Political Law Part X: Article X – Local Government

POLITICAL LAW PART X

ARTICLE X – LOCAL GOVERNMENT

1.  Sections 1 & 2. ..shall enjoy local/fiscal  autonomy

PROVINCE OF BATANGAS VS. HON. ALBERTO ROMULO, ET AL., May 27, 2004

Local Autonomy; automatic release of  funds of Local Government Units, particularly the IRA.

The petitioner is questioning the constitutionality of the General Appropriations Act of 1999, 2000 and 2001 insofar as they uniformly earmarked for each year the amount of P5B of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the Local Government Service Equalization Fund (LGSEF) and imposed conditions for the release thereof.

Likewise, the President of the Philippines issued Executive Order No. 48 entitled “Establishing a Program fro Devolution Adjustment and Equalization “ with the purpose of facilitating the process of enhancing the capacities of LGU’s in the discharge of the functions and services  devolved tot hem by the national government agencies concerned pursuant to the Local Government Code.

Issue:

May the Congress or the President impose conditions for the use of the IRA by the different local government units?

Held:

The provision of the GAA for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 are unconstitutional as they encroach on the fiscal autonomy of the local government units in violation of the Constitution. And even if this case is already moot and academic because said provisions have been implemented, there is a possibility that the same be incorporated in the future GAA or it is capable of repetition and as such, it must be decided before another GAA is enacted. It behooves this Court to make a categorical ruling on the substantive issue now to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, bar and the public.

Likewise, the act of the President as embodied in EO No. 48 is unconstitutional because  it amounts to control to local government units when the President’s power over local government units is confined to general supervision, not power of control. The distinctions of the two powers were enunciated in Drilon vs. Lim, 235 SCRA 135. Thus:

An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, he may in his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. The supervisor merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have any discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the work done or re-done but only to conform to the prescribed rules. He may not prescribe his own manner of doing the act. He has no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the rules are followed.

Section 286 of the Local Government Code is very clear since it provides that the share of each local government unit shall be released without need of any further action, DIRECTLY TO THE PROVINCIAL, CITY, MUNICIPAL OR BARANGAY TREASURER as the case may be on a quarterly basis…and which may not be the subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national government for whatever purpose.

Finally, Section 2, Art. X of the Constitution expressly mandates that the local government units shall enjoy local autonomy as well as Section 25, Art. II of the Constitution.

2.  Section 3.. there shall be a LGC which shall provide a more responsive and accountable local government with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative and referendum….

Read:

1)   1991 Local Government Code on Recall, requisites, grounds and procedures) and other important aspects.

2. Exec. Order 249

Residence requirement for  local government positions.

TESS DUMPIT-MICHELENA VS. BOADO, ET AL., 475 SCRA 290

Carpio, J.

Facts:

The petitioner who is the daughter of Rep. Tomas Dumpit, 2nd District of La Union, filed her Certificate of Candidacy for Municipal Mayor of Agoo, La Union for the May, 2004 elections. The respondents filed a case for her disqualification on the ground that she is a registered voter of Naguilian , La Union  and only transferred her registration as a voter to San Julian West, Agoo, La Union, on October 24, 2003. Her presence in San Julian West, Agoo, La Union was noticed only after her certificate of candidacy. Barangay officials claimed in an affidavit that she is not a resident of the said Barangay.

The petitioner countered that she acquired a new domicile in San Juan West when she purchased from her father a residential lot on April 19, 2003 and she even designated a person as caretaker of her residential house.

Held:

While residence and domicile are synonymous, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, the following requisites must be present:

1.           an actual removal or actual change of domicile;

2.           a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and

3.           acts which correspond with the purpose.

In the case of petitioner while she bought a parcel of land in San Julian West, Agoo, La Union on April 19, 2003, property ownership is not an indicia of the right to vote  or voted for an office.

To effect a change of residence, there must be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The intent to remain in the new domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time, change of domicile or residence must be voluntary and the residence a the place chose for the new domicile must be actual.

In the case at bar, what was constructed by the petitioner on said lot was a beach house which is at most a temporary place of relaxation. It can hardly be considered a place of residence. Finally, in the Special Power of attorney designating a caretaker with a monthly salary of P2,500.00, it was shown that she is a resident of San Julian West, Agoo, La Union and No. 6 butterfly St., Valle Verde 6, Pasig, Memtro Manila. This shows that she has a number of residences and the acquisition of another one does not automatically make the recently acquired residence her new domicile.

Tess Dumpit-Michelena’s cancellation of Certificate of Candidacy for  Municipal Mayor of Agoo, La Union,  is therefore valid.

2-a. Recall

a. What are the requisites under the Local Government Code of 1991?

b. Read:

1. Garcia vs. COMELEC, October 5, 1993

                    2. Sanchez vs. Comelec, January 24, 1991

3.  Section 4. The President shall exercise general supervision over local governments…

Read:     MONDANO VS. SILVOSA, 97 Phil. 143

1.           Sections 5.. Shall have the power to create their own revenues…

2.           Section 6..shall have a just share in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them..

Read:

1. Basco vs. Pagcor, 197 SCRA 52

     1-a. Philippine Petroleum Corp. vs. Municipality of Pililla, 198 SCRA 82

     1-b)   WILLIAM LINES VS. CITY OF OZAMIS, 56 SCRA 590         

          1-c. Estanislao vs. Hon. Costales, May 8, 1991

     2)   VELASCO VS. BLAS, 115 SCRA 540

     3)   DE LA CRUZ VS. PARAS, 123 SCRA 569

     4)   MUNICIPALITY OF ECHAGUE VS. ABELLERA, December 12, 1986, 146 SCRA

     5)   PHILIPPINE GAMEFOWL COMMISSION VS. LAC, December 17, 1986, 146 SCRA

     6. MUNICIPALITY OF MALOLOS VS. LIBANGAN SA

          MALOLOS, 159 SCRA 525

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials shall be not more than 3 consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation  of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

BENJAMIN BORJA VS. COMELEC, and JOSE T. CAPCO, JR., G.R. No. 133495, September 3, 1998

Mendoza, J.

Issue:

Whether a Vice Mayor who succeeds to the Office of the Mayor by operation of law and serves the remainder of the term is considered to have served a term for the purpose of the three-term limit on  local officials as provided under the Local Government Code.

Held:

No.

Article X, Section 8 of the Constitution provides:

Section. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, shall be determined by law, which shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

The above provision of the Constitution is restated in Section 43 [b] of RA No. 7160, the Local Government Code.

The term limit for local elective officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. Consequently, IT IS NOT ENOUGH THAT AN INDIVIDUAL  HAS SERVED THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS IN AN ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICE, HE MUST ALSO  HAVE BEEN ELECTED TO THE SAME POSITION FOR THE SAME NUMBER OF TIMES BEFORE THE DISQUALIFICATION CAN APPLY.

Clearly, therefore, before the disqualification could apply, the following requisites must be present:

1.           the local official must have been elected for the same position [Example: Mayor] three times; and

2.           the local official must have served three consecutive terms as Mayor.

In the present case, only the 2nd requisite is present since in 1988, the private respondent  was not a candidate for  Mayor in 1988 but as Vice Mayor though he succeeded the elected mayor in 1989. It was only in 1992 and 1995 that he was a candidate for Mayor. As such, he could still be a candidate for Mayor in the May, 1998 elections.

(NOTE: Applying the above doctrine, MAYOR MAURICIO DOMOGAN of Baguio City is not prohibited from running for City Mayor of Baguio in the 2001 elections because he was not elected as City Mayor in 1992 though he served as City Mayor since 1992 as a result of the disqualification of RAMON LABO, JR.. His 1992-1995 term was not by election but by operation of law. It was only in 1995 and 1998 that he was a candidate for City Mayor (2 times) though he served 3 times as Mayor. The first requisite before the disqualification applies to him is not present).

ROMEO LONZANIDA VS. COMELEC, July 28, 1999, 311 SCRA 602

The petitioner was elected Mayor for three (3) consecutive terms. During his 3rd term (1995 elections), he was proclaimed the winner but his opponent filed an election protest and two (2) months before the next election and 4 months before the end of his 3rd term , the COMELEC declared his opponent to be the winner and was able to occupy the position of Mayor for 2 months.

Is he entitled to run for the position of mayor in the election after he was declared a loser during his 3rd term but he almost completed 3 terms?

Held:

Yes because in order that the prohibition shall apply to him, the following requisites must be present:

1.           the local official must have been elected for the same position [Example: Mayor] three times; and

2.           the local official must have fully served three consecutive terms as Mayor.

In this case, he was not elected to the position 3 times because he lost during the 3rd time though he served the office for 2 years and 10 months. Likewise even assuming that he won the 3rd election, he did not fully serve the term of 3 years. It is not enough that an individual has served 3 consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must have also been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply.

Prohibition to run for more than 3 consecutive terms

 

FEDERICO T. MONTEBONVs. COMELEC & ELEONOR ONDOY, G.R. No. 180444, April 8, 2008

          Petitioners Montebon, Ondoy and respondent Potencioso, Jr. were candidates for municipal councilor of the Municipality of Tuburan, Cebu for the May 14, 2007 Synchronized National and Local Elections.  On April 30, 2007, petitioners and other candidates[1][4] for municipal councilor filed a petition for disqualification against respondent with the COMELEC alleging that respondent had been elected and served three consecutive terms as municipal councilor in 1998-2001, 2001-2004, and 2004-2007.  Thus, he is proscribed from running for the same position in the 2007 elections as it would be his fourth consecutive term.

In his answer, respondent admitted that he had been elected for three consecutive terms as municipal councilor.  However, he claimed that the service of his second term in 2001-2004 was interrupted on January 12, 2004 when he succeeded as vice mayor of Tuburan due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Petronilo L. Mendoza.  Consequently, he is not disqualified from vying for the position of municipal councilor in the 2007 elections.

In the hearing of May 10, 2007, the parties were directed to file their respective memoranda.

In petitioners’ memorandum, they maintained that respondent’s assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004 should not be considered an interruption in the service of his second term since it was a voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor.  They argued that, according to the law, voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the official concerned was elected.

On the other hand, respondent alleged that a local elective official is not disqualified from running for the fourth consecutive time to the same office if there was an interruption in one of the previous three terms.

On June 2, 2007, the COMELEC First Division denied the petition for disqualification ruling that respondent’s assumption of office as vice-mayor should be considered an interruption in the continuity of his service.  His second term having been involuntarily interrupted, respondent should thus not be disqualified to seek reelection as municipal councilor.[2][5]

On appeal, the COMELEC En Banc upheld the ruling of the First Division, as follows:

Respondent’s assumption to the office of the vice-mayor of Tuburan in January 2004 during his second term as councilor is not a voluntary renunciation of the latter office.  The same therefore operated as an effective disruption in the full service of his second term as councilor.  Thus, in running for councilor again in the May 14, 2007 Elections, respondent is deemed to be running only for a second consecutive term as councilor of Tuburan, the first consecutive term fully served being his 2004-2007 term.

Petitioner Montebon’s and Ondoy’s June 9, 2007 manifestation and omnibus motion are hereby declared moot and academic with the instant disposition of their motion for reconsideration.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, petitioners’ motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.[3][6

Petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari on the ground that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that respondent’s assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004 interrupted his 2001-2004 term as municipal councilor.

The petition lacks merit.

The 1987 Constitution bars and disqualifies local elective officials from serving more than three consecutive terms in the same post.  Section 8, Article X thereof states:

Sec. 8.  The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law shall be three years and no such officials shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.  Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

Section 43 of the Local Government Code also provides:

Sec. 43.  Term of Office.

No local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position.  Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.

In Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections,[4][7] the Court held that the two conditions for the application of the disqualification must concur: 1) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post; and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms.[5][8]   In Borja, Jr. v. Commission on Elections,[6][9] the Court emphasized that the term limit for elective officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position.  Thus, for the disqualification to apply, it is not enough that the official has been elected three consecutive times; he must also have served three consecutive terms in the same position.[7][10]

While it is undisputed that respondent was elected municipal councilor for three consecutive terms, the issue lies on whether he is deemed to have fully served his second term in view of his assumption of office as vice-mayor of Tuburan on January 12, 2004.

Succession in local government offices is by operation of law.[8][11]  Section 44[9][12] of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, provides that if a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the vice mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member shall become vice mayor.  Thus:

SEC. 44.  Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice Governor, Mayor, and Vice Mayor. – (a) If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice governor or vice mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor.  If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice governor, mayor or vice mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member, shall become the governor, vice governor, mayor or vice mayor, as the case may be.  Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein. x x x

In this case, a permanent vacancy occurred in the office of the vice mayor due to the retirement of Vice Mayor Mendoza.  Respondent, being the highest ranking municipal councilor, succeeded him in accordance with law.  It is clear therefore that his assumption of office as vice-mayor can in no way be considered a voluntary renunciation of his office as municipal councilor.

In Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections, the Court explained the concept of voluntary renunciation as follows:

The second sentence of the constitutional provision under scrutiny states, ‘Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected.’ The clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office and at the same time respect the people’s choice and grant their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision.  Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced term in the computation of the three term limit; conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of the full term provided by law amounts to an interruption of continuity of service.[10][13] (Emphasis added)

Thus, respondent’s assumption of office as vice-mayor in January 2004 was an involuntary severance from his office as municipal councilor, resulting in an interruption in the service of his 2001-2004 term.  It cannot be deemed to have been by reason of voluntary renunciation because it was by operation of law.  We quote with approval the ruling of the COMELEC that –

The legal successor is not given any option under the law on whether to accept the vacated post or not.  Section 44 of the Local Government Code makes no exception.  Only if the highest-ranking councilor is permanently unable to succeed to the post does the law speak of alternate succession.  Under no circumstances can simple refusal of the official concerned be considered as permanent inability within the contemplation of law.  Essentially therefore, the successor cannot refuse to assume the office that he is mandated to occupy by virtue of succession.  He can only do so if for some reason he is permanently unable to succeed and occupy the post vacated.

x x x x

Thus, succession by law to a vacated government office is characteristically not voluntary since it involves the performance of a public duty by a government official, the non-performance of which exposes said official to possible administrative and criminal charges of dereliction of duty and neglect in the performance of public functions.  It is therefore more compulsory and obligatory rather than voluntary.[11][14]

1.           Section 10. No province, city, municipality or barangay may be created, divided, merged or abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the LGC and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

Read:

1)   PAREDES VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, 128 SCRA 6

     2)   LOPEZ VS. METRO MANILA COMMISSION,  136 SCRA 633

     3)   TAN VS. COMELEC, 142 SCRA 727

          4)   Padilla vs. COMELEC, 214 SCRA 735

6.  Sections 11-14

Read:

1)   CENIZA VS. COMELEC, 95 SCRA 763

2)   Differentiate a highly urbanized city from a component city (See BP 337, Sections 162-168)

7.  Sections 15-21

Is there a Cordillera Autonomous Region?

a. Read:     Exec. Order No. 220

b. Ordillo vs. Comelec, 192 SCRA 100

 

Reference:

Political Law Reviewer by Atty. Larry D. Gacayan

College of Law, University of the Cordilleras

Baguio City


[1][4] Jesus C. Mendoza, Teopisto C. Prosia, Jr., Nicolas Y. Edillon, Ernesto B. Caga, Albaerto T. Gallarde, and Eugenio M. Arigo.

[2][5] Rollo, p. 34.

[3][6] Id. at 27-28.

[4][7] 370 Phil. 625 (1999).

[5][8] Id. at 636.

[6][9] 356 Phil. 467 (1998).

[7][10] Id. at 478.

[8][11] See Borja, Jr.  v. Commission on Elections, 356 Phil. 467, 476-477 (1998).

[9][12] SEC. 44.  Permanent Vacancies in the Offices of the Governor, Vice Governor, Mayor, and Vice Mayor. – (a) If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice governor or vice mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor.  If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice governor, mayor or vice mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member, shall become the governor, vice governor, mayor or vice mayor, as the case may be.  Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein. x x x.

[10][13] Supra note 7 at 638.

[11][14] Rollo, p. 26.

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About Magz

Trying to help law students and others by posting reviewers on this website. I encourage lawyers and law students to please help me moderate and answer some queries made on this site regarding legal matters. Thank you.

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Political Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. mam, ok po yung mga info. pero parang medyo sabog yung pagkaka relay ng mga doctrines. nonetheless, this is helpful na rin po. ty!

    • Hello, I am sorry to hear that. I posted the original reviewers as they were and I did not alter anything. Thus, please take time to check them one by one. Thanks

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