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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Philippine Bar Association (PBA) vs. COMELEC

Philippine Bar Association vs. COMELEC
140 SCRA 455
January 7, 1986

FACTS:

11 petitions were filed for prohibition against the enforcement of BP 883 which calls for special national elections on February 7, 1986 (Snap elections) for the offices of President and Vice President of the Philippines. BP 883 in conflict with the constitution in that it allows the President to continue holding office after the calling of the special election.

Senator Pelaez submits that President Marcos’ letter of conditional “resignation” did not create the actual vacancy required in Section 9, Article 7 of the Constitution which could be the basis of the holding of a special election for President and Vice President earlier than the regular elections for such positions in 1987. The letter states that the President is: “irrevocably vacat(ing) the position of President effective only when the election is held and after the winner is proclaimed and qualified as President by taking his oath office ten (10) days after his proclamation.”

The unified opposition, rather than insist on strict compliance with the cited constitutional provision that the incumbent President actually resign, vacate his office and turn it over to the Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa as acting President, their standard bearers have not filed any suit or petition in intervention for the purpose nor repudiated the scheduled election. They have not insisted that President Marcos vacate his office, so long as the election is clean, fair and honest.

ISSUE:

Is BP 883 unconstitutional, and should the Supreme Court therefore stop and prohibit the holding of the elections

HELD:

The petitions in these cases are dismissed and the prayer for the issuance of an injunction restraining respondents from holding the election on February 7, 1986, in as much as there are less than the required 10 votes to declare BP 883 unconstitutional.

The events that have transpired since December 3,as the Court did not issue any restraining order, have turned the issue into a political question (from the purely justiciable issue of the questioned constitutionality of the act due to the lack of the actual vacancy of the President’s office) which can be truly decided only by the people in their sovereign capacity at the scheduled election, since there is no issue more political than the election. The Court cannot stand in the way of letting the people decide through their ballot, either to give the incumbent president a new mandate or to elect a new president.

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