SC sets oral argument on Macalintal’s petition

The Supreme Court has set for oral argument the petition filed by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal seeking to declare as unconstitutional the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections under Republic Act 11935 from December of this year to October 2023.

The conduct of an oral argument on Macalintal’s petition was agreed upon by the 15-man High Tribunal during its regular en banc session Tuesday.

The justices required respondents Commission on Elections and the Office of the President to file their comments to the petition no later than 12 noon on Friday, 22 October through personal service.

Macalintal in his petition also sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to enjoin the respondents Comelec and the OP from implementing RA 11935.

The election lawyer also asked the Court to issue an order directing the Comelec to continue its preparations for the 5 December 2022 election of barangay officials.

Macalintal argued in his petition that Congress has no power under the Constitution to postpone the barangay elections because such power exclusively belongs to the Comelec.

“The Constitution gives Congress the power to determine or fix the term of office of barangay officials. Clearly, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to ‘postpone’ the barangay elections nor to extend the term of office of the barangay officials,” Macalintal argued.

The petitioner said postponing the conduct of barangay elections would also violate the constitutional right of the people to due process since they are effectively “forced to accept” the appointed officials under RA 11935 upon the expiration of their term in December 2022, without hearing or notice.

Macalintal stressed RA 11935 violates the 1987 Constitution which provides that barangay officials must be elected into office, not appointed.

He said by extending the term of office of barangay officials, RA 11935 violates the principle that the term of said officials should not be longer than their superiors.

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