Victoria vs. Comelec [299 SCRA 269]

(Local Government, Succession, Ranking in the Sanggunian)

Facts: Under the LGC, the position of vice-governor should be occupied by the highest ranking Sanggunian member, and for purposes of succession, ranking in the Sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters  in each district.

In the Elections, petitioner candidate Victoria from the 2nd district garnered 32, 918 votes and respondent candidate Calisin from the 1st district garnered 28, 335 votes.

The COMELEC issued a resolution certifying respondent as 1st in the order of ranking with petitioner as 2nd ranking member pursuant to the provisions above.

Petitioner claims that the ranking should not only be based on the number of votes obtained in relation to the total number of registered voters, but also on the number of voters in the district who actually voted therein.

Issue: Whether or not the proportion of the the votes obtained to the number of registered voters of each district shall be factored to the number of voters who actually voted in determining the ranking in the Sanggunian.

Held: No. The law is clear that the ranking in the Sangguninan shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of the votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters of each district.

COMELEC came up with the following ranking of the top 3:

 

District            Registered Voters        Votes Obtained           Percent            Rank

Calisin             1st                    130,085                       28,335                         21.78               1st

Victoria           2nd                    155.318                       32,918                         21.19               2nd

Marcellana       2nd                    155.318                       26,030                         16.76               3rd

Navarro and Tamayo vs CA [GR 141307; March 28, 2001]

(Local Government, Permanent vacancies in the Sanggunian, Section 45 (b) of the Local Government Code)

Facts: With the death of the Mayor Calimlim, a vacancy was created in the Office of the Mayor so by operation of law, he was succeeded by Aquino the then Vice-Mayor. Petitioner Tamayo, the  highest ranking member of the Sangguniang Bayan was elevated to the position of the Vice Mayor pursuant to the same law.

Since vacancy occurred in the Sangguniang Bayan by the elevation of the petitioner, Governor Agbayani appointed herein petitioner Navarro as Member of the Sangguniang Bayan.

Aquino belonged to the political party Lakas NUCD-KAMPI, while both Navarro and Tamayo belonged to REFORMA-LM political party.

Private respondents seek to nullify the appointment of petitioner Navarro arguing that it was the former vice-mayor, succeeding to the position of the mayor, who created the permament vacancy in the Sanggunian Bayan because under the law he was also a member of the Sanggunian. Thus, the appointee must come from said former vice-mayor’s political party.

Petitioners, on the other hand, contended that it was the elevation of petitioner Tamayo, who was the highest ranking member of the Sanggunian Bayan, to the office of the Vice-Mayor which resulted in a permanent vacancy. The person to be appointed to the position vacated by him should come from the same political party affiliation as that of petitioner Tamayo.

However, the CA concluded that it was the appointment of the 8th councilor, to the number 7 position which created the last vacancy; therefore, the person to be appointed to the vacant position should come from the same political party to which the latter belonged, which was Lakas-NUCD KAMPI.

Issue: WON the elevation of the highest ranking member of the Sanggunian to the position of vice-mayor created the last vacancy in the Sanggunian Bayan.

Held: Yes. Under Sec 44 of the LGC, a permanent vacancy arises when an elective official fills a higher vacant office, refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office.

Sec 45 (b) of the same law provides that “…only the nominee of the political party under which the Sanggunian member concerned has been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in rank created the last vacancy in the Sanggunian shall be appointed in the manner herein provided. The appointee shall come from the political party as that of the Sanggunian member who caused the vacancy…”

The reason behind the right given to a political party to nominate a replacement where a permanent vacancy occurs in the Sanggunian is to maintain the party representation as willed by the people in the election.

With the elevation of the petitioner, who belonged to REFORMA-LM, to the position of vice-mayor, a vacancy occurred in the Sanggunian that whould be filled up with someone who should belong to the political party of petitioner Tamayo. Otherwise, REFORMA-LM’s representation would be diminished.

Docena vs Sanggunian Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar [GR 96817; July 25, 1991]

(Municipal Corporation, Permanent Vacancies in Local Sanggunian)

Facts: On November 19, 1990, private petitioner was appointed by Secretary Santos of the Department of Local Government to succeed Capito, as a member of the Sanggunian Panlalawagian of Eastern Samar who died in office. Petitioner took his oath of office and assumed office as a member of the SPES on November 26, 1990.

On November 27, 1990, private respondent was appointed also by Secretary Santos to the position already occupied by petitioner.

The 2nd appointment was subsequently withdrawn to reinstate the first appointment, but this was later itself recalled in favor of the 2nd appointment.

SPES passed a resolution reiterating its previous recognition of the respondent’s appointment as the legitimate successor of the late Board Member and declared that the recall appointment of the same has no legal basis in fact and in law.

Sec. 50 of the Local Government Code provides that “in case of permanent vacancy in the sanggunian panlalawigan, sanggunian panlungsod, sanggunian bayan, or sanggunian barangay, the President of the Philippines, upon recommendation of the Minister of Local Government, shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy in the sangguniang panlalawigan and the sangguniang panlungsod; the governor, in the case of sangguniang bayan members; or the city or municipal mayor, in the case of sangguniang barangay members.”

Without challenging the qualifications of the petitioner who claimed preferential right in the disputed office, Respondents contend that the appointment in his favor had been superseded by the appointment in favor of the respondent, and that the recall of the 2nd appointment was null and void ab initio for lack of previous hearing.

Issue: Which appointment is valid?

Held: Petitioner’s appointment having been issued and accepted earlier, and the petitioner having already assumed office, he could not thereafter be just recalled and replaced to accommodate respondent. The appointment was permanent in nature, and for the unexpired portion of the deceased predecessor’s term. Petitioner had already acquired security of tenure in the position and could be removed therefrom only for any of the causes, and conformably to the procedure, prescribed by the LGC. These requirements could not be circumvented by the simple process of recalling his appointment.