SOCRATES VS.

COMELEC
G.R. No. 154512, November 12, 2002
FACTS:
Petitioner was the City Mayor of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, who assumed
office on Jun. 30, 2001. On Jul. 2, 2002, 312 out of 528 incumbent Barangay Officials
of Puerto Princesa convened themselves into a Preparatory Recall Assembly(PRA) to
initiate the recall of petitioner as mayor. On the same day, the PRA passed a
resolution declaring loss of confidence and requested the Comelec for recall
election. Petitioner filed with the Comelec a petition to nullify and deny due course
the recall resolution but it was dismissed for lack of merit. The Comelec gave due
course to the recall resolution and fixed the campaign period for 10 days.
Edward M. Hagedorn filed his COC for mayor in the recall election. His
candidacy was challenged by his opponents for the position. His opponents filed a
petition with the Comelec to disqualify him on the ground that he had been elected
and had served for three consecutive full terms as mayor immediately prior to the
present recall election.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Edward M. Hagedorn is qualified to run in the recall election
despite having served his three full term for the same position.
RULING:
Yes. The Court cited the three-term limit rule in the Constitution and its
reiteration in the Local Government Code, according to the Court, “These
constitutional and statutory provisions have two parts. The first part provides that
an elective local official cannot serve for more than three consecutive terms. The
clear intent is that only consecutive terms count in determining the three-term limit
rule. The second part states that voluntary renunciation of office for any length of
time does not interrupt the continuity of service. The clear intent is that involuntary
severance from office for any length of time interrupts continuity of service and
prevents the service before and after the interruption from being joined together to
form a continuous service or consecutive terms.
After three consecutive terms, an elective local official cannot seek
immediate re-election for a fourth term. The prohibited election refers to the next
regular election for the same office following the end of the third consecutive term.
Any subsequent election, like a recall election, is no longer covered by the
prohibition for two reasons. First, a subsequent election like a recall election is no
longer an immediate re-election after three consecutive terms. Second, the
intervening period constitutes an involuntary interruption in the continuity of
service.
What the Constitution prohibits is an immediate re-election for a fourth term
following three consecutive terms. The Constitution, however, does not prohibit a
subsequent re-election for a fourth term as long as the re-election is not
immediately after the end of the third consecutive term. A recall election mid-way
in the term following the third consecutive term is a subsequent election but not an
immediate reelection after the third term.

However. respondent filed his COC for the same position. COMELEC G. he was preventively suspended for 90 days because of criminal case he was facing before the Sandiganbayan. From this perspective. The Comelec en banc on the other hand. and 2004-2007 terms. in 2005 or during his 2004-2007 term of office. In the 2007 election. and that his candidacy for the fourth term violates the three-term limit rule.) Whether preventive suspension is considered involuntary renunciation as contemplated in Sec. 2009 FACTS: Respondent Wilfredo F. 2001-2004. The easy conclusion therefore is that they are. Dec. but the suspension was later on lifted and he was allowed to finished his term.) Preventive suspension does not involve a voluntary act on the part of the suspended official.) A preventive suspension cannot simply be a term interruption because the suspended official continues to stay in office although he is barred from exercising the functions and prerogatives of the office within the suspension period.R. But beyond the obvious comparison of their respective natures is the more important consideration of how they affect the three-term limit . except in the indirect sense that he may have voluntarily committed the act that became the basis of the charge against him. by nature. a. and b. it is involuntary and temporary. ISSUES: a. 184836. Thus viewed. The 2nd division of Comelec ruled that the three-term limit rule does not apply to respondent because he was suspended for 90 days thus failed to render complete service for the 2004-2007 term. Asilo was elected councillor of Lucena City for three consecutive terms for the 1998-2001. No. 43(b) of the Local Government Code. preventive suspension is – by its very nature – the exact opposite of voluntary renunciation. not the title to the office.ALDOVINO VS. preventive suspension does not have the element of voluntariness that voluntary renunciation embodies. RULING: a. different and noncomparable. respectively. Neither does it contain the element of renunciation or loss of title to office as it merely involves the temporary incapacity to perform the service that an elective office demands. To allow a preventively suspended elective official to run for a fourth and prohibited term is to close our eyes to this reality and to allow a constitutional violation through sophistry by equating the temporary inability to discharge the functions of office with the interruption of term that the constitutional provision contemplates. 23.) Whether preventive suspension of an elected local official is an interruption of the three-term limit rule. and involves only the actual delivery of service. Petitioners filed with the Comelec a petition to deny due course or cancel his COC on the ground that had been elected and had served for three terms. The best indicator of the suspended official’s continuity in office is the absence of a permanent replacement and the lack of the authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists. confirm the decision of the 2nd division.

his supposed last term. No. for nearly two years. BORJA VS. and Talaga won in then recall election. respondent Talaga filed his COC for the same position. In 2001 election.R. 30. But the Comelec en banc reversed the decision of the 1st division and declared respondent qualified to run. the Court said. ADORMEO VS. The Comelec 1 st division declared respondent disqualified to run for the same office. 147927. COMELEC G. he was again re-elected in the May 8. 2001. RULING: No. In disposing of the issue. It is therefore not allowed as a mode of circumventing the three-term limit rule. Respondent argued that his defeat to Tagarao in the 1998 election interrupted the consecutiveness of his term as mayor. However. does not involve an effective interruption of a term and should therefore not be a reason to avoid the three-term limitation. In the May 11. is disallowed by the Constitution as an effective interruption of a term. 1992 elections he ran and won as mayor for a term of 3 years from 1992 – 1995. He was re-elected in 1995 for which also he served the full term. 2002 FACTS: Private respondent Ramon Y. February 4. Tagarao was recalled in 2000. 133495. 1989. the respondent was a private citizen. by its nature.rule. However. In 1998 election. he was defeated by Bernardo G. Talaga was elected mayor in Lucena City in 1992 for which he served the full term. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent had already served three consecutive terms. he became mayor upon the death of the incumbent mayor on September 2. Voluntary renunciation. Petitioner filed with the Comelec a petition to deny due course and to cancel the COC of Talaga on the ground of violation of the three-term limit rule. while involving loss of office and the total incapacity to render service. Furthermore. 1998 FACTS: Private respondent Capco was elected vice mayor of Pateros for 1988 – 1992. Talaga served the unexpired term of Talaga until Jun. 1995 elections for another term from 1995 – 1998. September 3. Tagarao. .R. No. Preventive suspension. the Court upheld the ruling of the Comelec en banc that private respondent was not elected for three consecutive terms. The continuity of his mayorship was disrupted by his defeat in the 1998 elections. COMELEC G.

1998 private respondent filed his COC for the same position for purposes of May 11.On March 27. the Comelec en banc confirmed the decision of the Comelec 1st division disqualifying petitioner Latasa. but the Comelec en banc reversed the said decision. ISSUE: Whether a vice mayor who succeeds to the office of mayor by operation of law and serves the remainder of the term is considered to have served a full one term for purposes of the three-term limit rule. 2003 FACTS: Petitioner Arsenio A. he must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply. petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for city mayor for the May 14. . 2001. LATASA VS. to be known as the City of Digos. Consequently. 154829. the Municipality of Digos was declared a component city. private respondent Romeo M. opposing candidate. 2001. Davao del Sur in the elections of 1992. on August 27. Petitioner Borja. RULING: The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve in the same elective position. The 2nd division of the Comelec declared respondent disqualified to run for the position. 2001 elections. 2002. Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and/ or For Disqualification against petitioner Latasa on the ground of violation of the threeterm limit rule. also a candidate for city mayor in the said elections. 1992 when he took over in place of the deceased incumbent mayor on that time should be counted as service for full one term for purposes of counting the three-limit. Petitioner files his motion for reconsideration but remained unacted until the day of the election. Sunga. filed before the COMELEC a Petition to Deny Due Course. and 1998. was elected mayor of the Municipality of Digos. The Comelec 1st division rendered its decision disqualifying petitioner Latasa. On February 28. COMELEC G. On March 1. Petitioner contended that respondent’s service as mayor from September 2. 1989 to June 30. During petitioner’s third term. Petitioner Latasa won the election and was proclaimed the winner candidate. 1995. Latasa. However. it is not enough that an individual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local office. December 10. So election day came in and respondent garnered the highest number of votes and was declared the winner candidate. No. 1998 elections.R. filed with the Comelec a disqualification case against respondent on the ground of violation of the three-term limit rule.

RULING: The Court ruled that the conversion of the municipality into a city did not convert the office of the municipal mayor into a local government post different from the office of the city mayor – the territorial jurisdiction of the city was the same as that of the municipality. for three consecutive terms from 1995 – 1998. petitioner was already starting to serve his term for 2001 – 2004. his election in 1998 for the term 1998 – 2001 was contested. ONG VS.ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is eligible to run for mayor in the newly created component city of Digos immediately after he served for three consecutive terms in the municipality of Digos. 1998 – 2001. For purposes of the May 10. To allow petitioner Latasa to vie for the position of city mayor after having served for three consecutive terms as a municipal mayor would obviously defeat the very intent of the framers when they wrote this exception. 163295. he has not fully served the three consecutive terms because his election election in 1998 was contested and in fact his proclamation was nullified the the RTC.R. Camarines Norte. . and 2001 – 2004. filed with the Comelec a petition for disqualification on the ground of violation of the three-term limit rule. the inhabitants were the same group of voters who elected the municipal mayor for 3 consecutive terms. but the decision declaring his proclamation null and void in said election came out only on July 4. This is the very scenario sought to be avoided by the Constitution. ALEGRE G. and they were the same inhabitants over whom the municipal mayor held power and authority as their chief executive for nine years. However. January 23. this time. Private respondent Alegre. No. petitioner filed his COC for the same position. if not abhorred by it. 2006 FACTS: Petitioner Francis Ong has served as mayor of San Vicente. The Court said that the framers of the Constitution specifically included an exception to the people’s freedom to choose those who will govern them in order 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. 2004 elections. Petitioner’s main contention was that. The Comelec 1st division dismissed the petition but it was reversed by the Comelec en banc upon motion for reconsideration by respondent Alegre. his opposing candidate. petitioner would then be possibly holding office as chief executive over the same territorial jurisdiction and inhabitants for a total of eighteen consecutive years. Should he be allowed another three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of Digos. 2001.

be considered as having served a term by virtue of a veritably meaningless electoral protest ruling. . “service for the full term”. and should be counted as a full term served in contemplation of the three-term limit prescribed by the constitutional and statutory provisions. therefore. while it is true that the RTC-Daet. However. barring local elective officials from being elected and serving for more than three consecutive term for the same position. when another actually served such term pursuant to a proclamation made in due course after an election. having been promulgated after the term of the contested office has expired. Furthermore. Petitioner Ong’s contention that he was only a presumptive winner in the 1998 mayoralty derby as his proclamation was under protest did not make him less than a duly elected mayor. said opponent was the legally elected mayor of San Vicente. Such contrary view would mean that Alegre would – under the three-term rule . may be considered as one full term service for purposes of counting the three-term limit. that disposition. According to the Court. was without practical and legal use and value. the Court said that. it must be stressed. Camarines Norte ruled that it was Ong’s opponent who “won” in the 1998 mayoralty race and.ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner’s assumption of office as mayor from 1998 – 2001. should legally be taken as service for a full term in contemplation of the three-term rule. RULING: The ruled petitioner Ong’s assumption of office in 1998 – 2001 constitutes. the absurdity and the deleterious effect of a contrary view is not hard to discern. His proclamation by the Municipal Board of Canvassers of San Vicente as the duly elected mayor in the 1998 mayoralty election coupled by his assumption of office and his continuous exercise of the functions thereof from start to finish of the term.