SC says Dinagat Islands not a province anymore; Issues final entry of judgment

It’s final, the Supreme Court (SC) has finally recorded an Entry of Judgment to its decision dated February 10, 2010 nullifying a law that created the province of Dinagat Islands.

In an interview, Atty. Victor Bernal, one of the 3 petitioners, said the entry of judgment was already made last May 18, 2010 and that they only received a copy on October 05, 2010 from the Deputy Clerk of Court & Chief, Judicial Records Office of the Supreme Court, Ma. Lourdes C. Perfecto.

“It means that the Supreme Court has affirmed the unconstitutionality of R.A. 9355 which created the province of Dinagat Islands,” Bernal said.

The SC maintained that Dinagat Islands did not meet either the land area or the population requirement for the creation of the province.

Bernal said the copies of the entry of judgment were also forwarded to the Provincial Legal Office, Office of Gov. Sol Matugas, Atty. Leonardo Palicte III of Legal Affairs Dep’t of the House of Representatives, Speaker Feleciano Belmonte, Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa, Gov. Geraldine Ecleo, Office of the Senate Legal Counsel, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, The Solicitor General and Chairman Jose Melo of the Commission on Elections.

Special Election is imminent

Bernal is optimistic that a special election will likely to take place. “It might happen later this year,” he said.

It may be recalled that COMELEC 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.

With this recent development, the Province of Dinagat Islands will likely be reverted to its previous status as part of the First Legislative District of Surigao del Norte and that the result of the May 2010local election will have to be nullified.

Accordingly, 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. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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