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32 RP councilors in danger of losing seats

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  One thorny issue relative to the High Court’s August 25, 2010 decision to nullify the creation of some 16 cities in the country is the status of two of the elected councilors in each city who were elected on May 10, 2010.

About 32 elected city councilors are in danger of losing their seats as lawmakers after the Supreme Court recently declared as unconstitutional the creation of 16 cities across the country.

In the case of Region 8, six councilors, two each from the cities of Baybay in Leyte, Catbalogan in Samar and Borongan in Eastern Samar, may find themselves out from their respective city councils because of the latest Supreme Court decision.

Municipalities elect eight councilors, while cities elect ten. The decision of the Supreme Court came out nearly 9 weeks after the councilors have taken their seats.

In a report, Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari blamed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) central office in Manila for this problem.

Mayor Cari, a former Leyte fifth district representative, and one of the principal authors of the bill converting the 16 municipalities as new cities, said she personally asked the opinion of the Comelec in Manila whether to have only eight city councilors to be elected in the May 10 elections.

However, lawyer Ferdinand Rafanan, chief of the Legal Department of Comelec in Intramuros, Manila insisted that it should be 10 councilors to be elected since they are now cities.

Mayor Cari, it was learned, had only 8 councilors in her slate when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy. She had to look for two more candidates for councilors when told that there must be ten councilors.

There are dissenting opinions regarding the issue. Some opinion givers believe that since the two have been given the mandate, they should stay.

Indeed, the 32 elected councilors from the 16 cities have not done anything wrong, but the law is a law and it must always prevail.