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Manuel F.

Alameda

De Guzman vs Commission on Elections


GR 129118 19 July 2000

Facts:

Comelec reassigned petitioners to other stations pursuant to Section 44 of the Voter’s


registration act. The act prohibits election officers from holding office in a particular city or
municipality for more than 4 years. Petitioners claim that the act violated the equal protection
clause because not all election officials were covered by the prohibition.

Petitioners contend that RA 8189 Section 44 is unconstitutional as it violates the equal


protection clause enshrined in the constitution; that it violates constitutional guarantee on security
of civil servants; that it undermines the constitutional independence of comelec and comelec’s
constitutional authority; that it contravenes the basic constitutional precept; that it is void for its
failure to be read on 3 separate readings

Issue:

Whether or Not section 44 of RA 8189 is unconstitutional

Ruling:

No, RA 8189 Sec 44 is not unconstitutional. It has not violated the equal protection clause. The
singling out of election officers in order to "ensure the impartiality of election officials by
preventing them from developing familiarity with the people of their place of assignment" does
not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. . Large-scale anomalies in the
registration of voters cannot be carried out without the complicity of election officers, who are the
highest representatives of Comelec in a city or municipality.

Lutz vs. Araneta: "the legislature is not required by the Constitution to adhere to a policy of all or
none".

This is so for underinclusiveness is not an argument against a valid classification. It may be true
that all the other officers of COMELEC referred to by petitioners are exposed to the same evils
sought to be addressed by the statute. However, in this case, it can be discerned that the legislature
thought the noble purpose of the law would be sufficiently served by breaking an important link
in the chain of corruption than by breaking up each and every link thereof. Verily, under Section
3(n) of RA 8189, election officers are the highest officials or authorized representatives of the
COMELEC in a city or municipality. It is safe to say that without the complicity of such officials,
large-scale anomalies in the registration of voters can hardly be carried out. The petition is
dismissed and upheld the constitutionality of Section 44 of RA 8189.
It is intended to ensure the impartiality of election officials by preventing them from developing
familiarity with the people of their place of assignment. Large-scale anomalies in the registration
of voters cannot be carried out without the complicity of election officers, who are the highest
representatives of Comelec in a city or municipality.

The singling out of election officers in order to "ensure the impartiality of election officials by
preventing them from developing familiarity with the people of their place of assignment" does
not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.