Case Digest: Dante O. Casibang vs. Honorable Narciso A. Aquino

20 August 1979

FACTS:

Yu was proclaimed on November 1971 as the elected mayor of Rosales, Pangasinan.  Casibang, his only rival, filed a protest against election on the grounds of rampant vote buying, anomalies and irregularities and others. During the proceedings of this case, the 1973 Constitution came into effect.  Respondent Yu moved to dismiss the election protest of the petitioner on the ground that the trial court had lost jurisdiction over the same in view of the effectivity of the new Constitution and the new parliamentary form of government.

ISSUES:

  1. Whether Section 9, Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution rendered the protest moot and academic; and
  2. Whether Section 2, Article XI thereof entrusted to the National Assembly the revamp of the entire local government structure.
RULING:

  1. As stated in Santos vs. Castaneda, “the constitutional grant of privilege to continue in office, made by the new Constitution for the benefit of persons who were incumbent officials or employees of the Government when the new Constitution took effect, cannot be fairly construed as indiscriminately encompassing every person who at the time happened to be performing the duties of an elective office, albeit under protest or contest" and that "subject to the constraints specifically mentioned in Section 9, Article XVII of the Transitory Provisions, it neither was, nor could have been the intention of the framers of our new fundamental law to disregard and shunt aside the statutory right of a candidate for elective position who, within the time-frame prescribed in the Election Code of 1971, commenced proceedings beamed mainly at the proper determination in a judicial forum of a proclaimed candidate-elect's right to the contested office.”
  2. Section 2 of Article XI does not stigmatize the issue in that electoral protest case with a political color. For simply, that section allocated unto the National Assembly the power to enact a local government code "which may not thereafter be amended except by a majority of all its Members, defining a more responsive and accountable local government allocating among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and providing for their qualifications, election and removal, term, salaries, powers, functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units" but "... any change in the existing form of local government shall not take effect until ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose." 

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