SC bars COMELEC proclamation of Quezon plebiscite result

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2008 11:07 AM | Updated as of Nov 27 2008 07:07 PM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a resolution temporarily barring the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from proclaiming the results of an upcoming plebiscite on the division of Quezon province.

In the resolution, the high court said the COMELEC should wait for its notice before proclaiming the results of the December 13 plebiscite.

The order was issued as the high court granted the petition of the Save Quezon Province Movement's (SQPM) for a temporary restraining order.

The high court ordered respondents Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya and the COMELEC to submit their comments in 10 days.

Petitioners Sonny Pulgar and SQPM president Hobart Dato Jr. said the proponents of RA 9495 may have overlooked certain issues in their haste for its approval in Congress.

The petitioners noted that no province-wide public hearings were held when the proposed law was deliberated in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Under the new law, Quezon del Sur shall be composed of the towns of Agdangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, General Luna, Macalelon, Mulanay, Padre Burgos, Pitogo, San Andres, San Francisco, San Narciso, Unisan, Alabat, Atimonan, Calauag, Guinayangan, Gumaca, Lopez, Perez, Plaridel, Quezon and Tagkawayan.

The petitioners argued that RA 9495 is constitutionally infirm because of its failure to comply with the provisions of the implementing rules of RA 7160, or the Local Government Code, which prescribes some limitations in creating or dividing a local government unit.

“A perusal of the Committee on Local Government public hearing conducted on February 15, 2006, would show serious defects in the compliance of it proponents with the mandatory requirements of the law,” the petition said.

SQPM also said the proponents of the bill also failed to comply with the provisions of RA 7160 requiring the endorsement of the Sangguniang Bayan of the affected local governments for approval of the proposed bill. -- Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN News