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Paras vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 123169. November 4, 1996)

16 Apr

DANILO E. PARAS, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.

Ponente: FRANCISCO

FACTS:

Petitioner was the incumbent Punong Barangay who won during the last regular barangay election. A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. At least 29.30% of the registered voters signed the petition, well above the 25% requirement provided by law. Acting on the petition for recall, public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the petition and set recall election date. To prevent the holding of recall election, petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court a petition for injunction which was later dismissed. Petitioner filed petition for certiorari with urgent prayer for injunction, insisting that the recall election is barred by the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election under Sec. 74(b) of Local Government Code (LGC) which states that “no recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official’s assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election“.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the prohibition on Sec.74(b) of the LGC may refer to SK elections, where the recall election is for Barangay post.

HELD:

NO. But petition was dismissed for having become moot and academic.

RATIO:

Recall election is potentially disruptive of the normal working of the local government unit necessitating additional expenses, hence the prohibition against the conduct of recall election one year immediately preceding the regular local election.  The proscription is due to the proximity of the next regular election for the office of the local elective official concerned.  The electorate could choose the official’s replacement in the said election who certainly has a longer tenure in office than a successor elected through a recall election.

It would, therefore, be more in keeping with the intent of the recall provision of the Code to construe regular local election as one referring to an election where the office held by the local elective official sought to be recalled will be contested and be filled by the electorate.

By the time of judgment, recall was no longer possible because of the limitation stated under the same Section 74(b) now referred to as Barangay Elections.

CONCURRING OPINION:

DAVIDE:

regular election, whether national or local, can only refer to an election participated in by those who possess the right of suffrage, are not otherwise disqualified by law, and who are registered voters. One of the requirements for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution is that the person must be at least 18 years of age, and one requisite before he can vote is that he be a registered voter pursuant to the rules on registration prescribed in the Omnibus Election Code (Section 113-118).

Under the law, the SK includes the youth with ages ranging from 15 to 21 (Sec. 424, Local Government Code of 1991). Accordingly, they include many who are not qualified to vote in a regular election, viz., those from ages 15 to less than 18. In no manner then may SK elections be considered a regular election (whether national or local).

 

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