Ceniza v COMELEC; G.R. No. L-52304; 28 Jan 1980; 95 SCRA 763

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The Interim Batasang Pambansa enacted Batas Blg. 51 providing for local elections on January 30, 1980. The said legislation classified the chartered cities into “highly urbanized” and “component” cities based on the annual income of each city and provided that “the registered voter of a component city may be entitled to vote in the election of the officials of a province of which the city is a component, if its charter provides”, while “voters registered in a high urbanized city shall not participate nor vote in the election of the officials of the province in which the highly urbanized city is geographically located. In effect, the City of Mandaue is classified as a component city and its registered voters cannot participate in the election of the provincial officials of the Province of Cebu as expressly provided in the city’s charter (RA 5519).

Whether or not the assailed legislation violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

NO. The equal protection of the law contemplates equality in the enjoyment of similar rights and privileges granted by law. It would have been discriminatory and a denial of the equal protection of the law if the statute prohibited an individual or group of voters in the city from voting for provincial officials while granting it to another individual or group of voters in the same city. neither can it be considered an infringement upon the petitioners’ rights of suffrage since the Constitution confers no right to a voter in a city to vote for the provincial officials of the province where the city is located. Their right is limited to the right to vote for elective city officials in local elections which the questioned statues neither withdraw nor restrict.

Petition is DISMISSED.

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