Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lozada vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-59068 January 27, 1983]

Facts: This is a petition for mandamus filed by Jose Mari Eulalio C. Lozada and Romeo B. Igot as a representative suit for and in behalf of those who wish to participate in the election irrespective of party affiliation, to compel the respondent COMELEC to call a special election to fill up existing vacancies numbering twelve (12) in the Interim Batasan Pambansa. The petition is based on Section 5(2), Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution which reads: (2) In case a vacancy arises in the Batasang Pambansa eighteen months or more before a regular election, the Commission on Election shall call a special election to be held within sixty (60) days after the vacancy occurs to elect the Member to serve the unexpired term. 

Petitioner Lozada claims that he is a taxpayer and a bonafide elector of Cebu City and a transient voter of Quezon City, Metro Manila, who desires to run for the position in the Batasan Pambansa; while petitioner Romeo B. Igot alleges that, as a taxpayer, he has standing to petition by mandamus the calling of a special election as mandated by the 1973 Constitution. As reason for their petition, petitioners allege that they are "... deeply concerned about their duties as citizens and desirous to uphold the constitutional mandate and rule of law ...; that they have filed the instant petition on their own and in behalf of all other Filipinos since the subject matters are of profound and general interest. " 

The respondent COMELEC, represented by counsel, opposes the petition alleging, substantially, that petitioners lack standing to file the instant petition for they are not the proper parties to institute the action 

Issue: As taxpayers, may the petitioners file the instant petition? 

Held: As taxpayers, petitioners may not file the instant petition, for nowhere therein is it alleged that tax money is being illegally spent. The act complained of is the inaction of the COMELEC to call a special election, as is allegedly its ministerial duty under the constitutional provision above cited, and therefore, involves no expenditure of public funds. It is only when an act complained of, which may include a legislative enactment or statute, involves the illegal expenditure of public money that the so-called taxpayer suit may be allowed.What the case at bar seeks is one that entails expenditure of public funds which may be illegal because it would be spent for a purpose that of calling a special election which, as will be shown, has no authority either in the Constitution or a statute.

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