Case Digest - Political Law

Pursuant to BP Blg 885, COMELEC scheduled a plebiscite on January 3, 1986 for the approval or repeal of a New Province in Negros: The plebiscite confined only to the inhabitants of the territory, namely: Cities of Silay, Cadiz and San Carlos and the municipalities of Calatrava, Taboso, Escalante, Sagay, Manapla, Victorias, E.B. Magalona and Don Salvador Benedicto. The voters from the rest of the province of Negros Occidental were excluded. The new province will comprise 4,019.95 sq km more or less but in fact only 2856 sq km where LGC requires 3,500 sq km as its territory.
The court decided no. The use of the word territory in this particular provision of the LGC and on the very last sentence thereof, clearly reflects that “territory” as therein used, Las reference only to the mass of land area and excludes the waters over the political unit exercise control.
The distinction between “territory” and “land area” which respondents make in an artificial or strained construction of the disputed provision whereby the words of the statute are arrested from their plain and obvious meaning and made to bear an entirely different meaning to justify an absurd or unjust resuld.
It would be rather preposterous to maintain that a province with a small land area but which has a long, narrow, extended coast like (such as L.U) can be said to have a larger territory that a land-locked province (such as Ifugao or Benguet) whose land area manifestly exceeds the province first mentioned.

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