Decision Number 226
Ruling of Bishop Shot K. Mondol in the Middle Philippines Annual Conference Concerning the Validity of Election of Delegates to the Adjourned Session of the General Conference of 1966
An Annual Conference which chooses to hold a new election for determining its representation in an extra session of the General Conference may decide for itself the time of the holding of such election.
Statement of Facts
Under date of March 18, 1965, Bishop Shot K. Mondol wrote to the President of the Judicial Council relating the circumstances of an official ruling which he made as president of the Middle Philippines Annual Conference, meeting at Cabanatuan City, Philippines, March 10-14, 1965. The pertinent facts set forth in his communication appear as follows:
Acting under the provisions of Paragraph 509 of the 1964 Discipline the Annual Conference voted to hold a new election of delegates to the adjourned session of the General Conference to be held in 1966. An order of the day was set and the election was duly held.
On the following day a member of the conference questioned the legality of the election citing as grounds therefor the provisions of Paragraph 504.3 of the Discipline which requires that "The election of delegates, by ballot, shall be held at the session of the Annual Conference immediately preceding the General Conference." A motion was made and debated that the election of the preceding day be declared "null and void." Thereupon and before a vote had been taken, a motion was made and passed referring the matter to the bishop and cabinet for study and a ruling by the bishop.
After consultation with the cabinet the bishop states, "After hearing both the groups and after much thought and prayer, I gave the ruling the next morning that the elections are valid. After giving my ruling I told the Conference that members were free to make an appeal to the Judicial Council if they want to. One member rose and made such an appeal which was sustained by one fifth of the members present and voting. This appeal will be forwarded to the Judicial Council by the dissenting group."
Certification of the action of the Annual Conference has been made to the Judicial Council by its secretary.
The appeal from the decision of Bishop Mondol in this case is properly before the Council under Paragraph 908 of the 1964 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
Paragraph 509 of the 1964 Discipline, in making provision for the calling of an extra session of the General Conference, states:
"The General Conference thus called shall be composed of the delegates elected to the preceding General Conference, except when an Annual Conference shall prefer to have a new election."
The Judicial Council in its Decision No. 221, bearing upon the character and composition of the 1966 called session of the General Conference, determined that it must be considered an adjourned session of the 1964 General Conference and as such would be composed of the same delegates as had been elected to serve in the 1964 General Conference. The Council also decided, however, that "an Annual Conference may, in its discretion, conduct a new election to designate who shall serve as it delegates to the adjourned session of the General Conference."
Under these provisions it is clear that the Middle Philippines Annual Conference was acting within its Disciplinary authority in ordering a new election to represent it at the 1966 session of the General Conference.
The only question which remains to be answered is whether the said election is subject to the restriction of Paragraph 504.3 of the 1964 Discipline which stipulates that, "The election of delegates, by ballot, shall be held at the session of the Annual Conference immediately preceding the General Conference." This provision is included in that portion of the Discipline captioned, "Composition of the General Conference," and is a restatement of Section VII, Article III, of the Constitution, Paragraph 23 of the Discipline.
We are convinced that the directions therein contained have reference to the regular sessions of the General Conference as authorized by the Constitution of the Church, Paragraph 6 of the Discipline, to "meet in the month of April or May once in four years" and do not apply to extra sessions of the General Conference.
The Discipline contains no specific directions concerning the holding of a new election as referred to in Paragraph 509. According to the provisions of this paragraph an extra session is composed of the delegates who had been elected to the preceding General Conference, such delegates having been elected at the time and in the manner prescribed in Paragraph 504.3 of the 1964 Discipline. Provision is then made in Paragraph 509 for the holding of a new election by an Annual Conference, if it so decides, to replace its delegates who had previously been elected in accordance with the requirements of the Discipline for election to the regular session of the General Conference. Under such circumstances we hold that an Annual Conference exercising this option is fully empowered to decide for itself the time of the holding of such new election.
It is the decision of the Judicial Council that an Annual Conference which holds a new election to determine its delegates to an extra session of the General Conference as provided in Paragraph 509 of the Discipline may use its own discretion in determining the time for the holding of such election. Therefore, the ruling of Bishop Shot K. Mondol in the Middle Philippines Annual Conference is hereby affirmed.