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SENATE GR 196271 October 18, 2011

RA 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and scheduled the first regular elections
for the regional officials. RA 9054 reset the regular elections to the second Monday of
September 2001. RA No. 9140 again reset this to November 26, 2001. Finally, RA No. 9333 set
the schedule of the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of August 2005 and on the
same date every 3 years thereafter.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333, the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8,
2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of
candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected.
However, on June 30, 2011, RA 10153 was enacted, again resetting the next ARMM regular
elections to May 2013 to coincide with the schedule of the regular national and local elections of
the country.
In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme Court, the petitioners assailed the
constitutionality of RA No. 10153.

WON the synchronization of elections to include election of ARMM regional officials is mandated
by the Constitution
WON the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readings-on-separate-days rule under
Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
WON it is constitutional to grant the President powers to appoint OICs in the ARMM

YES. The 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections.
o While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize
national and local elections, the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from
the Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII) of the Constitution, which show the extent to
which the Constitutional Commission, by deliberately making adjustments to the terms
of the incumbent officials, sought to attain synchronization of elections.
o The Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of the Transitory
Provisions of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional
mandate to hold synchronized national and local elections, starting the second Monday
of May 1992 and for all the following elections.
o In this case, the ARMM elections, although called regional elections, should be
included among the elections to be synchronized as it is a local election based on the
wording and structure of the Constitution.

NO. The passage of RA No. 10153 does not violate the three-readings-on-separate-days
requirement in Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
o The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become
laws they must pass through three readings on separate days, is subject to the
EXCEPTION when the President certifies to the necessity of the bills immediate
o The Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, explained the effect of the Presidents
certification of necessity in the following manner:
The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of
printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days.
The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its
immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated
conditions before a bill can become a law:
[i] the bill has passed three readings on separate days and
[ii] it has been printed in its final form and distributed three days before
it is finally approved.

o In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House
of Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law
synchronizing the ARMM elections with the national and local elections.
o Following our Tolentino ruling, the Presidents certification exempted both the House and
the Senate from having to comply with the three separate readings requirement.

YES, the grant of the power to appoint OICs in the ARMM is constitutional.
o During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in
order to resolve the problem on who should sit as ARMM officials in the interim [in
order to achieve synchronization in the 2013 elections:
(1) allow the [incumbent] elective officials in the ARMM to remain in office in
a hold over capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume
(2) hold special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of those elected to expire
when those elected in the [2013] synchronized elections assume office; or
(3) authorize the President to appoint OICs, [their respective terms to last also
until those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections assume office.]

1st option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would extend the terms of office of the
incumbent ARMM officials
Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay
officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no
such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
[emphases ours]

Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and
bound by the three-year term limit prescribed by the Constitution; they
cannot extend their term through a holdover. xxx.

Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, made it explicitly clear that it had the
intention of suppressing the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by
completely removing this provision. The deletion is a policy decision that is
wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise of its plenary
legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
expediency of legislation, except where an attendant unconstitutionality or
grave abuse of discretion results.
3.2. 2nd option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since COMELEC, on its
own, has no authority to order special elections
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. [N]o
elections may be held on any other date for the positions of President, Vice
President, Members of Congress and local officials, except when so provided by
another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress
may have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the
details in the execution of that power.

Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August
2011 elections and setting another date May 13, 2011 for regional elections
synchronized with the presidential, congressional and other local elections. By
so doing, Congress itself has made a policy decision in the exercise of its
legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment
measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections.

o In the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a
holdover, the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the
three (3) years that the Constitution itself commands. This is what will happen a term
of less than two years if a call for special elections shall prevail. In sum, while
synchronization is achieved, the result is at the cost of a violation of an express provision
of the Constitution.

3.3. 3rd option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint ARMM OICs in the interim is
o The above considerations leave only Congress chosen interim measure RA No. 10153
and the appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-
synchronization period pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law as the only measure
that Congress can make. This choice itself, however, should be examined for any
attendant constitutional infirmity.

o The power to appoint is executive in nature, and the limitations on or qualifications to

the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or qualifications
must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The appointing power is embodied in
Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, which states:

Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the
Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments,
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls or officers of the armed forces
from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose
appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all
other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise
provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to
appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower
in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments,
agencies, commissions, or boards.
o This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint.
These are:
First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public
ministers and consuls; officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the
rank of colonel or naval captain; and other officers whose appointments are
vested in the President in this Constitution;
Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not
otherwise provided for by law;
Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest
in the President alone.

o Since the Presidents authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153, it falls
under the third group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16,
Article VII of the Constitution. Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional