Case Digest: Montejo v. Commission on Elections

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Case Digests
Tags: , , , , , , ,

G.R. No. 118702                16 March 1995

Ponente: Puno, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner Cirilo Montejo, representing the First District of Leyte, pleads the annulment of Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 of the COMELEC, redistricting certain municipalities in Leyte as it is said to violate the principle of equity of representation.  Petitioner now seeks to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the province.

For an overview of the distribution in the province, see the below table for the population distribution, census 1990 and 1994:

Census 1990 Census 1994
First District 303, 349 178, 688
Second District 272, 167 156, 462
Third District 214, 499 125, 763
Fourth District 269, 347 155, 995
Fifth District 309, 148 181, 242

ISSUES:

Whether COMELEC has the jurisdiction to promulgate Resolution No. 2736

HELD/RULING:

The basic powers of COMELEC are spelled out in Section 2(c), Article IX of the Constitution, which states:

Sec. 2. The Commission on Elections is hereby empowered to make minor adjustments of the reapportionment herein made.

The meaning of minor adjustments is found in the debates of the Commission wherein it was stated that the transfer of one municipality in a district to another district is not a minor adjustment; rather it is a substantive one.  Minor adjustments does not allow the change in allocations per district.

It is then held that COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it promulgated Section 1 of its Resolution No. 2736.  Section 1 is then annulled and set aside.  The petition praying for the transfer of the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte is denied.

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