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COMELEC Case Digest

ATIENZA vs. COMELEC G.R. No. 108533, Dec. 20 1994 Facts: Private respondent Antonio G. Sia was elected mayor of the Municipality of Madrilejos, Cebu in the 1998 local elections. Foll owing Sias proclamation, petitioner filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court questioning the results of the elections in a number of precincts in the municipality. Consequently, in the revision ordered by the lower court, petitioner obtained a plurality of 12 votes over the private respondent. The Regional Trial Court rendered its decision declaring petitioner the winner of the municipal elections and ordering the pr ivate respondent to reimburse petitioner the amount of P300,856.19 representing petitioners expenses in the elec tion protest. Private respondent appealed. Meanwhile, the Regional trial Court granted petitioners motion for execution pending appeal, which was opposed by respondent . The Comelec issued a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the order of execution. The Comelec, en banc, on April 7, 1992 issued an Order setting aside the preliminary injunction and thereby allowi ng petitioner to assume as mayor of the Municipality of Madrilejos pending resolution of his appeal. However, following the synchr onized elections of May 11, 1992, the Presiding Commissioner of the Comelecs Second Division issued an Order dated July 18, 1992 dismissing petitioners appeal for being moot and academic. Issue: Whether or not the Comelec acted with grave abuse of disc retion in reversing the lower courts judgment. Held: The dismissal of an appeal in an election protest case for having become moot and academic due to the election of new municipal officials referred only to that part of the appealed judgment which was affected by the election and not to that portion relating to the award of damages. However, it would appear virtually impossi ble for a party in an election protest case to recover actual or compensatory damages in the absence of a law expressly providing for situations allowing for the recovery of the same. This, petitioner has been unable to do. The intent of the legislature to do away with provisions indemnifying the victorious party for expenses incurred in an election contest in the absence of a wrongful act or omission clearly attributable to the losing party cannot be gainsaid in fine, Section 259 of the Omnibus Election Code merely provides for the granting of actual and compensatory damages in accordance with law. The intent, moreover, to do away with such provisions merely recognizes the maxim, settled in law that a wrong without damage or damage without wrong neither constitutes a cause of action nor creates a civil obligation.