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Agapito A. Aquino, petitioner vs.

Commission on Election

Facts:
On 20 March 1995, Agapito A. Aquino, the petitioner, filed his Certificate of Candidacy
for the position of Representative for the new (remember: newly created) Second
Legislative District of Makati City. In his certificate of candidacy, Aquino stated that he
was a resident of the aforementioned district (284 Amapola Cor. Adalla Sts., Palm Village,
Makati) for 10 months. Move Makati, a registered political party, and Mateo Bedon,
Chairman of LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of Barangay Cembo, Makati City, filed a petition to
disqualify Aquino on the ground that the latter lacked the residence qualification as a
candidate for congressman which under Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution,
should be for a period not less than one year preceding the (May 8, 1995) day of the
election. Faced with a petition for disqualification, Aquino amended the entry on his
residency in his certificate of candidacy to 1 year and 13 days. The Commission on
Elections passed a resolution that dismissed the petition on May 6 and allowed Aquino to
run in the election of 8 May. Aquino, with 38,547 votes, won against Augusto Syjuco with
35,910 votes. Move Makati filed a motion of reconsideration with the Comelec, to which,
on May 15, the latter acted with an order suspending the proclamation of Aquino until the
Commission resolved the issue. On 2 June, the Commission on Elections found Aquino
ineligible and disqualified for the elective office for lack of constitutional qualification of
residence. Aquino then filed a Petition of Certiorari assailing the May 15 and June 2 orders.

Issue:
1. Whether “residency” in the certificate of candidacy actually connotes “domicile” to
warrant the disqualification of Aquino from the position in the electoral district.
2. WON it is proven that Aquino has established domicile of choice and not just residence
(not in the sense of the COC)in the district he was running in.

Held:
1. Yes, The term “residence” has always been understood as synonymous with “domicile”
not only under the previous constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. The Court
cited the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission wherein this principle was
applied.
Therefore, the framers intended the word “residence” to have the same meaning of
domicile.
The place “where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,” where he,
no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and
remain, i.e., his domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of
residence for the purposes of election law.
The purpose is to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with the conditions and needs
of the community from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that
community for electoral gain.
While there is nothing wrong with the purpose of establishing residence in a given area for
meeting election law requirements, this defeats the essence of representation, which is to
place through assent of voters those most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a
particular district, if a candidate falls short of the period of residency mandated by law for
him to qualify.
Which brings us to the second issue.

2. No, Aquino has not established domicile of choice in the district he was running in.
The SC agreed with the Comelec’s contention that Aquino should prove that he established
a domicile of choice and not just residence.
The Constitution requires a person running for a post in the HR one year of residency prior
to the elections in the district in which he seeks election to .
Aquino’s certificate of candidacy in a previous (May 11, 1992) election indicates that he
was a resident and a registered voter of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac for more than 52
years prior to that election. His birth certificate indicated that Conception as his birthplace
and his COC also showed him to be a registered voter of the same district. Thus his
domicile of origin (obviously, choice as well) up to the filing of his COC was in
Conception, Tarlac.
Aquino’s connection to the new Second District of Makati City is an alleged lease
agreement of a condominium unit in the area. The intention not to establish a permanent
home in Makati City is evident in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one.
The short length of time he claims to be a resident of Makati (and the fact of his stated
domicile in Tarlac and his claims of other residences in Metro Manila) indicate that his
sole purpose in transferring his physical residence is not to acquire a new, residence or
domicile but only to qualify as a candidate for Representative of the Second District of
Makati City. Aquino’s assertion that he has transferred his domicile from Tarlac to Makati
is a bare assertion which is hardly supported by the facts in the case at bench. To
successfully effect a change of domicile, petitioner must prove an actual removal or an
actual change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of
residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose.
Aquino was thus rightfully disqualified by the Commission on Elections due to his lack of
one year residence in the district.
Decision
Instant petition dismissed. Order restraining respondent Comelec from proclaiming the
candidate garnering the next highest number of votes in the congressional elections of
Second district of Makati City made permanent.
.