Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Aquino III vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 189793, April 7, 2010

Facts: The said case was filed by the petitioners by way of a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. It was addressed to nullify and declared as unconstitutional, R.A. 9716 entitled “An Act Reapportioning the Composition of the First (1st) and Second Legislative Districts (2nd) in the province of Camarines Sur and Thereby Creating a New Legislative District from such Reapportionment.”

Said Act originated from House Bill No. 4264, and it was enacted by President Macapagal-Arroyo. Effectuating the act, it has divided the existing four districts, and apportioned districts shall form additional district where the new first district shall be composed of 176,383 population count.

Petitioners contend that the reapportionment runs afoul of the explicit constitutional standard with a minimum population of 250,000 for the creation of a legislative district under Section 5 (3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. It was emphasized as well by the petitioners that if population is less than that provided by the Constitution, it must be stricken-down for non-compliance with the minimum population requirement, unless otherwise fixed by law.

Respondents have argued that the petitioners are guilty of two fatal technical effects: first, error in choosing to assail R.A. 9716 via the Remedy of Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. And second, petitioners have no locus standi to question the constitutionality of R.A. 9716.

Issue: Whether or not Republic Act No. 9716 is unconstitutional and therefore null and void, or whether or not a population of 250,000 is an indispensable constitutional requirement for the creation of a new legislative district in a province.

Held: It was ruled that the said Act is constitutional. The plain and clear distinction between a city and a province was explained under the second sentence of Section 5 (3) of the Constitution. It states that a province is entitled into a representative, with nothing was mentioned about a population. While in cities, a minimum population of 250,000 must first be satisfied. In 2007, CamSur had a population of 1,693,821 making the province entitled to two additional districts from the present of four. Based on the formulation of Ordinance, other than population, the results of the apportionment were valid. And lastly, other factors were mentioned during the deliberations of House Bill No. 4264. 

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