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Borja vs Comelec Case Digest

Three-Term Limit

Facts:

Jose T. Capco, Jr. was elected as Vice-Mayor of Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term
ending on June 30, 1992. On September 2, 1989, he became Mayor, by operation of
law, upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja. Thereafter, Capco was elected and
served as Mayor for two more terms, from 1992 to 1998. On March 27, 1998, Capco
filed a Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Pateros in the May 11, 1998
elections. Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also a candidate for mayor, sought
Capcos disqualification on the ground that Capco would have already served as Mayor
for 3 consecutive terms by June 30, 1998; hence, he would be ineligible to serve for
another term. The Second Division of the Comelec declared Capco disqualified but
the Comelec en banc reversed the decision and declared Capco eligible to run for
mayor. Capco was subsequently voted and proclaimed as mayor.

Issue:

Whether or not a vice-mayor who succeeds to the office of mayor by operation of law
and serves the remainder of the term is considered to have served a term in that office
for the purpose of the three-term limit.

Held:

No. The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be
elected as well as the right to serve 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. Capco was qualified to run again as mayor in the
next election because he was not elected to the office of mayor in the first term but
simply found himself thrust into it by operation of law. Neither had he served the full
term because he only continued the service, interrupted by the death, of the deceased
mayor. The vice-mayors assumption of the mayorship in the event of the vacancy is
more a matter of chance than of design. Hence, his service in that office should not be
counted in the application of any term limit.

The policy embodied in the constitutional provision (Art. X, 8) is not only to prevent
the establishment of political dynasties but also to enhance the freedom of choice of
the people. A consideration of the historical background of Art. X, 8 of the Constitution
reveals that the members of the Constitutional Commission were as much concerned
with preserving the freedom of choice of the people as they were with preventing the
monopolization of political power. In discussing term limits, the drafters of the
Constitution did so on the assumption that the officials concerned were serving by
reason of election. To consider Capco to have served the first term in full and therefore
ineligible to run a third time for reelection would be not only to falsify reality but also to
unduly restrict the right of the people to choose whom they wish to govern
them. (Borja vs Comelec, G.R. No. 133495, September 3, 1998)

Borja vs Comelec
Borja vs Comelec case brief summary
Facts:
Jose Capco Jr. was elected vice-mayor of Pateros in the 1988 election. On September 2, 1989 he
became mayor, by operation of law upon the death of the incumbent mayor. He was elected for mayor in
the 1992 election and was re-elected in the 1995 election. He filed a certificate of candidacy for mayor
relative to the upcoming 1998 elections. Petitioner who was a candidate for mayor sought the
disqualification of Jose Capco Jr. on the ground of the three-term limit rule under the constitution and local
government code.
Capco got the majority of votes and was proclaimed as mayor of Pateros.
Issue:
Whether or not Capco Jr. is eligible to run for mayor.
Ruling:

Yes, the three-term limit for elective local official refers to the right to be elected as well as the right to
serve in the same elective position. In relation to this it is not enough that a person has served three
consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same position.
Therefore, the succession by operation of law by Capco does not count as a term in counting the threeterm limit rule.
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

BORJA versus COMELEC


Succession to an office or by operation of law under the three
consecutive terms limitation
BORJA versus COMELEC
Facts:
Private respondent Jose T. Carpo, Jr. was elected vice-mayor
of Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term ending June 30, 1992.
On September 2, 1989, he became mayor, by operation of law,
upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja. For the next two
succeeding elections in 1992 and 1995, he was again re-elected
as Mayor.
On March 27, 1998, private respondent Carpo filed a
certificate of candidacy for mayor of Pateros relative to the May
11, 1998 elections. Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also
a candidate for mayor, sought Carpos disqualification on the
theory that the latter would have already served as mayor for
three consecutive terms by June 30, 1998 and would therefore be
ineligible to serve for another term after that.

COMELEC ruled in favour of petitioner and declared private


respondent Carpo saying that In both the Constitution and the
Local Government Code, the three-term limitation refers to the
term of office for which the local official was elected. It made no
reference to succession to an office to which he was not elected.
Carpo won the election case against Borja. Hence, this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not a person who served in a position by
operation of law could be considered as having served the term
for the purpose of the three-term limit under the Constitution.
Held:
No. The court held that when Carpo occupied the post of the
Mayor upon the incumbents death and served for remainder of
the term, he cannot be construed as having served a full term as
contemplated under the three term limit. The term he served
must be one for which he was elected. Furthermore, before
assuming the position of Mayor, he served first as a Vice Mayor
and the duties and responsibilities of the two positions are wholly
different from each other.