Constitutional Law

OSMEÑA vs. COMELEC G.R. No. 100318 June 30, 1991 Elections

FACTS:

Petitioners pray for this Court to declare Republic Act No. 7056 as unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid and inoperative because:

1. It violates the mandate of the Constitution for the holding of synchronized national and local elections on the second Monday of May 1992.

2. Republic Act 7056, particularly the 2nd paragraph of Section 3 thereof, providing that all incumbent provincial, city and municipal officials shall hold over beyond June 30, 1992 and shall serve until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified violates Section 2, Article XVIII (Transitory Provision) of the Constitution.

3. The same paragraph of Section 3 of Republic Act 7056, which in effect, shortens the term or tenure of office of local officials to be elected on the 2nd Monday of November, 1992 violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution.

4. Section 8 of Republic Act 7056, providing for the campaign periods for Presidential, Vice-Presidential and Senatorial elections, violates the provision of Section 9, Article IX under the title “Commission on Elections” of the Constitution.

5. The so-called many difficult if not insurmountable problems mentioned in Republic Act 7056 to synchronized national and local elections set by the Constitution on the second Monday of May, 1992, are not sufficient, much less, valid justification for postponing the local elections to the second Monday of November 1992, and in the process violating the Constitution itself. If, at all, Congress can devise ways and means, within the parameters of the Constitution, to eliminate or at least minimize these problems and if this, still, is not feasible, resort can be made to the self-correcting mechanism built in the Constitution for its amendment or revision.

Respondents argue that the questioned provision is a valid exercise of legislation power, and that the amending process in the Constitution does not apply to transitory provisions.

 

ISSUES: 

  1. Can the national and local elections be desynchronized?
  2. Is RA 7056 valid and constitutional?

 

RULING:

1.

No. It is very evident that the Constitution has mandated a synchronized national and local election prior to June 30, 1992 or more specifically as provided for in Article XVIII, Sec. 5-on the second Monday of May, 1992. On this point, it has to be stressed that the term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, is fixed by the Constitution at three years (Sec. 8, Art. X). The incumbent local officials were elected in January 1988. Therefore, their term would have expired on February 2, 1991. But their term was adjusted to expire at noon of June 30, 1992. The reason for the said adjustment, as well as those of the Senators, members of the House of Representatives, President and Vice-President, is the same — to synchronize the national and local elections.

2.

Yes. With the clear mandate of the 1987 Constitution to hold synchronized (simultaneous) national and local elections in the second Monday of May, 1992, the inevitable conclusion would be that Republic Act 7056 is clearly violative of the Constitution because it provides for the holding of a desynchronized election. Stated differently, Republic Act 7056 particularly Sections 1 and 2 thereof contravenes Article XVIII, Sections 2 and 5 of the 1987 Constitution.

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