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Digest: Nueno v. Angeles (76 Phil 16, 1946)

Digest: Nueno v. Angeles (76 Phil 16, 1946)

 

Facts: Jose Topacio Nueno, Manuel de la Fuente, Eustaquio Balagtas and Carmen Planas and six others were elected in the general election held on December 10, 1940, and qualified on January 1, 1941. Subsequently, Jose Topacio Nueno and Carmen Planas resigned to run for seats in the House of Representatives in the national election held on November 14, 1941, but they were not elected. After the election, the President of the Philippine Commonwealth appointed petitioner Nueno to fill the vacancy created by his own resignation, and petitioner Delia C. DiƱo to fill the vacancy in the place of Carmen Planas, for the last two belonged to the same political party, "The Young Philippines."cralaw virtua1aw library

On January 3, 1942, when the City of Manila was occupied by the Japanese Forces, the Commander in Chief of the Imperial Japanese army proclaimed military administration under martial law over all districts occupied by the army, and in the proclamation it was provided that "so far as military administration permits, all the laws now in force in the Commonwealth, as well as executive and judicial institutions shall continue to be effective as in the past," and "all public officials shall remain in their present posts and carry on faithfully their duties as before.

 

By Order No. 1 of January 23, 1942, of the Commander in Chief of the Imperial Japanese army, a central administrative organization or government under the name of Philippine Executive Commission was organized, and Jorge Vargas appointed Chairman thereof, and the latter, in Executive Order No. 4, section 9 (b) of February 5, 1942, approve by the said Commander in Chief, provided that "the provincial boards and the boards or councils of cities, municipalities and specially-organized local governments shall merely serve in an advisory capacity to their respective governor and mayors." Under the so-called Republic of the Philippines inaugurated on October 14, 1943, no material change was introduced in so far as the City of manila was concerned.

The regular election which, according to section 4 of Act No. 357 (Election Code), should have been have held on the second Tuesday in December 1943 to elect the members of the Municipal Board of the City of Manila who were to assume office on the first of January, 1944, could not be held for the city was still under the Japanese military occupation; and as the special election provided for in section 16 (c) of said Act could not also be held after the re-occupation of the Philippines and the restoration of the Commonwealth Government on February 27, 1945, due to physical impossibility, the President of the Commonwealth appointed on July 18, 1945, the six respondents and four of those elected in December, 1940, as members of the Board.

 

Issue: Whether their term of office has not yet expired because they have not served for three years completely due to the Japanese occupation, and besides, because they are entitled to hold-over or continue in office until their successors are elected and qualified, and therefore respondents’ appointments are null and void.

 

Ruling: PUBLIC OFFICERS; TERM OF OFFICE DISTINGUISHED FROM TENURE OF INCUMBENT; TERM OF OFFICE NOT EXTENDED BY REASON OF WAR. — The term of an office must be distinguished from the tenure of the incumbent. The term means the time during which the officer may claim to hold the office as of right, and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall succeed one another. The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds the office. The tenure may be shorter than the term for reasons within or beyond the power of the incumbent. There is no principle, law or doctrine by which the term of an office may be extended by reason.

 

RULE OF HOLD-OVER. — While there is authority to the contrary, the general trend of decisions of American courts is to adopt the common-law rule of hold-over. The rule is, as enunciated in 46 Corpus Juris, 968, that "in the absence of an express or implied constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary, an officer is entitled to hold his office until his successor is appointed or chosen and has qualified." This enunciation of the rule is substantially the same as that in McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, vol. II, second ed., art. 307. The legislative intent not to permit holding over may therefore be express or implied in legislative acts or enactments.

 

NO ELECTIONS SINCE 1943. — Since 1943, until respondents were appointed, no election, whether regular or special, had taken place in Manila, and, therefore, no one can rightfully claim to have been elected to any position in the Municipal Board of Manila.


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