Political Law

Homobono Adaza vs Fernando Pacana, Jr.

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G.R. No. L-68159 – 135 SCRA 431 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Separation of Powers – Singularity of Office/Position

Homobono Adaza was elected governor of the province of Misamis Oriental in the January 30, 1980 elections. He took his oath of office and started discharging his duties as provincial governor on March 3, 1980. Fernando Pacana, Jr. was elected vice-governor for same province in the same elections. Under the law, their respective terms of office would expire on March 3, 1986. On March 27, 1984, Pacana filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 14, 1984 BP elections; Adaza followed suit on April 27, 1984. In the ensuing elections, Adaza won while Pacana lost. Adaza took his oath of office as Mambabatas Pambansa on July 19, 1984 and since then he has discharged the functions of said office. On July 23, 1984, Pacana took his oath of office as governor of Misamis Oriental before President Marcos, and started to perform the duties of governor on July 25, 1984. Claiming to be the lawful occupant of the governor’s office, Adaza has brought this petition to exclude Pacana therefrom. He argues that he was elected to said office for a term of six years, that he remains to be the governor of the province until his term expires on March 3, 1986 as provided by law, and that within the context of the parliamentary system, as in France, Great Britain and New Zealand, a local elective official can hold the position to which he had been elected and simultaneously be an elected member of Parliament.

ISSUE: Whether or not Adaza can serve as a member of the Batasan and as a governor of the province simultaneously. Whether or not a vice governor who ran for Congress and lost can assume his original position and as such can, by virtue of succession, take the vacated seat of the governor.

HELD: Section 10, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution provides as follows:

“Section 10.  A member of the National Assembly [Batasan Pambansa] shall not hold any other office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, during his tenure, except that of prime minister or member of the cabinet . . .”

The Philippine Constitution is clear and unambiguous. Hence Adaza cannot invoke common law practices abroad. He cannot complain of any restrictions which public policy may dictate on his holding of more than one office. Adaza further contends that when Pacana filed his candidacy for the Batasan he became a private citizen because he vacated his office. Pacana, as a mere private citizen, had no right to assume the governorship left vacant by petitioner’s election to the BP. This is not tenable and it runs afoul against BP. 697, the law governing the election of members of the BP on May 14, 1984, Section 13[2] of which specifically provides that “governors, mayors, members of the various sangguniang or barangay officials shall, upon filing a certificate of candidacy, be considered on forced leave of absence from office.” Indubitably, respondent falls within the coverage of this provision, considering that at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy for the 1984 BP election he was a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as provided in Sections 204 and 205 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the Local Government Code.

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