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ADMIN LAW ELECTIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS - TERM OF OFFICE

Title: Rivera III v. Commission on Elections G.R. No. 167591, 170577


Date: May 9, 2007
Ponente: Sandoval-Gutierrez, J.
ATTY. VENANCIO Q. RIVERA III and ATTY. NORMANDICK DE
COMELEC and MARINO "BOKING" MORALES,
GUZMAN,
respondents
petitioners
ANTHONY D. DEE, COMELEC and MARINO "BOKING" MORALES,
petitioner respondents
FACTS
 The case is a resolution of two consolidated petitions – one filed by Attys. Venancio Q. Rivera III and Atty. Normandick
de Guzman against Marino “Boking Morales, and the other one filed by Anthony D. Dee, the candidate who obtained
the second highest vote after Morales.
 In the May 2004 Synchronized National and Local Elections, respondent Marino "Boking" Morales ran as candidate for
mayor of Mabalacat, Pampanga for the term commencing July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2007. Petitioners filed with the
COMELEC a petition to cancel respondent Morales’ Certificate of Candidacy on the ground that he was elected and
had served three previous consecutive terms as mayor of Mabalacat. They alleged that his candidacy violated Section
8, Article X of the Constitution and Section 43 (b) of RA 7160.
 Respondent Morales admitted that he was elected mayor of Mabalacat for the term commencing July 1, 1995 to June
30, 1998 (first term) and July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2004 (third term), but he served the second term from July 1, 1998
to June 30, 2001 only as a "caretaker of the office" or as a "de facto officer" since his proclamation as mayor was
declared void by the Regional Trial Court (RTC). He was also preventively suspended by the Ombudsman in an anti-
-graft case from January to July 1999.
ISSUE/S
Whether or not Morales violated the three‐term limit rule when he ran for re-election as mayor in the 2004 elections. YES
RATIO
 For the three-term limit for elective local government officials to apply, two conditions or requisites must concur, to
wit: (1) that the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same local government post,
and (2) that he has fully served three consecutive terms.
 Respondent Morales was elected for the term July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001. He assumed the position. He served as
mayor until June 30, 2001. He was mayor for the entire period notwithstanding the Decision of the RTC in the electoral
protest case filed by petitioner Dee ousting him (respondent) as mayor. Respondent Morales is now serving his fourth
term. He has been mayor of Mabalacat continuously without any break since July 1, 1995. In just over a month, by
June 30, 2007, he will have been mayor of Mabalacat for twelve (12) continuous years. His assumption of office for
the second term constituted “service for the full term” and should be counted as a full term served in contemplation
of the three--term limit prescribed by the constitutional and statutory provisions barring local elective officials from
being elected and serving for more than three consecutive terms for the same position.
 The framers of the Constitution, by including this exception, wanted to establish some safeguards against the excessive
accumulation of power as a result of consecutive terms. Therefore, having found respondent Morales ineligible, his
Certificate of Candidacy dated December 30, 2003 should be cancelled. Not being a candidate, the votes cast for him
SHOULD NOT BE COUNTED and must be considered stray votes.
RULING
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 167591 is GRANTED. Respondent Morales' Certificate of Candidacy dated
December 30, 2003 is cancelled. In view of the vacancy in the Office of the Mayor in Mabalacat, Pampanga, the vice-
mayor elect of the said municipality in the May 10, 2004 Synchronized National and Local Elections is hereby declared
mayor and shall serve as such for the remaining duration of the term July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2007. The petition in G.R.
No. 170577 is DISMISSED for being moot.
(SANTOS, 2B 2017-2018)