the distribution of
additional seats as found in the second clause of
Section 5(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution reads:
Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941. Yet, it distributed first
seats to party-list groups which did not attain the
minimum number of votes that will entitle them to The House of Representatives shall be composed of
one seat. Clarification is, therefore, sought whether not more than two hundred and fifty
the term additional seats refer to 2nd and 3rd seats members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall
only or all remaining available seats. Corollary be elected from legislative districts apportioned
thereto, the House of Representatives wishes to be among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan
clarified whether there is no more minimum vote Manila area in accordance with the number of their
requirement to qualify as a party-list representative. respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform
and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by
D. For the guidance of the House of Representatives, law, shall be elected through a party-list system of
clarification is sought as to whether the principle laid registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
down in Veterans that the filling up of the allowable organizations. (Emphasis supplied)
seats for party-list representatives is not mandatory,
has been abandoned.[1]

The 1987 Constitution fixes the maximum number of members of the

House of Representatives at 250. However, the 1987 Constitution


On the other hand, Armi Jane Roa-Borje (Roa-Borje), third nominee of expressly allows for an increase in the number of members of the House
Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), filed a motion for leave for of Representatives provided a law is enacted for the purpose. This is clear
partial reconsideration-in-intervention, alleging that: from the phrase unless otherwise provided by law in Section 5(1), Article

VI of the 1987 Constitution. The Legislature has the option to choose


The Supreme Court, in ruling on the procedure for
distribution of seats, has deprived without due whether the increase in the number of members of the House of
process and in violation of the equal protection
Representatives is done by piecemeal legislation or by enactment of a law
clause, parties with more significant constituencies,
such as CIBAC, Gabriela and APEC, in favor of parties authorizing a general increase. Legislation that makes piecemeal increases
who did not even meet the 2% threshold.[2]
of the number of district representatives is no less valid than legislation

that makes a general increase.

Following the Courts Decision of 21 April 2009, the Commission on

Elections (COMELEC) submitted to this Court on 27 April 2009 National

Board of Canvassers (NBC) Resolution No. 09-001. NBC Resolution No.


In 1987, there were only 200 legislative districts. Twenty legislative
09-001 updated the data used by this Court in its Decision of 21 April
districts were added by piecemeal legislation after the ratification of the
2009. The total votes for party-list is now 15,723,764 following the
1987 Constitution:
cancellation of the registration of party-list group Filipinos for Peace,

Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM). Moreover, the total number of

legislative districts is now 219 following the annulment of Muslim

Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 201 creating the province of Shariff Republic Year Legislative District
36

Act Signed Thus, for purposes of the 2007 elections, there were only 219 district

into Law representatives. Navotas City became a separate district on 24 June 2007,

more than a month after the 14 May 2007 elections.


1 7160 1992 Biliran

2 7675 1994 Mandaluyong City The Number of Party-List Seats

in the 2007 Elections


3 7854 1994 Makati (2nd District)

4 7878 1995 Apayao


Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution reads in part:

5 7896 and 1995 Guimaras


The party-list representatives shall constitute
7897 twenty per centum of the total number of
representatives including those under the party-list. x
6 7926 1995 Muntinlupa City xx

7 8470 1998 Compostela Valley


The 1987 Constitution fixes the ratio of party-list representatives to
8 8487 1998 Taguig City (2nd District)
district representatives. This ratio automatically applies whenever the
9 8526 1998 Valenzuela City number of district representatives is increased by law. The mathematical
(2nd District) formula for determining the number of seats available to party-list

representatives is
10 9229 2003 Paraaque (2nd District)

11 9230 2003 San Jose del Monte City


Number of seats Number of seats available to

12 8508 and 1998 and Antipolo (1st District) available x .20 = party-list representatives.

9232 2003 to legislative

districts
13 9232 2003 Antipolo (2nd District)
.80
14 9269 2004 Zamboanga City

(2nd District)
As we stated in our Decision of 21 April 2009, [t]his formula allows for the
15 9355 2006 Dinagat Island
corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list
16 9357 2006 Sultan Kudarat representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Thus,
(2nd District) for every four district representatives, the 1987 Constitution mandates

that there shall be one party-list representative.There is no need for


17 9360 2006 Zamboanga Sibugay
legislation to create an additional party-list seat whenever four additional
(2nd District)
legislative districts are created by law. Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987
18 9364 2006 Marikina City
Constitution automatically creates such additional party-list seat.
(2nd District)

19 9371 2007 Cagayan de Oro We use the table below to illustrate the relationship between the number
(2nd District) of legislative districts and the number of party-list seats for every election

20 9387 2007 Navotas City year after 1987.


37

(2ndDistrict)

Total Number of
2007 219 54 273
Number of Number of
Election Members of the
New Districts:
Legislative Party-List
Year House of
Dinagat Island
Districts Seats
Representatives
Sultan Kudarat

1992 200 50 250 (2ndDistrict)

Zamboanga
1995 206 51 257
Sibugay
New Districts:
(2nd District)
Biliran
Marikina City
Mandaluyong
(2ndDistrict)
City
Cagayan de Oro
Makati
(2ndDistrict)
(2nd District)

Apayao 2010 220 55 275

Guimaras New District:

Muntinlupa City Navotas City

(assuming no
1998 209 52 261
additional
New Districts:
districts are
Compostela
created)
Valley

Taguig City

(2ndDistrict)

Valenzuela City We see that, as early as the election year of 1995, the total number

(2ndDistrict) of members of the House of Representatives is already beyond the initial

maximum of 250 members as fixed in the 1987 Constitution.


2001 209 52 261

2004 214 53 267 Any change in the number of legislative districts brings a corresponding
New Districts: change in the number of party-list seats. However, the increase in the
Paraaque City number of members of the House of Representatives went unnoticed as
(2ndDistrict) the available seats for party-list representatives have never been filled up
San Jose del before. As of the oral arguments in G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295, there
Monte City were 220 legislative districts. Fifty-five party-list seats were thus
Antipolo allocated. However, the number of legislative districts was subsequently
(1st District) reduced to 219 with our ruling on 16 July 2008 declaring void the creation
Antipolo of the Province of Sharif Kabunsuan.[3] Thus, in the 2007 elections, the
(2nd District) number of party-list seats available for distribution should be
Zamboanga City correspondingly reduced from 55 to 54.
38

Similarly, a presidential candidate may win the elections even if he

The filling-up of all available party-list seats is not mandatory. Actual receives only one thousand votes as long as all his opponents receive less

occupancy of the party-list seats depends on the number of participants in than one thousand votes. A winning presidential candidate only needs to

the party-list election. If only ten parties participated in the 2007 party-list receive more votes than his opponents. The same policy applies in

election, then, despite the availability of 54 seats, the maximum possible every election to public office, from the presidential to the barangay

number of occupied party-list seats would only be 30 because of the level.Except for the guaranteed party-list seat, there is no minimum vote

three-seat cap. In such a case, the three-seat cap prevents the mandatory requirement before a candidate in any election, for any elective office, can

allocation of all the 54 available seats. be proclaimed the winner. Of course, the winning candidate must receive

at least one vote, assuming he has no opponents or all his opponents do

Under Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941, garnering 2% of the total votes cast not receive a single vote.

guarantees a party one seat. This 2% threshold for the first round of seat

allocation does not violate any provision of the 1987 Constitution. Thus, In the absence of a minimum vote requirement in the second round of

the Court upholds this 2% threshold for the guaranteed seats as a valid party-list seat allocation, there is no need to belabor the disparity

exercise of legislative power. between the votes obtained by the first and last ranked winning parties in

the 2007 party-list elections. In the same manner, no one belabors the

In the second round allocation of additional seats, there is no minimum disparity between the votes obtained by the highest and lowest ranked

vote requirement to obtain a party-list seat because the Court has struck winners in the senatorial elections. However, for those interested in

down the application of the 2% threshold in the allocation of additional comparing the votes received by party-list representatives vis-a-vis the

seats. Specifically, the provision in Section 11(b) of the Party-List Act votes received by district representatives, the 162,678 votes cast in favor

stating that those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall of TUCP, the last party to obtain a party-list seat, is significantly higher

be entitled to additional seats in the proportion to their total number of than the votes received by 214 of the 218 elected district

votes can no longer be given any effect. Otherwise, the 20 percent representatives.[4]

party-list seats in the total membership of the House of Representatives

as provided in the 1987 Constitution will mathematically be impossible to

fill up.

However, a party-list organization has to obtain a sufficient number of

votes to gain a seat in the second round of seat allocation. What is The Actual Number of Party-List Representatives

deemed a sufficient number of votes is dependent upon the in the 2007 Elections

circumstances of each election, such as the number of participating

parties, the number of available party-list seats, and the number of parties

with guaranteed seats received in the first round of seat allocation. To The data used in Table 3 of our Decision promulgated on 21 April 2009

continue the example above, if only ten parties participated in the 2007 was based on the submissions of the parties. We used the figures from

party-list election and each party received only one thousand votes, then Party-List Canvass Report No. 32, as of 6:00 p.m. of 31 August 2007. The

each of the ten parties would receive 10% of the votes cast. All are NBC issued NBC Report No. 33 on 11 June 2008, updating the 31 August

guaranteed one seat, and are further entitled to receive two more seats in 2007 report. The parties did not furnish this Court with a copy of NBC

the second round of seat allocation. Report No. 33. In any case, we stated in the dispositive portion of our

Decision that [t]he allocation of additional seats under the Party-List


39

System shall be in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 of this 7 AKBAYAN 466,448 2.97% 1 1.07 2 N.A.
decision. Party-List Canvass Report No. 32 is not part of the procedure.
8[5] ALAGAD 423,165 2.69% 1 1 2 N.A.
The computation of the COMELEC in NBC No. 09-001 applying the

procedure laid down in our Decision requires correction for purposes of 9 COOP-NATC 409,987 2.61% 1 1 2 N.A.

accuracy. Instead of multiplying the percentage of votes garnered over the CO

total votes for party-list by 36, the COMELEC multiplied the percentage by 10 BUTIL 409,168 2.60% 1 1 2 N.A.
37. Thirty-six is the proper multiplier as it is the difference between 54,
11 BATAS 385,956 2.45% 1 1 2 N.A.
the number of available party-list seats, and 18, the number of guaranteed

seats. Only the figures in column (C) are affected. The allocation of seats 12 ARC 374,349 2.38% 1 1 2 N.A.

to the winning party-list organizations, however, remains the same as in


13 ANAKPAWI 370,323 2.36% 1 1 2 N.A.
NBC No. 09-001. Our modification of the COMELECs computation in NBC
S
No. 09-001 is shown below:
14 AMIN 347,527 2.21% 1 1 2 N.A.

15 ABONO 340,002 2.16% 1 1 2 N.A.

16 YACAP 331,623 2.11% 1 1 2 N.A.


Votes (B) Applyi
Additio 17 AGAP 328,814 2.09% 1 1 2 N.A.
Garner Guarante plus ng the
nal
ed over ed Seat (C), in three 18 AN WARAY 321,516 2.04% 1 1 2 N.A.
Seats
Total whole seat
19 UNI-MAD 251,804 1.60% 0 1 1 N.A.
Votes intege cap
20 ABS 235,152 1.50% 0 1 1 N.A.
Votes for rs
Ran
Party Garner Party 21 ALIF 229,267 1.46% 0 1 1 N.A.
k
ed List, (First
(Second 22 KAKUSA 229,036 1.46% 0 1 1 N.A.
in % Round)
Round)
23 KABATAAN 228,700 1.45% 0 1 1 N.A.

24 ABA-AKO 219,363 1.40% 0 1 1 N.A.


(B)
(C) 25 SENIOR 213,095 1.36% 0 1 1 N.A.
(A) (D) (E)
CITIZENS
1 BUHAY 1,169,3 7.44% 1 2.68 3 N.A.
26 AT 200,030 1.27% 0 1 1 N.A.
38
27 VFP 196,358 1.25% 0 1 1 N.A.
2 BAYAN 979,189 6.23% 1 2.24 3 N.A.

MUNA 28 ANAD 188,573 1.20% 0 1 1 N.A.

3 CIBAC 755,735 4.81% 1 1.73 2 N.A. 29 BANAT 177,068 1.13% 0 1 1 N.A.

4 GABRIELA 621,266 3.95% 1 1.42 2 N.A. 30 ANG 170,594 1.08% 0 1 1 N.A.

KASANGGA
5 APEC 619,733 3.94% 1 1.42 2 N.A.
31 BANTAY 169,869 1.08% 0 1 1 N.A.
6 A Teacher 490,853 3.12% 1 1.12 2 N.A.
40

32 ABAKADA 166,897 1.06% 0 1 1 N.A. purposes of the second step in the second round of seat

allocation,[7] TUCP has a higher rank than CIBAC.


33 1-UTAK 165,012 1.05% 0 1 1 N.A.

34 TUCP 162,678 1.03% 0 1 1 N.A. Roa-Borjes position stems from the perceived need for absolute

proportionality in the allocation of party-list seats. However, the


35 COCOFED 156,007 0.99% 0 0 0 N.A.
1987 Constitution does not require absolute proportionality in the
Tot 18 54
allocation of party-list seats. Section 5(1), Article VI of the 1987
al
Constitution provides:

(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed


Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS)
of not more than two hundred and fifty members,
and Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino (ALIF) both have pending cases unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected
from legislative districts apportioned among the
before the COMELEC. The COMELEC correctly deferred the proclamation provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area
of both BATAS and ALIF as the outcome of their cases may affect the final in accordance with the number of their respective
inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and
composition of party-list representatives. The computation and allocation progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law,
shall be elected through a party-list system of
of seats may still be modified in the event that the COMELEC decides
registered national, regional, and sectoral parties and
against BATAS and/or ALIF. organizations. (Boldfacing and italicization supplied)

To address Roa-Borjes motion for partial reconsideration-in-intervention

and for purposes of computing the results in future party-list elections, we The phrase legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities,

reiterate that in the second step of the second round of seat allocation, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their

the preference in the distribution of seats should be in accordance with respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio

the higher percentage and higher rank, without limiting thedistribution in Section 5(1) of Article VI requires that legislative districts shall be

apportioned according to proportional representation. However, this

to parties receiving two-percent of the votes.[6] To limit the distribution of principle of proportional representation applies only to legislative districts,

seats to the two-percenters would mathematically prevent the filling up of not to the party-list system. The allocation of seats under the party-list

all the available party-list seats. system is governed by the last phrase of Section 5(1), which states that

the party-list representatives shall be those who, as provided by law,

In the table above, CIBAC cannot claim a third seat from the seat allocated shall be elected through a party-list system, giving the Legislature wide

to TUCP, the last ranked party allocated with a seat. CIBAC's 2.81% (from discretion in formulating the allocation of party-list seats. Clearly, there is

the percentage of 4.81% less the 2% for its guaranteed seat) has a lower no constitutional requirement for absolute proportional representation in

fractional seat value after the allocation of its second seat compared to the allocation of party-list seats in the House of Representatives.

TUCP's 1.03%. CIBAC's fractional seat after receiving two seats is only 0.03

compared to TUCP's 0.38 fractional seat. Multiplying CIBAC's 2.81% by 37, Section 2, on Declaration of Policy, of R.A. No. 7941 provides that the

the additional seats for distribution in the second round, gives 1.03 seat, State shall promote proportional representation in the election of

leaving0.03 fractional seat. Multiplying TUCP's 1.03% by 37 gives a representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list

fractional seat of 0.38, higher than CIBAC's fractional seat of 0.03. The system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or

fractional seats become material only in the second step of the second organizations or coalitions thereof x x x. However, this proportional

round of seat allocation to determine the ranking of parties. Thus, for representation in Section 2 is qualified by Section 11(b) [8] of the same
41

law which mandates a three-seat cap, which is intended to bar any single dominating the party-list system. There is no violation of the

party-list organization from dominating the party-list system. Section 11(b) Constitution because the 1987 Constitution does not require

also qualifies this proportional representation by imposing a two percent absolute proportionality for the party-list system. The

cut-off for those entitled to the guaranteed seats. These statutory well-settled rule is that courts will not question the wisdom of

qualifications are valid because they do not violate the Constitution, which the Legislature as long as it is not violative of the Constitution.

does not require absolute proportional representation for the party-list

system. These four parameters allow the mathematical and practical fulfillment of

the Constitutional provision that party-list representatives shall comprise

To summarize, there are four parameters in a Philippine-style party-list twenty percent of the members of the House of Representatives. At the

election system: same time, these four parameters uphold as much as possible the

Party-List Act, striking down only that provision of the Party-List Act that

could not be reconciled anymore with the 1987 Constitution.

1. Twenty percent of the total number of the membership of the

House of Representatives is the maximum number of seats

available to party-list organizations, such that there is

automatically one party-list seat for every four existing WHEREFORE, the Courts Decision of 21 April 2009 in the present case is

legislative districts. clarified accordingly.

2. Garnering two percent of the total votes cast in the party-list SO ORDERED.

elections guarantees a party-list organization one seat. The


G.R. No. 203766 April 2, 2013
guaranteed seats shall be distributed in a first round of seat
ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan
allocation to parties receiving at least two percent of the total
Igot, Petitioner,
party-list votes. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

3. The additional seats, that is, the remaining seats after allocation x-----------------------x

of the guaranteed seats, shall be distributed to the party-list


G.R. Nos. 203818-19
organizations including those that received less than two

percent of the total votes. The continued operation of the two AKO BICOL POLITICAL PARTY (AKB), Petitioner,
vs.
percent threshold as it applies to the allocation of the additional COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
seats is now unconstitutional because this threshold
x-----------------------x
mathematically and physically prevents the filling up of the

available party-list seats. The additional seats shall be G.R. No. 203922

distributed to the parties in a second round of seat allocation


ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES
according to the two-step procedure laid down in the Decision (APEC),represented by its President Congressman Ponciano D.
Payuyo, Petitioner,
of 21 April 2009 as clarified in this Resolution. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

4. The three-seat cap is constitutional. The three-seat cap is x-----------------------x


intended by the Legislature to prevent any party from
G.R. No. 203936
42

AKSYON MAGSASAKA-PARTIDO TINIG NG MASA, represented by its x-----------------------x


President Michael Abas Kida,Petitioner,
vs. G.R. No. 204100
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
1-BRO PHILIPPINE GUARDIANS BROTHERHOOD, INC., (1BRO-PGBI)
x-----------------------x formerly PGBI, Petitioner,
vs.
G.R. No. 203958 COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

KAPATIRAN NG MGA NAKULONG NA WALANG SALA, INC. x-----------------------x


(KAKUSA), Petitioner,
vs. G.R. No. 204122
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
1 GUARDIANS NATIONALIST PHILIPPINES, INC.,
x-----------------------x (1GANAP/GUARDIANS), Petitioner,
vs.
G.R. No. 203960 COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC composed of SIXTO S.
BRILLANTES, JR., Chairman, RENE V. SARMIENTO,
1st CONSUMERS ALLIANCE FOR RURAL ENERGY, INC. Commissioner,LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Commissioner,ARMANDO C.
(1-CARE), Petitioner, VELASCO, Commissioner,ELIAS R. YUSOPH, Commissioner,
vs. andCHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, Commissioner,Respondents.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204125
G.R. No. 203976
AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ALLIANCE, INC. (A-IPRA),
ALLIANCE FOR RURAL AND AGRARIAN RECONSTRUCTION, INC. represented by its Secretary General,Ronald D. Macaraig, Petitioner,
(ARARO), Petitioner, vs.
vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204126
G.R. No. 203981
KAAGAPAY NG NAGKAKAISANG AGILANG PILIPINONG MAGSASAKA
ASSOCIATION FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ADVOCACY ON LEADERSHIP (ARAL) (KAP), formerly known as AKO AGILA NG NAGKAKAISANG MAGSASAKA
PARTY-LIST, represented herein by Ms. Lourdes L. Agustin, the party’s (AKO AGILA), represented by its Secretary General, Leo R. San
Secretary General, Petitioner, Buenaventura, Petitioner,
vs. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

x-----------------------x x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 204002 G.R. No. 204139

ALLIANCE FOR RURAL CONCERNS, Petitioner, ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), represented by Atty. Berteni
vs. Cataluña Causing, Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204094
G.R. No. 204141
ALLIANCE FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY (ANAD), Petitioner,
vs. BANTAY PARTY LIST, represented by Maria Evangelina F. Palparan,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. President, Petitioner,
43

vs. x-----------------------x
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204238
x-----------------------x
ALLIANCE OF BICOLNON PARTY (ABP), Petitioner,
G.R. No. 204153 vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
PASANG MASDA NATIONWIDE PARTY by its President Roberto "Ka
Obet" Martin, Petitioner, x-----------------------x
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents. G.R. No. 204239

x-----------------------x GREEN FORCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF


MOTHER EARTH (GREENFORCE),Petitioner,
G.R. No. 204158 vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
ABROAD PARTY LIST, Petitioner,
vs. x-----------------------x
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR.,
COMMISSIONERS RENE V. SARMIENTO, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. G.R. No. 204240
YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA,
LUCENITO TAGLE, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING ON THEIR
AGRI-AGRA NA REPORMA PARA SA MAGSASAKA NG PILIPINAS
BEHALF,Respondents.
MOVEMENT (AGRI), represented by its Secretary General, Michael Ryan
A. Enriquez, Petitioner,
x-----------------------x vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204174
x-----------------------x
AANGAT TAYO PARTY LIST-PARTY, represented by its President Simeon T.
Silva, Jr., Petitioner, G.R. No. 204263
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
A BLESSED PARTY LIST A.K.A. BLESSEDFEDERATION OF FARMERS AND
FISHERMEN INTERNATIONAL, INC., Petitioner,
x-----------------------x vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204216
x-----------------------x
COCOFED-PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION,
INC., Petitioner, G.R. No. 204318
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
UNITED MOVEMENT AGAINST DRUGS FOUNDATION (UNIMAD)
PARTY-LIST, Petitioner,
x-----------------------x vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204220
x-----------------------x
ABANG LINGKOD PARTY-LIST, Petitioner,
vs. G.R. No. 204321
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
ANG AGRIKULTURA NATIN ISULONG (AANI), represented by its Secretary
x-----------------------x General Jose C. Policarpio, Jr.,Petitioner,
vs.
G.R. No. 204236 COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

FIRM 24-K ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, x-----------------------x


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. G.R. No. 204323
44

BAYANI PARTYLIST as represented byHomer Bueno, Fitrylin G.R. No. 204367


Dalhani,Israel de Castro, Dante Navarroand Guiling
Mamondiong, Petitioner, AKBAY KALUSUGAN INCORPORATION(AKIN), Petitioner,
vs. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COMMISSIONERS RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO
C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MARIA
x-----------------------x
GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, Respondents.

G.R. No. 204370


x-----------------------x

AKO AN BISAYA (AAB), represented by itsSecretary General, Rodolfo T.


G.R. No. 204341
Tuazon, Petitioner,
vs.
ACTION LEAGUE OF INDIGENOUS MASSES(ALIM) PARTY-LIST, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
represented herein by its President Fatani S. Abdul Malik, Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204374


x-----------------------x

BINHI-PARTIDO NG MGA MAGSASAKA PARA SA MGA


G.R. No. 204356
MAGSASAKA, Petitioner,
vs.
BUTIL FARMERS PARTY, Petitioner, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
x-----------------------x

x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204379

G.R. No. 204358


ALAGAD NG SINING (ASIN) represented by its President, Faye Maybelle
Lorenz, Petitioner,
ALLIANCE OF ADVOCATES IN MININGADVANCEMENT FOR NATIONAL vs.
PROGRESS (AAMA), Petitioner, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
x-----------------------x

x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204394

G.R. No. 204359


ASSOCIATION OF GUARD UTILITY HELPER, AIDER, RIDER,
DRIVER/DOMESTIC HELPER, JANITOR, AGENT AND NANNY OF THE
SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR ACTIVEREFORM AND TRANSPARENCY (SMART), PHILIPPINES, INC. (GUARDJAN), Petitioner,
represented by its Chairman, Carlito B. Cubelo, Petitioner, vs.
vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204402
G.R. No. 204364
KALIKASAN PARTY-LIST, represented by its President, Clemente G.
ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG-TAO, PARA SA LUPA, Bautista, Jr., and Secretary General, Frances Q. Quimpo, Petitioner,
PABAHAY, HANAPBUHAY AT KAUNLARAN (AKO BUHAY), Petitioner, vs.
vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V.
SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R.
x-----------------------x
YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA,
in their capacities as Commissioners thereof, Respondents.
G.R. No. 204408
x-----------------------x
45

PILIPINO ASSOCIATION FOR COUNTRY-URBAN POOR YOUTH G.R. No. 204435


ADVANCEMENT AND WELFARE (PACYAW),Petitioner,
vs. 1 ALLIANCE ADVOCATING AUTONOMY PARTY (1AAAP), Petitioner,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204410
G.R. No. 204436
1-UNITED TRANSPORT KOALISYON (1-UTAK), Petitioner,
vs. ABYAN ILONGGO PARTY (AI), represented byits Party President, Rolex T.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. Suplico, Petitioner,
vs.
x-----------------------x COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

G.R. No. 204421 x-----------------------x

COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 204455


INC. SENIOR CITIZEN PARTY-LIST, represented herein by its 1st nominee
and Chairman, Francisco G. Datol, Jr., Petitioner, MANILA TEACHER SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner,
vs. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

x-----------------------x x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 204425 G.R. No. 204484

COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, PARTIDO NG BAYAN ANG BIDA (PBB), represented by its Secretary
INC., Petitioner, General, Roger M. Federazo, Petitioner,
vs. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ANY OF ITS OFFICERS AND AGENTS, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
ACTING FOR AND IN ITS BEHALF, INCLUDING THE CHAIR AND
MEMBERSOF THE COMMISSION, Respondents.
x-----------------------x

x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 204485

G.R. No. 204426


ALLIANCE OF ORGANIZATIONS, NETWORKS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALONA),Petitioner,
ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL ATHLETICS ENTREPRENEURS AND HOBBYISTS, vs.
INC. (ALA-EH), Petitioner, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V.
x-----------------------x
SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R.
YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA,
in their respective capacities as COMELEC Chairperson and G.R. No. 204486
Commissioners, Respondents.
1st KABALIKAT NG BAYAN GINHAWANG SANGKATAUHAN (1st
x-----------------------x KABAGIS), Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
G.R. No. 204428

x-----------------------x
ANG GALING PINOY (AG), represented by its Secretary General, Bernardo
R. Corella, Jr., Petitioner,
vs. G.R. No. 204490
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
PILIPINAS PARA SA PINOY (PPP), Petitioner,
x-----------------------x vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.
46

PERLAS-BERNABE,* Resolution dated 27 November 201210

DECISION
- Failure of the nominees to
qualify: although registering
CARPIO, J.: 1 Alliance as a regional political party,
12-057 Advocating two of the nominees are not
4 204435
The Cases (PLM) Autonomy Party residents of the region; and
(1AAAP) four of the five nominees do
These cases constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions not belong to the
for Certiorari and Prohibition1 filed by 52 party-list groups and marginalized and underrepresent
organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) disqualifying them from participating in thedated
Resolution 13 May27 November 201211
2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their petitions for registration
under the party-list system, or cancellation of their registration and
Akbay - Failure of the group to show
accreditation as party-list organizations.
5 204367 12-104 (PL) Kalusugan that its nominees belong to
(AKIN), Inc. the urban poor sector.
This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions
dated 13 November 2012,2 20 November 2012,3 27 November 2012,4 4
Resolution dated 29 November 201212
December 2012,5 11 December 2012,6 and 19 February 2013.7

The Facts Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. - Failure to represent a
7941) and COMELEC Resolution Nos. 9366 and 9531, approximately 280 marginalized sector of
groups and organizations registered and manifested their desire to society, despite the formation
participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections. of a sectoral wing for the
benefit of farmers of Region
8;
SPP No. Group Ako An Bisaya
6 204370Grounds for Denial
12-011 (PP) - Constituency has district
(AAB)
representatives;
ELEC En Banc’s automatic review of the COMELEC - Lack of track record in
utions approving registration of groups/organizations representing peasants and
farmers; and
- Nominees are neither
d 23 November 20128
farmers nor peasants.

- The "artists" sector is not


Resolution dated 4 December 201213
considered marginalized and
underrepresented;
12-099 Alagad ng - Failure to prove track - Failure to show that the
(PLM) Sining (ASIN) record; and party represents a
- Failure of the nominees to marginalized and
qualify under RA 794112-009
and (PP), underrepresented sector, as
Ang Bagong Bayani. Abyan Ilonggo the Province of Iloilo has
7 204436 12-165
Party (AI) district representatives;
(PLM)
- Untruthful statements in the
ution dated 27 November 20129
memorandum; and
- Withdrawal of three of its
- A non-stock savings and five nominees.
Manila Teachers
loan association cannot be
Savings and
considered marginalized and
12-041 Loan Resolution dated 4 December 201214
underrepresented; and
(PLM) Association, Inc.
- The first and second
(Manila - Failure to establish that the
nominees are not teachers by
Teachers) group can represent 14
profession.
Alliance of sectors; - The sectors of homeow
Organizations, associations, entrepreneurs
Association of - Failure
8 to show that 12-175
204485 its (PL) Networks and Associations of and cooperatives are not
Local Athletics members belong to the the Philippines,
12-011 marginalized and
Entrepreneurs marginalized; and Inc. (ALONA)
(PLM) underrepresented; and
and Hobbyists, - Failure of the nominees to
- The nominees do not belong
Inc. (ALA-EH) qualify.
to the marginalized and
47

underrepresented. representatives; and


- Failure to show a track
record of undertaking
ELEC En Banc’s review on motion for reconsideration
programs for the welfare of
C Division’s resolutions denying registration of groups
ns the sector the group seeks to
represent.

d 7 November 201215

In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012,19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed


- Failure to prove track the COMELEC Second Division’s resolution to grant Partido ng Bayan ng
record as an organization; Bida’s (PBB) registration and accreditation as a political party in the
- Failure to show that the National Capital Region. However, PBB was denied participation in the 13
Alab ng group actually represents theMay 2013 party-list elections because PBB does not represent any
12-127 (PL) Mamamahayag marginalized and "marginalized and underrepresented" sector; PBB failed to apply for
(ALAM) underrepresented; and registration as a party-list group; and PBB failed to establish its track
- Failure to establish that therecord as an organization that seeks to uplift the lives of the "marginalized
group can represent all and underrepresented."20
sectors it seeks to represent.These 13 petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALA-EH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB,
AI, ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN, GUARDJAN, PPP, and PBB) were not able to
d 7 November 201216 secure a mandatory injunction from this Court. The COMELEC, on 7
January 2013 issued Resolution No. 9604,21 and excluded the names of
these 13 petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for the 13 May
- The group reflects an
2013 party-list elections.
advocacy for the Pursuant to paragraph 222 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En Banc
environment, and is not scheduled summary evidentiary hearings to determine whether the
representative of the groups and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to participate
marginalized and
in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections have continually complied with the
underrepresented; requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v.
- There is no proof that COMELEC23 (Ang Bagong Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the following
Kalikasan Party-List majority of its members
12-061 (PP) groups and organizations from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list
(KALIKASAN) belong to the marginalized elections:
and underrepresented;
- The group represents
sectors withG.R. No.
conflicting SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial
interests; and
- The nominees
Resolution do not
dated 10 belong
October 201224
to the sector which the group
claims to represent.
Retained registration and
accreditation as a political
d 14 November 201217 party, but denied participation
in the May 2013 party-list
Association of elections
Guard, Utility - Failure to prove 12-154 - Failure to represent any
AKO Bicol
Helper, Aider, membership base and track (PLM) marginalized and
1 203818-19 Political Party
Rider, Driver/ record; 12-177 underrepresented sector;
(AKB)
Domestic (PLM)
- Failure to present activities - The Bicol region already
12-145 (PL) Helper, that sufficiently benefited its has representatives in
Janitor, Agent intended constituency; and Congress; and
and - The nominees do not belong - The nominees are not
Nanny of the to any of the sectors which marginalized and
Philippines, Inc. the group seeks to represent. underrepresented.
(GUARDJAN)
Omnibus Resolution dated 11 October 201225
d 5 December 201218
Cancelled registration and
- Failure to show that the Atong Paglaum, accreditation
12-161 - The nominees do not belong
12-073 Pilipinas Para sa group
2 represents
203766 a Inc. (Atong
(PLM) to the sectors which the party
(PLM) Pinoy (PPP) marginalized and Paglaum)
underrepresented sector, as represents; and
Region 12 has district - The party failed to file its
48

Statement of Contributions Cancelled registration


and Expenditures for the Blessed - Three of the seven
2010 Elections. Federation of nominees do not belong to
Farmers and the sector of farmers and
12-257 Fishermen fishermen, the sector sought
Cancelled8registration
20426 and
(PLM) International, to be represented; and
accreditation
- Failure to comply, and for Inc. (A - None of the nominees are
Association for BLESSED registered voters of Region
violation of election laws;
Righteousness Party-List) XI, the region sought to be
12-187 - The nominees do not
Advocacy on represented.
(PLM) represent the sectors which
Leadership
the party represents; and
(ARAL)
- There is Resolution dated
doubt that the 16 October 201227
party
is organized for religious
purposes.
Cancelled registration
- The sector of rural energy
Cancelled registration and consumers is not
accreditation marginalized and
1st
- Failure of the nominees to underrepresented;
Alliance for Consumers
12-188 qualify; and 12-260 - The party’s track record is
Rural Concerns 9 203960 Alliance for
(PLM) - Failure of the party to prove (PLM) related to electric
(ARC) Rural Energy,
that majority of its members cooperatives and not rural
Inc. (1-CARE)
belong to the sectors it seeks energy consumers; and
to represent. - The nominees do not belong
to the sector of rural energy
consumers.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
of drug dated 16 October 201228
Resolution
- The sectors
counsellors and lecturers,
United veterans and the youth, are
Cancelled registration and
Movement not marginalized and
12-220 accreditation
Against Drugs underrepresented; Association of
(PLM) - Failure to represent a
Foundation - Failure to establish track Philippine
12-201 marginalized and
(UNIMAD) record; and10 203922 Electric
(PLM) underrepresented sector; and
- Failure of the nominees to Cooperatives
- The nominees do not belong
qualify as representatives of (APEC)
to the sector that the party
the youth and young urban claims to represent.
professionals.

Resolution dated 23 October 201229


ution dated 16 October 201226

Cancelled registration and


Cancelled registration
accreditation
1-Bro Philippine - Failure to define the sector
- The incumbent
12-196 Guardians it seeks to represent; and
representative in Congress
(PLM) Brotherhood, - The nominees do not belong
failed to author or sponsor
Inc. (1BRO-PGBI) to a marginalized and
Aangat Tayo bills that are beneficial to the
underrepresented sector. 12-232
11 204174 Party-List Party sectors that the party
(PLM)
( AT ) represents (women, elderly,
Cancelled registration youth, urban poor); and
- The party is a military - The nominees do not belong
fraternity; to the marginalized sectors
1 Guardians - The sector of community that the party seeks to
Nationalist volunteer workers is too represent.
12-223
Philippines, Inc. broad to allow for meaningful
(PLM)
(1GANAP/ representation;
OmnibusandResolution dated 24 October 201230
GUARDIANS) - The nominees do not appear
to belong to the sector of
community volunteer 12-288 Alliance for Cancelled registration and
12 203976 Rural and accreditation
workers. (PLM)
Agrarian - The interests of the peasant
49

Reconstruction, and urban poor sectors that Ordinaryong nominees actually belong to
Inc. (ARARO) the party represents differ; Tao Para sa the sector, or that they have
- The nominees do not belong Lupa, Pabahay, undertaken meaningful
to the sectors that the party Hanapbuhay at activities for the sector.
seeks to represent; Kaunlaran
- Failure to show that three of (AKO-BAHAY)
the nominees are bona fide
party members; and
Cancelled registration
- Lack of a Board resolution The True
- Failure to show that
to participate in the party-list Marcos Loyalist
majority of its members are
elections. (for God,
marginalized and
12-229 Country and
17 204141 underrepresented; and
(PLM) People)
ution dated 24 October 201231 - Failure to prove that two of
Association of
its nominees actually belong
the Philippines,
to the marginalized and
Cancelled registration Inc. (BANTAY)
underrepresented.
- The party ceased to exist for
more than a year immediately
after the May 2010 elections; Cancelled registration
Agri-Agra na
- The nominees do not belong - Change of sector (from
Reporma Para sa
to the sector of peasants and urban poor youth to urban
12-279 Magsasaka ng
farmers that the party seeks to poor) necessitates a new
(PLM) Pilipinas
represent; Pilipino application;
Movement
- Only four nominees were Association for - Failure to show track record
(AGRI)
submitted to the COMELEC; Country – Urban for the marginalized and
12-217
and 18 204408 Poor Youth underrepresented;
(PLM)
- Failure to show meaningful Advancement - Failure to prove that
activities for its constituency. and Welfare majority of its members and
( PA C YAW ) officers are from the urban
poor sector; and
Cancelled registration
- The nominees are not
- Failure to show that
members of the urban poor
majority of its members are
sector.
marginalized and
underrepresented;
Aksyon - Failure to prove that four of Cancelled registration
12-248
Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng its nine nominees actually Pasang Masda - The party represents drivers
(PLM)
Masa (AKMA-PTM) belong to the farmers sector; 12-277 Nationwide and operators, who may have
19 204153
and (PLM) Party (PASANG conflicting interests; and
- Failure to show that five of MASDA) - Nominees are either
its nine nominees work on operators or former operators.
uplifting the lives of the
members of the sector.
Cancelled registration
- Failure to prove that
Cancelled registration na Walang Sala,
- The Manifestation of Intent Inc. (KAKUSA)
and Certificate of Nomination majority of its officers and
were not signed by an members belong to the
Kaagapay ng appropriate officer of the marginalized and
Nagkakaisang party; underrepresented;
12-263 Agilang - Failure to show track record Kapatiran ng - The incumbent
(PLM) Pilipinong for the farmers and peasants 12-015
20 203958
mga Nakulong representative in Congress
Magsasaka sector; and (PLM) na Walang Sala, failed to author or sponsor
(KAP) - Failure to show that Inc. (KAKUSA) bills that are beneficial to the
nominees actually belong to sector that the party
the sector, or that they have represents (persons
undertaken meaningful imprisoned without proof of
activities for the sector. guilt beyond reasonable
doubt);
- Failure to show track record
12-180 Adhikain at Cancelled registration
(PLM) for the marginalized and
Kilusan ng - Failure to show that underrepresented; and
50

- The nominees did not track record requirement.


appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
d 30 October 201232 - Failure to establish that its
nominees are members of the
indigenous people in the
Cancelled registration and
Mindanao and Cordilleras
accreditation
Action League sector that the party seeks to
- Failure to attend the 12-269
25 204341 of Indigenous represent;
summary hearing; (PLM)
Masses (ALIM) - Only two of the party’s
12-256 Ang Galing - Failure to show track record
(PLM) Pinoy (AG) nominees reside in the
for the marginalized and
Mindanao and Cordilleras;
underrepresented; and
- The nominees did not and
- Three of the nominees do
appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented. not appear to belong to the
marginalized.

d 7 November 201233
Resolution dated 7 November 201235

Cancelled registration and


accreditation Cancelled registration
Alliance of
- The sector it represents is a
- Failure to represent an Advocates in
specifically defined group
identifiable marginalized and Mining
12-204 which may not be allowed
underrepresented
26 204358sector; Advancement
(PLM) registration under the party-list system; a
Alliance for - Only three nominees were for National
- Failure to establish that the
12-185 Nationalism and submitted to the COMELEC; Progress
(PLM) nominees actually belong to
Democracy - The nominees do not (AAMA)
the sector.
(ANAD) belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented; and
submit itsdated 7 November 201236
- Failure toResolution
Statement of Contribution
and Expenditures for the
Cancelled registration
2007 Elections.
- The nominees are
disqualified from
Social
ution dated 7 November 201234 representing the sectors that
Movement for
the party represents;
12-272 Active Reform
27 204359 - Failure to comply with the
Cancelled registration and (PLM) and
accreditation track record requirement; and
Transparency
- There is doubt as to whether
Green Force for - The party is an advocacy (SMART)
majority of its members are
the Environment group and does not represent
marginalized and
12-060 Sons and the marginalized and
underrepresented.
(PLM) Daughters of underrepresented;
Mother Earth - Failure to comply with the
(GREENFORCE) Resolution
track record 7 November 201237
datedand
requirement;
- The nominees are not
marginalized citizens.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
Cancelled registration and - Defective registration and
accreditation accreditation dating back to
- The nominees do not Alliance of 2010;
12-173
belong to 28 204238
the sector that the Bicolnon Party - Failure to represent any
Firm 24-K (PLM)
12-254 party seeks to represent (ABP) sector; and
Association, Inc. (urban poor and peasants of - Failure to establish that the
(PLM)
(FIRM 24-K) the National Capital Region); nominees are employed in the constructi
- Only two of its nominees the
reside in the National Capital sector it claims to represent.
Region; and
- Failure to comply with the
51

d 7 November 201238 Resolution dated 7 November 201242

Cancelled registration and Cancelled registration


accreditation - Failure to establish a track
- Failure to prove a track record of continuously
record of trying to uplift the representing the peasant
12-210 Bayani Party marginalized and farmers sector;
(PLM) List (BAYANI) underrepresented sector of - Failure to show that its
professionals; and Abang Lingkod members actually belong to
- One nominee was declared 12-238 Party-List the peasant farmers sector;
33 204220
unqualified to represent the (PLM) (ABANG and
sector of professionals. LINGKOD) - Failure to show that its
nominees are marginalized
d 7 November 201239 and underrepresented, have
actively participated in
programs for the
Cancelled registration and advancement of farmers, and
accreditation adhere to its advocacies.
- Failure to establish a track
record of enhancing the lives
Resolution dated 14 November 201243
Ang Agrikultura of the marginalized and
12-252
Natin Isulong underrepresented farmers
(PLM)
(AANI) which it claims to represent; Cancelled registration and
and accreditation - Failure to show that the
- More than a majority of the party is actually able to
party’s nominees do not represent all of the sectors it
Action
belong to the farmers sector. claims to represent;
12-158 Brotherhood for Active
34 204158 - Failure to show a complete
(PLM) Dreamers, Inc.
d 7 November 201240 track record of its activities
(ABROAD)
since its registration; and
- The nominees are not part
Cancelled registration and of any of the sectors which
accreditation the party seeks to represent.
- Failure to prove that its five
Agapay ng nominees are members of the
Resolution dated 28 November 201244
Indigenous indigenous people sector;
12-292
Peoples Rights - Failure to prove that its five
(PLM)
Alliance, Inc. nominees actively Cancelled registration and
(A-IPRA) participated in the accreditation
undertakings of the party; and - The party receives
Binhi-Partido ng
- Failure to prove that its five nominees are bona fide assistance from the
mga Magsasaka
members. 12-228 government through the
35 204374 Para sa mga
(PLM) Department of Agriculture;
Magsasaka
d 7 November 201241 and
(BINHI)
- Failure to prove that the
group is marginalized and
Cancelled registration and underrepresented.
accreditation
- The party is affiliated with
Resolution dated 28 November 201245
private and government
Philippine agencies and is not
Coconut marginalized; Cancelled registration and
12-202
Producers - The party is assisted by the accreditation
(PLM)
Federation, Inc. government in various - Failure to establish that the
(COCOFED) projects; and agriculture and cooperative
- The nominees are not 12-136 Butil Farmers sectors are marginalized and
members 36 of the204356
marginalized (PLM) Party (BUTIL) underrepresented; and
sector of coconut farmers and - The party’s nominees
producers. neither appear to belong to
the sectors they seek to
represent, nor to have
actively participated in the
52

undertakings of the party. 12-177


(PLM)
d 3 December 201246
12-187 Association for Righteousness Advocacy on
203981
(PLM) Leadership (ARAL)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
- Declaration of untruthful 12-188
1st 204002 Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC)
statements; (PLM)
Kabalikat ng
- Failure to exist for at least
Bayan
12-194 one year; and
Ginhawang 12-201 Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
(PLM) - None of 203922
its nominees (PLM) (APEC)
Sangkatauhan
belong to the labor,
(1st
fisherfolk, and urban poor
KABAGIS) 1st
indigenous cultural 12-260
communities203960
sectors which it Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc.
(PLM)
seeks to represent. (1-CARE)

d 4 December 201247 12-248 Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa


203936
(PLM) (AKMA-PTM)

Cancelled accreditation
- The party203958
represents drivers 12-015 Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala,
1-United and operators, who may have (PLM) Inc. (KAKUSA)
12-198
Transport conflicting interests; and
(PLM)
Koalisyon (1-UTAK) - The party’s nominees do not 12-288 Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction,
belong to 203976
any marginalized (PLM) Inc. (ARARO)
and underrepresented sector.

Resolution dated 20 November 2012


d 4 December 201248

12-185 Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy


Coalition of 204094
Cancelled registration (PLM) (ANAD)
12-157 Senior Citizens
- The party violated election
(PLM), in the
laws because its nominees 12-292 Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance,
12-191 Philippines, Inc. 204125
had a term-sharing (PLM) Inc. (A-IPRA)
(PLM) (SENIOR
agreement.
CITIZENS)
12-196 1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc.
204100
(PLM) (1BRO-PGBI)
These 39 petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD,
1BRO-PGBI, 1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A BLESSED Party-List, Resolution dated AT,
1-CARE, APEC, 27 November 2012
ARARO, AGRI, AKMA-PTM, KAP, AKO-BAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW, PASANG
MASDA, KAKUSA, AG, ANAD, GREENFORCE, FIRM 24-K, ALIM, AAMA,
The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country
SMART, ABP, BAYANI, AANI, A-IPRA, COCOFED, ABANG204141 LINGKOD, ABROAD, 12-229
and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc.
BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1-UTAK, SENIOR CITIZENS) were able to secure (PLM) (BANTAY)
a mandatory injunction from this Court, directing the COMELEC to include
the names of these 39 petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for
the 13 May 2013 party-list elections. 12-279 Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng
204240
Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (PLM) Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)
and/or writ of preliminary injunction. This Court issued Status Quo Ante
Orders in all petitions. This Decision governs only the 54 consolidated 12-202 Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc.
204216
petitions that were granted Status Quo Ante Orders, namely: (PLM) (COCOFED)

SPP No. Group 12-158 Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamer, Inc.
204158
(PLM) (ABROAD)
d 13 November 2012
Resolutions dated 4 December 2012
12-154 AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB)
(PLM) 204122 12-223 1 Guardians Nationalist Philippines, Inc.
53

(PLM) (1GANAP/GUARDIANS) 204402 12-061 (PL) Kalikasan Party-List (KALIKASAN)

12-161 Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Aider,


Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum)
(PLM) Rider, Driver/Domestic Helper, Janitor, Agent
204394 12-145 (PL)
and Nanny of the Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)
12-220 United Movement Against Drugs Foundation
(PLM) (UNIMAD)
12-217 Pilipino Association for Country – Urban Poor
204408
(PLM) Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW)
12-257 Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen
(PLM) International, Inc. (A BLESSED Party-List)
12-256
204428 Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)
(PLM)
12-232
Aangat Tayo Party-List Party (AT)
(PLM)
12-073
204490 Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP)
(PLM)
12-263 Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong
(PLM) Magsasaka (KAP)
12-099
204379 Alagad ng Sining (ASIN)
(PLM)
Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao Para sa
12-180
Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran
(PLM)
(AKO-BAHAY) 204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay Kalusugan (AKIN)

12-127 (PL) Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) 12-011 Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs
204426
(PLM) and Hobbyists, Inc. (ALA-EH)
12-238 Abang Lingkod Party-List (ABANG
(PLM) LINGKOD) 12-041 Manila Teachers Savings and Loan Association,
204455
(PLM) Inc. (Manila Teachers)
12-254
Firm 24-K Association, Inc. (FIRM 24-K)
(PLM) 12-228 Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga
204374
(PLM) Magsasaka (BINHI)
12-173
Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP)
(PLM) 204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya (AAB)

12-060 Green Force for the Environment Sons and 12-057 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party
204435
(PLM) Daughters of Mother Earth (GREENFORCE) (PLM) (1AAAP)

12-252 12-194 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang


Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI)204486
(PLM) (PLM) Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)

12-210 12-198
Bayani Party List (BAYANI) 204410 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK)
(PLM) (PLM)

12-269 12-157
Action League of Indigenous Masses (ALIM)
(PLM) 204421, (PLM) Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines,
204425 12-191 Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS)
(PLM)
12-204 Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement
(PLM) for National Progress (AAMA)
12-009 (PP),
204436 12-165 Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI)
12-272 Social Movement for Active Reform and
(PLM) Transparency (SMART) (PLM)

Alliance of Organizations, Networks and


12-136 204485 12-175 (PL)
Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL) Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (ALONA)
(PLM)

204484 11-002 Partido ng Bayan ng Bida (PBB)


d 11 December 2012
54

d 11 December 2012 as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban
poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.
12-277 Pasang Masda Nationwide Party (PASANG
(PLM) MASDA)
Sections 7 and 8, Article IX-C

Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition


The Issues
shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as
provided in this Constitution.
We rule upon two issues: first, whether the COMELEC committed grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the
disqualifying petitioners from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list
party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration
elections, either by denial of their new petitions for registration under the
boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other
party-list system, or by cancellation of their existing registration and
similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in
accreditation as party-list organizations; and second, whether the criteria
accordance with law.
for participating in the party-list system laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani
and Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency v.
Commission on Elections49 (BANAT) should be applied by the COMELEC in Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list
the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. system, stressed that "the party-list system is not synonymous with that
of the sectoral representation."51 The constitutional provisions on the
party-list system should be read in light of the following discussion among
The Court’s Ruling
its framers:

We hold that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
MR. MONSOD: x x x.
following prevailing decisions of this Court in disqualifying petitioners
from participating in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
However, since the Court adopts in this Decision new parameters in the I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the proposal for
qualification of national, regional, and sectoral parties under the party-list the party list system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral
system, thereby abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma
COMELEC in disqualifying petitioners, we remand to the COMELEC all the of choice of sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors. In
present petitions for the COMELEC to determine who are qualified to making the proposal on the party list system, we were made aware of the
register under the party-list system, and to participate in the coming 13 problems precisely cited by Commissioner Bacani of which sectors will
May 2013 party-list elections, under the new parameters prescribed in have reserved seats. In effect, a sectoral representation in the Assembly
this Decision. would mean that certain sectors would have reserved seats; that they will
choose among themselves who would sit in those reserved seats. And
then, we have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in
The Party-List System
Proclamation No. 9, the sectors cited were the farmers, fishermen,
workers, students, professionals, business, military, academic, ethnic and
The 1987 Constitution provides the basis for the party-list system of other similar groups. So these are the nine sectors that were identified
representation. Simply put, the party-list system is intended to here as "sectoral representatives" to be represented in this Commission.
democratize political power by giving political parties that cannot win in The problem we had in trying to approach sectoral representation in the
legislative district elections a chance to win seats in the House of Assembly was whether to stop at these nine sectors or include other
Representatives.50 The voter elects two representatives in the House of sectors. And we went through the exercise in a caucus of which sector
Representatives: one for his or her legislative district, and another for his should be included which went up to 14 sectors. And as we all know, the
or her party-list group or organization of choice. The 1987 Constitution longer we make our enumeration, the more limiting the law become
provides: because when we make an enumeration we exclude those who are not in
the enumeration. Second, we had the problem of who comprise the
Section 5, Article VI farmers. Let us just say the farmers and the laborers. These days, there
are many citizens who are called "hyphenated citizens." A doctor may be a
(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two farmer; a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion of
hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be the person to say "I am a farmer" so he would be included in that sector.
elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities,
and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their The third problem is that when we go into a reserved seat system of
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, sectoral representation in the Assembly, we are, in effect, giving some
and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to avoid these
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or problems by presenting a party list system. Under the party list system,
organizations. there are no reserved seats for sectors. Let us say, laborers and farmers
can form a sectoral party or a sectoral organization that will then register
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of and present candidates of their party. How do the mechanics go?
the total number of representatives including those under the party list. Essentially, under the party list system, every voter has two votes, so
For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of his
one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, legislative district. That is one vote. In that same ballot, he will be asked:
55

What party or organization or coalition do you wish to be represented in MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list
the Assembly? And here will be attached a list of the parties, organizations system, we do not even have to mention sectors because the sectors
or coalitions that have been registered with the COMELEC and are entitled would be included in the party list system. They can be sectoral parties
to be put in that list. This can be a regional party, a sectoral party, a within the party list system.
national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One
need not be a farmer to say that he wants the farmers' party to be xxxx
represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can vote for any party. At the
end of the day, the COMELEC will then tabulate the votes that had been
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or
garnered by each party or each organization — one does not have to be a
proposed the party list system because we wanted to open up the political
political party and register in order to participate as a party — and count
system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are
the votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that had been
for opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors
cast in favor of a party, organization or coalition.
to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on
the number of representatives from any single party that can sit within
When such parties register with the COMELEC, we are assuming that 50 of the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.
the 250 seats will be for the party list system. So, we have a limit of 30
percent of 50. That means that the maximum that any party can get out of
xxx
these 50 seats is 15. When the parties register they then submit a list of 15
names. They have to submit these names because these nominees have to
meet the minimum qualifications of a Member of the National Assembly. MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not
At the end of the day, when the votes are tabulated, one gets the limited to political parties. My question is this: Are we going to classify
percentages. Let us say, UNIDO gets 10 percent or 15 percent of the votes; for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political
KMU gets 5 percent; a women’s party gets 2 1/2 percent and anybody parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they be under
who has at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote qualifies and the 50 seats are the district legislation side of it only?
apportioned among all of these parties who get at least 2 1/2 percent of
the vote. MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the
Commissioner mentioned can field candidates for the Senate as well as
What does that mean? It means that any group or party who has a for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral
constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide gets a seat in the National candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the
Assembly. What is the justification for that? When we allocate legislative seats that we are allocating under the party list system.
districts, we are saying that any district that has 200,000 votes gets a seat.
There is no reason why a group that has a national constituency, even if it MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district
is a sectoral or special interest group, should not have a voice in the candidates and can also participate in the party list system?
National Assembly. It also means that, let us say, there are three or four
labor groups, they all register as a party or as a group. If each of them gets MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system,
only one percent or five of them get one percent, they are not entitled to they will be fielding only sectoral candidates.
any representative. So, they will begin to think that if they really have a
common interest, they should band together, form a coalition and get five
MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the
percent of the vote and, therefore, have two seats in the Assembly. Those
party list system?
are the dynamics of a party list system.

MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who
We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral
come from the different marginalized sectors that we shall designate in
representation while at the same time making sure that those who really
this Constitution.
have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to
have a seat in the National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may
not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative district basis. They MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group
may not be able to win a seat on a district basis but surely, they will have and says that he represents the farmers, would he qualify?
votes on a nationwide basis.
MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify.
The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found
out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we count their votes MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system
nationwide; have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on whether he is a
always third place or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no farmer or not?
voice in the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six
representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin
legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and ito. Political parties, particularly minority political parties, are not
objectives of the party list system. prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that
they are also organized along sectoral lines.
BISHOP BACANI: Madam President, am I right in interpreting that when
we speak now of party list system though we refer to sectors, we would MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties
be referring to sectoral party list rather than sectors and party list? can participate because it is precisely the contention of political parties
56

that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors are explained by Justice Jose C. Vitug in his Dissenting Opinion in Ang Bagong
represented in them. Would the Commissioner agree? Bayani:

MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5,
isang political party, it will dominate the party list at mawawalang saysay subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took off from two staunch
din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list system. positions — the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating that
Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa of the 20 per centum of the total seats in Congress to be allocated to
marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito party-list representatives half were to be reserved to appointees from the
sa political parties. marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The proposal was opposed by
some Commissioners. Mr. Monsod expressed the difficulty in delimiting
MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my the sectors that needed representation. He was of the view that reserving
question to Commissioner Villacorta and probably also to Commissioner seats for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors would stunt their
Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral machinery
under the party list system? potent enough to further the sectoral interests to be represented. The
Villacorta group, on the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting the
unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral groups in an electoral contest
MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On
would be like placing babes in the lion's den, so to speak, with the bigger
that condition alone, UNIDO may be allowed to register for the party list
and more established political parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A.
system.
7941 recognized this concern when it banned the first five major political
parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that Representatives from participating in the party-list system for the first
answer? party-list elections held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting
with the 2001 elections). The advocates for permanent seats for sectoral
MR. TADEO. The same. representatives made an effort towards a compromise — that the
party-list system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized
MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines. sectors. This proposal was further whittled down by allocating only half of
the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the sectors which
would garner the required number of votes. The majority was unyielding.
MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay
Voting 19-22, the proposal for permanent seats, and in the alternative the
hindi talagang labor leader or isang laborer? Halimbawa, abogado ito.
reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted
down. The only concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an
MR. TADEO: Iyong mechanics. assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for three consecutive
terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time they
MR. MONSOD: Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an would be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and brace
inherent problem of sectoral representation. My question is: Suppose themselves in the multi-party electoral contest with the more veteran
UNIDO fields a labor leader, would he qualify? political groups.54 (Emphasis supplied)

MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain
political party is really organized along a specific sectoral line. If such is sectors was outvoted. Instead, the reservation of seats to sectoral
verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of individuals representatives was only allowed for the first three consecutive
who are actually members of such sectors. The lists are to be published terms.55 There can be no doubt whatsoever that the framers of the 1987
to give individuals or organizations belonging to such sector the chance Constitution expressly rejected the proposal to make the party-list system
to present evidence contradicting claims of membership in the said exclusively for sectoral parties only, and that they clearly intended the
sector or to question the claims of the existence of such sectoral party-list system to include both sectoral and non-sectoral parties.
organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be conducted by the
COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words, COMELEC The common denominator between sectoral and non-sectoral parties is
decisions on this matter are final and unappealable.52 (Emphasis that they cannot expect to win in legislative district elections but they can
supplied) garner, in nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes that
winning candidates can garner in legislative district elections. The
Indisputably, the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the party-list party-list system will be the entry point to membership in the House of
system to include not only sectoral parties but also non-sectoral parties. Representatives for both these non-traditional parties that could not
The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the compete in legislative district elections.
entirety, of the party-list system. As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo
Villacorta, political parties can participate in the party-list system "For as The indisputable intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to include
long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized in the party-list system both sectoral and non-sectoral parties is clearly
sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution."53 written in Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states:

In fact, the framers voted down, 19-22, a proposal to reserve permanent Section 5. (1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more
seats to sectoral parties in the House of Representatives, or alternatively, that two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who
to reserve the party-list system exclusively to sectoral parties. As clearly shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces,
cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of
57

their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive may participate independently provided the coalition of which they form
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a part does not participate in the party-list system.
party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations. (Emphasis supplied) (b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition
of parties.
Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall
be "a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral (c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an
parties or organizations." The commas after the words "national," and ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of
"regional," separate national and regional parties from sectoral parties. government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their
Had the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended national and regional adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and
parties to be at the same time sectoral, they would have stated "national members as candidates for public office.
and regional sectoral parties." They did not, precisely because it was never
their intention to make the party-list system exclusively sectoral.
It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical
territory of at least a majority of the regions. It is a regional party when its
What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote in Section 5(1), constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority
could not be any clearer: the party-list system is composed of three of the cities and provinces comprising the region.
different groups, and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three
groups. The text of Section 5(1) leaves no room for any doubt that
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to
national and regional parties are separate from sectoral parties.
any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal
advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.
Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1)
national parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or organizations; and
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of
(3) sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or
groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or characteristics,
organizations are different from sectoral parties or organizations. National
employment, interests or concerns.
and regional parties or organizations need not be organized along sectoral
lines and need not represent any particular sector.
(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional,
sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or election purposes.
Moreover, Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates that,
(Emphasis supplied)
during the first three consecutive terms of Congress after the ratification
of the 1987 Constitution, "one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a "party" as "either a political party
from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties." Clearly, a political party is
women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except different from a sectoral party. Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 7941 further
the religious sector." This provision clearly shows again that the party-list provides that a "political party refers to an organized group of citizens
system is not exclusively for sectoral parties for two obvious reasons. advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the
general conduct of government." On the other hand, Section 3(d) of R.A.
No. 7941 provides that a "sectoral party refers to an organized group of
First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives
citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5
would naturally be open to non-sectoral party-list representatives, clearly
hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and
negating the idea that the party-list system is exclusively for sectoral
concerns of their sector." R.A. No. 7941 provides different definitions for
parties representing the "marginalized and underrepresented." Second,
a political and a sectoral party. Obviously, they are separate and distinct
the reservation of one-half of the party-list seats to sectoral parties
from each other.
applies only for the first "three consecutive terms after the ratification of
this Constitution," clearly making the party-list system fully open after the
end of the first three congressional terms. This means that, after this R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or
period, there will be no seats reserved for any class or type of party that organizations to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented"
qualifies under the three groups constituting the party-list system. sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party-list
system to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" is to
deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented
Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure
parties from the party-list system. How will these ideology-based and
ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
cause-oriented parties, who cannot win in legislative district elections,
cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only,
participate in the electoral process if they are excluded from the party-list
but also for non-sectoral parties.
system? To exclude them from the party-list system is to prevent them
from joining the parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only option the
Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which is the law that armed struggle. To exclude them from the party-list system is, apart from
implements the party-list system prescribed in the Constitution, provides: being obviously senseless, patently contrary to the clear intent and
express wording of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political
House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or party is clearly different from a sectoral party. A political party need not
organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular
Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition sector. There is no requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or
58

regional political party must represent a "marginalized and The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" appears only once in
underrepresented" sector. It is sufficient that the political party consists of R.A. No. 7941, in Section 2 on Declaration of Policy.57 Section 2 seeks "to
citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to
governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as the House of Representatives through the party-list system," which will
citizens. enable Filipinos belonging to the "marginalized and underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political
Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941 states that "the sectors shall include labor, constituencies," to become members of the House of Representatives.
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural While the policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 broadly refers to
communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas "marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties,"
workers, and professionals."56The sectors mentioned in Section 5 are not the specific implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941 do not define or
all necessarily "marginalized and underrepresented." For sure, require that the sectors, organizations or parties must be "marginalized
"professionals" are not by definition "marginalized and and underrepresented." On the contrary, to even interpret that all the
underrepresented," not even the elderly, women, and the youth. However, sectors mentioned in Section 5 are "marginalized and underrepresented"
professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth may "lack well-defined would lead to absurdities.
political constituencies," and can thus organize themselves into sectoral
parties in advocacy of the special interests and concerns of their How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2
respective sectors. of R.A. No. 7941 with its specific implementing provisions, bearing in mind
the applicable provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?
Section 6 of R.A. No. 7941 provides another compelling reason for holding
that the law does not require national or regional parties, as well as The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" should refer only to
certain sectoral parties in Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941, to represent the the sectors in Section 5 that are, by their nature, economically
"marginalized and underrepresented." Section 6 provides the grounds for "marginalized and underrepresented." These sectors are: labor, peasant,
the COMELEC to refuse or cancel the registration of parties or fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped,
organizations after due notice and hearing. veterans, overseas workers, and other similar sectors. For these sectors, a
majority of the members of the sectoral party must belong to the
Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. — The COMELEC "marginalized and underrepresented." The nominees of the sectoral
may, motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party, party either must belong to the sector, or must have a track record of
refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any advocacy for the sector represented. Belonging to the "marginalized and
national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the underrepresented" sector does not mean one must "wallow in poverty,
following grounds: destitution or infirmity." It is sufficient that one, or his or her sector, is
below the middle class. More specifically, the economically "marginalized
and underrepresented" are those who fall in the low income group as
(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association
classified by the National Statistical Coordination Board.58
organized for religious purposes;

The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral


(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
parties of professionals, the elderly, women and the youth, need not be
"marginalized and underrepresented" will allow small ideology-based and
(3) It is a foreign party or organization; cause-oriented parties who lack "well-defined political constituencies" a
chance to win seats in the House of Representatives. On the other hand,
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political limiting to the "marginalized and underrepresented" the sectoral parties
party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities,
officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other sectors that by their
election purposes; nature are economically at the margins of society, will give the
"marginalized and underrepresented" an opportunity to likewise win seats
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to in the House of Representatives.
elections;
This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No.
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; 7941 and will give rise to a multi-party system where those "marginalized
and underrepresented," both in economic and ideological status, will
have the opportunity to send their own members to the House of
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
Representatives. This interpretation will also make the party-list system
honest and transparent, eliminating the need for relatively well-off
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to party-list representatives to masquerade as "wallowing in poverty,
obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list destitution and infirmity," even as they attend sessions in Congress riding
system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it in SUVs.
has registered.
The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative
None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to district elections. Major political parties cannot participate in the party-list
non-representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented." elections since they neither lack "well-defined political constituencies" nor
represent "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors. Thus, the
national or regional parties under the party-list system are necessarily
59

those that do not belong to major political parties. This automatically Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the qualifications of party-list
reserves the national and regional parties under the party-list system to nominees. This provision prescribes a special qualification only for the
those who "lack well-defined political constituencies," giving them the nominee from the youth sector.
opportunity to have members in the House of Representatives.
Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be
To recall, Ang Bagong Bayani expressly declared, in its second guideline for nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen
the accreditation of parties under the party-list system, that "while even of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a
major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the
Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or
the declared statutory policy of enabling ‘Filipino citizens belonging to organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days
marginalized and underrepresented sectors xxx to be elected to the House preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of
of Representatives.’ "However, the requirement in Ang Bagong Bayani, in age on the day of the election.
its second guideline, that "the political party xxx must represent the
marginalized and underrepresented," automatically disqualified major In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five
political parties from participating in the party-list system. This inherent (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election.
inconsistency in Ang Bagong Bayani has been compounded by the
COMELEC’s refusal to register sectoral wings officially organized by major
Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during
political parties. BANAT merely formalized the prevailing practice when
his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his
it expressly prohibited major political parties from participating in the
term.1âwphi1
party-list system, even through their sectoral wings.

A party-list nominee must be a bona fide member of the party or


Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the "first five (5) major
organization which he or she seeks to represent. In the case of sectoral
political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
parties, to be a bona fide party-list nominee one must either belong to
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress" from participating in
the sector represented, or have a track record of advocacy for such
the May 1988 party-list elections.59 Thus, major political parties can
sector.
participate in subsequent party-list elections since the prohibition is
expressly limited only to the 1988 party-list elections. However, major
political parties should participate in party-list elections only through their In disqualifying petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in
sectoral wings. The participation of major political parties through their Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang Bagong Bayani laid down the
sectoral wings, a majority of whose members are "marginalized and guidelines for qualifying those who desire to participate in the party-list
underrepresented" or lacking in "well-defined political constituencies," system:
will facilitate the entry of the "marginalized and underrepresented" and
those who "lack well-defined political constituencies" as members of the First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent
House of Representatives. the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of
RA 7941. x x x
The 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 allow major political parties to
participate in party-list elections so as to encourage them to work Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA
assiduously in extending their constituencies to the "marginalized and 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they
underrepresented" and to those who "lack well-defined political must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino
constituencies." The participation of major political parties in party-list citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to
elections must be geared towards the entry, as members of the House of be elected to the House of Representatives." x x x.
Representatives, of the "marginalized and underrepresented" and those
who "lack well-defined political constituencies," giving them a voice in xxxx
law-making. Thus,to participate in party-list elections, a major political
party that fields candidates in the legislative district elections must
Third, x x x the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list
organize a sectoral wing, like a labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
system. x x x.
professional, women or youth wing, that can register under the party-list
system.
xxxx
Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own
constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, officers and Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6
members, a majority of whom must belong to the sector represented. The of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows:
sectoral wing is in itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a
major political party through a coalition. This linkage is allowed by Section "(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association,
3 of R.A. No. 7941, which provides that "component parties or organized for religious purposes;
organizations of a coalition may participate independently (in party-list
elections) provided the coalition of which they form part does not (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
participate in the party-list system."
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
60

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage
party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major
officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan political parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the
election purposes; Constitution and the law."61 The experimentations in socio-political
engineering have only resulted in confusion and absurdity in the party-list
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to system. Such experimentations, in clear contravention of the 1987
elections; Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now come to an end.

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing
jurisprudence in disqualifying petitioners. In following prevailing
jurisprudence, the COMELEC could not have committed grave abuse of
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
discretion. However, for the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections, we
must now impose and mandate the party-list system actually envisioned
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to and authorized under the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. In BANAT,
obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list this Court devised a new formula in the allocation of party-list seats,
system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it reversing the COMELEC's allocation which followed the then prevailing
has registered." formula in Ang Bagong Bayani. In BANAT, however, the Court did not
declare that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. Similarly,
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project even as we acknowledge here that the COMELEC did not commit grave
organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. x x x. abuse of discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with the
1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the criteria in Ang Bagong
xxxx Bayani and BANAT in determining who are qualified to participate in the
coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. For this purpose, we suspend
our rule62 that a party may appeal to this Court from decisions or orders of
Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its
the COMELEC only if the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion.
nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:

Thus, we remand all the present petitions to the COMELEC. In determining


"SEC 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. - No person shall be
who may participate in the coming 13 May 2013 and subsequent party-list
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen
elections, the COMELEC shall adhere to the following parameters:
of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a
period of not less than one (1)year immediately preceding the day of the
election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or 1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1)
organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days national parties or organizations, (2) regional parties or organizations, and
preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of (3) sectoral parties or organizations.
age on the day of the election.
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five do not need to organize along sectoral lines and do not need to represent
(25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. any "marginalized and underrepresented" sector.
Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during
his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his 3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they
term." register under the party-list system and do not field candidates in
legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that
Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent fields candidates in legislative district elections can participate in party-list
marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. x elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately register under
x x. the party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral
party, and is linked to a political party through a coalition.
Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the 4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be "marginalized and
nation as a whole. (Emphasis supplied) underrepresented" or lacking in "well-defined political constituencies." It
is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and
concerns of their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized and
In 2009, by a vote of 8-7 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong
underrepresented" include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the majority officially excluded major
indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas
political parties from participating in party-list elections,60 abandoning
workers. The sectors that lack "well-defined political constituencies"
even the lip-service that Ang Bagong Bayani accorded to the 1987
include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.
Constitution and R.A.No. 7941 that major political parties can participate
in party-list elections.
5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" must belong to the
The minority in BANAT, however, believed that major political parties can
"marginalized and underrepresented" sector they represent. Similarly, a
participate in the party-list system through their sectoral wings. The
majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that lack
minority expressed that "[e]xcluding the major political parties in party-list
"well-defined political constituencies" must belong to the sector they
elections is manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of the
61

represent. The nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that G.R. No. 192803 December 10, 2013
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented," or that represent
those who lack "well-defined political constituencies," either must belong ALLIANCE FOR RURAL AND AGRARIAN RECONSTRUCTION, INC., ALSO
to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for KNOWN AS ARARO PARTY-LIST,Petitioner,
their respective sectors. The nominees of national and regional parties or vs.
organizations must be bona-fide members of such parties or COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
organizations.
DECISION
6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be
disqualified if some of their nominees are disqualified, provided that they
LEONEN, J.:
have at least one nominee who remains qualified.

It is beyond human expectations that we charge voters with knowledge as


The COMELEC excluded from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list
to which among the many party-list groups listed in the ballot they are
elections those that did not satisfy these two criteria: (1) all national,
presented with during election day is disqualified. To do so will amount to
regional, and sectoral groups or organizations must represent the
their disenfranchisement and the failure to comply with the
"marginalized and underrepresented" sectors, and (2) all nominees must
proportionality for party-list representatives required by the Constitution
belong to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector they represent.
and by law.
Petitioners may have been disqualified by the COMELEC because as
political or regional parties they are not organized along sectoral lines and
do not represent the "marginalized and underrepresented." Also, We are asked to decide the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by a
petitioners' nominees who do not belong to the sectors they represent party-list group that ran for the 2010 national elections. The petitioner
may have been disqualified, although they may have a track record of questions the validity of the formula used by the Commission on Elections
advocacy for their sectors. Likewise, nominees of non-sectoral parties may in determining and proclaiming the winning party-list groups.1
have been disqualified because they do not belong to any sector.
Moreover, a party may have been disqualified because one or more of its We rule that the Petition is moot and academic. However, we provide
nominees failed to qualify, even if the party has at least one remaining guidance for the bench and the bar with respect to the formula used in
qualified nominee. As discussed above, the disqualification of petitioners, determining the winning party-list groups. We refine the divisor in the
and their nominees, under such circumstances is contrary to the 1987 formula use din getting the percentage of votes garnered by a party-list.
Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
The facts as established on record are as follows:
This Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions
faithfully, and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political Petitioner, Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc.,(ARARO)
experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial was a duly accredited party-list under Republic Act No. 7941.2Itgarnered a
power does not include the power to re-write the Constitution. Thus, the total of one hundred forty-seven thousand two hundred four (147,204)
present petitions should be remanded to the COMELEC not because the votes in the May 10, 2010 elections and ranked fiftieth (50th). 3 The
COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioners, Commission on Elections En Banc sitting as the National Board of
but because petitioners may now possibly qualify to participate in the Canvassers initially proclaimed twenty-eight (28) party-list organizations
coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new parameters as winners involving a total of thirty-five (35) seats guaranteed and
prescribed by this Court. additional seats.4 The result was based on the Commission on Elections’
count of one hundred twenty-one (121) Certificates of Canvass or a total
WHEREFORE, all the present 54 petitions are GRANTED. The 13 petitions, of twenty-nine million seven hundred fifty thousand and forty-one
which have been granted Status Quo Ante Orders but without mandatory (29,750,041) votes for the Party-List System.5
injunction to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are
remanded to the Commission on Elections only for determination whether The winning party-list groups were the following:6
petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system under the
parameters prescribed in this Decision but they shall not participate in the
13 May 2013 part-list elections. The 41 petitions, which have been granted PARTY NUMBER OF SEATS
mandatory injunctions to include the names of petitioners in the printing
of ballots, are remanded to the Commission on Elections for
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR
determination whether petitioners are qualified to register under the 1 2
CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC.
party-list system and to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The Commission on
Elections may conduct summary evidentiary hearings for this purpose. 2 AKBAYAN! CITIZEN’S ACTION PARTY 2
This Decision is immediately executory.

3 GABRIELA WOMEN’S PARTY 2


SO ORDERED.

4 COOPERATIVE NATCCO NETWORK PARTY 2


ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
62

5 ABONO 2 26 ALAGAD PARTY-LIST 1

6 BAYAN MUNA 2 UNA ANG PAMILYA FORMERLY ALLIANCE


27 1
OF NEO-CONSERVATIVES
7 AN WARAY 2
28 ALLIANCE OF VOLUNTEER EDUCATORS 1

AGRICULTURAL SECTOR ALLIANCE SECTOR


8 1
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. TOTAL SEATS 35

ALLIANCE FOR BARANGAY CONCERNS


9 1
PARTY Petitioner then filed an election protest before the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal questioning the Resolution of the
Commission on Elections that proclaimed the 28 party-list groups listed
10 ANAKPAWIS 1
above.7

11 KABATAAN PARTYLIST 1 Without waiting for the resolution of the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal, the petitioner filed the present Petition for Review on
Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary
12 ABANTE MINDANAO, INC. 1
Restraining Order.8 The petitioner asks that this Court:

13 ACT TEACHERS 1 1. modify the Commission on Elections’ interpretation of the formula


stated in BANAT v. COMELEC9 by making the divisor for the computation
14 YOU AGAINST CORRUPTION AND POVERTY 1 of the percentage votes, from total number of votes cast minus the votes
for the disqualified party-list candidates, to the total number of votes cast
regardless whether party-list groups are disqualified;
15 KASANGGA SA KAUNLARAN, INC. 1

2. enjoin the public respondent Commission on Elections from proclaiming


16 BAGONG HENERASYON 1 the remaining winning party-list candidates until it modifies the
interpretation of the formula used in BANAT v. COMELEC to the formula
proposed by the petitioner; and
17 ANG GALING PINOY 1

3. issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the public respondent until


18 AGBIAG! TIMPUYOG ILOCANO, INC. 1 it modifies the present formula for computing the number of seats for the
winning party-list candidates to the formula proposed by the
19 PUWERSA NG BAYANing ATLETA 1 petitioner.10This Court did not issue any Temporary Restraining
Order.11By Resolution, the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed the
winning party-list groups with the following computation:12
ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE
20 1
PROFESSIONALS
WHEREAS, as of May 17, 2010, the projected/maximum total party-list
votes cannot go any higher than thirty million two hundred sixty[-]four
21 TRADE UNION CONGRESS PARTY 1 thousand five hundred seventy[-]nine (30,264,579)given the following
statistical data:

ALYANSA NG MGA GRUPONG HALIGI NG


22 AGHAM AT TEKNOLOHIYA PARA SA 1 REGISTERED
MAMAMAYAN, INC. DESCRIPTION
VOTERS

DEMOCRATIC INDEPENDENT WORKERS’ Total party-list votes already canvassed/tabulated 29,750,041


23 1
ASSOCIATION, INC.

Less: Votes garnered by the eight (8) disqualified


KAPATIRAN NG MGA NAKULONG NA 308,335
24 1 parties
WALANG SALA

Total party-list votes already canvassed/tabulated


KALINGA-ADVOCACY FOR SOCIAL after deducting votes of the eight (8) disqualified 29,441,706
25 EMPOWERMENT AND NATION BUILDING 1 parties
THROUGH EASING POVERTY, INC.
63

Add: Party-list votes still uncanvassed Lanao del Sur 515,488 ASSOCIATIONS 182 %
OF SENIOR
CITIZENS OF THE
Local Absentee Voting 19,071
PHILIPPINES,
INC.
Overseas Absentee Voting 9,299
BUHAY HAYAAN 1,249, 4.1288
3 1 1.85 2
Due to lowering of threshold 92,740 YUMABONG 555 %

Precincts reporting Final Testing and Sealing results 186,275 AKBAYAN!


1,058, 3.4981
4 CITIZEN'S 1 1.57 2
691 %
ACTION PARTY
Maximum Total Party-List Votes 30,264,579

GABRIELAWOME 1,001, 3.3089


5 1 1.48 2
N’S PARTY 421 %
WHEREAS, since there are twohundred twenty-nine (229) legislative
districts, the total number of party-list seats available for the May 10,
2010 automated national and local elections is fifty-seven (57) based on COOPERATIVE
the following formula: number of legislative districts/0.80 x 0.20; NATCCO 943,52 3.1176
6 1 1.40 2
NETWORK 9 %
WHEREAS, the provision of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 provides, PARTY
in part, that:
1ST CONSUMERS
768,82 2.5404
"(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two 7 ALLIANCE FOR 1 1.14 2
9 %
percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be RURAL ENERGY
entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two
[sic] (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to
766,61 2.5330
their total number of votes: Provided, finally, That each party, 8 ABONO 1 1.13 2
5 %
organization or coalitions shall be entitled to not more than three (3)
seats."
746,01 2.4650
9 BAYAN MUNA 1 1.10 2
WHEREAS, applying the formula in the case of Barangay Association for 9 %
National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v. Commission on
Elections, and [sic] Bayan Muna, Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment, 711,63 2.3514
Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms, Inc., and Abono 10 AN WARAY 1 1.05 2
1 %
[v.]Commission on Elections, the ranking of the participating parties,
organizations and coalitions from highest to lowest based on the number
of votes garnered as of May 17, 2010, and the seats that may be obtained CITIZEN'S
647,48 2.1394
by each party to complete the allocation of the available 57 party-list seats, 11 BATTLE AGAINST 1 0.96 1
3 %
are shown below:13 CORRUPTION

VOTES ADVOCACY FOR


GARNE (B) TEACHER
RED plus EMPOWERMENT
GUARAN ADDITI THROUGH
OVER (C),
TEED ONAL ACTION 614,72 2.0312
VOTES TOTAL in 12 1 0.91 1
RA SEAT SEATS COOPERATION 5 %
PARTY GARNE VOTES whol
NK First Second AND HARMONY
RED FOR e
Round Round TOWARDS
PARTY integ
(B) (C) EDUCATIONAL
LIST, ers
in % (D) REFORMS
(A)
AGRICULTURAL
AKO BICOL 1,522, 5.0322 SECTOR
1 1 2.26 3 ALLIANCE 515,50 1.7033
POLITICAL PARTY 986 % 13 0 1 1
SECTOR OF THE 1 %
PHILIPPINES,
2 COALITION OF 1,292, 4.2696 1 1.92 2 INC.
64

BUTIL FARMERS 506,70 1.6742 ANG GALING 269,00 0.8889


14 0 1 1 27 0 1 1
PARTY 3 % PINOY 9 %

ALLIANCE FOR AGBIAG!


262,29 0.8667
BARANGAY 469,09 1.5500 28 TIMBUYOG 0 1 1
15 0 1 1 8 %
CONCERNS 3 % ILOCANO, INC.
PARTY

PUWERSA NG
258,49 0.8541
445,62 1.4724 29 BAYANING 0 1 1
16 ANAKPAWIS 0 1 1 8 %
8 % ATLETA

KABATAAN 417,92 1.3809 ARTS BUSINESS


17 0 1 1 257,30 0.8502
PARTYLIST 3 % 30 AND SCIENCE 0 1 1
1 %
PROFESSIONALS

LPG MARKETERS
417,60 1.3798
18 ASSOCIATION, 0 1 1 TRADE UNION
0 % 244,62 0.8083
INC. 31 CONGRESS 0 1 1
3 %
PARTY

ABANTE 376,01 1.2424


19 0 1 1
MINDANAO, INC. 1 % ALYANSA NG
MGA GRUPONG
HALIGI NG
369,56 1.2211
20 ACT TEACHERS 0 1 1 AGHAM AT 241,89 0.7993
4 % 32 0 1 1
TEKNOLOHIYA 8 %
PARA SA
ANG MAMAMAYAN,
ASOSASYON INC.
SANG
MANGUNGUMA 357,00 1.1796
21 0 1 1 DEMOCRATIC
NGA 9 %
INDEPENDENT
BISAYA-OWA 238,67 0.7886
33 WORKERS' 0 1 1
MANGUNGUMA, 5 %
ASSOCIATION,
INC.
INC.

YOU AGAINST
335,63 1.1090 KAPATIRAN NG
22 CORRUPTION 0 1 1
5 % MGA 234,71 0.7756
AND POVERTY 34 0 1 1
NAKULONG NA 7 %
WALANG SALA
ASSOCIATION OF
PHILIPPINE 313,35 1.0354
23 0 1 1 KALINGA-ADVOC
ELECTRIC 9 %
ACY FOR SOCIAL
COOPERATIVES
EMPOWERMENT
AND NATION 229,19 0.7573
35 0 1 1
KASANGGA SA BUILDING 8 %
296,36 0.9793
24 KAUNLARAN, 0 1 1 THROUGH
8 %
INC. EASING
POVERTY, INC.

BAGONG 292,87 0.9677


25 0 1 1
HENERASYON 5 % ALAGAD 227,11 0.7504
36 0 1 1
PARTY-LIST 6 %

ALLIANCE FOR
NATIONALISM 292,05 0.9650 1-UNITED
26 0 1 1 220,00 0.7269
AND 7 % 37 TRANSPORT 0 1 1
2 %
DEMOCRACY KOALISYON
65

UNA ANG VETERANS 154,18 0.5095


49 0 0 0
PAMILYA FREEDOM PARTY 3 %
FORMERLY 217,03 0.7171
38 0 1 1
ALLIANCE OF 2 %
ALLIANCE FOR
NEO-CONSERVA
RURAL 147,20 0.4864
TIVES 50 0 0 0
RECONSTRUCTIO 4 %
N, INC.
ALLIANCE OF
214,76 0.7096
39 VOLUNTEER 0 1 1
0 % ATONG 145,43 0.4805
EDUCATORS 51 0 0 0
PAGLAOM 5 %

176,07 0.5818
40 AANGAT TAYO 0 1 1 PILIPINO
4 %
ASSOCIATION
FOR
143,15 0.4730
ADHIKAING 52 COUNTRY-URBA 0 0 0
1 %
TINATAGUYOD 173,71 0.5740 N POOR YOUTH
41 0 1 1
NG 1 % ADVANCEMENT
KOOPERATIBA AND WELFARE

ANG LABAN NG ABANTE


170,30 0.5627 142,01 0.4692
42 INDIGONG 0 1 1 53 TRIBUNG 0 0 0
4 % 3 %
FILIPINO MAKABANSA

ASSOCIATION OF ANGAT ATING


167,65 0.5540 141,78 0.4685
43 LABORERS AND 0 1 1 54 KABUHAYAN 0 0 0
4 % 0 %
EMPLOYEES PILIPINAS, INC.

KASOSYO PARTIDO NG 140,00 0.4626


55 0 0 0
PRODUCER-CON MANGGAGAWA 0 %
SUMER 166,43 0.5499
44 0 1 1
EXCHANGE 2 %
ALYANSANG
ASSOCIATION,
BAYANIHAN NG
INC.
MGA
137,84 0.4555
56 MAGSASAKA, 0 0 0
2 %
ALAY BUHAY MANGGAGAWA
COMMUNITY NG-BUKID AT
163,16 0.5391
45 DEVELOPMENT 0 1 1 MANGINGISDA
4 %
FOUNDATION,
INC.
ALLIANCE
136,71 0.4517
57 TRANSPORT 0 0 0
0 %
AKSYON SECTOR
MAGSASAKA 161,67 0.5342
46 0 1 1
PARTIDO TINIG 4 %
KAUNLARAN NG
NG MASA
AGRIKULTURA
ASENSADONG 130,27 0.4304
58 0 0 0
KATIPUNAN NG PROBINSYA 0 %
MGA ANAK NG ANGAT NG
BAYAN ALL 160,74 0.5311 BAYAN
47 0 0 0
FILIPINO 5 %
DEMOCRATIC
BARANGAY 126,46 0.4179
MOVEMENT 59 0 0 0
NATIN 2 %

ANAK 157,73 0.5212


48 0 0 0 1-AKO BABAENG 120,73 0.3989
MINDANAO 3 % 60 0 0 0
ASTIG AASENSO 4 %
66

1GUARDIANS 0 %
NATIONALIST OF 120,72 0.3989
61 0 0 0
THE PHILIPPINES, 7 %
107,15 0.3541
INC. 73 AKAP BATA, INC. 0 0 0
4 %

BABAE PARA SA 117,29 0.3876


62 0 0 0 ANG
KAUNLARAN 9 %
ASOSASYON NG
107,13 0.3540
74 MGA 0 0 0
5 %
BAGONG BAYAN TRABAHADOR
NAGTATAGUYOD AT PAHINANTE
SA 115,42 0.3814
63 0 0 0
DEMOKRATIKON 8 %
AGILA NG MGA
G IDEOLOHIYA 105,00 0.3470
75 KATUTUBONG 0 0 0
AT LAYUNIN 9 %
PILIPINO, INC.

115,19 0.3806
64 AHON PINOY 0 0 0
7 %
The petitioner suggests that the formula used by the Commission on
Elections is flawed because votes that were spoiled or that were not made
ACTION FOR for any party-lists were not counted. According to the petitioner, around
DYNAMIC 115,05 0.3802 seven million (7,000,000) votes were disregarded as a result of the
65 0 0 0
DEVELOPMENT, 8 % Commission on Elections’ erroneous interpretation. The figure presented
INC. by petitioner resulted from the following computations:14

KATRIBU (Number of voters who actually voted LESS votes


37,377,371
INDIGINOUS 114,89 0.3796 for disqualified party lists)
66 0 0 0
PEOPLES 1 %
SECTORAL PARTY
(Number of votes for party-list candidates LESS
less 30,264,579
number of votes for disqualified party-list candidates)
ANG LADLAD 113,18 0.3740
67 0 0 0
LBGT PARTY 7 %
(Total number of disregarded votes
7,112,792
according to petitioner ARARO)
CONFEDERATIO
N OF
NON-STOCK
110,75 0.3660 First, the total number of votes for disqualified party-lists is deducted
68 SAVINGS AND 0 0 0
9 % from the total number of voters that actually voted. The total number of
LOAN
votes for disqualified party-list groups is three hundred eight thousand
ASSOCIATIONS,
three hundred thirty-five (308,335). 15 The total number of voters
INC.
that actually voted is thirty-seven million six hundred eighty-five thousand
seven hundred six (37,685,706).16 After subtracting the amounts, the
KABALIKAT NG result is thirty-seven million three hundred seventy-seven thousand three
109,73 0.3626
69 MGA 0 0 0 hundred seventy-one (37,377,371)votes.
9 %
MAMAMAYAN
Second, the number of votes for disqualified party-list groups is again
ONE ADVOCACY deducted from the number of votes for party-list candidates which the
FOR HEALTH, 109,68 0.3624 petitioner pegged at thirty million five hundred seventy-two thousand
70 0 0 0 nine hundred fourteen votes (30,572,914).17 The difference then is thirty
PROGRESS AND 2 %
OPPORTUNITY million two hundred sixty-four thousand five hundred seventy-nine
(30,264,579) votes.

BINHI; PARTIDO
Lastly, to get the total number of votes disregarded by the Commission on
NG MGA
108,00 0.3569 Elections’ interpretation, 30,264,579 is subtracted from 37,377,371.The
71 MAGSASAKA 0 0 0
5 % computation then results to seven million one hundred twelve thousand
PARA SA MGA
seven hundred ninety-two (7,112,792) votes disregarded using the
MAGSASAKA
Commission on Elections’ interpretation.

72 1-AANI 107,97 0.3568 0 0 0 On the other hand, the formula used by the Commission on Elections En
Banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers is the following:
67

Representatives Through the Party-List System, and Appropriating Funds


Number of seats available to
Therefor." The sections provide the guidelines in allocating seats to
legislative districts Number of seats party-list representatives:
x .20 = available to party-list
representatives
Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. The
.08 party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per
centum (20%) of the total number of the members of
the House of Representatives including those under
Thus, the total number of party-list seats available for the May 2010 the party-list.
elections is 57 as shown below:
For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five
(5) major political parties on the basis of party
229
representation in the House of Representatives at the
x .20 = 57 start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall
not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.
.80
In determining the allocation of seats for the second
vote, the following procedure shall be observed:
The National Board of Canvassers’ Resolution No. 10-009 applies the
formula used in Barangay Association for National Advancement and (a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be
Transparency (BANAT) v. COMELEC18 to arrive at the winning party-list ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the
groups and their guaranteed seats, where: number of votes they garnered during the elections.

Number of votes of party-list (b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving
at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for
Proportion or
the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat
= Percentage of votes
each: Provided, That those garnering more than two
Total number of votes for garnered by party-list
percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to
party-list candidates additional seats in proportion to their total number
of votes: Provided, finally, That each party,
organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not
The Proportion or Percentage of votes garnered by party-list should be more than three (3) seats.
greater than or equal to 2% or 0.02 to entitle a party-list candidate to one
(1) seat in the first round. There will be a second round if the total number Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for
of guaranteed seats awarded in the first round is less than the total Party-List Representatives. The COMELEC shall tally
number of party-list seats available. Thus: all the votes for the parties, organizations, or
coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them according
to the number of votes received and allocate
Total number Number of Proportion or party-list representatives proportionately according
Additional
of party-list seats Percentage of to the percentage of votes obtained by each party,
- x = seats
seats allocated in votes garnered organization, or coalition as against the total
awarded
available first round by party-list nationwide votes cast for the party-list
system.(Emphasis provided)

If the total seats available for party-lists are not yet awarded after the The petitioner argues that the correct interpretation of the provisions of
second round (this is computed by getting the sum of the seats awarded in Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list Law does not distinguish between
the first round and the additional seats awarded in the second round), the valid and invalid votes, to wit:
next in the party-list ranking will be given one (1) seat each until all seats
are fully distributed. A three-seat cap per party-list, however, is imposed Therefore, votes for specific party lists are not the same as votes for the
on winning groups. Fractional seats are not rounded off and are party-list system. Hence, people whose votes were spoiled for instance
disregarded. (like checking or failure to properly shade the ovals in the ballots, or voted
for two party lists when the requirement is only one, or had erasures on
The petitioner argues that the Commission on Elections’ interpretation of their ballots for instance), or did not vote for any party-list at all are still
the formula used in BANAT v. COMELECis flawed because it is not in voters for the party-list system. The votes for the party-list system [include]
accordance with the law.19 The petitioner distinguishes the phrases, valid all those people who voted whether their votes were counted or not as
votes cast for party-list candidates on the one hand as against votes long as the mechanism for the selection of party-list is in
cast for the party-list system on the other. place.20 (Emphasis provided)

The petitioner puts in issue the interpretation of Sections 11 and 12 of In its November 12, 2010 Comment,21 the Commission on Elections
Republic Act No.7941 or "An Act Providing for the Election of Party-List through the Office of the Solicitor General took the position that invalid or
68

stray votes should not be counted in determining the divisor. The However, the following exceptions to the rule of declining jurisdiction over
Commission on Elections argues that this will contradict Citizens’ Battle moot and academic cases are allowed: (1) there was a grave violation of
Against Corruption (CIBAC) v. COMELEC22 and Barangay Association for the Constitution; (2) the case involved a situation of exceptional character
National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v. COMELEC.23 It asserts and was of paramount public interest; (3) the issues raised required the
that: formulation of controlling principles to guide the Bench, the Bar and the
public; and (4) the case was capable of repetition yet evading review.31 On
Neither can the phrase be construed to include the number of voters who the importance of the assailed formula, this Court will discuss the issues
did not even vote for any qualified party-list candidate, as these voters raised by the petitioner as these are capable of repetition yet evading
cannot be considered to have cast any vote "for the party-list system."24 review32 and for the guidance of the bench, bar, and public.33

The issues in this case are as follows: II

I. Whether the case is already moot and academic The petitioner is not the real party in interest

II. Whether petitioners have legal standing "A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured
by the judgement in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the
suit."34 The party’s interest must be direct, substantial, and material. 35 In
III. Whether the Commission on Elections committed grave abuse of
this case, the petitioner attacks the validity of the formula used and
discretion in its interpretation of the formula used in BANAT v.
upheld in BANAT. It also proposes its own interpretation of the formula to
COMELEC25 to determine the party-list groups that would be proclaimed in
determine the proportional representation of party-list candidates in the
the 2010 elections
House of Representatives. However despite any new computation,
ARARO’s proposed divisor of total votes cast for the party-list system
The third issue requires our determination of the computation of the whether valid or invalid still fails to secure one seat for ARARO. Reviewing
correct divisor to be used. The options are: the figures presented by the petitioner:36

A. All votes cast for the party-list system less the votes cast for
subsequently disqualified party-list groups and votes declared spoiled With Divisor of total
valid votes cast for With Divisor of votes
party-list system minus cast for the party-list
B. The total votes cast
votes cast for system as proposed by
disqualified party-lists ARARO
C. The total number of valid votes cast for the party-list system including or invalid votes (37,377,371)
votes cast for party-list groups listed in the ballot even if subsequently (30,264,579)
declared disqualified. The divisor should not include votes that are
declared spoiled or invalid.
Votes garnered 147,204 147,204

We decide as follows:
Votes garnered
I over
0.4864 0.3939
total votes cast for
party-lists (%)
This case is moot and academic. Mendoza v. Villas26 defines a moot and
academic case:
Guaranteed Seat 0 0
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable
controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon
would be of no practical value. As a rule, courts decline jurisdiction over This table clearly shows that the petitioner does not suffer a direct,
such case, or dismiss it on ground of mootness.27 substantial or material injury from the application of the formula
interpreted and used in BANAT in proclaiming the winning party-lists in
Several supervening events have already rendered this case moot and the assailed National Board of Canvassers Resolution. The computation
academic. First, the Commission on Elections En Banc already proclaimed proposed by petitioner ARARO even lowers its chances to meet the 2%
other winning party-list groups.28 Second, the term of office of the winning threshold required by law for a guaranteed seat. Its arguments will neither
party-list groups in the May 2010 national elections ended on June 30, benefit nor injure the party. Thus, it has no legal standing to raise the
2013. Finally, the conduct of the May 13, 2013 elections resulted in a new argument in this Court.
set of party-list groups.
III
We held that the expiration of the challenged term of office renders the
corresponding Petition moot and academic.29This leaves any ruling on the However, we review the interpretation of the formula used for the
issues raised by the petitioner with no practical or useful value.30 determination of wining party-list candidates with respect to the divisor
used for the guidance of bench and bar and for future elections.
69

The textual references for determining the formula to be used are found and organizations were each entitled to a party-list seat despite their
in the Constitution and the statute interpreting the relevant provisions. failure to reach the 2% threshold in the 1998 party-list election. Veterans
also stated that the 20% requirement in the Constitution is merely a
Article VI, Section 5,paragraphs 1 and 2 of the 1987 Constitution provide ceiling.
the following:
Veterans laid down the "four inviolable parameters" in determining the
1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two winners in a Philippine-style party-list election based on a reading of the
hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be Constitution and Republic Act No. 7941:
elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities,
and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their First, the twenty percent allocation-the combined number of all party-list
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of
and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list.
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations. Second, the two percent threshold-only those parties garnering a
minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list
2. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the system are "qualified" to have a seat in the House of Representatives.
total number of representatives including those under the party list. For
three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half Third, the three-seat limit-each qualified party, regardless of the number
of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats; that
provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban is, one "qualifying" and two additional seats.
poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.
Fourth, proportional representation-the additional seats which a qualified
party is entitled to shall be computed "in proportion to their total number
Sections 11 and 12 of Republic Act No. 7941,thus, provide: of votes."38 (Emphasis provided)

Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. The party-list In Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and Butil Farmers Party (Butil) v.
representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total COMELEC,39 the petitioning party-list groups sought the immediate
number of the members of the House of Representatives including those proclamation by the Commission on Elections of their respective second
under the party-list. nominee, claiming that they were entitled to one (1) additional seat each
in the House of Representatives. We held that the correct formula to be
For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political used is the one used in Veterans and reiterated it in Ang Bagong Bayani –
parties on the basis of party representation in the House of OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC.40 This Court in CIBAC v.
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall COMELEC41 differentiates the formula used in Ang Bagong Bayani but
not be entitled to participate in the party-list system. upholds the validity of the Veterans formula.

In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following In BANAT v. COMELEC,42 we declared the 2% threshold in relation to the
procedure shall be observed: distribution of the additional seats as void. We said in that case that:

(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the x x x The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to the
highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during full implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution and
the elections. prevents the attainment of "the broadest possible representation of party,
sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives." (Republic Act
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent No. 7941, Section 2)
(2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list systemshall be entitled to one
seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of xxxx
the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
number of votes: Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or x x x There are two steps in the second round of seat allocation. First, the
coalition shall be entitled to not more than three(3) seats. percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats, 38, which is the
difference between the 55 maximum seats reserved under the Party-List
Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List Representatives. System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. The whole
The COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available
coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them according to the number of seats corresponds to a party’s share in the remaining available
votes received and allocate party-list representatives proportionately seats. Second, we assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in
according to the percentage of votes obtained by each party, organization, rank until all available seats are completely distributed. We distributed all
or coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list of the remaining 38 seats in the second round of seat allocation. Finally,
system.(Emphasis provided) we apply the three-seat cap to determine the number of seats each
qualified party-list candidate is entitled.43
In Veterans Federation Party v. Commission on Elections,37 we reversed
the Commission on Elections’ ruling that the respondent parties, coalitions,
70

The most recent Atong Paglaum v. COMELEC44 does not in any way modify number of votes: Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or
the formula set in Veterans. It only corrects the definition of valid coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
party-list groups. We affirmed that party-list groups maybe national, (Emphasisprovided)
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. We abandoned the
requirement introduced in Ang Bagong Bayani that all party-list groups The total votes cast do not include invalid votes. The invalid votes, for the
should prove that they represent a "marginalized" or "under-represented" determination of the denominator, may be votes that were spoiled or
sector. votes that resulted from the following: improper shading or having no
shade at all;51existence of stray or ambiguous marks;52 tears in the ballot;
Proportional representation is provided in Section 2 of Republic Act No. and/or ballots rejected by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS)
7941.45 BANAT overturned Veterans’ interpretation of the phrase in machines under the paper-based53automated election system. All these
proportion to their total number of votes. We clarified that the are causes that nullify the count for that vote that can be attributable to
interpretation that only those that obtained at least 2% of the votes may the voter’s action.
get additional seats will not result in proportional representation because
it will make it impossible for the party-list seats to be filled completely. As Votes cast for the party-list system should, however, include all votes cast
demonstrated in BANAT, the 20% share may never be filled if the 2% for party-list groups contained in the ballot even if subsequently they are
threshold is maintained. disqualified by the Commission on Elections or by our courts. Thus, the
content of the divisor in the formula to determine the seat allocation for
The divisor, thus, helps to determine the correct percentage of the party-list component of the House of Representatives should be
representation of party-list groups as intended by the law. This is part of amended accordingly.
the index of proportionality of the representation of a party-list to the
House of Representatives.46It measures the relation between the share of We qualify that the divisor to be used in interpreting the formula used
the total seats and the share of the total votes of the in BANAT is the total votes cast for the party-list system. This should not
party-list.47 In Veterans, where the 20% requirement in the Constitution include the invalid votes. However, so as not to disenfranchise a
was treated only as a ceiling, the mandate for proportional representation substantial portion of the electorate, total votes cast for the party-list
was not achieved, and thus, was held void by this Court. system should mean all the votes validly cast for all the candidates listed
in the ballot. The voter relies on the ballot when making his or her
The petitioner now argues that the votes of all the registered voters who choices.
actually voted in the May 2010 elections should be included in the
computation of the divisor whether valid or invalid.48 According to the To the voter, the listing of candidates in the official ballot represents the
petitioner, votes cast for the party-list candidates is not the same as the extent of his or her choices for an electoral exercise. He or she is entitled
votes cast under or for the party-list system. Specifically, it said that: The to the expectation that these names have properly been vetted by the
party list system is not just for the specific party lists as provided in the Commission on Elections. Therefore, he or she is also by right entitled to
ballot, but pertains to the system of selection of the party list to be part of the expectation that his or her choice based on the listed names in the
the House of Representatives.49 The petitioner claims that there should be ballot will be counted.
no distinction in law between valid and invalid votes. Invalid votes include
those votes that were made for disqualified party-list groups, votes that
In Reyes v.COMELEC54 as cited in Loreto v. Brion,55 this Court said "that the
were spoiled due to improper shading, erasures in the ballots, and even
votes cast for the disqualified candidate are presumed to have been cast
those that did not vote for any party-list candidate at all.50 All of the votes
in the belief that he is qualified."56 Therefore, the votes cast for
should be included in the divisor to determine the 2% threshold.
disqualified candidates are presumed to be made with a sincere belief that
the voters’ choices were qualified candidates and that they were without
We agree with the petitioner but only to the extent that votes later on any intention to misapply their franchise.57 Their votes may not be treated
determined to be invalid due to no cause attributable to the voter as stray, void or meaningless58for purposes of the divisor in the party-list
should not be excluded in the divisor. In other words, votes cast validly elections. Assuming arguendo that petitions for certiorari do not stay the
for a party-list group listed in the ballot but later on disqualified should execution of the judgment or final order or resolution sought to be
be counted as part of the divisor. To do otherwise would be to reviewed,59 the finality of the disqualification of a candidate should not be
disenfranchise the voters who voted on the basis of good faith that that a means for the disenfranchisement of the votes cast for the party-list
ballot contained all the qualified candidates. However, following this system.
rationale, party-list groups listed in the ballot but whose disqualification
attained finality prior to the elections and whose disqualification was
Section 10 of the Party-list Law should thus be read in conjunction with
reasonably made known by the Commission on Elections to the voters
the intention of the law as seen in Section 2, to wit:
prior to such elections should not be included in the divisor.

Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. -The State shall promote


Not all votes cast in the elections should be included in the divisor.
proportional representation in the election of
Contrary to the argument of the petitioner, Section 11(b) of Republic Act
representatives to the House of Representatives
No. 7941 is clear that only those votes cast for the party-list system shall
through a party-list system of registered national,
be considered in the computation of the percentage of representation:
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or
coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented
(2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list systemshall be entitled to one sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack
seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of well-defined political constituencies but who could
the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total
71

contribute to the formulation and enactment of


Number of votes of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as
party-list
a whole, to become members of the House of
Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall Proportion or Percentage of
develop and guarantee a full, free and open party =
votes garnered by party-list
system in order to attain the broadest possible Total number of valid
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in votes for party-list
the House of Representatives by enhancing their candidates
chances to compete for and win seats in the
legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme
possible. (Emphasis provided) The total votes cast for the party-list system include those votes made for
party-list groups indicated in the ballot regardless of the pendency of their
Section 10 of Republic Act No. 7941, which governs party-list elections, motions for reconsideration or petitions before any tribunal in relation to
states that votes cast for a party-list "not entitled to be voted for shall not their cancellation or disqualification cases. However, votes made for those
be counted." It does not specify any reckoning period of the finding of party-list groups whose disqualification attained finality prior to the
disqualification or cancellation of registration for the validity or the elections should be excluded if the electorate is notified of the finality of
invalidity of votes unlike that in Section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code, their disqualification by the Commission on Elections. The divisor also shall
as amended by Section 6, Republic Act No. 6646.60 Taking Sections 2 and not include invalid votes.
10 together, this Court must consider the intention of the law and the
nature of Philippine style party-list elections. Party-list groups provide for WHEREFORE from the above discussion:
a different and special representation in Congress. To disregard votes of
party-list groups disqualified after the conduct of the elections means the
1. The prayer to enjoin the Commission on Elections from proclaiming the
disenfranchisement of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of votes,
qualified party-list groups is denied for being moot and academic;
of the Filipino people. Definitely, it is not the voter’s fault that the
party-list group in the ballot it votes for will be subsequently disqualified.
The voter should not be penalized. 2. The formula in determining the winning party-list groups, as used and
interpreted in the case of BANAT v. COMELEC, is MODIFIED as follows:
The counting of votes for party-list groups in the ballot but subsequently
declared as disqualified is, thus, corollary to the "fundamental tenet of Number of votes. of party-list Total number of valid votes for party-list
representative democracy that the people should be allowed to choose candidates Proportion or Percentage of votes garnered by party-list
whom they please to govern them."61 It is also part of the right of suffrage,
and the law’s intention to ensure a more representative Congress should The divisor shall be the total number of valid votes cast for the party-list
be given priority. system including votes cast for party-list groups whose names are in the
ballot but are subsequently disqualified. Party-list groups listed in the
Therefore, the divisor should now include all votes cast for party-list ballot but whose disqualification attained finality prior to the elections
groups that are subsequently disqualified for so long as they were and whose disqualification was reasonably made known by the
presented as a choice to the electorate. Commission on Elections to the voters prior to such elections should not
be included in the divisor. The divisor shall also not include votes that are
declared spoiled or invalid.
If his or her vote is not counted as part of the divisor, then this would
amount to a disenfranchisement of a basic constitutional right to be able
to choose representatives of the House of Representatives in two ways. The refined formula shall apply prospectively to succeeding party-list
First, his or her vote will be nullified. Second, he or she will be deprived of elections from the date of finality of this case.
choosing another party-list group to represent his or her interest should
the party listed in the ballot be declared disqualified. SO ORDERED.

However, there are instances when the Commission on Elections include MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN
the name of the party-list group in the ballot but such group is disqualified Associate Justice
with finality prior to the elections. In applying and interpreting the
provisions of Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646,we said in Cayat v. WE CONCUR:
Commission on Elections62 that votes cast in favor of a candidate
"disqualified with finality" should be considered stray and not be counted.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
To be consistent, the party-list group in the ballot that has been
disqualified with finality and whose final disqualification was made known
to the electorate by the Commission on Elections should also not be G.R. No. 120265 September 18, 1995
included in the divisor. This is to accord weight to the disqualification as
well as accord respect to the inherent right of suffrage of the voters. AGAPITO A. AQUINO, petitioner,
vs.
Thus, the formula to determine the proportion garnered by the party-list COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, MOVE MAKATI, MATEO BEDON and
group would now henceforth be: JUANITO ICARO, respondents.
72

Affidavit dated May 2, 1995,5 lease contract between petitioner and


Leonor Feliciano dated April 1, 1994,6 Affidavit of Leonor Feliciano dated
KAPUNAN, J.: April 28,19957 and Affidavit of Daniel Galamay dated April 28, 1995.8

The sanctity of the people's will must be observed at all times if our After hearing of the petition for disqualification, the Second Division of the
nascent democracy is to be preserved. In any challenge having the effect COMELEC promulgated a Resolution dated May 6, 1995,
of reversing a democratic choice, expressed through the ballot, this Court the decretal portion of which reads:
should be ever so vigilant in finding solutions which would give effect to
the will of the majority, for sound public policy dictates that all elective WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Commission (Second Division)
offices are filled by those who have received the highest number of votes RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant: petition for Disqualification against
cast in an election. When a challenge to a winning candidate's respondent AGAPITO AQUINO and declares him ELIGIBLE to run for the
qualifications however becomes inevitable, the ineligibility ought to be so Office of Representative in the Second Legislative District of Makati City.
noxious to the Constitution that giving effect to the apparent will of the
people would ultimately do harm to our democratic institutions. SO ORDERED.9

On March 20, 1995, petitioner Agapito A. Aquino filed his Certificate of On May 7, 1995, Move Makati and Mateo Bedon filed a Motion for
Candidacy for the position of Representative for the new Second Reconsideration of the May 6, 1995 resolution with the COMELEC en banc.
Legislative District of Makati City. Among others, Aquino provided the
following information in his certificate of candidacy, viz:.
Meanwhile, on May 8, 1995, elections were held. In Makati City where
three (3) candidates vied for the congressional seat in the Second District,
(7) RESIDENCE (Complete Address): 284 AMAPOLA COR. ADALLA STS., petitioner garnered thirty eight thousand five hundred forty seven (38,547)
PALM VILLAGE, MAKATI. votes as against another candidate, Agusto Syjuco, who obtained thirty
five thousand nine hundred ten (35,910) votes.10
xxx xxx xxx
On May 10, 1995, private respondents Move Makati and Bedon filed an
(8) RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED Urgent Motion Ad Cautelum to Suspend Proclamation of petitioner.
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION: ______ Years and 10 Months. Thereafter, they filed an Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration of the
COMELEC's Second Division resolution dated May 6, 1995 and a 2nd
xxx xxx xxx Urgent Motion Ad Cautelum to Suspend Proclamation of petitioner.

THAT I AM ELIGIBLE for said Office; That I will support and defend the On May 15, 1995, COMELEC en banc issued an Order suspending
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true faith petitioner's proclamation. The dispositive portion of the order reads:
and allegiance thereto; That I will obey the law, rules and decrees
promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; That the obligation WHEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of Section 6 of Republic Act No.
imposed to such is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or 6646, the Board of Canvassers of the City of Makati is hereby directed to
purpose of evasion, and that the facts therein are true to the best of my complete the canvassing of election returns of the Second District of
knowledge.1 Makati, but to suspend the proclamation of respondent Agapito A. Aquino
should he obtain the winning number of votes for the position of
On April 24, 1995, Move Makati, a duly registered political party, and Representative of the Second District of the City of Makati, until the
Mateo Bedon, Chairman of the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of Barangay Cembo, motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners on May 7, 1995, shall
Makati City, filed a petition to disqualify Agapito A. Aquino2 on the ground have been resolved by the Commission.
that the latter lacked the residence qualification as a candidate for
congressman which, under Section 6, Art. VI of the 1987 the Constitution, The Executive Director, this Commission, is directed to cause the
should be for a period not less than one (1) year immediately preceding immediate implementation of this Order. The Clerk of Court of the
the May 8, 1995 elections. The petition was docketed as SPA No. 95-113 Commission is likewise directed to inform the parties by the fastest means
and was assigned to the Second Division of the Commission on Elections available of this Order, and to calendar the hearing of the Motion for
(COMELEC). Reconsideration on May 17, 1995, at 10:00 in the morning, PICC Press
Center, Pasay City.
On April 25, 1995, a day after said petition for disqualification was filed,
petitioner filed another certificate of candidacy amending the certificate SO ORDERED.11
dated March 20, 1995. This time, petitioner stated in Item 8 of his
certificate that he had resided in the constituency where he sought to be On May 16, 1995, petitioner filed his Comment/Opposition with urgent
elected for one (l) year and thirteen (13) days.3 motion to lift order of suspension of proclamation.

On May 2, 1995, petitioner filed his Answer dated April 29, 1995 praying On June 1, 1995, petitioner filed a "Motion to File Supplemental
for the dismissal of the disqualification case.4 Memorandum and Motion to Resolve Urgent Motion to Resolve Motion to
Lift Suspension of Proclamation" wherein he manifested his intention to
On the same day, May 2, 1995, a hearing was conducted by the COMELEC raise, among others, the issue of whether of not the determination of the
wherein petitioner testified and presented in evidence, among others, his qualifications of petitioner after the elections is lodged exclusively in the
73

House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal pursuant to Section 17, Article THE COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT
VI of the 1987 Constitution. PROCEEDED TO PROMULGATE ITS QUESTIONED DECISION (ANNEX "C",
PETITION) DESPITE IT OWN RECOGNITION THAT A THRESHOLD ISSUE OF
Resolving petitioner's motion to lift suspension of his proclamation, the JURISDICTION HAS TO BE JUDICIOUSLY REVIEWED AGAIN,
COMELEC en banc issued an Order on June 2, 1995, the decretal portion ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE COMELEC HAS JURISDICTION, THE
thereof residing: COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AND SERIOUS
ERROR IN DIRECTING WITHOUT NOTICE THE SUSPENSION OF THE
PROCLAMATION OF THE PETITIONER AS THE WINNING CONGRESSIONAL
Pursuant to the said provisions and considering the attendant
CANDIDATE AND DESPITE THE MINISTERIAL NATURE OF SUCH DUTY TO
circumstances of the case, the Commission RESOLVED to proceed with the
PROCLAIM (PENDING THE FINALITY OF THE DISQUALIFICATION CASE
promulgation but to suspend its rules, to accept the filing of the aforesaid
AGAINST THE PETITIONER) IF ONLY NOT TO THWART THE PEOPLE'S WILL.
motion, and to allow the parties to be heard thereon because the issue of
jurisdiction now before the Commission has to be studied with more
reflection and judiciousness. 12 D

On the same day, June 2, 1995, the COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution THE COMELEC'S FINDING OF NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE RESIDENCY
reversing the resolution of the Second Division dated May 6, 1995. REQUIREMENT OF ONE YEAR AGAINST THE PETITIONER IS CONTRARY TO
The fallo reads as follows: EVIDENCE AND TO APPLICABLE LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, petitioners' Motion for E


Reconsideration of the Resolution of the Second Division, promulgated on
May 6, 1995, is GRANTED. Respondent Agapito A. Aquino is declared IN ANY CASE, THE COMELEC CRITICALLY ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE
ineligible and thus disqualified as a candidate for the Office of THE LEGAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF ENFORCING THE ONE YEAR RESIDENCY
Representative of the Second Legislative District of Makati City in the May REQUIREMENT OF CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES IN NEWLY CREATED
8, 1995 elections, for lack of the constitutional qualification of residence. POLITICAL DISTRICTS WHICH WERE ONLY EXISTING FOR LESS THAN A YEAR
Consequently, the order of suspension of proclamation of the respondent AT THE TIME OF THE ELECTION AND BARELY FOUR MONTHS IN THE CASE
should he obtain the winning number of votes, issued by this Commission OF PETITIONER'S DISTRICT IN MAKATI OF CONGRESSIONAL.
on May 15, 1995 is now made permanent.
F
Upon the finality of this Resolution, the Board of Canvassers of the City of
Makati shall immediately reconvene and, on the basis of the completed THE COMELEC COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
canvass of election returns, determine the winner out of the remaining JURISDICTION WHEN IT ORDERED THE BOARD OF CANVASSERS TO
qualified candidates, who shall be immediately be proclaimed. "DETERMINE AND PROCLAIM THE WINNER OUT OF THE REMAINING
QUALIFIED CANDIDATES" AFTER THE ERRONEOUS DISQUALIFICATION OF
SO ORDERED. 13 YOUR PETITIONER IN THAT SUCH DIRECTIVE IS IN TOTAL DISREGARD OF
THE WELL SETTLED DOCTRINE THAT A SECOND PLACE CANDIDATE OR
Hence, the instant Petition for Certiorari 14 assailing the orders dated May PERSON WHO WAS REPUDIATED BY THE ELECTORATE IS A LOSER AND
15, 1995 and June 2, 1995, as well as the resolution dated June 2, 1995 CANNOT BE PROCLAIMED AS SUBSTITUTE
issued by the COMELEC en banc. Petitioner's raises the following errors for WINNER.15
consideration, to wit:
I
A
In his first three assignments of error, petitioner vigorously contends that
THE COMELEC HAS NO JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE AND ADJUDGE THE after the May 8, 1995 elections, the COMELEC lost its jurisdiction over the
DISQUALIFICATION ISSUE INVOLVING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES question of petitioner's qualifications to run for member of the House of
AFTER THE MAY 8, 1995 ELECTIONS, SUCH DETERMINATION BEING Representatives. He claims that jurisdiction over the petition for
RESERVED TO AND LODGE EXCLUSIVELY WITH THE HOUSE OF disqualification is exclusively lodged with the House of Representatives
REPRESENTATIVE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Given the yet unresolved question of jurisdiction,
petitioner avers that the COMELEC committed serious error and grave
abuse of discretion in directing the suspension of his proclamation as the
B
winning candidate in the Second Congressional District of Makati City. We
disagree.
ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE COMELEC HAS JURISDICTION, SAID
JURISDICTION CEASED IN THE INSTANT CASE AFTER THE ELECTIONS, AND
Petitioner conveniently confuses the distinction between an unproclaimed
THE REMEDY/IES AVAILABLE TO THE ADVERSE PARTIES LIE/S IN ANOTHER
candidate to the House of Representatives and a member of the same.
FORUM WHICH, IT IS SUBMITTED, IS THE HRET CONSISTENT WITH
Obtaining the highest number of votes in an election does not
SECTION 17, ARTICLE VI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION
automatically vest the position in the winning candidate. Section 17 of
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution reads:
C
74

The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an Electoral elections. 18 Residence, for election law purposes, has a settled meaning in
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the our jurisdiction.
election, returns and qualifications of their respective Members.
In Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives 19 this Court
Under the above-stated provision, the electoral tribunal clearly assumes held that the term "residence" has always been understood as
jurisdiction over all contests relative to the election, returns and synonymous with "domicile" not only under the previous Constitutions but
qualifications of candidates for either the Senate or the House only when also under the 1987 Constitution. The Court there held: 20
the latter become members of either the Senate or the House of
Representatives. A candidate who has not been proclaimed 16 and who The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission reveal that the
has not taken his oath of office cannot be said to be a member of the meaning of residence vis-a-vis the qualifications of a candidate for
House of Representatives subject to Section. 17 of the Constitution. While Congress continues to remain the same as that of domicile, to wit:
the proclamation of a winning candidate in an election is ministerial, B.P.
881 in conjunction with Sec 6 of R.A. 6646 allows suspension of
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971
proclamation under circumstances mentioned therein. Thus, petitioner's
Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require residence in
contention that "after the conduct of the election and (petitioner) has
the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of
been established the winner of the electoral exercise from the moment of
elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of domicile
election, the COMELEC is automatically divested of authority to pass upon
or constructive residence?
the question of qualification" finds no basis, because even after the
elections the COMELEC is empowered by Section 6 (in relation to Section 7)
of R.A. 6646 to continue to hear and decide questions relating to Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the
qualifications of candidates Section 6 states: National Assembly are concerned, the proposed section merely provides,
among others, and a resident thereof', that is, in the district, for a period
of not less than one year preceding the day of the election. This was in
Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate, who has been
effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to it was
declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and
domicile (emphasis ours) Records of the 1987 Constitutional Convention,
the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is
Vol. II, July 22, 1986, p. 87).
not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and
he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election,
the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the xxx xxx xxx
action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any
intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on section 7, page 2. I think
proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong. Commissioner Nolledo has raised the same point that "resident" has been
interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence.
Under the above-quoted provision, not only is a disqualification case
against a candidate allowed to continue after the election (and does not Mr. De Los Reyes: Domicile.
oust the COMELEC of its jurisdiction), but his obtaining the highest
number of votes will not result in the suspension or termination of the Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentlemen consider at the proper
proceedings against him when the evidence of guilt is strong. While the time to go back to actual residence rather than mere intention to reside?
phrase "when the evidence of guilt is strong" seems to suggest that the
provisions of Section 6 ought to be applicable only to disqualification cases
Mr. De los Reyes: But We might encounter some difficulty especially
under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, Section 7 of R.A. 6646
considering that the provision in the Constitution in the Article on Suffrage
allows the application of the provisions of Section 6 to cases involving
says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by law. So, we have
disqualification based on ineligibility under Section 78 of B.P. 881. Section
to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not
7 states:
physical and actual residence. (Records of the 1987 Constitutional
Commission, Vol. II, July 22, 1986, p. 110).
Sec. 7. Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy.
— The procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petition to deny
The framers of the Constitution adhered to the earlier definition given to
due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy based on Sec. 78
the word "residence" which regarded it as having the same meaning
of Batas Pambansa 881.
as domicile.

II
Clearly, the place "where a party actually or constructively has his
permanent home," 21 where he, no matter where he may be found at any
We agree with COMELEC's contention that in order that petitioner could given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is
qualify as a candidate for Representative of the Second District of Makati that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the
City the latter "must prove that he has established not just residence purposes of election law. The manifest purpose of this deviation from the
but domicile of choice. 17 usual conceptions of residency in law as explained in Gallego
vs. Vera at 22 is "to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with the
The Constitution requires that a person seeking election to the House of conditions and needs of the community" from taking advantage of
Representatives should be a resident of the district in which he seeks favorable circumstances existing in that community for electoral gain.
election for a period of not less than one (l) year prior to the While there is nothing wrong with the practice of establishing residence in
a given area for meeting election law requirements, this nonetheless
75

defeats the essence of representation, which is to place through the Moreover, his assertion that he has transferred his domicile from Tarlac to
assent of voters those most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a Makati is a bare assertion which is hardly supported by the facts in the
particular district, if a candidate falls short of the period of residency case at bench. Domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a
mandated by law for him to qualify. That purpose could be obviously best change of domicile, petitioner must prove an actual removal or an actual
met by individuals who have either had actual residence in the area for a change of domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place
given period or who have been domiciled in the same area either by origin of residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which
or by choice. It would, therefore, be imperative for this Court to inquire correspond with the purpose.30 These requirements are hardly met by the
into the threshold question as to whether or not petitioner actually was a evidence adduced in support of petitioner's claims of a change
resident for a period of one year in the area now encompassed by the of domicile from Tarlac to the Second District of Makati. In the absence of
Second Legislative District of Makati at the time of his election or whether clear and positive proof, the domicile of origin be deemed to continue
or not he was domiciled in the same. requirements are hardly met by the evidence adduced in support of
petitioner's claims of a change of domicile from Tarlac to the Second
As found by the COMELEC en banc petitioner in his Certificate of District of Makati. In the absence of clear and positive proof,
Candidacy for the May 11, 1992 elections, indicated not only that he was the domicile of origin should be deemed to continue.
a resident of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac in 1992 but that he was
a resident of the same for 52 years immediately preceding that Finally, petitioner's submission that it would be legally impossible to
election. 23 At the time, his certificate indicated that he was also a impose the one year residency requirement in a newly created political
registered voter of the same district. 24 His birth certificate places district is specious and lacks basis in logic. A new political district is not
Concepcion, Tarlac as the birthplace of both of his parents Benigno and created out of thin air. It is carved out from part of a real and existing
Aurora. 25 Thus, from data furnished by petitioner himself to the COMELEC geographic area, in this case the old Municipality of Makati. That people
at various times during his political career, what stands consistently clear actually lived or were domiciled in the area encompassed by the new
and unassailable is that this domicile of origin of record up to the time of Second District cannot be denied. Modern-day carpetbaggers cannot be
filing of his most recent certificate of candidacy for the 1995 elections was allowed take advantage of the creation of new political districts by
Concepcion, Tarlac. suddenly transplanting themselves in such new districts, prejudicing their
genuine residents in the process of taking advantage of existing conditions
Petitioner's alleged connection with the Second District of Makati City is in these areas. It will be noted, as COMELEC did in its assailed resolution,
an alleged lease agreement of condominium unit in the area. As the that petitioner was disqualified from running in the Senate because of the
COMELEC, in its disputed Resolution noted: constitutional two-term limit, and had to shop around for a place where
he could run for public office. Nothing wrong with that, but he must first
prove with reasonable certainty that he has effected a change of
The intention not to establish a permanent home in Makati City is evident
residence for election law purposes for the period required by law. This he
in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one. While a lease
has not effectively done.
contract maybe indicative of respondent's intention to reside in Makati
City it does not engender the kind of permanency required to prove
abandonment of one's original domicile especially since, by its terms, it is III
only for a period of two (2) years, and respondent Aquino himself testified
that his intention was really for only one (l) year because he has other The next issue here is whether or not the COMELEC erred in issuing it
"residences" in Manila or Quezon City. 26 Order instructing the Board of Canvassers of Makati City to proclaim as
winner the candidate receiving the next higher number of votes. The
While property ownership is not and should never be an indicia of the answer must be in the negative.
right to vote or to be voted upon, the fact that petitioner himself claims
that he has other residences in Metro Manila coupled with the short To contend that Syjuco should be proclaimed because he was the "first"
length of time he claims to be a resident of the condominium unit in among the qualified candidates in the May 8, 1995 elections is to
Makati (and the fact, of his stated domicile in Tarlac) "indicate that the misconstrue the nature of the democratic electoral process and the
sole purpose of (petitioner) in transferring his physical residence" 27 is not sociological and psychological underpinnings behind voters' preferences.
to acquire's new residence or domicile "but only to qualify as a candidate The result suggested by private respondent would lead not only to our
for Representative of the Second District of Makati City." 28 The absence of reversing the doctrines firmly entrenched in the two cases
clear and positive proof showing a successful abandonment of Labo vs. Comelec 31 but also to a massive disenfranchisement of the
of domicile under the conditions stated above, the lack of identification — thousands of voters who cast their vote in favor of a candidate they
sentimental, actual or otherwise — with the area, and the suspicious believed could be validly voted for during the elections. Had petitioner
circumstances under which the lease agreement was effected all belie been disqualified before the elections, the choice, moreover, would have
petitioner's claim of residency for the period required by the Constitution, been different. The votes for Aquino given the acrimony which attended
in the Second District of Makati. As the COMELEC en banc emphatically the campaign, would not have automatically gone to second placer Syjuco.
pointed out: The nature of the playing field would have substantially changed. To
simplistically assume that the second placer would have received the
[T]he lease agreement was executed mainly to support the one year other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter.
residence requirement as a qualification for a candidate of Representative, The second placer is just that, a second placer. He lost the elections. He
by establishing a commencement date of his residence. If a perfectly valid was repudiated by either a majority or plurality of voters. He could not be
lease agreement cannot, by itself establish; a domicile of choice, this considered the first among qualified candidates because in a field which
particular lease agreement cannot do better. 29 excludes the disqualified candidate, the conditions would have
substantially changed. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results
under such circumstances.
76

In these cases, the pendulum of judicial opinion in our country has swung the absence of a statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and
from one end to the other. In the early case of Topacio v. Paredes. 32 we legislative policy on the matter, if the votes were cast in sincere belief that
declared as valid, votes cast in favor of a disqualified, ineligilble or dead candidate was alive, qualified, or eligible; they should not be treated as
candidate provided the people who voted for such candidate believed in stray, void or meaningless.
good faith that at the time of the elections said candidate was either
qualified, eligible or alive. The votes cast in favor of a disqualified, Synthesizing these rulings we declared in the latest case of Labo,
ineligible or dead candidate who obtained the next higher number of Jr. v. COMELEC that: 39
votes cannot be proclaimed as winner. According to this Court in the said
case, "there is not, strictly speaking, a contest, that wreath of victory
While Ortega may have garnered the second highest number of votes for
cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate
the office of city mayor, the fact remains that he was not the choice of the
when the sole question is the eligibility of the one receiving the plurality of
sovereign will. Petitioner Labo was overwhelmingly voted by the
the legally cast ballots."
electorate for the office of mayor in the belief that he was then qualified
to serve the people of Baguio City and his subsequent disqualification
Then in Ticson v. Comelec, 33 this Court held that votes cast in favor of a does not make respondent Ortega the mayor-elect. This is the import of
non-candidate in view of his unlawful change of party affiliation (which the recent case of Abella v. Comelec (201 SCRA 253 [1991]), wherein we
was then a ground for disqualification) cannot be considered in the held that:
canvassing of election returns and the votes fall into the category of
invalid and nonexistent votes because a disqualified candidate is no
While it is true that SPC No. 88-546 was originally a petition to deny due
candidate at all and is not a candidate in the eyes of the law. As a result,
course to the certificate of candidacy of Larrazabal and was filed before
this Court upheld the proclamation of the only candidate left in the
Larrazabal could be proclaimed the fact remains that the local elections of
disputed position.
Feb. 1, 1988 in the province of Leyte proceeded with Larrazabal
considered as a bona fide candidate. The voters of the province voted for
In Geronimo v. Ramos 34 we reiterated our ruling in Topacio her in the sincere belief that she was a qualified candidate for the position
v. Paredes that the candidate who lost in an election cannot be of governor.Her votes was counted and she obtained the highest number
proclaimed the winner in the event the candidate who ran for the portion of votes. The net effect is that petitioner lost in the election. He was
is ineligible. We held in Geronimo: repudiated by the electorate. . . What matters is that in the event a
candidate for an elected position who is voted for and who obtains the
[I]t would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the highest number of votes is disqualified for not possessing the eligibility,
constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not requirements at the time of the election as provided by law, the candidate
acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and who obtains the second highest number of votes for the same position
imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of which cannot assume the vacated position. (Emphasis supplied).
have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him.
Our ruling in Abella applies squarely to the case at bar and we see no
Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who compelling reason to depart therefrom. Like Abella, petitioner Ortega lost
have received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that in the election. He was repudiated by the electorate. He was obviously not
office, and it is fundamental idea in all republican forms of government the choice of the people of Baguio City.
that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared
carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes Thus, while respondent Ortega (G.R. No. 105111) originally filed a
cast in the elections. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.) disqualification case with the Comelec (docketed as SPA-92-029) seeking
to deny due course to petitioner's (Labo's) candidacy, the same did not
However, in Santos v. Comelec 35 we made a turnabout from our previous deter the people of Baguio City from voting for petitioner Labo, who, by
ruling in Geronimo v. Ramos and pronounced that "votes cast for a then, was allowed by the respondent Comelec to be voted upon, the
disqualified candidate fall within the category of invalid or non-existent resolution for his disqualification having yet to attain the degree of finality
votes because a disqualified candidate is no candidate at all in the eyes of (Sec. 78, Omnibus Election Code).
the law," reverting to our earlier ruling in Ticson v. Comelec.
And in the earlier case of Labo v. Comelec. (supra), We held:
In the more recent cases of Labo, Jr. v. Comelec 36 Abella
v. Comelec; 37 and Benito v. Comelec, 38 this Court reiterated and upheld Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent,
the ruling in Topacio v. Paredes and Geronimo v. Ramos to the effect that who filed the quo warranto petition, can replace the petitioner as mayor.
the ineligibility of a candidate receiving the next higher number of votes to He cannot. The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second
be declared elected, and that a minority or defeated candidate cannot be highest number of votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice
declared elected to the office. In these cases, we put emphasis on our of the people of Baguio City.
pronouncement in Geronimo v. Ramos that:
The latest ruling of the Court in this issue is Santos v. Commission on
The fact that a candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is Election, (137 SCRA 740) decided in 1985. In that case, the candidate who
later declared to be disqualified or not eligible for the office to which he placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning rival,
was elected does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were
second highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective all disregarded as stray. In effect, the second placer won by default. That
office. The votes cast for a dead, disqualified, or non-eligible person may decision was supported by eight members of the Court then
be valid to vote the winner into office or maintain him there. However, in (Cuevas J., ponente, with Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la
77

Fuente, Alampay, and Aquino, JJ., concurring) with three dissenting In fine, we are left with no choice but to affirm the COMELEC's conclusion
(Teehankee, acting C.J., Abad Santos and Melencio-Herrera) and another declaring herein petitioner ineligible for the elective position of
two reserving their votes (Plana and Gutierrez, Jr.). One was on official Representative of Makati City's Second District on the basis of respondent
leave (Fernando, C.J.) commission's finding that petitioner lacks the one year residence in the
district mandated by the 1987 Constitution. A democratic government is
Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be necessarily a government of laws. In a republican government those laws
reversed in favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v. Santos (136 SCRA 435), are themselves ordained by the people. Through their representatives,
which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That case, which they dictate the qualifications necessary for service in government
reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio vs. Paredes (23 positions. And as petitioner clearly lacks one of the essential qualifications
Phil. 238) was supported by ten members of the Court. . . . for running for membership in the House of Representatives, not even the
will of a majority or plurality of the voters of the Second District of Makati
City would substitute for a requirement mandated by the fundamental law
The rule, therefore, is: the ineligibility of a candidate receiving majority
itself.
votes does not entitle the eligible candidate receiving the next highest
number of votes to be declared elected. A minority or defeated candidate
cannot be deemed elected to the office. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby
DISMISSED. Our Order restraining respondent COMELEC from proclaiming
the candidate garnering the next highest number of votes in the
Indeed, this has been the rule in the United States since 1849 (State ex rel.
congressional elections for the Second District of Makati City is made
Dunning v. Giles, 52 Am. Dec. 149).
PERMANENT.

It is therefore incorrect to argue that since a candidate has been


SO ORDERED.
disqualified, the votes intended for the disqualified candidate should, in
effect, be considered null and void. This would amount to disenfranchising
the electorate in whom, sovereignty resides. At the risk of being Regalado, Melo, Puno and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
repetitious, the people of Baguio City opted to elect petitioner Labo bona
fide without any intention to missapply their franchise, and in the honest Feliciano, J., is on leave.
belief that Labo was then qualified to be the person to whom they would
entrust the exercise of the powers of the government. Unfortunately, G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995
petitioner Labo turned out to be disqualified and cannot assume the
office.
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,
vs.
Whether or not the candidate whom the majority voted for can or cannot COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.
be installed, under no circumstances can a minority or defeated candidate
be deemed elected to the office. Surely, the 12,602 votes cast for
petitioner Ortega is not a larger number than the 27,471 votes cast for
petitioner Labo (as certified by the Election Registrar of Baguio City; rollo,
p. 109; G.R. No. 105111). KAPUNAN, J.:

This, it bears repeating, expresses the more logical and democratic view. A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective
We cannot, in another shift of the pendulum, subscribe to the contention operation and suppress the mischief at which it is aimed. 1 The 1987
that the runner-up in an election in which the winner has been Constitution mandates that an aspirant for election to the House of
disqualified is actually the winner among the remaining qualified Representatives be "a registered voter in the district in which he shall be
candidates because this clearly represents a minority view supported only elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year
by a scattered number of obscure American state and English court immediately preceding the election."2 The mischief which this provision —
decisions. 40 These decisions neglect the possibility that the runner-up, reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution — seeks to prevent is
though obviously qualified, could receive votes so measly and insignificant the possibility of a "stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the
in number that the votes they receive would be tantamount to rejection. conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter,
Theoretically, the "second placer" could receive just one vote. In such a from an elective office to serve that community."3
case, it is absurd to proclaim the totally repudiated candidate as the
voters' "choice." Moreover, even in instances where the votes received by Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for
the second placer may not be considered numerically insignificant, voters the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte with the
preferences are nonetheless so volatile and unpredictable that the result Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, 1995, providing the following
among qualified candidates, should the equation change because of the information in item no. 8:4
disqualification of an ineligible candidate, would not be self-evident.
Absence of the apparent though ineligible winner among the choices RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED
could lead to a shifting of votes to candidates other than the second IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION: __________ Years
placer. By any mathematical formulation, the runner-up in an election and seven Months.
cannot be construed to have obtained a majority or plurality of votes cast
where an "ineligible" candidate has garnered either a majority or plurality
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent
of the votes.
Representative of the First District of Leyte and a candidate for the same
position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification"5 with the
78

Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed
constitutional requirement for residency. In his petition, private word "Seven" (months) was a result of an "honest misinterpretation or
respondent contended that Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one honest mistake" on her part and, therefore, an amendment should
year residency requirement for candidates for the House of subsequently be allowed. She averred that she thought that what was
Representatives on the evidence of declarations made by her in Voter asked was her "actual and physical" presence in Tolosa and not residence
Registration Record 94-No. 33497726 and in her Certificate of Candidacy. of origin or domicile in the First Legislative District, to which she could
He prayed that "an order be issued declaring (petitioner) disqualified and have responded "since childhood." In an accompanying affidavit, she
canceling the certificate of candidacy."7 stated that her domicile is Tacloban City, a component of the First District,
to which she always intended to return whenever absent and which she
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of has never abandoned. Furthermore, in her memorandum, she tried to
Candidacy, changing the entry "seven" months to "since childhood" in discredit petitioner's theory of disqualification by alleging that she has
item no. 8 of the amended certificate.8 On the same day, the Provincial been a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood,
Election Supervisor of Leyte informed petitioner that: although she only became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for
seven months. She asserts that she has always been a resident of Tacloban
City, a component of the First District, before coming to the Municipality
[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of
of Tolosa.
Candidacy on the ground that it is filed out of time, the deadline for the
filing of the same having already lapsed on March 20, 1995. The
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy should have been filed on or Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in
before the March 20, 1995 deadline.9 Tolosa, respondent announced that she would be registering in Tacloban
City so that she can be a candidate for the District. However, this intention
was rebuffed when petitioner wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban not
Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of
to allow respondent since she is a resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban.
Candidacy with the COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros, Manila on
She never disputed this claim and instead implicitly acceded to it by
March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in SPA No.
registering in Tolosa.
95-009 was likewise filed with the head office on the same day. In said
Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her
original Certificate of Candidacy was the result of an "honest This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or
misinterpretation" 10 which she sought to rectify by adding the words honest mistake." Besides, the Certificate of Candidacy only asks for
"since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and RESIDENCE. Since on the basis of her Answer, she was quite aware of
that "she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or "residence of origin" which she interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious
residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in filing the petition seeking why she did not cite Tacloban City in her Certificate of Candidacy. Her
her disqualification, she noted that: explanation that she thought what was asked was her actual and physical
presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because there is none in the
question that insinuates about Tolosa. In fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate
When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending
of Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I
to register as a voter in Tacloban City and run for Congress in the First
seek to be elected immediately preceding the election." Thus, the
District of Leyte, petitioner immediately opposed her intended
explanation of respondent fails to be persuasive.
registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said
city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. After respondent had registered
as a voter in Tolosa following completion of her six month actual From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or
residence therein, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to transfer misinterpretation, therefore, is devoid of merit.
the town of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and
pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his purpose being to To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be
remove respondent as petitioner's opponent in the congressional election made, she cited the case of Alialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance
in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other Leyte of respondent on the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies to
Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to the "inconsequential deviations which cannot affect the result of the
remove the town of Tolosa out of the First District, to achieve his purpose. election, or deviations from provisions intended primarily to secure timely
However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having failed on such moves, and orderly conduct of elections." The Supreme Court in that case
petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same objective, as it is considered the amendment only as a matter of form. But in the instant
obvious that he is afraid to submit along with respondent for the case, the amendment cannot be considered as a matter of form or an
judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of residence
honest, orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12 in the place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial matter
which determines her qualification as a candidacy, specially those
On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections intended to suppress, accurate material representation in the original
(COMELEC), by a vote of 2 to 1, 13 came up with a Resolution 1) finding certificate which adversely affects the filer. To admit the amended
private respondent's Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95-009 certificate is to condone the evils brought by the shifting minds of
meritorious; 2) striking off petitioner's Corrected/Amended Certificate of manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the integrity of the election.
Candidacy of March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling her original Certificate of
Candidacy. 14 Dealing with two primary issues, namely, the validity of Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of
amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after the lapse of the her residency in order to prolong it by claiming it was "since childhood" is
deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and petitioner's compliance to allow an untruthfulness to be committed before this Commission. The
with the one year residency requirement, the Second Division held: arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months residency the respondent indicated
in her certificate of candidacy can be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's
79

Registration Record accomplished on January 28, 1995 which reflects that In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make
she is a resident of Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of Tacloban her domicile. She registered as a voter in different places and on
the said registration (Annex A, Petition). Said accuracy is further several occasions declared that she was a resident of Manila. Although she
buttressed by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, spent her school days in Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned
dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the cancellation of her registration such place when she chose to stay and reside in other different places. In
in the Permanent List of Voters thereat so that she can be re-registered or the case of Romualdez vs. RTC (226 SCRA 408) the Court explained how
transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these three (3) one acquires a new domicile by choice. There must concur: (1) residence
different documents show the respondent's consistent conviction that she or bodily presence in the new locality; (2) intention to remain there; and
has transferred her residence to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro Manila (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words there must
only for such limited period of time, starting in the last week of August basically be animus manendi with animus non revertendi. When
1994 which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The respondent chose to stay in Ilocos and later on in Manila, coupled with her
Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded to believe in the intention to stay there by registering as a voter there and expressly
respondent's contention that it was an error. declaring that she is a resident of that place, she is deemed to have
abandoned Tacloban City, where she spent her childhood and school days,
xxx xxx xxx as her place of domicile.

Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise
cannot be admitted by this Commission. be conduct indicative of such intention. Respondent's statements to the
effect that she has always intended to return to Tacloban, without the
accompanying conduct to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her
xxx xxx xxx
choice of residence. Respondent has not presented any evidence to show
that her conduct, one year prior the election, showed intention to reside
Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was that prior to her residence in
that respondent has not complied with the one year residency Tolosa, she had been a resident of Manila.
requirement of the Constitution.
It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the
In election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as First District of Leyte "since childhood."
synonymous with "domicile" which imports not only the intention to
reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in-that place, coupled
To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident
with conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed
of the First District of Leyte for more than one year, petitioner correctly
permanent residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, or
pointed out that on January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at
for like reasons, one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino,
precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she placed in her
96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's
Voter Registration Record that she resided in the municipality of Tolosa
case, when she returned to the Philippines in 1991, the residence she
for a period of six months. This may be inconsequential as argued by the
chose was not Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus
respondent since it refers only to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her
revertendi is pointed to Metro Manila and not Tacloban.
failure to prove that she was a resident of the First District of Leyte prior
to her residence in Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof that she
This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the had been a resident of the district for six months only. 15
First District since childhood is nothing more than to give her a color of
qualification where she is otherwise constitutionally disqualified. It cannot
In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the
hold ground in the face of the facts admitted by the respondent in her
COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration 16 of the
affidavit. Except for the time that she studied and worked for some years
April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not qualified to run for the
after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila. In 1959,
position of Member of the House of Representatives for the First
after her husband was elected Senator, she lived and resided in San Juan,
Legislative District of Leyte. 17 The Resolution tersely stated:
Metro Manila where she was a registered voter. In 1965, she lived in San
Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In 1978, she
served as member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of the After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission
City of Manila and later on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. She RESOLVED to DENY it, no new substantial matters having been raised
could not have served these positions if she had not been a resident of the therein to warrant re-examination of the resolution granting the petition
City of Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate of candidacy for disqualification. 18
for the office of the President in 1992, she claimed to be a resident of San
Juan, Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's
wrote a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila proclamation should the results of the canvass show that she obtained the
requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the permanent list of highest number of votes in the congressional elections in the First District
voters that she may be re-registered or transferred to Barangay Olot, of Leyte. On the same day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and
Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she could not have been a issued a second Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner
resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed her be suspended in the event that she obtains the highest number of
certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many places, votes. 19
including Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that prior to her residence
in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she
since childhood. was the overwhelming winner of the elections for the congressional seat
80

in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995 based on the canvass Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an
completed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. individual to a certain place. It is the physical presence of a person in a
Petitioner alleged that the canvass showed that she obtained a total of given area, community or country. The essential distinction between
70,471 votes compared to the 36,833 votes received by Respondent residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave
Montejo. A copy of said Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends.
Supplemental Petition. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If
a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. 22 It is thus, quite
the congressional seat of the First District of Leyte and the public perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various
respondent's Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner comes places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for
to this court for relief. various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another
domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this distinction
quite clearly:
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions.
The principal issues may be classified into two general areas:
There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used
to indicate a place of abode, whether permanent or temporary; "domicile"
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications
denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent, one has the
intention of returning. A man may have a residence in one place and a
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the domicile in another. Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence
First District of Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. A man can
1995 elections. have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time, but he may have
numerous places of residence. His place of residence is generally his place
II. The Jurisdictional Issue of domicile, but it is not by any means necessarily so since no length of
residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile.
a) Prior to the elections
For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated
Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in by the peculiar criteria of political laws. As these concepts have evolved in
disqualifying petitioner outside the period mandated by the Omnibus our election law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact
Election Code for disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code. that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with domicile.

b) After the Elections In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is
synonymous with domicile which imports not only intention to reside in a
fixed place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct
Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed
indicative of such intention." 25 Larena vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same
exclusive jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's qualifications after
doctrine in a case involving the qualifications of the respondent therein to
the May 8, 1995 elections.
the post of Municipal President of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon
vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence to pursue studies or
I. Petitioner's qualification practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place
where one is elected does not constitute loss of residence. 28 So settled is
A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a the concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other
startling confusion in the application of settled concepts of "Domicile" and election law cases, this Court has stated that the mere absence of an
"Residence" in election law. While the COMELEC seems to be in individual from his permanent residence without the intention to abandon
agreement with the general proposition that for the purposes of election it does not result in a loss or change of domicile.
law, residence is synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a
tendency to substitute or mistake the concept of domicile for actual The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification
residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of determining a for certain elective positions have placed beyond doubt the principle that
candidate's qualifications for election to the House of Representatives as when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually
required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were, residence, for the purpose means only "domicile" to wit:
of meeting the qualification for an elective position, has a settled meaning
in our jurisdiction.
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971
Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require residence in
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the
and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of
their place of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic 20 this court took the residence of a candidate for the legislature? Is it actual residence or is it
concept of domicile to mean an individual's "permanent home", "a place the concept of domicile or constructive residence?
to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to
return, and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the
disclose intent." 21Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin
National Assembly are concerned, the proposed section merely provides,
elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place"
among others, "and a resident thereof", that is, in the district for a period
and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there permanently.
of not less than one year preceding the day of the election. This was in
81

effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to it was POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
domicile. 29
8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
xxx xxx xxx BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years
and Seven Months.
Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think
Commissioner Nolledo has raised the same point that "resident" has been Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual
interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence. residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that
petitioner had jotted down her period of stay in her legal residence or
Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile. domicile. The juxtaposition of entries in Item 7 and Item 8 — the first
requiring actual residence and the second requiring domicile — coupled
with the circumstances surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper
Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an unintended entry for which
time to go back to actual residence rather than mere intention to reside?
she could be disqualified. This honest mistake should not, however, be
allowed to negate the fact of residence in the First District if such fact
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially were established by means more convincing than a mere entry on a piece
considering that a provision in the Constitution in the Article on Suffrage of paper.
says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by law. So, we have
to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not
We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
physical residence. 30

In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly


In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court
be in the First District of Leyte, the Second Division of the COMELEC, in its
concluded that the framers of the 1987 Constitution obviously adhered to
assailed Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the time
the definition given to the term residence in election law, regarding it as
when (petitioner) studied and worked for some years after graduation in
having the same meaning as domicile. 32
Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution
additionally cites certain facts as indicative of the fact that petitioner's
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda domicile ought to be any place where she lived in the last few decades
Romualdez Marcos satisfied the residency requirement mandated by except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according to the Resolution, petitioner, in
Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what significance is the 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was also registered
questioned entry in petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy stating her voter. Then, in 1965, following the election of her husband to the
residence in the First Legislative District of Leyte as seven (7) months? Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she as a voter.
In 1978 and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila. "She could not, have served
which ought to be decisive in determining whether or not and individual these positions if she had not been a resident of Metro Manila," the
has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification requirement. The COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.
said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a
deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose
otherwise render a candidate ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a his domicile even if he has lived and maintained residences in different
candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a certificate places. Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual relationship to a
of candidacy which would lead to his or her disqualification. given place for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or
domicile to pursue a profession, to study or to do other things of a
It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest temporary or semi-permanent nature does not constitute loss of
mistake in jotting the word "seven" in the space provided for the residence. Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not have
residency qualification requirement. The circumstances leading to her been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed
filing the questioned entry obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion her certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many
which prompted petitioner to write down the period of her actual stay in places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence in which this Court
Tolosa, Leyte instead of her period of residence in the First district, which carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence and domicile for
was "since childhood" in the space provided. These circumstances and election law purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:
events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's questioned
resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For instance, when [T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own
herein petitioner announced that she would be registering in Tacloban house wherein he lives with his family in a municipality without having
City to make her eligible to run in the First District, private respondent ever had the intention of abandoning it, and without having lived either
Montejo opposed the same, claiming that petitioner was a resident of alone or with his family in another municipality, has his residence in the
Tolosa, not Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual former municipality, notwithstanding his having registered as an elector in
residence in the First District, which is Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she the other municipality in question and having been a candidate for various
subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A close look at insular and provincial positions, stating every time that he is a resident of
said certificate would reveal the possible source of the confusion: the the latter municipality.
entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed immediately by the entry for
residence in the constituency where a candidate seeks election thus:
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that:

7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte


82

A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as residence in different parts of the country for various reasons. Even during
the saying goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course includes study in her husband's presidency, at the height of the Marcos Regime's powers,
other places, practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When an petitioner kept her close ties to her domicile of origin by establishing
election is to be held, the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other important
may desire to return to his native town to cast his ballot but for personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized
professional or business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not projects for the benefit of her province and hometown, and establishing a
absent himself from his professional or business activities; so there he political power base where her siblings and close relatives held positions
registers himself as voter as he has the qualifications to be one and is not of power either through the ballot or by appointment, always with either
willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to her influence or consent. These well-publicized ties to her domicile of
run the government especially in national elections. Despite such origin are part of the history and lore of the quarter century of Marcos
registration, the animus revertendi to his home, to his domicile or power in our country. Either they were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S
residence of origin has not forsaken him. This may be the explanation why Resolutions, or the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest
the registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has of the country always knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban,
not been deemed sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of such Leyte.
residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing of every
person to return to his place of birth. This strong feeling of attachment to Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not
the place of one's birth must be overcome by positive proof of petitioner's domicile of origin because she did not live there until she was
abandonment for another. eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place in 1952, she
"abandoned her residency (sic) therein for many years and . . . (could not)
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements re-establish her domicile in said place by merely expressing her intention
supporting its proposition that petitioner was ineligible to run for the to live there again." We do not agree.
position of Representative of the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC was
obviously referring to petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired
her domicile. In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on is retained until a new one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of
residence in election law and the deliberations of the constitutional petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of
commission but also the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. origin by operation of law. This domicile was not established only when
881). 35 her father brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private
respondent's averments.
What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which
establish the fact of petitioner's domicile, which we lift verbatim from the Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change
COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36 of domicile, one must demonstrate: 37

In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she 1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;
established her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in
the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and
graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's
establishing a new one; and
College, now Divine Word University in Tacloban, where she earned her
degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese School,
still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, 3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.
the late speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of
Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the
when he was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only with evidence
voter. When her husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she showing concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption of
and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an
a voter. In 1965, when her husband was elected President of the Republic actual and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal
of the Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang Palace and registered residences at the same time. 38 In the case at bench, the evidence adduced
as a voter in San Miguel, Manila. by private respondent plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness required
to convince this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor
[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted of a domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment
and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to requires the voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former domicile
Manila. In 1992, respondent ran for election as President of the with an intent to supplant the former domicile with one of her own
Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated choosing (domicilium voluntarium).
that she is a resident and registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her
Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the
inescapable is that petitioner held various residences for different late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly
purposes during the last four decades. None of these purposes established distinction between the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and
unequivocally point to an intention to abandon her domicile of origin in "residence." 39 The presumption that the wife automatically gains the
Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover, while petitioner was born in Manila, as a husband's domicile by operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred
minor she naturally followed the domicile of her parents. She grew up in from the use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code
Tacloban, reached her adulthood there and eventually established
83

because the Civil Code is one area where the two concepts are well The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are
delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific area explains: physically together. This takes into account the situations where the
couple has many residences (as in the case of the petitioner). If the
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and husband has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the wife
residence. Both terms imply relations between a person and a place; but should necessarily be with him in order that they may "live together."
in residence, the relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal or Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not
juridical, independent of the necessity of physical presence. 40 to "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation where the
wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for professional or other
reasons, stays in one of their (various) residences. As Dr. Tolentino further
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
explains:

Art. 110. — The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court
Residence and Domicile — Whether the word "residence" as used with
may exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad
reference to particular matters is synonymous with "domicile" is a
unless in the service of the Republic.
question of some difficulty, and the ultimate decision must be made from
a consideration of the purpose and intent with which the word is used.
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of Sometimes they are used synonymously, at other times they are
domicile or residence as they affect the female spouse upon marriage distinguished from one another.
yields nothing which would suggest that the female spouse automatically
loses her domicile of origin in favor of the husband's choice of residence
xxx xxx xxx
upon marriage.

Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical


Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code
presence of a person in a place. A person can have two or more residences,
of 1889 which states:
such as a country residence and a city residence. Residence is acquired by
living in place; on the other hand, domicile can exist without actually living
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde quiera que fije su in the place. The important thing for domicile is that, once residence has
residencia. Los Tribunales, sin embargo, podran con justa causa eximirla been established in one place, there be an intention to stay there
de esta obligacion cuando el marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' permanently, even if residence is also established in some other
a pais extranjero. place. 41

Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and
aforequoted article, which means wherever (the husband) wishes to the wife during the marriage is not an iron-clad principle; In cases applying
establish residence. This part of the article clearly contemplates only the Civil Code on the question of a common matrimonial residence, our
actual residence because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family home jurisprudence has recognized certain situations 42 where the spouses could
or residence. Moreover, this interpretation is further strengthened by the not be compelled to live with each other such that the wife is either
phrase "cuando el marido translade su residencia" in the same provision allowed to maintain a residence different from that of her husband or, for
which means, "when the husband shall transfer his residence," referring obviously practical reasons, revert to her original domicile (apart from
to another positive act of relocating the family to another home or place being allowed to opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs.Villareal 43 this Court
of actual residence. The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to held that "[a] married woman may acquire a residence or domicile
domicile which is a fixed, separate from that of her husband during the existence of the marriage
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of where the husband has given cause for divorce." 44 Note that the Court
transferring from one place to another not only once, but as often as the allowed the wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a new
husband may deem fit to move his family, a circumstance more consistent domicile in such an event. In instances where the wife actually
with the concept of actual residence. opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately from her husband either by
taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of origin, the Court has
The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the held that the wife could not be compelled to live with her husband on
intention of the law to strengthen and unify the family, recognizing the pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo 45 the Court held that:
fact that the husband and the wife bring into the marriage different
domiciles (of origin). This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within
reconciled only by allowing the husband to fix a single place of actual the province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the
residence. spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of
course where the property rights of one of the pair are invaded, an action
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under for restitution of such rights can be maintained. But we are disinclined to
the heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. sanction the doctrine that an order, enforcible (sic) by process of
Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the purely
husband and wife to live together, thus: personal right of consortium. At best such an order can be effective for no
other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same roof;
Art. 109. — The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe and he experience of those countries where the courts of justice have
mutual respect and fidelity and render mutual help and support. assumed to compel the cohabitation of married people shows that the
policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, formerly
the Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal
rights at the instance of either husband or wife; and if the facts were
84

found to warrant it, that court would make a mandatory decree, rights in the intervening years by making the choice of domicile a product
enforceable by process of contempt in case of disobedience, requiring the of mutual agreement between the spouses. 46
delinquent party to live with the other and render conjugal rights. Yet this
practice was sometimes criticized even by the judges who felt bound to Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one
enforce such orders, and in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, thing in civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite another thing in
Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty political law. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is
Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed his regret that the English concerned-affecting the rights and obligations of husband and wife — the
law on the subject was not the same as that which prevailed in Scotland, term residence should only be interpreted to mean "actual residence."
where a decree of adherence, equivalent to the decree for the restitution The inescapable conclusion derived from this unambiguous civil law
of conjugal rights in England, could be obtained by the injured spouse, but delineation therefore, is that when petitioner married the former
could not be enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in obedience to the President in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new
growing sentiment against the practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) home, not a domicilium necessarium.
abolished the remedy of imprisonment; though a decree for the
restitution of conjugal rights can still be procured, and in case of
Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new
disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis of an order for
"domicile" after her marriage and only acquired a right to choose a new
the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony.
one after her husband died, petitioner's acts following her return to the
country clearly indicate that she not only impliedly but expressly chose her
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so domicile of origin (assuming this was lost by operation of law) as her
far as we can discover, has ever attempted to make a preemptory order domicile. This "choice" was unequivocally expressed in her letters to the
requiring one of the spouses to live with the other; and that was in a case Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's permission to
where a wife was ordered to follow and live with her husband, who had "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . .
changed his domicile to the City of New Orleans. The decision referred to to make them livable for the Marcos family to have a home in our
(Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil Code homeland." 47 Furthermore, petitioner obtained her residence certificate
of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while living in her brother's house, an act
many years ago, and the doctrine evidently has not been fruitful even in which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters
the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union the idea of to the PCGG Chairman. She could not have gone straight to her home in
enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148). San Juan, as it was in a state of disrepair, having been previously looted by
vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following her arrival in various
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as temporary or "actual
have affirmed an order of the Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring residences," not domicile. Moreover, and proceeding from our discussion
a wife to return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon her pointing out specific situations where the female spouse either reverts to
failure to do so, to make a particular disposition of certain money and her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of the
effects then in her possession and to deliver to her husband, as marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to assume that she cannot
administrator of the ganancial property, all income, rents, and interest regain her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a
which might accrue to her from the property which she had brought to positive act of selecting a new one where situations exist within the
the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it does not appear that this subsistence of the marriage itself where the wife gains a domicile different
order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by from her husband.
any other penalty than the consequences that would be visited upon her
in respect to the use and control of her property; and it does not appear In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile
that her disobedience to that order would necessarily have been followed enunciated by this court up to this point, we are persuaded that the facts
by imprisonment for contempt. established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion
supporting petitioner's claim of legal residence or domicile in the First
Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, District of Leyte.
in 1954, petitioner was obliged — by virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code
— to follow her husband's actual place of residence fixed by him. The II. The jurisdictional issue
problem here is that at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of
residence, among which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed
There is no showing which of these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his
considering that the assailed resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995,
family's residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed any of these
fourteen (14) days before the election in violation of Section 78 of the
places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon marriage
Omnibus Election Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the
was actual residence. She did not lose her domicile of origin.
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which
has jurisdiction over the election of members of the House of
On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of the Constitution.
appears to have been incorporated, as a result of our jurisprudential This is untenable.
experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New
Family Code. To underscore the difference between the intentions of the
It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment
Civil Code and the Family Code drafters, the term residence has been
within a specified time is generally construed to be merely directory, 49 "so
supplanted by the term domicile in an entirely new provision (Art. 69)
that non-compliance with them does not invalidate the judgment on the
distinctly different in meaning and spirit from that found in Article 110.
theory that if the statute had intended such result it would have clearly
The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of women's
indicated it." 50 The difference between a mandatory and a directory
provision is often made on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view
85

held by several American authorities, this court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held Feliciano, J., is on leave.
that: 51

The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often


determined on grounds of expediency, the reason being that less injury ROGELIO M. TORAYNO SR., GENEROSO ELIGAN and JACQUELINE M.
results to the general public by disregarding than enforcing the letter of SERIO, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and
the law. VICENTE Y. EMANO, respondents.

In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute DECISION


containing a limitation of thirty (30) days within which a decree may be
PANGANIBAN, J.:
entered without the consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory
provisions which may be thus departed from with impunity, without
affecting the validity of statutory proceedings, are usually those which The Constitution and the law requires residence as a qualification
relate to the mode or time of doing that which is essential to effect the for seeking and holding elective public office, in order to give candidates
aim and purpose of the Legislature or some incident of the essential act." the opportunity to be familiar with the needs, difficulties, aspirations,
Thus, in said case, the statute under examination was construed merely to potentials for growth and all matters vital to the welfare of their
be directory. constituencies; likewise, it enables the electorate to evaluate the office
seekers' qualifications and fitness for the job they aspire for. Inasmuch as
Vicente Y. Emano has proven that he, together with his family, (1) had
The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC should have
actually resided in a house he bought in 1973 in Cagayan de Oro City; (2)
abstained from rendering a decision after the period stated in the
had actually held office there during his three terms as provincial governor
Omnibus Election Code because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in the fact that
of Misamis Oriental, the provincial capitol being located therein; and (3)
our courts and other quasi-judicial bodies would then refuse to render
has registered as voter in the city during the period required by law, he
judgments merely on the ground of having failed to reach a decision
could not be deemed "a stranger or newcomer" when he ran for and was
within a given or prescribed period.
overwhelmingly voted as city mayor. Election laws must be liberally
construed to give effect to the popular mandate.
In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in
relation to Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the respondent
Commission does not lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending
disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P. 881 even after the elections. The Case

As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed


Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner's qualifications after
Court seeking to set aside the January 18, 1999 Resolution [1] of the
the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET's jurisdiction as the
Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc in SPA No. 98-298, which
sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and
upheld the July 14, 1998 Resolution[2] of the Comelec First Division. The
qualifications of members of Congress begins only after a candidate has
assailed Resolutions ruled that Private Respondent Vicente Y. Emano
become a member of the House of Representatives. 53 Petitioner not
possessed the minimum period of residence to be eligible to vote in
being a member of the House of Representatives, it is obvious that the
Cagayan de Oro City, as well as be voted mayor thereof.
HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over the question.

It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987


Constitution for us to either to ignore or deliberately make distinctions in The Facts
law solely on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case.
Obviously a distinction was made on such a ground here. Surely, many
established principles of law, even of election laws were flouted for the The pertinent facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as
sake perpetuating power during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on follows.
these sacred ideals, including the meaning and spirit of EDSA ourselves During the 1995 elections, Vicente Y. Emano ran for, was elected,
bending established principles of principles of law to deny an individual and proclaimed provincial governor of Misamis Oriental. It was his third
what he or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we condemn consecutive term as governor of the province.In his Certificate of
ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past. Candidacy dated March 12, 1995, his residence was declared to be in
Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary
residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives On June 14, 1997, while still the governor of Misamis Oriental,
in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated Emano executed a Voter Registration Record in Cagayan de Oro City
April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. (geographically located in the Province of Misamis Oriental), a highly
Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of urbanized city, in which he claimed 20 years of residence. On March 25,
Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of 1998, he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for mayor of the city, stating
the First District of Leyte. 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.
SO ORDERED.
86

Among those who ran for the mayorship of the city in 1998, along (a) remaining as governor of Misamis Oriental until he filed his certificate
with Emano, was Erasmo B. Damasing, counsel of herein petitioners. On of candidacy for mayor of Cagayan de Oro City on March 25, 1998 in the
May 15, 1998, Petitioners Rogelio M. Torayno Sr., Generoso Q. Eligan and May 11, 1998 election;
Jacqueline M. Serio, all residents of Cagayan de Oro City, filed a Petition
before the Comelec, docketed as SPA No. 98-298, in which they sought (b) asserting under oath [that he was] qualified to act as governor of said
the disqualification of Emano as mayoral candidate, on the ground that he province until said date; and
had allegedly failed to meet the one-year residence requirement. Prior to
the resolution of their Petition, the Comelec proclaimed private
(c) admitting, in sworn statements, [that he was] a resident of Misamis
respondent as the duly elected city mayor. Thus, on May 29, 1998,
Oriental,
petitioners filed another Petition before the Comelec, this time for quo
warranto,[3] in which they sought (1) the annulment of the election of
private respondent; and (2) the proclamation of Erasmo B. Damasing, who precluded him from acquiring a bona fide domicile of choice for at least
had garnered the next highest number of votes, as the duly elected mayor one (1) year in Cagayan de Oro City prior to the May 11, 1998 elections, as
of the city. to disqualify him for being a candidate for city mayor of said City.

In its Resolution dated July 14, 1998, the Comelec First Division 2. Differently stated, whether or not Emano's securing a residence
denied the Petition for Disqualification. Upon petitioners' Motion for certificate in Cagayan de Oro City, holding offices as governor of Misamis
Reconsideration and Motion for Consolidation, the two cases were Oriental in the Capitol Building located in Cagayan de Oro City and having
consolidated.[4] a house therein where [he had] stay[ed] 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
Ruling of the Comelec 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,
As earlier stated, the Comelec en banc upheld the findings and 1998 elections.
conclusions of the First Division, holding that "[t]he records clearly show
that the respondent is an actual resident of Cagayan de Oro City for such a 3. Whether or not Erasmo Damasing, the candidate for mayor of Cagayan
period of time necessary to qualify him to run for mayor therein. This fact de Oro City in the May 11, 1998 elections, who received the second
is clearly established by the respondent having a house in the city which highest number of votes, can be declared winner, considering that
has been existing therein since 1973 and where his family has been living respondent Emano was disqualified to run for and hold said office and
since then." considering that his disqualification or ineligibility had been extensively
brought to the attention and consciousness of the voters prior to the May
Additionally, it ruled:
11, 1998 election as to attain notoriety, notwithstanding which they still
voted for him."
"There is nothing in the law which bars an elected provincial official from
residing and/or registering as a voter in a highly urbanized city whose
Petitioners are seeking the resolution of essentially two
residents are not given the right to vote for and be elected to a position in
questions: (1) whether private respondent had duly established his
the province embracing such highly urbanized city as long as he has
residence in Cagayan de Oro City at least one year prior to the May 11,
complied with the requirements prescribed by law in the case of a
1998 elections to qualify him to run for the mayorship thereof; and (2) if
qualified voter.
not, whether Erasmo Damasing, the candidate who had received the
second highest number of votes, should be proclaimed mayor of the city.
"Neither can the list of voters submitted as evidence for the petitioners
showing that the respondent was a registered voter as of March 13, 1995
in Precinct No. 12, Barangay Poblacion, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental bolster
the petitioner's argument that the respondent is not a resident [or a] The Courts Ruling
registered voter in Cagayan de Oro City since registration in said Precinct
No. 12 does not preclude the respondent from registering anew in
another place." The Petition has no merit.

Hence, this recourse[5] before this Court.


Preliminary Matter: Locus Standi of Petitioners

Issues
Although not raised by the parties, the legal standing of the
petitioners was deliberated upon by the Court. We note that petitioners
pray, among others, for judgment "declaring Atty. Erasmo B. Damasing as
In their Memorandum,[6] petitioners submit that the main issue is
entitled to be proclaimed winner as mayor in the May 11, 1998 elections
whether the "Comelec gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack of
in Cagayan de Oro City."[8] And yet, Damasing is not a party to the instant
jurisdiction in issuing the questioned Resolutions." Allegedly, the
"Petition for Certiorari pursuant to Rule[s] 64 and 65" brought before us.
resolution of this issue would depend on the following:[7]
Under the Rules of Court, a quo warranto may be brought only by (1)
"1. Whether or not private respondent Emano's the solicitor general or (2) a public prosecutor or (3) a person claiming to
87

be entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or became his adopted place of residence. Third, as ruled in Frivaldo v.
exercised by another.[9] A reading of the Rules shows that petitioners, Comelec,[14] the loss of any of the required qualifications for election
none of whom qualify under any of the above three categories, are merely renders the official's title or right to office open to challenge. In
without legal standing to bring this suit. Emano's case, no one challenged his right to the Office of Provincial
Governor when he transferred his residence to Cagayan de Oro
However, the present Petition finds its root in two separate cases City. Naturally, he continued to discharge his functions as such, until he
filed before the Comelec: (1) SPC 98-298 for disqualification and (2) EPC filed his candidacy for mayor in March 1998.
98-62 for quo warranto. Under our election laws and the Comelec Rules of
Procedure, any voter may file a petition to disqualify a candidate on Lastly, Emano urges that the sanctity of the people's will, as
grounds provided by law,[10] or to contest the election of a city officer on expressed in the election result, must be respected. He is not, after all, a
the ground of ineligibility or disloyalty to the Republic. [11] The petitioners stranger to the city, much less to its voters. During his three terms as
herein, being "duly-registered voters" of Cagayan de Oro City, therefore governor of Misamis Oriental, his life and actuations have been closely
satisfy the requirement of said laws and rules.[12] interwoven with the pulse and beat of Cagayan de Oro City.

Public Respondent Comelec relies essentially on Romualdez-Marcos


v. Comelec[15] in its Memorandum[16]which supports the assailed
Main Issue: Residence Qualification for Candidacy Resolutions, and which has been filed in view of the solicitor general's
Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Comment.[17] Thus, the poll body
argues that "x x x the fact of residence x x x ought to be decisive in
Petitioners argue that private respondent maintains his domicile in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the Constitution's
Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, not in Cagayan de Oro City, as allegedly residency qualification requirement."
shown by the following facts: (1) he had run and won as governor of the
province of Misamis Oriental for three consecutive terms immediately
preceding the 1998 elections; (2) in the pleadings he filed in connection
Law on Qualifications of Local Elective Officials
with an election protest against him relating to the 1995 election, he had
stated that he was a resident of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental; (3) he had
fully exercised the powers and prerogatives of governor until he filed his
Certificate of Candidacy for mayor on March 25, 1998. The pertinent provision sought to be enforced is Section 39 of the
Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991,[18] which provides for the
Petitioners claim that in discharging his duties as provincial qualifications of local elective officials, as follows:
governor, private respondent remained a resident of the province. They
aver that residence is a continuing qualification that an elective official "SEC. 39. Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of
must possess throughout his term. Thus, private respondent could not the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or
have changed his residence to Cagayan de Oro City while he was still province x x x where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at
governor of Misamis Oriental. 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."
Petitioners further contend that the following were not sufficient to
constitute a change of domicile: having a house in Cagayan de Oro City,
residing therein while exercising one's office as governor (the city being Generally, in requiring candidates to have a minimum period of
the seat of government of the province), securing a residence certificate residence in the area in which they seek to be elected, the Constitution or
and registering as voter therein. the law intends to prevent the possibility of a "stranger or newcomer
unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and not
Private respondent, on the other hand, alleges that he actually and identified with the latter from [seeking] an elective office to serve that
physically resided in Cagayan de Oro City while serving as provincial community."[19] Such provision is aimed at excluding outsiders "from
governor for three consecutive terms, since the seat of the provincial taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that community
government was located at the heart of that city.[13] He also avers that for electoral gain."[20] Establishing residence in a community merely to
one's choice of domicile is a matter of intention, and it is the person meet an election law requirement defeats the purpose of
concerned who would be in the best position to make a choice. In this representation: to elect through the assent of voters those most cognizant
case, Emano decided to adopt Cagayan de Oro City as his place of and sensitive to the needs of the community. This purpose is "best met by
residence after the May 1995 elections. In fact, in January 1997, he individuals who have either had actual residence in the area for a given
secured his Community Tax Certificate at the City Treasurer's Office, period or who have been domiciled in the same area either by origin or by
stating therein that he was a resident of 1409 San Jose Street, Capistrano choice."[21]
Subdivision, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. During the general registration of
voters in June 1997, he registered in one of the precincts of Gusa, Cagayan
de Oro City. This meant that, at the time, Emano had been a voter of the
Facts Showing Change of Residence
city for the minimum period required by law. No one has ever challenged
this fact before any tribunal.

Private respondent contends further that his transfer of legal In the recent en banc case Mamba-Perez v. Comelec,[22] this Court
residence did not ipso facto divest him of his position as provincial ruled that private respondent therein, now Representative Rodolfo E.
governor. First, there is no law that prevents an elected official from Aguinaldo of the Third District of Cagayan, had duly proven his change of
transferring residence while in office. Second, an elective official's transfer residence from Gattaran, Cagayan (part of the First District) to Tuguegarao,
of residence does not prevent the performance of that official's duties, Cagayan (part of the Third District in which he sought election as
especially in private respondent's case in which the seat of government congressman). He proved it with the following facts: (1) in July 1990, he
88

leased and lived in a residential apartment in Magallanes Street, To petitioners' argument that Emano could not have continued to
Tuguegarao, Cagayan; (2) in July 1995, he leased another residential qualify as provincial governor if he was indeed a resident of Cagayan de
apartment in Kamias Street, Tanza, Tuguegarao, Cagayan; (3) the January Oro City, we respond that the issue before this Court is whether Emano's
18, 1998 Certificate of Marriage between Aguinaldo and his second wife, residence in the city qualifies him to run for and be elected as mayor, not
Lerma Dumaguit; (4) the Certificate of Live Birth of his second daughter; whether he could have continued sitting as governor of the
and (5) various letters addressed to him and his family showed that he had province. There was no challenge to his eligibility to continue running the
been a resident of Tuguegarao for at least one year immediately province; hence, this Court cannot make any pronouncement on such
preceding the May 1998 elections. The Court also stated that it was not issue. Considerations of due process prevent us from adjudging matters
"of much importance that in his [Aguinaldo's] certificates of candidacy for not properly brought to us. On the basis, however, of the facts proven
provincial governor in the elections of 1988, 1992, and 1995, private before the Comelec, we hold that he has satisfied the residence
respondent stated that he was a resident of Gattaran."[23] qualification required by law for the mayorship of the city.

In the case at bar, the Comelec found that private respondent and We stress that the residence requirement is rooted in the desire
his family had actually been residing in Capistrano Subdivision, Gusa, that officials of districts or localities be acquainted not only with the metes
Cagayan de Oro City, in a house he had bought in 1973. Furthermore, and bounds of their constituencies but, more important, with the
during the three terms (1988-1998) that he was governor of Misamis constituents themselves -- their needs, difficulties, aspirations, potentials
Oriental, he physically lived in that city, where the seat of the provincial for growth and development, and all matters vital to their common
government was located. In June 1997, he also registered as voter of the welfare. The requisite period would give candidates the opportunity to be
same city. Based on our ruling in Mamba-Perez, these facts indubitably familiar with their desired constituencies, and likewise for the electorate
prove that Vicente Y. Emano was a resident of Cagayan de Oro City for a to evaluate the former's qualifications and fitness for the offices they
period of time sufficient to qualify him to run for public office seek.
therein. Moreover, the Comelec did not find any bad faith on the part of
Emano in his choice of residence. In other words, the actual, physical and personal presence of herein
private respondent in Cagayan de Oro City is substantial enough to show
Petitioners put much emphasis on the fact that Cagayan de Oro City his intention to fulfill the duties of mayor and for the voters to evaluate
is a highly urbanized city whose voters cannot participate in the provincial his qualifications for the mayorship. Petitioners' very legalistic, academic
elections. Such political subdivisions and voting restrictions, however, are and technical approach to the residence requirement does not satisfy this
simply for the purpose of parity in representation. The classification of an simple, practical and common-sense rationale for the residence
area as a highly urbanized or independent component city, for that matter, requirement.
does not completely isolate its residents, politics, commerce and other
businesses from the entire province -- and vice versa -- especially when
the city is located at the very heart of the province itself, as in this case. Interpretation to Favor Popular Mandate

Undeniably, Cagayan de Oro City was once an integral part of


Misamis Oriental and remains a geographical part of the province. Not
only is it at the center of the province; more important, it is itself the seat There is no question that private respondent was the overwhelming
of the provincial government. As a consequence, the provincial officials choice of the people of Cagayan de Oro City. He won by a margin of about
who carry out their functions in the city cannot avoid residing therein; 30,000 votes.[24] Thus, we find it apt to reiterate the principle that the
much less, getting acquainted with its concerns and interests. Vicente Y. manifest will of the people as expressed through the ballot must be given
Emano, having been the governor of Misamis Oriental for three terms and fullest effect. In case of doubt, political laws must be interpreted to give
consequently residing in Cagayan de Oro City within that period, could not life and spirit to the popular mandate.[25] Verily, in Frivaldo v.
be said to be a stranger or newcomer to the city in the last year of his Comelec,[26] the Court held:
third term, when he decided to adopt it as his permanent place of
residence. "x x x [T]his Court has repeatedly stressed the importance of giving effect
to the sovereign will in order to ensure the survival of our democracy. In
Significantly, the Court also declared in Mamba-Perez that
any action involving the possibility of a reversal of the popular electoral
"although private respondent declared in his certificates of candidacy
choice, this Court must exert utmost effort to resolve the issues in a
prior to the May 11, 1998 elections that he was a resident of Gattaran,
manner that would give effect to the will of the majority, for it is merely
Cagayan, the fact is that he was actually a resident of the Third District not
sound public policy to cause elective offices to be filled by those who are
just for one (1) year prior to the May 11, 1998 elections but for more than
the choice of the majority. To successfully challenge a winning candidate's
seven (7) years since July 1990. His claim that he ha[s] been a resident of
qualifications, the petitioner must clearly demonstrate that the ineligibility
Tuguegarao since July 1990 is credible considering that he was governor
is so patently antagonistic to constitutional and legal principles that
from 1988 to 1998 and, therefore, it would be convenient for him to
overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the apparent will
maintain his residence in Tuguegarao, which is the capital of the province
of the people would ultimately create greater prejudice to the very
of Cagayan."
democratic institutions and juristic traditions that our Constitution and
Similarly in the instant case, private respondent was actually and laws so zealously protect and promote."
physically residing in Cagayan de Oro City while discharging his duties as
governor of Misamis Oriental. He owned a house in the city and resided In the same vein, we stated in Alberto v. Comelec[27] that "election
there together with his family. He even paid his 1998 community tax and cases involve public interest; thus, laws governing election contests must
registered as a voter therein. To all intents and purposes of the be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice
Constitution and the law, he is a resident of Cagayan de Oro City and of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical objections."
eligible to run for mayor thereof.
89

Indeed, "it would be far better to err in favor of popular sovereignty


than to be right in complex but little understood legalisms."[28]

In sum, we hold that Respondent Comelec cannot be faulted with


abuse, much less grave abuse, of discretion in upholding private
respondent's election.

Corollary Issue: Effect of Disqualification of Winner on Second Placer

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.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and the assailed Comelec


Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing,


Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon Jr.,
JJ., concur.
Bellosillo, J., abroad on official business.