Decision Number 170
Ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia Upholding the Action of the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference in Unseating Benjamin Casiano
The ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia that the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference could accept the report of its Credentials Committee in unseating Benjamin Casiano, a lay member, is affirmed.
Statement of Facts
Bishop Jose L. Valencia while presiding at the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference set forth certain facts in his ruling made under date of January 23, 1960. The substance of these is that a protest was made by Benjamin Casiano of the seating of his mother, Mrs. Tomasa Casiano, on the ground that he was the duly elected regular lay delegate. After reference to a Committee on Credentials and their report being that Benjamin Casiano should not be seated, the Annual Conference accepted their report and seated Mrs. Casiano as the Lay Delegate from the Agno Church. The question had arisen because of the action of the Agno Church in certifying to the election on December 13, 1959 of Benjamin Casiano as the Lay Delegate "provided he was not a member of The Central Methodist Church, Manila" and also certifying that Mrs. Tomaso Casiano is the elected Reserve Lay Delegate of the same church to take the place of Benjamin Casiano in case he is disqualified. A certificate of transfer from The Central Methodist Church in Manila had been presented showing the transfer of membership from that church to the Agno Church under date of January 4, 1960.
Bishop Valencia in his ruling stated:
"As per Paragraph 634, under the Powers and Duties of the Annual Conference, the Annual Conference may make rules to govern its own procedure.
Paragraph 635 states: An Annual Conference may admit into membership onlythose who have met all the Disciplinary requirements for membership and only in the manner prescribed in the Discipline.
These Provisions of the 1956 Discipline of The Methodist Church indicate that the Annual Conference is allowed to 'make rules to govern its own procedures' and to 'admit into membership only those who have met all the Disciplinary requirements for membership.'
The Annual Conference created its own Committee on Credentials which looked into the Disciplinary qualification as Lay Delegate to this Annual Conference of Benjamin Casiano and made its report not to seat him, and that Mrs. Tomasa Casiano, the Reserve Lay Delegate of the Agno Methodist Church be seated.
The Annual Conference voted to accept the Report of the Committee on Credentials with 80 votes for acceptance and 39 votes against acceptance.
The Annual Conference by the above Disciplinary provision, is the only body that is given the authority to seat or to unseat any delegate representing a pastoral charge in the Annual Conference.
Because the Annual Conference had created its own Committee on Credentials and because the Annual Conference had voted favorably to accept the Report of the Committee on Credentials I, therefore, rule that the action of the Annual Conference prevails.
The Judicial Council assumes jurisdiction in this matter under the Constitution of The Methodist Church, Division Four, Article II, Sec. 3 being Paragraph 43 (3) of the 1956 Discipline and Paragraph 909 of said Discipline. While the record is not clear, the assumption is made that the question upon which the Bishop had ruled was in writing.
Analysis and Rationale
From the facts as they appear in the Annual Conference records submitted to us, as set out in the Statement of Facts, we find nothing to indicate that the ruling is incorrect. The Annual Conference acted within its powers under the authorization granted in Paragraph 634 and 635 of the 1956 Discipline.
Therefore, the ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia is affirmed.