Political Law

Teofisto Guingona vs Neptali Gonzales

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G.R. No. 106971 – 214 SCRA 789 – Political Law – HRET’s Composition – Rounding Off

After the May 11, 1992 elections, the senate was composed of 15 LDP senators, 5 NPC senators, 3 LAKAS-NUCD senators, and 1 LP-PDP-LABAN senator. To suffice the requirement that each house must have 12 representatives in the CoA, the parties agreed to use the traditional formula: (No. of Senators of a political party) x 12 seats) / Total No. of Senators elected. The results of such a formula would produce 7.5 members for LDP, 2.5 members for NPC, 1.5 members for LAKAS-NUCD, and 0.5 member for LP-PDP-LABAN. Romulo, as the majority floor leader, nominated 8 senators from their party because he rounded off 7.5 to 8 and that Taňada from LP-PDP-LABAN should represent the same party to the CoA. This is also pursuant to the proposition compromise by Sen Tolentino who proposed that  the elected members of the CoA should consist of eight LDP, one LP-PDP-LABAN, two NPC and one LAKAS-NUCD. Guingona, a member of LAKAS-NUCD, opposed the said compromise.  He alleged that the compromise is against proportional representation.

ISSUE: Whether or not rounding off is allowed in determining a party’s representation in the CoA.

HELD: It is a fact accepted by all such parties that each of them is entitled to a fractional membership on the basis of the rule on proportional representation of each of the political parties. A literal interpretation of Section 18 of Article VI of the Constitution leads to no other manner of application. The problem is what to do with the fraction of .5 or 1/2 to which each of the parties is entitled. The LDP majority in the Senate converted a fractional half membership into a whole membership of one senator by adding one half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect Romulo. In so doing one other party’s fractional membership was correspondingly reduced leaving the latter’s representation in the Commission on Appointments to less than their proportional representation in the Senate. This is clearly a violation of Section 18 because it is no longer in compliance with its mandate that membership in the Commission be based on the proportional representation of the political parties. The election of Senator Romulo gave more representation to the LDP and reduced the representation of one political party-  either the LAKAS-NUCD or the NPC. A party should have at least 1 seat for every 2 duly elected senators-members in the CoA. Where there are more than 2 parties in Senate, a party which has only one member senator cannot constitutionally claim a seat. In order to resolve such, the parties may coalesce with each other in order to come up with proportional representation especially since one party may have affiliations with the other party.

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