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SC cancels certificate of candidacy of BM Naval

NAGA CITY—The Supreme Court has sustained the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cancelling the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Camarines Sur Board Member Angel Naval., thus upholding the three-term limit.

Board Member Angel Naval
Board Member Angel Naval
Photo: SP Camarines Sur
In a 25-page decision that was promulgated July 8, 2014 and released yesterday, the Supreme Court cited the laws that limit consecutive terms, cautioning against the ills that exemptions or exceptions may elicit.

“The drafters of the Constitution recognized the propensity of public officers to perpetuate themselves in power, hence, the adoption of term limits and a guarantee of every citizen's equal access to public service. These are the restrictions statesmen should observe for they are intended to help ensure the continued vitality of our republican institutions," the Court said.

Reapportionment


Naval was elected as member of the provincial board for Camarines Sur’s second district in 2004, and again in 2007.

However, before his second term was over, the President signed into law Republic Act No. 9716 which reapportioned legislative districts in the province.



As a result of said republic act, 8 out of 10 towns were taken from the old second district to form the present third district.

In the 2010 elections, Naval once again won as among the members of the Sanggunian, third district.  He served until 2013. 

In the 2013 elections, Naval ran anew and was re-elected as Member of the Sanggunian, third district.

Prior to his re-election, however, Nelson Julia, who ran against Naval, filed a petition for the cancellation of Naval's COC in October 29, 2012.

Comelec ruled in Julia’s favor and cancelled Naval's COC through a decision of its second division on March 5, 2013.

Naval questioned Comelec's decision before the Supreme Court, arguing that "the First, Second and Third Legislative Districts of Camarines Sur are not merely renamed but are composed of new sets of municipalities.  With the separation of Gainza and Milaor from the other eight towns which used to comprise the Second District, the voters from the Third Legislative District are no longer the same ones  as  those  who  had  elected  him  to  office  in  the  2004  and  2007 elections."

Inflexible


The Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the three-term limit is "inflexible."

It further noted that "[t]he rationale behind reapportionment is the constitutional requirement to achieve equality of representation among the districts. It is with this mindset that the Court should consider Naval’s argument anent having a new set of constituents electing him into office in 2010 and 2013.  Naval’s ineligibility to run, by reason of violation of the three-term limit rule, does not undermine the right to equal representation of any of the districts in Camarines Sur.  With or without him, the renamed Third District, which he labels as a new set of constituents, would still be represented, albeit by another eligible person."

READ THE DECISION HERE: Angel G. Naval vs. Comelec and Nelson B. Julia

"[T]he Court finds no compelling reason to grant the reliefs prayed for by Naval.  For the Court to declare otherwise would be to create a dangerous precedent unintended by the drafters of our Constitution and of R.A. No. 9716.  Considering that the one-term gap or rest after three consecutive elections is a result of a compromise among the members of the Constitutional Commission, no cavalier exemptions or exceptions to its application is to be allowed," the ruling reads.

"[S]ustaining Naval’s arguments would practically allow him to hold the same office for 15 years.  These are the circumstances the Constitution explicitly intends to avert," the Court held.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Antonio D. Carpio, Presbiterio J. Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo D. Brion, Diosdado M. Perala, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. Del Castillo, Martin S. Villarama, Jose Portugal Perez, Jose Catral Mendoza, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, and Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen concurred.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

RELATED NEWS: COMELEC cancels Certificate of Candidacy of CamSur BM Hernandez

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