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Paras v.

Comelec (Resolution) GR 123169,


4 November 1996 (264 SCRA 49) En Banc, Francisco (p): 14 concurring
Facts: Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the 1994 barangay election.
A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay, which was approved by the
Comelec. Petition signing was scheduled on 14 October 1995, where at least 29.30% of the registered voters signed the
petition, well above the 25% requirement provided by law. The Comelec also set the recall election on 13 November 1995, but
which was deferred to 16 December 1995 due to the petitioners opposition. To prevent the holding of the recall election,
petitioner filed before the RTC Cabanatuan City a petition for injunction (Special Proceeding Civil Action 2254-AF), with the trial
court issuing a restraining order. After conducting a summary hearing, the trial court lifted the restraining order, dismissed the
petition and required petitioner and his counsel to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for misrepresenting that
the barangay recall election was without Comelec approval.
In a resolution dated 5 January 1996, the Comelec, for the third time, re-scheduled the recall election on 13 January 1996;
hence, the instant petition for certiorari with urgent prayer for injunction. The petitioner contends that no recall can take place
within one year preceding a regular local election, the Sangguniang Kabataan elections slated on the first Monday of May 1996.
He cited Associated Labor Union v. Letrondo-Montejo to support the argument, the Court in which case considered the SK
election as a regular local election.
Issue: Whether the Sangguniang Kabataan election is to be construed as a regular local election in a recall proceeding
Held: It is a rule in statutory construction that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e.,
that every part of the statute must be considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to the general intent of
the whole enactment. Further, the spirit, rather than the letter of a law determines its construction; hence, a statute must be
read according to its spirit and intent. The too literal interpretation of the law leads to absurdity which the Court cannot
countenance. A too-literal reading of the law constrict rather than fulfill its purpose and defeat the intention of its authors. That
intention is usually found not in the letter that killeth but in the spirit that vivifieth. In the present case, Paragraph (b) of
Section 74 construed together with paragraph (a) merely designates the period when such elective local official may be subject
of a recall election. The Sangguniang Kabataan elections cannot be considered a regular election, as this would render inutile
the recall provision of the Local Government Code. It would be more in keeping with the intent of the recall provision of the
Code to construe regular local election as one referring to an election where the office held by the local elective official sought
to be recalled will be contested and be filled by the electorate.
The Supreme Court, however, has to dismiss the petition for having become moot and academic, as the next regular elections
involving the barangay office concerned were seven months away. Thus, the Temporary Restraining Order issued on 12 January
1996, enjoining the recall election, was made permanent.