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Comelec issues resolution on fate of Dinagat provincial candidates in 2010 polls

Following the Supreme Court's decision declaring the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands as unconstitutional thereby reverting said province to its previous status as part of the Province of Surigao del Norte, the Commission on Elections issued Resolution No. 8790 dated March 9, 2010 on the status of the election-related matters such as the electoral posts that were available and considered in the area.

Accordingly, if the decision is reversed, there will be no problem since the current system configuration is in line with the reconsidered Decision, meaning that the Province of Dinagat Islands and the Province of Surigao del Norte remain as two (2) separate provinces.

If the Decision becomes final and executory before the election, the Province of Dinagat Islands will revert to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District in Surigao del Norte.

But because of the current system configuration, the law stated that the ballots for the Province of Dinagat Islands will, for the positions of Member – House of Representatives, Governor,vice Governor and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, bear only the names of the candidates for the said positions.

Conversely, the ballots for the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte, will for the position of Governor, Vice Governor, Member – House of Representatives of the First District of Surigao del Norte and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, show only candidates for the said position. Likewise, the whole Province of Surigao del Norte, will, for the position of Governor and Vice Governor, bear only the names of the candidates for the said position.

Consequently, the voters of the Province of Dinagat Islands will not be able to vote for the candidates of Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Member of the House of Representatives in the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte, and candidates for Governor and Vice Governor for Surigao del Norte.

Meanwhile, voters of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte, will not ne able to vote for Members in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Member of the House of Representatives in Dinagat Islands. Also, the voters of the whole Province of Surigao del Norte will not be able to vote for the Governor and Vice Governor, Member of the House of Representatives of the First Legislative District in Surigao del Norte, and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the First Legislative District (with Dinagat Islands) of Surigao del Norte.

However, if the Decision becomes final and executory after the election, the Province of Dinagat Islands will revert to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte.

The result of the election will have to be nullified for the same reasons with the second condition mentioned above. A special election for Governor, Vice Governor, Member of the House of Representatives of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte, and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the First District of Surigao del Norte (with Dinagat Islands) will have to be conducted.

It can be recalled that on February 10, 2010, the Supreme Court declares the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands unconstitutional for failure to comply with the criteria for the creation of a province prescribed in Section 461 of the Local Government Code in relation to Section 10, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution. (PIA-Caraga)
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