component city into highly-urbanized city with registered residents only of Cabanatuan City to participate in said plebiscite.Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations implement this resolution.SO ORDERED.Hence, the Petition for Certiorari with prayer for injunctive relief, docketed as G.R. No. 203974, on substantially the same arguments earlier taken by petitioner Umali before the poll body. On the otherhand, public respondent COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, maintained in its Comment that Cabanatuan City is merely being converted from a component city into an HUC and that the political unit directly affected by the conversion will only be the city itself. It argues that in thisinstance, no political unit will be created, merged with another, or will be removed from another LGU,and that no boundaries will be altered. The conversion would merely reinforce the powers and prerogatives already being exercised by the city, with the political unit’s probable elevation to that of an HUC as demanded by its compliance with the criteria established under the LGC. Thus, the participation of the voters of the entire province in the plebiscite will not be necessary.Private respondent will later manifest that it is adopting the Comment of the COMELEC.Meanwhile, on October 25, 2012, respondent COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 9543, which adopted a calendar of activities and periods of prohibited acts in connection with the conversion of Cabanatuan City into an HUC. The Resolution set the conduct of the plebiscite on December 1, 24
2012. Thereafter, a certain Dr. Rodolfo B. Punzalan filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief which was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 40 in Palayan City. In the said case, Punzalan prayed that Minute Resolution No. 12-0797 be declared unconstitutional, that the trial court decree that all qualified voters of the province of Nueva Ecija be included in the plebiscite, and that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) be issued enjoining public respondent from implementing the questioned resolution. On October 19, 2012, the RTC granted the prayer for a TRO.On November 6, 2012, public respondent through Minute Resolution No. 12-0989 suspended the preparations for the event in view of the TRO issued by the RTC. On November 27, 2012, the plebiscite was once again rescheduled to give way to the May 13, 2013 national, local and ARMM regional elections as per Resolution No. 9563.After this development, petitioner J.V. Bautista, on December 3, 2012, filed a case before this Court for Mandamus, docketed as G.R. No. 204371, praying that public respondent be ordered to schedule the plebiscite either on December 15 or 22, 2012. Petitioner Bautista argued that since the TRO issued by the RTC has already expired, the duty of the public respondent to hold the plebiscite has become mandatory and ministerial. Petitioner Bautista also alleged that the delay in holding the plebiscite is inexcusable given the requirement that it should be held within a period of 120 days form the date of the President’s declaration.