When the winning candidate in a local election has been disqualified with finality after his proclamation, who succeeds him? The vice mayor/vice governor? Or the candidate for the same position who received the next highest vote? -
A recent (April 13, 2013) SC decision in a disqualification case, penned by the Chief Justice herself, has established a new/landmark election-law doctrine.
When a winning (ineligible) candidate in a local election (for mayor or vice governor) is disqualified with finality after his proclamation, the candidate for the same position who garnered the next highest vote shall be proclaimed the eligible winner.
The old doctrine was that the vice mayor or the vice governor, as the case may be, shall succeed the disqualified winning candidate, not the candidate for the same position who had received the next highest vote.
This ruling can benefit Mayor Alfredo Lim, who lost last month to Erap Estrada in the mayoralty election in Manila.
Erap's disqualification case is now pending before the SC.
It seems that Mayor Lim still has a strong chance to be declared as the real (eligible) winner in the election - that is, assuming that Erap loses in his disqualification case now pending before the SC.
Mayor Lim has filed with the SC a motion to intervene to secure his legal interest under the new doctrine, which is beneficial to him, being the candidate who garnered the next highest vote in the Manila mayoralty election last May 2013. -
"x x x.
With Amado being barred from even becoming a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus rendered void from the beginning. It could not have produced any other legal effect except that Amado rendered it impossible to effect his disqualification prior to the elections because he filed his answer to the petition when the elections were conducted already and he was already proclaimed the winner.
To hold that such proclamation is valid is to negate the prohibitory character of the disqualification which Amado possessed even prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy. The affirmation of Amado's disqualification, although made long after the elections, reaches back to the filing of the certificate of candidacy. Amado is declared to be not a candidate at all in the May 201 0 elections. Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This leaves Maquiling as the qualified candidate who
obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore, the rule on succession under the Local Government Code will not apply.
x x x."
READ THE ENTIRE SC DECISION.
- MAQUILING VS. COMELEC, ET. AL., GR NO. 195649, APRIL 13, 2013.
See - http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2013/april2013/195649.pdf