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Osmea vs.

COMELEC, 199 SCRA 750


FACTS: On June 20, 1991, RA No. 7056 was enacted. Such RA was made for the 1992 National and Local Elections On July 30, 1991, Governor Emilio Osmea of Cebu, et al filed a petition against the COMELEC for the nullity of the said RA on the reason that the said law was unconstitutional. Such provisions in the said RA that were deemed by the petitioners unconstitutional were: o Republic Act 7056 violates the mandate of the Constitution for the holding of synchronized national and local elections on the second Monday of May 1992. o 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. 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. Section 8 of Republic Act 7056, providing for the campaign periods for Presidential, VicePresidential and Senatorial elections, violates the provision of Section 9, Article IX under the title "Commission on Elections" of the Constitution. 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.

The respondents, COMELEC, questioned the jurisdiction of the Court to review such case for they stated that the controversy was merely a political one and therefore does not fall under the courts jurisdiction

Issues: First, whether or not, the Court has the right to review the case. Second, whether or not, the RA 7056 was unconstitutional Decision: On the first Issue: The Court has the competence and right to act on the matter at bar because what was presented was the question on the legality of RA 7056 and not its wisdom. The Court also stated that even if the issue was political in nature, it was not exclusively a political one, hence, involving a question of national importance and falls for juridical review.

The Court further stated that under Section 1, Art. VIII of the 1987 constitution, it is within the powers of the court to determine whether there is grave abuse of discretion resulting to excess or lack of jurisdiction by other branches of the government.

On the second issue: YES. It is unconstitutional. Article XVIII, Sections 2 and 5 of the 1987 Constitution which provides for the synchronization of national and local elections. However, RA 7056 provides for the de-synchronization of election by mandating that there be two separate elections in 1992. o The synchronization stated in RA 7056 will only synchronized future elections R.A. No. 7056 also violated the clear mandate of Sec. 8, Art. X of 1987 Constitution which fixed the term of office of all elective local officials, except barangay officials, to three (3) years. If the local election will be held on the second Monday of November 1992 under RA 7056, those to be elected will be serving for only two years and seven months, that is, from November 30, 1992 to June 30, 1995, not three years. The law was also held violative of Sec. 9, Article IX of the Constitution by changing the campaign period. RA 7056 provides for a different campaign period, as follows: a) For President arid Vice-Presidential elections one hundred thirty (130) days before the day of election. b) For Senatorial elections, ninety (90) days before the day of the election, and c) For the election of Members of the House of Representatives and local elective provincial, city and municipal officials forty-five (45) days before the day of the elections. The petition is granted. The temporary restraining order for RA 7056 is permanent. RA 7056 is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL, hence, null and void.

Note: Classmates, in this issue, the discussion over procedural issues were very very very lengthy compared to the discussion over the MAIN issue. In a nutshell, RA 7056 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL because it suggests: o A separate national and local elections o Extension on the terms of incumbent elective officials o Local officials elected will only serve 2 years and 7 months (dapat 3 years under Sec.8, Art. 10 of 1987 Constitution) o Different campaign periods. (Dapat comelec lang ang nay jurisdiction over this under Sec. 9 Art. 9 of the consti and not the congress.) Additionally, here is a link for RA 7056: http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1991/ra_7056_1991.html Link for the Full-text for the case is here: http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1991/jul1991/gr_100318_1991.html