LGUs in the Philippines

After SC ruling, Makati’s congressional seat hangs in the balance

James Patrick Cruz

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After SC ruling, Makati’s congressional seat hangs in the balance
The Supreme Court decision on the Taguig-Makati land dispute not only alters geographical demarcations, but also carries far-reaching implications

MANILA, Philippines – The Binays, who have long been dominating Makati City, are now facing a significant political setback as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Taguig City in their land dispute case. 

In its April 2022 decision, the Supreme Court’s Third Division ruled with finality declaring that Fort Bonifacio and the Enlisted Men’s Barrio (EMBO) are part of the Cayetano dynasty-led Taguig. 

The decision not only alters geographical demarcations, but also carries far-reaching implications – among them, the distribution of political power in the affected cities.


The decision of the Supreme Court on the land dispute case was a huge blow to Makati’s second district, bailiwick of Representative Luis Campos, Makati Mayor Abby Binay’s husband.

Meanwhile, Makati’s first district is ruled by Kid Peña who defeated former vice president and Makati mayor Jejomar Binay in 2019.

Article VI, Section 5 of the Constitution says that each city with a minimum 250,000 population, and each province, shall have at least one congressional representative. A legislative district must also be “practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory.”

Based on the 2020 census, Makati’s second district has a total population of 375,016 – 90% of whom live in barangays that are now recognized by the Supreme Court as part of Taguig.

With the transfer of these barangays to Taguig, the said district will be left with just 38,143 residents – less than the 250,000 population required to form a congressional district.

Given these figures, what would happen to the residents of those left in Makati and those transferred to Taguig – will they have their own representatives?


The Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Legal Research, Assistance and Legislative Liaison Division Chief Cynthia Laureano-Pulido was unsure about what would happen to Makati’s second district and the barangays that will be transferred to Taguig. 

“Although the Supreme Court has already made a decision in favor of Taguig, we still don’t know how to execute it in detail,” she said in an interview with Rappler on Wednesday, July 19.

Laureano-Pulido said that around March 2023, they asked the Supreme Court for guidelines on how to implement its ruling on the Taguig-Makati case. The High Court, however, has yet to respond, she said. 

In an interview with Rappler in June, DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said they were still waiting for the writ of execution from the Supreme Court on the Makati-Taguig territorial dispute case. He said they could not facilitate the turnover of contested territories without the writ of execution.

For lawyer and Ateneo School of Government fellow Michael Yusingco, what will happen to these affected areas is also unclear, based on the Local Government Code. In his years of experience in law and researching local governments, he said he finds the Makati-Taguig case “unique.”

He said that it will probably be a status quo, which means that “regardless of the decrease in population, they will still be treated as a legislative district, until otherwise stated by law.”

Like Yusingco, Commission on Election Chairperson George Erwin Garcia said Makati’s second district will remain as it is unless a law is enacted.

“As far as the Comelec is concerned, the second district of Makati still exists as a political entity until a law is enacted, hence, our election officer in the district shall remain even with only two barangays existing,” Garcia said.

When asked what would happen to the affected barangays should a law to redistrict these areas not be enacted before the 2025 elections, Garcia said it will be “problematic.”

“There should be a law, especially legislative redistricting. The Comelec cannot act by itself,” Garcia noted.

Meanwhile, Yusingco is uncertain, too, about what would happen to the barangays transferred to Taguig insofar as legislative representation is concerned.

Gains for Taguig?

Based at least on the number of new residents from Makati, Taguig could create a new legislative district.

Its creation, however, is not as simple as legislating a law. For a district to be created, a plebiscite is required.

Chapter 2, Section 10 of the 1991 Local Government Code states: “No creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of local government units shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly affected.”

The bill should also emanate from the House of Representatives since it is a “bill of local application,” according to Yusingco.

When asked if the creation of a new district for Taguig can be completed before the 2025 elections, University of the Philippines political science professor Ela Atienza expressed skepticism.

“The time is getting a bit tight,” she said. “I don’t know if one year is enough. We all know that when it’s already the third year of the House and Senate, legislators start preparing for the midterm elections,” Atienza said.

Yusingco, on the other hand, said it’s possible, given the timeline established by the procedural law.

“But it is an entirely different question whether lawmakers will adhere to that, especially considering the political personalities involved,” he said.

The Binay and Cayetano dynasties are present in both chambers of Congress. Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano’s husband Alan Peter and her sister-in-law Pia are both senators.

Apart from Mayor Binay’s husband Luis Campos from the House of Representatives, she also has ties with the upper chamber through her senator-sister, Nancy.

“Partisan politics should not be a factor in this. That is what we should expect from our lawmakers, that they prioritize the welfare of the people and act accordingly to address the needs of the citizens involved. But can we expect that from our lawmakers and public officials?” Yusingco said.

“Unfortunately, the reality is often disappointing.”

As Makati grapples with the potential loss of its congressional seat, the fate of residents and their political representation hangs in the balance for the 2025 elections. – Rappler.com

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