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IN THE MATTER OF THE AMENDMENT TO RULE 24 OF THE COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE AS AMENDED BY RESOLUTION NO.

9523
Date: 21 December 2012 WHEREAS, Resolution No. 9523 amending Rule 24 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure on Proceedings Against Nuisance Candidates was promulgated on 25 September 2012; WHEREAS, Section 5, Rule 24 as amended provides that Section 9 of Rule 23, among others, applies in proceedings against nuisance candidates; WHEREAS, Section 9, Rule 23 as amended, provides that in the event a Petition to Deny Due Course To or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy is granted by final judgment, the

votes cast for the candidate whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled or denied due course shall be deemed as stray votes;
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, voting 14-0, ruled in Dela Cruz v. Commission on Elections and Pacetel that: "We hold that the rule in Resolution No. 4116 considering the votes cast for a nuisance candidate declared as such in a final judgment, particularly where such nuisance candidate has the same surname as that of the legitimate candidate, not stray but counted in favor of the latter, remains a good law. As earlier discussed, a petition to cancel or deny a COC under Section 69 of the OEC should be distinguished from a petition to disqualify under Section 68. Hence, the legal effect of such cancellation of a COC of a nuisance candidate cannot be equated with a candidate disqualified on grounds provided in the OEC and Local Government Code. Moreover, private respondent admits that the voters were properly informed of the cancellation of COC of Aurelio because COMELEC published the same before election day. As we pronounced in Bautista, the voters' constructive knowledge of such cancelled candidacy made their will more determinable, as it is then more logical to conclude that the votes cast for Aurelio could have been intended only for the legitimate candidate, petitioner. The possibility of confusion in names of candidates if the names of nuisance candidates remained on the ballots on election day, cannot be discounted or eliminated, even under the automated voting system especially considering that voters who mistakenly shaded the oval beside the name of the nuisance candidate instead of the bona fide candidate they intended to vote for could no longer ask for replacement ballots to correct the same. Finally, upholding the former rule in Resolution No. 4116 is more consistent with the rule well-ensconced in our jurisprudence that laws and statutes governing election contests especially appreciation of ballots must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the electorate in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by technical infirmities. Indeed, as our electoral experience had demonstrated, such infirmities and delays in the delisting of nuisance candidates from both the Certified List of Candidates and Official Ballots only made possible the very evil sought to be prevented by the exclusion of nuisance candidates during elections." WHEREAS, considering the ruling in Dela Cruz v. Commission on Elections, there is a need to amend Section 5, Rule 24 in Resolution No. 9523. NOW THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Commission En Banc RESOLVES to AMEND Section 5, Rule 24, as follows: "XXX Section 5. Applicability of Rule 23. Except for motu proprio cases, Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Rule 23 shall apply in proceedings against nuisance candidates. If the person declared as a nuisance candidate and whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled or denied due course does not have the same name and/ or surname as a bona fide candidate for the same office, the votes cast for such nuisance candidate shall be deemed stray pursuant to Section 9 of Rule 23. If the person declared as a nuisance candidate and whose certificate of candidacy has been cancelled or denied due course has the same name and/or surname as a bona fide candidate for the same office, the votes cast shall not be considered stray but shall be counted and tallied for the bona fide candidate. However, if there are two or more bona fide candidates with the same name and/or surname as the nuisance candidate, the votes cast for the nuisance candidate shall be considered as stray votes." This Resolution shall take effect on the seventh day after its publication. The Education and Information Department of the Commission shall cause the publication of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation. SO ORDERED. (Sgd.) SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR. Chairman (Sgd.) RENE V. SARMIENTO Commissioner (Sgd.) ARMANDO C. VELASCO Commissioner (Sgd.) CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM Commissioner (Sgd.) LUCENITO N. TAGLE Commissioner Voted in favor of this resolution ELIAS R. YUSOPH Commissioner (Sgd.) MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA Commissioner