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Memorandum No. 1207

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April 22 2012
In Re: REQUEST FOR A DECLARATORY DECISION UNDER ¶ 2610 REGARDING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY, LEGALITY, MEANING, APPLICATION, OR EFFECT OF THE ACTIONS OF THE COUNCIL OF BISHOPS AND COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE PHILIPPINES CENTRAL CONFERENCE WITH REFERENCE TO ¶¶ 47, 427

STATEMENT OF FACTS
Lito C. Tangonan, who was elected a bishop in the Philippines Central Conference in 2008, has filed a petition for a declaratory decision. Under ¶ 2610, the Judicial Council has jurisdiction to make a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof. Paragraph 2610.2 specifically enumerates the bodies within The United Methodist Church that are authorized to make such a request for a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision to the Judicial Council. There is nothing in the petition to suggest that the request was made by any of those authorized bodies. The jurisdiction of the Judicial Council to render declaratory decisions is limited by the provisions of ¶ 2610.2. Our longstanding principle is that we construe our jurisdiction strictly and with restraint. See Decision 29. An individual is not authorized to request a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction.
DIGEST
An individual is not authorized to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction. Ruben Reyes recused himself and did not participate in this decision. April 23, 2012

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