Reposting my digest from Batch 2, supra from page 2 of the outline.

Arsenio Latasa v COMELEC and Romeo Sunga | 10 DEC 2003 | Azcuna | rule
65 certiorari
Short Version: Latasa was mayor of the municipality of Digos for three
consecutive terms. On his third term, the municipality became a city. He finished his
term as municipal mayor as the hold-over mayor for the new city. He ran for mayor
of the city but there was a petition to disqualify him on the ground of violation of the
three-term prohibition in the constitution. He won anyway but after being
proclaimed winner, COMELEC issued a resolution annulling his election. SC said
albeit the municipality and the new city were entities distinct from one another, for
the purposes of construing the three-term prohibition, he cannot be allowed to run
for the position of city mayor.
Facts: Latasa was elected mayor of the Municipality of Digos, Davao del Sur in the
1992, 1995, and 1998 elections. During his third term, Digos was declared a
component city via RA 8798, “An Act Converting the Municipality of Digos, Davao
del Sur Province into a Component City to be known as the City of Digos” or the
Charter of the City of Digos. This was ratified in a plebiscite conducted on 8 SEP
2000. Under Section 53, Article IX of the city’s charter, Latasa had to serve in a
hold-over capacity as mayor of the new city for the remainder of his term as the
municipal mayor.
Latasa filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the 14 MAY 2001
elections. He stated therein that he is eligible and he had served three consecutive
terms as mayor of the municipality, but this will be his first time running as mayor
of the city. Sunga, also a mayoral candidate, filed a petition to deny/cancel the
certificate of candidacy of Latasa or to disqualify him for falsely representing his
27 APR 2001 – COMELEC issued a resolution cancelling Latasa’s certificate of
candidacy for violating the three-term rule in the Constitution and the LGC. Latasa
filed an MR but it was not acted upon until election day. He got the most votes and
was proclaimed the winner despite Sunga’s ex parte motion for the issuance of a
TRO against the Board of Canvassers. Latasa was then sworn into office, but on 27
AUG 2002, COMELEC issued a Resolution denying his MR.
Procedural Issue: After an elective official has been proclaimed winner of the
elections, COMELEC no longer has jurisdiction to pass upon his qualifications
(Mamba-Perez v COMELEC). The remedy would have been a petition for quo
warranto within 10 days after proclamation. But because this case is peculiar and of
paramount interest, the SC set aside technicalities in favor of what is fair and just.
The spirit embodied in a Constitutional provision must not be attenuated by a rigid
application of procedural rules.
Main Issue: Is Latasa eligible to run as a candidate for the position of mayor of
Digos City in the 2001 elections? NO. Although the Municipality of Digos has a
distinct and separate corporate existence from the City of Digos, for the purpose of
applying Article X Sec. 8 of the Constitution, the office of the municipal mayor
cannot be construed as different from the office of the city mayor. Having served 3
consecutive terms prior to 2001, he is barred from running in the 2001 elections.

Also. and it has either: (a) a contiguous territory of not less than 100 square kilometers. 450 of the LGC provides for the requirements: that its average annual income of at least P20M for the last 2 consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices. 7). the elective officials at the time of the conversion shall continue to exercise their powers and functions until the elections for the new officials were held. without the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. Substantial differences do exist between a municipality and a city. When Digos became a city. such that the officials would simply be barred from running for the same position in the succeeding elections following the third consecutive term. but the Commission followed Monsod’s proposal instead. They were the same people Latasa held power over as their chief executive for nine years. For a municipality to be converted to a city. its charter provided that its territory would be the same as when it was a municipality. Neither does Lonzanida v COMELEC (third term doesn’t count since there was a failure of elections so he had to leave his post) apply even though Latasa technically “involuntarily relinquished” his position as municipal mayor. . Article X Sec. the people should be allowed to freely choose who will govern them. there is a material change in the political and economic rights of the local government unit when it is converted from a municipality to a city and undoubtedly. or (b) a population of not less than 150. But they also wanted to establish some safeguards against the excessive accumulation of power as a result of consecutive terms. Borja v COMELEC (first term doesn’t count since he was elected as vice-mayor and only replaced the mayor when the latter died) doesn’t apply to this case because when the municipality was converted to a city. The creation or conversion of an LGU is done mainly to help assure its economic viability based on the indicators enumerated: a) income. since there was no substantial change as to his authority over the inhabitants of DIgos. Sec. b) population. or barangay may be created. abolished. divided. Latasa continued to hold office as the chief executive irrespective of the fact that there were changes in the political and economic rights of Digos as an LGU. because he never stopped acting as the Digos’ chief executive and never ceased discharging his duties and responsibilities as the same. merged. municipality. or its boundary substantially altered. Garcia proposed to ban officials from being re-elected after serving three consecutive terms. these changes affect the people as well. Consequently. It is precisely for this reason why Section 10. and c) land area (Sec. They didn’t want to bar them for life after serving the public for number of years. the inhabitants – and at the same time the voters – of the municipality were the same as those in the city. Historical background of provision: In the Constitutional Commission. city. For one. Article X of the Constitution mandates that no province.000 inhabitants.Ratio: In a representative democracy. 8 limits the range of the people’s choice of officials by prohibiting an elective official from serving more than three consecutive terms.

e. since if he were allowed to run for the “first time” as city mayor.Adormeo and Socrates cannot apply because in both cases. be declared the mayor? NO. i. Dispositive: Petition DISMISSED. He only garnered 13. The purpose of the prohibition is to avoid the evil of a single person accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the same office. or that a candidate is later declared to be disqualified to hold office. so he is obviously not the choice of the people. .335 votes. The vacancy should be filled by succession.650 votes while Latasa got 25. A plurality or a majority of the votes are cast for an ineligible candidate at a popular election. to allow Latasa to run in the 2001 elections would defeat the intent of the framers in making the prohibition. Irrelevant issue: Should Sunga. does not entitle the candidate who garnered the second highest number of votes to be declared elected. the elected vice-mayor should take Latasa’s place. he could potentially be the chief executive of Digos for 18 consecutive years. as the one with the second highest number of votes. there was a break between the mayors’ consecutive terms when their opponents beat them. and they were private citizens until the recall elections.. Hence.