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Aquino v COMELEC (1995)

Aquino vs. Comelec

Agapito A. Aquino, petitioner vs. Commission on Election, Move Makati, Mateo Bedon, and Juanito
Icaro, respondents

Sept, 18, 1995

Special Civil Action in the Supreme Court. Certiorari.

Relevant Provisions:

Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution

No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write,
and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected,
and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the
election.

Facts:

1. On 20 March 1995, Agapito A. Aquino, the petitioner, filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the position
of Representative for the new (remember: newly created) Second Legislative District of Makati City. In
his certificate of candidacy, Aquino stated that he was a resident of the aforementioned district (284
Amapola Cor. Adalla Sts., Palm Village, Makati) for 10 months.

2. Move Makati, a registered political party, and Mateo Bedon, Chairman of LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of
Barangay Cembo, Makati City, filed a petition to disqualify Aquino on the ground that the latter lacked
the residence qualification as a candidate for congressman which under Section 6, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution, should be for a period not less than one year preceding the (May 8, 1995) day of the
election.

3. Faced with a petition for disqualification, Aquino amended the entry on his residency in his certificate
of candidacy to 1 year and 13 days. The Commission on Elections passed a resolution that dismissed the
petition on May 6 and allowed Aquino to run in the election of 8 May. Aquino, with 38,547 votes, won
against Augusto Syjuco with 35,910 votes.
4. Move Makati filed a motion of reconsideration with the Comelec, to which, on May 15, the latter
acted with an order suspending the proclamation of Aquino until the Commission resolved the issue. On
2 June, the Commission on Elections found Aquino ineligible and disqualified for the elective office for
lack of constitutional qualification of residence.

Aquino then filed a Petition of Certiorari assailing the May 15 and June 2 orders.

Issue:

1. Whether “residency” in the certificate of candidacy actually connotes “domicile” to warrant the
disqualification of Aquino from the position in the electoral district.

2. WON it is proven that Aquino has established domicile of choice and not just residence (not in the
sense of the COC)in the district he was running in.

Held:

1. Yes, The term “residence” has always been understood as synonymous with “domicile” not only
under the previous constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. The Court cited the deliberations
of the Constitutional Commission wherein this principle was applied.

Mr. Nolledo:

I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require residence in
the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of elections.

What is the Committee’s concept of residence for the legislature? Is it actual residence or is it the
concept of domicile or constructive residence?

Mr. Davide:

This is in the district, for a period of not less than one year preceding the day of election. This was in
effect lifted from the 1973 constituition, the interpretation given to it was domicile.

Mrs. Braid:

On section 7, page2, Noledo has raised the same point that resident has been interpreted at times as a
matter of intention rather than actual residence.

Mr. De los Reyes

So we have to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not physical and actual
residence.

Therefore, the framers intended the word “residence” to have the same meaning of domicile.
The place “where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,” where he, no matter
where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is
that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the purposes of election law.

The purpose is to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the
community from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that community for electoral
gain.

While there is nothing wrong with the purpose of establishing residence in a given area for meeting
election law requirements, this defeats the essence of representation, which is to place through assent
of voters those most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a particular district, if a candidate falls short
of the period of residency mandated by law for him to qualify.

Which brings us to the second issue.

2. No, Aquino has not established domicile of choice in the district he was running in.

The SC agreed with the Comelec’s contention that Aquino should prove that he established a domicile of
choice and not just re